Font Smoothing, Anti-Aliasing And Sub-Pixel Rendering

The discussions on side by side comparisons of how Microsoft and Apple render fonts continues on ‘Joel on Software‘.

Where they differ is in philosophy:

  • Apple generally believes that the goal of the algorithm should be to preserve the design of the typeface as much as possible, even at the cost of a little bit of blurriness.
  • Microsoft generally believes that the shape of each letter should be hammered into pixel boundaries to prevent blur and improve readability, even at the cost of not being true to the typeface.

Joel’s deeper explanations of the technology and philosophical differences between the company’s engineers is terrific, give it a read.



Hurricane simulator to blow real houses down


Wind engineers have created the world?s largest portable hurricane simulator, which they will use to blow over vacant buildings with Katrina-strength winds to test how they withstand the fierce forces of a hurricane.

?We want to conduct experiments to evaluate real homes in communities that are impacted by hurricanes,? said project leader Forrest Masters of the University of Florida. ?This simulator also gives us the ability to test home retrofits and new building products aimed at preventing hurricane damage.?

Read more at MSNBC Tech


Fun With Vista – Quick Launch Shortcuts

If you’re a Quick Launch hound like I am, then your tiny icons next to your start button never get a rest. I have all my important frequently accessed programs stuffed in there – but sometimes it can be a hassle to swing the cursor over and click on each icon. So here’s a tip for you:


Keyboard shortcuts for the Quick Launch icons in Vista. You can open any icon in the Quick Launch bar (just to the right of the Start button) by holding down the Windows key and pressing what I’ll call the “rank number” of the icon – the number that corresponds to its position in the list. So, in my desktop here, Windows + 1 opens Outlook, Windows + 2 opens Internet Explorer, Windows + 5 opens the Snipping Tool and so on. This means that you can set a really simple keyboard shortcut to any program you want – just right-click the program in the Start Menu and choose Add To Quick Launch, then drag-and-drop it to assign the number you want.

I used to hate Quick Launch – now I don’t know how I ever existed without it 8)

Hacks n Tweaks

Rice Engineered to Carry Cholera Vaccine

A team of Japanese researchers has developed a type of rice that can carry a vaccine for cholera, this could one day ease delivery of vaccines in developing countries.

While it’s only the latest of several plants being tested as potential means of producing vaccines, the development is potentially important in medically underserved countries that lack refrigeration to store regular vaccines.

But the work is preliminary, having been tested only in mice.

Read more on this at


How J. Striegel Failed The Turing Test

J. Striegel recounts his escapades as a celebrity and as a bot:

Some time around March, I started receiving a number of random instant messages from people I’ve never met before. Apparently, my AIM alias had been added to at least two online lists and people all over the world were busy importing me as a buddy.

First Striegel wound up on the supposed ‘Secret buddy list of celebrities”.

sexybumkin123: hey.. so you’re famous right?
jmstriegel: Who me? I’m a movie star.
jmstriegel: Shit, I gotta go.
jmstriegel: My limo just arrived and Paris wants her damned sidekick back.
sexybumkin123: Oh my god. Come back!
sexybumkin123: I love you!!!!

Then he wound up on a list where people thought he was a chat bot. He failed to convince them he was a human, how sad, right?…

jmstriegel: no, really. I’m quite human.
jmstriegel: test me if you want
shymuffin32: ok
shymuffin32: why do you like music?
jmstriegel: hmm. i’ve never really considered that.
jmstriegel: hell, i’m not going to be able to contrive a good answer for that one. ask me something else.
shymuffin32: jeesus, you’re worse than eliza

Not sad, it’s hilarious! :grin: