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Over There (in the UK)

October 16, 2000 at 10 AM

There’s no question that, when

There's no question that, when push comes to shove, I would clutch my morning newspaper to the bloody end rather than be forced to read the same words presented on a monitor, even if it was on a cinema display. Ink on paper has [still, after all these years] higher resolution, meaning better clarity and definition. Generally speaking, real paper is also a somewhat less frightening shade of white than the "Burn a Hole In Your Socket" version that dominates so many web sites, including nearly every single online newspaper. Studies show, they tell me, that we cannot in fact read as quickly or efficiently on a computer as we can nestled on the couch with our favourite novel and a cup of tea. And it isn't because of the chamomile.

Must it be this way? No one's asking for a replacement for books, magazines and newspapers, mind you. All the same though, it would be nice if reading on a screen weren't such a pain. Thankfully, there are enterprising individuals like Toby Braun, who has started the lexiaProject Public GUI Initiative to address this tragic shortcoming.

Firstly, Braun has recognized some of the less obvious shortcomings of screen-based reading, such as the unwelcome addition of a mouse or keyboard for scrolling. But more importantly and impressively, he has some bright (though not so bright that the contrast hurts) ideas about how text presentation might be better accomplished using the available technology.

Take a peak. If you can't stand to read his extensive comments — which might be understandable — you can still try out a prototype of his new reading interface. The Java version works pretty well, with the buttons and widgets functioning, although I couldn't resize the type or switch between the different documents available.

Comments

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Previously: As he so often does,

Subsequently: Well, it’s another chilly morning

October 2000
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