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Stuff On Sunday Night

It’s cool as the result of a front passing through, so the cats are being a pain, as they feel invigorated.

Yves at Naked Capitalism noticed that not only did the Goddess of Objectivism, Ayn Rand, use Social Security and Medicare, but the Demi-God of the Austrians, Friedrich Hayek, was lured back to the US by being enrolled in the system. They only object to the ‘little people’ having access to these programs.

Steve Bates covers the discovery by Krugman that the Austerians want people to suffer, well ‘the little people’, not the MOTU, of course.

Avedon loves this quote: “”Money is like manure: Spread around, it helps things grow. Piled up in one place, it just stinks.”

It is by Oscar Ameringer, a very interesting guy – a real American Marxist, among other things.

Corrente has a new template. YMMV may vary, but I find the text unreadable. The font isn’t being rendered properly, with some letters, like “a” and “n” actually larger than the other letters. I thought that it might have something to do with the recent upgrade to Firefox 7.01, so I tried Chrome and IE. Both of them refused to render the style sheet at all, and IE gave a Java warning.

It’s a shame because they have had some of the best coverage of the OWS, but the text is just too hard to read. The difference in letter size and the unusual alignment of other letters, has me looking at letters, rather than reading words. Doing it for an extended period gives me a headache, so I won’t spend a lot of time over there until something changes.


1 hipparchia { 10.03.11 at 8:48 am }

if you’re logged in at corrente, you can set the old template as your default. still, it’s a pain to have to log into a site to be able to read it.

2 Bryan { 10.03.11 at 9:17 am }

I am always logged in there, Hipparchia, and I saw the references to changing the template in the message box, but there is no “Corrente radio butt0n” or other obvious way of changing the template in my account area. The account area may be different for contributors, or those with administrative privileges.

When you muck about with the template or CSS for a web site you have to test it with the various browsers you have available to be sure that people can see it. If you remember, I had to tweak this template so that people with IE were seeing what I was seeing with Firefox.

BTW, you were right about the fonts. The headlines would be fine and obvious if the were smaller, and the text just needs a standard typeface, like Georgia or Times to render properly. The template is too much ‘graphic designer’ and not enough ‘typesetter’.

What I find unbelievable is that the change came during a major event, that was generating traffic for the site. I don’t want to complain too loudly, because I know that Lambert has a lot on his plate, but I have lost a good source and it’s annoying.

3 lambert strether { 10.03.11 at 9:48 am }


I actually worked as a typesetter for many years, although of course you had know way to know that.

I think the real issue is a combination of Mac vs. PC, and that webfonts aren’t nearly as mature as I thought, wrongly, that they were.

The site was, in fact, tested with various browsers, including PCs running the various flavors of Windows and a screen capture service for the combinations I don’t have access to. Not, however, and apparently, ALL browsers (which is not really remarkable).

In any case, I defaulted back to the PC version, and there’s a button for people to swap in different themes (one of which will be, when I can get to it, a theme appropriate to cells and pads, which the current PC theme cannot support at all).

I won’t react to “unbelievable,” but I’d like to request a screen dump. In no case and on no platform have I seen what you describe. You can get my address from the site.

4 Steve Bates { 10.03.11 at 6:19 pm }

I’m using Firefox 7.01 now, and a couple of taps of Ctrl-+ were sufficient to make Corrente reasonably readable. I agree that the fonts are not as attractive as they are on a printed page, but as far as I can tell, that’s what we get with just about any display.

5 Steve Bates { 10.03.11 at 6:32 pm }

Related, Bryan, re Firefox 7.0.1 … you’ll probably want to enter about:config and change spellchecker.dictionary to “en_US”. The default if you just chose “en” on install is “en_AU” which is probably great for Kryten but not so much for many of us.

6 Bryan { 10.04.11 at 1:01 am }

I am running Windows 7 Home Premium on this box and all three browsers are the most current versions available with all of the patches installed. This is a new computer, and I haven’t taken the time to make any tweaks to Firefox. I don’t bother with the others, the settings are the defaults set by Toshiba. What IE and Chrome did was to totally ignore all of the formatting on the page and render it in the default font for the browser. The problem of over-reliance on Javascript is that every browser has its own translator for the language, and they don’t act in a similar fashion.

I didn’t say ‘unbelievable’, I said ‘unreadable’, and clearly explained what I meant – the letter variations made reading words as units unworkable. Well, as a typesetter you must have noticed the different point size of the ‘a’ and ‘n’, further that the ‘v’ was below the baseline. That was apparently caused by the ‘web fonts’ which aren’t ready for prime time. The problem of hanging out at the ‘leading edge’ is that you will often get cut by it.

I computerized a couple of printing shops in San Diego in the 1980s, enabling them to accept text generated by the clients on diskettes and over modem lines. I program in Postscript. I was a beta tester for Ventura Publisher. Anyone who has stopped by the Hotel del Coronado in the last three decades and used the phonebook has seen an example of what my software produces. [The publisher chose Futura as the typeface for the listings.]

Any programmer will tell you that most of your time and energy on a finished product is devoted to the user interface. If you screw that up, it doesn’t matter how elegant the program logic is. If I was looking to create a problem, I would have done it at Corrente.

I have been programming since 1970. My degree in ‘Computer and Information Science’ says Summa Cum Laude across the top. I taught Computer Science at the college level. I was on NSFNet with ASR 33 Teletype. I have been there and done that, to the point of making my own cables, and writing my own drivers when necessary. I’ve been around so long that I remember when Microsoft Access was a bad communications program – they reused it for their data base product to make people forget about that turkey. I don’t have to, and don’t intend to prove anything to anyone. I reported my experience. If you don’t believe it, that’s your problem, not mine.

Steve, I made that change when I downloaded initially AFAIK. I normally check for US English, as I get tired of having color and honor underlined. Aluminum is a good test.

Apparently the text problem was associated with ‘web fonts’, which is consistent with what a couple of WordPress gurus who really want to use them have complained about since they first hit the scene. In a year they will probably be fine, but they are just another bandwidth hog, from my point of view.

7 Steve Bates { 10.04.11 at 11:25 am }

Re: Firefox 7.0.1, the option “en_US” was not on the list of options in my install of Firefox, so I could not choose it. The default, which was “en”, yielded “en_AU”. You installed before I did; I suppose they could have introduced the bug after you installed.

I realized after I posted the first comment that Lambert had changed back to the default, “the PC version” before I looked at his site, so what I saw has no bearing on the problems you had. As to “unbelievable”, I believe you used it in one of the comments. IMHO, Lambert was not questioning your credentials; I don’t think anyone who reads your site regularly would be ignorant enough to do that.

It’s Fall; the weather is weird… and everybody’s a bit cranky, including me. 🙂

8 Bryan { 10.04.11 at 2:33 pm }

If that’s the case about ‘unbelievable’, then I stand by it. I have been putting my upgrade on hold because Ophelia was going nuts, and some people do check in for hurricane updates from Bermuda. Now I’ll go with as soon as I can find the time. You don’t muck about with your site during a major event because there are too many things that can go wrong.

Oh, the installs are different for the two platforms. The Linux version may actually be more of an Australian than US choice, while the Windows version is US centric. Ubuntu is a UK operation, so they may optimize for their main market. There is also the fact that I installed 6.0 and 7.0 was an update.

9 Kryten42 { 10.04.11 at 7:48 pm }

Hi Bryan & Steve (and all). Long time, no see. 🙂

I decided to have a look at Corrente Bryan. I still don’t have Internet, I’m using a PC at the local community services center. These are old HP/Compaq PC’s with XP. It has an HP 1702 LCD display set to 1280×1024. I’m using Opera 11.51 build 1087 and Firefox 6.02. Both are stock standard with no extras installed (not even flash). I don’t see the font issue you describe with the different character sizing. There are some sleight differences in rendering between the two. I switched from what was apparently the default “Mac Theme” to the “PC theme” and did see a difference in rendering (some text, such as headings were smaller when using the “Mac Theme”. BTW, in both browsers, the theme dropdown and “switch” button (at the top of the main page) were positioned incorrectly, they were under the ‘login’ area but covered half of the menu bar over the ‘Moderation’ item link. Also, in both browsers, it shows “Mac Theme” even though I changed to PC, if I hadn’t seen some minor changes, I would have thought nothing had happened. *shrug* In both the text was rendered in a standard serif font.

I still have a copy of Ventura Publisher Bryan. 😉 I used to be a distributor (as I’ve mentioned before) and for Adobe back in the day. 🙂

Sorry I’ve not been around. I have several problems to deal with, health and otherwise. I’m scheduled for an MRI in a couple weeks. Looking for a new place to live before I am forced to finally deal with my current *housemate*! Some people are so incredibly stupid and have less sense of self-preservation than a lemming that it truly boggles the mind. I’ve actually just started to see a counselor, but I have no idea if it will do any good. We’ll see. *shrug*

Hope everyone is doing better than I am. 🙂 Take care and be well.

10 Bryan { 10.04.11 at 10:34 pm }

Kryten, thanks for making the effort to let us know you are OK.

Corrente is back to its old template, as the problem was the ‘web fonts’ that the new template used. It apparently had a problem generating a consistent font size. Some of the True Type fonts, and even a few Postscript fonts had similar problems earlier when the size required was too large or, more frequently, too small.

Publisher was a great product for large projects, like books, but Pagemaker was better below 10 pages when they first came out, which is essentially what their names promised.

Sorry to hear about the problems, but hold the thought that you have already survived the worst that the world has to offer, so you will make it. Look on the bright side – you don’t have to deal with the US political or health care systems.

11 Kryten42 { 10.04.11 at 11:24 pm }

Thanks Bryan. 🙂 Don’t worry, I’m still rational and sane (there are times I wish I wasn’t) 😉 🙂

You’re right about Ventura & Pagemaker. 🙂 I still have the last Pagemaker (10 I think, or maybe 11) before Adobe killed it off, and also have FrameMaker (I’m waiting for Adobe to kill that off also). *shrug*

And yeah, I realize things are worse in the USA, but in my current situation here, it doesn’t seem so. I’m on so many *waiting lists* for things, I’ve lost count. I’m sure I’ll be dead before I see many, if any, of them become active. *shrug*. Might not be a bad thing necessarily, as far as I am concerned (hence the psych councilor). 😉 😛

We do have the Welsh git-in-charge, so we are not far behind you! The share market certainly thinks so. 😉

Ah well… and so, the World continues to turn… in spite of Humanity! 😆

12 Bryan { 10.04.11 at 11:51 pm }

The share market is scared spitless because they have finally figured out that the biggest banks in the world are broke. The morons gambled away their depositors money, and can’t stand up to a real audit.

Meanwhile, people are fighting to give the US Treasury money, literally, as the US bonds for 5 years or less have negative interest rates, and the 10-year bonds are going for less than minimal inflation. Small investors who have any money left are opting for CDs and savings accounts. It really is pathetic.

With austerity all the rage, and the lack of available credit, I don’t see any way of avoiding another meltdown. If Australia hangs tight, you will be able to buy the world with your assets.

As bad as things seem to you, believe me when I say they are worse everywhere else.

13 Kryten42 { 10.05.11 at 10:43 pm }

I do understand and generally I agree with it all. I suppose I should explain how many here see it (and I have spoken with several people and have found a consensus on this, so it’s not simply my own annoyed or paranoid opinion. Truth be told, I checked with others and read several Aussie blogs (especially comments) and opinion pieces etc, because I began to think I was just being Mr. Negativity because of my own personal situation (in which, I simply wish the entire World would go to hell and leave me in peace!) 😛

So… Whilst it seems that Aussies do realize that things are far better here then in the USA, Europe and much of Asia, almost nobody has any confidence that our wondrous Gov, or the position if given the chance, will not find some way to f*ck it all up Royally! Because that is their track record. *shrug* We have lot’s of confidence in the people of Aus… we have pretty much zero in our morons-in-charge! And that goes for the State morons as well as the Fed’s! In a way, that pisses us of even more than you are at your situation. We have always held the corp’s and gov accountable, for the most part, US citizens havn’t. We currently have a huge class action against the ANZ bank for trying to screw customers with greedy fees for years. We are pretty sure the bank will lose and face massive fines and payouts (the figures being quoted are in the hundreds of millions, for us, a big number (all things are relative after all). The other banks are wetting themselves because if this case is won by ‘der wittle peoples’, they know they are all next! And that is only one example currently, there are several others.

Most Aussies are also smart enough to realize that all our wealth is now almost wholly dependent on exports. And we can see, in spite of all the usual lying assurances by Gov mouthpieces to the contrary, that exports are slowing quickly. We can have all the resources in the World, but if nobody is buying, we are screwed. We have sold off almost all our development and manufacturing overseas, and privatized and outsourced almost every thing else! We have recently discovered that most of our agriculture has been sold off to much of Asia and even the USA, and they are exporting everything they can *back home* and leaving little for us, and what they is we have to pay higher prices for than the exports! Some people here think it’s really great because we can, right now, buy Wagu & Angus beef for the price of what we were paying for dogmeat! But that is very short term because the farmers couldn’t find buyers internationally, and there were ware houses full that had to be got rid off. They have now begun culling their herds and using birth control because it costs too much to look after cattle whose product can’t be sold for the exorbitant prices they demand. And it’s the same for all the other produce also. Once the current orgy of cheep excess has abated, we are screwed again. *shrug* Most of our supposedly *Aussie* companies are in fact owned by US, EU or Asian’s. And when the crap hit’s the fan, they will look after themselves and their own before us.

Successive Gov’s here, especially the Howard Decade have screwed us royally! And thanks to the USA for providing the blueprint the bastards followed. Hmmph!

So yeah, short term, everything is just peachy. After that… *shrug*

To paraphrase Marvin: “It won’t last. It never does. Life?! Don’t talk to me about life!” 😉

Still, I do accept that we are probably in a better position to pick ourselves up after the complete collapse that is coming. Who knows?

14 Bryan { 10.05.11 at 11:24 pm }

Your big advantage is that you haven’t become as totally dependent on ‘the modern conveniences’ as the US. There are still a lot of people in Australia who know how to site and build a latrine, but most of the skills that were commonplace on American farms, are no longer being learned. You still have sufficient people with rural survival skills, that you won’t collapse as totally as we are going to, if things don’t change.

I agree that exports are a major problem because everyone else, your markets, are totally screwed up and not getting better. Multinational corporations couldn’t care less about countries, they view themselves as above all that. Anyone who thinks that corporations are concerned with anything more than short-term profits is deluding themselves.

No one is in great shape right now. If the recent reporting is correct on the UK, they are already in a recession with two quarters of no growth. The US is certainly close, although for all practical purposes there was no recovery from the original shock, merely a leveling off. The politicians are making all of the wrong moves in the G-8 countries, which will spread the contagion.

As long as the people who know what is happening and how to fix it are marginalized, nothing is going to improve. Until a lot of ‘financial wizards’ are thrown in jail for the frauds they committed the global economy won’t improve.

15 Kryten42 { 10.08.11 at 1:09 am }

Can’t say I disagree with any of that. Especially the last paragraph, though personally, I think they should be turned into manure. 😈 Many a farm produce grow better with some ‘blood ‘n’ bone’. Would save a lot of chooks and these worthless cretins would finally serve a purpose, and your prisons are overflowing anyway. I’d also add most Politicians. Farms need a lot of ‘BnB’! *shrug* 😆

Should be back online within a week, but I’m really busy with appointments and stuff, so I probably won’t be around much for a time.

16 Bryan { 10.08.11 at 12:12 pm }

I don’t know, Kryten, they are probably diseased and will kill everything but kudzu [or cane toads in the case of Oz].

While looking for something else I discovered the problem with ‘Net connectivity in Australia – you are in exactly the same shape as the US. I understand exactly what your problems are, because like the US, if you aren’t in or around a major population center, you have few if any choices for connectivity, and what there is is over priced.

OTOH, the Australian government seems interested in doing something about it, which is not happening in the US, so you will move forward while we get further and further behind.

17 Kryten42 { 10.12.11 at 8:07 pm }

First chance online since my last post. 🙂

Yes, you are correct about Internet here. The problem with the house my moronic housemate decided to move to is that it’s over 5km (line length) from the exchange, so ADSL2 is not an option, and most ISP’s no longer have an ADSL1 service. The alternatives are Sat and wireless, neither of them is a real alternative. Both have low monthly allocation (a max of around 12-20 GB/mth) and cost a bundle (abour $120/mth for 15GB). They are rolling out the NBN, but it will be years before it’s available around here, if it’s not canceled by he next Gov. *shrug*

So, I’m looking for a saner place to live, preferably about 1km from the exchange! I have my priorities! 😆

I had my first session with the Counselor. Went for 2.5 hours! She said there is a LOT to do (Oh?Ya think??!) She is going to get my psych eval’s from my old masters, and good luck with that! Even the PM can’t get those! 😉 😆 Still, she deals with a lot of Vet’s, so has experience. And her Surname is ‘Eastwood’ which bodes well. 😉 😀 I also mentioned you and this blog as an avenue that’s helping to keep me sane. You understand some of my background at least, and we think alike often. So, thank you for helping to keep me sane. 🙂

Regarding the poisonous specimens you speak of, we have some very hardy plants here that would shrug of any diseased parasite. So they could still be used. 😉

Well… back to house hunting! *sigh*

BTW, I read Krugmans commentary on the Wall St. protests, and your post about them… I think he’s right also. I like Krugman. He’s rational and sane… a rarity apparently. 😉

18 Bryan { 10.12.11 at 10:58 pm }

I have wondered if the long voyage home on ships when people were demobilized after WWII didn’t help them adjust, as there was an opportunity to talk it out with people who understood the situation. These days you might only be 24 hours out of the front lines when you show up in the civilian world, and are surrounded by people who have no idea what you are talking about and will never understand the experience.

In Special Ops and Intel it is even worse because of the extremely limited number of people you are able to talk to, and the number of topics you have to talk around instead of directly addressing. Good luck on the sessions.

There should be a ‘decompression farm’ somewhere, so people could go an take the edge off before having to deal with the mass of humanity again. Of course, it would take a while for most guys to understand that they need it.

I happy that I can be of some help, but then this place keeps me from doing something that would ‘inconvenience’ a lot of people.

There are still a few people around who understand what’s really going on, and Krugman is one of them. The people protesting waited patiently for Obama to do something, and then realized he didn’t really intend to change the system that had worked for him.