Re: Unicode, SMS, PDA/cellphones

From: Cristian Secară (
Date: Thu Jun 01 2006 - 15:25:32 CDT

  • Next message: philip chastney: "Re: apostrophes"

    On Mon, 29 May 2006 10:57:02 -0700, Doug Ewell wrote:

    > The Romanian translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    > -- which is probably not representative of text that would be sent
    > via SMS -- yield the following sizes:
    > 12,841 bytes in UTF-8
    > 12,454 bytes in SCSU (3% decrease)
    > 13,498 bytes in BOCU-1 (5% increase)

    That is an interesting intelectual game, but unfortunately in practice
    it is of zero interest.
    What I want to say, is that it is too late.

    Today, in my country (Romania), no one uses extended characters in SMS
    messages, except, perhaps, just a handful of some bizarre people who
    like bizarre (read: useless) experiments.
    There are many reasons for this situation:
    - extended characters are more difficult to access from a phone
    keyboard, so very few people are willing to extend their typing time
    - first mobile phone generations were unable to generate Romanian
    specific characters with their keyboard, even if a received message
    w/ accented characters was, in some cases, correctly displayed
    - very few peoples are aware that their [modern] phone can write
    Romanian specific characters
    - modern mobile phiones are able to write correctly, BUT there are a
    couple of conditions for this:
      - the phone should have Romanian language included; this is usually
        true _only_ if that phone is sold officially in shops and it does
        usually not apply for phones purchased in whatever other country
      - the phone's menu should be set to Romanian; many young phone users
        are keeping their phone menu in English language, because so is
    - some users will not attempt to actually use extended Romanian
    characters when sending a SMS message, because they do not know if the
    addressee's phone is able to display properly those characters; this
    fear comes from computer usage, where this situation IS surprisingly
    true (Yahoo mail is the best example)
    - on TV there is (or was until recently) an avalanche of SMS user
    feedback for any immagineable TV program; I know for sure that almost
    all in-house built SMS software (used for on-screen display) are not
    able to handle UCS-2 characters from SMS; in fact, associate SMS
    software producers are not aware that such a situation even exist (i.e.
    16 bit per character in SMS messages), or have o idea about technical
    details, like how to recognize if a random received message is 8 bit or
    16 bit
    - very few peoples, like me, who know all those details, prefer _not_ to
    send SMS w/ extended characters, because the 70 character size
    limitation of a 16 bit SMS message is aberrant and shameless doubles+
    the price
    - should I mention that, if I write a message from my PC (using the
    software that came with my phone, otherwise a powerful program) with
    U+0218-021B Romanian characters, all phones will display blank squares
    for these characters on the received message ?

    > Cristian can probably supply a more appropriate sample text for
    > comparison.

    I think I can provide some, but why ?


    Cristian Secară

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