Sunday, May 31, 2009

Helvetica is Expensive

Stung by criticism from xckd and college humor videos about my choice in fonts, I decided briefly to try out this whole 'Helvetica' craze. It turns out though, that that's not included with Word. But hey - no problem - I'll just load up Firefox and download it! Right?

It turns out, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, that you have to pay for that privilege. 43 Canadian dollars will get you one set of characters. If you want that in bold and italic (or bold and italic, or a few other basic variations) it could run you a couple hundred. And if you wanted the full pack, with the international characters, accents, font weights, rounded edges and whatnot it costs about nine hundred dollars. Nine hundred dollars.

Not that I begrudge Linotype for profiting off this font. They did after all put in a lot of serious design work into those letters fifty years ago and they should be rewarded for that. And they are undoubtedly trying to keep the unwashed masses away from the font, which is supposedly overused already. But still: nine hundred? I'm sorry blog readers, but you're just going to have to put up with Times New Roman and Arial (that's close to Helvetica, right? Oh fine, no Arial).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The BBC has a cool photo of a really big fish today. It's really, really big.

Meanwhile, on campus, it looks like Stephen Hawking might not be able to give a guest lecture in town after all due to his health problems, which would be most unfortunate. However, I was looking at the archives of previous lecturers and we've had some pretty impressive people speak here. Amongst them: Roger Penrose (of Penrose tiling fame), Leonard Mlodinow (physicist and author of The Drunkard's Walk and Feynman's Rainbow), and Jay Ingram (my idol).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Renovating, Please Stand By

*We interrupt this post to bring you an informational update about the website.*

I've been ignoring my main domain ( to write this blog for some time, but it will soon be coming back online to host more permanent pages. A new homepage design is already up to test the layout and links to this blog.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Love Libraries

It's the long weekend! Yay!

It's also rainy, most people have gone home for the weekend, and the jazz band canceled practice. In short, it's the perfect time to finally get a library card. This is process is a bit annoying for students who move every four months, but digging up the sublet agreement and filling out a form is a small price to pay for a free bookstore, music store, and movie rental place within walking distance.

So what did I get on my first visit to the library? I decided to get one item from each of the three main media types the library carried (books, cds, and dvds) and ended up with:
  • Anna Russel -- Again? (CD) (They also had an album by the Arrogant Worms)
  • Man, Beast, And Zombie: What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Human Nature (Book)
  • Farscape: The Best of Season One (!) (DVD)
Yes, I'm a happy geek right now. Goodbye piracy, helloooo public library.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rob's in Malawi

And you can read all about it at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mysteries of the Long Lost Folders - Episode 1

Hey, look what I just found in my drawing folder (see above)! It's all weird and artsy! I get the feeling Freud would have a lot to say about this picture.

In other news, I visited my sister over the weekend and she introduced me to Wasted Talent, a webcomic drawn by an engineering graduate who for some reason wants to go and indulge her weird artsy side. It is most unnatural. Having said that, it's also awesome. [Sample joke: a prof says 'Ignoring the air resistance..." causing two students to snicker at the thought of deadly rain that never hits terminal velocity. No seriously, it's funny.]

Ninjas and Health

If you aren't healthy enough to withstand a ninja attack, then you're not really healthy. Which is why I've finally caved to parental and doctoral advice and am going to go get some physio.