Rants 20 Sep 2007 10:31 pm
Here’s a little rant about a sin of which Google, Microsoft, and MySpace, and many other big names are all guilty: Automatic language detection based on anything except the actual Accept-Language header the browser sends. They instead use IP geolocation or try to guess from you picking the country you are from.
I am Danish, I live in Denmark, and my gateway is indeed in Denmark as well. However, I prefer to read English, and thus I have set my browser’s Accept-Language header to “en, en-gb;q=0.7, en-us;q=0.3“. Problem is that none of the big sites seem to respect that. Google automatically redirects me to the Danish google.dk (which I at least can force back to google.com). Microsoft sites cannot be changed without manually editing the URL to append “mkt=en-us” to the query string.
I could understand geolocation if the browser was not sending a valid Accept-Language, or to supplement and show local news or events, but please honor the nice standard header in all other cases…
Veering from the online track, in the offline world a similar annoyance struck me with Fedora‘s language and locale settings: It seems impossible to have the full Danish keyboard layout with dead keys, while also having all applications, menus, and terminal messages be English, and have the default encoding everywhere be Unicode (UTF-8). If anyone knows how to overcome that particular issue, I’d be happy to hear…
I’ve finally had enough of looking at Bitstream Vera, so I uninstalled it. I had previously merely changed the system default to Tahoma via the MS TTF core fonts, which helped immensely, but then today I stumbled upon the Try KDE page. For some reason, they have hard-coded their site to use Bitstream Vera. I suppose it makes KDE users feel at home.
I recognize that it is a free full-featured font, and as such it is nearly their only choice for distributions, but I just can’t stand it any longer. I find it to severely lack polish; some parts of letters are visibly thicker than other, and in odd places. The second font in the KDE.org list of acceptable fonts is Lucida Grande, so I tested out how it would look in that…
Comparison with Lucida Grande
- The Try KDE page in Bitstream Vera Sans (png)
- The Try KDE page in Lucida Grande (png)
- Single word: , Bitstream Vera Sans.
- Single word: , Lucida Grande
- Single word: , edited from Bitstream Vera Sans to show how it needs to be polished. All I did was remove the extra pixels in the letters S, c, e, and o. But even so, e still looks off-balance.
Should be noted that I do not use font anti-aliasing as I find it makes all text on the screen very blurry, plus I can clearly see the sub-pixel adjustments making all letters have hazy colored outlines. Doesn’t matter what engine is used (even MS’s ClearType), it only makes reading on the screen impossible. I did test whether anti-aliasing would help with Bitstream Vera’s problem, but no, it only made it much worse.