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News Archives - March 2006

: Clipsal 500 2006 - Day 4

March 26 2006

Here we are at day four, the last day of the Clipsal 500. The weather was nice & forgiving today, giving spectators some cloud cover to compensate for the hot hot heat yesterday. Today's race was won by Jamie Whincup. I think it's good that it wasn't one of the 'big name' racers, but for me it meant that I had to scramble through my photo collection to try & find a shot of him:

Before the Clipsal I had started doing some fairly major behind-the-scenes changes to the archives & gallery sections of Pants. I'll be getting back to that stuff shortly & I'll endeavour to get my 2006 Clipsal gallery up as soon as possible after that.

It shouldn't take four months this time, at least I really hope not...

: Clipsal 500 2006 - Day 3

March 25 2006

The race today was fairly smooth sailing for the first 30 or so laps, then driver & machine fatigue started to set in which is when the drivers began seeing more of the pace car. Craig "Smiley" Lowndes won today's race, so he's earned his spot at the front of the grid for the race tomorrow.

Following up my comments from yesterday, as promised I did manage to find my way to the front of the scrum for the Miss Bartercard pageant today. I got some very decent shots too, but they'll be shown here later on... Today's pic is of some of the official Clipsal grid girls:

Now because this website has standards to abide by, I've had to do a little bit of creative mosaic work on the photo above. If you're feeling adventurous, here is the un-mosaic'd image.

I'm not going to say much on this subject right now (perhaps it will surface in a future Pants update), but one of the grid girls this year doesn't seem to match the traditional Clipsal typecast of a beautiful young blonde. Based on the many comments I've overheard from other race spectators, I'm definitely not the only one who feels this way.

I don't mean to sound sexist so if you think I've got it all wrong, write me an angry letter on the forum. Or, if you think I'm on the money with this criticism, gimme a "Hell yeah!" instead. :)

: Clipsal 500 2006 - Day 2

March 24 2006

Day 2. Last year I used a shot of a stunt guy doing The Running Man on a bike travelling at 50kph. I haven't seen much of the stunt bikers this year yet, so today's photo is of another form of in-between-races entertainment at this year's Clipsal:

If all goes well, tomorrow's shot will be of something a bit more feminine.

Speaking of which, scheduled for 1:00pm today was the 2006 Miss Bartercard competition, where local Adelaidians strut their stuff on a catwalk, all vying to become SA's representative as the V8 circus moves around the country. You can view some photos of the 2005 Bartercard girls here (3 pages). I think the contest was one of the standout non-racing events from last year.

Unfortunately the competition today was cancelled due to the "extreme heat", so before I start getting death threats coming in to me, I want to clarify that I will try to get shots of the girls whenever the competition is held tomorrow, but there's a chance I may miss it. Sleep peacefully knowing that I was there today with a front-row view of the catwalk, so hopefully I can get the timing right for tomorrow too. I always try my best to take care of people who read Pants... :)

: Clipsal 500 2006 - Day 1

March 23 2006

The Clipsal 500 rolls around for another year of motorsport, and guess where I happened to be today? The plan is to post one or two pictures every day from the event, then eventually sort through all my photos and put them up on the site. Last year's Clipsal photos only took a measely four months to appear (*ahem*), but hopefully it won't take that long this year... :)

Following the same theme as last year's daily updates, the day 1 pic is of a drool-worthy car. So far I haven't seen any Ferraris or Lamborginis at the track so the best I could find is this Chrysler 300C, which would only set you back about $60,000. I still fancy the Modena though.

: A Type Of Romance

March 17 2006

I don't know exactly what sparked it, but for many years now I've had a peculiar fascination with visual design. I find myself scrutinizing (to various degrees) almost every form of graphical layout I come across, be it anything from a magazine or a paper document, billboards, instant scratchie tickets, instruction booklets, even software interfaces and television astons.

This is me being more than just a picky person with too much time on his hands (but that's a completely different issue...). I actually enjoy applying a critical eye to various media, eagerly flipping through 100s of pages of Human Interface Guidelines or spending months designing and perfecting forms based around the convoluted procedures of my previous employer.

My fascination for this stuff is definitely helped by (or possibly originated from) my interests in typography, typesetting and typefaces. I'm happily familiar with ligatures, bouma, ascenders, kerning, tracking and diacritics, happy to know the differences between the em/en/ex trio, and also for being aware that there are 15 'space' characters in the official Unicode spec.

Back in March last year it was announced that Microsoft will be including 7 brand new fonts when they release Windows Vista & Office 2007. Six of these are new 'creative' fonts, although in a twinge of irony they all sound so similiar: Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia & Corbel. The seventh typeface to launch with Vista is new font called Segoe ("see-go") which will become the default user interface font in the new versions of Windows and Office.

Considering the last time Microsoft included new fonts in a widespread release we ended up with Tahoma (the current Windows UI font) and its even sexier cousin Verdana, I guess I was looking forward to the new font's release. Verdana is installed on over 90% of machines and used on millions of websites (including Pants :) due to its hinted-for-screen readability. I've also relied on it heavily (along with Frutiger) for most of the designs I've had to do over the years, so I was hoping the fonts (Segoe in particular) would complement my sans-serif A-Team duo.

At the time of the announcement 12 months ago, I made attempts to acquire the Segoe font because Vista was still a long ways off (and it still is). My Google-fu wasn't working too well but every month or so I'd start searching again in the hopes that someone would leak the TTF files onto the net. It happened eventually, but even to this day the only TTF file that escaped the MS compounds and circulated is one particular variant (Segoe UI) of a large family of fonts.

I hadn't bothered to search for the full font set again since December (no, not because I was losing sleep over it - I just forgot about it ;), but last week I was doing some computer spring-cleaning and guess what I found? Buried somewhere on a marketing/promotional DVD that Microsoft sent me was a set of 14 variants (ie. Segoe Regular, Segoe Black, Condensed, Italic, Light, Semibold, etc.). I imagine it's almost the complete family of the Segoe typeface...!

While there's a very strong temptation to chuck all these Segoe TTF files into a zip and offer it for download here on my site, I fear the (potential) wrath of Microsoft's legal team. After installing the fonts to see how Segoe stacked up, I discovered that it is Microsoft who might need to be the ones fearing the wrath of legal action... Take a look:

This comparison shows Microsoft's Segoe versus Frutiger Next, a 'refreshed' version of the original Frutiger font family. See any similarities? It appears as though Segoe is remarkably similar, and 'remarkably similar' could very easily translate to 'a complete rip-off'. There are extremely subtle differences between the two typefaces, but it seriously looks to me like MS are infringing on Linotype's design here.

I've used the semibold and medium faces here as my example, but the other weights of Segoe all match up to the Frutiger Next equivalent. The biggest difference I can notice is that Segoe's character kerning is a bit looser (in the example, Frutiger Next is tracked by +2.4%em so they match up better), but the character outlines themselves share remarkable similarity. Dodgy...

In just one sentence, I suppose I could sum up this whole little story like this:
"I've spent over a year searching for a font I've already been using for years, d'oh...!"

Much like my last update, this site update continues the recent worrying Pants trend of taking an excessive number of paragraphs to convey such a simple message. Normally I'd apologise to my readers for this, but then I remember that I don't have any readers and besides, what else am I going to do with my time? Hey yeah - Clipsal 500 is next week. Woohoo! :)

There's more where that came from...: Return to the News Archives index.