John Smith's Blog

Ramblings (mostly) about technical stuff

Steve Jobs' grinning turd

Posted by John Smith on

Given the App Store's reputation for prurience when it comes to approving things, it's slightly eyebrowraising to find this delightful fellow in the iOS Unicode character set:

Screengrab from an iPod Touch showing unicode character e05a in Mobile Safari

This came to my attention via this post on Asiajin, which is largely derived from this Japanese-language blog post.

I recalled seeing some weird colour bitmap icons hidden a long way down, when using UnicodeTable a while ago. Digging around again, it turns out that this is character 0xE05A in the private use area (PDF link), where vendors can - and do - put whatever they like.

On Windows 7, OS X Snow Leopard and Android 2.1, nothing seems to be defined for these characters in the default browser font. On Fedora, they are a mix of Asian (?) glyphs and dingbats; 0xE023 is a smiley with an eyepatch, for example. On iOS... well you can see for yourself in the above screengrab, or go to this link if you don't believe me. The character entity itself is , which will render as a placeholder box or similar on machines without a glyph defined for it.

When webapps are better than native ones

Posted by John Smith on

Some people dislike native applications for mobile devices, preferring web applications due to their more open nature, (generally) better accessibility, etc. Personally, I'm quite happy to use them, as even the latest-and-greatest HTML5/CSS3/JS functionality doesn't always match up with what can be done in Cocoa Touch et al.

However, if a native app is deficient to its webapp equivalent, then that's just crazy...

Photo of two iPod Touches, one viewing the Argos web site in Mobile Safari, the other running the Argos iPhone application.  The latter fails to show 4G devices on a search for 'ipod touch'

The above photo was taken on October 12th 2010, a week or so after Argos - a large UK retailer - started selling the new range of iPod Touches (the ones with the retina display).

... or at least, that's what the Argos website - shown on the left iPod - tells us. The Argos app on the other hand, is still living in the past, failing to show the 4G/retina versions, and instead claiming that the year-old 3G versions are in fact "NEW". It wouldn't surprise me if that highly misleading "NEW" description could lead to some interesting cases involving Trading Standards, should anyone feel so inclined...

Photo of two iPod Touches, one viewing the Argos web site in Mobile Safari, the other running the Argos iPhone application.  Both display consistent and correct information for the iPod Touch 3G

Following the links for the older 3G product, both show consistent information. The webapp no longer shows the misleading "NEW" product description.

Photo of two iPod Touches, one viewing the Argos web site in Mobile Safari, the other running the Argos iPhone application.  The latter claims that the iPod Touch 4G product code is not known

On the other hand, searching for the 4G device, the webapp claims that its product code is unknown. I'll give you one guess as to where the 4G device shown on the left was purchased - good thing I didn't rely on their webapp to tell me whether it was in stock or not!

About this blog

This blog (mostly) covers technology and software development.

Note: I've recently ported the content from my old blog hosted on Google App Engine using some custom code I wrote, to a static site built using Pelican. I've put in place various URL manipulation rules in the webserver config to try to support the old URLs, but it's likely that I've missed some (probably meta ones related to pagination or tagging), so apologies for any 404 errors that you get served.

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About the author

I'm a software developer who's worked with a variety of platforms and technologies over the past couple of decades, but for the past 7 or so years I've focussed on web development. Whilst I've always nominally been a "full-stack" developer, I feel more attachment to the back-end side of things.

I'm a web developer for a London-based equities exchange. I've worked at organizations such as News Corporation and Google and BATS Global Markets. Projects I've been involved in have been covered in outlets such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, the Financial Times, The Register and TechCrunch.

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Most of these have changed quite a bit since my involvement in them...