Could the $len() identifier get a property .bytes added?
$len(text).bytes would be equivalent to $regex(text,/./g) in behavior,
in that it counts the individual byte characters instead of the UTF encoded (unicode) characters.
A lot of uses of $len() are to determine conformity of length limits (ie, topic length) which are calculated in bytes.
At least I won lunch.
Good philosophy, see good in bad, I like!