greetings, and a request for feedback

bowerbird's picture

greetings... :+)

so glad i found this place!

been looking for experts
in typography so i could
bounce ideas off of them,
and get feedback on stuff.

and this looks like that place. ;+)

i write e-book programs --
authoring-tools and viewers.

my aim is to incorporate the
best of p-book typography...
so i've tried to learn about it.

i respect the centuries of craft.

i want to carry a lot of it forward.

i'm also willing to leave things
behind, as no longer needed,
but i want to know i'm doing it,
and doing it for good reasons...

i do believe you can break the rules
creatively even without knowing 'em;
if it works, it works, regardless if you
knew why it "shouldn't" work or not...

but i love p-book typography, so i've
been quite willing to learn the rules...

after all, it's only natural to be
curious about what you love...

***

i'm about to release some stuff that
i would love to have you look at, and
give me feedback on. in the meantime,
i've been spouting off in a few threads
about "what book typographers think",
and it'd be great if you let me know of
any specifics that i've gotten _wrong_...

one thread is over at the "if:book" blog
-- future of the book -- on a blog entry
asking "why is text on screens so ugly?"
i made a couple of long comments there.

the second thread is on the "toc" blog
-- "tools of change" at the site of o'reilly,
the computer-book publishers -- where
i discuss a free book they just released to
demonstrate print-on-demand at a show.
i tell them all the things they did _wrong_,
from the perspective of a book-designer,
so i'd appreciate if you told me what _i_
got wrong. you can do it there, or here...

i'll put specific url's in a follow-up post,
just in case they would hold up this one.

and when i release stuff into the wild,
i'll let you know so you can kick my ass
with some of your excellent feedback... :+)

-bowerbird

bowerbird's picture

here's one:
> http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/archives/2009/02/why_is_text_on_scre...

and here's the other, which is a lot longer:
> http://toc.oreilly.com/2009/02/best-of-toc-collection-now-ava.html

please, you can be quite frank with me.
i have a very thick skin. :+)

-bowerbird

blank's picture

my aim is to incorporate the
best of p-book typography...

Start by using proper capitalization.

typerror's picture

I love it... on the site it says click to enlarge the images. WTF, If I can't read it in its natural environment then why would I want...... well you get my point : )

Oh and point well made James!

Michael

paragraph's picture

PERHAPS HE LIKES e e cummings?

bowerbird's picture

james said:
> Start by using proper capitalization.

my tools allow authors to use
whatever capitalization they like.

***

typerror said:
> on the site it says click
> to enlarge the images. WTF,
> If I can’t read it in its natural
> environment then why would I want...

actually i'm looking for feedback
on the accuracy of my comments,
not your reaction to someone else's
blog entry... just so you know...

that's why i won't bother to explain why
i think what they did was a good thing...

-bowerbird

bowerbird's picture

paragraph said:
> PERHAPS HE LIKES e e cummings?

i am a poet. and lowercase is
part of my artistic expression.

and yes, e.e. cummings is rad.
but he often used mixed-case.

i like ogden nash even better...

who knew you could make up words?

and just because i know it will
be coming up very soon, it's also
part of my artistic expression to
control my linebreaks, thank you.

now, i'm sure the people who will
make more substantive comments
will be arriving here any minute... :+)

-bowerbird

Thomas Phinney's picture

I have a few random comments:

- yes, hyphenation of ragged-right text is a legitimate choice. So is multi-line composition/line-breaking of ragged right text (which InDesign does, btw). Having a more even rag is considered desirable by many typographers.

- the choice between sans and serif is not any more important than the specific choice of fonts: even if you prefer one or the other, there are lousy and better choices in either camp. I prefer sans for most current ebook settings, but I'd sooner be eviscerated with a spoon than read a 300-page ebook set in Arial or Helvetica.

- "mixed" mode (cross between "indent" and "block" mode for paragraph separation) is something that would make most typographers barf.

- have you consulted a lawyer about the repercussions of moving the copyright notice to the end? I'll bet you lunch at a nice restaurant that most copyright lawyers would say it's a bad idea because you want to warn people up front of the copyright.

- On a side note, I was amused to see Sean Stewart's name crop up here. He was best man at my wedding. :) Last night I was playing with the stuff he did for the new "Watchmen" film.

Cheers,

T

charles ellertson's picture

OK, feedback . . . screech, whistle, screech . . .

bowerbird's picture

thomas, thank you so much for your reactions...

i'll see if anyone else wants to take a shot as well...

-bowerbird

PublishingMojo's picture

Like ebook design, pbook design is a compromise between the convenience of the reader and the limitations of the production process.
The single biggest factor determining the production cost of pbooks is length: more words equals more pages, and more pages equals more paper, more press time, and more shipping weight. Justified columns are designed to fit the maximum number of words on a page, which in turn keeps the page count to a minimum. There's no justification for justification in ebooks, because there's no paper, press time, or shipping.
Paragraphs beginning with an indented first line are another device to minimize length and save paper. Flush-left paragraphs with an extra line or half-line above make sense for ebooks.
Aggregating metadata into frontmatter (the pages with Roman-numbered folios at the front of a pbook) is likewise an artifact of the space limitations of paper. Put the copyright notice on a splash screen, like other software products, or link it to menu bar or toolbar.
The table of contents in a pbook is the ancestor of the home-page menu. Its column of page numbers is a navigation tool that pbooks required, but on ebooks it's as anachronistic as a foghorn on a space ship. Pbooks are littered with navigation and search tools (numbered pages, numbered footnotes, figure and table references, indexes) that were ingenious workarounds to the space limitations of the paper page, but don't belong in a hyperlinked medium.
What pbook design conventions should we preserve or adapt for ebooks? Readable fonts, for sure, but what's considered readable is a moving target. Gutenberg cut blackletter type for his Bible because that's what 15th Century readers were comfortable with. When John Baskerville introduced his eponymous type in the 1750s, critics wailed that it would cause blindness in readers accustomed to Caslon. Given time, ebooks will evolve their own optimal letterforms, and readers may even set preferences for the font, size, and leading they prefer.
One thing that seems fairly constant is line length, not measured in inches (or centimeters or picas), but in characters. The comfort zone seems to fall somewhere between 50 and 75 characters per line. Since ebook publishers have no minimum or maximum number of pages to worry about, they should optimize line length and let the number of lines be whatever it needs to be.

bowerbird's picture

thomas said:
> yes, hyphenation of ragged-right text is a legitimate choice.

for much of the infrastructure now in place, especially
hand-helds like the iphone, e-book programs simply
don't have enough firepower to do hyphenation well.

so i advocate turning off hyphenation entirely...

people are used to the absence of hyphenation,
since most of the web hasn't been using it at all.

plus, in the "toc" ("tools of change") .pdf that i was
analyzing, the hyphenation was quite atrocious, so
my advice to turn it off was extremely well-founded.

> So is multi-line composition/line-breaking of ragged right text

i absolutely agree that a multi-line method must be used.

and you can achieve a very nice even rag if you do multi-line...
(at least in english, with bad-line exceptions being fairly rare.)

> a more even rag is considered desirable by many typographers.

i agree that it is very important,

and i restate that a multi-line method can give it to you...

(and even if it couldn't, we still don't have the firepower
in our hand-held machines to do hyphenation correctly.
so we're stuck here.)

> the choice between sans and serif is not any
> more important than the specific choice of fonts:

certainly. i was merely relating the common advice, which is
to use a serif font for body-text, and sans-serif for headers.

yet -- like you -- i prefer sans-serif myself. (and i said so.)

but again, with e-books (and print-on-demand for p-books),
all these either/or choices need to be decided by the _reader_,
not by the _creator_ of the book.

(and it is because of its fixed nature, which does not permit
a reader to control these variables, that i hate .pdf so much.)

> I prefer sans for most current ebook settings, but
> I’d sooner be eviscerated with a spoon than
> read a 300-page ebook set in Arial or Helvetica.

and thus the importance of letting the reader decide... :+)

(but you were exaggerating a little bit. weren't you?) ;+)

> “mixed” mode (cross between “indent” and “block” mode
> for paragraph separation) is something that would
> make most typographers barf.

well, after you've seen how it looks, you'll probably change
"most typographers barf" to "almost all typographers barf".

but it paves the way to consider a reasonable "compromise",
which is to indent the paragraphs _and_ leave "space above"
each paragraph, just as most book-typographers do, right?

and you can probably guess where i'll go with that, which is
to let the reader decide how much "space above" will be used.

> have you consulted a lawyer about the repercussions
> of moving the copyright notice to the end?
> I’ll bet you lunch at a nice restaurant that
> most copyright lawyers would say it’s a bad idea
> because you want to warn people up front of the copyright.

i try to "consult a lawyer" as little as possible.

and most _especially_ the copyright lawyers...

plus i'd be wary of any advice that anything is "a bad idea"
due to a need to "warn people up front of the copyright",
because "copyright warnings" are now a laughing-stock...

at any rate, here's what the government has to say:
> http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ03.html#intro

under "position of notice" it says:
> The following locations and methods of affixation
> are examples of appropriate position of notice.
> These examples are not exhaustive.

it gives these examples, under "works published in book form":
> Title page
> Page immediately following the title page
> Either side of the front or back cover
> First or last page of the main body of the work

so it looks like the last page would be fine.

or, if an e-book falls in the class of "works reproduced
in machine-readable copies", the first example there is:
> With or near the title or at the end of the work

so again, it looks like the last page is fine.

but, you know, i'm not a lawyer, and i'm glad i'm not,
so if _you_ want to consult a lawyer, it won't be me...

again, thanks for the feedback thomas...

-bowerbird

Chris Dean's picture

Tracking.

paragraph's picture

indent the paragraphs _and_ leave “space above”
each paragraph, just as most book-typographers do, right?

I think that would be either/or, not both (if we are actually talking about first-line indents)?

bowerbird's picture

christopher said:
> Tracking.

i've found tracking isn't much good
when placing text on-screen.

first of all, negative tracking is awful.
so bad i think nobody would like it...

and some people might not _mind_
positive tracking, but realistically,
it just doesn't help too much either.

***

paragraph said:
> I think that would be either/or, not both
> (if we are actually talking about first-line indents)?

yes, first-line indents...

and my impression is that _most_
book-designers use "space above"
on the paragraph _in_addition_to_
the standard first-line indentation...

but i can't point to a support reference
for my position. can you, for yours?

-bowerbird

p.s. mojo, i'll get to your post next! :+)

Chris Dean's picture

If this is what a "p-book" is, it's definitely as hilarious as I first thought. If I call myself a "p-book specialist" instead of a "book designer" do I qualify for a salary increase?

aluminum's picture

"i am a poet. and lowercase is
part of my artistic expression."

But this is a forum. Communication should probably trump artistic expression when seeking feedback from others.

paragraph's picture

Bad boy, Christopher, tracking in public.

PublishingMojo's picture

p.s. mojo, i’ll get to your post next! :+)

Ooh, I'm getting goosebumps!

Nachos's picture

"Communication should probably trump artistic expression when seeking feedback from others."

Agreed. My brain hurts trying to read this post. Time to cuddle up with well designed, non-fiction "p-book".

bowerbird's picture

christopher dean said:
> it’s definitely as hilarious as I first thought.

great! glad that this thread is entertaining you!

and you get extra credit for coming up with
a topical link -- a comic from _today_ --
to illustrate your point. except you pointed
to a _web_comic_ (ohno!), not one in _print_,
so i now have to take away the extra credit
_and_ dock you two additional points as well.
sorry, but those are the rules of the luddites... :+)

however, you _can_ get one of those points
returned, if you mail me -- yes, snail-mail --
a self-address-stamped-envelope (number 10).

> If I call myself a “p-book specialist”
> instead of a “book designer”
> do I qualify for a salary increase?

um, yes, you do. go demand it from your boss.
if s/he gives you any trouble, just tell them that
the lowercase poet said it, so it _must_ be true...
it'll be completely convincing and win your case.

however, if you work for a major publishing house,
you'll be laid off next quarter anyway, so it would be
better to skip the raise and just go find another job.

***

aluminum said:
> Communication should probably
> trump artistic expression
> when seeking feedback from others.

i don't need feedback _that_ badly... :+)

so do please feel free to move along,
it won't hurt my feelings... ;+)

-bowerbird

hrant's picture

I personally encourage e-book development quite fervently. And yes, many rules need to be seen for what they are: dumb legacies. One way an e-book should improve over the hardcopy legacy is that instead of presenting text on recto and verso pages that are flipped in pairs, the text columns should be presented in a continuous horizontal sequence (breaking only where it makes content sense).

My strongest bit of advice however is this: you will only serve your own ego, and never any reader, by classing your artistic expression above humble functionality, clear communication. Design is about servitude, not expression; being made by a human for other humans, personal expression will surely come out, but it must be allowed to do so only in spite of you.

hhp

paragraph's picture

Title: greetings, and a request for feedback

Body: i don’t need feedback _that_ badly... :+)

I agree.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Christopher Dean, thanks for shedding some light on the mysterious "p-book".
I found another definition here. ;-)

And another one here.

bowerbird's picture

hrant said:
> you will only serve your own ego,
> and never any reader, by classing
> your artistic expression above
> humble functionality, clear communication.

you seem to be confusing my posts
with the tools that i've programmed.

like a film soundtrack, a requirement
for my tools is to be fully transparent.
they exist only to accent your content.

-bowerbird

bowerbird's picture

i did indeed ask for feedback here...

and i intend to reflect true appreciation
for the feedback i receive in full measure
as my reciprocation for the value therein.

but if you think i'm gonna compromise
my artistic integrity for that feedback,
you're wrong. i don't need it that badly.

so, are we clear?

-bowerbird

Thomas Phinney's picture

I was going to comment further, but I won't help people who incite or encourage piracy. So I'm out of this thread.

Cheers,

T

hrant's picture

> you seem to be confusing my posts
> with the tools that i’ve programmed.

1) I worry that there's a relationship. You are, after all, one person.
2) If you want us to read your posts easily, you will subvert your artistry and accommodate other people. You might think we're making a mountain of a molehill, but we care about details here, about optimal functional performance. It's not the only thing we care about, but many of us don't encourage making functionality a lower priority.

> i don’t need it that badly.

You should consider that we cannot provide what you might need badly: blind gushing admiration. If you want to flame artistic, this is simply the wrong place, I'm sorry to say. Actually, I'm not sorry to say!

> I won’t help people who incite or encourage piracy.

Maybe we can -and should- help them
see the damage that piracy causes?

Or is this case hopeless?

--

Bowerbird (note the cap), do you have any reaction to my columns idea? I wanted to get the elephant in your room more exposure first, but I do have some more technical ideas (like concerning resolution, tracking, etc.), I just don't want them to go to waste at your ego altar. Can you handle it?

hhp

bowerbird's picture

thomas said:
> I was going to comment further, but
> I won’t help people who incite or encourage piracy.

what i was "inciting and encouraging" (in that other thread)
was _some_thought_ about the _reality_ of the situation...

but, you know, if you'd rather stick your head in the sand,
or run away, feel free. you're not the first person to do that.

let me repeat the crux: the pirates laugh at your impotence.

(and me personally? there's so much bona-fide free content
out there already that i feel absolutely no need to _pirate_,
or to buy anything at all from the corporate content cartel.
as for fonts, i'm gonna use helvetica, because i would _love_
to see you eviscerate yourself with a spoon some day.) :+)

***

hrant said:
> I worry that there’s a relationship.
> You are, after all, one person.

there's no need to worry. absolutely no need at all.
my tools will not transform your work to lowercase.
i promise. (well, not unless you _want_ them to.)

> If you want us to read your posts easily, you will
> subvert your artistry and accommodate other people.

let me proclaim it -- loudly and clearly -- for all to hear:
if you don't like my lowercase posts, then don't read them.

or, in other words, i don't care if you read my posts or not.

indeed, if lowercase bothers you, please just move along.
you will be doing both of us a favor. yep, it's a win-win!

> You might think we’re making a mountain of a molehill

no, i think you're trying to bully me into conformity. :+)

and it will not work. you aren't the first to try, believe me.
and probably not the last. but trust me, you won't succeed.

> but we care about details here,
> about optimal functional performance.

gosh, i bet that makes you feel proud of yourself...

> You should consider that we cannot provide
> what you might need badly: blind gushing admiration.

yeah, right, hrant, that's _exactly_ what i came here for,
the blind gushing admiration typophiles are known for...

_you_ in particular! :+)

> Bowerbird (note the cap)

hey, you do what you have to do, that's ok by me... :+)

> do you have any reaction to my columns idea?

to tell you the truth, i wasn't exactly sure what you meant.

and i'm still not sure.

but perhaps you mean the way your website is structured?

i think it stinks.

if i came across a whole freakin' book like that, i would
give it to thomas, in the hope he would eviscerate himself.

> I just don’t want them to go to waste at your ego altar.
> Can you handle it?

i buy flame-retardant foam -- you know, the kind they use
at the airport during crashes -- by the tanker-truck-load...

there's no question i can handle you.

i'm not sure you can handle _me_, though... :+)

(especially if you keep talking _about_ me,
instead of about something that's on-topic,
because i can rip personal stuff to shreds.)

-bowerbird

nina's picture

"if you don’t like my lowercase posts, then don’t read them.
or, in other words, i don’t care if you read my posts or not"

Well, that is a worrisome attitude for someone who programs stuff that should be read. Do you have a split-personality thing going on? Or do you consider your posts to Typophile to be poetry, and separate from work?

Bowerbird, with a mind as closed as yours, don't think you'll ever learn anything. But it seems like you don't want that anyway. And by the way, it might help not to call the very people whom you turn to for feed-back "sissies", like you just did on that other thread.
Over and out.

Si_Daniels's picture

There are uppercase people and lowercase people, as well as mixed case people.

"bb" is most definitely a lowercase person.

hrant's picture

> there’s so much bona-fide free content out there already

If you don't mind using crap, sure. And if you can't taste that it's crap, that's not anybody else's fault. Oh, and Helvetica?! {Makes coughing sound that sounds suspiciously like "loser".}

And if you can't tell what a good font looks like, your hopes of making a good e-book interface are completely delusional. All you can be good at is describing your navel.

> my tools will not transform your work to lowercase.

Of course that's not what I meant. I meant that the artist in you might be too strong to tame when it comes to anything you do. Including pretending to engage in discourse.

> if you don’t like my lowercase posts, then don’t read them.

Ha-ha, we laugh at your impotence!

Seriously: if you don't care whether people are reading your posts, please use your own blog. This is not expressyourselfwithakeyboard.com.

> i wasn’t exactly sure what you meant.

Why didn't you ask?
That's a rhetorical question, which you yourself have already answered.

> especially if you keep talking _about_ me

But that's the only reason you're here.

hhp

raph's picture

apologies to bb for the caps

and, to make thomas happy, the image was found on lolcatz.net,
which carries a public domain notice. so no piracy was condoned

bowerbird's picture

publishingmojo said:
> Like ebook design, pbook design is a compromise
> between the convenience of the reader and
> the limitations of the production process.

ok.

> There’s no justification for justification in ebooks,

ha! "justification for justification". wordplay at work. :+)

> There’s no justification for justification in ebooks,
> because there’s no paper, press time, or shipping.

without disputing your point about justification as a
space-saving device, some people also believe that it
aids readability. and there's also the other point that
-- whatever reasons that caused it to come about --
it's been here a long time and people now prefer it...

so i'm not sure we can discard it so lightly...

> Paragraphs beginning with an indented first line are
> another device to minimize length and save paper.

this one i'm even less sure about. there is a need to
indicate paragraphs, and indentation is a good way.

indeed, indentation is better than "block" paragraphs
(a blank line between paragraphs) in some respects...
(e.g., if paragraph-break and page-break co-occur.)

if all we wanted to do was "save paper" then pilcrows
would be what we'd choose, and nobody uses them...

> Flush-left paragraphs with an extra line or half-line
> above make sense for ebooks.

just because it has made me curious, why do people
specify "flush-left" like you did right there? how else
besides flush-left would you think it could be done?

centered? flush-right with a ragged-left margin?

surely nobody would suggest those for a _book_.

> Aggregating metadata into frontmatter (the pages
> with Roman-numbered folios at the front of a pbook)
> is likewise an artifact of the space limitations of paper.

i'm not sure that i see how frontmatter "saves pages"...
(and the different numbering convention can't matter.)

> Put the copyright notice on a splash screen, like other
> software products, or link it to menu bar or toolbar.

except an electronic-book is _not_ "a software product".
at least we don't want people to perceive it in that way...

> The table of contents in a pbook is
> the ancestor of the home-page menu.

ok.

> Its column of page numbers is a navigation tool
> that pbooks required, but on ebooks it’s as
> anachronistic as a foghorn on a space ship.

not quite so sure about that. sure, in an e-book,
we want hotlinks, and not (just) pagenumbers...
(more about that _just_ right there in a little bit.)

> Pbooks are littered with navigation and search tools
> (numbered pages, numbered footnotes, figure and
> table references, indexes) that were ingenious workarounds
> to the space limitations of the paper page, but don’t belong
> in a hyperlinked medium.

more on this below, but what's telling here is your
perceptive observation; p-books are "littered" with
"ingenious workarounds" for navigation and search.

that's telling because it informs us that navigation
and search are _important_aspects_ with any book.

indeed, i've called _navigation_ the most important
aspect of a book. might be a stretch. or might not.

> What pbook design conventions should we
> preserve or adapt for ebooks?

that's a good question. :+)

> Readable fonts, for sure, but what’s considered readable
> is a moving target.

i dodge that "moving target" with one very simple tactic;
i let the end-readers decide which font they want to use.
that makes them happy, and that makes me happy too...

> Given time, ebooks will evolve their own optimal letterforms,
> and readers may even set preferences for the font, size, and
> leading they prefer.

that time is now. :+)

> One thing that seems fairly constant is line length,
> not measured in inches (or centimeters or picas),
> but in characters. The comfort zone seems to fall
> somewhere between 50 and 75 characters per line.

right. that's the result found by most of the experiments.
(although it's interesting that 75 is 150% of 50, meaning
there's a pretty big range regarding this "comfort zone".)

the 3 lines in the above paragraph are almost 60 characters.
i break almost all of my lines in that 50-75-character range.
and -- at least on some boards -- that pisses people off...
you wouldn't believe how angry they get about it. or maybe
you would, since some of you are that mad about my casing.
(imagine if you were that mad about _both_ of those things!)

at any rate, this is another of the variables i let readers decide.

and sometimes, it depends on the specifics of the situation...

if you're reading on an iphone, for example, or even a kindle,
that odds are that if the text is at a size you find comfortable,
the line-length might be at the short end of the comfort zone.

for instance, we could consider a p.r. picture from amazon,
showing a screenful of text as it gets displayed on the kindle.

here's that text, with each line's character-count to its right:
> he was slow in learning how to talk. "my /41
> parents were so worried," he later recalled, "that /50
> they consulted a doctor," even after he had begun /50
> using words, sometime after the age of 2, he /44
> developed a quirk that prompted the family maid /47
> to dub him "der depperte," the dopey one, and /45
> others in his family to label him as "almost /44
> backwards." whenever he had something to say, /46
> he would try it out on himself, whispering it softly /52
> until it sounded good enough to pronounce aloud. /48
> "every sentence he uttered," his worshipful /43
> younger sister recalled, "no matter how routine, /48
> he repeated to himself softly, moving his lips." it /52
> was all very worrying, she said. "he had such /46
> difficulty with language that those around him /46
> feared he would never learn."1 n/a

and here's a screenful of text as shown on the sony reader:
> boredom. thursday afternoons were usually a big /47
> peach day, with women getting ready for sunday /46
> cobblers, but not a soul stopped. n/a
> t. ray refused to let me bring books out here and /49
> read, and if i smuggled one out, say, lost horizon, /51
> stuck under my shirt, somebody, like mrs. watson /49
> from the next farm, would see him at church and say /51
> "saw your girl in the peach stand reading up a storm. /53
> you must be proud." and he would half kill me. n/a

so we're at (or below) the low end of the 50-70 "comfort zone".

as you can imagine, the counts go down more with the iphone,
and down even farther on the phones with even smaller screens.

but newspapers have small columns too, so it's not a problem...

we have the opposite problem with the big monitors nowadays.
they are now far too wide to present a comfortable line-length.

(which is why blogs, and sites like this one, now use columns,
such that the _real_ content uses up about 1/3 of the screen,
with the rest splattered with nonsense and ads and more b.s.)

but that "problem" now presents us with a great opportunity...

our monitors are wide enough to do a _facing-pages_display_.

a 2-page view returns us to the familiar mode of the p-book...
with each page being shown big enough for pleasant reading.

moreover, this 2-page view is useful with an e-book because
it allows _one_ of the pages to "drop away" in those situations
where we need some screen-space for some other purpose...

for instance, let's say the user wants to see the contents page.
you "drop away" one of the pages, so as to show the contents.
this allows the person to "remain in contact" with the body text
-- via the page which has not "dropped away" -- yet still have
room for the other purpose. having this room as "workspace"
comes in handy in all kinds of situations -- where the person
wants to view a larger version of a picture, or cycle through all
the book's pictures, or when they want to make an annotation,
or if they want to view pages from different parts of the book,
or any number of other situations that arise in the experience...

> Since ebook publishers have no minimum or maximum number
> of pages to worry about, they should optimize line length and
> let the number of lines be whatever it needs to be.

if we were going to "switch over" entirely from paper to screens,
and all the paper-books were to disappear overnight, and we
would never ever print out a book again for the rest of our lives,
then we could throw out all of our past rules and _start_over_...

but that's not our situation.

we need to have a more-gradual transformation...

so we need to do some more thinking... more on that later...

-bowerbird

bowerbird's picture

altaira said:
> Well, that is a worrisome attitude for someone
> who programs stuff that should be read.

unless you're reading my source-code, why would you care?

look, it's pretty simple, so i'm sure that even you can understand:
it you enter mixed-case text into my programs, the .pdf output
and the .html output will be mixed-case text. just like the input.

but if you have any more questions, i'll be happy to answer them.

> Do you have a split-personality thing going on?

no. yes. why do you ask? i don't know. ask me tomorrow.

> Or do you consider your posts to Typophile to be poetry,
> and separate from work?

the casing of my posts to this forum, or any other forum,
do not have any effect on the output of my tools. none.
zero. zilch. nada. absolutely no effect. at all. capiche?

is there anyone else who needs clarification on this fact?

***

hrant said:
> Oh, and Helvetica?! {Makes coughing sound that
> sounds suspiciously like “loser”.}

hey, i agree. how did helvetica ever make its reputation?
i think it's a crappy font.

you know a font i like? comic sans. that's a nice clean font.
i don't know why people hate it so much. i think it's funny.
puts me in a good mood every time i see type in comic sans.

but most of the time i use the mac font, lucida grande.
occasionally i choose verdana. that's another nice font.
and when i have to use a serif, i usually choose georgia.
the best things bill gates ever did were (1) verdana, and
(2) georgia, and (3) making a charity to fight malaria...

> And if you can’t tell what a good font looks like,
> your hopes of making a good e-book interface
> are completely delusional. All you can be good at
> is describing your navel.

i doubt you want to hear a description of my navel.

and i _can_ tell you what a good font looks like.
in fact, i just did. i like comic sans. looks good.

but hey, i don't need to impose my taste on _you_.
or on any of my users. or on any of their readers...

so i let the authors pick _whatever_ font they want,
as long as they have it on their machine, legal or not.

then i let the readers pick whatever font _they_ want,
as long as they have it on their machine, legal or not.
including comic sans.

> But that’s the only reason you’re here.

now, hrant. you remember what your psychologist said
about keeping your projection in check, don't you? :+)

-bowerbird

hrant's picture

> i don’t need to impose my taste on _you_.

First you would need to have some.

hhp

bowerbird's picture

umm-umm-good. comic sans. yummy! tastes great!

-bowerbird

paragraph's picture

i feel that most poets would be
offended by seeing your
self-important crap arranged
in stanzas as if it meant anything

bowerbird's picture

um, it's even more fun to offend "most poets"
than it is to offend "most typophile posters"...

-bowerbird

PublishingMojo's picture

just because it has made me curious, why do people
specify “flush-left” like you did right there? how else
besides flush-left would you think it could be done?

centered? flush-right with a ragged-left margin?

Just because you asked, "flush left" in this rather specialized context refers to the first line of the paragraph, which is flush left as opposed to being indented.

bowerbird's picture

publishingmojo said:
> “flush left” in this rather specialized context
> refers to the first line of the paragraph, which
> is flush left as opposed to being indented.

oh, ok, great, thanks for explaining that to me.
i knew there must be something i was missing.

-bowerbird

fi's picture

wow this thread is a clusterfuck

bowerbird's picture

> clusterfuck

yes, i feel like i have been welcomed quite officially now! :+)

i'd like to thank all the commenters here for making me feel at home...

you're a swell bunch of guys -- seriously, is there any estrogen here? --
and i'm sure we're gonna have _lots_ of fun interacting in the future...

-bowerbird

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

look, it’s pretty simple, so i’m sure that even you can understand

That sounds like you're insulting altaira. Why do you think we have to put up with insults?

You will lose friends and influence no one with that attitude.

Over and out.

hrant's picture

but he doesn't need friends _that_ badly... :+++)

hhp

bowerbird's picture

ricardo said:
> That sounds like you’re insulting altaira.

i suppose you can make it sound however you want to make it sound.
but don't try to make _me_ responsible for _your_ (mis)interpretations,
because i won't accept the charges on that collect call.

> You will lose friends and influence no one with that attitude.

i _disdain_ carnegie and his manipulative, deceitful philosophy...

-bowerbird

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