MAX HEADROOM 10\u0027 4\”

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23 Responses:

  1. Tha_14 says:

    Can't print special chars, huh?

  2. If the ratings book lasts for a thousand years, they will say this is Max Headroom's finest ‚�????ðsžšåÞя

  3. Dude says:

    Blank is beautiful!

  4. Misty Jean says:

    Every time I see Max Headroom, I think "It has an off switch! Aren't those illegal?"

  5. Ham Monger says:

    So what I don't get is how thoroughly they mix and match the escape codes to try to thwart Little Bobby Tables:

    \u0027 - okay, sure fine, but then \" instead of \u0022, but then they don't even escape the last "?

    This seems intentionally wrong in as many ways as possible.

    • jwz says:

      I especially enjoy how the botched apostrophe is a real apostrophe, 0027, but the double-quote with the backslash in front of it is a vile 201D "smart quote". That they don't even match each other is what elevates this to art.

      Also -- and I missed this part -- is 3.15m” some new unit, meterinches? Or is that a vector quantity rather than scalar?

      • Marcos Dione says:

        Mili inches. The laser measure tool was trying to be really accurate. That's 0.08001mm for you (see the double m :) ten feet, four inches, three point fifteen miliinches (milinches?). I'm not going to 'meterize' that.

      • MattyJ says:

        Plus the bottom line is not properly centered on the top line, there appears to be some whitespace to the left skewing the center justification of the second line to the right.

        Kerning looks surprisingly good, though!

  6. nooj says:

    If I were to try to parse strings on warning signs, that one is definitely not something my script would have made sense of in the first version.

  7. phuzz says:

    Americans will do anything to avoid using metric. ;)

  8. Kyzer says:

    First, write some text, perhaps on a web form, like: Dear signwriter, the sign has to say MAX. HEADROOM 10' 4" 3.15m

    Now encode the web form's data in JSON for dumping into a work-instruction email: "Dear signwriter, the sign has to say MAX. HEADROOM 10' 4\" 3.15m"

    But imagine you have the .NET Core JsonSerializer which unicode-escapes the single quote character, even though it doesn't have to, and most JSON encoders don't do this. Because RFC8259 says you MAY encode any character except a specific handful, this is legal: "Dear signwriter, the sign has to say MAX. HEADROOM 10\u0022 4\" 3.15m"

    Now the signwriter removes the part with their instructions, leaving: MAX. HEADROOM 10\u0022 4\" 3.15m"

    • jwz says:

      Plausible, but while the one-and-only double-quote in the original text might have been written as 201D by the original author, your story does not explain how the second 0022 from the JSON turned into a 201D.

      • margaret says:

        in a not so detailed way i mentally included microsoft in the blame too. not to the same degree of all the professional incompetence and indifference it took to get this into production, but nevertheless.

  9. Kyzer says: the signwriter then pastes the text MAX. HEADROOM 10\u0022 4\" 3.15m", into their sign template, replaces all the apostrophes with right single quotes (none found, none replaced), and replaces all the double quotes with right double quotes; two found, two replaced, neither in the customer's original request.

    Relatedly, official height signs in the UK use the Transport typeface, and its apostrophe and double quote glyphs are already slanted, no need for fancy quotes.

    • /df says:

      Apparently the double quote glyph in the Transport font has two oblique strokes, whereas what's in the picture are real 99-type U+201D RIGHT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARKs, the first with an attempted escape.

      After s/u0022/u0027/g, @Kyzser's explanation looks good. At bottom, there is some unwanted character set punning. The flaky web-based job management tool caused an email or web page text to be presented to the signwriter on these lines:

      Job Instructions:
      "Dear signwriter, the sign has to say MAX. HEADROOM 10\u0027 4\" 3.15m"

      (Flaky, because it hadn't stripped the surrounding d-quotes and unescaped the embedded one, nor properly rendered a quite straightforward apostrophe). The rest of the blame -- how plain d-quotes were transformed into 99-quotes -- has to be a mystery, much though it would be satisfying to blame some Microsoft Office component.

  10. When I was 11 or so I went to a French/English bilingual school. The English teacher was Very British. She knew I had been educated in the American system up until then, so she had to check if I was up to speed on the day's lesson. She asked me in front of the whole class, "Do you know about sixty-six and ninety-nine?" And that's how I learned what they call quotation marks in British schools.

    • danmca says:

      If you were asked that on the playground it would have been a dirty inside joke 10 out of 10 times.

    • tfb says:

      Perhaps they call them that in some British schools, but not any of the ones I went to.

  11. jwz says:

    This post -- and only this post -- has recently become extremely popular with Russian and Arabic spammers, none of whose comments are getting through, but none of whom are getting filtered by Akismet.

    It's an odd anomaly.

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