Re: Speaking of fonts...

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> Check out HTML. If you study it a bit you'll notice that it handles
> specifying sizes in pixels but is pathetic for sizes in centimeters
> or inches. For one there's little or no implied handling for resizing
> images in inches rather than in pixels.

I'm quite familiar with HTML, and CSS.  They have an idea that pixels
aren't pixels, though still called the same, they'll be scaled as the
original poster brought up in the first message.  The trouble is, the
idea isn't applied consistently (one person thinks pixels means pixels,
another thinks it means scaled to suit the situation).  If someone wants
to bring about another font sizing scheme, then give the bloody thing a
new name.  We're going right down the same potholed street caused by
abusing KILO into 1024 (same name, different purpose, and used

Taking CSS into account, it does actually provide what you bring up,
absolute sizes.  You can have a style sheet for a page that makes text
so-many pixels, points, or multiples of the normal body text font size
on the screen, yet when printing can also include real world sizes
(inches, etc.).  Though it still leaves us with the mess of "new

It could be possible to specify something like 2cm text on screen, but
that'd require screens to be set up properly, and it overlooks the
usability issue.  The current, redefined meaning for pixels in CSS
removed the one useful aspect to having pixel based font sizing; making
text sizing relative to some graphical element.

It's *generally* suitable for an author to set a page to print at 12
points, and that is the usual font size for most typed documents.  It's
rarely practical to let an author specify screen font sizes, because
everyone has different needs, and displays have different capabilities. 

In a lot of ways, I wish font sizing was never introduced to HTML.  If
they'd been restricted to special elements that could do some resizing
(banners, titles, some emphasis), but not be able to change the general
body text (be it in paragraphs, lists, tables, etc.), we'd be a lot
better off.  We wouldn't have to be coping with 8 pixel text.  :-\

Though, I expect midget text is going to have to disappear over the next
few years.  CRTs are capable of showing smaller sized text than LCDs
are, because the CRT doesn't use precise single phospor dot
illumination, and the phosphor dots are quite tiny.  LCDs have huge
dots, in comparison, and are unable to resolve anything smaller.  And
no, playing anti-aliasing tricks with the other colours doesn't really
help.  You just get a smudge, not a more well defined character.

> So if I have a really old 72 dpi monitor pixels and points pretty much
> align neatly. And the text looks incredibly blocky if you sit close to
> the screen, as close as you might read a paperback book, for example.

Yes, each medium has its own characteristics.  On my own systems I could
reasonably say 14 point text on screen is as nice to read as 10 point
text in a paper back novel.  I wouldn't care that the numbers are
different, because I know what actual size text I'll get when I ask for
it.  The current schemes might as well throw numbers out the window,
they're as inconsistent as the size labels on women's clothes (men's
too, but vanity sizing in women's clothing seems more obtuse).

> If I could get a nice 600 dpi monitor most web sites would show
> micro-pictures and nicely shaped fonts - IF you could get the
> browser to scale fonts properly.

Been down that road with Firefox.  Set it up, initially, with the font
sizes I preferred, and a minimum I could put up with.  The numbers were
a bit odd (everything else on the box had huge text if I set it to the
same numbers; 18), but it was kind of manageable.  Later, I set my
screen resolution according to reality (the true dots per inch being
used to draw to the screen), and fonts became microscopic.  I had to
increase the font sizes to huge numbers (because it specifies them in
pixels).  Now text on pages that specified font sizes were all over the
place (there's some peculiarity between what's specified as a size on
webpages, and what you've done).

> It's been time to address this issue for at least a decade now. IMAO
> somebody should develop a serious browser that overrides pixel
> specifications by scaling everything to compensate for distance from
> screen, for pixel density of the screen, and for the user's various
> eye deficiencies.

They've gone half way there with specifying a minimum font size, but
that just brings up other problems, namely that they haven't done the
same thing for line or box heights.  You specifying that fonts can't be
smaller than 17 pixels, because they're unreadable below that, doesn't
work when the idiot web designer has specified that the container is
going to be 9 pixels, because they thought 7 pixel fonts looked cool on
their mega monitor.

Horrible example page:  <>  (set a reasonable
minimum font size on your browser, then try to read what you're typing
into their search gadget).

Setting a minimum font sizing needs to take into account more than just
the font size.  On Opera, I found it relatively easy to toggle between
website styles, and my own stylesheet (with sizing, line-height, and
other custom options), or a combination.  Firefox isn't as flexible.

> Of course, the down side to fully scaling that way is that it violates
> the desire for users to have more and more information on their screens
> as the screen size increases, thus defeating some of the potential
> benefits of a larger screen.

Yes, and no.  Dumb scaling would do that to you.  And, the fact that we
have too-low resolution devices is part of the problem.  Even the best
resolution VDU that consumers buy, these days, is still low resolution.
What we're reading, from day to day at the moment, is pushing the
limits, rather than having a large overhead available to it.

I know lots of people using 800x600 because it's the only way to read
the text on their screen, and have gadgets that don't require precision
mousing.  Though they tend to get useful text sizes, but oversized GUIs.
We need individual, and independent, control for text size, gadget size,
and drawing resolutions (memory/speed constraints still make it
necessary to be able to reduce it, at times).

(Currently running FC4, occasionally trying FC5.)

Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored.
I read messages from the public lists.

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