HTML, ASCII, UTF8, Unicode: Weird characters on the loose �

HTML, ASCII, Hex, Unicode: Weird characters on the loose �

Are you seeing lots of weird characters like � or ▯ in your documents or web pages?

Check out the block of characters and symbols below. Anything look wrong?

ā ē ī ō ū
á æ ð é í ó ö þ ú ý
☎ ✆ ✈ ✉ ✍ ✎
½ ¾ ≈ ≤ ∞ ±

Problems with older browsers, encoding and fonts can sometimes lead to display errors. It's all about 'character sets' and the codes they use.

For instance, the replacement character is from a character set called 'Unicode'. It indicates that your system couldn't recognise a piece of code and didn't know how to turn it into a symbol.

Similarly, the Unicode character is likely to show up here and there when you're cutting and pasting between different types of document. It indicates there is a mismatch between the character you have pasted and those supported by the font.

And then there's a whole bunch of stuff that occasionally turns up in web page titles like  ™ ©. These are HTML symbols gone wrong. Depending on the version of HTML you are using you might argue they come from the UTF-8, ASCII or ISO-8859-1 character set (more). They are code that should have translated into symbols. ™ is ™,     is a blank space and © is ©.

If you're seeing this kind of error then the characters have probably been typed or pasted somewhere (usually involving a database) that only accepts 'alphanumeric' characters. It's like speaking French and expecting your audience to hear Spanish.

Then there's those awful hyperlinks that contain stuff like %6f%62%73%63%75%72%65? That's from the hexadecimal character set, which is what's required for URLs.

Don't underestimate the importance of using the right characters. Film-maker Peter Jackson's "Weta Workshop" is a very different thing from (the correct spelling, with macrons:) "Wētā Workshop". The former word means excrement (more).

Anglophones often neglect things like this because they seldom use accentuated characters. You'll get a sense of the difference it can make if you look at the difference an underscore might have made in the following domain names (all real examples):

If you're setting out to become a web or database developer, you're going to come across this kind of issue again and again. On the bright side, the people who design browsers and databases are learning to make allowances. It's much less of a problem than it used to be. And you'll quickly learn how to recognise and fix the problems. Here's some resources that'll make troubleshooting easier.

Explanations and resources

List of special characters to create symbols in HTML
List of characters for use in URLs
List of Unicode characters (click for HTML equivalents)
ASCII character set + hex, binary & HTML equivalents
ASCII to HEX converter
HEX to ASCII converter
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Latest Message: 2 years, 1 month ago
  • guest_7711 : In regards to HCPAs and their important function and contribution - should the strategy have measurable targets per constituency groups? Yes definitely
  • guest_6985 : Thanks! Karla Berdichevsky and Erika Troncoso from Mexican Goverment agree!
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks, agreed.
  • guest_314 : Yes, and also resiliency of the health system. Is not only about the strenghts. There should be also a room for the private sector as we see more and more the need for the private sector to step-in either in support of the response or sometimes to replace the business as usual
  • Peter Colenso : Thank you for your participation. Do please also use the link to the full Outline Strategy (above the video) to send us your views. Stay safe!
  • Peter Colenso : Agree, very lacking currently. We need to build in, inc making a case for strong health systems, surveillance, HCPs, preparedness.
  • guest_314 : This is an unprecedent situation and we should use the window of opportunity to address those components
  • guest_314 : The COVID emergency is flashing out the importance to continue to advocate for the rights of women and children especially in terms of PHC. At the same time is also highlighting the role and challenges of the HWF. How can we make sure this component are well embedded in the strategy? It seems to be lacking in the current structure.
  • Peter Colenso : We propose to continue to do analytical work (sythesis & application; not primary research). I suspect the accountaility wil look diffferent (less global reports and more empowering country level partners?)
  • guest_3167 : And what does it mean in terms of partners engagement?
  • guest_3167 : How are the others functions supporting it? Will analysis and accountability be done only to support the advocacy effort or will we continue the work that we are currently doing as Partnership in this areas?
  • Peter Colenso : Good question. No. The proposed shift is to Advocacy as the core function, with other areas supporting it.
  • guest_3167 : Does it mean we only focus on advocacy from now onwards?
  • Peter Colenso : Do you think we should work on areas like NCDs and Nutrition where there are other partnerships & alliances?
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Susannah.
  • Peter Colenso : Any thoughts on how to build in COVID-19?
  • Susannah Hurd, GHV : Is there a risk we lose relevance if we stay too narrow? - I don't think so. I think the value proposition should clearly address this, explaining PMNCH's value add in each of the three focus areas, with respect to other major players in the landscape.
  • Peter Colenso : More comments? We can't have got it all right?
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Pierrette!
  • Pierrette J Cazeau : Thank you we will send our inputs before the deadline
  • Peter Colenso : Is there a risk we lose relevance if we stay too narrow?
  • PMNCH Exe Director : unfinished agenda also include newborn and stillbirths
  • Susannah Hurd, GHV : Thanks, that makes sense.
  • Peter Colenso : By 'MDG unfinished agenda' we mainly mean maternal & child mortality (further specified by the MDG targets & indicators), i.e. narrower agenda than the SDGs.
  • Susannah Hurd, GHV : Thanks - yes, understand the shorthand of course! There are ways in which the previous broader agenda and functions could find their way into these more narrowly defined focus areas and functions, depending on how you define them, so PMNCH will need to be diligent about staying true to the effort to narrow. PMNCH cannot be everything to everyone.
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Susannah. Agree; we use a lot of shorthand in the Outline doc that needs definition & unpacking.
  • Susannah Hurd, GHV : Agree on narrowing PMNCH's focus areas from 6 to 3, and narrowing functions from 4 to 1. Need to clearly define what is meant by "MDG unfinished agenda".
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Dorothy!
  • guest_7319 : That was Dorothy Shaw, sorry
  • guest_7319 : good overview Peter, thank you
  • Peter Colenso : You should be finishing the video around now. Any comments or questions? We're keen to hear!
  • Bistra Zheleva : Yes, I did, thank you.
  • PMNCH : Thanks Bistra 🙂 Noted. Did you receive the email from on 9 March?
  • Bistra Zheleva : OK, great. Sorry, the forms are awkward and my organization’s name got truncated – it is not Chill but Children's HeartLink, a PMNCH member organization :).
  • Peter Colenso : For those arriving a bit late, please watch the pre-recorded video above and then join the chat!
  • PMNCH Exe Director : Hello everyone, welcome to this important consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and getting valuable inputs to our Strategy refresh for 2021-2025. We look forward from the Secretariat to support you in any way so that you engage as actively as possible. Regards Helga
  • PMNCH : Hello Chill! Thanks a lot! In the email that was sent the whole partnership on 9 March there is a word form that you can compile and send back to as we are aware of some issues around it 🙂 let us know if you got the email
  • Bistra Zheleva, Chil : Good morning, Peter. I will submit more comments in google form, but wanted to point out that anyone from China will not be able to respond if you keep it in Google.
  • Peter Colenso : Morning Pierette! Thanks for joining.
  • Pierrette J Cazeau : good morning we are here from florida
  • PMNCH : Dear Marleen, thank you! No worries, there are different ways to engage. The video will be available on this page and you can submit your inputs and comments through the document linked above the video.
  • Peter Colenso : No problem Marleen. Beaming out best wishes to you all in Kenya from here.
  • marleen temmerman : apologies; urgent COVID meeting here in Kenya
  • Peter Colenso : Welcome all to the 4pm CET PMNCH Strategy Webinar. I hope you're all keeping safe. My name is Peter and I'm the consultant supporting the Strategy process. Please watch the pre-recorded video above which presents the draft Strategy Outline. Then post comments & questions in the chat funnction and I and PMNCH colleagues will try to respsond (we have left the chat below from the 11am session so you can see). Also, in slower time, do please send more detailed comments through the Strategy Outline document linked above the video. Looking forward to your comments. Many thanks! Peter
  • Pradeep Singh Pundhi : Many thanks
  • guest_1658 : Agreed
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : Bye now
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : Many tx for your work
  • Peter Colenso : Many thanks again to all. I'll remain online for 10 mins for any more comments. Remeber the online doc. Stay safe.
  • PMNCH : We will be live again at 4PM CET! Thanks Please do provide your comments through the linked document above the video
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : Many thanks Peter, Helga and all!
  • Peter Colenso : AM, agree fully on national & sub-national platforms.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : it links with your point about sub-national level AM - that's a means to improve equity
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Paula. Agree. Outcomes will nedd specific targets / indicators which need to focus on equity.
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : Fully agree Paula
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : To respond to the question "should the strategy have measurable targets per constituency groups?" probaly YES
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : I like the outcomes in the theory of change as it includes country level impact. I don't know where in the strategy but it would be good to clarify the role of national and sub-national advocacy platforms and how they will link with the global level discussions to use that leverage to achieve national change. You are already doing good work in some countries like Indonesia.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : Thanks very much for the opportunity to contribute - I will add more comments in the online doc. I think the outcomes section needs to reflect equity better, for example, financing for whom? Increased service coverage for whom? We need to make sure that vulnerable grops are covered, not just general increases. I think that was the mistake of MDGs and led to more inequity
  • Peter Colenso : Really enjoying your comments - many thanks. As we move into last few mins, remeber also to comment in slower time on the online doc linked above the video. Also opportunities to inputs through your consittuencies (we're arranging calls.)
  • PMNCH Exe Director : In regards to HCPAs and their important function and contribution - should the strategy have measurable targets per constituency groups?
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks AM. We try to do this through linking Ad function to measurablel changes at Outcome level in Policies, Financing & Quality Service Coverage. Then links to SDG Impacts.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : Agree - I think the outline clearly states how that should be translated into action
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : Great to hear Helga
  • PMNCH Exe Director : Anamaria - your points regarding Advocacy champains are important. Strategic engagement, including and support (incl. poliitcal enagement) to drive chagne was emphasized at the retreat.
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : If advocacy is now the focus it is extremely important to define it as a conduit to achieve sustainable changes in policy, practice and structures. Campaigns and messaging are only part of a variety of methods to advocate as we all know so, I think it is very important that they are not read as synonymous in the strategy.
  • YuHsin (IPPF) : Agree that we should include NCDs
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : definitely - speaks to a holistic health system and life cycle approach, as well as preparedness of health facilities and HCPs
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : NCDs are a priority I agree but we have to make sure that it does not exclude other diseases...and acute events like we are expereincing now...
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : I'm happy with advocacy asoverarching priority with other bits feeding into it
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : I think it is also very important to define advocacy as a conduit for sustainable changes on policies, practices and structures. Campaigns are only methods to achieve that so, it is important not to make advocacy look as synonymous of campaigns.
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Paula. Agree on how you framed NCDs, other alliances etc.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : and of course, link up with other alliances so that efforts are synergistic
  • Peter Colenso : Noted re. Gender, and agree.
  • PMNCH Exe Director : Functions from the retreat included: to have advocacy as main, however have the other functions, eg. accountabiltiy and analysis support and feed into our Advocacy. So accoutnabiltiy still remains important especially as it relates to our advocacy messaging and activites, includigng political engagement and strategic engagement for change.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : Not necessarily prioritise but they definitely need to be reflected in the context and response as so relevant and important
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : agree with Anamaria RE gender
  • Peter Colenso : Paula, should we prioritise NCDs and Nutrition if there are other existing alliances for these issues?
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : yes agree Anamaria!
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : Agree with the focus and strongly support to mainstreaming of gender across all the components of the strategy.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : There is a lot that can be included in these 3 areas but important to get the detail right in the descriptions
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : completely agree with the priority focus
  • Peter Colenso : Anamaia, in expanding the draft we will need to make sure accountability is not lost (but PMNCH's role will need to be redescribed).
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : It would be good to see some focus on gender more generally and on the impact of NCDs and the doubel borden of malnutrition
  • PMNCH Exe Director : The priority areas recommended from the Strategy retreat were: MNCH; SRHR and Adolescent Health and well-being. There was a clear support for focusing on children, newborns as well as stillbirths.
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : On question 3: Functions, it is good to be more focused on advocacy but accountability and advocacy go hand in hand so, it will be important to include accountability very strongly if the focus will be advocacy to make the changes sustainable.
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Anamaria. I'm inclined to agree with you. Mission statement tries to anchor 4 concepts linking functions & outcomes: partnership, advocacy, WCAH, equity.
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : Yes the revised mission of PMNCH becmes even more important in pamdemic situation...COVID-19 patients are mainly adults, but the crisis has major collateral negative impact on children
  • PMNCH Exe Director : COVID-19 and other crisis situations have shown that it leaves women, children and adolescents even more vulnerable. We do have a strong focus on equity and leaving no-one behind. However, important to have it made even more clear in the strategy, thansk Paula
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : On the mission statement, I think that the mission is well framed if it only focuses on the external impact and not internal. So, the mission should not include to 'amplify the power of the partnership' as it sounds self-serving and I am sure that is not the intention. If it stays as it is without that part, it will sound better to me. So: 'To mobilise partners to advocate for women's, children's adolescents, etc.' Even having a mission focusing on mobilising partners may be a bit process focused. Perhaps the mission should be concentrated in what PMNCH wants to achieve as a result so, 'to advocate for children's women's and adolescents' health... etc
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : Absolutely on HCPs and also community health workers and volunteers
  • Peter Colenso : Agree HCPs have never been so valued as now. I think we need to capitalise on this and make a strong case for support in the Strategy.
  • Peter Colenso : aula agree on COVID-19. It (and other potential pandemics) is redescribing our world and this is currently absent in Outline. Need to address.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : Thanks - good data is indeed critical to advocacy so I would love to see a major focus on that
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : HCPs have never been on the frontline and in the spotlight as now before
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : agree with Paula RE COVID-19
  • Peter Colenso : 'Knowledge Generation & Application' is short-hand for a lot of work on data, evidence, knowledge products etc. , inc support to Countdown etc. and linked to accountability.
  • Paula Quigley (DAI, : Another question is how we acknowledge covid-19 in the strategy? The pandemic will be the key challenge for months and possibly years to come and will hugely influence the way we work and how health services are delivered. I think this needs to be reflected in the new strategy
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : regarding knowlege generation, it will be important to share informations withing and between HCPS to maximise efficiency
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Paula: (i) great point on private sector; we will expand when describing ways of working. PLease ake specfic suggestions in online doc. Yes data is meant to be captured under Knowledge and will be a big focus.
  • YuHsin (IPPF) : TOC makes sense. 🙂
  • guest_1635 : HI, I'm Paula Quigley and have 2 hats regarding PMNCH involvement - one in private sector constituency through DAI Global Health and secondly, through the NGO consitituency as I'm on the board of the International Stillbirth Alliance. I have 2 questions. On private sector engagement, I presume that will come under the modus operandi section and would like to see some further thought given to how the private sector can be better engaged. From ISA perspective, and more generally how will the function of advocoacy work if we don't have sufficient data? Is that captured under knowledgr generation? For example, many LMIC don't collect reliable data on stillbirths so difficult to advocate if you don't know the extent of the problem. Thanks!
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : sorry yess absolutely,, but I'm also familiar with the Theory
  • Peter Colenso : Does the Theory of Change make sense in broad terms? Do please put any more detailed comments into the online doc too.
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : ??? waht do you mean
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks Anne. Does the ToC work?
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : the video message provides a good syntheses of the process thank you! and stay safe
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : new strategy is clearer use the Theory of change is judicious really.
  • rachel firth : that was great thank you
  • PMNCH Exe Director : Hello everyone, welcome to this important consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and getting valuable inputs to our Strategy refresh for 2021-2025. We look forward from the Secretariat to support you in any way so that you engage as actively as possible. Regards Helga
  • PMNCH : Thanks Anamaria! Please let us know if you have any questions or comments!
  • Anamaria Bejar (IPPF : Hello everyrbody, great way of organising a discussion.
  • Peter Colenso : Hi Pallavi, Aditi, Anne! Looking forward to your comments & questions.
  • PMNCH : Hello Anne! Thanks for joining! Please watch the video above and feel free to post questions through the chat!
  • Anne-S Ramelet (ICN) : Hi
  • Peter Colenso : Thanks YuHsin. Great points! FYI, for you and others, please also feel free to input into the Strategy Outline document linked above the video (open it through Google Chrome, not Microsoft Explorer).
  • PMNCH : Hello Aditi, thanks for joining! please feel free to post your questions!
  • Aditi Mukherji : Hello everyone
  • YuHsin (IPPF) : I have two small suggestions. 1. Add LGBTI to SRHR focus area 2. add CSE to adolescent focus area.
  • guest_1804 : Thanks YuHsin!
  • YuHsin (IPPF) : Nice presentation Peter!
  • Peter Colenso : Hi everyone - hope you're keeping safe. My name is Peter and I'm the consultant supporting the Strategy process. Please watch the pre-recorded video above which presents the draft Strategy Outline. Then post comments & questions in the chat function and I and my PMNCH colleagues will try to respond. Many thanks!
  • Pallavi kumar : hi
  • Admin : Welcome!