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International Domain of Mystery

Hello happy reader,

OK the title of this week’s post may seem a bit obscure. However, I’ve been watching John Drake in Danger Man, the precursor to I Spy, The Prisoner, Man from UNCLE and Get Smart. Fun stuff…Anyway, today I’d like you to think a bit about the non–English speakers throughout the world and what the internet means to them — not much, I’m afraid.

To address that current shortcoming of the present English–only TLD or Top Level Domain system, of which is an example, ICAAN is working on the IDN initiative for internationalized domain names. This would allow most major language groups, worldwide, to participate in the great experiment that is the ’net.

If you’re curious about this, head over to ICAAN’s IDNwiki, where you can see some of this mechanism in action. On my rig, all browser’s (Safari, Firefox, Opera, RealPlayer) mishandle both Hindi and Tamil. Still, it’s great to see Arabic, Chinese, Greek and Persian URLs that work.

The internet is a powerful tool for discovery and understanding, as well as mischief and hatred. My overly optimistic view is that, given sufficient information, one can make right choices, though righteousness itself is up for debate. However, if you are barred from participation, you can’t gain from that activity. So, IDNs should, in the long run, be a subtle but powerful agent of change…

All for now. Enjoy your time here on Planet Earth and, until next time, continue to geek.


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