Technology From Another Planet

Excerpt from Just My Type by Simon Garfield, via NPR:

You can’t easily find Jobs’s original typefaces these days, which may be just as well: they are coarsely pixelated and cumbersome to manipulate. But the ability to change fonts at all seemed like technology from another planet. Before the Macintosh of 1984, primitive computers offered up one dull typeface, and good luck trying to italicize it. But now there was a choice of alphabets that did their best to re-create something we were used to from the real world. Chief among them was Chicago, which Apple used for all its menus and dialogs on screen, right through to the early iPods. But you could also opt for old black letters that resembled the work of Chaucerian scribes (London), clean Swiss letters that reflected corporate modernism (Geneva), or tall and airy letters that could have graced the menus of ocean liners (New York). There was even San Francisco, a font that looked as if it had been torn from newspapers — useful for tedious school projects and ransom notes.