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The Tech Deck

Posts tagged: fonts

Tabs for the week

Welcome to the new feature I'm adding to the Tech Deck called “Dan Gayle's Tabs for the Week,” where I'll share the best of all the Firefox tabs I have open by the end of the week. A lot of the links shamelessly come from Hacker News, others come from Twitter/FB/Reddit, others come from Googling, and others just magically appear somehow. It's a sickness I have, which…

On to the links!

Thanks to Mike Tigas, I think, this combination of software and hardware allows you to create a rad software defined radio that allows you to pick up everything transmitted through the air as radio waves: Police, air-traffic control, baby monitors, weather balloon data, International Space Station chatter, everything. It's actually kind of scary.

I've been having all sorts of git issues this week. Detached heads, merge conflicts, working on the wrong branch, you name it. It doesn't happen all the time, but it's one of those things that no matter how many times you run into it, you still end up googling it. Especially if you've been a good git'r and haven't dealt with those issues in weeks/months.

I love Python. There's always something to learn, some feature that makes it easy for you to condense your jillions of lines of code down to an elegant and pythonic handful. For instance, the list comprehension link there. I know how to use list comprehensions, but I forgot the order of nested loops. While it can get a bit obtuse, it can really simplify and speed up your code. All the links featured here are great resources to learn some useful Python.

Oh my goodness, this is awesome. The Project Gutenberg hosts all the classic public domain texts, all the Shakespeare, all the Kafka, all the everything. This python package is an interface to the entire library for use in natural language processing with something like TextBlob, which is a fantastically simple NLP library. Or you can use it to simply download the text of cool old books. Your call.

They take the handwriting of homeless people, turn it into a font, sell the font, give the money to the homeless people. Such a cool and useful concept.

This is my favorite link in here. The topic is interesting, debating if Finnish people (like myself) are essentially Mongolians. But scroll down to the comments to Anonymous. The comment starts out simple, talking about the history of the Finns in the modern era and diving a little into the genetics of Finns.

But then…

But at end of last Ice Age Finns and many related Finnic tribes and Finno-Ugric tribes did not live up north near vicinity of area that became Finland. For in 11000 BC the north was covered by Gaciers. In fact in 11000 BC light-pigmented Finnic tribes lived in the northern part of Africa and The Near East.

In Egypt they built the Great Pyramid: It was a “Pyora mittaja” or stone pyramid sky wheel measurer with shafts that measured rate of rotation of 12 night star zodiac patterns—25,920 yrs for all to make one full revolution.

And Jesus was not a Jew. His mother tongue was a Finnic tongue like Finnish. And this is why so few words that Jesus spoke were ever written down by Romans and Greeks.

In fact Biblical Scholars have always wondered why only a few words that Jesus spoke were actually written down. The reason was because the Romans and the Greeks did not understand the mother tongue of Jesus—in which he and God spoke to the local natives; the indigenous people. To be understood by the original natives living in Egypt and the Near East it was necessary that God and Jesus spoke in a Finnic tongue(s).

Words cannot describe my confusion. I've seen some cray-cray religious thoughts, but this is most certainly the most interesting.

There you have it. The best of my tabs for the week. I have a bunch more having to do with Celery/Django Celery, but I'm seriously pissed off at that right now and I don't want to talk about it.

Adobe releases Source Serif Pro to the public

Adobe just recently released three weights of their new Source Serif Pro to the public under the SIL Open Font License, and I couldn't be happier.

I am a self-avowed font nerd, and I'm super stoked to see that Adobe is continuing to add to their Source Pro family. Source Code Pro is the type that I use in my source code editors here in the newsroom and Source Sans Pro is the type that I use on my personal blog (that I also rarely update), so you could say I'm a big fan of the typeface.

It isn't flashy, but it certainly has the characteristics of some of the more venerable workhorse serifs of all time, including Charter, Utopia and the ever present Times New Roman. To my eye, it comes across as a cross-breed between Times and Charter (which was confirmed by the announcement on Adobe's Typekit blog.) The matching Italics are on the way, but I expect them to be excellent as well.

Source Serif Pro is free to download and distribute, and is available via their Github page here: Fontacular sale (last day)

You need to buy some of these fonts today from Fontacular Sale, which ends today. Some of them are darn good deals. I purchased Freight Display, because the Freight family is amazing and I need to start somewhere. This one is a headline font, useful in similar contexts to the Chronicle typeface used by the Spokesman, but sharper and a touch more oldstyle and with a much, much quirkier Italic.

I'm also considering purchasing some of the following:

Mundo Sans, which is an incredibly understated humanist sans that can and should replace any use of Gill Sans someone tries to foist onto you. This one is a real workhorse sans-serif and it's so transparent and easy to read that it makes one of the best body copy text faces you'll ever use.

Bodoni Egyptian is a historical fiction designed by Nick Shinn, who does a lot of bespoke newspaper typefaces. You will not find a more knowledgeable and discerning type designer on the planet, IMO. This one is a re-imagining of Bodoni as a monoline square-serifed Egyptian, which has an elegant yet rugged feel.

There are a few others in there that are really great also, so if you were in the market, there's something for everything. The ones I picked aren't sexy by any means, but they are serious workhorses that will stand up under the harshest of scrutiny and give your designs real street-cred amongst the font Illuminati.

Cosmic Sans Neue Mono

Well, if that isn't disappointing. If you're going to name your font after the greatest of all fonts, the incredible and nuanced Comic Sans MS, then you had better deliver.

A guy made a programming font called Cosmic Sans Neue Mono, which had everyone's heart palpitate just a little, but it's not really anything special.

My official recommendation is to pretend you never heard of this and go on with your lives.

How to correctly identify a font

Because I get asked this all the time, I thought I'd share with you the best way to identify a font.

  1. Does it look like Helvetica? It's probably Arial.
  2. Does it look like a restaurant menu? It's probably Papyrus.
  3. Does it look like the very handwriting of God? Comic Sans.
  4. Still can't identify your font? Try What The Font (WTF)

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