Marvel Digital Comics

14. February, 2011

I’m a huge comic fan, spending usually $100 each month on buying them. So when I found the Marvel app for Chrome, I gave it a whirl.

Unfortunately, the experience could be better. The comic reader is implemented in Adobe flash. That’s not a problem as such, only the implementation sucks.

The reader has three modes: Single page, double page and “smart”. There is a reason for the quotes …

In single and double page mode, the print is too small to read on my screen when I can see the whole page (it’s only 1920×1080; portrait mode would work better I guess). So I have to zoom in. But when I zoom in, navigation becomes a chore. The cursor keys don’t repeat. They scroll the page by about 10 pixels. At a readable zoom, I have to press the keys about 100 times to scroll to the bottom.

For every page of the comic. That’s 3,737 keys pressed to read a 37 page comic. Useless.

“Smart mode” to the rescue. In smart mode scrolls cursor left moves to the next unread part of the page. There are only two zoom levels which I call “too small to read” and “cut off balloons mode”. If you’re lucky, you get three panels on a row, and you have to remember the text of all of them so you can finish understanding what everyone says when you can see the bottom half.

So when reading the demo comics, I find myself often grabbing the scroll bars and adjust the screen position just a little. A nag but it works, I guess.

Recommendation: I can live with it.

 


Printing web pages

19. November, 2010

Today, I tried to create a CSS file so readers of my stories can get a nice looking printout. Or so I thought.

The cast: Opera 10, Chrome 7, Firefox 4, Konqueror.

The task: Print plain text, two column, 2.5cm left margin.

Opera

Opera has one of the best print drivers for HTML. No other browser comes even close. But no support for column-count.

Chrome 7

Webkit does support column-count but not the official CSS3 style. You need a special attribute called -webkit-column-count. Cool.

What’s way less cool is the fact that the printer driver doesn’t support it. You can see it, but you can’t get it, baby.

Firefox 4

With -moz-column-count, you get two columns which make it into the printed page … but what is that huge left margin doing there? That looks like I get only 70% of the page for my text! There are three menus where I can “Setup page” but none of the dialogs behind them allows me to modify the huge print margins! What gives?

Konqueror

You’re kidding, right?

With the Webkit module, the print output looks mostly the same as in Chrome. With the KHTML module, I can’t even get two-column text.

Conclusion

The WWW was invented 1991. That was twenty years ago. Two decades. And web browsers still can’t get something right that bored TeX in 1984.