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Tech: Why this strange symbol?

MGM·Lion 21 Sep 12 - 04:11 AM
Roger the Skiffler 21 Sep 12 - 04:23 AM
Mr Happy 21 Sep 12 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,CrazyEddie 21 Sep 12 - 05:15 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Sep 12 - 05:19 AM
Jack Campin 21 Sep 12 - 05:52 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Sep 12 - 06:09 AM
Jack Campin 21 Sep 12 - 06:40 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Sep 12 - 07:04 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Sep 12 - 09:31 AM
Max 21 Sep 12 - 10:17 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Sep 12 - 10:18 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Sep 12 - 10:19 AM
Max 21 Sep 12 - 10:22 AM
Artful Codger 21 Sep 12 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,Grishka 21 Sep 12 - 03:42 PM
Don Firth 21 Sep 12 - 03:51 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Sep 12 - 06:14 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Sep 12 - 06:19 PM
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Subject: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 04:11 AM

In posts, some of long standing, containing letters or symbols such as fractions or musical notes from the 'character palette' or 'special characters' list, these have suddenly been replaced by a symbol of a white question-mark enclosed in a black equilateral rhombus. Why has this happened? Can it be rectified and normality restored, please?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 04:23 AM

This puzzled me, too, Michael, it came up when I was previewing a post and I had to re-enter all apostrophes, quotation marke etc. to get rid of them before submitting the post. Also McAfee now puts up a site "no entry" sign when I move between posts on Mudcat, implying there is a security issue with the site and covering the whole page. I get rid of this using the "back" button but it is worrying.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 04:40 AM

I notice the adverts below seem to interfere with entering text.

Other glitches include £ signs appearing as littles squares & the disappearance/ non-availability of the translate application


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 05:15 AM

PEDANT ALERT

"equilateral rhombus"

Isn't a rhombus equilateral by definition?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 05:19 AM

A few hours ago I was unable to open any threads here, with an error message that looked to me like it was probably in a Java link somewhare in mudcats innsrds (style sheet? or page header?). At least one other person had complained about saomething similar at that time. That was corrected by the time I came back about an hour later.

"Strange symbols" that replace ones normally known are most commonly because the font you're using on your own computer doesn't recognize the individual characters. This could be because the psrticulsr font you're using simply doesn't contain the character, or because your browser is set to an unsuitable encoding (IE calls it a language setting).

The font you use chooses how to represent "unknown" characters by printing any glyph it chooses for defaults of that kind. Most just use a blank rectangle, but some use a rather exotic little picture (glyph) for unrecognized chars.

There is at least one recently discovered malware type that for a few days was "findable" only by checking for an unusal font it downloads to infected machines; but so far it's reported as only attacking military/defense sites, and very large financial business sites. Although it's been reported as not being "in the wiild" among individual users, it's possible it might have escaped.

Norton has sent me a notice that they can now detect and remove it, and probably have scanned my machines with the fix already today. Yesterday Microsoft reported that they have a permanent patch for it (and for an IE/Java vulnerability), scheduled to be in an out of sequence distribution on Friday (today).

It would seem to be a low probability thing, but it is possible that the problem is with individual machines visiting here rather than with the 'cat. If it's on the site here, I'm sure it will be fixed quite soon; but I'm not seeing anything unusual here at this time. If your AV doesn't scan (frequently) automatically, ir might be a good idea to update and run one as soon as convenient, just for reassurance(?).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 05:52 AM

Your browser is attempting to guess the character encoding (which Mudcat does not supply) and getting it wrong. There should be some browser setting that will change it appropriately, but without knowing what the original posters meant, there is nothing to decide what "appropriate" is. Try UTF-8 first.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 06:09 AM

You are failing to get the point that this is happening on posts which have been up for a long time without any ambiguity or errors in image, which have suddenly become subject to this anomaly.

I take the point about a rhombus's definitional equilaterality. What I should have said is "a square represented as standing on on of its angles". Is there a specific name for such a figure. "Right-angled rhombus", perhaps?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 06:40 AM

The posts aren't changing - the way your browser is displaying them is, because something has gone wrong with it.

I'm not seeing this on my setup. Firefox 3.6 on MacOS, default encoding Unicode (UTF-8), default fonts Georgia, Arial and Courier, "Allow pages to choose their own fonts" turned off.

I have seen those diamonds with question marks on other setups, both on MacOS and Windows.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 07:04 AM

Ah ~ thank you, Jack. I shall get that looked into if it persists. Tho often restarting - the old switch off & on again - has been known to work in such situations.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 09:31 AM

While we're on odd behaviour, I'm not having any encoding problems, but the line separator that used to appear full width below the opening list of posts is now appearing only on the right hand half of the screen and at positions not necessarily below the list of posts. (Ubuntu 12.04, Firefox 15.0.1 (Firefox for Ubuntu canonical 1.0)).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Max
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 10:17 AM

I'm fiddling.

It's tricky business getting the myriad of posts to all display properly here at mudcat. We've been storing data from 200 countries for 17 years, including even dead languages. Technology has changed, norms have changed, our software has changed, even how the internet transmits data has changed.

The longevity, scale and international usage of mudcat is unique.

Reality is that we have content, new and old, in a mix between UTF-8 and Latin 1 (iso-8859-1). I want to serve everything with UTF-8, which is what you noticed to start this thread. It seems that I am stuck with the lesser of 2 evils, which I have just reverted to.

The strange symbols should be gone now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 10:18 AM

Have been out for a couple of hours. On my return, seems to have mended the fault, whatever it was.

Fingers x'd...

~M~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 10:19 AM

Many thanks, Max!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Max
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 10:22 AM

"Whatever it was" is almost always me, for the good AND the bad. :)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 03:31 PM

The strange symbols only appear(ed) because the characters were improperly posted to begin with. Max's quandary results because they weren't all posted using the same character set (which is also why they don't appear the same way to all users). We've discussed this problem at length in a few other threads. Although things could be fixed for all new threads, by forcing the encoding to UTF-8 in the page header, Max might have to add something to distinguish old threads from new (since I think the pages are created on-the-fly from the database of messages). Legacy threads would continue to suffer from inconsistent display from user to user.

To minimize this happening with YOUR posts, I encourage you to read this thread:
Entering special characters

-- Artful Codger


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 03:42 PM

Max, good to see that you are considering the problem. There have been a couple of threads about it, about two years ago. Since it will never go away by itself, I hope you did not give up for good (or for bad).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 03:51 PM

Yeah, I kinda wondered about that!

I've noticed from time to time that some people's posts had some weird characters in them that obviously the writer of the post didn't intend should be there. I assumed that it was due to a different computer (they tended to appear in the posts of people who had said they had Apple computers, and mine is Windows, so—) or a different word processor (I use Word}.

But this morning, I checked a couple of things that I posted last night and there were the same kinds of symbols! They seemed to be replacing apostrophes, other diacritical marks, and html codes (underlines, italics, etc.

Okay, I just put in the html code for italics around "etc." above, so I'll see what it does when I hit "Submit Message."

Here goes—

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 06:14 PM

Information incidental to recent problems:

The Unicode Character 001A (Hex of course) is a control character named with meaning "substitue" in the standard. The usage intended is as a "placemarker" for something to be supplied later. A broken or defective link (esp Java) could result in a "target unknown" return in the browser's interpreter which could revert to the 001A marker. A suggested supbstitute in the Unicode Standard is the "strange character" cited by some - a black square rotated 45 degrees with a white question mark in it. � The formal definition of the character assigned to be displayed for the Hex number FFFD is sort of "take two aspirins and call me again next week" so far as I can tell.

This speculation (hallucination?) is perhaps because a day ago I was briefly unable to open any threads here with an error message indicating "you mistyped xxxx in the object identifier for Jscript target ...." I assume the typo must have been in the page header or style sheet and referred to one of Max's twiddles, and the problem disappeared an hour later, which I then assumed was when a new twaddle replaced the twiddle - proving, regardless of the real reason, that as always, Max is on rhe job.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Why this strange symbol?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 06:19 PM

Curiosly, I previewed the preceding post and found two errors, both of which I corrected and I did another preview that showed them okay. But when I actually posted they are both in the post (along with a couple of others that I wish I'd seen - but some things are always gonna be invisible until it's too late.)

John


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