Three Bits of Tech

I’ve got three bits of IT to pass along today.

1. The first should be evident from the typeface you’re reading this in. It’s called Josefin Sans Standard Light. And I offer it to you not so much for your reading pleasure — I wouldn’t choose it as a text face — but to catch your eye. Because, though you may never have paid attention, the web for most of its life has been anchored to those few typefaces we all share thanks to Microsoft and Apple, the commonest being Arial and some variant of Times New Roman.

Because typefaces live on users’ computers, there was until recently no good (speedy, reliable, fair to type designers) way to let website designers fully control your visual experience. They could propose, but your limitations always disposed. Now a number of solutions have cropped up. The paragraph above demos Google’s Font API. Google has made freely available a dozen or more interesting typefaces along with fairly simple instructions for how to bring them to your website.

This and other web font developments are very welcome: Wherever reading is done, there also should be good typography.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet ordered your copy of Matthew Butterick’s great new book, Typography for Lawyers, take a moment to do it now.

2. WeTransfer does just that. Lots of email systems choke on big files. WeTransfer is a simple web service that lets you transfer a file as large as 2 Gigs to anywhere between one and 20 recipients. There’s no limit on the number of times you can send large files. The recipient gets an email notification and a link to click that takes them back to the WeTranfer site, where there’s a download button. Of course, you might want to use a disposable email address for you, the sender, and your recipient, just in case the service sells email addresses on.

3. NudgeMail is a another online system. It sends you reminders by email, but more interesting, it allows you to postpone dealing with emails by getting NudgeMail to bring them forward again at a later time or date. In beta at the moment, it’s currently free. It’s entirely run from your email program, once you sign up at the website. Sounds like the procrastinator’s magic wand.


  1. Canadian lawyers might want to be careful in using the MyTransfer site for anything other than personal documents. There is little or nothing in the terms of service that restrict the ability of the service to snoop into the files that are uploaded, and the site is governed by Dutch law with all disputes to be heard in courts in the Netherlands. I would not want to depend on it to transfer confidential client information.

  2. Good advice, Mark. Mind you, it would make sense to encrypt all sensitive client material that gets sent through “the tubes” whether via a file transfer system like this or via email.

  3. The DVD version of the documentary Helvetica contains outtakes of the interviews with many of the designers who appear in the film. The German Erik Spiekermann is particularly scathing about Arial. He said it is a poorer version of Helvetica that Microsoft had designed in order to avoid paying a fee to Linotype Corporation to use Helvetica itself. Apple uses the original…

    It’s remarkable how interesting a 90+ minute film about a typeface can be!

    Perhaps Simon would like to lead us in a game of What Font are You?.

    Meanwhile professors of legal writing may be able to get Typography for Lawyers free.