on formatting

Posted on Wednesday 19 June 2013

I was an early hacker on the Internet, before the days of Cascading Stylesheets, and I never learned much about them. As time went on, I did some web sites [by hand] and used Cascading Stylesheets, but that was from scratch. When blogging software came along, my daughter and a friend set up the WordPress blog, and my hacker days were behind me – so I used it as it came with a theme they picked out. I’ve changed a bit here and there, but the Cascades of Stylesheets was a a bit much, so I made up a few tricks for formatting that looked fine on my browser [Firefox], but I got occasional groans from Microsoft Internet Explorer users. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, because my 64 bit MSIE browser was always a version or so off. So I kept using superscript tags for quotes. I gather that’s a real pain in the neck to read, so I bit the bullet and played with the CSS code and this post is what I ended up with. The main font size is bigger.
And this is what quotes will look like in the future with a larger font.
    And this is what a quote inside a quote will look like.
Does this make it easier to read? Speak now while I still remember what I did. It will play havoc with former posts filled for years with superscript tags, but such is the price of progress…

Update: Sorry for the tiny font size in the comments box. I don’t know how it happened and I can’t yet figure out how to fix it. I’ll go back to it after my eyes uncross from looking at code…
  1.  
    June 19, 2013 | 11:23 PM
     

    Yes, yes, yes! Did you happen to read this? http://mattgemmell.com/2013/05/22/designing-blogs-for-readers/

  2.  
    Nancy Wilson
    June 19, 2013 | 11:27 PM
     

    I like the new format as well.

  3.  
    June 19, 2013 | 11:28 PM
     

    Yeah. I read it. My problem has been knowing how to make it happen…

  4.  
    June 19, 2013 | 11:29 PM
     

    Sorry to post again. Not trying to spam, but I got really excited and didn’t get to say everything in my first comment. If there’s one other thing you can change to improve readability, I would suggest “line-height: 1.5″ or maybe 1.6.

  5.  
    Annonymous
    June 20, 2013 | 12:18 AM
     

    1BOM, I enjoy that this blog does not look, or read, like most of the other blogs out there. Having looked at the psycritic blog I can see why it is technically more readable (and know that others have also commented on how this may be a problem for your blog), but I still really enjoy your unique look. It’s a nice break from the look of so many of the others, and thus I get less blog fatigue with yours since it doesn’t feel like the umpteenth blog page of the day that all look similar. Plus, your old posts are of great value and playing havoc with them seems a really steep price. Overall, I may be in the minority in this. But those are my 2 cents.

  6.  
    Johanna
    June 20, 2013 | 12:35 AM
     

    Yeah, I like it! It’s larger, and darker. Great if you can make it work!

  7.  
    June 20, 2013 | 12:52 AM
     

    Annon,

    I obviously agree or I would’ve taken the time to figure out the CSS long ago. But I finally went down the road and looked on several newer Windows boxes in MSIE and I had to agree, It was too hard to read the quotes. I was a Linux user for years, but when I started blogging, I reluctantly changed to Windows because of the limp quality of the Linux Graphics programs. I’m addicted to an ancient copy of PaintShop Pro. I think I’ll revisit the Linux graphics offerings in hopes of going back to Linux with my next computer. I find the “open source” idea aesthetically pleasing and use it wherever possible. Meanwhile, I’ll play with going back to the former “look and feel” with some CSS tweaks now that I’ve figured out how to get at the code. I know “where” to find it now, but the author of this theme didn’t make playing with it very easy.

  8.  
    Tom
    June 20, 2013 | 6:54 AM
     

    This is much easier on the eyes– which is important for an old geezer like me!

  9.  
    Melody
    June 20, 2013 | 10:14 AM
     

    Agree with Tom. Thanks.

  10.  
    June 20, 2013 | 10:48 AM
     

    Easier on the eyes.

    Any suggestions for what steps to take with a Smith Corona typewriter?
    It’s hard to believe we used to use those things, back in the day…

    Duane

  11.  
    wiley
    June 20, 2013 | 12:52 PM
     

    Cleaner, crisper, more legible, thank you. It looks better to me on Linux.

    1&1 is my service provider and my “blog” is wordpress—- wileywitch dot com. I don’t allow comments, because my domain is my library and thinking space; but the options that I have are wonderful— you might want to check 1&1 and the choices in it. I’ve been using Linux for over a year, we (me and my 23/7 tech guy) just finished migrating a month ago, got rid of Windows, and installed a newer version of Ubuntu .

    I just requested that he install Word 2003, because it worked just fine on my last version of Ubuntu, and I see no reason to change a word processing program with every new version of anything. As steep as the learning curve can be for graphics programs, your preference make perfect sense.

    This is good enough, of course, doc — it’s your place. Yet, I dream of an edit function and categories for the purposes of studying your posts by topic. You have such a wealth of information here.

    Thanks again for changing the fonts

  12.  
    wiley
    June 20, 2013 | 12:55 PM
     

    Oh, and just wanted to let you know, Mickey, that when I said that I wanted to send you “jewel colored daisies and a pot of plum jam” that I meant that symbolically. Rest assured that I’ve not been looking for your address to send you anything.

  13.  
    June 20, 2013 | 1:05 PM
     

    Wiley,
    Have you tried Open Office? Free, Open Source. It’s like the old MS Word. It’s my favorite. Runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows…

  14.  
    wiley
    June 20, 2013 | 3:50 PM
     

    Yes, I’ve used Word like a pacifier. For lists and notes, I use Open Office. I could probably let go of it just by not having it installed, but after years of watching the staff at the V.A. clinic being slowed down and baffled from dealing with the new version of word every year or so, I’d decided to keep Word 2003 as stubbornly as possible. Should probably let it go, though and get with the Open Office manual.

    I’ve said that the best way to leave Microsoft was to tell it I’m going out for a pack of cigarettes, then not coming back.

    Today I’m going to try to learn how to do a spreadsheet in Open Office so I can make a chart of my medications and risks that concern me in one page to give to my primary care provider.

    What I love most about Ubuntu is that hasn’t crashed on me.

  15.  
    a-non
    June 20, 2013 | 4:12 PM
     

    Gratis versus libre:
    Gratis versus libre is the distinction between two meanings of the English adjective “free”; namely, “for zero price” (gratis) and “with little or no restriction” (libre). The ambiguity of “free” can cause issues where the distinction is important, as it often is in dealing with laws concerning the use of information, such as copyright and patents.

    The terms are largely used to categorise intellectual property, particularly computer programs, according to the licenses and legal restrictions that cover them, in the free software and open source communities, as well as the broader free culture movement. For example, they are used to distinguish freeware (software gratis) from free software (software libre).

    Richard Stallman summarised the difference in a slogan: “Think free as in free speech, not free beer.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_Libre

  16.  
    a-non
    June 20, 2013 | 4:14 PM
     

    Gratis versus libre is the distinction between two meanings of the English adjective “free”; namely, “for zero price” (gratis) and “with little or no restriction” (libre). The ambiguity of “free” can cause issues where the distinction is important, as it often is in dealing with laws concerning the use of information, such as copyright and patents.

    The terms are largely used to categorise intellectual property, particularly computer programs, according to the licenses and legal restrictions that cover them, in the free software and open source communities, as well as the broader free culture movement. For example, they are used to distinguish freeware (software gratis) from free software (software libre).

    Richard Stallman summarised the difference in a slogan: “Think free as in free speech, not free beer.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_Libre

  17.  
    a-non
    June 20, 2013 | 7:50 PM
     

    Sorry for the double post.

  18.  
    a-non
    June 20, 2013 | 8:13 PM
     

    This gets interesting in relation to “The RIAT Act”:
    “Generalizing the “Gratis/Libre” distinction to the Open Access movement”
    “The original Gratis/Libre distinction concerns software (i.e., code), with which users can potentially do two kinds of things: (1) access and use it and (2) modify and re-use it. “Gratis” pertains to being able to access and use the code, without a price-barrier, and “Libre” pertains to being allowed to modify and re-use the code, without a permission barrier. The target content of the Open Access movement, however, is not software but published, peer-reviewed research journal article texts.

    1. Code (text) accessibility and use. For published research articles, the case for making their text accessible free for all online (Gratis) is even stronger than it is for software code, because in the case of software, some developers may wish to give their code away for free, while others may wish to sell it, whereas in the case of published research article texts, all their authors, without exception, give them away for free: None seek or get royalties or fees from their sale.[7] On the contrary, any access-denial to potential users means loss of potential research impact (downloads, citations) for the author’s research—and researcher-authors’ employment, salary, promotion and funding depends in part on the uptake and impact of their research. So whereas not all programmers may want their software to be accessible Gratis, all researchers want their articles to be accessible Gratis.

    2. Code (text) modifiability and re-use. For published research articles, the case for allowing text modification and re-use is much weaker than for software code, because, unlike software, the text of a research article is not intended for modification and re-use. (In contrast, the content of research articles is and always was intended for modification and re-use: that is how research progresses.) There are no copyright barriers to modifying, developing, building upon and re-using an author’s ideas and findings, once they have been published, as long as the author and published source are credited—but modifications to the published text are another matter. Apart from verbatim quotation, scholarly/scientific authors are not in general interested in allowing other authors to create “Mashups” of their texts. Researcher-authors are all happy to make their texts available for harvesting and indexing for search as well as data-mining, but not for re-use in altered form (without the permission of the author).

    The formal analogy, and the generalization of the Gratis/Libre distinction from Open Software to Open access (publishing), have been made.[8] However, because of the substantive disanalogies regarding (1) and (2) noted above, the analogy needs to be treated with some caution.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_Libre#Generalizing_the_.22Gratis.2FLibre.22_distinction_to_the_Open_Access_movement

  19.  
    Stan
    June 20, 2013 | 8:32 PM
     

    How about that Mickey, after all this time I can finally see the meat on plate. I’m just not so sure that makes it any easier to swallow…:)

    Oh, by the way, “clicking is not hacking” LOL You can take my experienced word for it…

  20.  
    a-non
    June 20, 2013 | 10:00 PM
     

    I might recommend small thoughtful bites, much is at stake. (pun intended)
    http://mycanadianshield.ca/archives/332
    Thanks Mickey and others.

  21.  
    Minder
    June 21, 2013 | 2:31 AM
     

    AUGH. Mickey, why did you set blockquote’s font-size to .75em? Why would you want to make it a quarter smaller than the surrounding text?

    Your site is extremely hard to read on the Mac, because in general, Mac browsers render fonts smaller than their PC counterparts, and all over your CSS you have text set to em values smaller than 1. Your site is largely in 4pt type when I read it here. Which I don’t, except to comment; I read you in an RSS reader, in part so I can.

    There are very few things that really want to be in a tiny font size on a web page. Footnotes. Footers. Things you feel obliged to include for completeness sake but don’t actually want/expect your readers to attempt to read. Everything else needs to be 1em or larger.

  22.  
    Minder
    June 21, 2013 | 2:32 AM
     

    P.S. Am using a browser related to Firefox (Gekko engine) that is Mac-specific.

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