One of my friends’ duties include setting up electronic billing for her employer. She recently told me

I am creating a new payment file (as European standards are changing) for the equivalent of BACS, and am somewhat upset to discover they won’t accept supplier names with accents in – which for a European bank, strikes me as remarkably inconsiderate.

I enquired further and she replied

The reply I got back from the bank included the line ‘In characterset UTF-8 special characters like Ö, & , é… are not declared.‘ See page 7 of  http://www.febelfin.be/sites/default/files/vademecum/Standard-XML-SDD-Initiation-v20b-EN.pdf.

While that page indeed does not have accented characters and Latin-1 is just ASCII (no accents), UTF-8 does include accented characters. It’s a way of representing every character in Unicode!


Hardware weirdness

I’ve wanted a domestic server for a long, long time and I think it’s about to happen. I’ve had a TiBook for a couple of years – this is the last Apple laptop that can run MacOS9 natively and MacOS X (to be specifically, 10·5, aka ‘Leopard’). I’d installed 10·4 and 10·5 from retail installer disks that I already owned, but original installer disks for MacOS9 are hard to come by. I obtained one in early December, created 3 partitions on the TiBook’s HD and installed MacOS9 and 10·2 on the first, 10·4 on the second and 10·5 on the third.

Why? Because I could. I don’t use this computer very often – just when I have a hankering for playing MacOS9-based games. But this still left the TiBook without a regular job.

In the middle of December, I found an affordable eBay listing for a 10·5 server installer disk. The snag was that 10·5 server requires 1GB of RAM, and TiBook only had 256 + 512 = 768MB. So I bought a supposedly new 512MB lump on eBay. That took over 2 weeks to arrive – and didn’t work in either my TiBook or my Pismo (my current web server), both of which take PC133 SO-DIMMs. I’m still in dispute with that vendor. In the meantime, I partitioned the TiBook’s hard disk as

  • 7·5GB for MacOS9 and 10·2
  • 7.5GB for 10·4
  • 22GB for 10·5
  • 22GB for 10·5 server

and reinstalled MacOSes 9, 10·2, 10·4 and 10·5.

My next step was to buy a new lump of RAM from OWC. That arrived yesterday and was installed in a feverish hurry. Hurrah – all the installed OSes reported 1GB of RAM, so the machine should have been ready for 10·5 server.

Not so – repeated attempts to install crashed out with the same error message about being unable to install the base system. Yet I knew the installer disk was OK – it worked just fine when used with a VirtualBox virtual machine. Also, following this process, I could install 10·5 server onto a Dell Mini 10v.

Relief has arrived in the shape of a replacement lump of RAM bought from a LEM swap-list vendor. It’s now in TiBook, while the OWC lump is in Pismo – so both machines are at their maximum of 1GB – and the installation of 10·5 server has just completed on the TiBook. SO now I have configuration to enjoy.

But I still don’t understand why the installation failed with the OWC RAM. It should have either not started – and reported that there was not enough RAM – or just worked. Bah!