Thursday, 30 July 2009

Free fonts - Fell Types

The Fell Types take their name from John Fell, a Bishop of Oxford in the seventeenth-century. During his life he collected an exquisite selection of printing types from all over Europe for use on his printing presses.

Visit Igino Marini's website for "a non-exhaustive history and a modern digitalization of some of them".

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Laptop drives reach 1 Terabyte

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Western Digital has announced the world's first 1TB 2.5-inch drive, a 3-platter Scorpio Blue. It is priced at €205, with a 3Gbit/s SATA interface and have various WD technologies to run quietly, park heads when not in use and withstand shocks.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: It is a 12.5mm unit, which means it won't fit into most Apple laptops, although some sites report that they can be squeezed into the latest 17" models.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Aide memoire

The human brain is a strange thing. You'd think that something with over a 100 billion neurons would be capable of remembering a few important items that you are meant to take with you on your journey. Or even one.

And, of course, it can. And it does. However, my brain (and I suspect I'm not alone here) tends to wait until I have not only embarked on a journey, but have travelled a significant distance before moving it from the 'stored' to the '!!@£*?!' area of my consciousness.

I'm sure there are all sorts of very clever ways of becoming more conscious of the 'stored' area. However, the lazy way is to put the thing you need to take with you somewhere where you can't avoid noticing it before leaving your house.

Alternatively, put it in the bag you will take with you, or the vehicle that you're going to use.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Squaring the circle

Adobe reports: [edited]

Any projection of a 3D scene into a wide-angle image results in distortion. Current projection methods either bend straight lines in the scene, or locally distort the shapes of scene objects.

We present a method that minimizes this distortion by adapting the projection to content in the scene, such as salient scene regions and lines, in order to preserve their shape.

Our optimization technique computes a spatially-varying projection that respects user-specified constraints while minimizing a set of energy terms that measure wide-angle image distortion.

View a demo movie here.

via John Nack

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Free font - FILE

Fontfabric's FILE is:

"applicable for any type of graphic design – web, print, motion graphics etc and perfect for t-shirts and other items like logos, pictograms."

Available here.

Monday, 13 July 2009


This one's so basic that you probably know it already. However, it is one of those things that I find myself having to learn, and re-learn, then re-re-learn again.

You need to talk to someone about something. You've spent time thinking about it. You're sure you need to talk with them. But it's not something you're looking forward to saying to them.

If possible, find an opportunity to talk to them one-to-one, face-to-face. Firstly, this is the best way. Secondly, you're going to make sure that this is something you really need to tell them!

Second-best, 'phone them.

Third-best, a hand-written note, requesting a one-to-one meet.

Don't email, memo or fax them.

And definitely, DEFINITELY, never, ever, EVER tell someone else about it so that the person gets to hear about what you think second- or third-hand. Trust me, it will end in tears.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Understanding colour

Colour is one of those things that we tend to take for granted. And yet it plays a huge role in the way we perceive our surroundings, and is inextricably woven into the language we use.

Understanding just why colour is so important to humans has proven elusive. Is colour an objective part of reality, a property of objects with a status similar to shape and size? Or is it more like pain, something that only becomes real when experienced?

What we do know is that most people are very conservative about colour, usually because they know how horrible things look when the 'wrong' colours are juxtaposed. However, the science of matching colours is straightforward.

The simplest way to find colours that work together is to visit a web site like Colour Scheme Designer which will generate a variety of different combinations of colours based on a colour that you choose. It even has a menu that simulates a variety of visual limitations for the 15% of people who cannot see the 'normal' colour spectrum.

For 'instant' ideas and inspiration, Adobe's kuler web page offers a huge range of colour varieties, and you can even subscribe to an RSS feed that keeps you up-to-date with the latest additions. serves a similar purpose, with one advantage: the swatches can be downloaded as graphics files that are large enough to use as screen savers/wallpaper. I've made up a folder full of them, which I run as my screensaver and my screen's wallpaper. As well as being attractive, it also exposes me to a wide range of colour combinations that I might not otherwise consider.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Google to launch their own operating system

BBC reports: [edited]

Google is developing an operating system (OS) for personal computers, in a direct challenge to market leader Microsoft and its Windows system. Google Chrome OS will be aimed initially at small, low-cost netbooks, but will eventually be used on PCs as well.

Google said netbooks with Chrome OS could be on sale by the middle of 2010.

The operating system, which will run on an open source license, was a "natural extension" of its Chrome browser, the firm said.

"We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds," said the blog post written by Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, and Google's engineering director Linus Upson.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Mobile phones to get projectors?

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Viewing videos on your mobile phone's display may soon be supplemented by the ability to project onto a screen, wall, or even a friend's shirt.

According to a report on Monday by Taiwan-based market-watcher DigiTimes, mobile-technology-and-more manufacturer Foxlink has begun manufacturing tiny projectors commonly known as pico projectors and is working with "a handset client from Europe" to get those projectors into products as early as the end of this year.

The DigiTimes report also claims their sources told them that Nokia, Samsung, and Apple all "plan to launch handsets with built-in micro projectors by the end of this year."

There's no independent confirmation of this rumour, but it's interesting to note that Foxlink's parent company, Foxconn, builds Apple's iPhone and has manufacturing ties with Nokia.

Microvision's ShowWX has the advantage over other pico-projector designs of not needing a focusing lens.

The report did not mention which technology its sources claim that Foxlink is using for its pico projector.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


WebMD reports: [edited]

Want a drug that could lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and colon cancer? That could lift your mood and treat headaches? That could lower your risk of cavities?

Coffee, the much maligned but undoubtedly beloved beverage, just made headlines for possibly cutting the risk of the latest disease epidemic, type 2 diabetes. And the real news seems to be that the more you drink, the better.

After analyzing data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years, Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America's favorite morning drink, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But having six cups or more each day slashed men's risk by 54% and women's by 30% over java avoiders.

Though the scientists give the customary "more research is needed" before they recommend you do overtime at Starbuck's to specifically prevent diabetes, their findings are very similar to those in a less-publicized Dutch study. And perhaps more importantly, it's the latest of hundreds of studies suggesting that coffee may be something of a health food - especially in higher amounts.

At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk. Other research shows that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly halve the risk of gallstones.

On the flip side, it's clear that coffee isn't for everyone. Its legendary jolt in excess doses - that is, more than whatever your individual body can tolerate - can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and cause rapid heartbeat. Coffee may also raise cholesterol levels in some people and may contribute to artery clogging. But most recent large studies show no significant adverse effects on most healthy people, although pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis may still be advised to limit or avoid coffee.