Four short links: 22 June 2010

Fast Scans, Touch Screens, Privacy Newspeak, and Open Source Fonts

  1. High-Speed Book Scanner — you flip the pages, and it uses high-speed photography to capture images of each page. “But they’re all curved!” Indeed, so they project a grid onto the page so as to be able to correct for the curvature. The creator wanted to scan Manga, but the first publisher he tried turned him down. I’ve written to him offering a pile of O’Reilly books to test on. We love this technology!
  2. Magic Tables, not Magic Windows (Matt Jones) — thoughtful piece about how touch-screens are rarely used as a controller of abstract things rather than of real things, with some examples of the potential he’s talking about. When we’re not concentrating on our marbles, we’re looking each other in the eye – chuckling, tutting and cursing our aim – and each other. There’s no screen between us, there’s a magic table making us laugh. It’s probably my favourite app to show off the iPad – including the ones we’ve designed! It shows that the iPad can be a media surface to share, rather than a proscenium to consume through alone.
  3. Myths and Fallacies of Personally Identifiable Information — particularly relevant after reading Apple’s new iTunes privacy policy. We talk about the technical and legal meanings of “personally identifiable information” (PII) and argue that the term means next to nothing and must be greatly de-emphasized, if not abandoned, in order to have a meaningful discourse on data privacy. (via Pete Warden)
  4. Mensch Font — an interesting font, but this particularly caught my eye: Naturally I searched for a font editor, and the best one I found was Font Forge, an old Linux app ported to the Mac but still requiring X11. So that’s two ways OS X is borrowing from Linux for font support. What’s up with that? Was there an elite cadre of fontistas working on Linux machines in a secret bunker? Linux is, um, not usually known for its great designers. (via joshua on Delicious)
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  • Shannon Myers

    I hope you keep us updated if you gt any more feedback on the book scanner. It does look like amazing technology if it works. I would think there would be a business just scanning in old books for sale.

  • David Megginson

    “Linux is, um, not usually known for its great designers.”

    That was true until a few years ago. Projects like Gnome and Ubuntu have some people doing design work now that rivals and sometimes even surpasses that done by the serfs of the Apple Empire. And if you extend “Linux” to include Android phones, you’ll see even more beautiful work.

    But looking specifically at fonts, Linux, as a major platform for running TeX and MetaFont, has attracted font designers and typographers from the very beginning. Can Windows and Apple GUI applications even today do automatic kerning and pagination as well as TeX did back in the early 1990s?