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October 21, 2009


Uh, Gary, what's with the font?

What font where?

Oh, wait, that looks very different in IE than in Firefox. Gimme a sec. Not used to Typepad software.

Gary -- it's one of the maddening things about Typepad Rich Text. If you paste in, it will carry a lot of the meta stuff from things like Word, etc.

For some reason, it tends to screw up viewing in Firefox on MacBooks. I have a Pro and it's usually fine -- but then it looks funky on wife's MacBook

Thanks, publius. I didn't paste in any of my own text, though. (I'm also using a Windows Vista machine, fwiw.)

Typepad is claiming that the paragraphs that appear in IE as different font sizes are, in fact, the same font size. I'm still trying to figure out if there's some way to fix it, given that Typepad is, in essence, claiming the problem doesn't exist. I've changed the font sizes in the editor, and saved it, and it says they're changed, but the font sizes aren't actually changing when you read the blog (via IE as I see it, at least; it looks fine to me on Firefox).

the HTML for the first 3 or 4(?) says the text is in 19px Trebuchet MS.

firefox draws them large...

Still looking horrible in Firefox on my MacBook. The problem is a bunch of span's and p's with style="font-size: 19px; font-family: Trebuchet MS;".

Everything before the first blockquote is giant, and so is the sentence "All you have to do for more widespread use is ensmall them."

Plasma drives are old hat; they used to be called ion drives when I first took note of them somewhere around 1974. Getting a useful amount of thrust out of them, though, is fairly recent.

201 kW is not thrust, though; it's power consumption. It'd be nice to know what amount of thrust they achieved, and what specific impulse, but that information doesn't seem to be available in the linked articles.

"Everything before the first blockquote is giant, and so is the sentence 'All you have to do for more widespread use is ensmall them.'"

Yes, but not according to Typepad. I know that's what one sees, which is to say, what's showing up on the blog, but on the publishing software it insists it's published otherwise.

I've gone in and changed the px size for those opening bits to 18px via the HTML editor, and the rich text editor agrees that they're 18px, while both also say that everything below that is larger, at 19px.

The fact is that I spent something like two and a half hours this afternoon doing nothing but puzzling -- again -- over the formatting that Typepad was changing my text to (and the spacing, and the the pics and video). I had a particular devil of a time getting the video links to embed properly; it took hours of fiddling.

The HTML editor shows endless streams of HTML that do I have no idea what. It seems to repeat lines from each of the video links dozens of times, with no apparent point that I can see, for example.

Not that that's directly relevant. My point is that I don't fathom most of what Typepad does to the HTML, save that the font issue appears to be perfectly simple, save for the minor fact that both the rich text editor and the HTML editor say one thing, and what shows up as published say another. Another much much larger font.

I'll keep looking for a while, but right now I'm out of ideas for the moment.

And like Monday I have a large headache and kink in my neck, from peering intently at the screen from 9 a.m. through, well, today through now -- and however much beyond I keep trying.

"ensmall them."

What's wrong with the word, "shrink"? Unlike "ensmall", it's a real word.

"Plasma drives are old hat; they used to be called ion drives when I first took note of them somewhere around 1974."

Indeed. And when they were referred to in Star Trek's "Spock's Brain" as immensely advanced, I laughed even though I was 9 years old, but I'd read enough about ion drives by then to know how gentle a thrust they'd deliver according to what we knew at the time.

But, as I said, I thought the video looked and sounded more like a 1950s science fiction movie than any propulsion system, or test propulsion system, I'd ever seen video of.

I don't suppose you know how to fix the font problem, Slart? Advice from you or anyone with Typepad experience eagerly solicited. I'd really like to fix the post and be done with it. I hate to have mucked up the blog. :-(

I hope this isn't your last guest post.

Now I'm not sure if I sort of fixed it, or someone else did, or what. I tried editing in IE instead of Firefox, to see if that would make a difference, and then tried handswitching the px sizes at the start to 13, both by the rtf editor and the html editor, and now it's at least looking a lot smaller in IE to me.

Of course, now it look a little too small to me.

My head hurts.

You didn't much anything up -- it's an annoying part of Typepad. I used to type everything in Word but now I type into typepad itself.

But when this happens to me, going into the html editor and deleting basically everything referring to the font/size/spans/etc. usually fixes it.

Okay, I think I fixed it now? I went back into the HTML editor, via IE this time, and by hand changed the first line to 14 px and the successive problematic lines to 13 px for each damn font entry of those lines, and it's looking all right to me now in IE.

Of course, the text editor still claims the rest of the text of the post is 19px....

"I used to type everything in Word but now I type into typepad itself."

I wouldn't ever compose in anything other than directly into a .txt file (then pasting unwrapped) or directly into an HTML editor (while constantly saving to a .txt file, as well as my multiple-clipboard autosaver, for safety's sake), no. Pasting formatting into something that reads formatting wouldn't, as you found out, be a good idea.

And after my first post here, I found that composing in Blogger's new editor and then pasting into Typepad's editor, whether HTML or rtf, didn't work well, I went with composing directly into the Typepad editor.

It now seems to me to be the case that something about my Firefox font settings versus my IE font settings made a difference when composing in the Typepad editor.

I still don't follow why the HTML for the rest of the post claims to be in large 19 px text, but that's probably because I'm clueless about CSS and div and most anything about HTML beyond a couple of dozen tags and basic formatting points.

If it looks ok now, I'm not going to worry further, though. At this point my left wrist is starting to seize up, and the joints in my right hand, as well, and neither of these things has happened before within my memory.

Which made me have to redo the HTML for one of the videos. Now fixed that.

On the plus side, this experience suggests to me that my prescriptions and therapy have helped me no end in achieving relative calmness and mindfulness. :-)

Sorry I couldn't jump in there and fix it for you, Gary; I was performing some vital fatherly kid pick-up duties.

I think I've gone too small, and fear I did it to everything below this post and the sidebars, but at this point I've tried several times to back and fix that, and every time it both hasn't worked and has screwed up the videos again, and honestly I just don't want to mess with that HTML any more, for fear of just making it worse.

If you can do any fixes on the font size (and not kill the video), you certainly are more than welcome to so far as I'm concerned.

This looks great in IE8 on Windows 7. In case anyone cares.

The fonts look ok to me, Gary. But I could take a look at it.

It's been a while since I messed with posts; Typepad used to give you the option of editing the HTML directly, but sometimes the edits didn't do what you'd think they ought to.

Sounds as if little has changed.

Now I'm not sure if I sort of fixed it, or someone else did, or what. I tried editing in IE instead of Firefox, to see if that would make a difference, and then tried handswitching the px sizes at the start to 13, both by the rtf editor and the html editor...

I gave up letting pages choose their own fonts and sizes years ago. Firefox gives fairly good control over such, IE not so much. There are occasionally problems where text doesn't fit in the X-pixels-wide space the page designer (or software) has specified, but the text is always big enough for me to read and never the ugly giant stuff. I guess it's because I'm an old fart -- HTML was supposed to be about document structure, not detailed presentation.

America desperately needs much more investment in science and science education if we want anything resembling a healthy, competitive, economic future.

The supply-side science education argument again. Even an engineering BS ("even" in the sense of "compared to a hard-sciences PhD") is often a tough five years. Add another year or more once employed to learn that particular company and/or field's peculiarities (there's a difference between being a mechanical engineer, and being a wind-turbine mechanical engineer). Without a good chance at a good-paying stable job at the end of that, why bother?

The big oil companies are a case in point. They stopped hiring petroleum geologists, and after a few years, schools stopped producing petroleum geology graduates. 25 years later, the oil companies are screaming that they can't hire new petroleum geologist graduates. Whose fault is it?

Sorry, it's a sore spot for me.

Gigantor lives, by the way.

great post, regardless of the font.

Thank you, cleek.

I probably should have posted stuffthat would have generated nice long threads for argument, though, with insistent assertions that, say, no one should ever buy any computer other than a Mac, or that Babylon 5 made real baby sf fans cry, or that John Woo should be the next Attorney General, or Ayn Rand is the greatest writer of my lifetime, or what would happen if you put an airplane on a treadmill, or we'd all be better off if Hillary Clinton were president today, or art installations aren't really art, or only vegans can be truly moral, oh, any number of good argument generators.

My posts have comment envy.

Our comments have Farber-envy - great stuff, Gary...and wonderful to see you back!

Though, having to resort to IE to "fix things" kinda flies in the face of the wonders in your post....

Thanks for the guest stint - and thanks to Eric for the very bright idea!

I actually just moved from one universe to another until I found one with the right font sizes.

John Woo? ;)

"John Woo? ;)"

Sure, because he could direct Justice Department lawyers, and federal marshals and agents to do fantastic martial arts moves so stylishly, and then they could beat up John Yoo.

Also: more pigeons.

Peter Parker's photo essay for the New York Times.

I like Kitty's.

If you want to strip out formatting metadata, paste everything into notepad first, the copy it out of notepad. It has to do with what parts of the OLE buffer an app listens to.

I like the sound of a wakefield accelerator. Superheat Andrew Wakefield until his constituent atoms are stripped of their electrons, then shoot him with lasers.

Someone totally needs to make a "John Woo vs John Yoo" celebrity deathmatch.

Slarti @5:56 - There's a reason that VASIMR advocates quote wattage instead of thrust, namely that the rocket has variable thrust for constant energy consumption. That's what variable specific impulse is all about - you get a lot of thrust at high fuel consumption or much less with much lower fuel consumption, but it's not a linear process - thrust goes down more slowly than fuel consumption, leading to a net win for low thrust trajectories.

The big issue is that you need a honking big power supply that would almost certainly have to be nuclear. Getting that past regulators would be difficult, and political opposition could easily kill it.

I'm still nostalgic for Project Orion.

And, really, we've got plenty of nuclear warheads to spare.

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