The Actual Minimum Every Gmail User Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (Excuses welcome)

I've had 'garbled' looking emails turn up from time to time (particularly due to the world-wide nature of TimeSnapper support) and it makes my eyes glaze over.

"Ah encoding" i say. "I'm an expert on this. Let me think." And then I realize I'm not an expert. The mind is utterly blank. It's very zen.

I try not to think about encoding too much, if ever. I remember reading this 'joel on software' article about it "The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)" and i understood it all perfectly at the time. It made such sense, it was beautiful.

But then i hit the reset button on my brain and forgot it all. I've read it again since. But again, the reset button.

So when a garbled message turns up at gmail, the wisdom of joel spolsky is not upon me. I look at the screen in a panic, and bash at the "more options" link (to the left of the date received). At that moment, one of the 'options' given says "message text garbled". Yes, that's the one.

I press that link and the email opens in a new window. It's in a non-proportional font. Very raw looking. But perfectly readable. The encoding problem has magically gone away.

So gmail user's remember this alone:

If you get a garbled looking message, hit the "more options" link, and start fishing around for a suitable option. You'll soon find it.


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