Weekend Reading: Figma's Typography, Xerox Alto, and a Timeline of CoVID

February 29, 2020 • #

⌨️ I Pressed ⌘B, You Wouldn’t Believe What Happened Next

An entertaining talk about the complexity of typography, from Marcin Wichary at Figma’s recent Config conference.

🖥 Restoring Y Combinator’s Xerox Alto

An technical piece on restoring Alan Kay’s Xerox Alto he donated to Y Combinator. Amazing piece of technology history, and inspired so many future developments in computing — graphical user interfaces, WYSIWIG text editing, bitmapped graphics, the mouse, and Ethernet for connectivity.

Xerox built about 2000 Altos for use in Xerox, universities and research labs, but the Alto was never sold as a product. Xerox used the ideas from the Alto in the Xerox Star, which was expensive and only moderately successful. The biggest impact of the Alto was in 1979 when Steve Jobs famously toured Xerox and saw the Alto and other machines. When Jobs saw the advanced graphics of the Alto, he was inspired to base the user interfaces of the Lisa and Macintosh systems on Xerox’s ideas, making the GUI available to the mass market.

🦠 Map and Timeline of CoVID-19 Outbreak

A timeline showing the spread of the coronavirus, with an accompanying map interface.