blogging tools

Administrative: RSS/FeedBurner Problems

Here’s a bit of a technical aside, I’m afraid.

It looks like may have been experiencing a few problems with the RSS feed, related to the backend configuration changes required by Google for the FeedBurner service.  I’ve been using FeedBurner for feed hosting and management for quite a long time, since before they were acquired by Google in 2007.

Google finally got around to making some changes to the MyBrand feature, which lets you use your own domain name FeedBurner: convenient for preventing lock-in if you ever want to take your feeds somewhere else.  This requires having a CNAME set up in your DNS to point to the FeedBurner/Google servers.

I’ve had two such CNAMES set up: and, but something related to Google’s back-end changes caused the former (which was also the default configured in my WordPress FeedSmith plugin) to stop working: any requests for the feed URL were met with not-found errors (you may or may not have experienced this, depending on which URL your feedreader is using).

It seems that, under the current regime, FeedBurner does not like having two MyBrand entries for the same domain; if there’s something else going on, I haven’t been able to divine what it might be.  I have, however, found a workaround, setting the feed up to use a single canonical URL:

  1. My web host, Nearly Free Speech, makes it easy and cheap to create new sites.  I created a new website that would simply act as a redirect.  (This could also have been done using the main website, but since I’m actually maintaining a number of different websites, it seems to be convenient to host all the redirects in one place.)
  2. I changed the DNS CNAME for from the link to Google’s servers to point to this new site.
  3. I added an Apache .htaccess file to redirect requests for to with a 301 response:
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^( [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]
  4. I ensured that FeedBurner had just one MyBrand entry for (, and that the FeedBurner feed for was configured to point to the WordPress feed.
  5. I pointed the FeedSmith plugin (which I updated to 2.3.1), to the now-canonical MyBrand URL for the FeedBurner-hosted feed: ‘‘.

And that seems to have done it.  Hopefully any requests for the feed, whether at the default WordPress URL,, or will work seamlessly.  We now return you to our regularly scheduled miscellanea.

miscellanea tools

Name That Font!

For the non-specialist, trying to identify a font from a small sample is a nearly futile exercise, particularly if it is at all obscure. Most of us can manage to pick out fonts that have been overused to the point of banality (such as Times New Roman, or heaven forfend, Comic Sans). Wouldn’t it be nice if you could discover the name of a font given a sample?

A while back I discussed several tools for identifying music given only a few bars of a tune. During my font search, I happened across several resources to help you chase down an intinerant typeface.

Totally Automated Font Identification

Gulim Bold font sample, created with the Gimp

WhatTheFont should be your first recourse. You supply it with an image of a few characters of the font (ideally, tweaked to accomodate their usage guidelines). To test it out, I picked a relatively typeface that was installed on my system (Gulim Bold), and uploaded to the WTF website. I was immediately prompted with potentially identifications for each letter, which I then had the opportunity to correct. This was unnecessary, as WTF correctly identified each one.

Sample of Prima Sans provided by WhatTheFontNext, I was presented with a list of five matches. I was initially dismayed that Gulim Bold did not appear on the list, but upon closer examination, the first suggestion, Prima Sans Bold, is a dead ringer. I’d have to guess that Gulim is a not-very-subtle clone; I’d be very happy with such a close match if I needed to match Gulim for a project.

The next three choices (variants of Fago Ex) were quite close, but the ‘b’s clearly differ. The final choice, Pragmatica Bold, had the right ‘b’, but overall appeared to be a slightly lighter weight. Want to try the search yourself? Go to the WhatTheFont page, and provide it with the URL of the above Gulim Bold sample image:

Choose Your Own Adventure Font

Identifont takes another path. Rather than automatically analyzing an image, it asks you a sequence of questions about the characteristics of the font to be identified, much like a field identification guide for trees or twenty questions. You start by specifying which characters you have in your sample, to eliminate questions that you won’t be able to answer. After each answer you provide, it narrows the field of possible candidates; after you get through its list of questions, it presents you with its choices for the best thirty matches so you can eyeball them to see which looks like the best fit.

Again using my Gulim Bold sample, above, I walked through the series of fifteen questions. I was unclear on how to answer questions about several of the characteristics, so I selected the option indicating I was uncertain. Finally, I was presented with a list of fonts that seemed to have very little to do with each other and not much to do with Gulim Bold. I went back I tried answering the two questions I was uncertain about, but no luck, no matter which way I answered them. Sorting through the list of fonts was a pain, as well, as you have to click on each to view a sample.
My conclusion? All I know is that it didn’t work for one five-letter sample. For a better test, I might try it with a complete Gulim alphabet, or try another font. Regardless, if WTF doesn’t turn up any matches for you then this might be worth a shot.

Pre-Identified Gameshow Fonts

This is getting a bit specific, but if you’re looking for fonts that were used in a particular game show then a lot of your work may be done already. I’ve happened across collections of show title fonts, fonts used to display scores, and of other miscellaneous game show fonts.

(Oh, and Jeopardy!? There’s a simulacrum of the title font called ‘Gyparody‘, the clues are displayed something very close to in a face named ‘Enchanted‘, and player winnings were displayed [from 1975-1993] in Vane Type II. My information is not yet complete, though. I did find some speculations about the current winnings font and the face used to display categories, but nothing conclusive.)