May 2008 checkpoint

I am now settled into my new, albeit temporary, apartment here in Vancouver, BC working for Microsoft!

Joining Microsoft

For those who haven’t been following my blog long I took a job at Microsoft Canada Development Center as a developer on LINQ to SQL. It turns out my H-1B Visa has been approved and I will be moving down to Redmond in October.

Joining a company of Microsoft’s size is a daunting experience. The sheer number of people, departments, systems, procedures and intranet sites to navigate and learn plus of course the actual job of jumping into the product and seeing where we go from here. I’ve also been helping out a little on the forums and internal lists and getting involved in the regular scheduled update meetings.

Of course you also hear all sorts of interesting news just before it becomes public knowledge such as publishing XNA apps to Xbox Live! and Office getting ODF and PDF support.

On the personal front…

A whirlwind couple of weeks full of new employee orientation, relocating, getting lost, filling in forms, exploring, meeting a couple of hundred people and catching up with a few old friends including one from Guernsey all of which lead to a quiet blog.

There have been some personal stories of getting lost, baby sharks and falling in lakes which will be kept to email now – there’s no way those 500+ subscribers are here for my personal bits! I’ll be sending out an email this week so if you haven’t seen something by the weekend and we’re friends ping me and I’ll forward you on a copy.

Some photos are up on Facebook with a few more to follow.

Envy Code R

Of course what everybody really wants to know (according to my inbox) is where Envy Code R preview #7 is.

It is coming, but every time I think I’m close to a release I find another annoying glitch all related to hinting.

Hinting is the process whereby you tell the rendering system how to shape the characters to better fit into a pixel grid. It consists of a table saying at which sizes to smooth and apply instruction plus a program that adjusts the font as a whole for a given size and then a program per-glyph that tells it how to adjust the points in relation to each other with delta hints providing modifications for specific point sizes.

It’s a complicated process if you’re doing it at the lowest level with a tool such as Microsoft’s Visual TrueType but is made easier with a tool like FontLab Studio 5 which has an auto-hinter that often gets things wrong but is a lot easier to work with and works with hints at a higher level of abstraction.

Which is why I parted with $999 on FontLab and I’m going to investigate a donate option to try and recoup some of those costs.

The bold variant is the only one now requiring hinting and I’m hoping to have it done in the next 24-48 hours. The regular variant looks just great… as does italics.


4 responses

  1. Avatar for kikke

    I don't use hinting in Linux freetype (this type of rendering looks like in OS-X defaults), but in Windows can't turn off the hinting. Maybe you can release the VS variant, because it only contains regular and italic.

    kikke May 22, 2008
  2. Avatar for robert

    More than happy to defray the costs. I'm even getting used to the g.

    robert May 22, 2008
  3. Avatar for Damien Guard

    The hinting is still present in the VS version - believe me the font doesn't scale well without it as different letters e.g. lowercase are not the same height at a given point-size. See Envy Code R PR6 at 12 point on Windows for an example.

    Hold on in there, I'm firing up FontLab now to tackle the remaining bold bits.

    Damien Guard May 23, 2008