Editing 927: Standards

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Three examples are given at the top of the comic: {{w|AC adapter|AC chargers}}, {{w|character encoding}} and {{w|instant messaging}}.  
 
Three examples are given at the top of the comic: {{w|AC adapter|AC chargers}}, {{w|character encoding}} and {{w|instant messaging}}.  
 
* Power adapters are notorious for varying from device to device - partly to try to prevent dangerous voltage/current mismatches, but partly just because manufacturers all chose different adapter designs. Mobile phone chargers have slowly been converging towards a common USB-based solution, but laptops are still a long way out, despite the adoption of yet another standard, {{w|IEC 62700}}. Randall notes that there was initially additional complexity due to the fact that there were also ''competing USB types'', but thanks to the European Union's {{w|common external power supply}} specification, micro-USB comprehensively won the day. It remains to be seen whether the release of the new {{w|USB Type-C}} specification will reopen this war.
 
* Power adapters are notorious for varying from device to device - partly to try to prevent dangerous voltage/current mismatches, but partly just because manufacturers all chose different adapter designs. Mobile phone chargers have slowly been converging towards a common USB-based solution, but laptops are still a long way out, despite the adoption of yet another standard, {{w|IEC 62700}}. Randall notes that there was initially additional complexity due to the fact that there were also ''competing USB types'', but thanks to the European Union's {{w|common external power supply}} specification, micro-USB comprehensively won the day. It remains to be seen whether the release of the new {{w|USB Type-C}} specification will reopen this war.
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* Character encoding is, in theory, a solved problem - {{w|Unicode}} is a standard for character sets which currently includes over 135,000 characters. However, Unicode is not an encoding, just an abstract representation of the characters, and there are several implementations which encode Unicode "code points" into usable characters (including the two most common, {{w|UTF-8}} and {{w|UTF-16}}). Despite the success of Unicode, older encodings like {{w|ASCII}} and {{w|Windows-1252}} have stuck around, continuing to cause weird bugs in old software and websites to this day.
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* Character encoding is, in theory, a solved problem - {{w|Unicode}} encapsulates almost all existing character sets, and more besides, into one big character set which includes over 128,000 characters. However, there are several means of encoding this character set (including the two most common, {{w|UTF-8}} and {{w|UTF-16}}), and encodings like {{w|ASCII}} and {{w|Windows-1252}} have stuck around, continuing to cause weird bugs in old software and websites to this day.
 
* Unlike the other examples, there has been little or no effort by instant messaging companies to make their services interoperable. There's more value to keeping IM as a {{w|closed platform}} so users are forced to use the company's software to access it. Some software, like the {{w|Trillian (software)|Trillian}} chat client, can connect to multiple different services, but there is essentially no way to, for example, send a Twitter message directly to a Skype user.
 
* Unlike the other examples, there has been little or no effort by instant messaging companies to make their services interoperable. There's more value to keeping IM as a {{w|closed platform}} so users are forced to use the company's software to access it. Some software, like the {{w|Trillian (software)|Trillian}} chat client, can connect to multiple different services, but there is essentially no way to, for example, send a Twitter message directly to a Skype user.
  

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