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Tech: what does  mean?

VirginiaTam 20 Apr 12 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,999 20 Apr 12 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 20 Apr 12 - 04:01 PM
maeve 20 Apr 12 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,highlandman at home 20 Apr 12 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,999 20 Apr 12 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,999 20 Apr 12 - 07:38 PM
Peter the Squeezer 20 Apr 12 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,999 20 Apr 12 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Apr 12 - 11:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Apr 12 - 11:47 PM
Artful Codger 21 Apr 12 - 12:06 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Apr 12 - 01:00 AM
Dave Hanson 21 Apr 12 - 03:46 AM
VirginiaTam 21 Apr 12 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Apr 12 - 10:23 AM
treewind 22 Apr 12 - 05:32 AM
treewind 22 Apr 12 - 06:40 AM
Bill D 22 Apr 12 - 10:07 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 12 - 06:03 PM
treewind 22 Apr 12 - 07:18 PM
framus 22 Apr 12 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Apr 12 - 08:11 PM
Bill D 22 Apr 12 - 09:54 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 12 - 10:52 PM
stallion 23 Apr 12 - 02:10 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 23 Apr 12 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 23 Apr 12 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Apr 12 - 09:53 AM
Bill D 23 Apr 12 - 12:07 PM
Nigel Parsons 07 Sep 12 - 03:55 AM
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Subject: Tech: what does  mean?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:27 PM

What does it mean when these characters

       

are at the top left of the Mudcat homepage?


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:35 PM

"Well,  is a Byte Order Mark (BOM) of the UTF-8 unicode standard, which on your system appears to be misinterpreted as ISO-8859-1 text instead of UTF-8."

VT, I have NO idea what that means. Found it on the www.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 04:01 PM

I see them almost every time I load the page, for a second or three, then I see the usual thread list. Probably the browser is re-interpreting what it sees before it can render the page properly.
I have now told you much more than I know about it.... -Glenn


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: maeve
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 05:22 PM

Max has explained it at least once. I'll post a link if I find it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,highlandman at home
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 06:35 PM

Max has more important things to do!
A little more searching teaches me that it is a marker placed at the beginning of a text stream (which is what a web page really is, despite what it looks like when rendered on your browser), that tells how the bytes are arranged. Hence "Byte Order Marker."
If you're still reading, byte order has to do with how computers represent numbers greater than 255 (one byte worth), by putting the high-order (place value if you will) byte first or last. If the high order byte comes first, they call it Big Endian, otherwise Little Endian. I am not making this terminology up.
Rather than make the receiving program figure out from the data what the Endianness of the stream is, they put a Byte Order Marker at the beginning of the file.
If and when your browser figures out that the first few bytes are in fact this marker, it will commence to display the page as you expect to see it. Until then, it interprets it stupidly as "".
I do understand the explanation, actually, now that I've seen it.
I shall now go sing a song of celebration to myself to justify this thread being above the line.
Cheers
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 07:34 PM

Brilliant. I recognize the language as English, but ashamedly I admit to understanding not a word. What song will you sing?


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 07:38 PM

I realized as I posted that that the remark I made could seem dismissive or rude. The English was faultless.

So, uh, like, we're talking about computers, right?


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 07:42 PM

It's the first line of a well known Martian Space Shanty!


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 09:05 PM

Heinlein?


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 11:14 PM

WHY do you ask?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 11:47 PM

Why do you ask, Gargoyle? And why don't you just rejoin the group, you're always here. I think the place kind of grows on you, even with little squiggly things going on in the upper left corner.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 12:06 AM

It's a dystopian Horror-show!


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 01:00 AM

In the earliest days of computers, there was some debate about whether the Most Significant Bit should be sent first, with successive "less significant bits" following until the byte was completed, or whether the Least Significant Bit should come first with increasingly significant bits following.

Most of the chip manufacturers followed one side, but a few others, notably Motorola, went the other way.

Apple was one of the computer builders who went with Motorola for their processors, and hence were - for a decade or two - mostly incompatible with computers (in the real world) that used the opposite system.

The computer must load a complete byte into the processor (or at least into the memory that feeds the processor) before anything can be done with the byte, but of course once it's read the (then eight bits) byte, if it reads them "backward" it gets a different result than if it reads them in the oppositely backwards order.

It's a fairly simple process to "flop" each byte (swap end for end) if you know which direction it's supposed to go, but it took quite a while before the ability was incorporated into a majority of computers.

The HTML standard(s) include bit order markers that can be used to tell computers that attempt to read pages how to interpret the bit-stream correctly. The markers are more frequently now, I believe, included in the CSS (style sheet) that the computer should see before it even starts to "translate" a page into a display form, but there are occasional omissions in what gets on the web, or sometimes all the "details" don't get loaded properly. It should be possible for the computer to determine which bit order is being used without reading a bit order marker but that process seems to be less than perfect.

The bit order markers are supposed to be "unprintable" so that they're not displayed in the web page, and the character string indicated is actually the "invisible marker read backward" by a computer that starts posting the page before it recognizes that it is a bit order marker and that it's reading the bits backward.

As long as the correct bit order is determined before the html interpreter gets far past the marker, no information is lost, since what it printed backward was supposed to be invisible anyway.

So don't worry 'bout it.

All this might have been avoided if Motorola (and a very few others) hadn't insisted on mounting their processors upside down, or if Macs had been popular enough so that we'd all have ended up upside down like they were. [t.i.c.]

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 03:46 AM

Is it Prince's new symbol ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 09:12 AM

I thought I'd seen it before but a thread search brought forth no results. Last night is was curious but very much fatigued. I didn't stay awake long enough to get the answer. Thank you for answers and the funny stuff. Sorry I wasted space.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 10:23 AM

You didn't waste space. It's an intelligent question.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: treewind
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 05:32 AM

I suspected, and have now confirmed by trying it, that you can make those characters go away by setting your web browser (probably somewhere under fonts) for a default character encoding of "UTF-8" instead of whatever individual regional setting it has now e.g. most likely "Western ISO-8859-1".

I've also noticed from experience with other web forums that if Mudcat were to set UTF-8 as standard we wouldn't have those much discussed problems with £, € and other symbols not showing properly for everyone. I notice this has been experimented with, but the relevant meta tags have been commented out, probably because it breaks too many existing postings that have already been done in ISO-8859-1. (try "view source" and search page for "utf-8" on any mudcat page and you'll see the codes hidden away there)

If Mudcat's coders could set UTF-8 for all NEW threads created, that mess would slowly become history. Not only that, but we'd be truly international, and we'll all be able to use musical symbols, Greek and Cyrillic text, Anglo Saxon Runes... anything supported by whatever fonts we have.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: treewind
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 06:40 AM

PS - John: the Unicode BOM is about byte order, not bit order. Is it more useful in 16 bit Unicode where every character is two bytes and the BOM says whether the high byte or low byte comes first in each pair.

In UTF-8... well, see Wikipedia - there's no point in my repeating it all here. But that article does show what a BOM looks like to software that's not execting it, and it matches what's showing on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 10:07 AM

treewind... I use Opera 90+% of the time, and I cannot find any setting to choose UTF-8 except for "USE UTF-8 for all international web addresses"... that was checked as 'default'.
I do see most symbols and € £ and such as ß ∞ ♫... but I have the fonts to show most things.

It is pretty complex (even with John in Kansas laying it all out ) to sort out all the relationships between PC/MAC/LINUX, coding choices, forum parameters, installed fonts, relevant browsers, languages...etc.

I have 5-6 ways to post various symbols... but I never know how many are likely to see the more exotic ones. I wish that, as technology improves and machine memory increases, they'd make it sorta automatic that we could at least SEE any symbol posted, even if not everyone wants to bother learning how to do it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 06:03 PM

Treewind -

I thought it would be clear that my OBVIOUSLY TONGUE_IN_CHEEK explanation was for those with no idea what was going on, and was NOT FOR THOSE WHO KNOW IT ALL.

The basic reason that the funny characters appear is that the browser read the bits within the byte in the wrong order. For this reason "bit-order" was expected to be more easily understood by those who needed the explanation. "Byte order" is a more commonly used term, but can refer to the order of bits in a byte, or to the order of bits in a byte that depends on whether the byte is in the particular order within a larger assemblage of bytes, or to the order of bytes within a larger data-stream element. The common reference to BigEndian and LittleEndian is somewhat meaningful, but we now have MixedEndian and MiddleEndian (and a couple of others) to contend with, which was not particularly pertinent to the subject.

The process of reversing the order of bits within a byte, which is the critical thing here, is often called "flopping," which is itself a typically ambiguous usage since a "flop" is more universally understood as meaning a "floating point operation," hence the preference for some to refer to changing the order of bits within bytes as "flipping" rather than "flopping," while others only make jokes about whether one may wear socks with flip-flops.

The technically correct (common) name for separating or combining 8, 16, 32, or 64 bit data-stream elements into 8, 16, 32, or 64 (or other) bit bytes is called "thunking." A few years back, complaints about the "processor intensive" thunking problems were fairly common, but either better methods have appeared, or the Microsoft solution (if you can't do it right, ignore it) has become more general.

The continual yammering about setting your browsers all to a particular character encoding is a bit specious, since many sites declare an encoding and if your browser is working correctly the setting in your browser will be changed (without notifying you) when you enter that site. NOT ALL sites are sufficiently gracious to return your setting to it's original value (your default?) when you leave, and if the next site doesn't declare and reset you, you still will need to "try another one" if strange characters appear when you go to the next site. Consistent use of UTF-8 encoding is probably more common for those in areas where languages other than English are common and diacritically deviant characters are more often used, but are not particularly prevalent for some of the rest of us, and the universally effective cure for your pig's scurvy won't necessarily always cure the worms in my dog.

[please note: some more t.i.c.]

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: treewind
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:18 PM

The continual yammering about setting your browsers all to a particular character encoding is a bit specious, since many sites declare an encoding

t-i-c aside, my point here was precisely that Mudcat doesn't declare an encoding and maybe should.

Also simply to observe that changing your default will make the funny characters go away.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: framus
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:58 PM

Damn all to do with the symbols, just thought I'd mention that the Big/Little Endians originally referred to the egg-opening preferences of the Lilliputians.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 08:11 PM

Let me know when you get all this stuff worked out so I can post a post in runes.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 09:54 PM

I just remembered this program I found awhile back.

BabelMap

"BabelMap is a free character map application for Windows that allows you to browse through the entire Unicode character repertoire of nearly 110,000 characters, or search for a particular character by name or by code point. Characters can then be copied to the clipboard for use in any Unicode-aware application. "

The list of specific features is way longer than I should post, but it is amazing. It takes awhile to really explore what can be done with it.

Yes... freeware


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 10:52 PM

Bill -

The "Character Map" built into Windows will show you every character in every font installed on your computer, displayed in the font, and will give you the character code in case you want to post something funny here (or somewhere else). It doesn't do a whole lot of good for me to know how to post characters I can't read, but you're welcome to use whatever other stuff you like.

The Unicode character tables are also a free download from the Standard site, and don't occupy resources unless you're looking at them.

∰ (closed volume integral) or ㍊ (Square Miribaanu) don't come in handy for me very often, but I don't need any add-ons to find it when I do. It's "standard default stuff" in Windows.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: stallion
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:10 AM

don't runes read from right to left? how does that work on the computer, is there some way of putting it in reverse or is it all done with mirrors?


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 05:30 AM

stallion - IIRC they were normally written left to right as today, though that wasn't fixed. There are boustrophedon inscriptions that alternate left to right with right to left.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 09:05 AM

I love this place!
It just occurred to me that perhaps the first culture to deal with the Big Endian / Little Endian problem was ancient Egypt.
Hieroglyphs can be written either way, left-right or the opposite. The way you can tell is that the pictures of animate objects (like the ubiquitous falcon glyph) face toward the beginning of the sentence.
Amazing what you can learn at the 'cat.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 09:53 AM

û

I did it! Thanks for telling me out Character Map, John.


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 12:07 PM

John... I do know about the built-in character map... and have a couple other maps that do a few more 'tricks'. I also have lists of characters from several sources. I have WAY more fonts than I actually have installed.
I just enjoy the variety of sources and programs.... I seldom 'need' such toys, but occasionally I find some use...if only to make a printable poster or image for offline use.

It's just a hobby...and I like having a 'feel' for what is out there, even if I never 'need' 99.9% of it.

Ya' never know....☺


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Subject: RE: Tech: what does  mean?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 03:55 AM

I was re-directed here from a new discussion on this matter titled: " Why these symbols when one posts?"

I was tempted to respond there, but the thread was closed.

Why these symbols when one posts?
Are they digits inserted by ghosts?
Browsers learn from it just what they should do.
Max is wonderful, it's true!

(ttto Mr Wonderful)


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