Tuesday, November 23, 2010

谷歌哥哥您不能这么智能


我知道谷歌在搜索时会自动替换同义词,但注意下图红字……咱并不认为中文里“感想”和“心得”意思相近呀。


百度一下,百度姐姐似乎就“更懂中文”了——虽然,果然还是把贴吧、知道什么的放在最前面鸟。

Monday, November 22, 2010

物理系代表了先进涂鸦文化的前进方向


弊村到了冬天格外冷,如果您要问村里最冷的地方在哪里,答案是在弊校物理系二楼的某AMO实验室。他们达到的温度是纳开尔文量级的。

所以,物理系男卫生间的涂鸦,除了通常(男)厕所涂鸦都会有的不雅简笔画,也充满各种冷笑话。


路径积分与犹太人


"Bio for retards who can't handle anything harder"
"I am a biochemistry major and I approve this message"


涂改前: Mechanikal E is for all the damn smart people.
涂改后: Mech E is for all the dumbest smart people.

Friday, November 19, 2010

关于汉字斜体与仿宋


当年抛弃中文版Windows XP改用英文版,除了学英语和装13外,另一个原因可能是右下角,那倾斜的细脚宋体“开始”二字,实在太缺乏汉字应有的审美功用。


嘛,英文有斜体粗体,斜体还有oblique和italic两种,前者只是简单地把正常字形做一个线性变换让它歪着脑袋,后者则是专门重新设计的带倾斜的字形。当然,这些美化方法在打字机时期其实是没有的,好多六七十年代的刊物,就用的是等宽字形,读起来跟程序代码一样费劲儿。

【放狗搜“fixed-width”得到的第一项结果,来自xkcd

于是这些东西漂洋过海,盗版的Windows写字板和M$ Word像春风一样,给中文排版事业送来了本来没有的粗体和斜体。但这些原本是罗马字从手写到雕版再到活字印刷传承下来的字体变化形式,而在中文上用起来并不怎么好看。又如,上面的英文等宽字看着蛮呆板,但中文却是并不呆板的,天生的等宽字体。

总之——就是要有中文特色的字体排版,才是王道。有人教导我说,想要在中文排版时用粗体,不要去按ctrl + B,而应当把宋体换成黑体。至于斜体,我们的汉字是方块字,被压歪了的还能叫“方块字”么?而且,英文排版的斜体,但凡有点专业精神的,都得用italic而非oblique。中文的斜体呢,统统都是潦草地 x' = x + ay, y' = (1 - b) y 变换一下就了事。这是认真对待我们伟大中华文化的态度么。

说回来,长期一直认为,中文没有斜体,在中文排版里用斜体的都是脑残。不过后来看到了这个。

这才明白,其实汉字的字体变化不比数十个区区拉丁字母少。反而应该是丰富了很多(参考:漢字書体二十四史及其外伝)。本来我们手写中文的时候,与斜体拉丁字母的横平竖不直正好相反,横画不水平,略从左下往右上倾斜,而竖画则保持垂直。电脑里,很多仿宋字体也都是这种略带倾斜的设计,字形看上去,就像踮起脚尖,而不是歪到侧面去。这样,对汉字方块儿感的破坏也没那么强烈。和拉丁字斜体的强调功能则类似。

顺便最近多次读到这篇“汉字的灵性”。讲的是现代中国大陆中文字体的设计问题,尤其是仿宋的衰微。里面那个“聚珍倣宋”看起来就不错。当然缩小的做屏幕显示效果就很可能杯具了。

作者也提到了,其实楷体在这里也能起到和仿宋体类似的作用。当然,中文变字体,比英文加粗加斜要麻烦一些,写html的时候英文加一对<i></i>或<b></b>就可以,中文则得加一堆
<font face="xxxx"></font>这样的东西,还得担心读者电脑里是否有对应的字体。

当然中文字体的问题远不止那么多。比如即使在今天,要找一个在屏幕显示效果还不错的简体中文非衬线字体,也不容易。如果要要求这字体包含繁简中文乃至韩文日文的话,就更难上加难了。Windows自带的宋体是渣。开源社区搞了一堆开源中文字基本全是各种黑体圆体而缺乏宋体明体。Mac OS自带的日文字体Hiragino Mincho里的明体汉字不错,但是没有简体中文。残念。

不过嘛,在字体问题上龟毛也不是啥特别有意义的事情。到了米国后,俺也颇见过一些大教授或公司高管,做PowerPoint演示时用Comic Sans仍然畅通无阻。说回来,如果这个餐馆的菜好吃,您会介意它的招牌上或菜单里滥用康体、舒体乃至毛体和静蕾手写体么。

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

自制危险饮品一种


近日注意到一条新闻,就是密歇根州将要禁止一种叫做Four Loko的饮品。这是一种掺杂了咖啡因的酒精饮料。为什么要禁止它呢?根据维基上的解释,咖啡因这种兴奋剂,会延缓醉酒的进程,使人能够饮下更多的酒,醉得更深,酒精中毒/交通事故的危险亦会增加。似乎弊校也在讨论是否要在校园内禁止它。

然,即使禁售这玩意儿,单独的咖啡因饮料和酒精饮料都是容易找到的,掺在一起饮用的危害完全无法排除。想起来,俺就曾有段时间常将葡萄酒和Mountain Dew混合起来饮用(真没品味啊= =)。体验和上面提到的差不多:因为稀释后的酒精味不浓,还有碳酸饮料的甜味,容易喝得更多,饮后不会马上有感觉,头晕感在大约一小时左右之后才会出现——所以俺一直将之视作一种,少量饮用_可能_有益心血管健康(似乎基本没有令人信服的科学研究证据)的催眠饮品罢了。

不过,国内常见的雪碧兑酒应该没有这种效果,因为雪碧和七喜是没有咖啡因的。与之相对地,米国这边很常见的,含咖啡因的柠檬味碳酸饮料Mello Yello和Mountain Dew(它们比不含咖啡因的饮料似乎更受欢迎),在国内却较为少见,不知道是什么原因。

Thursday, November 04, 2010

老了的又一证明


今天带一个美籍华人本科生做实验。实验在温度277K的冷室里进行,我们站的地方正好在压缩机的冷风出口旁,风飕飕地吹过来。于是俺建议伊,把帽子套上——话说在 弊村这种秋冬季风大又常下雨的地方,就觉得果然还是帽衫好啊。

俺说,Chinese medicine says, you should protect your head from the cold wind, otherwise you'll get....

伊答,yeah, my grandma also said that.

情何以堪哪。

又及,最近对比了某超市卖的$0.63/盒和$0.44/盒的酸奶,味道真是差了远远不止50%啊。

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Nokia (and Symbian) Really Sucks


And it can suck big in multiple unexpected ways.

A month ago I found that they upgraded to some 50.1 firmware for my N5800. In earlier firmware versions, one could substitute the original North American language file with one that includes Chinese, so you got the Chinese fonts, UI and input method. But now if you do that, the phone simply dies. Somehow I managed to rescue the phone and Chinese fonts, but the UI and the nice Chinese handwriting input method were gone.

Some say that Nokia provides a PAID service (and they say on their website any paid service for their phones will cost at least 100 dollars) to install additional languages on a phone, which I couldn't even find on their website. Probably Nokia is preventing customers from exporting phones to other continents. But just look at its competitors on the smartphone market: iPhone, Android and Blackberry. They all officially support localizations not restricted to where the product is sold.

I was just wondering why Nokia assumed all their users in NA would only use English, French, Portuguese and Spanish (not even Russian, German or Italian!). The only explanation I could come up with was that... it was just the provincialism of Finnish people running Nokia - they might never thought of so many cultures co-existing in an area as small as e.g. Palo Alto and Manhattan....

More to come with the firmware upgrade: the camera occasionally dies, and the GPS occasionally dies. But the most annoying is that I have to try 3 to 5 times to turn the phone on, if it happens to run out of battery.

And in recent weeks I have been trying synchronizing the contacts to GMail via their boasted "Mail for Exchange". (A sidenote: before they came up with the sucking Ovi Suite, it's possible to export the phone contacts to a plain text file via the PC suite. But in the new Ovi Suite, you were only allowed to synchronize with other Nokia products.) It turned out that if there existed two "Li Ao"s in the phonebook, it would refuse to synchronize one of them.

And yesterday I read the news that EU is throwing 22M euros into Symbian. I felt really lucky that I didn't have to pay European taxes. Should there not be such a wasteful investment, Symbian (and Nokia smartphone department) would die faster for good. Should the money go to some start-ups with good ideas, they (and customers) might get the Google/Apple/RIM of Europe. But reality is almost always sad, you know.