Monthly Archives: October 2010

TypeKit

WordPress advertises a new affiliated app called “TypeKit”, which claims to be “the easiest way to use real fonts on the web.” It’s a subscription-based service but the basic version is free when you provide your name, email, site URL. 

So I signed up and checked out their fonts. Neat. They give you a HUGE slew of them, replete w/a demonstration sample sentence to show how it will look. And not just the typical top-down list of typefaces you see in Microsoft Word. TypeKit has super-current ones with slick names, as well as cursive and that sort of thing. I suppose it’s a spin-off on the popularity of Google Transliterate, which is indeed a very cool service (You can type a sentence and have it converted into any language typescript of any language and then copy and paste the resulting typescript – even Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.). 

The nerds who started this venture are former Googleites, and, http://TypeKit.com/about says the same four-guy crew were behind Measure Map, which was bought by Google and absorbed into Google Analytics. It says the dudes (Jeffrey Veen, Bryan Mason, Greg Veen, and Ryan Carver) are incorporated under the title Small Batch Inc. and were “the core of the team who led” the recent rehash of Google Analytics, which has proved to be hugely successful (and, admittedly, very useful for high-traffic web sites)

You’re prompted by WordPress for an ID provided to you when you sign up for TypeKit and this is automatically embedded via Javascript into your WordPress “Pages”. Then, the TypeKit icon appears on the WordPress Dashboard under “Appearance”. And you can see that you’re linked up and can import fonts.

So I guess they gain access to your WordPress account, but that’s the price you pay, risk you take. But you need to investigate claims and gimmicks thoroughly before signing on; that’s my M.O. when it comes to this stuff – esp. something as valuable to me as my blogs.

One thing: I was perusing the features and saw that there’s a little check-box (defaulted, unless you uncheck it) for “Google Analytics”. 

Nothing’s free!

Sadly. Not anymore, anyway. We’re in the waning days of Internet democracy, many believe.

I’m guessing Google gets to leverage that extremely powerful application – Google Analytics – to interface with WordPress. So if you don’t take the time to “uncheck” the check-box, Google will be running their crazed A.I.-powered Analytics on your WordPress blog(s)! Hey now! (But how convenient). This might also be how Smart Batch, Inc. gets some of their dough (smart!) – i.e., via Google and that little “in” with the checkbox – an “in” on the zillions of WordPress blogs and WordPress-generated sites on the Web. That’d undoubtedly be valuable to someone…

I like WordPress. It’s great. I’ve used it for years. It’s attractive, easy to use, and reliable (though slow). But I can’t complain. It beats Google Blogger/Blogspot by a long-shot. And the hassle of registering a domain name, doing manual FTP-uploads, or hand-coding hypertext-markup, which is a pain in the arse.

It is cool that so many smart folks are out there doing this stuff to make my blog not look so mundane. I recall posting maybe more than a few complaints in my posts about the lack of versatility w/ WordPress “Themes” and the inability to change any CSS on your blog (without a paid upgrade). Even TRY to mess around with the HTML in one of our posts and you’ll be punished unremittingly. (Try it, you’ll see.)

With TypeKit you can customize font to apply to stuff like body text, headers, sidebars, links, so to make your pages and posts look more unique. This has always been the problem with WordPress. I recall writing a Post to the effect that so many people use so few of the Themes (I use PressRow, which may be the most popular) that you can tell a WordPress-generated blog simply by the font and formatting. And that sucks for the individuality of your blog; that’s what your blog should be, an expression of you and your written thoughts.

So this is a step in the right direction, I’d say. But there’s always the fine print.

            – d.g.w.

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