Thursday 6 October 2016

grapheme or no tofu

“Tofu” refers to the frustration that can come up in correspondence when the message—instead of reaching the recipient as intended is rendered as random ASCII characters or blank boxes (or emojis that emote something entirely different) and what prompted the UK’s assault on punctuation in street signage.
We get it often with the umlaut and it nearly raises in me a moral conundrum that I can’t use our proper address, the right sort of quotation marks, etc. as those characters aren’t allowed. In order to virtually eliminate this problem, an internet giant has partnered with the largest type foundry to create a universal font (Noto—it’s called for “no tofu”) that supports over three-hundred thousand unique glyphs, ten times larger than the nearest thing that historians and linguists have presently to a universal typeface. Even as interest drives the underlying architecture to realise the gaps in our orthographic families, without a font that’s visible across different platforms and systems, there’s still no way to portray it and work in that language—like the warnings one sometimes sees, though more rarely, that this article contains Berber or Babylonian script which all browsers may not display. Noto hopes to deliver a font-kingdom that’s not only functional but also capable of coexisting with other scripts and layouts. Of course, what can in the end be typed—no matter how obscure and esoteric, can also be indexed in a search engine and be made more accessible.