September 28, 2009

California, here I come!

Posted in bookbinding, books, education, production, technology, Tools at 9:06 pm by India

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India, Ink., has moved. The live version of this post is now located at http://ink.indiamos.com/2009/09/28/california-here-i-come/. Sorry for the inconvenience!

book bindings

Now I know what I’ll be doing next time I’m in SF: Tim James of Taurus Bookbindery has opened the American Bookbinders Museum. The Chronicle reports.

In the museum sits an 800-pound Imperial arming press from 1832 that James bought and had shipped from France three years ago. Asked how expensive that was, he answers “frightfully,” declining to elaborate. James has been working on the museum for 15 years, accumulating paper cutters, paper samples, lettering tools, contraptions for lining blank paper, photos, manuals, and union pins from the International Brotherhood of Bookbinders.

Earlier this year he attained nonprofit status and started giving tours by appointment. In August he opened to the public. Admission is free and on Saturdays binder Tom Conroy is there working in the traditional fashion.

Even if you’re not going to San Francisco in the foreseeable future, do look at their website, which includes, among other things, a database of books annotated with salty comments such as,

Edition:
First, one hopes
Annotations:
This may not be the most utterly useless self-published book ever written on binding your own books; and it may not be the very worst bound. It must, however, be in the final running for both prizes.
Condition:
Covers heavily cockled, pages cockled at gutter, from poor binding technique

(On A How-To Guide: Bookbinding from Home)

Have any of you dear readers yet been there? If so, please report.

(Thanks, Jack!)

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August 22, 2009

When, not if

Posted in advice, hardware, technology, Tools at 10:32 pm by India

Backup Tapes

Today over tea I was holding forth about backup methods, which reminded me that I’ve long meant to post something about how I’ve been handling it. To wit: right now, I’ve got a two-part system—constant partial backup online via SugarSync and less frequent but complete offline backup using Time Machine and an external hard drive.

Yes, I got backup religion the hard way, by having my laptop drive fail in 2006 when it was six months out of standard warranty. I was able to salvage most of my data using Prosoft Data Rescue, but only because I happened to notice before it went into a complete dive that the drive had failed its S.M.A.R.T. status test. Now I keep Smart Reporter in my menu bar, and I back up constantly and redundantly, over and over again, a lot. And I always fork up the money for AppleCare, which replaced that dead drive in a weekend.
Read the rest of this entry »

March 27, 2009

The future of publishing is here today!

Posted in books, Design, hardware, humor, production, technology, Tools at 9:43 pm by India

wire-sewing machine

The oddest thing about the newly announced winner of Bookseller magazine’s annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year is not its title, The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, but rather that its author, Professor Philip M Parker of the French business school Insead, has produced more than 200,000 books,

thanks to his invention – and patenting – of a machine which writes books, creating them from internet and database searches in order to eliminate or substantially reduce “the costs associated with human labour, such as authors, editors, graphic artists, data analysts, translators, distributors and marketing personnel”.

I think the graphic artist–eliminating part of the machine may need a bit of work, since if the competition had been based on covers rather than titles, I feel certain that Fromage Frais, for all its charm, would have lost out to either Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring or Curbside Consultation of the Colon, which were merely shortlisted.

The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring Curbside Consultation of the Colon

More: “Oddest Book Title prize goes to treatise on fromage frais” by Alison Flood, Guardian, March 27, 2009

November 29, 2008

Weapons of mass respiration

Posted in art, books, Off-topic, technology, Video at 1:50 pm by India

Edith Kollath’s show is at Dam, Stuhltrager Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, until December 14. Read at NYC Resistor about the zany TSA adventure she had when she tried to take these books to Germany for a show.

Via Bre Pettis, who made the above video.
Read the rest of this entry »

October 26, 2008

“I’ve got science for any occasion / Postulating theorems, formulating equations”

Posted in technology, typography at 1:18 am by India

atoms-n-aldus

This is so wonderfully geeky I can barely stand it:

Last week I mentioned the atomic pen, which scientists used to construct some awfully tiny letters one atom at a time. These are small letters indeed: measuring two nanometers in height, they’re about 1/40000 the thickness of a human hair, which surely gives their inventor sufficient authority to issue the casual throwdown that “it’s not possible to write any smaller than this.” But it is, of course, and the technique for doing so has been known to typefounders for more than five hundred years.

Go find out who won that throwdown: “Atoms and Aldus” by Jonathan Hoefler, Typography.com (via Tom Christensen’s rightreading.com).

October 13, 2008

Calibrate!

Posted in books, print-on-demand, printing, production, technology, Tools at 9:08 am by India

For anyone who uses print-on-demand outfits such as Lulu.com, or who has been considering doing so, Cathi points out the following brilliance:

Dear Lulu” is a test book researched and produced by graphic design students and Prof. Frank Philippin at Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany, during an intensive two-day workshop with London-based designer James Goggin (Practise). The book’s intention is to act as a calibration document for testing colour, pattern, format, texture and typography.

Exercises in colour profile (Adobe RGB/sRGB/CMYK/Greyscale), halftoning, point size, line, geometry, skin tone, colour texture, cropping and print finishing provide useful data for other designers and self-publishers to judge the possibilities and quality of online print-on-demand — specifically Lulu.com, with this edition.

The book’s price is set at Lulu.com’s exact printing cost per unit.

Read the rest of this entry »

October 7, 2008

Flash vs. substance

Posted in art direction, Design, illustration, Lazyweb, technology, Tools, web development, Work at 11:47 am by India

Sole Searching

A few weeks ago, Rachel Sugar, one of my coworkers, had an idea—based on a book called Jews and Shoes—to present some illustrated factoids about footwear in Jewish tradition. Staff favorite Vanessa Davis was nominated for the art portion of the project, and I asked if she’d be interested in working on what was then still a very vague idea. She was game, fortunately, because she rocks.
Read the rest of this entry »

June 27, 2008

And attendance is the other 50 percent of your grade.

Posted in letterpress, Reading, technology, typography at 12:39 am by India

Free Hand Penmanship Series Writing Charts

Fonts can shape reality in intangible ways, as Phil Renaud, a graphic designer from Phoenix, discovered when he studied the relationship between his grades and the fonts he used for his college papers. Papers set in Georgia, a less common font with serifs, generally received A’s while those rendered in Times Roman averaged B’s.

—Peter Wayner, “Down With Helvetica: Design Your Own Font,” New York Times, June 26, 2008

Man, that’s why I got those B’s in college: Georgia hadn’t yet been designed.

(Thanks, Rose!)

. . .

In other news, I just registered for TypeCon again. Anybody else going?

October 26, 2007

Am I in the wrong business?

Posted in technology, web development, Work at 7:27 pm by India

dirty hands

I just spent something like three blissful hours doing my best to break a new module in Nextbook.org’s content management system, and then writing up a list of bugs and change requests. (The most rewarding was when I managed to elicit an SQL syntax error—all hail the mighty apostrophe!) This is perhaps the most fun thing I’ve done at my job all year.

I used to love doing this . . . stuff—what would you call it? QA?—at Poets.org (where it was a major part of my job), I once sent an unsolicited website critique to my friends at jubilat (I also sent an unsolicited critique of some typographic aspects the magazine, which garnered an “Okay, if you know so much, you fix it, smartass,” though much more kindly, of course), and I frequently submit bug reports to other sites that I visit. I haven’t gotten to really nitpick over any websites in recent years, though, and I miss it.

Anybody need a beta tester?

Photo: dirty hands by O Pish Posh / Shauna R; some rights reserved.

October 17, 2007

The Future of Paper

Posted in books, hardware, printing, technology at 10:49 pm by India

rolled paper

I realized the need for e-paper in 1989. At Xerox PARC, we had long predicted the advent of the paperless office, with the widespread adoption of the personal computer we pioneered. The paperless office never happened. Instead, the personal computer caused more paper to be consumed. I realized that most of the paper consumption was caused by a difference in comfort level between reading documents on paper and reading them on the CRT screen. Any document over a half page in length was likely to be printed, subsequently read, and discarded within a day. There was a need for a paper-like electronic display—e-paper! It needed to have as many paper properties as possible, because ink on paper is the “perfect display.” Subsequently, I realized that the Gyricon display, which I had invented in the early 70s, was a good candidate for use as e-paper.
(Nick Sheridon, “Father of E-paper,” interviewed at The Future of Things)

I confess that I print nearly everything I have to read for my job, even though I spend all day (and night, obviously) reading text—much of it far longer than half a page—from a computer screen. I try to justify this by saying that I need to be able to mark things up, and that I don’t print anything at home. (Because I can’t. Because my inkjet got gummed up and I’m tired of fixing it.) But I do often e-mail PDFs to myself and print them at the office. Have you ever tried to cook from a recipe on your laptop screen? It sucks, especially if you have limited counter space.

At least I usually print on both sides. Read the rest of this entry »

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