Safari Made Me Go Blind

Safari Made Me Go Blind

The essential difference between Microsoft and Apple as corporate entities with wildly differing worldviews is being highlighted by the release of Apple's Safari browser for use on Windows machines. Some new users report that they have trouble reading the text on a Safari presented page. No, Safari didn't make you go blind; although eventually maybe it might, who knows? The true reason it looks fuzzy to the average Windows user is that it is. Apple has always had blurrier, more indistinct text on the screen --by design.

The difference originates from Apple's legacy in desktop publishing and graphic design. The nice thing about the Apple algorithm is that you can lay out a page of text for print, and on screen, you get a nice approximation of the finished product. This is especially significant when you consider how dark a block of text looks. Microsoft's mechanism of hammering fonts into pixels means that they don't really mind using thinner lines to eliminate blurry edges, even though this makes the entire paragraph lighter than it would be in print.

The advantage of Microsoft's method is that it works better for on-screen reading. Microsoft pragmatically decided that the design of the typeface is not so holy, and that sharp on-screen text that's comfortable to read is more important than the typeface designer's idea of how light or dark an entire block of text should feel. Indeed Microsoft actually designed font faces for on-screen reading, like Georgia and Verdana, around the pixel boundaries; these are beautiful on screen but don't have much character in print.

I find this amazing. I cannot conceive of any reason to deliberately make onscreen text harder to read. Someone should mention to Apple that Safari is a web browser, and essentially all of everything you ever look at will never be printed, ever. I'm beginning to think their target demographic would use Apple stuff if a big hand came out of the screen and slapped you every few minutes. As long as it was Jobs' hand, they'd be happy. I meant to do that
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I installed Safari just to see this anomaly in action and all I can say is WOW. It looks horrible. Someone in Apple software engineering needs to get their head checked.

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