A settler’s guide to to reading, typing, and spelling Vancouver’s new shibboleths

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Jun 2018 | Tagged as: Unicode, Vancouver, community, culture

My home, Vancouver B.C., just announced new names for two public places: “šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square” and “šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn” . In contrast to just about every other name in this town, these names are not Scottish- or English-derived. Nor are they a Chinese phoneticisation of a Scottish-derived name. Instead, at long last our town asked the First Nations leaders, whose people have been here the longest by far, to contribute the names. I think it is awesome. It is a step towards reconciliation, tiny but real. I think these names will become Vancouver’s new shibboleths.

But names like these represent change, and change is unsettling. The characters are unfamiliar-looking! We don’t know how to pronounce them! There are rectangular boxes showing missing text! There is no ə key on our keyboards! Heh. We seem to have no problem expecting immigrants who grew up with Chinese or Ge’ez or Gujurati writing to learn how to write and pronounce “Granville”, but we are reluctant to step up when it’s our turn.

Never fear. I’m a software engineer specialising in internationalisation and Unicode. Let me explain how to read, type, and spell these names.  It’s really very interesting. Continue Reading »

Top Posts: Why Unicode has separate codepoints for “characters with identical glyphs”

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 May 2018 | Tagged as: Unicode, i18n, multilingual, robobait, software engineering

I post on various forums around the net. Sometimes I am able to tap into such inspiration that I want to add that essay to my portfolio. Such was the case here. The question: Why does Unicode have separate codepoints for characters with identical glyphs? My response begins: The short answer to this question is, “Unicode encodes characters, not glyphs”. But like many questions about Unicode, a related answer is “plain text may be plain, but it’s not simple”.… Continue Reading »

Pilots, emergencies, and “heroes”: thoughts on Southwest 1380

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Apr 2018 | Tagged as: aviation

Every so often, an emergency happens in aviation. 17. April 2018 was one such day. The left engine on Southwest flight 1380 failed. Shrapnel escaped from the engine, damaged the airplane, and broke a window. Sadly, that killed one of the passengers on board. And then news filled with phrases like “heroic pilot” and “nerves of steel”, framing the story around one person who performed well that day.

I am an amateur pilot. One of the habits of many pilots is to read about aviation accidents. From this we learn about what went wrong for others, so that we can do better when things go wrong for us. Like many who know aviation, I would like to suggest a different frame. It’s not about “a” pilot. It’s about a wide range of people: a crew of five people on that Southwest Airlines flight, Air Traffic Controllers, and more. It’s not about “heroic” deeds or “nerves of steel”, it’s about well-trained, competent people, thrust into a stressful situation for which they trained, performing their training well. And while these people are admirable, so are their peers. Continue Reading »

We are sponsoring a refugee family

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Mar 2018 | Tagged as: Canada, Vancouver, community, government, personal

A month ago, three human beings were in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Now they are in Canada, and I am part of the team helping to take care of them. It has been wonderful to watch Canada welcome them. Continue Reading »

Email addresses and domain names are NON-latin! Now what? (IUC41 tutorial)

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 28 Feb 2018 | Tagged as: Unicode, i18n, meetings and conferences, multilingual, web technology

Last fall I attended the Internationalization and Unicode Conference. That year was the 41st conference, or IUC41.  In addition to a presentation (described in a blog last October), I delivered a tutorial: Email addresses and domain names are NON-latin! Now what?  I should have blogged about my slides last October, but better late than never. Here are my slides. Continue Reading »

24 Goddesses

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Jan 2018 | Tagged as: culture

Nina Paley is at it again! As part of her film-in-progress, Seder-Masochism, Nina animated pictures of ancient female figurines. They look like they are dancing, in 24-frame cycles. She posted them as 24 Free Goddess Gifs. They have enchanted people, who have given them various soundtracks and set them dancing. Personally, I am delighted by how the set of 24 look dancing together, as they are on Nina’s own page. I have composited the 24 individual Goddess gifs into a single animated gif. It is linked below, and is freely available for you to enjoy and re-use. Continue Reading »

How to add an SSL certificate to LiClipse to permit EGit access to a git repo

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 26 Dec 2017 | Tagged as: robobait, software engineering, web technology

I was contributing to the FFmpeg project recently. They keep their source code in a Git repo, accessed via SSL. I had an awkward error message:

SSL reported: PKIX path building failed:
unable to find valid certification path to requested target

The problem was that my tool handling the SSL communication lacked the SSL certificate which validated the communication with the project. I could dismiss the error and proceed without validating the SSL security. The better solution was to supply the right SSL certificate to the communication tool, so that it could validate the SSL security with no awkwardness. Here’s how I accomplished that.  This post is offered as search engine fodder, in hopes that others will benefit from these instructions. Continue Reading »

LiClipse (for Mac) includes its own copy of the JRE

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 10 Dec 2017 | Tagged as: robobait, software engineering

LiClipse is the developers tool I use for writing Python code. Based on the Eclipse IDE, it accepts numerous plugins to support other programming languages like Java and C, and related tools, such as the Git version control system. Eclipse is mostly Java language code, and it runs on a JRE (Java Runtime Environment). Last month, I wanted to contribute code to a git repository which I accessed via HTTPS. That worked more smoothly if I could put an SSL certificate into the JRE, and I’ll skip the details of why for now.

So I looked up the Java Home of the JRE installed on my Mac OS X laptop (short answer: it’s the path output by running /usr/libexec/java_home). I installed the SSL certificate there. It did not work. That was a sign that LiClipse did not use that JRE. Did it perhaps include its own JRE?  After some investigation, I found out the answer: yes!

Here’s the explanation. I hope this helps others. Continue Reading »

Welcome to the Vancouver technology entrepreneurship scene

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Nov 2017 | Tagged as: British Columbia, Vancouver, meetings and conferences

Welcome to Vancouver, B.C. You want to get involved in the entrepreneurial technology startup “scene” here? That is wonderful. Here is my current list of activities and organisations that form good entry points into the entrepreneurship community in Vancouver. Check them out. Participate in what interests you. Ask at these events for further suggestions. Enjoy!

Note that I am not an authority on the totality of entrepreneurship in this area. I am just an ordinary participant. This is my worm’s-eye view. It’s probably incomplete. Perhaps others will post in the comments the wonderful events and orgs that I missed. But this at least will get you started. Continue Reading »

When I run “ffmpeg” in the background, how do I prevent “suspended (tty output)”?

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 04 Nov 2017 | Tagged as: robobait, software engineering

I recently had a problem, “When I run ffmpeg in the background, how do I prevent suspended (tty output)?”. I solved it. Here is my solution, in the hopes that it will help others seeing the same problem.

I have a sh script which calls ffmpeg on several files. When I try to run this script in the background, redirecting output to a file, the job starts but then immediately suspends:

% bin/mp3convert.sh path/a/b &> ~/tmp/log.txt &
[1] 93352
% [1]  + suspended (tty output)  bin/mp3convert.sh path/a/b &>

Continue Reading »

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