Blackberry

June 8, 2007

At this job I am getting my first experience with having a Blackberry and I’m rather surprised how much I like it. I used to laugh at people who would sit at their desks using a Blackberry rather than the PC on the desk but now I do it myself. There is something attractive about the Blackberry user interface, it is so simple compared to the complexity of Outlook. Or perhaps it is just a nice break from PC screen.

The fact that is instant on or just always on like my cell phone is a big part of it as well. I would rarely sit through booting XP just to check email but with the Blackberry I just have to pick it up. I always liked that about my Palm handhelds as well.

I don’t really like the thumbwheel interface though. I’ve been a Palm user for about a decade, it seems unnatural to me that I can’t just tap on the screen to select what I want. The little button keyboard is a mess for me, my fingers are too big for the buttons. Palm handwriting recognition is much better. I just use the Backberry for reading.

So, in the end, I like the idea of the device but I would prefer a Palm Treo.

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Fonts

June 7, 2007

In a recent issue of IEEE Spectrum there is an article on fonts written by a typeface researcher at Microsoft. He discusses how the low resolution of computer displays compromises the fonts and makes reading unpleasant. Even a low-end laser printer has a resolution 4 times higher than the best displays, well printed newspapers and books are much higher than that. Given that, it is not so surprising that we still find papers and books more comfortable  to read than computers. This is becoming an ever more important issue as we use displays more and paper less.

Many months of work go into designing and rendering a font, it is surprising how much works and how much science goes into it.

One thing he recommends is fonts designed expressly for computer displays, rather than adapted. As an example, Verdana and Lucida were designed for computers verses Times New Roman which the Times of London designed in the 1930’s for the typesetters of that era. Windows Vista includes 6 new fonts designed for today’s displays.

I’ve been using Lucida Console for years and have always liked it without knowing why. Interesting to learn there is actually a lot of science behind that preference. Today I’m switching my default fonts to Verdana to see how that feels.

The article is likely available online, most IEEE articles are.


Louis Vuitton Cup

June 7, 2007

Team Luna Rossa was similarly dispatched by Emirates Team New Zealand 5-0.  Emirates Team New Zealand has won the LV Cup and proceeds onto the America’s Cup final against Alinghi. This will be essentially a re-match of the last AC Cup in New Zealand.