Font Foolishness

Many years ago, before the digital age, there was a clever mechanical way to make small adhesive labels. It was made by Dymo, and I own one.

It provided a very convenient way to identify stuff. And that, alone, was pretty good.

But recently, someone created a Dymo font for use on computers. I do not have a clue as to why. It is being used to promote a current Broadway show.

Whether or not you find that attractive is your call. However, those selections of Dymo-style text seem to be real labels rather than computer-generated text.

The reason is that the font designer created blank spaces between words as empty rather than as solid. This is what happened when I used the font on my computer.

As can be seen on the second line, there are blank spaces between words. This would not be possible on mechanical tape.

The third line shows that additional graphic elements (shown here in red) had to be added to simulate actual tape. The fourth line is the completed simulation.

Another font that bewilders me is



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Digital Printing Can Hurt You

If you are not a frequent user of printed products you may be in trouble when you need to reprint something old. If all you have is a mechanical (pasted up board) it is practically worthless. Commercial printers today require digital files (usually PDF, or a high-resolution JPG for photos) from their customers.

What is also bad is that you may have had a digital file that you sent to your printer originally, but you do not have it now. Your printer may not have it either. It may have been lost or trashed when his company merged with a larger one. Or he may be out of business completely.

While the migration to digital printing has had an adverse effect on buyers of print, it has provided a new source of  business for me. I have been getting more and more requests to digitize documents and art from people who possess little more than a beat up paper copy of an old document from which to work.

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Raised Printing

I am writing this blog to publicize that an old traditional form of printing is becoming obsolete. Recently, a customer asked me to redesign her informal note cards. The printer I used a few years ago was out of business. It took me quite a while to find a new supplier. And that company only does thermography work just one day a week because there is not enough demand for it.

For may years, raised letter printing (know as thermography) has been a popular method of printing business cards, wedding invitations, announcements, and the like. It gives an elegant look to such documents, particularly when printed on quality bond or linen finish paper.



The process is labor intensive and time consuming, so it does not lend itself to modern, automated methods of applying ink to paper. It requires special slow-drying inks that are treated with a special powder and are exposed to intense heat for short time. Individual colors (called “spot” colors) are used, and most commercial printers use only a limited number of colors. Moreover, shades of color must be created artificially by applying a dot screen effect to represent a percentage of the color. It is not pretty.

In contrast, digital printing requires only four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black— known as CMYK colors) which may be mixed in any combination to create literally millions of colors and shades of color. These are referred to as process colors. The orange rectangle (below left) is an example. The rectangle on the right is a 50% tint (note that there is no dot screen).




It makes me sad that this is happening. However, I do not miss such things as flip phones, VHS tapes, black & white TV, cassettes, typewriters, floppy disks, phones with cords and rotary dials, CRT monitors, and the like. But I do prefer to listen to analog (vinyl) music rather than digital (MP3).

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Lack of Service From Verizon

Forget about trying to reach Verizon. I called their 800 number today and there was a one-hour wait in the queue.

How can people get service under such circumstances? Yet they still want me to pay my bill on time.

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Air Show Deaths

It bothers me that there are so many senseless deaths in the name of entertainment. Too many (including several members of the military) have died in aircraft maneuvers and parachute jumps. Some sick spectators watch in the expectation of a tragic accident.

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Making an Appointment

Have you ever called to make an appointment and and be sent to going around in circles?

The other day I called my periodontist for a hygiene (teeth cleaning) appointment. The receptionist responded with “When would you like to come in?” I answered “Monday, July 10th.” She then said “I’m sorry, but the hygienist is only in on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.”

I was annoyed. Why didn’t she say that in the first place instead of wasting my time with an improper first question as to when I would like to come in?

If options for an appointment are restricted to certain times, why isn’t the patient told that in the first place? Is there no way to eliminate this stupidity? It happens too often.

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Customer Service Mixed Results

First, the bad part, then the good part.

Recently, I purchased a gas barbecue grill at Lowe’s in Rosedale, NY. I needed a grill that would run on natural gas. The staff member that assisted me stated that the grills I was interested in were made to work using propane, but that I could convert one to natural gas with a conversion kit. I purchased both, plus a delivery charge. Assembly was free, but conversion was not available.

When the grill arrived, I hired a person to install the conversion kit. After struggling with it for a long while, he called Lowe’s for guidance. He was told that grill was not suitable for conversion.

I called the store several times over a three-day period before being able to reach someone who could help me. On most occasions, the phone rang several times with no answer from the operator. When I finally reached an operator, she transferred my call to the store manager, but he never picked up.

After many more calls, I was able to reach an assistant manager. I requested a full refund, plus reimbursement for the $100 charge to the man who tried unsuccessfully to install the conversion kit. He only offered a refund for the merchandise.

This was unsatisfactory, so I tried to send a fax. That fax call was answered with a message saying that “This service is not available.”

Now comes the good part.

My next step was to call the corporate customer service number. In that call I requested that they contact the store for me an have the manager call me.

Within 10 minutes, the manager called me. After I explained everything to him, he was very apologetic. In fact he seemed annoyed at how badly this was handled by his staff. He offered to replace the grill as follows:

1- No additional charge, even if the new model would be more expensive
2- Full assembly, including the conversion kit.
3- No charge for picking up the old grill and delivering the new one.

Although it was a struggle, I was finally made whole.



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