Simon Willison’s Weblog


Monday, 1st July 2002

Arial and Helvetica

The Scourge of Arial (via Zeldman). An interesting short history of modern typefaces and how Arial become widespread despite being merely a poor imitation of Helvetica.

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MovableType have released version 2.21, which finally introduces support for mySQL and also comes with an intriguing new feature called TrackBack. I’m stil trying to figure out exactly what TrackBack is.. so far I’ve figured out that it invovles embedding RDF information directly in to your blog which can then be combined with a “ping” to other blogs to inform them that you have linked to them, and give them additional information about your blog for display on a special TrackBack section for each of their blog entries. Scott Andrew has already implemented it and many other MovableType blogs are setting it up as well. TrackBack has its own blog, which has an interesting entry hinting that TrackBack could soon become part of a system for distributed taxonomies (a problem that XFML is also looking to solve).

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How Wolfenstein 5k works

I linked to the 5k entry Wolfenstein 5K the other day. Lee Semel, the author of the entry, has written an article describing how the impressive Javascript first person shooter works. The principle method used is the dynamic creation of XBM images using a 3D graphics technique known as raycasting (described in this tutorial). The author incorrectly states that Mozilla does not have the capacity to render XBMs—Wolfenstein 5K runs just fine in my version of Mozilla so I presume support has been added since he last tested it.

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Hixie goes open source

Hixie has open sourced his Perl weblog system. It has some nice features but a pretty extensive set of requirements (MySQL, CVS, Expat and a whole bunch of Perl modules). He has also added support for next and previous buttons at the bottom of each entry, but has not yet added <link> element support, as recently described by Mark Pilgrim.

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Back from Glastonbury

Back from Glastonbury. Blog catchup tonight, Glastonbury writeup tomorrow.

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