Web Page Readability in a world of LCD monitors

Maybe it’s just me, ever since I switched to an LCD monitor, I find it painful to read white text on a black background for any length of time. It used to be the other way around – I suspect it has something to do with the way that an LCD screen produces colors (including black). But any page that has a very dark background with light text is painful for me to read.

If you remember what my blog’s previous theme was, you’ll know that it was sort of in that category – although not as bad as some pages. So that’s part of the reason I switched to the new theme – black text on a white background is easier on my eyes.

Maybe I’m just getting old, but I don’t know. Does anyone else agree with me here?

Update on OpenID

Well, I’ve had my OpenID for a while now – and frankly, I haven’t used it once since I signed up.

Oh don’t get me wrong – I am totally for the idea of a single, universal log on. But, in my opinion, the system isn’t quite “polished” enough.

Adding all my information into OpenID was easy enough, as was setting up the account. But whenever I try to sign into an OpenID-enabled site, I end up redirected back to my OpenID provider’s website to enter my password and “approve” the access. It’s a bit reminiscent of Vista’s User Account Control dialog that so many people complain about – except now it’s on the web.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I gave it a fair try – I even tried enabling OpenID on this blog – but in the end it was just too hard, too complicated, too much extra work for not enough gain, and in many ways it wasn’t backwards compatible. (I tried to enable OpenID login for comments AND leave the normal comment form for people who don’t have an OpenID, but wasn’t able to get it working.)

Perhaps I’ll give OpenID another try in a few months… we’ll see. But for now… it’s got a “thumbs down” from me.

Sorry, OpenID.

Breaking the Web

Recently I’ve found more than a few websites using a very annoying pop-up preview thing – you’ve probably seen it yourself, popping up when you mouse over a link on a web page. It’s from some place called “Snap,” and it shows you a preview of the page the link leads to – I guess so you can… see it before you see it?

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see the point. In this day and age – with tabbed browsing available from all the major web browsers, there’s just no need for a “preview” of a link. Just open the link in a new tab! Seriously!

Considering how much people hate other kinds of “pop-ups,” it’s surprising that they’d put up with these kind. And even more confusing is why website authors themselves would include the functionality in the first place. Maybe they just think it looks “cool?”

Personally, I find it terribly distracting at best, and at worst I find that it totally breaks the web – it stops you from reading the content behind it, it causes random asynchronous requests from your browser (using AJAX no doubt), and it just slows down the whole experience. If you’ve got a page with more than a few links on it, and you move your mouse over the page, you might be in for quite a surprise as dozens of these little pop-ups try and spring to life, like monsters born from the dust of some evil pixie or something. Never mind that the preview is too small to really make a difference anyway. The most you can hope for is to see whether the linked page uses a particular color scheme. It’s like trying to preview a page by looking at your monitor while seated 20 feet away.

In short, utterly useless.

WordPress 2.5

Well, I took the plunge and upgraded to WordPress 2.5.

I’m actually quite surprised – I didn’t look at any of the release candidates, so the new style (for the admin interface) is totally new to me. I have to say I’m quite taken with it (although I did switch back to the “classic” color scheme).

And I have to say I LOVE the new media browser controls – much better for handling pictures, music, and videos embedded in a blog (as I so often do).

Although my configuration seems to be limited somehow – I get errors when uploading image files during the “Crunching” process. I’m not sure what it is; it may be a PHP memory limit on my server. If anyone’s run into this and diagnosed it successfully before, please drop a note in the comments – I’d appreciate it.

In the meantime, I’ve got work to do – upgrading the themes here and over at the Bun’s blog to allow the use of the now-built-in Gravatars. Fun!

Time flows like a river… and history repeats

It occurred to me recently that Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and all those sorts of sites are just like GeoCities and Tripod were back in the early days of the web – in other words, filled with awful, horrible, ugly web pages that nobody wants to look at.

It occurred to me recently that Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and all those sorts of sites are just like GeoCities and Tripod were back in the early days of the web – in other words, filled with awful, horrible, ugly web pages that nobody wants to look at.

Ah, progress.