Thursday, June 01, 2006

Goggles for Google

Are you, like me, getting a little long in the tooth?  Now that I'm fat and bald, my wife says she misses me; she still loves me; but she misses me!

Do you remember back in 1967 when the Beatles' hit song "When I'm sixty-four" seemed so far off in the future?  No longer.
When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine,
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?
I'm a baby-boomer who's balding, bulging, and bespectacled. I need help nowadays viewing what's displayed on my browser's screen.

Well, here comes Microsoft to the rescue with a PowerToy called the ClearType Tuner.

ClearType delivers improved font display quality, resolution, and readability over traditional forms of font smoothing or anti-aliasing, especially on color LCD displays.

ClearType is a form of sub-pixel font rendering that draws text using a pixel's red-green-blue (RGB) components separately instead of using the entire pixel. When the pixel is used in this way, horizontal resolution theoretically increases 300 percent.

Picture elements on an LCD screen are actually comprised of individual horizontally-oriented red, green and blue sub-pixels. For instance, an LCD screen that has a display resolution of 800x600 pixels actually has 2400x600 individual sub-pixels. The human eye is not capable of differentiating colors on such a small scale, so a combination of these three primary colors can emulate any intermediate color. Sub-pixel font rendering takes advantage of this by antialiasing at the sub-pixel level instead of at the pixel level.



ClearType magnified

[click here for more info]


You can turn on ClearType using either:As a once-upon-a-time cognitive psychologist, I loved reading an article that Microsoft published entitled "The Science of Word Recognition". It delves into an explanation about how people use the letters within a word to recognize a word. This article, written by a cognitive psychologist working for Microsoft, explores neural network modeling which has has been particularly successful in advancing our understanding of reading processes. As one who in graduate school studied psycholingustics, specifically speech perception, I was fascinated to learn how the benefits of ClearType were based on a psychological, scientific understanding of on-screen reading experiences.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Robert Pearson said...

Thanks for this very useful information. I am in the same situation as you visually. The only difference seems to be that I use Linux and you use Windows.
In Linux I can hold down the keyboard "CTRL (Ctrl)" key and roll the mouse wheel. One way makes the type larger the other makes it smaller, which I never need.
I got this from a Windows person so I know it works on Windows as well.
For mice with no wheel I believe you have to hold both buttons down to get the wheel effect.
Since I can't test your recommendation, Windows2000 is all I have access to, does the ClearType Tuner do a whole lot more "value add" than changing the font size?
I like ClearType fonts. I have the Linux version ClearType fonts installed on my machine.

4:35 PM  
Blogger ITscout said...

ClearType Tuner works on XP. I don't believe it's supported on Windows 2000.

ClearType Tuner does not change font size. Rather, it changes display features of text as small as a fraction of a pixel in width. The extra resolution increases the sharpness of the tiny details in text display, making it much easier to read.

5:16 PM  
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3:31 AM  

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