2007/06/04

Digital Typography

當然是 Knuth 的書 XD。這本也非常好看,裡面有一些經典句子,像:

I didn't know what to do. I had spent 15 years writing those books, but if they were going to look awful I didn't want to write any more. How could I be proud of such a product?

以上引自 Chapter 1〈Digital Typography〉,是 Knuth 看到他的 Volume 2 經新式排版技術處理後成果的感受,很常被引用。同樣出自 Chapter 1,下面這句更有名:

A mathematical formula should never be "owned" by anybody! Mathematics belongs to God.

另外在 Chapter 1 第一頁的第二段非常值得一提:

In fact, I think contemporary society is all mixed up in its concept of "boredom": People often say to each other that they are bored, but to me this is almost a shocking, shameful admission. Why should it be somebody else's duty to entertain us? People who can't find anything of interest in what they are doing, who constantly need external sources of stimulation and amusement, are missing most of life's pleasures.

我相信這可以當作先前流傳在 BBS 上廖世偉教授問到的「Knuth 成功要訣」的註釋。

後面章節還有 TeX 草創時期的珍貴史料,包括 Knuth 的手寫日記和第一份 TeX 設計稿,後者形式和 ExtTOY 的設計初稿有點像,都是 plain-text,我看到的時候會心一笑 XD。傳說中的〈The Letter S〉也收錄在這本書裡。Knuth 式幽默當然遍佈全書,我在圖書館裡面看的時候都幾乎要跳(jump, not skip)著讀了 XD。

最後引 Chapter 1 的結語作結:

I would like to conclude this talk by quoting one of my favorite poems, written by the Danish sage Piet Hein. He calls it a "grook" --- it's sort of a Danish variant of haiku. My wife and I like it so much, we commissioned a British stonecutter to carve it in slate for the entryway of our house. It goes like this:

The road to wisdom?
Well it's plain
and simple to express:

Err
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.

--
我好像拿到書都先引它很前面的部份,然後這本書就很少再出現在 blog 上了 XD。

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