On Mon, 28 Feb 2005 09:12:25 -0500, Peter T. Daniels
<grammatim@...> wrote:

> What you said in your last message about making all the thin and thick
> strokes _exactly_ the same would seem to be a major part of the program.
> That's not how eyes and lettershapes interact, even if engineers would
> like it to be.

I have one foot (somewhat) in the engineering camp, the other in the ...
oh, what should I call it esthetic? No question that some engineers are
quite unbalanced toward their technical sides, but they have counterparts
who seem to take pride in almost despising science, math, and technology
(present company excepted, for sure).

You're probably reading this with digital typography*, and your monitor is
probably not better than 120 dots/inch, so the vertical strokes of the
lower-case m's do have (at least theoretically) identical widths, most
likely, unless your letters are a half-inch high, which is very unlikely.
Xerox developed an LCD (probably lab. proof-of-concept, one off, maybe)
with a res. of 300 dots/inch, and people said it looked about as good as
ink on paper.

*Ever hear of using a teletypesetter, maybe a Linotype, to print out
e-mail? Offhand, I don't think that has ever been done. However, early
messages might well have been printed on "daisy-wheel" impact printers, in
a few odd installations.

Welcome to the quantized world of bit maps!
("Quantized" means there are no partial, or modified pixels, so to speak.
Quantizing is more common than you think. If you read a traditional clock
or traditional thermometer, you subconsciously quantize (ordinarily) to
the nearest minute or degree. Just as simple as that. Don't be put off by
the term.)

Surely, I'd love a display capable of several hundred dots/inch (btw, one
inch = 2.54 cm), but the technology has probably a decade or more to go
before we'll see those. (I might never, but that's OK.) Printers are doing
much better.

Please, I do like "analog" typesetting and type design; instead of
resolution, you have "noise", but letterpress and then offset have reduced
that to practical invisibility. I also like the freedom of traditional
methods of glyph design. Nevertheless, the conlang char. set designed with
Metafont, recently linked by its creator, looked lovely to my eyes. (My
apologies for not doing the research; I'm horribly behind in e-mail.)

I reached adulthood before becoming immersed into the digital world. My
mind rather rebelled against the idea that if you chop up analog (that is,
stepless) entities finely enough, by using enough bits (they are
spectacularly inexpensive!), you're essentially as good as analog. True,
analog can change what it's representing, sometimes in favorable ways;
digital strives for exact reproduction and definition.

Btw, unless I'm quite mistaken, Pierre B├ęzier was an engineer. I was
reminded that Adobe uses his splines "all over the place" (my quotes).
Google on [bezier] for more. Surely his work ranks with that of Piet Hein
(superellipse, for one) for practical use of math. to create beauty.
Kindly take a peek at
<http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~barsky/gifs/bezier.html>
I really doubt that you'll be disappointed. It looks different from
another such plot also by him; this is more elaborate.

My regards to all, and apologies for not catching up.

--
Nicholas Bodley /*|*\ Waltham, Mass.
The curious hermit -- autodidact and polymath
Who set type, then justified it, in a composing stick, in junior high
school.