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I'd like to know what you think. (TTF related, long)
Message #1 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 2 June 2004, 12:59 p.m.

Hi, all;

except for some time dedicated to repair calculators from dearest friends (hi, M.B. and J.E.) , I'm taking part of my spare time to build the TTF I mentioned previously. I took some time delving into the matter of creating characters in True-Type fonts« with codes that are normally used as reference to control commands in most advanced MS Windows« word processors. This particular issue has already been resolved.

In spite of this fact, rearranging characters to meet the needs of HP42S users was sort of a fight: I was not able to find the "perfect" combination, so I organized characters and their codes the best way I could.

Now it's time to find the best balance between "extended" features and a set of "hard to see" characters. I'm "rebuilding" most of the HP DotMatrix 1 Menu font in order to match the new menu characters available with the HP49G-series. The fact is that when I first created this font I had an HP28S, an HP48S and an HP42S. These are the ones I had (at that time) with Menu features. Later I had the chance to have an HP48G and the characteristics remain.

For these models, the menu labels use only upper case, unaccented alphabet characters. Lower-case, accented characters are replaced by their upper-case unaccented equivalents. Also, most of the "Greek" and extended characters available as size 2 and 3 are not available as size 1, so I simply did not consider them when I created the first "version".

The HP49G has a set of lower-case characters already defined. So, I'm adding all the lower-case and some "extended" characters to the existing TTF. BUT there are some issues I'd like to discuss with you so I can hear (read) other thoughts and suggestions.

Many characters in this particular TTF have their size variable to match the space occupied by this character when in a sequence. A "safe" 1-column is kept at the left of each character, but this helps nothing with regard to the label size and the right-side conclusion. Because of this, three "dummy" characters were added to the font: one with a single dot column (code #192d or character └), another with a two-column dot matrix (code #193d or character ┴) and a third one with a four-column dot matrix (code #194d, or character ┬). These column-related characters are used to adjust label size if - and when - needed.

Another feature is the possibility of adding the directory identifier (overbar) with any label. I draw two 0-size characters that are written at the left size of the cursor position (sort of a backward typing).I draw two of them - one with two dots (code #178d, character ▓) and another with four (code #179, or character │). These "backward" characters are suitable to compose directory names (HP28S, 48 and 49). All of these characters are available with the sample font already available for download.

The choice for the codes was based on the fact that the characters "pointed" by them already had their upper-case counterpart, so it would not be a big problem to use the other ones (A, 2 and 3). What I'm worried about now re simply the new set codes. Some of the extended characters (from 128d to 255d) are unreadable when part of a menu label, others look exactly the same. If you are willing to conform, try this simple program:

ź {"string with the characters you need" "another string" "..."} MENU╗

You can check all lower-case accented o's: all of them look exactly the same in an HP49G menu label.

I started with all lower case letters, then I used CHARS to add all others, from 128 to 255. CHARS is a lot welcome in these moments... In the HP48, I can "stuff" about three to four characters in one menu label. But when we are using an HP49, four to five characters can fit in a single menu label (it's possible to create a menu label with seven upper-case I's or "!" or "|" or any mix of them). This is because in the HP49G some menu characters use less columns than the same ones in the HP48. We can take as an example the symbol for PI in a menu label: in the HP49 it uses three columns, and in the HP48 it uses five Another one is the Sigma Greek letter used to identify statistics and summations: it is one column narrower in an HP49G menu label (it looses the leftmost column).

Two questions arise from these facts: which set to use?

I made a decision, but I would like to know your thoughts as well: maybe there is a better choice. I think that keeping the existing characters and adding only the new ones that actually do not exist in the original HP48 set will allow any existing menu label to be precisely reproduced with this font. Also, building menu labels with any new character will also be possible. BUT HP49G menu labels with a mix of existing and new characters will not look exactly the same. And there is the issue of the extra five characters (directory bars and adjusting columns) that must be placed with a valid code. So: where to place them? There are some new characters that are somehow confusing and I guess they add no extra functionality as menu labels: for example; try ╝, Ż and ż. They are unreadable as an HP49G menu-label character.

I'll announce the DotMatrix Menu TTF with "my understanding" of a better solution as soon as it is ready (possibly today later) so you can "taste" it as it is. As you see other, better possibilities, let me know so I can give them a try. Till then, please have a look at your HP48 and HP49G menu labels and reason about this.

I'm sorry for the extension of this text, but I take documentation very seriously, and when a document has a pleasant good look, it is easier to read it, it doesn't tire the reader so much. So I like to know what others think of using specific TTF like the ones I'm creating, and I'm creating these TTF files not only for my own use, instead I prefer having them available to anyone that wants to use them. I'm only one, you are many, so I believe that it's better to create a TTF that fits your needs instead of simply offering my version and expect you all to adequate your needs to my TTF.

Cheers and thank you.

Luiz (Brazil)

Re: I'd like to know what you think. (TTF related, long)
Message #2 Posted by Nick on 2 June 2004, 3:06 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)

Luiz: Could you get in contact with me concerning a Portuguese question I have,if you have the time. Thanks, Nick 12345

Re: I'd like to know what you think. (TTF related, long)
Message #3 Posted by Gordon Dyer on 2 June 2004, 3:35 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)

Sorry Luiz, I can't help with this as I do not have a 48 or 49, but make your best judgement on what is convenient for you to use if you don't get other inputs.
I will still be interested in the files you publish.

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