Susan Kare Who Gave the Mac a Smile

Alexandra Lange writes about Susan Kare in The New Yorker:

What Kare lacked in computer experience she made up for in visual knowledge… She also designed a number of the original Mac fonts, including Geneva, Chicago, and the picture-heavy Cairo, using only a nine-by-seven grid.

Kare is a legend.

Hạ Nguyên: Bèo không trôi ra biển

Những câu chuyện rất ngắn rất ngậm ngùi của tuổi thơ. Một cô gái quyết định phá thai để tiếp tục có cuộc sống rong chơi. Một cô bé nhảy lầu tự tử quên log out Facebook. Một nhà nghỉ ồn ào nằm gần một ngôi chùa yên tịnh. Hoặc một lối sống một mình: “cái giá của tự do là cô đơn mà.” Với lối viết giản dị, gọn ghẽ, và cảm động của Hạ Nguyên, nên đọc để giải trí.

Reading Aloud to Young Children Has Benefits for Behavior and Attention

Perri Klass, M.D.:

A new study provides evidence of just how sustained an impact reading and playing with young children can have, shaping their social and emotional development in ways that go far beyond helping them learn language and early literacy skills. The parent-child-book moment even has the potential to help curb problem behaviors like aggression, hyperactivity and difficulty with attention, a new study has found.

After reading this article last night, I decided to read aloud with Đán instead of making him read himself. Afterward, he said, “Can we do this again tomorrow?” For weeks, I stopped doing Let’s Read with him because he showed no sign of improvements. He struggled sounding out words and yawned profusely. I was getting frustrated as well so we took a long hiatus. Now we need to take a step back and read aloud together. His teacher also assigned him a word ring. I thought he was doing great until I realized that he memorized the words instead of learning to read them. He just spat out a word before I could flip to the next one. He struggled when I picked the word randomly.

Xuân has shown interests in reading. He loves it when we read together. He also interrupts us whenever I read with Đán. Now that we read aloud, he can join us. Đạo likes to read, but it is his last resort. He reads to distract himself from eating. At night, I give him some extra time to read before we go to bed. He read his book and I read mine. Before we knew it, the time was 10:30 pm.

Perfectionism in Type Design

In a conversation on the update of Robert Slimbach’s classic Minion, Robert Bringhurst pointed out Slimbach’s perfectionism:

You’re famous in some circles for that kind of perfectionism. And for more persistent kinds of perfectionism too. Minion had only been out for a couple of years when you rebuilt it as a multiple master typeface. And in 1999 or 2000, you made the first OpenType versions of Minion, folding the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic, along with the ornaments, the small caps, and everything else into a single font. I studied those fonts pretty closely when they were released, and I was amazed and delighted by what I saw. There was phenomenal attention to detail. For example, all the diacritics were subtly redesigned and repositioned, made a little narrower and lifted farther up above the letterforms. I’m sorry to say it, but in the English-speaking world, most type designers don’t know or care very much about such details. And not everyone takes font upkeep and editing that seriously.

I agree with Bringhurst although I do see some improvements in designing diacritics. I always have tremendous respect for Slimbach for making his typefaces as accessible to many languages as possible. Minion is of his exemplary examples.

Computers in Libraries 2018: Day 1

I always have a mixed feeling about the annual Computers in Libraries conference. In past years, I hardly found the presentations inspiring. Many of my colleagues probably felt the same; therefore, most skipped this year. I was not planning on going either, but I changed my mind at the last minute before the discount ended. With the group rate and membership discount, the admission is quite cheap; therefore, I don’t feel so bad. Although the venue is in Arlington, Virginia, I get to get away from the office for a few days.

For the first day, I sat in most of the presentations on UX and digital presence. In the first presentation, “Creating Engaging Content Strategies for Maximum Impact,” I had no clue what the speaker what talking about. Followed by “Custom Data Rich Websites Using Information Architecture,” which is another boring talk on Drupal. After lunch, I was half zoned out on “Iterative Design: Users in Learning Object Development.” Worse was “Website Design Winners & Losers!” The title alone made me cringe.

After being fed up with boring web talks, I switched to a different track. Learning about Dash and Dot robotics for the first time excited me. It seems like an excellent way for kids to learn to code. Đạo’s birthday is coming up. I am thinking of dropping $280 on Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot Robot Wonder Pack for his present. It’s not cheap, but it is more useful than buying him Lego. With Lego, he would spend an hour or two building, but Đán and Xuân could just break it in a second.

For tomorrow, I will try to attend presentations that I don’t know anything about.

David Sedaris Diaries: A Visual Compendium

In addition to journaling, David Sedaris has been creating artworks for his dairies. This book, which compiled and edited by graphic designer Jeffrey Jenkins, showcases collages of items Sedaris had found as well as his original compositions. His natural ability to incorporate images and letterforms added an intriguing visual element to his writing.

Rod Rosenstein Revealed Nothing

For his interview with Judge Douglas Ginsburg at Scalia Law School, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein did not say much about the investigation. He talked about his career and a bit about his personal life. He did confirm his reason for appointing Robert Mueller as a special counsel. No one can do the job better than Mueller. He also sees his responsibility in broader obligations, and not about his reputation or party affiliation. He is doing the right thing and I thank him for that.

The End Stages of the Trump Presidency?

Adam Davidson:

There is no longer one major investigation into Donald Trump, focussed solely on collusion with Russia. There are now at least two, including a thorough review of Cohen’s correspondence. The information in his office and hotel room will likely make clear precisely how much the Trump family knew. What we already know is disturbing, and it is hard to imagine that the information prosecutors will soon learn will do anything but worsen the picture.

I am optimistic.

Gutted Google Analytics

After many months contemplating, I pulled the plug on Google Analytics last night. Although GA is not as intrusive as other trackers, I no longer want to keep track of my visitors. I don’t know how many of you are reading this site, but I respect your privacy. I have done nothing with the data GA collected and I have not checked my traffic for a long time.

I would love to know my readers (you can contact me any time), but I am also fine not knowing. It’s a personal blog after all. I write what I want to write and you read what you want to read. We can keep our relationship that way. It’s all good.

With all the in-your-face ads and snooping scripts all over the internet, I would like to provide you a place to escape. When you come to my site, you can read and leave. If you enjoy what I write, you can come back. That’s it. I want to help make the web a friendly place to visit again. I also want to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In addition to this blog, I gutted GA on my portfolio site, Vietnamese Typography, and Professional Web Typography. Now you can read and browse these sites without being tracked.

Fantastic Four

After we were married, one of my wife’s friends asked us how many kids we will have. Not knowing how much work going into raising kids, I said four. My wife looked at me like I was out of my mind, but it was too late for her to back out. Her friend who has two kids reassured my wife not to worry. The number will drop once the first kid arrives.

Her friend was almost correct. After Đạo was born, I thought we were done. I didn’t think a little baby could turn our world upside down. The day we had to take him home from the hospital, I was terrified. He looked so tiny inside the infant car seat. I was too afraid to hold him. He seemed so fragile that I could drop him or crack his bones. Fortunately, he turned out to be more resilient than I thought.

We were going to stop, but my mother-in-law encouraged us to have a second one so they could have siblings to play together. Sure, one more won’t be so bad. When Đán arrived, he came out quick. We barely made it into the delivery room. We were less frightened because we knew the drill. My mother-in-law is right. Đạo and Đán play together as much as they fight against each other. At the end of the day, they are still close.

As if our family was not chaotic enough with the two boys, my wife’s sister gave birth to a baby boy and their brother’s wife also give birth to a boy. With too many testosterone in the family, we yearned for a girl. I convinced my wife that third time’s a charm and she went for it. Xuân turned out to be a boy. Then her sister has another boy and their brother has yet another boy. When all seven boys get together, the place is beyond chaos.

With seven boys, the chance of landing a girl is extremely slim. My hope and dream for daddy’s little girl were gone and we were done at this point, but life never turns out the way we expected. We just have to take whatever life gives us. Of course, life is giving us another boy and he will meet us later this year.

In Vietnamese tradition, four boys (tứ quý) are considered to be precious, but five boys (ngũ quỷ) are considered to be demons. We definitely want four of a kind, not five demons. So this baby has to be our last. In addition, Đán will no longer be the middle child alone. When he was little, my wife’s dad was battling with terminal lung cancer; therefore, our mind and attention were divided. We were there for him, but not as much as we were with Đạo. I didn’t even realized how big and strong he had become until the day we took some family photos. He was dressed in a pullover without a shirt and he looked so chubby and cute. Despite lacking of attention, he turns out to be more independent. In several months, he will have Xuân as an in-between sibling.

With a new kid coming up, we will face more challenges ahead, but we have enough experience to plow through. We will be fine. The more the merrier. I am still excited even though this will be our four and our last.