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Mark Simonson

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Mark Simonson
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  • Re: The vinyl records of font formats

    That's interesting, Nick, but that article actually makes some of my points about the limitations of vinyl.

    The part where it quotes someone saying "...lossless" doesn't elaborate on what they mean by that. Any time you make an analog copy, there is generational loss. A vinyl LP is at least two generations away from the master tape, and the master tape is at least one generation away from the session recordings. The engineers take this into account and try to compensate, but there's no getting away from it, only disguising it. CDs, on the other hand, really are a lossless format. It's uncompressed, which is why you can't put more than 70 minutes on a CD. The data encoded on a CD is an exact copy, bit by bit, of the master digital file.

    The article makes some good points about the evils of audio compression, but that's not the same as MP3 compression, which is simply throwing away more or less inaudible parts to make the file smaller. Audio compression is an engineering technique that makes the music sound "louder". It's possible to do this with analog recordings, too, but to a lesser extent. Because digital audio has much greater dynamic range, it's easier to do with digital recordings.

    It's like cranking up the saturation and contrast on a digital photo. Just because many digital photos are abused in this way doesn't mean the format is inferior to film. It's the same with digital audio. It's a terrible idea and the only reason it's done is because if you don't your recordings will not sound as loud as recordings that do use it. It's like how they crank up the color on the tvs at Best Buy. So everybody does it.

    This lack of audio compression is one of the advantages of vinyl, and I think it's a legitimate reason to prefer it. But, ironically, it's because of a limitation of vinyl, not because it's a superior audio format as such. Digital audio is capable of greater fidelity than vinyl, but it is true that that capability is routinely compromised for the sake of loudness, at least with pop music. High end audiophile CDs are another matter.
  • Re: The vinyl records of font formats

    Vinyl is not lossless. Recording engineers had to boost certain frequencies just to get an LP to sound reasonably close to the original tape recording. Think about it: As the needle follows the groove toward the middle of a record, the frequency response drops substantially because the speed at which the vinyl passes under the needle gets slower (the disc rotates at a constant speed, but the length of the groove for each rotation gets shorter and shorter, the bumps for the same frequencies have to get closer together). People making LPs had to take this into account, so you had to avoid putting music with a lot of high frequencies toward the center of the record.

    In the LP era, serious audiophiles bought reel-to-reel decks.

    That said, low bitrate digital recordings are definitely worse than vinyl. Above a certain bitrate, though, most people can't hear the difference compared to a CD, which is a lossless, uncompressed recording. Definitely not on consumer-grade equipment. It's not unlike JPEG vs uncompressed TIFF.
  • Re: Marking Copies of Fonts

    I had an idea some years ago for discouraging piracy. Basically, claim that the purchaser's credit card number (or some other sensitive data they've given you as part of the purchase) is hidden in the font files, but don't actually do it. On reflection, I decided that it would probably be a good way to get people to stop buying my fonts.
  • Re: Home office vs. office

    It doesn't work for all kinds of work, but I think it makes a good fit for the independent type designer. The social thing is definitely a factor. Before the internet, I found it much harder to work at home.
  • Re: Mixed Case Liga Feature . . .

    It works the same as in FontLab (or anywhere else that uses AFDKO syntax), except that you only include the part inside the curly brackets of the feature definition. The outer portion is added automatically.