January 31st, 2009

Apollo 4 on column of fire

Did I add Glenn Greenwald to the list of grousers, yet? ...

... If not, consider him added, with an honorable mention for interpreting the meanings of events to support the gracelessness. He latched onto a poll showing the stimulus bill’s popularity going down as ‘evidence’ that working with Republicans is not a good idea. I say: this is normal behavior for someone who has resisted an impulse purchase; indeed, the initial positive response was probably just because Barack Obama’s picture was on the packaging.

Greenwald also worries too much about the Republicans and the press saying nasty things about Barack Obama. This is a lesson I learned for myself by scientific method: a young-middle aged African-American, new to DC, wins the presidency with margin to spare; this is a new fact. I have two choices about what to do with it; I can tack the new fact onto my prejudice that it matters terribly what Republicans and the press say, or I can re-evaluate from scratch, reaching the conclusion that I overestimated the importance of Republican insults and biased reporting—what is this new phenomenon? I ask and then try to find answers.

* * *


The way I see things, we all live in a big townhouse association, and don’t get along well with all our neighbors. Barack Obama lives in the association and is the association president. He cannot rid himself of the neighbors with whom he, and you, and I do not get along, and he cannot ignore their concerns even though they vote against every proposal, because, frankly, they are his neighbors and ours, and we can’t do a damn thing about it. Better that the bad neighbors vote against a project that unconsciously halfway satisfies them, than that they vote against a plan that just inflames them.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

OpenType follies

Having found xdvipdfmx too difficult to cajole into doing what I want, I finally am resorting to the most educational method, which is to hack on the native support for PDF in Ant. In studying this code and reading the PDF Reference I have learned just how hilarious the ongoing non-support of OpenType is in the Scribus DTP program.

For years, Scribus has embedded OpenType fonts in PDFs by converting them to ordinary graphics objects, which removes all hinting and makes the fonts look terrible in many cases. The excuse for this is that you need PDF version 1.6 to embed OpenType fonts, and some software couldn’t and still can’t handle PDF that advanced. This all is true, but I’ve discovered that the difference between an embedded plain PostScript font and an embedded OpenType font is whether you stick the string "Type1C" or "OpenType" in a field somewhere; all you have to do to make things work is to say "Type1C" instead of "OpenType".

There are more complicated ways to embed an OpenType font, but this one would have been quite adequate for Latin script.