Do you know about Reader View?

glasses

 

I do a lot of reading, from books, e-readers and online, but the latter is my least favourite medium for a couple of reasons:

1: Ads

I block ads, not because I’m opposed to advertising per se — I realise they “monetise” a lot of the free content on the web — but I am opposed to winking, blinking, distracting ads that draw my eye away from what I’m reading. They’re like muted TVs in bars. You can’t help by be distracted by the flickering movement.

I’m not talking about reading brief snippets here. I’m talking about longer pieces, often serious, sometimes complex, interesting or just things you need to think about carefully. How anyone can imagine a reader’s experience is enhanced by, well, stuff like this …

annoying

… is beyond me. So I block them all at source with a browser add-on. (My current favourite is uBlock Origin.)

Here, for example, is a before from  a local news site …

stuff1

and after …stuff2

(Note that the “before” shot doesn’t show the zooming, panning, insistent horror of that car banner ad.)

 

2. Awkward text

The second off-putting thing about about online reading is that on my 24″ wide-screen monitor text is often spread from side to side. The head and eye movements required to read longer pieces is simply unnatural. I’ve been known to shrink the application window to facilitate more comfortable reading, and even cut, paste and print longer pieces to afford a more comfortable read. (Yes, Wikipedia this includes you.)

In the past I’ve used tools like Readability, but that became unnecessary last year when Firefox added Reader View to its URL bar. Chances are, you missed it entirely.

Reader View “strips away clutter like buttons, ads and background images, and changes the page’s text size, contrast and layout for better readability.” In short, it transforms the likes of this …

wiki1500px

into this …

wiki2-500px

Is that not 1,000% better?

You’ll find the Reader View’s icon on the right of the URL box …

ReaderView

Just click it to toggle it on and off. It’s just possibly the best thing for reading since the printing press!

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Ah, so that’s what they mean!

Ever wondered what those editorial quotes on the backs of books are all about?
Here’s a quick guide:


a real tear-jerker writing so bad it makes you cry
a writer to watch as opposed to one you are actually want to read
absorbing makes a great coaster
accessible not too many big words
acclaimed poorly selling
affecting I felt something. Could’ve been the book. Could’ve been indigestion.
an ebook original no proofreading and bad formatting
breathless prose needs resuscitating
brilliantly defies categorization even the author has no clue what he’s turned in
dazzling prose so gorgeous you won’t really notice that nothing happens
definitive could have used an editor
edgy irritating
epic very long
erotic porn
gripping there’s something sticky on the cover
haunting sat unfinished for months while I read other stuff.
heart-warming major character is a dog, an old guy, or both
in the proud tradition of J R R Tolkien has a dwarf in it
literary plotless
long-awaited late
luminous not much happens
lyrical not much happens
magisterial long
meticulously researched overloaded with footnotes
novella a short story with a large font
promising début flawed
provocative about race/religion/sex
rollicking chaotic
sensual soft porn
stunning a major character dies
unflinching has a lot of bad words
weighty I’ve been lugging this monster all over town and I still can’t bring myself to finish it
wildly imaginative the writer must’ve been on drugs

(Freely adapted from One-Minute Book Reviews)

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