From: William Overington (WOverington@ngo.globalnet.co.uk)
Date: Fri Feb 14 2003 - 08:38:45 EST
On the last day of the consultation period I wonder if I may add a few notes
about tags and plane 14.
An interesting point is that there exists the possibility of defining
additional types of tagging using codes U+E0002 through to U+E001A.
Yesterday evening I began wondering for what matters such additional types
of tagging could potentially be useful. This within the constraints of
tag characters themselves being restricted to an ASCII-like set of
Books in libraries are often classified with a code consisting of digits and
a full stop character. For example, the number 515.53 is on a label which
is still on the spine of a book which I bought in a sale of withdrawn books
from a library. So, if U+E0002 were used to introduce a tag for the library
book classification code, then a sequence starting with U+E0002 and using
some other tag characters could be used to classify the subject matter of
any document which is stored in computerized form.
Editions of books are classified using International Standard book numbers.
A tag code could be used to state an International Standard Book Number
using tag characters.
New concepts could be introduced. Suppose that a new system of codes were
introduced, perhaps called something like International Literary Work
Numbers and that any author could obtain some of these numbers, which
numbers would have a format carefully designed so as not to be confusable
with International Standard Book Numbers, perhaps by having a letter other
than X within them (X being used in International Standard Book Numbers).
Then if someone writes a poem, he or she could allocate an International
Literary Work Number to the poem. In a document, the code U+E0004 could
introduce the International Literary Work Number which Work Number would be
expressed using tag characters. If the poem were on the web, most present
day computer systems could ignore the tag characters, yet advanced
futuristic software could search databases for specific codes or ranges of
codes and hopefully find the poem.
Yes, this is a potentially far-reaching line of research and it needs to be
allowed the freedom to flourish.
Looking further at the matter of plane 14, I am wondering whether there is
scope for the eventual production of a vector graphics system to be encoded
in plane 14. I have had some good success with my eutocode graphics system
which is produced using codes from the Private Use Area.
Eutocode graphics uses 10 bit data input. If a system in plane 14 were
produced, then 12 bit data input could be used, perhaps using all of the
codes U+E2000 through to U+E2FFF for data input. Some of the codes in the
range U+E1000 through to U+E1FFF could be used for control codes for the
system, though not that many of them. At its present stage of development
eutocode graphics uses only a few codes for control, all of them within the
range U+EB00 through to U+EBFF of the Private Use Area.
An interesting matter upon which I would appreciate some help please is as
In early 2002 I learned of a system called ViOS, which is a
three-dimensional interface for the web. I learned about it from the
newsgroup alt.binaries.education.distance which showed a graphic and
provided a link to the http://www.vios.com website. Unfortunately, that
website is no longer accessible. ViOS is a magnificent program, it still
works well in offline mode, and is about 90 Megabytes in size. Inspired by
the three-dimensional setting out of web pages in related groups used in
ViOS, I am trying to devise a vios-inspired three-dimensional index system
for the DVB-MHP (Digital Video Broadcasting - Multimedia Home Platform)
system. I am designing this as an optional part of the eutocode graphics
system. However, this eutovios system is designed to be implementable
within a Java program of under 100 kilobytes when compiled, hopefully less.
So eutovios is nothing like as detailed as ViOS. I am thinking in terms of
a plane populated with objects, each of which can have a string of Unicode
characters as a label and a string of Unicode characters as an action string
so that the program knows what to do when the object is entered. The
objects at present consist of three types, namely a cylinder stood on the
plane, a cone stood on the plane and a sphere which can be at any specified
height. My thinking is that the spheres will be markers for clusters of
objects, the cylinders will lead to viewing a document or obeying a program
and that the cones will be used for cross-referencing to related topics.
Thus a collection of learning programs for distance education will hopefully
be indexed in a three-dimensional visual-spatial setting so that related
topics can be placed in proximity to one another. The eutovios system
allows a particular three-dimensional environment to be set up using Private
Use Area codes from the range U+EC00 through to U+EFFF for data and some
codes from the range U+EB00 through to U+EBFF for control codes, some of
these codes being particular to the eutovios system and some, such as the
codes for the colours of the objects, being the same codes used for
specifying colours in the eutocode graphics system generally. The objects
thus all have symmetry about the vertical axis, which makes drawing out a
scene simpler than if objects such as cubes were in use. The spheres
display as discs, the cylinders display as filled rectangles and the cones
display as filled triangles, each displaying the same shape regardless of
the angle from which they are viewed: they do change size though depending
upon how near they are to the present viewing point. An interesting
activity is thinking about what objects have a shape which is symmetrical
around a vertical axis and which would look good in such a program and which
are expressible with a minimum number of supplied parameter values once one
knows which type of object has been chosen. It is essentially just some of
those objects which could be produced in brass using a lathe only and
without using any of the screw cutting features of a lathe.
I have tried to find out what has happened to ViOS. Does anyone know or
remember having seen a news item in a magazine about what has happened
please? I recognise that this question is somewhat off-topic but I have
tried to find out in various places and have been unable to do so and this
list does seem to have an ability of providing answers to many questions.
Anyway, in relation to plane 14, I am hoping that in time it will be
possible for such a graphics system, including various three-dimensional
capabilities to become formally encoded in plane 14 as a ring-fenced option
for use with particular protocols. It is at an early stage at present, so
what becomes encoded may have far greater possibilities than what is being
encoded now. Yet what is being encoded now does work and works well. It
allows a stream of Unicode characters from a text file to produce a
three-dimensional scene through which an end user can then move and select
This is all very futuristic and needs a lot more doing to it. At present I
use a Java applet which is an extension of the original eutocode graphics
test system which is on the web.
The test system for the eutovios system has buttons to simulate the push
buttons of an infra-red remote control device of a DVB-MHP television set.
Testing is by preparing a string of Private Use Area characters in the SC
UniPad program obtainable from http://www.unipad.org and then using a copy
and paste so as to paste the string into the text box of the applet, the
draw button of the applet then being pushed to produce the starting point
However, I feel that I do need to mention this now as the Unicode Technical
Committee is about to consider what to do about tags and this is a related
issue because it relates to plane 14. Perhaps all of plane 14 needs to be
declared an area considered as deprecated in general terms, yet where codes
for use with particular protocols can be defined by the Unicode Technical
Committee, so that the potential for using such futuristic developments and
encoding them within the Unicode framework is preserved?
14 February 2003
---- For discoveries, In Private Use Area Phaistos Disc Script waits Haiku written by William Overington.
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