The Old Blog Archive, 2005-2009

Archive for June, 2007

I saw “Helvetica”.

What follows is an excerpt of this blog entry written in Chinese. Ken made a translation so as to encourage more people to see this film, Helvetica the Film.

Finally, er, I went to see this movie.

The Ticket Stub

Many segments were comical (the audience in the theater actually burst out in laughter). When it came to the birth of Swiss style, the editing was seamless and graceful to the extreme.

When Michael Bierut‘s side cheerfully suggested that this typeface resembles the end of history and a typographical “finality”, I realized suddenly that this movie may be the most profound I have seen in years. Behind its starting point of visual design lurks that which is modernity. The closing remarks depict in some sense how these designers view future generations’ living in a world where “all is said and done” possibly (because it is a typeface almost thought unsurpassable), even slightly triggering a certain lacrimal corner in my eyes. This took me by complete surprise, just as nobody could predict that the typeface originally known as Neue Haas Grotesk would be a sign of our times.

The director Gary Hustwit said that DVDs will go on sale on October 9, clocking in at two hours long (the theater cut is 80 minutes). The original soundtrack will be distributed as an iTunes playlist.

Because this blog entry is about WWDC, let me mention two facts about the movie and the Mac:

  1. One motivation for making the film was that the director wondered about the fonts that came with his first Mac in 1987.
  2. Characters in the film as senior as Massimo Vignelli, as young as the Experimental Jetset group, and as iconoclastic as Paula Scher are all Mac users.

I’m saying both too much and too little. This is a documentary I truly cannot summarize yet want to see several times more. (It cannot even be said to praise or criticize the typeface.)

Just go see it.

WWDC ’07, Day 1

I haven’t got time to check out what other blogs are saying about this year’s WWDC, but many complained that the keynote speech was a bit dull and flat, not too much excitement.

The afternoon sessions were much better from my perspective, but they are much more in-depth and more technical than last year’s state of the unions. I’m glad that Apple is addressing the trend of applications moving to the web. But whether the iPhone factor would actually become a Cocoa killer. That is, now that iPhone only has JavaScript/HTML/CSS, and people are moving to the web anyway, why should we bother with Cocoa?

WWDC ’07 Day 0 (or -1 ?)

My kudos to the organizers of sf/Mac indie soirĂ©e. That was really the meet-up that I was looking for at last year’s WWDC!

In San Francisco

I’ll be attending WWDC 2007 from 6/11 to 6/15. Things to watch closely: CoreText, CoreAnimation, PDFKit, WebKit-Cocoa integration (and all those RIA–Rich Internet Application–talk), and Ruby-Cocoa bridge, and how to put everything above together to cook an evil app. Some possibilities for iPhone dev are also very welcome.

Overall, as this is a good year for Apple, hype and optimism should abound. The delayed shipment of Leopard is but a factor to be considered. Because none of the “cool and edgy” application tech will exist on Tiger (CoreText, CoreAnimation, Objective-C 2.0). Apple may also need to answer the challenge from Adobe (Apollo) and Microsoft (SilverLight) in an age where platform is at the same time irrelevant (the only platform that matters is the web browser) and still makes differences (in terms of productivity, availability of tools, etc.).

This WWDC will be important to me as I’ll decide my own “tech roadmap” from what I’ve learned and heard there. One crucial piece among them will be how Apple respond the RIA challenge. I’m also eager to learn how indie software developers response to the web app challenge and the trend to open source. Let the show begin.