I Automated What You Do When Your Internet Connection Drops

The East Coast suffered Hurricane Sandy today. With the lights flickering off for brief moments every half hour or so, I decided it was time to stop hastily typing “ping” commands to diagnose my connectivity problems and so I wrote something to do it better. The result is a script that intelligently tests your networking hardware for connectivity.

It does 3 things:

  1. Ping the local gateway to make sure the hardware is working
  2. Ping the ISP to make sure that link is working
  3. Ping an Internet address to make sure that connectivity exists

Blasting ICMP packets at the Internet as fast as you can is not considerate. You want to ping your gateway quickly so that you know immediately when it comes up. Once you have internet connectivity though, you can ping more slowly.

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Interactive Font Tree in FontClustr

I’m pleased to announce that the latest version of FontClustr, which is freely available on GitHub, now supports an interactive HTML tree for browsing its output.

This is a step toward an interactive font chooser that sorts by appearance.

When I go looking for a good typeface, I usually have a few styles in mind that I want to try out. Once I pass over some fonts that I definitely don’t want to use, it’s handy to be able to collapse the list. This is now possible, by clicking on one of the colored vertical bars to the left of the font previews.

In this case, I am clicking on the bright red bar to hide all the entries attached to it.

Currently, this action is not very aesthetic; the tree is changed instantly — without animation. Additionally, the excess space is not taken up in a logical way, so if you collapse a big section then it might be ambiguous as to whether the other fonts slid up or down to fill the void.

Still, its one less thing between me and the perfect typeface for whatever I’m doing.


Not counting the padding the font previews here are 50px in size. Collapsing them makes them fit into 20% of the original amount of space.


FontClustr Receives Honorable Mention

My FontClustr project has received honorable mention in the 2011 Catalyst Award competition! As an outsider to the world of graphic design, I’m touched that they found my work so inspiring.

From the press release:

The judges were impressed by the approach taken by this self-confessed non-typographer to a practical problem: how to automate grouping of different typefaces based on design similarity, so that users can see them “in the context of the visual landscape they collectively form”. … [The] FontClustr tool is an admirable example of an outsider’s analytical approach to the problem of typeface categorisation or grouping.