POV-Ray is Alive and Well

By on Jan 16, 2015 in Typography |

I remember playing with the amazing POV-Ray back in the early 1990s. POV-Ray is a ray-tracing program — software that traces the paths of individual rays of light, simulating the effects of their encounters with virtual objects. Back then, it took all day to render a simple scene at 640×480. Now, of course, huge, complicated scenes render in seconds, making it a more pleasant experience all around. And POV-Ray can render text from TTF fonts! Above is a little experiment in ray-tracing typography.

I Wrote a Book

By on Oct 5, 2014 in Typography |

The fine folks at RotoVision approached me about the project a while back, the idea being that it’d be great to have a book for aspiring font designers who wanted an introduction to the commercial typographic world. I address the basics of typography, font design, font creation with FontLab (including the basics through advanced topics such as OpenType features), and I address some of the nitty gritty of the commercial world of font creation as well. The book is also available as a UK edition, called Digital Type.

Salinger’s Published Stories

By on Oct 5, 2014 in Fiction |

I recently read a biography of J.D. Salinger, and, despite being largely disappointing, it did contain (in entirely unorganized ways) what I’m hoping is the entire list of Salinger’s stories. Here it is, for safe keeping… “The Young Folks”, Story, March/Apr. 1940 “Go See Eddie”, University of Kansas City Review, Dec. 1940 “The Hang of It”, Collier’s, July 12, 1941 “The Heart of the Broken Story”, Esquire, Sept. 1941 “The Long Debut of Lois Taggett”, Story, Sep./Oct. 1942 “Personal Notes on an Infantryman”, Collier’s, Dec. 12, 1942 “The Varioni Brothers”, Saturday Evening Post, July 17, 1943 “Both Parties Concerned”, Saturday Evening Post, Feb. 26, 1944 “Soft-Boiled Sergeant”, Saturday Evening Post, Apr. 15, 1944 “The Last Day of the Last...

On Applause During Jazz Tunes

By on Oct 5, 2014 in Music |

I have done no historical research on this phenomenon, so I’m not sure exactly when it became standard practice — which strange person in the middle of a performance started clapping and whistling, and how, instead of just throwing the offender out of the hall, others in the audience decided to follow suit — but I’d like here to do some analysis and try to breathe some reason into this odd bit of irrational behavior. If I can convince one person to stop applauding during a jazz tune, it will have been worth it; if I can convince no one, well, then I still will have the narcissistic pleasure of railing against something I see as wrong. For those who aren’t familiar with jazz concerts, let me bring you up to speed. A jazz song generally follows a standard format: a statement of the melody, then solos, and then a re-statement of the melody. The solos,...