October 15, 2012

Hunting for Fajita

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

With the dawn of the GUI, computers in the 1990s gained a resource they previously lacked: Fonts.

You probably don’t think about fonts today. Sure, you’ve messed with them when you’re writing something. Both Windows and Mac OS come stocked with a hoard of useful fonts, a full variety from which to choose.

Back in the old days, good fonts were scarse. The fonts included with the operating system were rather stupid. So that meant many computer users — especially those who flirted with graphics design — when font hunting.

There were free fonts, of course. But the best fonts cost money. That’s because they were clever, well-designed, and used better display and printing technology than the host of trashy free fonts.

Back in 1997, I wrote my book, Web Wambooli, from which this website gets its name. The graphic designer for that book’s cover chose the Fajita font for the text:

Web Wambooli

When designing the web page, I wanted to use the same font, so I asked the publisher.

Turns out it was an Adobe font. To use it on my Windows computer, I needed an Adobe font program (I forget the specific name), and I needed to purchase the font from Adobe. It would cost me $125. Or was it $90? Anyway, it was a lot, but I wanted the web page to mesh with the book. So I paid the money, bought the font, and used it on the first rendition of the Wambooli web site:

Time passes. Computers grow old and die. File formats expire.

I no longer have the Fajita font on my computer. It’s gone. Even if I wanted it, and suddenly found the copies I paid for already, they would be on 1.44M floppy diskettes. Would the diskettes still be readable? And readable by what exactly?

My only resort is to visit a font foundry on the web, and hope that they have a remarkably similar font — and that they’re a legitimate web site and not some spam-o-matic source of malware.

There is a site I’ve used called Fonts 101. They have the Fajita font, the “mild” version. (There were two fonts included on my original Fajita font diskettes, hot and mild. Clever.) If you want to download that font, visit here.

Installing the font on my Mac is easy: download and unzip. Double-click on the Font file. The Font Book program opens. Click the Install button to add the font to your Mac’s inventory.

On a PC, however, the font file doesn’t download directly. Instead, a program called Fontasia One runs. Be careful! If you download that program, ensure that you un-check all of the pre-checked boxes as you work through that (completely unnecessary) installation. If you leave a box checked, you’ll get unwanted crapware. Eventually, however, the same ZIP file downloaded to the Mac appears on your PC desktop.

Open the font ZIP file on your PC. Double-click the Font. Click the Install button. You have Fajita.

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