FontClustr – Automated Hierarchichal Clustering of Fonts Based On Their Appearance

Something has always bothered me about fonts: I have to pick one alphabetically.

I have over 1200 fonts on my computer. Why am I forced to pick the perfect one by going through an alphabetical list? Not even the major font families (serif, sans-serif, condensed, cursive, fantasy, etc) are grouped together.

No longer. I’ve written a program in python that can hierarchically cluster fonts based on their appearance. For your enjoyment, I’ve picked 35 of the best clusters (this is actually more than 80% of the total output) to illustrate how powerful this technique is. Hit the jump for those.

If you are a software company that makes a product with a font selection dialog (like Word, Photoshop, Gimp, Inkscape, Illustrator, Powerpoint, etc), PLEASE START DOING THIS. I WILL BE HAPPY TO HELP YOU.

Let me stress this again, the screenshots you’re seeing here were from an automated font comparison and clustering program.

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How to Build a Small (Tiny! Little!) Fire

Back when I was in Scouts, everyone loved throwing wood on the campfire. There were only benefits to doing that: more flames to stare at, more warmth, and if fuel ever ran short, more chances to use bladed tools on wood. To discourage that, the Scoutmaster used to say “The white man makes a big fire and sits far; the Indian makes a small fire and sits close”. Of course, that adage is useless when the fire pit is already made, 3 feet across and with big rocks — sitting close was a physical impossibility.

I still thought of it every time I made a campfire; I was always bothered by the fact that that I had never actually been given instructions on how to make a small fire that could self-sustain.

In July of 2009, I discovered how. (I got the idea from a Jim Jarmusch film).

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Speaker Cab for the Truck Cab

Also from December 2008 – a speaker cabinet for my truck. It beats trying to wire in good speakers to the crappy radio deck; this way, I put the amp under my seat and plug my mp3 player into it directly.

Results From My First Day Swinging A Forge Hammer

This is the first thing I ever made by banging on hot iron: a hook, from an old lag screw with a square head. I squared off the threads a little bit, then flattened the head into a plate, then made the bend.

I felt pretty confident about the hook, so I made a heart from a piece of rusty iron rod. I gave it to someone special.

The setup was very simple: just a portable coal forge with a hand-crank blower, a 3-lb Stanley hammer, and a section of railroad track for the anvil. A long-handled pair of slip-joint pliers served for tongs.