Letterpress: a Snog, not a Peck

My latest Economist blog article hearkens back to my roots as a graphic designer who specialized in type and typography. It's called "Debossed, yes. Debased? Maybe," which is a title designed to draw you in. Debossing is slamming letterpress type and art against paper (or vice versa, depending on your press), so that the raised type makes an impression in the paper. (Technically, you need a plate behind and in front of paper to deboss, just like you need the same to emboss. But the intent is the same.)The reason for the post is Apple's inclusion of hybrid letterpress/laser-printed cards as an option for print-shop output in the latest version of iPhoto ’11. What most people think of as "letterpress" is a subset of what letterpress used to be. Most letterpress was carefully printed with the least impression and contact between paper and ink.

Zombie Cookies and Web Type

I wanted to call out a couple of articles and radio appearances from the last week related to the same topic.Last week, I started reading up on the evercookie, a code library and set of notions about how to create tracking in a browser that was nearly impossible to delete by using many different hidey-holes in a browser. The evercookie itself isn't malicious; it's a proof of concept to expose the privacy weaknesses in modern browsers and upcoming standards. I wound up writing about this for The Economist's Babbage blog ("The cookie that never crumbles"), which went up over the weekend; in a few minutes on The Conversation on Thursday on KUOW; and then this morning on APM's Marketplace Tech Report with John Moe. This morning, I filed a piece for The Economist about a favorite subject of mine: typefaces. There's been a large bit of movement in the last year, accelerating recently, that's brought together type designers (and type foundries) and Web browsers. We'll see a lot more real type real soon.

Lost September

My September and a few days into October were lost in a miasma of finishing a book. The book, which unfortunately doesn't contain the cures for all known ailments, is instead a review of iPhone/iPad/iPod touch apps, nearly 200 in all. The project was supposed to be accomplished in a leisurely period in August and September, but various circumstances conspired that were no one's fault.In the end, I worked more or less straight about 14 hours a day on the book from Labor Day (on which I labored) through Oct. 6. My children still recognize, me as I saw every morning and nearly every evening. Lynn picked up a huge amount of slack in taking care of the boyos on the weekends that I had to work. I've generally kept about 80 to 90 percent of my work within daytime office hours. I do some email in the morning and a little writing some evening. But I try to work hard and then not work during other times. In my most intense previous periods of work, I've had to work some evenings and some parts of weekends, but never anything like this. We did a three-month book in two months, more or less. I'm happy with the results, which head to the printer this week. Peachpit Press is the publisher, Five-Star Apps is the title, and the Web site is here. Go pre-order a copy and make me happier. It's more likely a gift book than a book one buys for oneself, I think. You have a friend, colleague, or relative who bought an iPhone or iPad, and you want to get them something that helps them figure out what to do with it beyond email and Web browsing. I cover games, remote access, reading apps, utilities, and much more. During the same period, one of the editors of the Economist's Babbage blog asked me if I would write a couple of entries a week for the foreseeable future. I did not want to say no, and thus have also been putting in a few hours a week even during crazy book time to write those entries. My latest, and one of my favorites, is about how two guys turned the idea for an iPhone tripod adapter into a crazy fundraising early success that also involves 3D printing. Read "An atom-based product, developed in bits." The Economist doesn't run bylines in its regular print issue, which is edited to have a common and strong editorial voice. On the blog, which is less formal, an author's initials are used. I've included the Babbage blog for my G.F. entries in the Glenn super-feed you can subscribe to via RSS at upper right. October will be a month of catchup. Programing for TidBITS and Take Control. Assignments (overdue but with permission) from Macworld magazine. Migration of my isbn.nu and other Web sites to virtual cloud hosting. And more.