Older blog entries for haruspex (starting at number 100)

14 Aug 2004 (updated 15 Aug 2004 at 01:32 UTC) »
raph: IKARUS and Hobby's method both combine, from a user p.o.v., on-curve points with circle segments. I have long believed that this is close to the optimal curve construction technique. Hobby gets bonus points for doing it within the ubiquitous cubic B├ęzier framework!

I'm not sure what you mean when you say IKARUS uses Hermite splines; as far as I know it uses circle segments between on-curve knots. This is confirmed by the FORTRAN code that Dr Karow included as an appendix to his book Digital Formats for Typefaces.

You're right about CMR versus ink spread/squash. Some offset printed books set in CMR were disastrously thin in their setting. Wolfram's The Mathematica Book was one example. Beautifully printed, with almost no ink spread or dot gain, but the CMR type used throughout was most unpleasantly thin! Knuth was somewhat savvy to this issue as the models he looked up to were letterpress works such as early editions of his TAOCP (which are masterpieces of technical setting). He did include some compensatory parameters in his CMR metafonts to deal with print machinery characteristics, but perhaps some high resolution fonts were generated with unwise or default values.

Many digitisations and revivals, particulary Baskerville, Century and similar, have suffered from an underestimation and/or underappreciation of letterpress effects. I believe this issue has been studied pretty thoroughly by revival-makers (revivalists?) in the last 20 years or so.

California sees the light: Terrific paper on "Exploring Open Source alternatives" from the California Performance Review. A state that bans electronic "voting" and is also open to Open Source! What a place.

[Advogato bug: re-editing articles duplicates <p> tags between paras...]

mathieu, mpr: this may dampen your enthusiasm for Numerical Recipes.
mathieu: one friendly expert on floating point is Steve Richfield. I'm sure he - or another FP guru - can give you some good references if you ask on comp.arch.arithmetic.
3 Aug 2004 (updated 3 Aug 2004 at 12:01 UTC) »
When bush comes to shove

bolsh: Oh, he'll "win" it. Even if the puppetmasters have to rig another election. Smell a civil war brewing? That's what it will take to oust them. The issues are as serious as slavery... except... this time, we're ALL potential slaves.

If you think of the election as Oscar night, rest assured the name of the new incumbent is already written and sealed in the envelope.

(Pretty soon, we'll be able to skip the "campaign" and "party" and "voting" charades entirely. Just fast forward to the appointment.)

1 Aug 2004 (updated 9 Oct 2004 at 16:55 UTC) »
raph, are you familiar with the research of Lucas de Groot? It's mainly concerned with parameters such as weight and width, less optical scaling, but he's very knowledgeable about interpolation maths in typography. (And of course, the IKARUS program did a lot of the groundbreaking in this area too.)

A friend of mine here in Australia, Nick Summers, owned a hot metal type foundry and bought one of MFB's pantographs when ATF's equipment was dispersed. He and I also met an ex-ATF employee around 1992/3 who was working on next-generation typographic layout software (this is around the time ATF released PostScript format fonts in optical scaled series - late 1980s). His name escapes me for the moment. I think I still have a copy of the program somewhere.

(update) The ATF guy's name is Henry Schneiker, and here's a contemporary article he wrote, Type Technologies Illuminated. The program mentioned is ATF Type Designer I (v1.4 & 1.5b, 1991). Jens Alfke was also on the project. Jens has one of the most enviable resumes in the industry.

I found IKARUS M (Mac versions 2.5 and 3.0, 1992), too.

zeenix: hypocrisy
salmoni, you can talk to me about hosting, I've just set up a nice fast colocated web server and I'm looking for people to help me slow it down :-)
12 Jul 2004 (updated 12 Jul 2004 at 10:35 UTC) »
Go ahead, laugh.

One thing NOT to do with your Xserve and terabyte Xserve RAID: DON'T lock the front security latch (little hex key hole). Because if you do this while the machine is booted, and the Xserve has a kernel panic and reboots itself, on bootup it won't see any of its peripherals, including the RAID. I spent a heartaching three hours today and several tense and expensive conversations with Apple tech support before I figured this out. (Apple didn't tell me the problem. I eventually found it myself in the manual when trying to figure out why I couldn't boot from a CD. Yup, that won't work with the latch locked either. Nor can you use a mouse and keyboard.)

Right now I can't figure out what that latch is good for, because you sure as hell don't want to use it on a production server.

26 May 2004 (updated 26 May 2004 at 08:00 UTC) »
Your boss should read. Your mother should read. Your kids should read this excellent, accessible, sensible explanation of how the GNU General Public License serves software end users.

Money quote:

In the long run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero. All non-Free software is a dead end.

This is something I've learned time and again through personal experience.

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