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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My active Linux years are behind me. Even then, in 2004, I was just tinkering with PNG fonts and buttons for Links Hacked, a tiny Web browser for Damn Small Linux project.In general, to achieve a better readabilty for a hi-res screen of PDN (142 dpi) one need to turn ON better hinting in freetype 2, plus maybe to play with couple parameters. A more thorough approach would be using predominantly well-hinted ("commercial") fonts.In my blog, Fine Oils , I have started my readability project from an attempt to replace the system fonts. Out of Jeffry McDowell's article, I pulled some code:(ADB shell:)
Code:
01su02mount -o remount /dev/mtdblock4 /system03mount -o remount /dev/mmcblk0 /sdcard04cat /system/fonts/DroidSans.ttf > /sdcard/o_android_font/DroidSans.ttf05cat /system/fonts/DroidSans-Bold.ttf > /sdcard/ o_android_font/DroidSans-Bold.ttf06cat /sdcard/n_android_font/DroidSans.ttf > /system/fonts/DroidSans.ttf07cat /sdcard/ n_android_font/DroidSans-Bold.ttf > /system/fonts/DroidSans-Bold.ttf08mount -o ro,remount /dev/mtdblock4 /system09sync
There's a tidbit more manipulations from terminal needed, but my first question is whether "mmcblock0" corresponds to the same/anything in our SD?I see SegoeWP as a candidate for "new" DroidSans, only metrics should be compatible I hope. If there's a Droid-Serif lurking somewhere, I'd like to get my hands on whatever Garamonds iPhone/OS X might use.Later on, some recompiling of freetype 2 will be needed, to include best hinting rules applicable in our case. Here I also would like to request the help of our gurus, as my Linux box is very very rusty.(this my trick of "visual candy" is nothing more than a candy: the really exciting prospects will be open very soon at the "Froyo" frontier; excellent job, guys!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Talking to myself...Oh well. Have found that Che123 here solved part of the problem with an elegant batch utility: [UTIL][08/20/10][WIN v2.0][LIN v1.3] PC Suite/Font Flasher goes 2.0-> BIG UPDATE!! - xda-developers . It doesn't root the device though, which is needed when one tries to manipulate system fonts, plus solution is partial because the hacker missed Droid Serifs out, and has no replacements for them. Pity that scripts in question are compiled already into VS (or VB?) utility. Then again, it's not for exactly PDN, or even Samsung Moment.But apart from system font management, this utility could be used for many very useful tasks like backups, apk installations, flashing 'custom' launchers, SD partitioning, and lots more, have a look. Again, I was not the first to request the option of flashing a (new, modded, upgraded) ROM via adb framework, and it's not there yet. Schade... or Scheisse!Meanwhile, is there any PDN/Android 2.0-compatible flashing utility that could just download the next FW right over WiFi, check its wholeness and md5 sums and start flashing process from within PDN?
 

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Anything to improve the readability is welcome. Hopefully we might be able to retain the Droid fonts because 1) I am fond of them and 2) I think they work well for mobile devices being somewhat narrow. I prefer them to any of the fonts offered by the iPad, which, to my eyes, does a worse job than the PDN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I f you care to read my whole article (well, part 1 of it) at my blog fineoils.blogspot.com you'd see original Droid fonts backed up first on SD, to reverse if anything goes wonky. Che123 of the link above has a very good PC utility to do a half lazy replacement of sans serifs. I yet to see whether Droid sans is narrower than SegoeWP/Zegoe. Segoe is, technically speaking, a Frutiger variety, see Wikipedia on that matter. It means it's readability is outstanding.However all Sans'es have limitations. If you read this on your PDN, try to discern "1", "!", "i", I", "l", "|" at smaller point sizes. You'll see that default weak hinting is not good, anti-aliasing is off, etc. It's almost OK when doing casual Web browsing though. Now PDN is technically an eReader which for a qulified fonter and bibliomaniac like me means it deserves best narrow serifs out there. Like Narrow Apple Garamond, e.g. That's what I call readability. Or have a look at Gentium at my blog.Talking about iPad one should always remember Mr. Jobs quip of 2007: "Americans don't read". 2007 was exactly the year they started to design iPad. So you have it -- a tablet for illiterate masses who couldn't care less about readability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the link. It might be a simplest of utilities, but replacing system fonts is kinda critical, smells of bricking, and many of its users have reported problems. On the other hand, a PC suite utility by Che123 is stable, plus in my correspondence with Che123 I've got confirmation it will work on PDN.Of course, the best guarantees would be using the code I quote at my blog.Now again: consider this step is done, one way or another. At this stage, the research and experiments should look into font metrics compatibility, both physical and visual. Plus, like I've said, looking for the best Serif for ebook reading. (I imagine that Google/Moto/Verizon Tegra2 tablet due to be released on November 26, 2010, for the price of $0....~$400, will have their very expensive Google Serif, lol)Another branch of this research might be dedicated to recompiling FreeType 2, and/or use of alternative font engines. Our PDN's 142 dpi screen is capable of rendering beautiful italics, where are they? Naturally, Android 3.0 will cater them, as it's an OS for tablets. Ours is too silly a toy to ever get 3.0 officially. But we here can try. Just like our Gurus pushing it to 2.1 right as we speak.And I still believe that one day it will play smooth 720p and hacked Flash, do the Google Voice and video conferencing, read all formats of books with nice synthesized multilingual voices, and whatnot.
 

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Hey, this is some nice work guys, I'm going to play with this app later today. While I've been fascinated with the Dev gurus work towards improving the OS, this really strikes at the heart of what the PDN was created to do ... and when all the fireworks die down is what it will be used for most, even the hacked models.It's my "reader" whether I'm reading a book or magazine, I use it to read the newspapers (gotta find another word for that as we edge away from dead-tree media), RSS feed, Twitter & Facebook - I read with it. Something I can sit in the livingroom with the family and enjoy both it and them without being tied to a desk or hogging half the coffee table.BTW, following along with the Devs, it looks like 720p might never be possible cuz that's designed for more than our 800x600 screen - unless we upgrade the hardware. No mention of any glitches in the way of it becoming my portable pony assembly device though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
[quote name='Mark Adams;42859]Hey' date=' this is some nice work guys, I'm going to play with this app later today. While I've been fascinated with the Dev gurus work towards improving the OS, this really strikes at the heart of what the PDN was created to do ... and when all the fireworks die down is what it will be used for most, even the hacked models.It's my "reader" whether I'm reading a book or magazine, I use it to read the newspapers (gotta find another word for that as we edge away from dead-tree media), RSS feed, Twitter & Facebook - I read with it. Something I can sit in the livingroom with the family and enjoy both it and them without being tied to a desk or hogging half the coffee table.BTW, following along with the Devs, it looks like 720p might never be possible cuz that's designed for more than our 800x600 screen - unless we upgrade the hardware. No mention of any glitches in the way of it becoming my portable pony assembly device though.[/QUOTE']Don't forget that your PDN must be rooted first.Then, I suggest to use scripts at my blog, and not these utilities, so you will have better control and feel of what's being done, to repeat success and to roll back fast in near-bricking case.Again, it's also a project in works, and the research is going on. For example, as of today, I'm pretty sure what I'd be changing stock DroidSans to -- it's one of Segoe/Frutiger family (look Wiki for these, there's a fascinating story in which you'd recognize M$ as a major international art thief). But I'm not so sure about a better Serif. My own preferences are in favor of Caslons, Garamonds, Dutch stuff, or more accidental Gentium, but aside from any of these being well-antialiased in freetype2, nobody can guarantee a satisfactory level of hinting for a given type. Plus many "free" or cheap types miss glyphs, their hinting is sub par, and nobody ever though much of better kerning for them.Sure, there are commercial types that can satisfy the most picky connoisseur. But for a price of $80...$200 per single license. Our Android toy follows the Linux foot steps very closely in that its fonts are donated to the project by not so great a type foundry. It's like a soup from the soup kitchen for homeless. Or junk food from fast food joints.We talk strictly about bibliomaniacs and type connoisseurs here. Strictly speaking, our Guru Devs can use just a mono: Courier, e.g., and absolutely whatever for non-code passages it's their types of preference. But when our eReader will be seriously used as an eReader, I can bet better fonts are capable to make eReading more pleasurable and more addictive.As for 720p non-playing in soft, I wouldn't be so categorical. All it takes from our Dev's is determining what max bandwidth of video stream can be decoded and rendered smoothly at 25...29 fps with no frames lost. With good graphic drivers and decoders, it could be 1080p in a letterbox. Our 800x600 has no direct relation to playing HD video, as the device can possibly roll back to a letterbox, to a lesser frame letterbox, or even to less than half screen in portrait mode if it struggles too much. So, 720p is just a marketing term. We need 640x480 playing scalable and smooth, that's it. Plus a workaround if Flash will be declared impossible for this particular Samsung 6410 chip even in Froyo where everyone and their mother-in-law will have Flash.
 

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aludal,You seem to be theoretically speaking and after reading this and your blog its not clear to me if you actually sucessfully changed the fonts of a PDN. If you have can you do a screenshot of before and after? I am very interested, but as you said changing the system font is critical and the code does not look like something I want to attempt without knowing the results.PS You substitute the bold and reg. Why no substitution of the italics?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I didn't -- yet. Like I said, it's a research in process. So, in my blog you can see its part 1. Part2 will be about fine tuning freetype 2 for Android 2.x, as even the best Serifs might be treated badly when the defalt hinting and anti-aliasing is tuned mostly to DroidSans. So I'm quite rusty on freetype (my last compile was like in 2004) and I'm searching and reading. Sure I'd like a helping hand here.Some samples can be found here: [UTIL][08/23/10][WIN v2.01][LIN v1.3] PC Suite/Font Flasher: Bugfixes & More Devices - Page 20 - xda-developers Somewhere on previous 19 pages, that is. The link I gave for the page 20 where one guy is loving his new Zegoe -- partly on my advice ;)Didn't even root my silly puppy yet. Anyone show me the simplest, bloodless way. Or solid app. Also, anyone got kicked outta Market with a rooted device? there were warnings from our Great and Terrible GOOG exactly about rooting. Also, I'd be looking for a routine of "unrooting" if such a trick exists.As for italics, did you see any in /system/fonts? Last time I looked, there's nothing to replace with anything. I'm afraid their engine needs a better config for that, one with tuning to 142 dpi, plus adding italics. And don't forget chemical and math symbol fonts if we talk about an eReader for students.Lots of work, apart from just putting in a Segoe with 2-click operation. But after PDN will get 2.2 Froyo, or 2.1 LeshaK's mod with Flash 10.1, 1080p at 30 fps, plus finely tunet text rendering as per this research, I bet Pandigital will revert its price back to initial MSRP of $199 -- because of the demand, hehe...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Now I did it, successfully. Zegoe on my PDN is gorgeous. Details are in my blog, your comments are welcome there. I'm looking for some leads on good (and I mean, very good) serifs now. Leads, if you have any, also go to my blog, as this whole project is of very little interest. Whatever.Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
sfo;61019 said:
Does the alternative 8/20 firmware already inlcude better fonts??
I've no idea. You may want ask roebeet directly. Most probably not, as this surgery with system fonts should include rooting your PDN.In any case, what I did is more of a proof of a concept, and not the final, refined product. Problems pop up from every possible direction:-- one-axis (quite poor) antia-aliasing and hinting algorithm, with "no hinting" option absent and "medium" hinting mode broken;-- SKIA might treat "foreign" to Android fonts with the same carelessness as native boxy slab serifed Ascender's giveaways;-- HW Open GL EX font rendering is broken for now.
 

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I knew this thread was somewhere out there. I was referring to this project in the future plan section of the wiki but couldn't find a link. Keep at it Aludal.
 

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BTW Aludal, I know this is solely software solution and it's under the Mod wiki section dealing with hardware proposals, but I put it as the very last line in the wiki not only because I couldn't find the link, but because I know that you have also been looking into the upside-down screen and resolution fixes. I have a feeling you won't be satisfied with just new fonts but are looking for a total revamp of the display which will include hardware and software tinkering. Anyway, nice job. Feel free to flesh out the wiki entry or even move it to the Current Developments thread instead of Future Plans - and even put up a link to the relevant posts on your blog, especially if you think it's something ready for general consumption
 

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[quote name='aludal;51653]Now I did it' date=' successfully. Zegoe on my PDN is gorgeous. Details are in my blog, your comments are welcome there. I'm looking for some leads on good (and I mean, very good) serifs now. Leads, if you have any, also go to my blog, as this whole project is of very little interest. Whatever.Thank you[/QUOTE'] Blog? Where??--bornagainpenguin
 

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D'oh! I went looking thinking it was in his profile or something because I'd not read this thread in a while and forgotten he'd linked the blog in the first post. Thanks!{later}Okay I went to the blog, it was as clear as mud. Someone translate please?--bornagainpenguin
 

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I haven't changed any of the default fonts in my mods, but this is something I may need to test, at some point. I run Ubuntu on my main rig, and it took me some time to get my font setup to my liking - Android is OK but I suspect that it could look better. I also fudged around with the fonts on my SONY reader just before I got this time-draining device that we call the PDN.I actual use Zegoe on my Ubuntu rig.
 

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I just added Zegoe onto my "dev" PDN, rebooted, and started doing some visual tests.Imo, the Android font looks better.
I looked over the typface on the icons and also checked a web page (the same page, between two devices). Keep in mind that it's not like I dislike Zegoe because I use it on my Ubuntu rig. But, I don't see it translating as well onto Android. Imo.
 
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