Archive for August, 2007

More on ClearViewHwy

Following up on my post from earlier today, there is an entire website devoted to ClearViewHwy. Among the other information provided is how to purchase it. It is kind of disappointing that if it was developed in part using state funds that it is not available to the public for free. However, both PTI and TTI seem to affiliated with public universities, rather than being directly affiliated with state governments. So this may be partly a result of »technology transfer«.

I also suppose the various transportation agencies may prefer that the public-at-large has no way of making authentic looking signage themselves. I could elaborate, but I will leave the »denial of service« possibilities to your imagination.

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OCamlTeX 0.7 Released

M. Colette Jean-Claude sent me his modified version of OCamlTeX that eliminates the dependency on Caml Shell. I've merged his changes into the darcs repository and deemed it version 0.7. The last change entry was from over a year ago. It feels like such a long time ago.

I have been meaning to write a little bit about my future plans for OCamlTeX for quite some time. Firstly, I am looking to do a complete rewrite eventually. One goal of this rewrite would be to take advantage of LuaTeX to hopefully reduce the communication overhead. My second goal will be to make it much easier to use other languages. Therefore, I expect I will rename it to something like MultiTeX that is a little more language agnostic.

My vision for this new design is first write a package in LuaTeX that will allow TeX to perform interprocess communication. Last time I investigated such things, I concluded that DBus seemed to be the favored interprocess messaging protocol. The actual MultiTeX package would be built on top of this package. Then all that is needed to add support for a new language is to write a daemon that accepts DBus messages from MultiTeX and sends back the result of the requests.

I developed this plan quite some time ago, but I have not begun the implementation partly because I have been so busy finishing InforML and my dissertation and partly because I have been waiting for LuaTeX to mature. Of course, if anyone is interested in helping with the
project, let me know.


Moving too slowly

I'm clearly not keeping up as well as I should be, as I've had three people forward me links about the excellent New York Times article The Road to Clarity and its accompanying slide-show (thanks Brian, Chris, and Frances). discusses the development of the Clearview typeface designed to replace what is known as "Highway Gothic" on US road signs.

I think it was on the ConTeXt mailing list that I saw that Zapf has published a new book: Alphabet Stories: A Chronicle of Technical Developments. 50 USD seems like a reasonable price, but it sounds like it may be a rather limited run.

Brian alerted me to a blog entry on »50 beautiful typefaces for professional design«. While there are plenty of nice typefaces in there, I think it goes a bit overboard on quantity versus quality. The entry mostly seems to be specimens obtained from various web sites; it would have been much better if they had spent some time explaining their choices. If nothing else this would have forced them to narrow their selections a bit.

Oxlahun pointed me to this post on The Language Log about exotic looking typefaces.

There has been past discussion about tools for comparing different typefaces. Last week while installing Ubuntu discovered there is a package for Wouter Bolsterlee's Gnome Specimen, a tool for previewing and comparing your installed fonts. I've only spent a few minutes playing with it, but it was pretty useful when I was doing some comparisons. However, it does lack support for some more esoteric things like small caps and old style figures. This most likely a limitations of the X11/Gnome font system, but it would be nice to see this fixed in the future.

Thinking of Gnome reminded about how Hanna told me about this LaTeX plugin for the Tomboy note-taking system.

I have a number of things that I've been meaning to write about, but I really should get back to writing and revising my dissertation.