Year: 2008

Typography in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

One thing I’ll never understand is why Ubuntu ships with such hideous default system fonts, when there are some perfectly great open source fonts built right into it. For instance, UnDotum is a near-exact clone of Franklin Gothic, although strangely a Google search for undotum “franklin gothic” only turns up one page that mentions the two together. It seems to be an arbitrary similarity, as the purpose of UnDotum and other UnFonts is to provide Korean characters. Anyway, it makes a good window title font.

Then there’s Nimbus Sans, which is indistinguishable from Helvetica; DejaVu Sans, which as far as I can tell is a descendant of Frutiger (and, hence, a cousin of [Apple’s] Myriad and [Microsoft’s] Segoe UI), and makes a nice all-around system font; and Libertine, which makes for a great general-purpose body serif. Once you set these as the fonts in GNOME and in Firefox, everything looks scores better — better than Ubuntu’s default look, certainly, and arguably better than Windows.

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Video: That MTV “Vertebrae” Commercial

Hey, I didn’t say it was good.

I guess what I find so fascinating about it is: When did MTV ever condone being unpopular? Between the Spring Break programming and drunk girls crying on The Real World, it was an odd change of pace, but one that reminded me of the attitude MTV used to have, in the ’80s, before they became shameless culture-mongers. Still, it’s important not to ignore that this guy actually is attractive, and dressed fashionably, and — at least at my school — probably would have been popular. I guess it would have turned too many viewers off to have presented him as acne-ridden, overweight, without any sense of style, and listening to black metal?

Something I forgot to mention last time is that this was part of a series of commercials, if I remember correctly, that played on the “V” in “MTV,” although I forget the titles of the other installments.

Thanks to La fille des montagnes (“The girl mountain”?) for sending me the video.

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Alphabetization: Part III

In what I think may be the first truly novel browsing environment developed for Songbird, ♪Photo displays your library as a pile of artist photos pulled from Last.fm. They can be dragged around and rearranged, and their orientation is remembered between Songbird sessions. In my testing it is unusably slow, however it is remarkably exciting to see innovation like this before Songbird is even out of beta. It would be an easy matter to implement a “snap” feature that would cluster similar artists together based on Last.fm data, or to provide an alternate view by album cover rather than artist photo — honestly, who can recognize some of these artist photos?

Anyway, as it’s only a couple weeks old I’m sure it will improve, and it demonstrates just what amazing things can be done with the Songbird platform. Hopefully we’ll see more daring and clever extensions like this when Songbird hits 1.0 next month. I’m considering making it my full-time player in order to collect more statistics (play dates, play counts, added dates, etc.).

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[req] Perfect Recall

I have a big problem with keeping track of the media I consume. With all the albums I download and listen to, and all the shit I read online, I’m oppressed by this feeling that it’s all just running through me without being digested or processed. It’s over-stimulation, I end up with all this shit in my head that I don’t know what to do with. I could of course just limit my intake, but I’m addicted to media and I don’t feel like changing any time soon. Plus there’s got to be a way I can apply all this stuff.

I suppose traditionally that’s what the blog format is meant for, to just kind of shit out everything you consume in the form of links and video embeds. But really that’s more like just “taking notes” at a lecture with a cassette recorder, see what I mean? That’s just transcription. I need something to do with it all. This problem is addressed to some extent by my meticulous music library curation with foobar, and my desperate calls recently for somebody to improve on the way we manage our music.

I think a prevailing problem is that of linearity; I can write a post on here, then another post, then another, and they appear chronologically in a line. Tagging and categorizing helps to make the content on here a little less linear, but it’s still not satisfying enough. I mean what I want is to be able to have some very loose, scrapbook-y interface where I can just kind of swim through collages of things: albums, journal entries. Snapshots of various aspects of certain time-periods. Paper is free-form enough to serve a purpose like this, but notebooks aren’t searchable or easily rearrangeable, and aren’t as ubiquitous as the web.

Continue reading “[req] Perfect Recall”

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Matador Midline Classics

Cheaper music means more money for drugs.” I can’t believe I found it!

Years ago, I used to see this ad all over Pitchfork. I thought it was funny that a label would so openly and so mechanically condone drug use; the image was memorable; and it really did make me want to go record shopping — the bands they name are such stalwarts and hearken back to the golden years of Matador in the ’90s, even though most are still making music today, reminding me of a time when people did primarily buy music, not download it. It was effective enough anyway that I had to go hunting to find it. I thought I had thoroughly scoured the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, but I had apparently missed this page, along with seven others that contained the ad, from May to June of 2004. I’m sure it was in truth thrown together in a rush and they weren’t especially proud of it at Matador.

I just need to start saving everything I am mildly amused by in passing.

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bye

Everybody’s leaving, it seems. I might be too. I don’t want to, honestly. But there is a Big Important Job down in New York City that might save my life if I let it. Last week I spent five days agonizing over which variant of Trade Gothic to use on my résumé; then I had a dream Thursday night about a fucked-up two-column format that I was so sickeningly proud of that I actually applied with it.

I was watching a speech recently in which the author of Stumbling Upon Happiness was describing the phenomenon of preferring the outcome of an irreversible choice after the decision more than before it — describing this phenomenon as being intuitive. Am I alone or don’t a lot of people work precisely the opposite way? When I choose something irreversibly, it becomes worse in my eyes than its alternatives. Maybe just a symptom of chronic pessimism, or as I prefer to call it, hard-boiled realism.

Anyway, every minute that passes since I sent in that résumé is more excruciating and remorseful than the last. Sad to say if I get the job, it’ll be the first one that “counts,” the first one where I’m doing something at least peripherally related to something I actually like for the sake of liking it, like-liking it.

So I guess this is another diary-like post. I wish it were like 1999 and none of my friends were too proud to have a LiveJournal. There are some strangers’ blogs I read who have little close-knit LJ communities like that, where they just talk about shit and post pictures and then comment on each other’s posts with inside jokes and stuff. That sounds cool. In the meantime I feel bad for people who found this place Googling for Firefox tips or something then subscribed to it thinking it’s a tech blog. Sorry, this isn’t a tech blog. I don’t know what it is.

Continue reading “bye”

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