Posts tagged ‘fonts’


A few more swashes for JY Pinnacle Italic

15.07.2011

Pinnacle Italic Pro

JY Pinnacle Italic will be re-released as a Pro version shortly, and above are some of the extra characters we’ve added.
   I know the swash k still needs work, and it will be fixed up by the time of release.
   Pinnacle always had a decent bunch of ligatures, but if you have the chance to add more thanks to OpenType, then why not?
   Hard to believe I originally drew this over 15 years ago—it really doesn’t seem that long ago.

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Posted in business, design, New Zealand, typography, Wellington | No Comments »


Why I removed Chrome, and the six basic things that it can’t do

06.02.2011

I write this not long after another Firefox crash (Atomic Decrement being the signature) and wiped three quite well worded (if I say so myself) paragraphs. To vent, I Tweeted, and received (again) the suggestion of switching to Chrome.
   I appreciate the kind motive but Chrome is so severely lacking that last night, I actually removed it. When a program cannot do something that Netscape 1 can—I am not kidding—then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
   I was surprised to see that Chrome, made by my “favourite” company Google, had updated itself to v. 9, and that every one of the problems it has had since I installed it (some time during v. 6 or 7?) were still present. I’m surprised that no one else seems particularly bothered by these, but in my opinion, they are serious enough to put me off using the program.

1. Can’t display bolds
You know those <b> and <strong> codes that have been around since the World Wide Web began to denote some bold text? Chrome can’t handle them. Every browser since Netscape version 1 could. Oh, that’s also not to mention the garbled and sometimes missing text:

Chrome displays my Tumblr

2. Problems with font linking
I’ve seen many complain about this one, and only one person I have encountered claims he has solved it. When I asked him how, he said he had homework but would get back to me after. He never did. So I presume he remembered wrongly, or he’s still doing his homework. IE, Firefox and Opera can link using font-face, but Chrome cannot, despite my having WOFFs and SVGs in there.

Chrome displays Lucire

My friend Andrew Carr-Smith has tested this page and confirms the error.

3. Cannot handle discretionary hyphens
Come on, even Internet-bloody-Explorer 5 knew the difference between a discretionary hyphen and a regular one. Chrome does not. It’s again a basic HTML entity, but I guess no one bothered testing it. Also note the font change in the callout and the extra dots Chrome has inserted with the breaking hyphens.

Chrome displays Lucire

Again, confirmed by Andrew on his machine.

4. Cannot display multilingual text
Google, the people behind the excellent Google Translate, can’t seem to work out how to display text that changes script, even when the various fonts are installed on the computer. This is a major omission in the days of Unicode and cross-cultural communications.

Chrome displays Autocade

5. Changes fonts mid-line
This is something that afflicts Opera a lot worse, but Chrome has a habit of changing the digit 8 in some of my text. In some other text, it has a problem displaying bold 7s. This is a new bug even Firefox is introducing as I sampled the 4 betas. Must be some geek humour, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it’s bloody annoying.

Chrome displays JY&A

6. It’s dotty
Not sure why dots appear everywhere, but it’s the only browser which has them.

Chrome displays this blog

   As usual, no one at Google is listening and the forums are useless. Wonder where I heard that one before. Bye bye, Chrome.

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Posted in business, design, internet, technology, USA | 6 Comments »


No surprises as Firefox 4 reaches Beta 10

23.01.2011

Tried Firefox 4 Beta 10 on another computer altogether—the new machine in the office. No font management software on this one, which rules out anything that could have been doing. I don’t need to say much more. The font problem is the same as on Betas 7, 8 and 9; and the fact that Google results’ pages crash the browser may be down to McAfee Site Advisor, which I have installed, according to one of the experts at Mozilla.
   A few people have had a semi-related font issue (here’s one on CNet from 2009, and here is a thread on Mozilla), but seemingly not enough for Mozilla to deem it an issue they need to fix. Pity the other browsers are so below par.

Firefox 4 Beta 10
The Firefox Update loading screen on Firefox 4 Beta 10. Didn’t really need to go beyond this to know that the font-rendering system is stuffed.

PS.: Discovered on the Mozilla site that a grand total of 40 people have this problem. But I am glad I found that a few folks have had this identical issue, at long last. Nothing had surfaced in the search engines before this.

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Posted in design, internet, technology, typography | 1 Comment »


Jack tries another Firefox beta—we all know what happens next

15.01.2011

Title says it all. Except this time, it’s not just the fonts. No link in a Google results page is clickable: in fact, Google hangs the entire browser (though I can still scroll up and down—yay). The program, after clicking on the close icon, stays in the Task Manager for at least 10 minutes (I force-closed it after that). The fonts are, as before, unresolved:

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display
Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

   But, I hear you say, these are all sites that you have done, Jack, or which you’ve modified, so it’s obviously you being crap at web design. (Forgetting for a moment that these sites all work on Firefox 3, IE8 and Opera; Chrome has some difficulties with embedded fonts.)
   Fair call. Let’s look at some other sites, then, done by people who have collectively forgotten more about web design than I have ever learned. For this exercise I won’t pick sites that have specified Verdana and Georgia, because, for some reason, they work fine. Must be Mozilla cosying up to Microsoft or something.
   Aisle One. They know a bit about web design.

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Hmm. Or This Next?

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Now, Creative Review. Surely they will have a good choice of typefaces and have it all working.

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Maybe not.
   Or, you might say, it’s your fonts, Jack. You’ve specified fonts you’ve designed and they’re obviously not as good as the stuff from your competitors. (Ignoring that of the above, the text set in Lucire works on the This Next site, and my fonts appear in the embedded lines in our own company’s sites.)
   I thought Khoi Vinh, the former design director of The New York Times, would know what he was doing. Here’s how his blog looks:

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

In fact, the only typeface that displays correctly is one of mine. Linotype Helvetica does not.
   How about Adobe Systems? They make fonts, and they use specify them on their own site.

Firefox 4 Beta 9 display

Ditto: my font appears, theirs doesn’t. (The Adobe home page is fine: its Myriad embedded font comes down OK; for the Reader page, I have Myriad installed, and I can’t see it in the top line.)
   I’m back on the crash-prone Firefox 3 and when I get a bit of time, I’ll send this feedback on to the developers. I hope they get the font issue fixed but in three betas, they haven’t. And I have to search on Duck Duck Go (no complaints there) because Google doesn’t work with Firefox 4.
   Given my concerns about Google over the last wee while, that’s one error I can live with—but I doubt if 99-plus per cent of netizens will.

PS. Here is the nearest bug I could find, and it has been going on since Beta 1. This user is seeing Neue Helvetica displayed as gibberish—not boxes, but random characters in the correct font. The advice from some Firefox users on the support forum is ‘delete Helvetica, use Arial’. This, to a design professional, is the same as ‘have toothache, pull out all teeth’.

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Posted in design, internet, technology, USA | 4 Comments »


What others write about their Firefox crashes; Chrome is the oddity with font-face

16.12.2010

Mozilla Crash Reports

It has been interesting reading the comments from other disgruntled Firefox users over the ‘unmark purple’ error (nsXULControllers::cycleCollection::UnmarkPurple(nsISupports*))—now that I can trace the majority of my crashes to this.
   Yesterday, Mozilla’s Crash Reports’ site crashed (rather fitting), and today, the CSS wouldn’t load, which allowed me to read what others wrote on the Crash Reporter dialogue box.
   Unhappy Firefox users who are finding our favourite browser plagued with endless problems. As there was no mention of ‘unmark purple’ in the 3·6·13 change-log, I presume we’re going to continue to suffer till Firefox 4 comes out. (Beta 8 is due out around the 21st now, delayed by several weeks.)
   Here is a selection of comments, complete with typos. One is from me (guess which one; no prizes offered):

why is this happenign so much lately…at least once a day..I get disconnected from Firefox

Really got fed up with this. Why this is happening again and again?

Yet again…c’mon Mozilla!!!!

and again

god .. whats wrong with mymozila .. ???

i CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’VE DONE THIS!

Two crashes in two days. Nothing unusual at all. Flash, of course.

After the update.. this is 3. crash.. // güncelleme sonrası 3. oldu çöküşü oldu.

it just went off air

Well, looks like your 3·6·13 update didn’t solve the crashes. Plug-in container crashed at the same time.

boom goes the dynamite

   The positive Firefox news today is that we implemented our first font-face, at the Lucire website. We’ve been experimenting with font embedding ever since Microsoft WEFT at the turn of the century, and the results were always variable.
   They are by no means consistent today, because I’ve noticed that it works in Firefox, IE8 (before it crashes, but, then, it is Microsoft; and without kerning) and Opera 11 Beta (also sans kerning). Despite the presence of SVG files and references to them in the stylesheet, and the assurance that it is now switched on by default, it does not work on Chrome. No surprises there, with Google’s ever-buggy, typographer-unfriendly browser, though I am willing to accept the possibility that we mucked up on the CSS spec.
   It’s the Royal Wedding headline that has a font-face spec, set to JY Fiduci:

Lucire with font-face
Firefox 3·6·13

Lucire with font-face
Chrome 8

Lucire with font-face
Opera 11 Beta

Lucire with font-face
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8

   Big thanks this week to Andrew, who installed some of the Lucire font family to see if he could experience what I do with these browsers. Interestingly, he did not encounter Opera’s ligature and quotation-mark bug (where any word containing a ligature changes font, and where quotation marks and apostrophes display in another font altogether) on any browser, though we did learn that Firefox 4 and IE8 were the only two browsers that picked, on his computer, the right weight for some of the specified type. He could see the installed fonts in his Chrome menu, unlike me. However, he was able to confirm that soft hyphens were not being picked up by Chrome—they were being displayed as regular hyphens, mid-line. (You can see this in the Chrome screen shot above.)
   Another friend, Steven, was able to confirm Chrome’s failure to switch fonts when it encountered a change in language. Thank you, gentlemen, and for those who called to help earlier, for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

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Posted in design, internet, publishing, technology, typography, USA | 3 Comments »


A typeface designer’s test of the Opera browser

01.11.2010

After my endless complaints about Firefox crashing on Twitter (even with a fresh install, it still crashes multiple times daily—even on the machine where the hard drive was reformatted), I was pointed to Opera 10·63.
   I can tell it’s not really designed for anyone who likes type. Here’s how my Twitter page looked, with the default settings:

Opera on Windows XP

In case you think your eyes are deceiving you, those are, indeed, bitmap fonts. Actual size.
   Here’s a page from Twitpic:

Opera on Windows XP

   On our computers, where Arial is absent, Opera defaults to System. It ignores whatever you feed into the font preferences until you start tweaking the CSS under opera:config. This is ridiculous. Since we have FontSubstitutes fed in to the Windows registry to indicate how Arial should be substituted, and every other program we have understands this, it seems silly for Opera to stand alone—and to substitute to one of the least likely fonts as a new default.
   But say you have Arial, or any other typeface, installed. Opera still has a problem. It cannot display quotation marks in the specified typeface. This, to me, is ridiculous: if IE5 and Netscape Navigator 4·7 can, then Opera 10 should be able to do that. Here’s an enlargement from Khoi Vinh’s Subtraction blog:

Opera on Windows XP

It’s meant to be set in Helvetica. It is—except for the quotation marks.
   However, I can’t dis Opera too much because Firefox 1 and 2 had this rather serious omission, something I complained about at the time. It was only Firefox 3 that someone decided that displaying punctuation in the same font as everything else might not be a bad idea.
   It also does something funny to any word with an or ligature: it changes the font for that word. Nothing else, just that one word.
   On Firefox 2, it would display only the ligature in another typeface. This was my test in 2006:

Firefox 2 on Windows XP

Here’s what Opera does, with the affected words highlighted:

Opera on Windows XP

Weird? You’re telling me, especially as the typeface appears to be Garamond Light—something I only specified for the H1-tagged headlines as a default. Believe me, there are no H1 codes on the page.
   I guess with the smaller user base, there have been fewer bug reports filed about these issues. I have filed one on the default fonts, and will be doing another on the remainder.
   The good news is that Opera doesn’t seem to crash quite as often. It also seems more compatible with Flash: my father, who browses news sites a lot, says he has far fewer problems with video buffering, even on an older machine. And I prefer the look of the browser—Google Chrome has really changed the æsthetics of how we expect browsers to look.
   So if you can live with the alleged weaker security and the poor typography, Opera seems to be a good browser. However, I can’t live with poor typography, so I might only use the browser as a back-up.
   In summary, in my world:

  • Firefox: crashes all the time;
  • IE8: cumbersome;
  • Opera: bad typography;
  • Chromium: interprets some code oddly;
  • Chrome: made by Google, and 2010 is my year of being Google-sceptic.

I use Safari on the Mac, but we’ll leave that to another blog post.

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Posted in internet, technology, typography | 3 Comments »