No story to tell here, just a few notes for publishing-tech fans, which I guess is more or less everyone who does Web stuff which is more or less everyone. But if you don’t care about the difference between real apostrophes and “'” you can stop reading now.
Quotes · Late last year I published Better Quotes and Better Quotes Redux, about why you should use real quotations marks, and how to make this a little easier on OS X. Some readers disagreed, but they were wrong.
Since then, as a matter of principle, on every occasion I typed a single or double quote into a computer, unless it was code, I’ve Done The Right Thing. Partly this is out of sheer perversity; in particular on certain mailing lists that only accept plain-text input. But also partly as an unofficial experiment in the round-trippability of UTF-8.
The news is good! The only breakage I observe is on certain IETF mailing lists inhabited by malicious anti-Unicode troglodytes. The Internet is increasingly mostly UTF-8, and this is A Good Thing.
Typefaces: Tisa · This publication has been in FF Tisa for over a year, and I haven’t regretted the choice for a single second. Not coincidentally, Tisa has the grooviest single and double quotes ever.
Typefaces: Consolas and Friends · So there’s this nice monospace font Consolas which Microsoft released 2005-ish. I discovered it a Google doc someone else built and I liked a lot. I’m an old-schooler who was still using Courier New Bold for code samples, but Consolas won my heart instantly.
I liked it so much I decided to use it in a desktop app on my Mac, so went looking on Font Book, but no luck. I was baffled... everyone knows that on OS X the fonts are in the Font Book.
Then I realized that Consolas is a Web font, and Google docs are after all Web things. Perfectly sensible. Except for, anyone who toiled on this technology back in the days when we still talked “Desktop Publishing” will find it a little disorienting that my lightweight online word processor has access to more typefaces than my desktop tools.
Emacs · This is the desktop app that I wanted to use Consolas in, for which Inconsolata 14pt turns out to be totally great. I am told that even at this late date, opinions about Emacs have been observed to vary. I don’t care; it’s very likely that whatever the last words I keyboard in this life turn out to be, they will have been typed into Emacs.
If you want a custom typeface in OS X Emacs (23.3.1 at the moment), there
are some obstacles. You can select a default face, using the standard OS X
font picker, but then if you use the Options→Save Options menu, it doesn’t
save the font successfuly, but leaves an empty invocation of
(custom-set-faces) at the bottom of your
if you want Inconsolata 14 you have to hand-edit something like this in:
(custom-set-faces '(default ((t (:height 140 :family "Inconsolata")))) )
I’ve never bothered to actually understand how Emacs does fonts, but I think I want to learn, because I’m actually toying with the idea of buying (gasp) the desktop flavor of Tisa Pro and using it to edit this.
Which would mean a proportional font in an Emacs buffer; beyond the pale of reasonable behavior, to some. And indeed, I’d need to figure out how to do a quick swap back to Inconsolata or whatever when I drop out of prose into Ruby or C.
Color · Next spring is this blog thang’s tenth birthday. To celebrate, I think I may switch away from the #AA0000 red I’ve been using for hyperlinks and front-page titles for a decade. This will be a momentous task; but after switching typefaces, everything else feels easy.