Sunday, January 28, 2007

All about fonts

"And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do."
-- Steve Jobs

Unconsciously, fonts and typography play a very important part in our daily lives. If you happen to visit a web page with ugly design and hard-to-see fonts, chances are that you will run for the door. However, if you are to visit a nice looking web page, or look at a poster with easy-looking fonts, chances are that you will take a longer look - like that poster below.

For starters, the font used in the diagram above is the Adobe Myriad (aka Myriad Pro). This Apple corporate font has been in used by Apple since 2002 for marketing purposes. Another familiar font will be the Apple Garamond, which is prevalent in the Think Different slogan.

With Windows Vista, Microsoft has also set Segoe UI as the new default system font. It replaces the Tahoma font, which has used since Windows 95 for all Latin and European language versions of the Windows OS.

Finally, for all of those that can't wait to download the above-mentioned fonts, here they are:
- Download Apple Garamond, Adobe Myriad (Myriad Pro) fonts
- Download Segoe UI font
- Download Microsoft Core Fonts
- Download Misc Fonts - (Lucida Grande, etc)

* For info - List of Apple typefaces

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Lets be Pirates!

The Pirate Bay has started negotiations to buy Sealand in order to avoid copyright laws. (But since Prince Michael of Sealand says that he won't sell Sealand to pirates... maybe he will sell to Google?)

If you think Sealand is an island, you are mistaken. Its a man-made off-shore installation (image above). Now it is interesting to note that Sealand's claims to sovereignty and legitimacy are not recognised by any country.

Sealand's current price tag is a hefty 1 billion dollars. Currently, the amount of money raise on is less than $20,000. In comparison, Wikipedia took quite some time to raise one million dollars. It will certainly take a miracle (e.g. Bill Gates decides to chip in some money) for The Pirate Bay to hit one million dollars.

What if Google Buys Sealand?

Now... if only Google can change its motto from "Don't be evil" to "Let's be evil", Google can easily buy Sealand. Afterall, they bought YouTube for 1.6 billion dollars and the amount of pirated content on YouTube is peanuts compared to the all the stuff you can torrent from all the computers in the world. Looking at the costs involved, I am sure buying Sealand will be a far, far better deal for Google. However, since there are so more BitTorrent leechers than seeders, maybe the ROI will be a problem.

(Downloading 'The' using uTorrent)

Of course, buying Sealand will only be the first step for Google. The next logical step will be to rename Sealand to Googleland (for Google, its again as easy as renaming a file in windows). Now, since Googleland might not be so hospitable for humans, we should start cloning GoogleBots on Googleland (like in Star Wars). Armed with the latest super lava-lamps and lava-phasers, these GoogleBots will start go on to colonise the rest of the Earth... and the universe beyond. How long will it take? Exactly 42 Days.

After that, some Wikipedian (probably Jimbo Whales) will have to change the Wikipedia entry on Sealand (erm Googleland), since the 'leadership' of the state will no longer be "Prince Roy" but King Larry Page, Prince Sergey Brin, and Prince Regent Eric Schmidt.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

iTalk on the iPhone, therefore I am

Alan Kay once said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." In the case of Steve Jobs, the best way to predict the future is to reinvent it. Last week's CES was no doubt shadowed by the big bang at Macworld 2007. The "revolutionary new product", the iPhone, came from a man who reinvented three industries - the Mac changed the way computers look and function, PIXAR with the world's first full-length computer animated film, and then the music revolution that came with the coming of the iPod in 2001.

If the iPhone "works like magic", as magician Steve Jobs claims, then Job's 2007 Keynote @ Macworld was also "like magic". It was another of his reality distortion field, a presentation fine tuned to near perfection.

However, like the first iPod, the iPhone does have some questionable problems:
- Apple Inc. filed over 200+ patents for the iPhone. Unfortunately, Cisco got there first.
- Concerns over non-replaceable battery? According to the small print, the iPhone allows 16 hrs of battery life with music playback.
- If the iPhone will be exclusive to only Cingular, will it scare away potential customers?
- Will using the touch screen cause the screen to become oily, dirty and full of scratches over time?

Of course, we will find out the answers to these questions in a half a year's time.

One more thing, Engadget provided the best 'live' coverage of Steve Job's Keynote.

With the iPhone to be out in June, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch already asking people to "throw out the PC", and everyone else forgetting that Bill Gates gave a keynote at CES, the times are indeed a changin'.

Flickr Photo of the Day: Syntax Error - FUBAR

Another one for our bi-weekly assignment:
Some CSS code "fubar'd" - in this case thats "Folded Up Beyond All Recognition"
Syntax Error - FUBAR, originally uploaded by Simon Pow.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

CES, Macworld

Its another new year once again and its time for CES and Macworld.
- CES (Consumer Electronics Show): Jan 8-11, Las Vegas
- Macworld: Jan 8-12, San Francisco's Moscone Centre

Where to get updates: TechCrunch, Scobleizer, Gizmodo, Engadget (The guys over at Gizmodo have managed to sneak inside)

What to watch out for:
  • Cool new stuff/technology @ CES
  • Steve Job's keynote (iPhone?) [Keynote on 9th Jan, 9 AM GMT -8:00; get ready for the RDF]

Saturday, January 06, 2007


On the fringes of the Internet, another epic battle is brewing. Its not the notorious browser war, but one on data formats. Welcome to the JSON vs XML debate.

Introduction - XML
XML like HTML or xHTML, is NOT a programming language, but a mark up language. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language and is endorsed by W3C. It is the standard for xHTML, exchanging of data in Ajax web applications, RSS feeds, and desktop applications such as FileZilla even use it as a form of data storage.

Introduction - JSON
JSON, pronounced "Jason", stands for JavaScript Object Notation, and is considered a much simpler alternative to XML. Since JSON is a subset of JavaScript's object literal notation, one can then recreate the data object with a simple eval(). If you are really new to JSON, take a peek at this.

The debate - Some main points
  • Currently, XML has the upper hand, given its history, breadth and depth of usage. It has been around for almost a decade and is widely accepted.
  • Its much easier to parse JSON and JSON parsers are usually more than 100 times faster than XML parsers.
  • Higher security concerns with JSON, such as cross-site scripting, because of the usage of the eval() function.
  • Maybe JSON is just XML simplied - just replace a change of brackets.
  • JSON is NOT XML - JSON has not namespaces, and has no validator.
  • Parsing XML is troublesome and XML is strict - a little bit of error causes a big headache. On the other hand, XML, like HTML, has a loose structure.
  • Continue to waste time arguing.... Ever since Tim Bray (XML's creator), fired the first salvo, things have been going a little out of hand.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Install Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11) without Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)

The procedure for installing Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11) without Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is much simpler than that required for IE 7.

1. Download WMP 11 installation file from Microsoft.
2. Download wpa_registry.rar or (which will contain wpa_registry.reg)
3. Execute wpa_registry.reg. (Double click)
4. Run the WMP 11 installation file. On the initial install screen, you may see a "validate" button. Just click on that to continue, but it will skip validation. Enjoy the setup!

Also, if you are in the United States, and you install WMP 11 with URGE, you can get a 14-day trial with unlimited music downloads.