Welcome to Locale Hell

It’s not often that I get to work on localization related features or bugs, but when I do, it’s spectacular!

Take the sv-SE (Swedish) locale for example. If you write in the Chrome console the following:

(-1).toLocaleString(“sv-SE”) == “-1”

It will get evaluated to a big fat false. Why? Because the minus character this particular locale is using is the typographic minus, not the usual hyphen that all apps are used to.

Wait what? Yep, and it gets better. As it turns out it’s not even part of the Swedish keyboard layout.

Now, if you do the same thing in IE 11 or the newer Edge it will get correctly evaluated to true.

So what’s going on? The function toLocaleString is browser native, and each vendor has their own implementation. Microsoft use their own proprietary localization data that they had and evolved for a long time. Google on the other hand seem to be making use of CLDR data, as they have the same typographic minus in their definitions.

This isn’t a huge issue if you’re just displaying data, but if you need to constantly parse and re-format user input then it’s going to be a pain, unless you use a dedicated framework.

Glorious Edinburgh

Edinburgh in 12 hours or less

It was an childhood dream of mine to travel by plane to a city and return in the same day. Given that we live in Dublin, Edinburgh seemed to fit the bill, as the flight is usually under one hour, the Edinburgh airport is close  and you could take the 100 bus directly to the city center in about 30 minutes. I didn’t know exactly what to make of Edinburgh while researching for this trip but I’m glad that I had low expectations. I was just blown away by the city! I see Edinburgh as an refined lady, with a high-bred demeanor. Of course we saw the same old drunk characters as in Dublin, but Edinburgh’s royal vibe is easy to spot.

 

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Upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 Ultimate edition

Step 1 – Backup your documents

Note that, you can do steps 1, 2 and 3 of this guide at the same time, because these processes don’t depend on each other’s completion and first two are a bit lengthy.

Before any kind of major upgrade, always backup your documents. This should, most of the time, be just your OS drive, specifically the Documents folder, unless you have important documents spread allover the place.

Why just the OS drive and not everything, because usually, that’s the only one at risk of getting formatted when you install a new OS. (more…)

Gamescom 2015 Impressions – Gamer Perspective

We went for the first time to Gamescom this year, and it’s also going to be the last. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to see and do, but for an international event it’s not particularly accommodating.

The biggest gripe I had with it is that most, if not all, big talks, presentations and competitions were done in German. That’s really unfortunate for an event that’s advertised as international.

The second biggest problem is the attendance. It attracts a huge crowd, so most of the time it takes at least two hours to stand in queue for the chance of playing a game for ten minutes. Some queues got so big that they became a “security risk” – to paraphrase some of the employees that were tasked with overseeing said queues. And standing in queue wouldn’t have been such a big problem if they had mounted some displays in strategic places, in order for people to have something to watch while waiting. But instead most areas were designed in a way that you couldn’t even see gameplay unless you were also playing – probably in an effort to minimize gameplay footage leaks (recording and photos were not allowed) – an archaic and misguided practice…

That being said, lots of interesting things to see and do if you have the energy and patience – you can see some highlights in this article and find loads of videos on youtube. And the food and refreshments were aplenty at reasonable prices.

So if you don’t mind waiting a lot for a little burst of fun, try it once, see if it is for you. Me, I won’t be attending next year.

 

Gamescom 2015 Highlights

There were lots of interesting things at Gamescom this year, and many of them I managed to miss, although I had 3 days.

You could get custom made T-Shirts with a limited selection of logos, and your gamer tag on them, and dog tags too. The limited ones went out quickly, and the name tags were of lower quality unfortunately.

There was an area where one could play Headis. This is a game similar to tennis football, but played on a ping-pong table with a hard net, using the head instead of the usual foot, and with a special ball, almost the size of that used in handball, maybe smaller. (more…)

The Feature Chrome Needs

When we talk about browser features, there’s plenty to go around. Each vendor comes with extras in an effort to sway clients their way.

Take Firefox for example. It has a nifty little option that allows you to not load tabs on until they’re actually active. Which means, that if you’re like me and usually hoard tabs, and never (almost) close them, when you open the browser only the first tab gets loaded, and the browser won’t eat half your RAM. That’s the single reason for having Firefox as my main browser.

I need Chrome to have this. My inner geek laughs at me, because as a developer I’m targeting Chrome first and foremost, but as a user, Chrome is number 2. I know there is an extension available which can do that, but for reasons I wouldn’t like to go into, I don’t like extensions.

So, dear Chrome team, please implement this!

NDC Oslo 2015

NDC Oslo 2015

We went to NDC Oslo this year, and for our first big developer conference, (over 1900 attendance), it was a blast! And my better half can confirm I don’t use that expression often.

Lots of good talks, a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm, and some interesting displays. I even got to try out an Oculus Rift. There were actually two of them there.

It’s something every developer has to experience at least once during their career. And we even picked up a few good tips for giving good talks too:

  1. Don’t stay the whole time with your hands on the keyboard. You’re supposed to be presenting a slide, you can hook it up so you can control it with a remote.
  2. If you’re showcasing code, don’t write it then and there. Nobody wants to sit there and watch you actually write code. Because you’re going to make mistakes. Many mistakes. So use snippets instead. This is a glaring difference between a seasoned speaker and a beginner.

Anyway, we’ve attended some really good ones, and missed some really great ones, luckily NDC were kind enough to record and make them freely available.

Some of the talks that stood out:

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