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    My impression of this post is not positive.

    First of all, the page layout on my 15” laptop screen, plus Firefox, looks terrible. On top of that, the typography of the post itself is nothing to write home about. Beautiful typography has this universal quality: it just looks good to most eyes, and this page? This page is not beautiful.

    Second, I think it is patently untrue to claim that paid fonts automatically make you a better typographer. For evidence, see the plethora of quality open source fonts.

    Third, I am not convinced about the value of the suggested point sizes. Personally, I prefer larger point sizes in my text, whenever I can afford it, but I’m not going to run around claiming that I have found the golden range of point sizes. If you want to make that claim, I do think you have to back it up with evidence; something that is sorely missing in modern typography circles.

    Page margins fall in a similar boat to my complaints about claims regarding ideal point sizes. Far more egregious is the fact that the page margins for this page on my 15” laptop screen are atrocious. Why is the body text laid out off-center, all the way to the right?

    Overall: all the bells in my head ring “shilling!”.

    This is the first post I will flag on lobste.rs (I’m a new user), with “off-topic”, for being low quality, and an ad. I’m willing to have my changed about this post, and I guess a single flag means nothing anyway, right?

    1. 4

      I’m not commenting on your evaluation of the book, but I can answer one of your questions:

      Why is the body text laid out off-center, all the way to the right?

      To make room for notes in the left margin. This page has two such notes: the first one begins “There are 72 points to an inch.” I can see why you thought the body text was off-center, though: if you scroll to a part of the page without margin notes, there is no visual indication of why the left margin is empty.

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        I do not think he means to say that the rules here are universal silver bullets. If you want true nuance about font sizes and open source fonts, it’s covered in the book and acknowledged.

        What this article is a bunch of thumb rules for laypeople/non-designers to get their typography looking better than most defaults provided by typesetting software. It is very hand-wavey and generalizing on purpose, to allow people to get up and running with significantly improved typography very quickly.

        As for your claim for it looking terrible, it is clearly subjective, as on my 15” laptop screen, plus Firefox, I think it looks very beautiful.

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        There are a lot of really nice and readable free fonts out there. Price ≠ quality; yes, that’s true in some cases, but you can get beautiful and high quality fonts freely licensed.

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          The author is also in business of selling fonts, so you have to take that one particular piece of advice in light of that. That said, I’ve read his whole book and it seems to be on point everywhere else.

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            What do you like? I’m leaning towards Charter + Fira Sans for my blog, but I love collecting fonts so I’m always eager to hear what others like.

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              I really love the look of Inconsolata. Originally, I had fallen in love with Consolas, but wanted to make some extensions to it. Looking for an open font similar to Consolas lead me to Inconsolata, which I could easily add extra glyphs to using FontForge. Recently, Inconsolata has had a major update making it a variable font family.

              I use it everywhere where it’s appropriate, which is 90% of my use cases (text editors, code editors, and personal notes).

              For the rest, I use Computer Modern, due to LaTeX. To my eye, LaTeX documents look gorgeous, usually with minimal tweaking, sometimes with more. Again, an open source font.

              1. 4

                What do you like? I’m leaning towards Charter + Fira Sans for my blog, but I love collecting fonts so I’m always eager to hear what others like.

                I keep (kept?) a list of good typefaces, and I have a Google doc from Doug Wilson in my bookmarks.

                1. 1

                  Fantastic, thank you!

                2. 2

                  I’m using Open Sans for my blog (blog.avalos.me), which might not be the fanciest or prettiest font; but it’s extremely readable and friendly. I’m giving hacker vibes to my personal website (avalos.me) with Jetbrains Mono.

                  1. 2

                    Open Sans is quite lovely, I may have to use it!

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                The Big Web has “users” – a term Silicon Valley has borrowed from drug dealers to describe the people they addict to their services and exploit.

                Is this an intellectually honest statement?

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                  It’s very clearly a joke

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                    I didn’t find it very funny, only a strange distraction.

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                      I’m not so sure about that… having seen some of Aral’s talks I think he’s sincere when he uses language like “spiders”, “farming” and “users”:

                      The Big Web is the centralised web; it is a web in the sense of a spider’s web. The spiders that sit at its centre waiting to suck you dry are Big Tech people farmers like Facebook, Google, etc.

                      The Big Web has “users” – a term Silicon Valley has borrowed from drug dealers to describe the people they addict to their services and exploit. We farm users in server farms. On the Big Web, we can fit thousands of users into a single server and Megacorps “scale” to run thousands upon thousands of servers in their farms.

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                    I have had a hell of a time finding a way to buy the LG 24” 4k monitor (LG 24UD58-B) in Canada. It’s something I have been looking into over the last year. Only option is directly buying from LG on Amazon/Ebay.

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                      To what extent do these issues also affect other “legacy” languages, e.g. FORTRAN?

                      Also, apart from security concerns, do these issues also raise problems for scientific programming tasks? For example: there are many old scientific programming code bases written in FORTRAN or C, which are considered to be the gold standard in performance. Should one be weary of about their correctness?

                      1. 1

                        To what extent do these issues also affect other “legacy” languages, e.g. FORTRAN?

                        Fortran has similar backward compatibility issues.
                        The COBOl-85 standard was initially rejected because of a lack of backward compatibility.

                        Also, apart from security concerns, do these issues also raise problems for scientific programming tasks? For example: there are many old scientific programming code bases written in FORTRAN or C, which are considered to be the gold standard in performance. Should one be weary of about their correctness?

                        I’m leery of any app that doesn’t have a test suite and many apps that do.
                        Undefined behavior is common in C applications; I’m not sure about Fortran.
                        The app may have worked at the time but modern optimizers are more likely to exploit undefined behavior.

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                        I love vim as an editor. I’d consider myself an advanced beginner, stuck in the lurch of needing to put a lot more time in in order to move past that. And yet, for many projects, I just don’t want to use vim. For C++, CLion almost makes me forget how good Visual Studio is. For Rust, VSCode + rust-analyzer is amazing. For Python, VSCode’s basic linter finds about 70% of my typos (the bugs I take full responsibility for). (I know you can add language support via language servers.)

                        Fundamentally, I see programming more about building models via ASTs, rather than building something via text. It sounds kind of pretentious that way; I’m not sure how else to describe it. It just seems like there’s a certain genre of programming that fits better with vim, and it is places where type information is not as important. The other thing is I don’t spend much time actually writing code; most of it is in massaging/refactoring/thinking of ways to get things to happen. The writing part seems secondary.

                        Other thing is I currently dislike tools that seem like they require a ton of config. I just don’t care about doing that generally. neovim is a big boon to me; I put it on and aliased vim to it and really like the defaults. But I’m not sure if I feel the need to actually configure neovim like I did for many years.

                        I joke with people that my 2020 vim config is: $ rm -rf $dotfiles_root/vim; brew cask install vscode.

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                          Look into coc.nvim; you can use language servers like rust-analyzer in vim itself.

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                            I use the Rust plugin with CLion, and prefer the experience to VSCode + Rust Analyzer. I think the IntelliJ Rust plugin also fits well with your view of “editing ASTs, not text”, because the plugin is a Rust parser.

                            CLion + IntelliJ also beat VSCode in terms of how easy they are to configure.

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                            It’s ironic (or sad?) that Techcrunch site itself has a cookie consent wall that blocks you from seeing anything on the page until you accept or if you don’t want to accept from what I see you have to click on pretty much more than 1000 different advertising partners to opt out. Completely against what the content itself says.

                            I’m hoping that the new ePrivacy Regulation will make this behaviour harder for bad actors: “The new rule will be more user-friendly as browser settings will provide for an easy way to accept or refuse tracking cookies and other identifiers”

                            https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/proposal-eprivacy-regulation

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                              I’m actually unable to access the website: umatrix gives me the following error.

                              uMatrix has prevented the following page from loading:

                              https://guce.advertising.com/collectIdentifiers?sessionId=3_cc-session_9ea9127b-19ef-4dd6-81f0-0b1ecdc17f14

                              I think the domain doesn’t need any explanation.

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                                The thing is particularly malicious.

                                You click on an innocent url that points to “techcrunch.com”. Then the techcrunch site redirects your query to to the site “advertising.com”, with some identifiers of your session and, presumably, of the techcrunch site. Finally the advertising site, after having processed your case, redirects you back to the techcrunch page that you wanted to read in the first place.

                                I wonder whether the administrators of a technical website thought that their readers wouldn’t notice this shit. Or maybe they don’t care. Are they evil, or simply idiotic?

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                                  My guess is that it’s a workaround for browser privacy protections that block 3rd party requests, so the trackers make you visit them as 1st party, so that they don’t get blocked.

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                                    My guess is that it’s a workaround for browser privacy protections that block 3rd party requests, so the trackers make you visit them as 1st party, so that they don’t get blocked.

                                    So bad, my browser blocked the double redirection as “fishy”.

                                2. 1

                                  How do you set up uMatrix to block that page from loading? Out-of-the-box uMatrix doesn’t show the advertising.com website on the switchboard. Did techcrunch change it up?

                                  1. 1

                                    Not sure if there’s something special on my configuration but this was not blocked through the matrix configuration: as @coco said, the initial link looks fine but the website immediately redirects to advertising.com which then redirects to the actual website. The whole intermediate page was blocked, not only parts of it.