I wrote an article last year for Microsoft, using Visio to explain some bits of messaging and encryption (see Musings on MVP Open Day 2016 at Bletchley Park.pdf ). I finished the article with an unexplained image of a word, well the solution was obviously “BOWIE”, as written on the cover of his final album, Blackstar, released exactly one year ago today.
Last night, my wife and I went to see Lazarus, which was Bowie’s musical, and a big tick on his bucket list. He died two days after the release of Blackstar, and the soundtrack of my life began to fade….
So, I decided to try to finish the alphabet using a single Visio shape that ch-ch-changes with the ch-ch-character set in the Shape Data window. This obviously required that the original 5 letters were present, and the rest were represented by different parts of a black star. Two characters, W and M, are twice the width of the others.
The “O” character is the complete star, which is made up of 16 shapes, as displayed below. Selecting a Character Shape Data value causes the display of the sub-shapes to be visible or not.
The page includes a Hide Text Shape Data row to toggle the display of the actual character in whichever font is applied.
The Blackstar master shape includes a flipped version in order to accommodate the M and W characters. For these two shapes, the LocPinX is adjusted from Width*0.5 to Width*0.25, and the Width is set to Height*2.
The start sub-shapes contain 16 segments, each of which test their visibility from the presence of their number in a list in the parent shape:
The sub-shapes have a Segment Shape Data row, whose value is used in the formula for the Geometry1.NoShow cell.
My Visio document is available from Blackstar.vsdx.
This is a purely theoretical completion of the Blackstar alphabet, just like Lazarus is a theoretical sequel to The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Thank you, David Jones, for bringing me 46 years of musical pleasure.
sadly that blog is no longer at the attached link….but i would love to read [email protected]. And, THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for creating this alphabet!!! much love, lola
David Parker says
I have updated the links in the article now 🙂