The Scots Law Student

The SLS : Life and trials of learning law in Scotland

Month: April, 2010

WordPress.com customisation

In a recent comment Michael (of Law Actually) asked if I had thought about tweaking the previous theme. In all honesty I hadn’t considered tweaking the theme at all. I’d sort of sublimated the idea that WordPress.org (the web application) is very customisable but WordPress.com (the hosting service) is very locked down. You can do things like advertise on a self hosted blog that you aren’t allowed to WordPress.com and the files are much more readily available if they are on your server instead of Automattic’s. However I discovered it’s not as locked down as I thought when I went to the Dashboard to have a look around.

I’ve been fiddling with the blog layout recently and I’ve also given it a change of fonts thanks to Typekit. Typekit is an interesting technology which lets you include any font (that Typekit supports) in your web page, regardless of whether or not you, your blog host or your readers have the fonts installed. I would actually sincerely doubt that anyone reading this would have these particular fonts installed – I’m using Calluna for headings and Droid Sans Pro for the body text. These are commercial fonts that you would need to have spent $174 to have (fonts are hard work to make and cost a lot of money). I think it’s a little excessive to have to spend $174 just to read my blog properly. However they are good looking typefaces. The alternative is to use something like Typekit which lets you see the glyphs without needing to install the fonts.

Typography is an interest of mine and it’s a fairly important thing to consider if you are looking at effectively writing for a living, which is basically how I see practising law. According to research humans find it easier to read serif fonts (like Times New Roman etc) on paper and sans serif fonts (like Arial) on screens. Therefore I’ve used a serif font for the headings (which are shorter and larger) and a sans serif for the body text. I generally use the reverse for printed documents. There is method in ‘t.

I’ve mentioned typography on the blog before and have recommended Typography for Lawyers to anyone looking for a detailed and useful introduction (and a bit more) to the subject without actually having to enrol in an art school.

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The notebook you have with you

I quite like my stationary, my big affectation is fountain pens but I like notebooks too. Unlike Glenn Beck, I’m not a big Moleskine fan for a couple of reasons, the first one is the general advertising and culture (Hemingway didn’t use a notebook that you can buy on Amazon.co.uk) that surrounds them and also because I think that if your notebook is too nice you’re not going to use it. I’m currently using own brand ones from Tesco because all you’re looking for is a book of blank paper that you can doodle in.

There’s a photography maxim that says “the best camera is the one you have with you” and this really applies to notebooks too. I have a substantial A4 hardback Moleskine notebook in my desk, it was over a tenner (far too much to spend on blank pages in hindsight) and I’ve earmarked it for serious work – you can’t remove pages from it, it looks very business like and A4 is the right size for holding lots of writing on a page. It’s very rarely out of the house, though, and it spends more time sitting in a bag than being used. Currently it only contains the final notes that I spoke from for a couple of speeches I’ve made recently which look very lonely at the very front of the book. It’s very rarely the best notebook for any job.

The notebook you have with you

Enter the wallet notebook – I keep a WHSmith small memo pad in my wallet (can’t find it online but there’s a photo below). It’s far too small to be any use for doing work in (it’s actually smaller than a pen) but it’s perfect for taking a phone number or address, a to do or just an observation. It’s very rare that I won’t have my wallet on me and therefore keeping things in my wallet makes a lot of sense for me. It works for giving people notes or taking them myself. You wouldn’t write a book in something that size but you wouldn’t leave it at home either.

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