Friday, October 28, 2005

Hey everyone! Mokabreak is ready to move to the next big thing. We are now up and running on our own server. This means that we will be able to expand as well as focus on the things that are important to new or our old readers for a better overall experience.

This blogspot domain will remain online for archival reasons as well as a way for readers to continue to find us online.

We hope everyone that has been a part of mokabreak will continue to be a part and move to our new home.

If you have questions or comments - feel free to cruise on over to and tell us whats on your mind. We're looking forward to seeing everyone there.

(PS: remember to update your bookmarks and your RSS feeds!!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

To say I was surprised when I saw this site appear from under the forty-two other tabs I had open in Firefox would be an understatement. The detail and colour that has gone into the flowers took my breath away. The actual content of the site (content is king remember?) doesn't particularly appeal to me. It tends to be more personal and rather "flowery" at times too. I just keep going back to look at the flowers.

The Problem with Font Management

By now you've probably heard about Linotype's FontExplorer X. If you're a Mac user you've probably even tried it out. Searching Google will net you plenty of reviews and opinions and you might even designers bemoaning the lack lustre state of font management software.

While I agree that there could be a lot of improvement in the software that allows you to browse the fonts you have and manage groups of fonts, I don't think this is the area that needs the most attention. The biggest problem with font management is activation. If I've used a typeface in a document, I shouldn't have to reactivate that font every time I need to edit the document. It should be done automatically by the system.

Until Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) was released fonts on all operating systems were still activated in the same archaic fashion as they were when WYSIWYG desktop publishing first emerged: by moving them in and out of a special fonts folder. Even third party font management software activated fonts by placing alias' or shortcuts into the system fonts folder. This is still true of today's operating systems, although thankfully, they have since made the revolutionary step forward of not requiring you to reboot your computer before they become available to applications.

When Apple released Panther they included an application called Font Book that has been heavily derided by many in the design industry because it's slow and the interface is rather clunky. What Font Book does bring to the table though, is the ability to deactivate fonts without removing them from the fonts folder. This feature is actually built into the operating system and Font Book is just a GUI that allows you to access it. However, you're still required to install fonts into a fonts folder to make them available to Font Book and other applications.

While this system level font activation is a step forward, it doesn't go far enough. If I open a document that uses a font not currently active, the system should automatically activate it for me, and then deactivate it when it is no longer needed. This shouldn't be difficult. Currently when an application opens a document, it checks the system to see if the fonts used are available. What happens next depends on the software. Applications like Microsoft Word will automatically find a substitute font, usually without letting you know that this has happened. Professional design applications will usually inform you that the font isn't available and allow you to select a substitute, or activate the font.

Some font management software even offers plugs-ins for some design applications that will automatically activate fonts for you, but the applications they support are very limited. This shouldn't be a third party opportunity, it needs be handled transparently in the background by the operating system.

Font management has always been neglected by operating system manufacturers because it isn't sexy. You might assume that the core customers all being creative professionals would provide the impetus for Apple to address issues like this, but they have all but ignored the issue. Microsoft isn't doing any better. The third party font management software available for Windows is woefully out of date and sifting through all the information available about Vista turns up absolutely nothing regarding changes or innovations to font management on that system.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lucy in the Field with Flowers

Check out The Museum of Bad Art!