Recomendo

Google Fonts/GPT-2 wisdom/Link Drop

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Recomendo: issue no. 211

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Classy free fonts
There are about 1,000 very classy fonts available for free on Google Fonts. These are fonts you would actually want to use in your book or on your website. Some are commissioned by Google and designed by world-class typographers, such as the font Roboto used in Google maps. Many of these fonts come as families with different weights, italic, bold, extra glyphs, etc. This set of open fonts is also offered by Adobe and Monotype; what Google Fonts offer is a very nifty web interface for navigating through the collection, including good search and filter. I particularly like their font “pairing” function, which suggests good combinations of fonts (like text and captions pairings). All the fonts are license-free. — KK

Craft in action
Everyone knows Anthony Bourdain’s various travel/food series, but in 2015 Bourdain did his hanging-out thing with master craftsman and craftswomen, going to their shops, watching them work with their tools, and at times trying his own hand at their craft. I can watch masters work all day. Their obsession with details is astounding, and their extreme excellence is captured in 14 episodes of Raw Craft. The art ranges from hand-tailored suits to a traditional letter-press printer, all sponsored by a whiskey company, and available on YouTube. — KK

Get reminded of links at your convenience
I’ve been using my Pocket extension less and this Link Drop Chrome extension more. If there is an article or webpage that I want to check out, this bookmark tool helps to ensure I get to it before the end of the day. Every link I save gets emailed back to me at 3PM that same day as a reminder. You can change the “drop time” to whatever works for you. — CD

Words of wisdom from GPT-2
GPT-2 is an application that produces novel text based on a text prompt (Here’s how to install it). Most of what it generates hovers on the border of sense and nonsense. Here are four pieces of advice it has given to me.  — MF

  • “If we cannot make sense of the present, we cannot plan for the future.”
  • “The more we change to meet the challenges in our lives, not to stay where we are, the more successful we will be.”
  • “If it is an animal you have seen, do you think it will be like you, too? This is the first statement of my doctrine, that all things are one thing. Do you want me to prove it, or to let it pass?” —Philosopher Epicurus (384-399 A.D.)
  • “Your gut tells you it’s not right to continue investing in some idea–it’s too risky, because its consequences are hard to understand. Your gut is right about one thing, though: there is no way of knowing it’s not wrong to spend your energy making the best decision for yourself and your goals.”

Fun and powerful photo editing app
It’s incredibly fun to use the Luminar photo editing application to bring my photos to life. (Here are some of my before-and-after photos.) It has tons of adjustable preset filters and a lot of specialized tools such as portrait enhancement, where you can make the subject’s eyes larger and face thinner. You can also easily add in new skies and even a sun with rays. I typically use the “AI” set of adjustment tools to change the brightness and contrast because it does a great job without a lot of fussing on my part. The developer also has lots of excellent videos that show you how to use all the features in Luminar. Here’s a 30-second video overview. — MF

Drying rack replacement
We replaced our old, space-consuming dish rack for this $7 Norpro Microfiber Drying Mat. It’s extremely absorbent and dries super fast. When I’m done with it, I just fold it up and put it in a drawer. It’s also machine washable. I love it. — CD

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 08/2/20