English Last.fm client and Japanese/Chinese titles…

Last.fm client
Last.fm client

For a long time I have been a user of last.fm, using the last.fm client with my favorite player, (I have being using mostly Winamp for really many years). I tend to listen to various artists, depending on the mood, and my listening habits are really weird. I have some artists and music genres being my favorite, but the truth is I like to explore and listen to new (or old) sounds, things I never listened before. One of the things I like to explore is ethnic or pop music of various countries of the world. One of the countries I really like, both it’s culture and it’s music is Japan, (I hope, I’ll get to visit Japan again sometime in the future). So while using Winamp or the Last.fm client to listen to generally Asian music, with 3 different MS Windows versions (XP, Vista and 7), I always had the same problem, the characters of Japanese or Chinese titles always appear as black lines. However that was the issue only for the song info panel and also the profile bar in the client. By the way Korean characters displayed properly…

This stuff was really annoying but it took me some time to find out how solve this issue. After some search I found that the all issue was font related. Windows 7 for example uses by default for everything the Segoe UI font, which after some reading in Wikipedia I found out it doesn’t support Asian characters. After searching once again the Last.fm client to make sure again that there are no font options inside, I went to the Control Panel -> Personalization -> Window Color and Appearance and I chose Advanced appearance settings… In the appearance settings I parsed through every single item from 3D Objects down to Window checking for Font settings and changing every single appearance of Segoe UI to Arial Unicode MS. A few months ago I was trying XBMC and I had an issue with my Japanese and Chinese Tagged artists of my music library not displaying properly. Then I found out that the Arial Unicode MS font could solve this issue because it supported a large number of different languages, including Japanese etc. So after changing every single entry I had my scrobbled Japanese artists displaying properly but only for the “My Music Profile” section of the Last.fm client, the other section where the artist/song/album info of whatever you listen appears was exactly the same as before.

At this point I was trying to find a way to change the font of the client, so I had been searching in the official forums for a way to change the used fonts in the client. Among the few results existed a huge post of a client log, in which I noticed among the entries something like this:

Detected default font: “MS Shell Dlg 2,8.25,-1,5,50,0,0,0,0,0”

So I decided to Google for “MS Shell Dlg” and the first result was an article by Microsoft Support explaining what exactly is this MS Shell Dlg:

MS Shell Dlg is a mapping mechanism that enables U.S. English Microsoft Windows NT, and Microsoft Windows 2000 to support locales that have characters that are not contained in code page 1252.

So it seems that you can find the font that substitutes the MS Shell Dlg in the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\FontSubstitutes

So i had to open regedit locate the keys Ms Shell Dlg & Ms Shell Dlg 2 and change there value data to Arial Unicode MS. After this the only thing I had to do was to restart my computer. After this Japanese and Chinese characters appeared normally in Last.fm client instead of black lines…

It think that all the process is fairly easy, however if you wanna try it do it at your own risk. 😛 If something goes wrong it will be entirely your fault. 😛

Also the only drawback of this method is that you have to change the default font for all your user interface, (which I personally don’t mind)…


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