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Brilliant piece, Drew!
Regarding unicode range and subsets: At Fontdeck we have tiny fonts we call â€˜expert subsetsâ€™ containing only OpenType features like swashes for some faces like Pimlico and Trilogy. Firefox 4 supports CSS 3 OpenType features. For the rest, specific characters can be displayed using OpenType alternates, swashes, or anything else, using regular HTML hooks. However, this is better way if the fine folks at Mozilla can implement it.
Rich Rutter has described subsets as a modular approach. I agree, and refer to them already as modular font stacks. Including special features in small files that can progressively enhance the type, perhaps selected with this method, makes a lot of sense for those of us concerned with performance and extensibility.