Questionable font choice for Serious Business [updated]

Looking at the New York (State) official website, I ended up with one more question than before the page loaded:

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Arrow was my addition.

The website had this appearance when I posted this, on January 2, 2015. The font reading “COMPTROLLER” appeared to read “COmPtROlleR” but with small capitals where I put lowercase letters.. Then I thought it was a bad font choice (Oswald Light), but now I think that it was a bad rendering on my PC. You can read the original of this post here.

Not just for journalizm!

Some time ago, before the word blog may have even been coined, or at least popularized, Thoughtviper had an old fashioned HTML site with a dayly or weekly listing of nonsense he had pickt up here or there and publicized as being just plain odd or strange. His InExObs1, for “inexplicable objects”, series I propose to honor with my own collection of odd, strange, or unfortunate miscellany.

I found this still in its shrink wrapping:


Leaving aside the odd name, which I suppose is supposed to be read as “gone, [like] so!”, could they have possibly gotten a more shifty looking mascot? Why did they want a Arab or Turk (so I’m guessing) on an overly narrow magical carpet? What does that have to do with sponges or cleaning?

Also, someone did not correctly center align the name! There’s an appreciable (few millimeter) gap between the “W” and the left edge of the insert, while the trademark sign on the right bleeds into the edge.

English simplification #1!

I, like about 10 000 other people out there, periodically have ideas about improving the language(s) they speak and write and use. My first one, which I propose to the rest of the English using world is this:

1. Words ending in -y add a letter S to pluralize and an apostrophe and a letter S to make possessive. To make both plural and possessive, add a letter S and then an apostrophe.


My party is fielding a candidate for the mayorship.
My partys are fielding a candidate for the mayorship. The laws allow electoral fusion here.
My party’s platform is trash, all the extremists poisoned it.
My partys’ turnout is always zero, because I never tell anyone I’m throwing a party.

This allows the removal of one of the ten dozen rules for plurals and possessives in English (currently, you have to change -y to -ies for plural, but not for possessives). It is also worth noting that this “rule” is actually the removal of a special case. The new “rule” is the default for English words, and so does not actually have to be specially memorized or learned. In other words:

1′. Words ending in -y form plurals and possessives the default way.

Those who already know English will have to slowly unlearn the rule during the transitory period.

If this were to seriously be taken up by the English speaking world, I have no idea how long that would take. I would love to see this happen, but I know this blog is read by almost noone right now, so I’m not going to pretend it will happen untill someone “big in English” proposes it. I’ll be glad if/when that happens and hopefully not too jealous of their fame. (:

Uppercase medial S

I’ve got a secret thing for the now completely discarded medial s, which looks like this: ſ

Prior to the early 1800s, the lowercase letter S would be written as ſ when not at the end of the word (hence, “medial” or in-the-middle). On old colonial (United States/Canada) documents, it is common to see it in printed matter where it looks almost exactly like a lowercase F.

medialsIf you know the Greek language or alphabet, this is sort of a reversed terminal sigma in that it never appears at the end. There may be an actual connection between them, but I don’t know and am currently disdaining looking on WikipediA to find out, although I’m curious… OK back: WikipediA says there “may” be a connexion, but it’s inconclusive. See here:

If you know the German language, this is the first part of the double or “sharp” S: ß You can see how the medial S forms the “up and over” part of the letter, and then a normal S follows. This has nothing to do with the Greek letter lowercase beta: β

There has since been a somewhat-general (I gather from WikipediA) decision to have a “capital sharp S”, ẞ, however there has not, to my knowledge, been such a development for the medial S. I propose that the capital medial S be defined as having a glyph of Γ. This is the uppercase Greek alphabet gamma. Using this we have:

UNITED ΓTATES of AMERICA (first thing that came to mind after about 15 seconds of thinking)

medialsupperThis has several benefits. The glyph is almost identical in geometry to the original. The more pointed form of the Γ v. ſ accords more with the more angular form of most uppercase letters v. their lowercase forms. It is already included in almost all fontfaces so implementation is easy. However, it is taken from a foreign alphabet, so is unlikely to confuse anyone who isn’t overly literate.

I have no idea if it is going to be useful at all, but I will have it ready incase it is called for!

A dirty Trick of Windows 8

I, some time ago, was given a tablet PC (MSI WindPad 110W). I’ve been using it for ages and the screen is crackt up from dropping it enough to show. The only real disappointment with it (other than the small SSD, which is easily upgradeable) are the two webcams on it. They are both grainy and slow to respond when they work.

The default install and Microsoft CoA on the back are for Windows 7 (Home Premium). Since Windows 8 is to me far superiour to Windows 7 for touching, I installed a fresh Windows 8 on it. Initially when I was interested in using the webcams, I found they would point-blank not work @ all. After troubleshooting I ended up with Ubuntu installed as an aside to Windows via WUBI . This let me easily boot into Ubuntu where Cheese had no trouble with them.

After a short time, the annoyancy of booting into the other OS, of transferring the files, and the disk space taken up with the other OS (essentially a several gigabyte webcam software) lead me to uninstall it and live without any webcams.

Some time later, by total accident, I discovered that you have to enable Location Services or Windows will deny any application’s request to access the webcams, silently. To do this:

  • Sign in as an administrator
  • Open the Control Panel (Not PC Settings)
  • In the Search box (upper right corner of the window) type “Location”
  • Select “Location Settings”
  • Enable “Windows Location Platform”
  • Press “Apply”
  • Restart your PC to be safe

You may have more success accessing your webcams now, however, they may still take forever to warm up on first access.

A sore need in Society

To my great annoyance, after the Interface Hall of Shame by Isys disappeared, noone has really attempted to revise it or start their own. This is unfortunate, since many sites and software have a hideous quality about them that makes me want to throw them as well.

Certain software categories are particularly prone to this:

  • “Applicant tracking software” (ATS) and other euphemizms like “talent management” HR software for trying to hire people.
  • Instrumentation software, that is software that is require to use a particular piece of hardware attacht as a peripheral.
  • Little used parts of large software. The Add Font interface in Windows Vista was notorious for this.
  • Ported software.
  • Software-as-an-afterthought. Example: A company decides to have a little application they can send as an automatic attachment to all their sales-types outgoing Emails as a “virtual business card”. If this sounds like something that should have disappeared with Windows 98, I think you are correct. But these adhoc affairs are the worst little things frequently.
  • Software put together by people with no UI/UX experience or knowledge or interest. This is frequently part of the previous category.

I will be populating the category “Interface Hall of Shame” with posts exampling this kind of obnoxiousness. Ofcourse I will attempt to have pixtures, since there’s not much use of a post about interfaces without pictures.


I propose to use this blog to write whatever I feel like, which honestly is what every blog is about. To be specific, I have a list of things to blog about, and will try and dayly increase it. I do not guarantee I will write it dayly though:

Helpful Ideas I have had, or others have imparted to me.
Entertaining Stories of mine, or others, that do not lose too much in the telling.
Observations on interesting things I’ve found.
Proposals for improving things.
Hideously bad user interfaces.
Personnel Adventures.
Indorsements and Discountenancings.
Anonymous animadversions.
Occasional unsolicited Reviews.
Personal glitches or self-memes.
Potential journal Entries.
Maybe a guest-poſt.
Authorizing of fiction.
Any societal interactions I feel are worthy of memory and display.

Note that I have multiple styles dictated by my mood at the moment, not quite multiple personalities. For example, in one I tend to injoy archaic spellings (“Publique”, “Proſpectus”) of the 1700s, while in another I am quite rigidly accurate. Some are orthoganal to others, and so may overlap.

Your comments solicited. I dispise registration requirements, and so allow open commenting on this blog to posts. I moderate the comments solely to prevent and suppress SPAMs. I will not reject a comment because I disagree with it only.

,Your Author.