Welcome, and Styling
© 26 January 2011 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Welcome to my blog.


You will have noticed, assuming you are reading this in a modern web browser “‍modern web browser‍” here means JavaScript, CSS 2 and XSLT 1. Even some versions of the buggy pseudo-browser “‍Internet Explorer‍” meet this low standard. in a year close to it’s time of writing, that this blog does not look like what people have come to expect from a blog. My reasons for this are outlined below.


Frankly, I find most blogs unpleasant to read. I do not mean that their content is unreadable (though that obloquy is, in many instances, applicable hyperbole) but rather that the process of scanning the glyphs and interpreting them as words is itself unpleasant.

There are, to my eye, several components of readability that are missing in most blogs. I here comment on typography, locality, and adaptability.


I have come to expect that any given website I visit will have ugly fonts. Partly this is because of the hesitance of foundries to have their best fonts freely distributed across the web; partly it is an outcome of the tradition of large pixels on small screens; but mostly, I suppose, it is because I have different taste than others.

Lacking the license to use my favorite font here I am using the word “‍favorite‍” loosely here. I don’t have many favorites as I understand others to mean the term. I do appreciate Chaparral Pro and Mentor Sans Std more than many other fonts. , I have placed the necessary CSS to provide the TEΧ Gyre collection’s Pagella font. I find it’s glyphs pleasing and relaxing, being clear and attractively shaped with thick enough serifs for on-screen viewing. I have also included a pared-down and somewhat modified version of Mathias Nater’s Hyphenator JavaScript library which utilizes the TEΧ hyphenation patterns from TUG and implements Franklin Liang’s algorithm which guesses correct hyphenations most of the time. This script makes full justification non-painful even without the addition of proper line breaking and hanging punctuation.


I believe with almost axiomatic intensity that conceptually-related information ought to be close together on the page. As concepts are not limited to planar adjacency measures, this ideal cannot be fully realized, but moving toward it is very desirable.

Avoid long lines. When single phrases are split across gaps hundreds of characters long the jump is jarring to my mind, even if I don’t notice it consciously. The annoyance caused by long lines of text is exacerbated by the larger fonts needed to present clear text at current screen resolutions.

Avoid end notes and linked-to notes Don’t get me wrong; as a writer I love out-of-sequence notes. Just not as a reader. . When reading a blog and seeing some footnote marker I immediately have to decide if I should ignore the note, important though it often is, or interrupt the current conceptual flow to visit it. I am experimenting in this blog with margin notes; I do not know how I will like them in the end, but for now they seem to be the best alternative I have.

Provide navigational aids in-text. Nested levels of headings are very desirable in lengthy text to assist in indicating conceptual flow and orienting the reader to changes in topic. Admittedly these are used in many blogs and not needed in the brevity of others, but completeness seemed to indicate they should be noted.


I have several computers; on each I have different default font sizes as each has a different screen, and the same sizes don’t work across the board. I am always grumpy when I find a site that does not respect those choices, mandating an 800-pixel-wide display or using a 10px font size. Even worse is when they have a wide banner and forced-small font so that there is not way to adjust the settings to prevent very long lines of text.

CSS allows all measures to be made in terms of em (the width of the widest letter glyph in the font) and ex (the point-size of the font) so that proportions need not depend on pixels. CSS also supports the max-width property so that narrow screens can resize appropriately. I like these, use them, and encourage all people everywhere to follow suit.


As you can see, I like a simple page. Given that my blog is presenting text, it presents text. It does not present background images, banners, tag clouds, eye-arresting formatting to force emphasis, etc.

I am annoyed that I have nothing else to put in this section. I like my sections to be of similar size.


One day a few weeks ago I said to myself, “‍Self, does CSS allow margin paragraphs?‍”

“‍What do I mean, ‘‍allow‍’?‍” my self replied, being fond of the Socratic method of not admitting cluelessness.

“‍I mean can I make margin paragraphs using CSS?‍”

“‍Doubt it. The net contains no how-tos I can detect.‍”

“‍You know as well as I do, self, that that means nothingMyself knows when I am exaggerating.. I shall do it!‍”

“‍Shall I? Might as well add hyphenation and fonts while I’m at it.‍”

“‍True, true.‍”

And that, in short, is how page this came to be.

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