Archive for July 20, 2018

Friday, July 20, 2018

Unicode Waiting for New Japanese Era Name


The current period is known as “Heisei” (平成). It started on 8 January 1989, the day after the death of the Emperor Hirohito. His son, the 125th Emperor Akihito, acceded to the throne. It is scheduled to end on 30 April 2019, his planned date of Abdication.

Ken Whistler:

The date of that [Unicode 12.1] release, which cannot really be moved, given the complex dependencies now in place for the corresponding CLDR and ICU releases, and for the vendor product cycles that depend, in turn, on those, poses a problem for the anticipated announcement of the new Japanese era name. The date of the abdication and start of the subsequent Japanese reign era is now fixed, but the actual name of the era will not be announced, apparently, until sometime shortly after February 24, 2019. That timeframe is way too short to adjust the data files and charts for the addition of a new character, no matter how urgent it is for implementation.

The problem, in this case, is that even though we know the code point for this new character, U+32FF, which the UTC set aside back in January, we cannot know the actual content of that code point until the era name itself is announced. The characters encoded for these calendrical symbols in Unicode have compatibility decompositions, and those decompositions depend on the actual name chosen for the era. Because the decomposition, once assigned, is immutable, involving Unicode normalization, the UTC cannot afford to make any mistakes here, nor can it just guess and release the code point early.

Via Dave DeLong:

Stuff like this makes me wonder if we’ll ever see the CLDR (the database that defines date formats, calendar semantics, localization stuff, etc) decoupled from the Unicode libraries proper, in the same way that the timezone database is distributable separately

The European Commission Versus Android

European Commission (via John Gruber):

The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.

Google must now bring the conduct effectively to an end within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Ben Thompson (tweet):

The European Commission found Google guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules in three ways:

  • Illegally tying Google’s search and browser apps to the Google Play Store; to get the Google Play Store and thus a full complement of apps, OEMs have to pre-install Google search and Chrome and make them available within one screen of the home page.
  • Illegally paying OEMs to exclusively pre-install Google Search on every Android device they made.
  • Illegally barring OEMs that installed Google’s apps from selling any device that ran an Android fork.


Today the situation is very different: that contractual limitation could go away tomorrow (or, more accurately, in 90 days), and it wouldn’t really matter because, as I explained above, many apps are no longer Android apps but are rather Google Play apps. To run on an Android fork is by no means impossible, but most would require more rework than simply uploading to a new App Store.

In short, in my estimation the real antitrust issue is Google contractually foreclosing OEMs from selling devices with non-Google versions of Android; the only way to undo that harm in 2018, though, would be to make Google Play Services available to any Android fork.

An Entomologist Rates Ant Emojis

curlicuecal (via Jason Kottke):

[Apple] Beautiful big almond eye, realistic and full of expression as she gazes gently at you. Elbowed antennae and delicately segmented legs and body. Gorgeous pearlescent sheen like she is glowing. This ant moisturizes. This ant is round and huggable. This ant is a star. 11/10.


[Samsung] This ant has an unexplained, double-jointed thorax, and no evidence of a waist. Her four-footed pose suggests that she a centaur rather than an ant. Centaur ants would be cool. I’m not sure what was intended here. 2/10.


[Mozilla] This is a termite. -10/10

Jeremy Burge:

Emoji 11.0 is the emoji release that follows Emoji 5.0. This new emoji list was confirmed on 2018-02-07 and the specification was released on 2018-06-05.

Note: There are no Emoji versions 6.0-10.0 as a decision was made in 2017 to align emoji version numbers with their respective Unicode versions starting with version 11.0.

Scanning Old Photos

Josh Centers:

If you have oodles of physical photos in albums or shoeboxes (why is it always shoeboxes?), Google PhotoScan won’t solve your digitization problems. It’s just not designed for scanning hundreds or thousands of photos. For that task, you’d likely want a dedicated photo scanner like the Epson FastFoto, but such devices are a significant investment and still require lots of your time.

A better approach might be to send your photos to a scanning service, such as Memories Renewed orDigMyPic, both of which were well-liked by Wirecutter. They can be expensive ($0.39 to $0.60 per photo), and it can be stressful to entrust irreplaceable photos to a service. Also, be careful about which service you pick, because some don’t return your originals.

Previously: Google PhotoScan, PhotoScan: Taking Glare-Free Pictures of Pictures.

Computer History Museum Releases Eudora’s Source Code

Len Shustek (Hacker News):

It’s hard to overstate Eudora’s popularity in the mid-1990s. The April 22, 1996 InfoWorld article announcing the release of Eudora Pro 2.0 called it Qualcomm’s “best-selling product,” and said that “according to International Data Corp. (IDC), Qualcomm claimed 64.7 percent of all e-mail software revenues in 1995.” A later exhibit about Eudora in Qualcomm’s company museum observed that “By 1996 Eudora had 18 million users, making it the world’s most widely used internet email software at the time.”


The discussion with Qualcomm for the release of the Eudora source code by the company’s museum took five years. In the end, they decided not to simply grant a license, but to transfer ownership of the code, the Eudora trademarks, the copyrights, and the Eudora domain names to the Computer History Museum (CHM). The transfer agreement allows us to publish the code under the very liberal BSD open source license, which means that anyone can use it for either personal or commercial purposes.


The Windows version of Eudora is written in C++. The source tree consists of 8,651 files in 565 folders, taking up 458 MB. There are both production (“Eudora71”) and test (“Sandbox”) versions of the code.

The Macintosh version of Eudora is an entirely different code base and is written in C. The source tree consists of 1,433 files in 47 folders, taking up 69.9 MB.

Via John Gruber:

I still miss classic Eudora in a lot of ways.

Previously: A Eulogy for Eudora.