Tuesday 27 July 2004

Font sizes in web pages

This has been bugging me for ages. Why on earth do so many web "designers" get this completely wrong? We're living in an age where the style/content separation is becoming a reality, designers have more control than ever on the appearance of a page, and still (or perhaps hence) we have totally illegible font sizes? Why?

Worst are the absolute font sizes, measured in pixels or "pt"s. This is wholly inappropriate even if you don't consider the users who require especially large font sizes because they have a disability. Anyone who wants to should be able to choose the default font their browser should display, and I have done so for my browser. But no, the designers know better than to let me read their content at a comfortable font size.

My opinion differs from those of some I have spoken to who decry the use of font size specification at all. Font sizes have a place — they can be used, for example, to make navigation bars less intrusive — however the main body of the text in any page with significant content should bloody well be left at the user's preferred size!

Is there something fundamental I'm missing? Or is it just because the designers are too stupid to understand that they can change their own browser defaults if they want to have smaller text, rather than making life difficult for everyone else?

Of course this just joins the list of many abominations in today's web sites. We can dream that one day it will all be fixed...

Posted by Dominic at 01:02 | Comments (0)

Tuesday 6 July 2004

Glastonbury report

I've finally got round to reporting on the festival after having got back, been exhausted for several days after the event and catching up with work and other stuff.

The festival was, of course, absolutely brilliant. It was the first big festival I've been to, really, and I was not disappointed :)

So here, for posterity, is a lightning summary of my visit.

We (myself, Art, and Saffie), arrived at around 1-2pm on Thursday. The journey in (in a camper van) was remarkably easy, and there was none of the traffic problems we'd been warned about. I left the van and after getting into the site spent a couple of hours wandering the grounds to find a good spot to pitch the tent, doing so, and generally soaking up the atmosphere. Later I went to meet friends and spent most of the evening lounging on the grass soaking up the evening sun.

Friday was a gloriously sunny day and I spent most of it exploring the festival more fully, wandering up through the green fields area and visiting the stone circle. I also got rather sunburnt dozing in the Jazz world field. After all that was Elbow, PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp, Republic of Loose, and The Chemical Brothers. They were all good; Goldfrapp I was particularly impressed with, as the music definitely acquires an extra dimension when you can feel it as well as hear it. Elbow played a convincing set, although unfortunately it didn't have much new stuff in it. PJ Harvey was on form: I definitely preferred the Glasto gig to the one I'd seen last year at the Eden Project.

On Saturday I met up with Dave and we wandered around for much of the day doing not much. We spent some time in the Future Shorts tent watching a bunch of wacky short films, and more in the circus big top, and we eventually ended up, via the impressive Longview at the New tent, at the Starsailor gig. After that we caught a few unimpressive Black-Eyed Peas numbers whilst waiting for Paul McCartney, who gave by far the most glitzy performance of them all, complete with fireworks. And lots of mud, by that point, since it had been raining for most of the day.

Sunday started with Astrid Williamson, a melodic vocalist who drew me into the Avalon tent just after breakfast. After taking a rather roundabout route to Dave's tent to in the Other Stage field, I watched The Divine Comedy who performed a far too short but buzzing set as an accompaniment to our lunch. After that Dave had to leave, and I went to see Joss Stone, Here And Now (again in the Avalon tent, this time as it had just started pouring with rain), Gomez, Belle and Sebastian, Amy Winehouse (she was *very* good live, which I wasn't quite expecting), Bonnie Raitt, and Muse (phew!). I was impressed with Muse mostly, as I'd not really associated their music with them so much as Radiohead, so it was good to put the songs to the faces, as it were. Up until the wanky bits at the end with the oh-so-rock-star dismantling the drum kit, etc., of course.

On Monday morning I trudged back through the slippery grounds to where Art was parked and we headed back, arriving back in Oxford at a respectable time. I then proceeded to wander the house in a daze having had hardly any sleep thanks to the proximity of one of the all-night dance stages. It wasn't just sleep deprivation though; there is nothing so strange as spending four days in that sort of environment and then being in an empty, silent, house. I'd never found it so necessary to put on some music.

One of the notable things of course were all the acts that I wasn't able to see through the sheer density. Orbital's gig I'm sorry to have missed, as well as Zero 7, Groove Armada, Nelly Furtado, Soulive, James Brown... Oh, and the ENO.

Roll on next year (with sane booking arrangements)!

And finally... there be photos.

Posted by Dominic at 02:36 | Comments (0)

Saturday 3 July 2004

Fun with IPv6

For a while I've been vaguely interested in IPv6, as my professional and hobbyist instincts tell me I ought to be. I've never done much with it so far - I have had a 6to4 tunnel running for a while on my shared colo machine and home, and done a bit of reading. I got round the other day to enabling native IPv6 on our colo machine as our provider announced the availablility of it earlier this week, and got reverse DNS delegations sorted out. So we're now the proud owner of 4 billion globally routable addresses. What fun! With any luck we will get a /48 once they have sorted out some initial issues, and then we can set up tunnels.

Anyhow, the real point of this entry was to point people at the JOIN reference centre which is a really useful IPv6 resource site with lots of good documentation. I came across it by chance after doing a lot of reading and wished I'd found it earlier.

Posted by Dominic at 16:38 | Comments (0)

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