KF8. The path to fragmentation.

Amazon announced Kindle Format 8, a new format for ebooks destined for its popular ebook reader. The new format, based on html5, promises books with small file sizes, excellent rendering performance, varying typefaces, tables and, in general, much more complex layouts and as a result way more beautiful books than the standard experience typically found […]

Τουλάχιστον να γνωρίζουμε.

Πριν από περίπου ενάμιση μήνα 'υποβαθμίστηκε' η ταχύτητα της σύνδεσής μου στο σπίτι, για λόγους που μπορώ να αποδώσω μόνον στην ανικανότητα του ΟΤΕ. Παρ'ότι ενδιαφέρουσα περίπτωση που συνδυάζει τεχνική ανικανότητα και μια γερή δόση Κάφκα --- δεν θα μπώ σε λεπτομέρειες (ζούμε άλλωστε μια ιδιαίτερα σουρρεαλιστική εποχή που κάνει ασήμαντη την εν λόγω προσωπική ιστορία), αποφάσισα να ψάξω λίγο online για παρόμοια προβλήματα, την θέση της ΕΕΤΤ για το χάλι των ευρυζωνικών συνδέσεων στην Ελλάδα κλπ. Στο ψάξιμο βρήκα το εξής: Εν διαμέσου κρίσης, στα μέσα του καλοκαιριού που μας πέρασε ξεκίνησε την πιλοτική του λειτουργία το ΣΑΠΕΣ, το Σύστημα Αποτίμησης Ποιότητας Ευρυζωνικών Συνδέσεων της ΕΕΤΤ, το οποίο καταγράφει την ταχύτητα της ευρυζωνικής σας σύνδεσης και άπεικονίζει τα στοιχεία ως overlay σε χάρτη. Παρ'ότι τα αποτελέσματα είναι ακόμη σχετικά λίγα, η εικόνα είναι ενδιαφέρουσα και οι 'μαύρες' τρύπες, περιοχές με φοβερά κακή ποιότητα ευρυζωνικής σύνδεσης, πολλές. Εαν δεν το γνωρίζετε ήδη, εγγραφείτε (είναι γρήγορο και σχεδόν ανώνυμο -- χρειάζεται ένα email και την διεύθυνσή σας) και κάντε μια μέτρηση της ταχύτητας της σύνδεσής σας, ιδιαίτερα εάν αντιμετωπίζετε πρόβλημα με αυτή. Όσοι περισσότεροι συμμετάσχουν, τόσο περισσότερες πληροφορίες θα έχει η ΕΕΤΤ και ευελπιστώ πως αν υπάρξει καλή συμμετοχή ενδεχομένως να αποκτήσουμε καλύτερες συνδέσεις μια ώρα αρχύτερα.

The depth of everything that's involved

JBQ's writings on Dennis Ritchie's death find me in total agreement and are worthy of a citation. dmr was a legend and his contribution, concise as meaningful, simple yet immensely powerful, has --- and still does --- shaped computing (and much of modern life) as we know it. C may not be 'modern' anymore, it may have been relegated to systems programming, high performance libraries and embedded computing for the most part, but it is still an immensely powerful tool, a foundation upon which countless other technologies have sprung since the late 70s. UNIX, once considered a dying breed still powers, in the form of Mac OS X and Linux, the vast majority of smartphones, most servers connected to the internet and numerous other devices, from printers, to desktops, to routers. It is hard for a non-technologist to comprehend dmr's contribution as it is for a technologist to overstate it.
Once you start to understand how our modern devices work and how they're created, it's impossible to not be dizzy about the depth of everything that's involved, and to not be in awe about the fact that they work at all, when Murphy's law says that they simply shouldn't possibly work. For non-technologists, this is all a black box. That is a great success of technology: all those layers of complexity are entirely hidden and people can use them without even knowing that they exist at all. [...] That is why the mainstream press and the general population has talked so much about Steve Jobs' death and comparatively so little about Dennis Ritchie's: Steve's influence was at a layer that most people could see, while Dennis' was much deeper. On the one hand, I can imagine where the computing world would be without the work that Jobs did and the people he inspired: probably a bit less shiny, a bit more beige, a bit more square. Deep inside, though, our devices would still work the same way and do the same things. On the other hand, I literally can't imagine where the computing world would be without the work that Ritchie did and the people he inspired. By the mid 80s, Ritchie's influence had taken over, and even back then very little remained of the pre-Ritchie world.

Goodbye Steve.

It took less than an hour before most of the world’s mainstream (and alternative) media posted their canned obituaries. This time it’s for Steve Jobs; his death a long time coming. Feared, loathed, inspiring and adored like few of his contemporaries, he led a life full of contradiction; from his early Buddhist ideas and bohème […]

Ubuntu Mono — The Gamma Travesty

In one of the latest commits, Ubuntu Mono, the monospace variant of the Ubuntu font that has recently been included in the distribution, was added to the repositories. Ubuntu Mono is a relatively nice looking monospace font that borrows quite a lot from Consolas, but adds its own distinctive touches that make it fit better with the Ubuntu font family. I have been a member of the beta testing group and have seen it for a while now, but I never quite found the time to properly look into it. Capital Gamma in Ubuntu MonoSadly, while the roman script looks great already, the Greek script suffers from some poor design decisions. Chief among them is Gamma (the capital gamma) which was clearly designed by someone totally unfamiliar with the Greek language and script. Gamma in Ubuntu Mono features a bottom serif that is totally distorting the perception of the character. It is unlike any other modern font I've ever seen and I feel is doing Ubuntu Mono a disservice (it has certainly rendered the font unusable by me as long as it looks this bad). In an effort to remedy this, I have opened a bug in Launchpad, Ubuntu's bug reporting system. You can find the bug, #867577, here. If you have a Launchpad account, use Ubuntu (and/or the fonts) and would like to see Ubuntu Mono fixed for Greek please subscribe, add your comment and/or contact those responsible to help them realise how their effort is being ruined by a few badly designed characters.

Linotype: The Film

In the same vain as Helvetica, but seemingly more of an 'indie' endeavour, this Kickstarter-funded movie about Linotype, the almost lost art of traditional typesetting and the eponymous machine is almost done. Check out the trailer below, or visit their site. It may be interesting to those loving typography.