Sunday, January 20, 2013

Adobe Source Code Pro font

I’ve just downloaded the new open source monospaced font from Adobe: Source Code Pro. I’m using it at 9pt size on Windows, and it has the same vertical and horizontal size of Microsoft's acclaimed Consolas font at 10pt – it means each character occupies the exact same square of pixels. Coincidence? Maybe not. Consolas is a great coding font praised by thousands of programmers around the world, so it’s natural that it could have been used as parameter.

My impression so far is that Source Code Pro looks lighter than Consolas, with less cluttering. It looks like a crossover between Consolas and Inconsolata, a font which looks absolutely great on Linux, but bad on Windows.

On Linux, Source Code Pro at 9pt renders as good as in Windows. It occupies the same horizontal spacing of Inconsolata at 10pt, but more vertical spacing. Too much vertical space, in my opinion; at 8pt, the font is too small if compared to the line height it has. It would be a lot better if this vertical space could be cut down. And the bold is too bold.

Source Code Pro can be downloaded at SourceForge, and the project is hosted on GitHub, which is a great initiative.

I’m really picky about the font I code with – in fact, I’m absolutely paranoid about it, I often change the font I use –, and I consider Source Code Pro worth trying on Windows, I can stare at it for hours without getting tired. Definitely added to my monospaced fonts collection, and from now on, the default monospaced font on this blog!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

jQuery with requestAnimationFrame

The requestAnimationFrame specification is being cooked to replace the over-used setTimeout call when doing JavaScript animations. By specifically targeting animations, it’s highly optimized for this purpose. And since JavaScript animations are becoming more and more widespread, I believe it’s a great initiative, aiming to smooth all moving things inside your browser window. Concept and usage are well explained on this article.

If you use jQuery, however, you are not taking benefit of this new specification. It was used on a previous version, but it was dropped since then. I believe it should have been kept, misuse of the animation features shouldn’t have guided this decision. Anyway, when I was developing a jQuery plugin to embed requestAnimationFrame inside jQuery animation again, I just found out that someone had already done that. It’s available on GitHub and it works very well. The author has also made some claims on jQuery forums to make it default inside the library, with no success so far.

So, this is what you need to do (the file you need is within dist directory):
<script type="text/javascript" src="jquery-1.8.3.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.requestAnimationFrame.min.js"></script>
Animations instantly became smoother on Firefox on Linux. Highly recommended.

Friday, January 11, 2013

R.I.P. victims of the loudness wars

Terribly mixed, brickwalled, clipped everywhere, static noise, ears bleeding, the horror... loudness wars victims. As an audiophile, it deeply saddens me when I find a good album ruined by a horrible mixing. I think this disease began spreading towards the end of the 1990’s, and from now on, most of the albums are simply unlistenable. Producers responsible by these atrocities should die slowly and in great pain, by having all their blood drained away from their perforated eardrums.

Here it follows a list of some ruined albums which I particularly mourn over, because I cannot listen to:

Slayer
Undisputed Attitude
1996
-10.54 dB

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Californication
1999
-12.42 dB

Children of Bodom
Follow the Reaper
2000
-12.63 dB

Pantera
Reinventing the Steel
2000
-11.42 dB

Stratovarius
Infinite
2000
-11.47 dB

Rage Against the Machine
Renegades
2000
-11.98 dB

Velvet Revolver
Contraband
2004
-10.45 dB

Franz Ferdinand
You Could Have It So Much Better
2005
-11.02 dB

Audioslave
Revelations
2006
-11.14 dB

Joey Ramone
Ya Know?
2012
-10.12 dB


There you have something that makes me really sad about.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blurry fonts on Firefox 18

Firefox is the browser which behavior I like most, but it’s seriously becoming a pain to use, version after version. I’ve just upgraded my Firefox to the ridiculous version number 18, and on some specific sites the fonts look terribly blurry. Seriously, they hurt my eyes. It’s specially noticeable on Google sites, like Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, Groups and Docs – and the font in Docs looks particularly bad.

I’ve run through some fixes from previous versions (though I never had this problem before), like this, this and this. Nothing seems to work. I’m using both Windows XP and Windows 7 to perform all these tests. At first, I thought it would be a problem of GPU rendering overriding ClearType settings, but the fonts are also blurry on Linux!

There’s a thread at Mozilla’s board with some people complaining about this since v17, where the solution was to disable hardware acceleration – what I did already, to fix other rendering problems at that time. On v18, however, no one could find a fix yet, it looks like they really messed it up. So if you have this problem, go make some noise at that thread!

Congratulations to Mozilla for dropping the ball again, with its moronic and Chrome-wannabe release cycling which is introducing more and more bugs. If I wanted Chrome, I would have downloaded Chrome.