Remember the days before everyone had a mobile phone? Although it’s hard to imagine these days, but back before everyone had a mobile phone, public payphones and public phone booths were a massively important part of public infrastructure as a form of primitive mobile telephony for making phone calls. But what about data? Although the first battery-powered laptops came out in the 1983, digital mobile phones did not appear until 1992. In a lot of countries, there was no data equivalent of the public payphone and so you were stuck without connectivity until you could get back to your office or home. In Japan, however, things were different.
Archive for Japanese Computing
Recently, there has been a kind of fad in the west where people get all nostalgic about the days of 8-bit computers. The epitome of the 8-bit computing days was the low-res graphics, with characters typically rendered using the bare minimum number of pixels. Of course, technology has advanced since the days of the Commodore 64, and since the advent of sub-pixel rendering (called ClearType in Windows), in particular, the blockiness of text rendered on a computer screen has become barely perceptible for the Latin (i.e. English) alphabet. However, the Latin alphabet is not the only script in the world, and a more interesting question from the perspective of internationalization and globalization is how more complex scripts are rendered in modern times.
The advent of Unicode has been a huge boon for developers, enabling applications to run on computers throughout the world with little or no effort on the part of the developer. However, there are several quirks in East Asian operating systems that can make applications developed in the west frustrating or difficult to use when installed on an East Asian computer. This post looks at the most basic issues that every application developer should know. Although I focus on Japanese and Windows in this post, many of the issues are equally applicable to Chinese and Korean, as well as other operating systems.
One of the questions that I see come up a lot is about how Japanese text can be written using a computer, mobile phone, or other electronic device. Since it is a fairly important process for understanding the development of technology in Japan, I thought I would detail the process here.