Monthly archive for February 2009

My Fontbook Font Viewer

During these last few months I created and published an online font viewer that lets you browse through your catalog of installed fonts using only your web browser. The tool is called My Fontbook, and though it is primarily of use to designers, it is probably pretty handy for anyone trying to find an alternative to Times New Roman or Arial when drafting documents.

A brief anecdotal background…

I often do a fair bit of web design and layout as part of my duties as a freelance web developer. The aesthetic aspects of my work are a joy, but I feel like they can drag on for hours – days even – with no end in sight. The seemingly endless adjustments of a pixel here and a rounded edge there do not possess the finite nature of software programming. With software, it is complete when it works. Visual art does not have such a clear boundary.

Typography

At some point in the design process, usually early on, I go through the steps of settling on a combination of fonts to use. Usually this requires a heading font and then another typeface for the body content, and possibly a third or fourth font for sub-headings or navigational elements. I have a short list of my favorite fonts, but that does not stop me from opening Vector Designer, creating several text examples and then engaging in the meticulous process of applying nearly every font in my catalog to the example text.

After thirty minutes of this, I am typically left with a dozen or so typefaces from which to experiment with further. In January, I set out to find some font viewer software which would display my entire font catalog with samples and save me some time in the design cycle. There are many font management tools available on the market (some quite good), but I had to both pay a licensing fee and then install yet another program on my computer. If you have not heard before, the more crap that you install on your computer, the crappier it runs.

Font Viewer

I tried to find a font viewer online, that works from the “cloud” (in my browser), but there were not any suitable options. So in a effort to save myself fifity bucks, I spent considerable time making My Fontbook, and now you can use it for free.

If you use it, and you like it, leave me a comment on this blog.

link: My Fontbook font viewer

Castle Quest

After some weeks of being sequestered indoors in front of my laptop, and Marcela at the UN, we rented a Škoda Fabia and drove along the highways of western Bohemia toward Plzen.

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It was very cold and snowed all weekend.

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The roads that connect sleepy Czech villages were empty.

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Except for this red car.

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But that was it.

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Be very very quiet: the village is sleeping.

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After an hour of driving, we came upon this castle: Křivoklát.

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No one was home, except maybe some ghosts.

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And a feline tour guide.

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Friend to all animals

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And snowmen

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But not swans; this swan was mean. He hissed at me. I hide behind a fence and defended myself with snow. Which in retrospect seems cruel, but I was under attack by a magical creature and I have little recourse against such magic.

The swan was clearly enraged.

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Possibly because we ate his friend, the duck. Which was delicious.
And I ate two pheasants. Which might have also have been friends to the angry swan; I’m not sure.

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And then there was Točník on the hill, nearby the ruins at Žebrák.

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How do we get up there?

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This road looks pretty, but trust me: it sucks.

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Hmmm, maybe I should have turned right at the fork.

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I’m getting nervous.

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Marcela: Unfazed.

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This is a road? Perhaps we should turn back before the ogre finishes his lunch of Yankee stew and returns to guarding his hunting grounds.

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This is better.

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Hey look! The monastery at Kladruby.

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We stopped in Horšovský Týn to buy some pastel house paint…

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…and see the castle…

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…which was closed for the Winter.

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Plzeň, the birthplace of lager-style beer, home to Pilsner Urquell.

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I feel so…civilized.

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And insignificant.

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Some time later we arrived at Švihov, a castle on a pond

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Wait? What? Locked?! This can’t be…Let me in! You bozos! I’ll eat yer guts!

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You know what, though? That’s fine. We don’t need your pond castle.

There are a hundred castles within fifty miles of here.

And we just found…

a really big lake!

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That somebody put next to this super majestic castle at Orlik.

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And…the castle is closed for the Winter.

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You know I’m tired all of a sudden and I just realized that it’s cold out here.

Czech castles may be shut and locked for the Winter, but once you get inside they lose their charm. That is probably how it has always felt for outsiders.

From the gates, a castle is captivating and evokes the adventures of knights. Inside the walls, a castle feels like a opulent cocoon that protects thieves from the oppressed.

Take, for example, this relic that we discovered at Křivoklát.

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This is where our weekend adventure ends. It is time to make the drive back home to Prague. Thanks for coming along. We’ll leave you today at this lone dilapidated shack at the forest’s edge. You should be able to take refuge from the weather there with the bats and mice until you can make some travel arrangements.

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Bacon and Cheese Pizza Burger

I just threw up a little bit in my mouth right now…ask me why.

It turns out that the internet contains many treasures, and a few disasters: Goatse, two girls one cup, and the bacon cheese pizza burger.

I found the following horror while looking at some pixelicious Space Invader cookies. (I know I spend too much time online, but it is snowing outside and I’m allergic to things falling from the sky)

Here it is, two frozen pizzas and several pounds of undercooked hamburger. Maybe during next year’s Super Bowl party they’ll tuck a dozen chicken wings in there. And a pack of cigarettes.

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To the best of my knowledge, this does not happen in Europe.

Yeah, I haven’t posted since December and this is all I got.

link