Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia and Corbel

The vast majority of typefaces used on websites are Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Georgia. It’s getting boring and it’s in large part because Microsoft, which successfully produced and distributed out the beautiful first and last of these fonts, have been sitting on their hands. (Many have argued that their hands have been tied by, alternately or all together, their engineers, Google, lawsuits, competitors, customers, hackers, journalists, and Apple).
A few new typefaces are coming out soon because of Microsoft’s new OS and they have been shamefully coy in their release of information about these typefaces. Some details can be found. (A number of these fonts look like takes on the consitently beautiful Lucida Grande typeface that litters Mac browser windows.)
Apparently, these fonts may not be as widely disseminated as Verdana and Georgia. But it looks like they will be usable on a Mac, if they are indeed distributed.
Finally, a few people tried to make them downloadable and they have been asked to take them down.
I won’t hold my breath but it sure would be nice if Microsoft would step up to the plate and make Web typography more interesting, variable, sophisticated and formidable. No further information can be found at Microsoft’s Longhorn/Vista page.

The Cynic

I hate being cynical. It’s a total waste of time. Except when it’s fun to be realistic and cynicism is the only out. In the name of realism and in the hope of connecting some lost dots, I’ve attempted to create a list item rondo that will explain the viscious circle of contemporary cynicism:

  1. Life is too short for anyone to be truly kind.
  2. Individuals have no ability to self-police.
  3. Businesses are, as the tax laws state, fundamentally individuals.
  4. Government has a reason to be self-organized for itself.
  5. Communities organize around delusionally common attributes.
  6. Organizations act on their own behalf.
  7. Financial institutions act as a lever to consolidate wealth.
  8. Travel is inherently colonialist and escapist.
  9. Building is destructive.
  10. Staying in place is anarchic.
  11. Life is too short for anyone to be truly kind.

Xmas Spirit

The cards keep coming. The other day we got a beautiful CD compilation of Xmas music hand-picked by a friend of ours from Toronto. It was nicely packaged what with a photo of their daughter on the front and a custom-made wrap on the CD itself. Professionally printed Xmas cards pile up from vendors, clients, and friends. Friends’ children bring hand-made and elaborate Xmas cards to our daughter. Everywhere I look I see wreaths and jewels and red and green lights. Kids television programming is non-stop Xmas. Any time we visit friends, mounds and mounds of chocolate, cookies, cakes and other sweets are piled around along with nuts, fruit, cheese, and breads. Xmas music fills the ears at the mall. Good cheer. And websites everywhere have re-decorated to accommodate the appropriate seasonal color scheme. Even money itself looks green and red these days. It all adds up to incredible anxiety on my part. Are we doing enough? Do we have enough chocolate on hand for our visiting neighbors? Did I buy enough gifts for everyone? Who did we leave out? What about me? What if they find out we’re Jewish? What then? Is New Year’s part of Xmas? Will I seem too Jewish if I work during my vacation time? Are my cats Christian? One came from Poland so I suppose so. The other is from upstate New York. He’s Christian, right? What color really represents Chanukah, anyway? Hey, and how do you really spell that holiday? And why do Jews have to have gold-foiled chocolate gelt (money) to give to their kids. It comes in little bags. Could there be anything more shameful and fun and sterotypical? Why does it have to be money? Do we have enough candles for the menorahs? What about wrapping paper? There’s never enough wrapping paper. We ran out of tape for the gifts. And we didn’t send out cards. Does that make us look irresponsible? Who should I call about the loud Xmas music emanating from a car nearby? Is that a dog? A dog with a Xmas wreath around its neck? What if I’m sick during New Year’s? Will that ruin the holiday for me and everyone? Hey, look, another dog!

Lazy Sunday Ass Rocks

I’m sorry for this bit promotion of an SNL piece called Lazy Sunday but I found it unpredictably and geekily funny.
*Update: This video became (thanks in no small part to Deckchairs and broadband technology) that you can now download Lazy Sunday for free on iTunes. Lazy cool. (Perhaps this is what I like and miss most about New York City – free riffing by smart folks who know their shit and can crack a smile with an attitude.)

Einstein's Love

I can’t help it. When I read a thing of beauty, I need to call it out. This is the second post about Einstein and I hope it won’t be the last. Here is Einstein in 1931, a full eight years before the German invasion of Poland and then all of Europe. It’s from a piece called The World As I See It:
The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms — it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.

Einstein's Irish

I’m listening to an incredible program from Speaking of Faith entitled Einstein’s Ethics. The author and physicist James Gates Jr. is speaking about Einstein’s very early take on the utter subjugation of blacks in America. As long ago as 1946, he was writing about and speaking about the brilliance of the Americans and their concommitant hypocristy regarding race in America. It’s almost enough to make one cry.
Here is a quote from his piece called The Negro Question,:
In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No one humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-man.
There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.

Today, while reading a book about Ireland, I told my daughter that she is part Irish because her mother is half Irish. She asked me if I was Irish, too. I said that I was not. She then said, “You should get Irish.”


My daughter is collecting her pennies and nickles and dimes to give to the poor here in Winnipeg. It’s through a program called Pennnies from Heaven. She gets a penny or two for things she does around the house and then has collected them in a small container. We’ll be putting the coins in a collection jar at school on Friday.
I just finished watching Seoul Train, the independent documentary about the many hundreds of North Koreans who escape their poverty and plight by fleeing to China every month. The hateful Chinese refuse to honor these families as refugees or give them asylum and return them to the North Korean government. The Koreans then imprison, torture, and kill these people. Despite China’s paper commitment to the UNHCR, it refuses North Koreans admittance. It was an incredibly moving portrait of a few families who braved everything they had (which was only their lives) to have freedom. Real freedom. Not the kind that is spouted about by politicians or academics. The freedom that these North Koreans are seeking is of the most primal sort: the capacity to live. That’s all they want and the film makes very clear that there are 20 million people in the country who do not have just that.
Here in Canada, the Conservatives (capitalized because it is a party not an ideal) are wanting to cut down the national tax from 7% to 5% over the next few years. The adline goes “Stand Up for Canada.”
I got a call from the financial arm of the automotive company from whom we purchased our car a few years ago. The message left said “Mr. Boardman, please call us as soon as possible about an … important financial matter.” With much anxiety (and under the assumption that I somehow owed them thousands of dollars), I called the number left and the company representative told me they need my address to mail me a check for $29.37.
One of the cats has been throwing up. It appears to be happening every other day.
I’ve lost touch with a lot of friends and colleagues in New York.
Need a cookie.

Gentle Gentium

SIL International, a strange international organization that was originally called the Summer Institute of Linguistics, has created a nice new tyepface called Gentium. It’s being billed as a “typeface for the nations” and behind its sweet little face is the logic that any Latin-based language can be easily written using it. It comes with all of the diacritics and other forms that will make it a very useful font for multi-language publications. The font can be downloaded for free and is one of a very few open source fonts; this means that it will inevitably get modified and adjusted and transmogrified and coddled and massaged and knit and reknit into something probably ever more powerful, much like Firefox has recently with its newest release.

br = break

I read the recent post by Veen about the pathetic impossibility of visiting the new Banana Republic website on Apple’s Safari browser. Amazingly, some company got paid much money to make a broken website for a large multi-national. I wanted to comment on Veen’s post but he had, alas, turned comments off. Here was mine, for the (or my) record:

This all brings up something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Back in the baby days of the Web, some good soul kept track of which sites were designed by which companies, agencies, or individuals. It was a way to check in on the competition, look for good work and possibly good employers, and generally get a sense of what was being done (and how) on the Web. It would be great to know what boneheaded firm was paid good money to create a website that not only excludes paying visitors but makes claims to standards compliance and lies. This isn’t really a request for “outing” as it is to keep the Web development business open and transparent as possible.