I’m working in a paper-aging process to create an authentic 18-century looking library at my office cube (but more on that in a later post). And I realised a major snag I hit. Out of all the fonts I searched – no matter how realistic they look like handwritten text, they still render two characters identically.
I’ve always heard how the TTF spec has a full fledged turing-complete language in it. I’m waiting to be impressed. I’m looking for a font (again, a college project I am willing to fund), that will contain metadata on standard deviance or allowable variance on each gylph on each character. What I want is a realistic-looking handwriting font with “mistakes” in it.
Anyone aware of such a font? Anyone think this is an interesting thing worth doing? Unfortunately for me, the one thing I dont have is time. Fortunately for me, I don’t mind going through some expense if this needs to be custom-developed.
This may be the rare occasion where I use my blog to ask questions rather than bombard my opinions on the few readers who care to read it.
I was talking to a friend one night and she mentioned an interest in looking at punch cards once – just for the fascination and respect one feels when we look at how our forefathers brought about the computing revolution. This spiked that instrumentation-spark in me (a Dark Side that I try to hide).
Old instruments always inspire us us with awe and admiration at their novetly – it makes us believe in our future. I know mathematicians still learn the Slide Rule out of fun and curiosity. People still want to know how to use the Abacus. And then why do we throw away our past, our history, our legacy so easily and at the slightest whim?
Here’s the deal – I want a punch card machine – a reader of some sort. If someone manufactures them, I’d be happy to buy it. If not, will some college students enthusiastic about recreating the founding steps of computing, just build one? Build a card reader that will read a fortran program, run it on the desktop and provide the output on a printer (for a close recreation, I do have an old dot matrix printer).
It’s easy to blame our programming tools – but I’ve got this itch to write code using punch cards – run it and debug it. I want to look at deploying it – I wanna try and send a “program” to my friends over punch cards which they can run and use. Maybe its just plain old stupidity. But it’s an urge and I’m ready to do all I can to satisfy it.
If anyone has any information on where I might get my hands on a punch-card instrument, please I beg you, contact me and tell me how I may get my hands on it. People love to sail on old ships. I’d bet there are many captains who would want nothing better than to sail on a 16th century ship. That’s the way my obsession with punch cards stands.
I have some crazy friends who play with Slide Rules and teach them to enthusiastic students. Given such an instrument, I’m sure their ever-mischievous brains will think up some way of making it the rage amongst the upcoming computer science students – perhaps re-igniting that interest in the core science that we all claim has been lost lately.