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> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Geoffrey King

> Dana Nutter wrote:
> > <If by "most common areas" you mean web browsers, then yes. 
> Otherwise 
> > it's a hit-and-miss (more miss than hit) situation. I have Outlook 
> > 2003, but if I send Unicode it will show "?????".Interestingly, I 
> > didn't have this problem before I "upgraded" to2003. I've 
> found lots 
> > of software that just doesn't support Unicode, or supports 
> it only on 
> > certain levels. For example, somesoftware may still have 
> issues with 
> > right-to-left scripts. Smallerdevices are less likely, but I was 
> > pleasantly surprised that both handheld MP3 players (including my 
> > dreaded IPOD) that I'd tried seemed to work. I've since given up on 
> > expensive MP3 players like that and installed a head unit 
> into my new 
> > car which supports a USB hard drive. It recognizes Unicode 
> in the ID3 
> > tags but apparently converts them to another 8-bit encoding for 
> > display because it won't allow Cyrillic to be mixed with Roman 
> > characters that have diacritics. This is actually in the owner's 
> > manual, and these are the only scripts mentioned. I could 
> go on with a 
> > really long list of gadgets that aren't Unicode ready, and just as 
> > much of a list of products that have limited support.In 
> short, Unicode 
> > is a long way from being a universal that we can rely on.>

> Gadgets is the right word; this is a list of fairly uncommon 
> scenarios. 
> I would expect that MP3 players in Russia would support Cyrillic, and 
> MP3 players in Israel would support left-to-right. The chances of a 
> person in some other country needing both Cyrillic and 
> left-to-right for 
> an in-car MP3 display are I think relatively small; so your own 
> experience is an unusual one.
> If most people find that Unicode is present in the circumstances when 
> they need it, then good enough will do. Of course, if I had an MP3 
> player, or a car, I might think differently.

I could see someone needing Cyrillic and left-to-right.  Maybe a Russian Jew has just migrated to Israel and likes to listen to media in both Russian and Hebrew.

I don't think my MP3 player could be unusual, it's a 3-line display not much less room than the display on my IPod.  If it supported Unicode it could be sold worldwide so those with Arabic or Chinese music could see the titles in the native scripts.  I haven't tested it with either, but maybe I'll put a couple Chinese or Arabic songs on the hard drive just to see what the LCD shows.

In any case, this is all just another way of emphasizing why basic 7-bit ASCII is the only close to a constant in computing.