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May 23, 2005

Lo heere
Posted by Teresa at 08:56 PM * 117 comments

Welcome to Making Light, incorporating Electrolite.

Comments on Lo heere:
#1 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:31 PM:

I think it's gorgeous. And just in time for the averting of the Nukular Option.

#2 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:34 PM:

I'm still holding out for Nielsen Hayden Overdrive.

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:36 PM:

Many fine points remaining to be fixed. RSS feed for the comments: upcoming. Applying the new color scheme to all the little subsidiary templates: no doubt we've missed some. 5,271,009 Microsoft Internet Exploder users about to complain to us that everything comes up in Chinese: inevitable.

Actually, we thought about calling it Making Elect, just to appeal to that all-important Presbyterian demographic.

#4 ::: Carolyn Davies ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:36 PM:

Very nice, indeed!

#5 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:40 PM:

I like "Incorporating Electrolite".

Liberals don't drink the Kool-Aid. We like Gatorade.

#6 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:42 PM:

Eek! Not sure I like it at this point, but mostly because I'm trying to find stuff and it's not where I expect. I think I *will* like it as soon as I've got used to it.

#7 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:43 PM:

once again proving the wave/particle nature of light...

;)

#8 ::: Cassie Krahe ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:50 PM:

Wow. I didn't expect it to happen this quickly. Very nice.

#9 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:55 PM:

Well, in marketing speak, this makes "Electrolite" an ingredient brand. Kind of like "Intel Inside" on your PC.

#10 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:56 PM:

Love what you've done with the place.

Thanks for bringing over the "HTML Tags" cheatsheet.

#11 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 10:59 PM:

(Ooooh.)

#12 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:00 PM:

Hmmm.

We'll be fiddling with the details for some time to come.

#13 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:03 PM:

And a suggestion - perhaps you could make the "Making Light" title on comment pages link back to the home page, just like the "Return to Making Light's front page" link does. Makes for less fussy mousing.

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:07 PM:

Wow. I just set off a truly weird bug. I was trying to go back to the top of the page, but mis-moused and somehow managed to grab the contents of the right-hand column and shove it leftward. Reloading and cache-dumping and more reloading have so far not dispelled it.

#15 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:08 PM:

A reasonable suggestion from the user POV. From ours, it would require an entire alternate CSS stylesheet to make the banner logo not render as some sort of illegible dark-on-dark color due to its link nature.

Noted, though. As I said, a reasonable idea.

#16 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:10 PM:

Looks good from Nihon!

#17 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:12 PM:

Hello. I was just reading Making Light's archives; I clicked a "next post" link and found the main text of the entry page squeezed into a column about three words wide.

With the new layout, in order to make the text comfortably readable, I have to use most of my screen space for the browser window - and half of its interior area is the left and right columns, which are usually blank for most of the length of the page.

The lower-contrast comment body text (especially with the dark bold links) is also rather uncomfortable.

This is probably partly an unconsidered reflex at the moment, as I'm mainly thinking "Hey! Put it back!".

(I wish I had something more positive to say in my first comment.)

#18 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:12 PM:

I guess to be a useful comment, I should have said, Looks good from Nihon using Firefox 1.0.3 on a G3 Ibook running Mac OS 10.4.1

#19 ::: Jason ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:17 PM:

Neato! To steal a cliche: Two great tastes that taste great together!

If I can make one small suggestion that might not matter to anyone but me (at which point please ignore me):

You may want to widen the central column, wherein the actual entries are located. When it was just Patrick on Electrolite this format didn't matter much, but Teresa's posts tend to be a little longer, which makes for more scrolling down.

Of course, my browser doesn't sit at the full width of my screen, so maybe I am the only one who might be bothered by this.

#20 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:17 PM:

Hm. You decided against keeping the green text color for permalinks, comment headings, and particles.

#21 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:19 PM:

Hey, I'm just trottin' out the wish list. If ya don't ask, ya don't get. ;-)

BTW, Mac OS X 10.2.8, Firefox 1.0.4 - looking good.
Same for IE 5.2.3 for Mac.

Haven't tried my Windows machines yet.

#22 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:22 PM:

"I was just reading Making Light's archives; I clicked a "next post" link and found the main text of the entry page squeezed into a column about three words wide."

I can't duplicate this. You may have run into an artifact of the two or three hours during which we were throwing heavy objects around. I'd suggest emptying your cache, quitting your browser, and trying again.

#23 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:27 PM:

Is the font color for Comments now lighter than it was at Electrolite? A quick side-by-side suggests that it is, and it's now light enough that (even with a spiffy new laptop screen) I'm having trouble reading it.

Umm, I don't want to upset any major compromises or anything, mind.

#24 ::: RandallP ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:29 PM:

Looks good from this end, although the colors on the top bar make my eyes hurt.

And yes, I'm just posting right now to say that I was one of the first five hundred to post on the new and improved "Making Electrolite" site. I'm so trendy.

#25 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:39 PM:

There's no significance, one assumes, to this taking place on the anniversary of the Second Defenestration of Prague.

#26 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:43 PM:
I can't duplicate this. You may have run into an artifact of the two or three hours during which we were throwing heavy objects around. I'd suggest emptying your cache, quitting your browser, and trying again.

I don't think it's a bug: the layout looks consistent.

Here's some screenshots, of an estimate of the window size I was using comfortably before: before, after, top of after.

(Yes, this is quite a small window. I use many windows simultaneously, and don't have space to waste (1024×768). As the screenshot shows, the previous layout fit quite comfortably in that window.)

#27 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2005, 11:59 PM:

Someone else has pinned down what made me feel a bit funny about the layout - from my perspective it suits Patrick's posting style better than Teresa's, because Teresa's posts tend to be longer.

But it's definitely growying on me. The first time was a bit of a shock, because I hit refresh, and it refreshed, all right... :-)

#28 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 12:32 AM:

Glad to be in the new improved space, and expecting more useful improvements as we go. You Guys Rock.

#29 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 12:42 AM:

Patrick: From ours, it would require an entire alternate CSS stylesheet to make the banner logo not render as some sort of illegible dark-on-dark color due to its link nature.

It shouldn't, if you restrict the link colouring to the banner id. The following should do it:

#banner A,
#banner A:link,
#banner A:visited,
#banner A:active,
#banner A:hover { color:#EEE; background: #660000; text-decoration: none; font-weight:bold; }

Looks very nice. This is one heck of a massy weblog.

#30 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 12:50 AM:

Language, fraud, folly, truth, knitting, and growing luminous by eating light.

Wow -- if I'd known that eating light could do so much for me, I'd have tried that Uncle Fester trick long before I actually did it!

On a design note, perhaps it's just me, but in Safari the very bold blue text of hyperlinks and headings somewhat overwhelms the flat gray text of everything else. Makes it just a tiny bit harder to read the important bits.

I also think your lefthand column is too wide, making the center column (where all the interesting stuff is) too narrow on my typical window size. This may be an exaggerated perception stemming from the fact that at the moment, that wide lefthand column has almost nothing in it.

#31 ::: Harry ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:03 AM:

Cool.

#32 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:26 AM:

Very nice.

(Safari 1.2.4, Mac OS X 10.3.8.)

#33 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:37 AM:

I'm with the people not happy with how the screen real estate is shared out. In my normal portrait-format browser window, it's not bad, but if I go full-screen (which I essentially never do for text sites) or to a narrow window, it does strange things.

#34 ::: NenyaKanadka ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:39 AM:

I also think your lefthand column is too wide, making the center column (where all the interesting stuff is) too narrow on my typical window size.

Same for me. I'm using a 800x600 screensize at the moment, so that may make a difference. Using the Opera browser (6.01) on Windows 98. Will have to check with the Safari/Mac combo later.

Anyway--looks good other than the small size of the center column. Yay!

#35 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:24 AM:

Very nice!

#36 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:34 AM:

I think it looks nice -- ignore all those other guys. People always fuss when you change something. Most people don't like change. (By the way -- is the typing window for comments supposed to be wider than the central column? (Mozilla 1.4.1 and OS X.2.8 on an iBook -- Jordin bought Tiger just before he left town so...))

MKK

#37 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:54 AM:

The grey on white is a bit pallid for my Mac. If you designed this for windows users remember a) the Mac really respects font weights and b) windows and Macs have different grey linearity.

Also, Macs ship with lots of very nice typefaces, so consider adding Gill Sans or Lucida Grande or whatever your preference is to the stylesheet ahead of verdana.

#38 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 05:08 AM:

I love it.

#39 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 05:32 AM:

It's lovely. Different, but lovely.

I'm a little homesick for the old page.

It's still lovely.

#40 ::: Henry Richardson ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 06:26 AM:

I'm red-green color blind and I find the new color scheme to be much more readable.

#41 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 06:38 AM:

The middle column seems awfully thin to me, and this text box extends over the right-hand column. But I am using barfy old Netscape 7, and it never had any colours anyway.

#42 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 07:05 AM:

Sipping first cup of coffee, doing my usual morning surfing, and BOING! I think I'm awake now.

Wow. Like everyone else, I wasn't expecting this so soon - so far, looks good (though I'm in the "center column a bit too narrow but I'll get over it if that's the way it's going to be" camp as well).

#43 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 07:39 AM:

On my Mac, the gray on white text is hard to read when it's near a dark blue link; otherwise, it's surprisingly okay. Layout looks fine.

#44 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 07:59 AM:

I'm still having the ads taking over and having to go back to get the actual post problem on 9.x, but I don't imagine it loads smoothly on a Pong machine either. I should just upgrade to the current millennium.

Particles and Sidelights in the same place, oboyoboy.

#45 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 08:29 AM:

We agree about the light gray of the comment text. As you can see, it's been fixed.

We also agree that the central column on the individual-entry-archive pages (which you're probably looking at right now) is too narrow, and the left-hand column uselessly wide. This'll get fixed in a way that, happily for Kevin Reid (thanks for the screenshots--now I understand), will also fix his problem.

A question for all: It seems to us that the column width on the comment-preview page is about right. Agree? Disagree?

Kevin Marks: Yeah, I realize we could use CSS to specify a long series of alternate fonts (font-family: Shatter, LincolnLog, GrotesqueExtraUgly, DillPickle, oh all right we give up sans-serif;), but our aim is to have everything more or less harmonize within the range of fonts most people are likely to have.

We do know about Mac greys vs Windows grays; in fact, we're pretty much an all-Mac shop here at Casa NH these days, with four machines all running 10.3 or 10.4. The old PC, built years ago by Mike Farren and me from parts, is downstairs in pieces, gradually giving up its components to repair the superior beings that have taken over its ecological niche. Our actual problem is making sure any site changes don't blow up common Windows browsers. I do try to remember to check stuff on my PC at Tor, but that doesn't always happen in a timely fashion. (Anyone who wishes to donate an unused copy of Virtual PC for the Mac will receive the thanks of a grateful nation, and possibly some fine NH-branded anthologies of their choice.)

#46 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 08:55 AM:

This is taking a look at "the column width on the comment-preview page" to see if it "is about right". Blah-blah-blah. Hmm. How much text will I need to make this test usable? I am, by the way, on a W2K machine, 1024 x 768. So let's take a look.

(Noises off.)

Ok, looks good to me.

#47 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:00 AM:

I like it. I agree that the masthead title should be a link to the front page.

As for the small bold blue hyperlink text, it's fine for me in most places, but when it's italicised, as in the Recent Comments section, it's blocky and hard to read. Either less bold or bigger would be nice. I'm using Firefox 1.0.4 on Windows XP, and it isn't antialiasing the text (since it's so small, it would probably be worse if it did).

Actually (previewing the sample in the previous paragraph) it doesn't look so bad now. Maybe it's only a problem when it's on a grey background.

#48 ::: Jon Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:36 AM:

Ooh, pretty. Time to update my linkage.

#49 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:38 AM:

Everything looks good, but why are you all talking Finnish?

(No humor glyph on this keyboard, so I'll just have to start the laughter by hand: "Ha!")

Now, how far behind am I on the comments? Urg.

#50 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 10:15 AM:

The left-hand column is definitely too wide when you're in comment-reading mode, and the use of light gray for the text is a simple error that's waiting to be fixed. We went live with this thing while it was still in beta.

Patrick may have fixed that already.

As I understand it, comments and archives are inheriting layout constraints and specifications from the front page, and will do so until Patrick gives them their own proper constraints and specifications.

For me, this process of amalgamation is like having a beloved S.O. move into what has long been a single person's apartment. It's agreed that it's a good idea; both parties understand that there will have to be adjustments, and are willing to make them; but you keep unexpectedly finding some changes upsetting on a purely visceral/territorial level. Like, you walk into what's always been Your Kitchen, and discover that Your Spice Rack has been relocated to make room for a coffee maker. There does need to be a space for the coffee maker, and this rearrangement is the best of several imperfectly satisfactory options; but there's still this irrationally furious moment of feeling like it's Just Plain Wrong.

I won't deny that it's been an interesting exercise in discovering what's important to us, and why.

The narrowness of the center column on the main page bothers me. That may or may not change. Part of our disagreement is a matter of visual acuity. Even in middle age, I'm comfortable with small type, crowded layouts, narrow gutters, and signals encoded in fine distinctions of color. Patrick was myopic to start with, and keeps getting more so. The old Electrolite design was optimized for his eyesight.

But there's more to it than that; and here we come to one of our primordial differences, a standing disagreement like a chunk of Canadian Shield granite worn smooth by much friction, but still immovably there. You know those standard lists of things couples fight about -- money, children, sex, in-laws, and religion? I always add "typography." My writing runs long, and I tend to favor cramming as much text as possible into the reader's field of vision. Patrick's writing runs shorter than mine, and he'll trade off less text immediately visible for larger type and more white space.

I write in Bitmap; Patrick writes in Postscript.

Back in the days when we published via mimeograph, too many of our arguments started with Patrick saying "I'm envisioning two sides, one sheet," when my draft material was already six pages long. Two pages of single-spaced 10-pitch typescript is what I produce when I'm trying to write something he thinks should run to five or six sentences.

I think this falls under Smart Maureen McHugh's rule that all arguments between couples boil down to "You're not me!"

#51 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 10:25 AM:

For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, through small font or large ...

So, merged blog. It's like you guys are married or something. ;)

(Not that I get a vote, but as a reader, I'm nearsighted and prefer larger font. But I just realized I have a double standard, since on my occasional blog I frequently write in small font.)

#52 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 10:33 AM:

I've been having this recurrent dream where I've redesigned Making Light in shades of ice green, orange juice yellow, and cyan, with rounded corners on all the boxes. Fortunately, the redesign I see in my sleep is beyond my technical chops, and far beyond anything I have time for right now; but it's very pretty.

(Of course I dream about HTML colors. It goes along with having dreams about paper stocks, typefaces, and print resolution levels.)

#53 ::: CEP ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 10:41 AM:

I guess I'm the real weirdo here: I'm very nearsighted (probably as nearsighted as Patrick) and prefer relatively small fonts with material crammed together (as does Teresa). (Smart remarks about "of course he's a weirdo—he's a lawyer" will fall upon deaf ears, or perhaps nearly blind eyes.) Perhaps, though, that's because I have trouble refocussing with excessive vertical eye movement.

I'd almost prefer a slightly different layout on the comments page, using a noninherited CSS definition, that moves the right column to underneath the actual text in the left column. I'm not entirely sure how well that would work visually, but the coding is simple enough. Two columns are enough for anything serious; more than that and you've got a mere newspaper.

#54 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 10:57 AM:

Like it -- but what about if when I clicked on my "Electrolite" bookmark, it redirected me over here steada giving me a 403 error? I'd like that too.

#55 ::: Alex R ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 10:57 AM:

Attempting to visit the "Electrolite" page yields a 403 Forbidden error, rather than the appropriate redirect to Making Light...

BTW, I like the new layout better than either of the previous sites. Just one opinion.

#56 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 10:58 AM:

Alex Cohen on Open Thread 41: On that note, can I request a stronger contrast between the colors of clicked and unclicked hrefs? Old Making Light had a very nice contrast, but the Electrolite color scheme uses blue and slightly lighter blue.

I second this.

I'm also in the "middle column is too narrow, but if you're not going to fix it I'll deal" camp.

--Mary Aileen

#57 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:12 AM:

The 403 thing is likely a transitional phenomenon. I believe Patrick had a redirect planned.

#58 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:22 AM:

The Electrolite archives from February 2002 and before are broken. Plis to forgive if this is a known bug.

#59 ::: scapegoat ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:26 AM:

So we have been assimilated. No worries here, as I'm easy to please. (Either that or I haven't been around long enough to get too picky.)

#60 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:26 AM:

I've had no trouble with the size of the columns. Weren't you saying that you were anticipating trouble for Windows users with IE? No trouble.

Also, I have bad eyes, and the typeface has not been a problem either.

Just so you know.

#61 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:32 AM:

I'm pretty nearsighted but I do like the soothing-to-my-eyes gray of Making Light and always have. My only current issue is the italics for commentor's names. It makes me sort of queasy to look at it. Also, as someone else mentioned, the bold blue of clicked links isn't really clear to me, but I can live with it.

So far I am not having any issues with the column widths.

#62 ::: Pamela ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:50 AM:

Another unimportant bug: when I used the search function, the results came back with the heading in about 50000 pt font. (The searches work though, and that's more important.)

I'm with the liking it crowd.

#63 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:57 AM:

The giant font in the search results is a bug that predates the shiftover, and I'll get around to dealing with it.

The broken links to older Electrolite archives have been fixed. Thanks to Andy Perrin for spotting it.

#64 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 12:34 PM:

Wow, the black on white for comments is much better. FWIW, I've nosed around and all looks good with Windows XP SP2 Tablet Edition and IE 6.0.2900.

This is my work machine and not only is adding browsers in kind of a grey area, it would be politically unwise - in an eat your own dogfood kind of way.

#65 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 12:36 PM:

And the randomly shifting middle (comment) column size is pretty neat, too! ;-)

Whew - you guys fly low to the ground!

#66 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 12:39 PM:

Have you considered providing the reader with a choice of fonts, as is done at Backup Brain?

It's a combination of Javascript and an alternate CSS stylesheet and works quite well. It's also not too hard to do.

I note with some amusement that upon reading their source code, the default small sans-serif stylesheet is labeled "Default", while the larger serif type is labeled "Tom".

#67 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 12:57 PM:

'Sokay from what I can read.

I eagerly await some posts on issues, literary, political, and otherwise.

While I'm waiting, I'll promote a few blogs: Alas, a Blog , Left2Right and Orcinus.

Most of you have already heard of them, but I figure there's the chance that someone hasn't, and my recommendation might mean something.

#68 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:27 PM:

Larry: Glad to provide entertainment while we throw the furniture around.

Patrick: Yeah, I know about the alternate-stylesheet trick. Someday when I'm feeling really ambitious I'll go for it.

#69 ::: Anne KG Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:44 PM:

Nice so far. The font size is at the low end of what's comfortable for me, but still in it.

Amused to note that the title piece of the welcome to Making Light, incorporating Electrolite post has no indication of the author and yet I could tell Teresa wrote it.

-I know it was Teresa because I checked and, as I expected, the front page of the blog indicates author, but then when you go to the comments page, the author indication is lost. I came here through the Making Light RSS feed on LiveJournal, which took me straight to the comments page. Considering all the discussion of it beforehand, I suspect you'll want to change something about that so that those who continue to subscribe to the notification-rather-than-fulltext feed will be able to see which of you wrote the post. (It may be an issue for the fulltext feed as well, I don't know, I haven't seen it.) Also handy for those following any other type of direct link.

And once you're settled a bit, don't forget to change the text in http://www.blogads.com/qoiqbojydpn/electrolite/advertise and http://www.blogads.com/qoiqbojydpn/electrolitemakinglighttextads/advertise

#70 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:45 PM:

Oh, really good point about putting the author credits onto individual pages.

#71 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:49 PM:

Patrick: fixing the color of the banner doesn't require separate CSS.

Add a contextual selector:

#banner A { color: #EEE; }

That should do, since text-decoration and font-weight should be inherited from the regular A definition.

You may want to add selectors for #banner A:visited and the like as well.

#72 ::: Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 01:55 PM:

Just to throw another variable into the Great Restyling: With Lynx, Making Light used to work really well (text on top, stuff on bottom); Electrolite was terrible, but there was a prominent link to a Lynx-friendly version. This appears to be both terrible and without the light version link.

#73 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:02 PM:

Mike, yes, a Making Light version of the old "Electrolighter" will be forthcoming.

Christopher, you're talking to me as if I actually have some training in this stuff. Please understand that mostly what I know is what I call "cargo cult programming"--I can extrapolate from the code I see in the default MT templates, but I have no idea what a "contextual selector" is or what I'd do with it.

If you want to look at the template for the individual entry archive, it's here . While you're at it, maybe you can tell me what portions of all that Javascript we can dispense with now that we no longer have any popup windows.

Thanks for the feedback--I don't actually mean to sound as curt as I probably sound.

#74 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:16 PM:

Patrick: sorry, I tend to be terse even when my wrists aren't being grumpy, and more so then.

Contextual selectors are basically a way to specify styles based on the entire HTML element hierarchy, not just the individual element.

So in this case, "#banner A {}" sets the style for an A element inside of any element with id="banner" on it, and takes precedence over the regular style for A elements.

You would add this in whatever template becomes newstyle2.css, and then change the individual entry template to make the Making Light banner link back to the top page.

The JavaScript remaining all seems to be relevant to "remember user info", so I don't think there's any more that should be removed.

#75 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:35 PM:

Everything in the new design looks decent to me so far except for one very minor thing. The names in the Recent Comments section are italicized, and don't look very good that way - they're hard to read. This may well be the fault of my settings, of course (IE6 run at 1024x768, but on a largish monitor).

#76 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:41 PM:

I was also having a bit of trouble with the italics on the names on Recent Comments, and I'm using Firefox. They're readable, but it requires effort.

#77 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:55 PM:

Just a teeny request here--could you make the normal versus visited links slightly more contrasting colors? Previously when I scrolled through the "Last 400 Comments" my stopping place (visited link) lept right out at me. Now I'm having difficulty telling visited links from new ones.

And I agree with Teresa about smaller font and more text in the window.

Otherwise, congrats on getting everything up and running so quickly.

#78 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 02:59 PM:

Patrick

I like what you've done and am astonished at the speed with which you did it.

How do you incorporate the Particles and Sidelights blogs? Is it a plugin?

#79 ::: Francis Deblauwe ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 03:14 PM:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Just kidding, guys!

Keep up the good work.

#80 ::: nina armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 03:17 PM:

Delurking....If y'all really want a copy of Virtual PC, i think I've still got one around from just before my Mac died..let me know

#81 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 03:17 PM:

I second (third?) Julia's observation about the italic font for author names in the comment sidebar, when viewed under Firefox. Certain letters are entirely illegible (B and h, for example), while the spacing between other letters makes them difficult to read (the 'd' in 'Hayden' is particularly difficult to make out); and the combination of the color and the italic font seem to create the illusion that it's bolded as well as italicized.

Staring at it for too long will give me a headache.

#82 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 03:22 PM:

Christopher: Add a contextual selector:

#banner A { color: #EEE; }

That's pretty much what I suggested last night, but I think to override the default anchor behaviour, he'll need to do more than set the colour of the text.

Patrick, you would add the changes to newstyle2.css. I don't know if you edit that in MT's template interface or not, but if that's where you work, that's what we're talking about.

You should not have to change any of the actual templates or do any rebuilds. (your CSS file is not a template. MT has you edit your CSS file in their template section, but that's just them.)

#83 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 03:36 PM:

Nina: Seriously? Yeah, that would be great. What can we offer in return? (As ever, packages mailed to the Vast Nielsen Hayden Publishing Empire are best sent c/o Tor Books, 175 Fifth Ave, NYC NY 10010.)

Lisa: We used to do it with the MTOtherBlog plugin (now, I think, superseded by the same author's MultiBlog). But now we just do it with includes:

<?
include ("/home/pnh/public_html/electroside/10-most-recent.html");
?>

--where "10-most-recent.html" is a file spat out by a custom Sidelights index file every time a new Sidelight gets posted.

Like I said: cargo-cult programming.

#84 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 03:43 PM:

Things are coming out OK in Opera. but the font sizes are a trifle small.

The reports of odd text effects are quite consistent with this -- they don't have to be anything to do with the web browser being used. More screen resolution helps, but things happen when the pixel size is large enough to make rendering a font difficult. There can also be apparent discontinuities in how test looks. On this monitor, the text seems to turn bold at about 14 points. Suddenly, the rendering can use two pixels for a stroke instead of one.

Displaying at 120% also removes most of the apparent greyness.

#85 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 03:59 PM:

Dave - that's a good point; I find that if I either increase *or* decrease my text size, the italicized font becomes much less annoying.

#86 ::: nina armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 04:03 PM:

Patrick-no problem. Let me dig-i recently moved and still have tons stuff that's not immediately usable in boxes. As for return, no worries-just keep blogging. Will go dig now.

#87 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 04:14 PM:

pericat: Whups, in skimming down the comments I missed yours.

The CSS1 spec on how cascading works implies that the more-specific style will override the less-specific style, but only on properties that are given (in this case, color). The other stuff should be inherited.

I make no claims that any particular browser, or any browser for that matter, gets it right.

#88 ::: MoXmas ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 05:48 PM:

Hi, looks good on a WinXP platform, running Opera 7.

One thing: I just recently started using a feed reader. But I set up about 50 at a time, so I popped in Electrolite and missed Making Light from my list (along with about 10 others I'm catching up on).

The point is, the Merging of the Blogs didn't show up on the feed I had in the reader. I've changed things now, but for those folks who had one feed and not the other set up, you might try to add one more post to the old Electrolite feed, announcing the change.

#89 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 06:56 PM:

Patrick,

I'm here from the open thread, becasue this is more of a style thing, but you know there was a comment about how three-column format eats up the real estate. Here's how it works.

On the Making Light front page, in a roughly 9"x12" Firefox window, I get columns about 3", 7", and 2" wide. The front page goes for about eleven screenfuls. But the left column is only 7 screens tall, and the right column is only 3.5 screens tall. So if the right column matter were transferred to the left, there would be more room for the middle column, or I could use a 10" wide window.

People who have narrow monitors get this much worse, because the left and right columns can't shrink much, so the middle column becomes very skinny and long, and at the bottom you've got this skinny middle column with huge margins.

Oops, I've got to leave; more about this later.

#90 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 07:01 PM:

After getting past the initial "Ack! Different! Ack!" moment, I think I like it. I'm sure I'll get used to having the coffee maker where the spice rack used to be (especially since it's not my kitchen, after all, I'm just lucky enough to be visiting).

The font is, still, too small for me to read comfortably, so hitting Ctrl-+ is still the first thing I do upon reaching the page. This is not a complaint, just a report. Two keystrokes (sometimes followed by hitting "reload" to get back to the particular comment I was going to) is a pretty minor burden.

#91 ::: Derek Devnich ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 07:29 PM:

Patrick, Teresa,

Knowing Teresa's fondness for small fonts, I compensate by using the "text zoom" function in Mozilla to make the type REALLY BIG (generally 150% - 200%. I'm a tad near-sighted). In the new Making Light, this causes the text in the side columns to spill out of their frames. Just thought y'all would like to know.

Other than that, looking good!

[I'm running Mozilla 1.7.7 on Windows XP at 1152 x 864]

best, Derek

#92 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Christopher, no worries. But:

The CSS1 spec on how cascading works implies that the more-specific style will override the less-specific style, but only on properties that are given (in this case, color). The other stuff should be inherited.

Absolutely. And I was tired and didn't twig that the default anchor's background colour is the same as that of the banner background. But still, using the more wordy #banner specs ensures that if you later change the default anchor specs, it won't break the banner link appearance.

#93 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 08:11 PM:

Derek, that sounds like a Mozilla glitch. It doesn't seem to happen in Firefox, if that's any help.

#94 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 08:43 PM:

pericat: But still, using the more wordy #banner specs ensures that if you later change the default anchor specs, it won't break the banner link appearance.

Of course, if you change the banner specs, it may break the appearance of the banner links as well. You can't win.

#95 ::: Derek Devnich ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:06 PM:

Patrick: Derek, that sounds like a Mozilla glitch. It doesn't seem to happen in Firefox, if that's any help.

Interesting. I'm getting in Firefox as well. Perhaps it's a Windows-specific glitch? I'll pass along a jpg so that you can see what I'm looking at.

#96 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:11 PM:

Perhaps it is indeed Windows-specific. Being that it's now evening and I'm back at the all-Mac ranch, I can't immediately check.

You could always just use Making Lighter. Just go click a few times on our ads before you do. :-)

#97 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:16 PM:

Kip, whaddaya whaddaya? We've always run this weblog in Finnish.

Charlie Petit, I generally favor two columns, but when one column has to contain ads, three columns starts looking good. That's nothing new in journalism. When you're putting together a conventional newspaper page, you paste up the ads first, and after that it's "all the news that fits."

Mary Aileen Buss, Patrick's been fiddling with the main page, trying to get that center column wider. We'd happily sacrifice the excess gutter space between the left and center columns, but so far everything Patrick's tried has generated strange and sucky display effects in MSIE.

Michelle K, are you still having trouble with the visited/unvisited links colors? I've changed them a couple of times today, so I'm not sure which set you're reacting to.

Anne, I figured the "I am the Empress of the Universe" tone was the tip-off.

Dan Hoey, it's hard to attract advertising if you bury the ads halfway down a very long page, but we're not willing to have Particles, Sidelights, and the who's-commented-on-what list get shoved down the page either. It's a compromise. But I can promise you this: if I ever win the lottery, the ads will go away forever.

Lexica, of my argument to Patrick was that if someone really needs a larger text size, they can have it with a keystroke or two. Thanks for the confirmation.

#98 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:47 PM:

I'm happy to be a part of this community where the merging of two people's blogs causes such excitement, humor, and delight. And if there's frustration involved, you know it's only because we care ;)

I'm on Firefox 1.0.4 in a Windows XP platform and everything's showing up fine. Loving the new wider middle column for comments. Still not quite reconciled to the three-column front page, so go Teresa! Win that lottery!

#99 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 09:54 PM:

Patrick C: Have you considered providing the reader with a choice of fonts, as is done at Backup Brain?

Hey, no fair! Someone else got to plug my blog before I did! ;-)

It's a combination of Javascript and an alternate CSS stylesheet and works quite well. It's also not too hard to do.

If you want to see that script in action without any other hoohah, it's here. Feel free to borrow any or all of it; that's what it's there for.

(And hey, I managed to get a plug in of a different site of mine!)

I note with some amusement that upon reading their source code, the default small sans-serif stylesheet is labeled "Default", while the larger serif type is labeled "Tom".

As I've mentioned in the comments here before, the non-geek of the couple is named Tom, and the geek of the couple is named Dori. So of course the styles are "default" and "tom" (although in the example I linked to above, I believe that they're called "default" and "serif"; our editor must have objected).

P&T: I have to say that it's somewhere between stunning and amusing how many of your "I want it this (read as: correct) way but my spouse wants it that (read as: obviously insane) way" discussions sound exactly like us.

The style sheet changer really is pretty straightforward to just drop into a site. If there's anything I can do to help, just say the word. (Hmmm... wanna swap a JavaScript book for one of those anthologies?)

#100 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2005, 11:27 PM:

Of course, if you change the banner specs, it may break the appearance of the banner links as well. You can't win.

True. Although for me, if I change the style of a section, I expect that I'll need to at least look at any of the bits styled especially to work with that section. "Winning" is something I gave up on long ago, where computers are involved.

#101 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2005, 01:21 AM:

You have achieved Fusion. It's going to take a little while to be sure of where everything's gone...

#102 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2005, 04:24 AM:

The black text s a huge improvement - thank you!
Regarding the typefaces, my point was that OS X has some really nice classic faces in there, and if you turn on the font smoothing for LCD (which Apple still has off by default, despite having stopped shipping non-LCD screens 3 years ago) they are beautifully legible.

I did a CSS demo hack of one of James Lileks layouts to show this off the other night - it uses a classic face (Cochin) and drop-shadows in Safari on the Mac, but still looks good on windows, and is more legible than the pre-anti-aliased (for CRT) image version

One way to resolve your domestic difference over type sizes is to specify the page em instead of px and adjust your individual browser defaults.

#103 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2005, 08:39 AM:

Teresa,

The distinction between the links is better, but still not quite as distinct as when they were two different colors instead of two different shades. But it is much easier to spot the visited links now, so I could certainly live with the way things are now.

As far as viewing the page in larger text sizes--I'm in Win XP using Mozilla 1.7.3 and I get the same thing--text overlaps the columns. Moving along to other browsers... I can't get the text size to change at all in IE, which is quite strange; Opera is okay, unless I change the text size to 200%, in which case I can't read the center column at all; I thought I had Firefox on this computer, but it seems I don't. (Better go install it.)

I second whoever said the problem was pixels vs ems. ems do a much better job of being resized than pixels, so you may want to consider changing your text sizes and your column widths to ems. (And if I remember correctly, there is a difference between the way macs and pcs resize text, which may be why you can't repeat the problem on a mac)

And I can provide screen caps for any particular problem if desired.

#104 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2005, 02:23 PM:

I commented to Patrick last night in IM that I had a pang of loss on discovering that dropping by to visit Patrick and Teresa didn't feel the same as dropping by to visit Teresa and dropping by to visit Patrick. Part of that is no doubt prompted by the difference in look and readability. (I just ordered new glasses--am up to -10 in one eye and -11 in the other so I belong to the Patrick school of less stuff, more white space, and bigger fonts.) But most of it is my weird approach to cyberspace as my social milieu. It's so much easier for us introverted touch-dominant communicators.

MKK

#105 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2005, 02:27 PM:

Kevin Marks: Tiger's "Automatic" smoothing setting gets it right (finally).

#106 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2005, 02:30 PM:

Mary Kay - Funny how we all look at cyberspace differently.

I am excited about the change and what it means for P&T. I hope it brings them renewed committment to blogging, more traffic, and more money from blogads, and through those things I hope it makes the new Making Light Incorporating Electrolite into an even more fun and educational place than it is now. And it's pretty fun and educational already. Great bunch of people in comments.

But as to what it actually means to me personally: very little. Virtually nothing. I used to check Patrick's and Teresa's blogs several times a week for updates. Now, I check Patrick and Teresa's blog several times a week for updates.

Just to be clear and to avoid giving offense: I would compare the change the NH blogs to one or both of them getting promoted at work. I'd be happy for them. But I'd still like them as people just the same amount as I did before, and I'd continue buying Tor books from my favorite authors, just like I did before.

And, Mary Kay, I respect your view of the Web. I'm just pointing out the difference.

#107 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2005, 06:53 PM:

Another vote for: The difference between visited and unvisited links is better than it was, and while I would prefer different colors rather than different shades of the same color, I'll live with it if this is where we end up.

#108 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2005, 05:20 AM:

Any chance of the RSS feed indicating who made a post?

With absolutely no offence to Patrick, it was Making Light that I came to read, not Electrolite; I tried that a few times and didn't really enjoy it much. Since the posts are now lumped together, I have to come to the website just to see whether a new posting is Teresa or Patrick, rather than relying on the live bookmark (lazy, aren't I?).

#109 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2005, 05:38 PM:

My RSS feed reader (NNW) shows who wrote it. Did they just add that since you posted? Or is it an issue with your feed reader?

Something that's either a bug or an enhancement request: Particles and Sidelights feeds both link back to here. Given that I can read everything you've written about them in NNW, and that there's no way to comment on them, could they instead link to their intended destination? It would cut out a step in getting from here to there. Thanks!

#110 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2005, 06:00 PM:

I've just now edited the RSS/Atom templates to include an authorship indicator. Since I don't have a feed reader set up at work, I trust people will let me know if anything's broken.

Good point about Particles and Sidelights feeds; I'll fix that, but right now I need to go home.

#111 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2005, 06:39 PM:

I've just now edited the RSS/Atom templates to include an authorship indicator. Since I don't have a feed reader set up at work, I trust people will let me know if anything's broken.

NNW now shows it twice: once as it always did (under creator, as it should), and again as part of the headline (new, and so less of the actual headline is now visible).

#112 ::: nina armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2005, 07:58 PM:

Patrick-I haven't forgotten-just haven't come across the right boxes yet-also had to work unexpectedly. More digging tomorrow i promise.

#113 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2005, 09:04 AM:

I've just now edited the RSS/Atom templates to include an authorship indicator.

Thanks; I'll check when I get home.

I should probably emphasise that my preference for ML is absolutely no reflection on you as a writer - you are indeed very good at making things entertaining. It's just that I think there's some difference in the subject matter that we find enjoyable. :-)

Okay, now I feel guilty... doh.

#114 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2005, 12:17 PM:

Patrick, did you also do something to fix the problem where the page gets stuck in eternally-loading mode and one has to hit "back" to get it to load properly? If not, it seems to be in spontaneous remission this morning. Hurray for having fixed the code or for serendipity, whichever is more appropriate.

#115 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2005, 06:29 PM:

(Coming in late after watching staggering amounts of French Open tennis, with another week to go) I don't have problems with the text size, but the home page looks horribly crowded and finding what I want to read (generally Making Light posts and comments, plus anyone's Open Thread) is now like trying to find an old friend in a party suite crammed with 500 people all yammering away. Well, that's an exageration, but the old feeling of a comfortable chat in a cafe or something is gone. {Slight whimper.}

#116 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2005, 09:44 AM:

And, on a belated note, it works fine (exept for the occasional "blank page except for a 'buy ads at nielsenhayden.com' link" page) on Firefox 1.0.1 running on OpenBSD 3.7 (STABLE).

#117 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2005, 08:19 PM:

I'm changing my mind. I had said that the fact that the difference between a clicked on link and one not clicked on is a different shade rather than a different color was not optimal, but could be lived with. I'm at Wiscon, reading this on a laptop, and I find that the two colors show up as different if and only if my line of sight is exactly perpendicular to the screen. If the screen is tilted just a little back or forward, while I can still read the text perfectly clearly, the two links look to be exactly the same color.

I suspect that I'm not the only one who will ever use a laptop to read the blog, so please add changing the link color to your very long list of things to get to someday.

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