I received a free "embedded" light from Microsoft a number of years ago.  I put "embedded" in quotes, because I think it is funny that Microsoft considers a lightbulb connected to a USB power source an example of an embedded device.  I guess I haven't looked that carefully, but I expect there to be two wires in the device, and so not all that exciting from an engineering perspective.

But, the other day I happened across the instructions for the unit (plug into a USB port, flick the switch) and noticed that there is a message on the back of the piece of paper, and I have no idea what it means.  Anyone know?

Message from a Microsoft guy in the shipping department?

Posted by Jon Daley on December 9, 2011, 1:03 pm | Read 8518 times
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That looks like Japanese.

Posted by Andrea O on December 9, 2011, 1:31 pm

"Packed by No. 47" :)

Posted by SursumCorda on December 9, 2011, 1:55 pm

I'd say Chinese, not Japanese, but have no clue from there.

Posted by IrishOboe on December 9, 2011, 2:55 pm

I'd say a hasty Japanese scrawl. Chinese doesn't really have much in the way of deliberate curves.

Posted by Ryan on December 9, 2011, 4:05 pm

We had a Chinese guest today and showed her the writing. She confirmed that it's Chinese, but that it's not a complete sentence. Also, she confirmed the hasty scrawl: she couldn't make out the fourth character from the left. She said it meant something like "a feeling of uncertainty" or "you never know what you will get."

The characters, as far as I can identify them:
_ _ ™ _ Å

Posted by Stephan on December 10, 2011, 12:31 pm

Well. The characters displayed well enough in the comment box...

Here are links to pictures of the characters:

Posted by Stephan on December 10, 2011, 12:38 pm

I haven't converted the blog over to UTF-8 yet, so those characters can't be displayed properly.

When the blog software was created, UTF-8 support wasn't widely used, and so pLog made various workarounds to get it to work in different languages. But, unfortunately, those workarounds made it so those of us using ISO-8859-1, et al. have a harder time displaying unicode characters.

Now (as of a couple years ago) that PHP supports UTF-8 well, all languages should be use that format, but there are issues converting all character sets to UTF-8 automatically, and so I haven't figured out how to do it well. I believe my blog would convert easily enough, because there aren't non-7-bit characters in it, but the European languages have a harder time...

Posted by jondaley on December 10, 2011, 12:53 pm

(and thanks for figuring it out, that's fun)

Posted by jondaley on December 10, 2011, 1:02 pm

"You never know what you will get" sounds like a good Microsoft joke....

Posted by SursumCorda on December 10, 2011, 1:26 pm

You're welcome, it was a fun little puzzle. I'd also sent it to a friend married to a Japanese who confirmed it was Chinese.

Maybe you can continue the tradition, and encode "Like a box of chocolates" in morse code on your next circuit board...

Posted by Stephan on December 12, 2011, 4:06 pm

A customer of mine says:

Those are Chinese characters. The writing is not the usual form so it could look like Japanese. The meaning is: "Sentiment which is hard to be predicted".

Posted by jondaley on December 30, 2011, 1:07 pm

That's probably it: not a feeling of uncertainty, but an uncertainty of feeling was what our guest must have been after. She said "uncertainty feeling," which I expanded a bit without thinking that those were only the single words (the last two characters to the right mean "feeling", "emotion", or "sentiment" in Japanese, too), and her "box of chocolates" expression probably was her attempt to circumscribe "unpredictable." Thanks for getting a second opinion - I think you can now safely say you know what Microsoft wrote you, and write Bill Gates an appropriate thank you letter! ;-)

Posted by Stephan on December 30, 2011, 3:08 pm
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