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daily-routines

I recently discovered a blog called Daily Routines and it is a really interesting read. When people come across someone describing their daily routine (say in a magazine or in a book), they send it in and those are posted on the blog.

This is no list of executives you don’t recognize or people from fields that you aren’t interested in. These are people most all of us recognize: Charles Darwin, Mister Rogers, and Winston Churchill to name a few. Worth noting to me was this list of people all felt the need to have a daily routine. Maybe that’s what helped them get where they are today? I’m not certain of that but I am guessing it was a big help! I also liked reading how people with similar professions had some similarities (Stephen King AND CS Lewis both enjoy their tea) but how also they could be wildly different (some people have NO social engagements at all while in the midst of a project, some actively try to go out each evening).

I looked around to see if there were any other interesting takes on daily routines and found an article at Yahoo! Finance where a survey was sent out to 20 CEOs and he got 17 replies back about daily routines and wrote up some general trends and patterns in how these people operated. Also interesting was who he talked to: Motorola, Pepsi, and Xerox just to name a few.

Currently I have no daily routine, what I do during the day depends on a lot of other things so I don’t have anything more than I come to Extensis each morning. What’s your daily routine? Do you have a power tip that you are willing to share? Here’s one of mine from David Allen of GTD fame: The Two Minute Rule. If something comes your way and it will take two minutes or less, then do it and move on. I have been trying to stick to that and it really seems to help keep little things from hanging around.


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law-bookOK that might be a bit extreme, but when I came across this site I was very impressed that anyone had given thought to something that a lot of people just take for granted: Typography For Lawyers. I like that Matthew Butterick is doing what he can as a lawyer to raise the level of typography knowledge (and by extension improve the aesthetic) which will make legal documents a bit easier to read. For most people, trying to sort out all the legalese in a document is hard enough but then to puzzle around a bad font choice too makes it even more difficult. I wonder how many deals have gone bad or fallen through altogether because all those pages of poor type and boilerplate were just too overwhelming.

Another nice thing about this site is that it explains typography to people as though they have never heard of it before and have no idea what it means. If you are a design person or even a plain old font nerd then for you this is desperately boring. However, if you know someone who needs a good place to start after asking “What do you mean by ‘different font’ exactly?”, this is a great place to start the uninitiated on a path to Type Enlightenment. As a Tech Support person I really like this approach because he starts at zero, which everybody does at the beginning, and he is working it out himself and sharing that knowledge with you. I am looking forward to how this site develops.

What are you using now to educate people on fonts and type?


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It starts off really innocently. “Oh this document looks a little off,” you think. “Maybe I just need to ratchet the point size down one. That’ll fix it.” Or a very generic looking error appears when you’re in the middle of something and it doesn’t sound serious so you dismiss it and move on.

Next thing you know nothing looks right, documents are reflowing all over the place, and some of what you’re looking at doesn’t even look like English! Welcome to the land of Corrupted Fonts. You will not enjoy your stay.

How do you resolve this? Your best bet is to restore from backup (you DO have your fonts backed up, don’t you?) and then re-open documents that were affected and make sure they are displaying properly. Your next question is probably “OK I know how to fix it, but how do I keep it from happening in the first place?” That answer is a bit trickier. Font corruption can be caused by a myriad of issues – from orphaned PostScript pairs, to issues resulting from the font’s construction or system crashes or any of a whole stack of other contributing factors.

It’s hard to determine if your issues are caused by a corrupt font because there’s no way to tell just by looking at it if the font is bad or not-there isn’t a checkbox in the Get Info dialog box that says “Corrupt” so you can tell! And to further complicate things, there isn’t just one particular behavior that tells you a font is bad. You could have a weird document, or an application crashing every time you try to open a document that uses the problematic font, or even just applications randomly crashing as they come across activated-and bad-fonts they don’t know how to handle.

One way to help keep this from happening is to use FontDoctor to diagnose and repair your fonts. To start, do this on your existing font collection, and if you are a person who deals with fonts from a lot of external sources you might even want to make FontDoctor part of your standard workflow. (I have talked to a lot of customers who have already done this and say that it saves them lots of trouble down the line.)

Also if you don’t use a font manager already, that is another layer of “protection” from corruption. First of all, if you use Suitcase Fusion 2, Universal Type Server, or Suitcase for Windows, you get font checking automatically. When you add fonts to professional font managers like ours, fonts are automatically scanned for corruption before being added. Since Extensis font mangers check for corruption and will also attempt to repair common problems right at the start, just by using a font manager you’re ahead of the curve.

While there’s no easy or clear-cut way to tell how font corruption happens, we try to help you keep corrupt fonts out of your workflow.


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Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you need a good way to measure something, or need a tip on how to get something done efficiently. Generally this sort of thing is called a rule of thumb. Things that are handy, like US paper money is 6 1/8″ long so if you have to measure, it’s two bucks a foot. A deck of cards is about a 3 oz measure of meat. And there are lots more at Rules of Thumb which aims to be the most comprehensive source of Rules of Thumb on the web.

I like rules of thumb and I think it’s because my grandfather used to use them for EVERYthing. Late April was a good time to get your car worked on because the weather’s nicer so people don’t seem to treat it so urgently, plus taxes are due in the middle of April so a lot of folks don’t have the cash for it. Another favorite of mine was the temperature one: count cricket chirps for 15 seconds and then add 40 to that number and you have a pretty good idea of the temperature (in Fahrenheit) outside.

Knowing things like this can come in really handy, and it seems like a lot of that has been lost (I don’t know if anyone I know would have the faintest idea about when to get their car fixed) but it seems like something that should generally get passed on. So bookmark some reference sites and ask your grandparents or parents about their rules of thumb. Leave me your favorites below, I’m always on the lookout for more!


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Have you ever spent time at Yay!Monday? It’s a neat site that showcases all manner of images, and you can click on the image and go off to that person’s site and see more of their work. As you can probably guess by the name of that site, it’s only updated on Mondays.

Well thanks to my friend and local blogger The Silicon Florist, I discovered two interesting things about Yay!Monday. First, I discovered that Chris Kalani, who is behind Yay!Monday, is in Vancouver WA, which is right next to Portland (for those who aren’t local). Then I also found out that apparently Yay!Monday wasn’t enough so now there is also Yay!Everyday which will feature submissions from folks specially selected to contribute.

This is really interesting to me because there appears to be a nice mix of contributors so you never know what you’ll get next. And of course there’s always the chance I’ll get a random illustration or photograph that happens to involve things I really like. Such as Tim Burton movies. I found this image on Yay!Everyday, and at first it doesn’t seem all that interesting (if you’re me and know the person on the right is the director of a film featuring the person on the left). But look closer. See the expression on the kid’s face? Is that because he’s covered in chocolate or because he’s standing next to Tim Burton? Who knows?

So if you are one of the few who likes Mondays because that’s when Yay!Monday is updated, now you can look forward to each day. If you have a stash of bookmarks for design and/or inspiration, you can certainly add these to that folder. And if you live or work in the Portland/Vancouver area, take an extra measure of enjoyment in the “Surf Locally” aspect of the site.


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Congress is now back in Washington for a new session, and this being a historical time for the US Government and everything, I’ve seen a few really interesting (and cool) links go around regarding government and history. So far my favorite has to be the Senate Map of desks and their pasts. This is SO cool! You can either pick a desk or pick a Senator and see where they sit, what their desk looks like, and who else has sat at that desk.

And their history is also very fun to read. All the desks have slightly different shapes so they would fit in the old Senate Chambers, and if you put all these desks in order the way they were originally laid out (it is said) you’ll get a perfect semicircle. Each of these desks was $34 apiece at the time. They’ve been slightly modified over the years, and one even filled with candy! You can read about each evolution of the desks, how it is decided who gets what desk, how they are numbered, what happened when we got new states, and more. There is a lot of info here and it’s really interesting to dig into all these pages and get a look at how all of this stuff works.

I always wondered when I heard or saw the swearing in of Senators how it was decided where they sat, and now I know (I also discovered that Oregon’s own Ron Wyden once had the desk Barack Obama recently vacated). Plus, like our office, they have candy near the door. That’s always a good thing right? You can also check out the Senate Chambers both old and new. You can spend a LOT of time in the Art And History section of the site. (I tried to find one for the House but came up empty.) What bit of trivia is most interesting to you?


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Have you ever had a suggestion to make something better and thought, “Oh it won’t matter if I make a suggestion, they’re a huge software company and I’m just one person.” Well, please quit it. Make that call! Sometimes it works!

When we released Suitcase Fusion 2, one of the things it didn’t have (that the old version had) was a method for something we like to call “Temporarily Add and Activate”. This was a good way to knock out the one-off job and if you have a lot of single jobs (a service bureau, for example) this was a HUGE timesaver. Here’s what it did: You drag your fonts to the Dock icon for Suitcase, and the fonts would be added and activated, but ONLY until you restarted. Once you restarted and your computer came back up, those fonts were not just deactivated, they were not still hanging out in your font manager either! When you have to crank through a large number of “single use” fonts, this is of immeasurable use. However, since we don’t have a way to tell how many people are using any particular feature, when it came time to determine features for the new version that happened to be one that for whatever reason didn’t make the cut.

We received a lot of phone calls from people who were trying out the new version of Fusion and missed that feature. Every time you call us and tell us about the feature you love that was in the last version that isn’t in the current version, or you wish there was an easier way for you to do something within our software, we record that. If you aren’t the first person to ask for it, your “vote” gets added to the tally. When features are being considered for new versions of software those votes all get considered. That doesn’t always mean things will change, but your vote is counted and enough of them usually get a feature implemented.

So as of the new update to Suitcase Fusion 2, the Temporarily Add and Activate feature has made a triumphant return! So if you were disappointed you couldn’t update because you need this feature as part of your workflow, don’t let that stop you any longer. And next time you think about calling or emailing your feature request to a company that makes software you use, don’t just think about it, do it! You never know if your vote will be the vote that puts that request over the top.


Bond. James Bond.

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Man oh man do I like James Bond. Old movies and new, Connery AND Craig. I don’t need it to be all gadgets and over the top pickup lines to be entertaining, but boy the stuff Q would come up with! I know people were eight kinds of worked up over “Blonde Bond” but I think he’s doing a fine job and I can’t wait to see the next two (it is said the next one will be the end of this “trilogy” and the one after that will be whatever they want).

I read all the books a long time ago and I’m working my way through them again. They are really good and pretty short so there’s not a lot of extra stuff to wade through just to read the good bits.

This new movie (which I got to see on my birthday Sunday and I really enjoyed) is called Quantum Of Solace which is only a short story title and has nothing to do with the film’s plot (sort of like the last two Bourne movies). Well in honor of the Bond franchise in general I have seen a couple of interesting things I thought I’d blog about today. What I like most about the movies is that they are very stylish and all of the designy things that go into them are really fun. So here you go:

They started as books, so I’ll mention the release of Quantum Of Solace the complete James Bond short story collection. It’s GORGEOUS and you can get it from Powell’s. So pretty! I want one but not to read, just to look at. I think I have all the short stories, so this would be strictly a “look at my book but for pete’s sake don’t read it” book.

Swatch has released a series of Bond Villain watches which are fun to browse through. Yes, there is a Walken watch. I could never wear it but I think the Blofeld watch is neat. I think the Rosa Klebb is one of the nicest ladies watches in the collection too.

If you aren’t up on your Bond villains or gadgets or other bits of Bond info you can find more than you probably ever wanted to know from MI6 or Licensed To Kill, labeled as the Ultimate James Bond Wiki.

For fun I added a Photoshopped James Bond movie poster after the jump, and I included a Lego animation of a bit that Eddie Izzard does about James Bond and his gadgets (insert language warning here).

I hope you enjoy my stack of James Bond goodies. Giving you all this cool stuff makes me sort of like Q, doesn’t it?

Continue Reading »


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I spent my Wednesday in Seattle, and not just in Seattle but at the Adobe Campus in Seattle (which is just down the hill from the Fremont Troll). I was at the InDesign Master Class, a conference all about InDesign. I gave a talk about font management in the morning and a talk about asset management in the afternoon, and even got to give away a few Starbucks cards. (Well it WAS Seattle after all!)

I did get a chance to attend a session as well: Thomas Phinney spoke about interesting things you can do with type, and not just make neat things. It was GREAT! There are additional bits of information you can find (it was the InDesign Master Class session so we saw it in InDesign) in the info palette for type. Plus he showed us a few interesting things from Amy Papaelias who has done some fascinating experimenting with type and particularly glyphs and arranging them. If you click enter on that last link over on the right, it will take you to a page of examples of what I mean. One of them might be a bit NSFW since it encourages you to type bad words which automatically get substituted for other things (h-e-double-hockey-sticks turns into heck, for example) and it’s really interesting to see the sorts of things you can really push type to do. If you had told my on my first day as an Extensis employee that I would be excited to attend a talk that included the phrase “discretionary ligatures” I probably would have laughed and then asked you what language you were speaking. Now I am all kinds of interested!

If you ever get a chance to hear Thomas speak, you should absolutely not pass it up. He has some interesting things to say and as a type designer himself he has unique insight into what he’s talking about-plus it’s fun to hear someone say “We need a font for this, let’s use one of mine!” I give talks on keeping your fonts or your assets under control, Thomas will help you find ways to set them free.


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* This image is from the My Favourite Letters Pool on Flickr. Most of the images are deskstop sized, and this one was my favorite.

Portland is full of graphic designers, web designers, freelance designers, and all kinds of other super creative types. One of them happens to be Bram Pitoyo, geek about town and general fan of type and and good design. He recently did a couple of articles for Designer Daily about typefaces, and alternatives to (sometimes tired) old standards that get trotted out from time to time.

Bram wrote two of these: One for serif type, and one for sans serif type. Both of them were very interesting because I realized there were a lot of alternatives that sometimes people don’t always consider when it comes to using type in design. It’s one of those things like getting a haircut or wearing slimmer clothes-people may notice A change, but they aren’t sure what it is exactly. I found a lot of use in the sans serif article because I prefer sans serif fonts in virtually everything, so seeing Helsinki and that adorable little Bryant were very appealing. But even Neohellenic was a lot nicer to look at than I figured it would be, what with the serifs and all.

I know I spend a lot of time with fonts, and know more about fonts than a lot of people (those would be the people to whom I have to explain my Battlestar Helvetica shirt is NOT a typo). But Bram is, and I say this in the nicest possible way, a power type nerd of a VERY high magnitude. Picking his brain on font knowledge is a VERY fun experience (if you enjoy type discussion, that is), and if you do ask him font questions you can tell he’s enjoying every minute. It is like asking me about Star Wars!

So dig a little bit into these articles and find some new perspectives on the same old words. It can be fun to shake things up with a different font, and people will wonder what your secret is!


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