Nofont is good fonts

Oh man. In the days before blogging, when I used to get sensually excited about the serifs and descenders of well designed fonts, I never dreamed about a site as cool as nofont. Check out the typography experiments, the downloadable experimental fonts, the page design….

Digitizing Chaucer

The Guardian: British Library digitises Chaucer for the internet. Aside from the lowercase i, what’s interesting about this story is that they’re not talking about making the text available (it’s already pretty widely available), but high resolution images, as they helped to do with the Gutenberg Bible project.

There are two interesting things about this project:

  1. Typography freaks like myself will get to see in glorious hi-res the work of William Caxton, who was one of the earliest printers in England.
  2. The existing books are pretty fragile and this will make sure that people have an alternative to viewing them in person, which exposes them to additional damage.

I used to work at the Electronic Text Center when I was an undergrad at Virginia. I was reading Beowulf in Old English at the time, and was blown away when I saw the British Library’s first digitizations of the Beowulf manuscript. I could look at the passages that were debated by scholars and understand why they were debated (generally, the manuscript was falling apart in places).

Morpheus: Classic story of tech strategy gone wrong

Among file sharing programs, one strange menage a trois stands out: Morpheus, KaZaA, Grokster. All three run essentially the same software, owned by KaZaA. Last week something happened to Morpheus — it’s not clear what. According to Slashdot, the ownership of Morpheus (Music City) has claimed that individuals “launched a DOS attack and tampered with the morpheus network in order to disallow logons to the FastTrack P2P filesharing network through the client. ” According to this message, KaZaA sold out to another outfit and started kicking the Morpheus clients off the network.

Where’s the cautionary tale here? Well, there are two parameters that determine how well you can capture the value you create (i.e., stay in business). Is your product’s uniqueness easy or hard to maintain? Do you hold the complementary assets you need to realize that product’s value tightly or loosely? Well, let’s see. Morpheus licensed its technology wholesale, so uniqueness was hard to maintain. And their network was connected to its competitors (all three P2P clients connected to the same big FastTrack network). I guess they didn’t have too tight a control over their complementary assets. So how was Morpheus going to capture any value??? Somewhere, though, someone thought they were a good idea…

Yeah, I’m updating my design too

So everyone seems to be junking their tables these days and going to CSS-based layouts. I’m working on it … right now I’m getting close on the basic CSS layout and am going looking for pictures. Maybe I’ll launch the new look soon… we’ll see.

Disney bashes Apple; Intel to its defense???

Disney is acting hostile to consumers on behalf of the motion picture industry, and apparently made some snarky remarks about “rip, mix, burn.” Then Leslie L. Vadasz, Executive VP, Intel, steps up to the defense:

Another major point of misunderstanding is our differing perspectives on the role of the PC in the hands of the consumer. Mr. Eisner’s characterization of the phrase “rip, mix, burn” as emblematic of our industry’s perspective on piracy is utterly false. What the content community fails to recognize is that these utilities – the ability to copy content, remix and manage it and port it to other storage media for personal use in a protected fashion – are features that consumers have come to expect. The ability to rip, mix and burn in a protected manner is not piracy, it is simply fair use of content as permitted by law.

The music (and movie) industries need to hear this. If you’re at war with your customers, at war with their rights under the law, then of course CD sales will fall. If you persist in implementing ham handed and insulting copyright protection on your media that render it unplayable and remove features that consumers like, you’ll render yourselves irrelevant and illiquid in less time than it takes you to cut loose quality acts like Wilco, Tori Amos, or Cowboy Junkies–or for one of your innumerable teen pop bands to peak, fade, or be forgotten.

Male grief? Male feelings

Dave has kindly reminded me that grief is part of a bigger issue, male feelings in general. His Davenet on the subject from 1998 suggests that manhood = controlling emotions in our culture. He suggests that if the culture were more open to receiving male expressions of emotion, that men would be better at expressing their feelings.

I don’t know that I necessarily agree with the first point (though I’m not sure how I would define manhood otherwise), but I definitely believe the second. It’s a reinforcing loop. As men stay silent, the culture becomes accustomed to men not expressing their feelings. Eventually, expressing feelings becomes an exception, exceptions aren’t tolerated, and the cost of not expressing feelings becomes over time too high to bear.

How do we break the loop? Men have to stop being afraid of the cost. Everyone needs to stop treating expressions of male emotion like they’re antisocial behavior.

Why can’t men grieve?

This link will probably break, but if it does it’s worth going to and finding the post yourself. There are so few male role models to show us how to deal with grief. This blog entry, about the death of the author’s mother, is one.

I wish I had seen this a long time ago. I don’t think I could have managed to be nearly as adult or effective as the writer. But I might have had an easier time dealing with the death of my grandmother last year. I was totally unprepared and I didn’t allow myself to grieve. Because I never acknowledged how I felt, I just felt bad all the time. I ended up putting myself into a deep depression that it took me months to come out of–I’m still not sure I’m out of it. Why can’t men grieve? Or maybe just why couldn’t I?

I prefer my Mac clothed, thank you

More proof that we Mac users are a weird bunch: Undress your Mac for thrills. I’ve never taken pictures, but I confess that when I got my PowerBook G3 a year and a half ago I set up a big work area, reverently unpacked each of the pieces, and, salivating, turned on the machine to hear the chime. I’ve never ever said anything like this, however: “I’m pretty sure it’s as close to sex as you can get with a machine. I mean, look at this photo.”