Today we have chipmunks and hats and earnings and a novel.

Chipmunks · People who haven’t been in the woods in the right part of the North American West. Think of a smaller, cuter, faster, striped squirrel. Anyhow, economist-blogger Brad DeLong has a witty and thoughtful conversation with one in Three Miles East of East Inlet Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Hats · I have previously written here on the merits of Akubra hats; they come from Australia, are stylish and tough generally just the thing. Unfortunately, they’re kind of hard to buy, even in Australia. Well, an online retailer named David Morgan has an online Akubra store. I’ll have to give it a try.

Earnings · Following on Sun’s online earnings release, Dominic Jones at IR Web Report has penned The truth about Sun’s Web-first earnings release — Update 3. It’s quantitative and amusing and cynical; Dominic is definitely my kinda guy.

Rainbows End · That’s the name of a 2006 novel by Vernor Vinge (hard sci-fi, relatively well-written, decent airplane reading); Rainbows End is now online, with a copyright notice but no other barriers between the text and the reader. Well, except for reading a novel in your browser’s default and default paragraph style really sucks compared to properly-typeset text inscribed on dead trees. I had a look and I guess I’ll buy the book for my next long plane ride. Hmm... isn’t this what they call “marketing”?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Pete Lacey (Aug 05 2007, at 11:30)

As a low-intensity science-fiction buff, I would advise not relegating Rainbows End to airplane reading status. It's a great book, especially for geeks. Providing a fully realized vision of a fully networked world.

A friend and I have a category for sceince fiction that absolutely must be read, we call them, uninmaginatively, "must reads." Relatively Recent hard science fiction novels that are must reads in my opinion include Rainbows End and two more Vinge books: A Fre Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. Anf while you're at it: David Brin's Kiln People, Dan Simmons's Illium and Olympos, and everything by John Scalzi (except the most recent, The Last Colony, which is good but not a must read).


From: Rijk (Aug 05 2007, at 13:21)

What a coincidence, I just bought that book yesterday. In a real life bookshop even! But if your default font and default paragraph style suck, it is high time you edit your user.css :)


From: Hudson (Aug 05 2007, at 19:02)

Regarding the problem of reading books online:

I agree that in general it stinks. And until someone makes a waterproof ebook reader that I can use in the bathtub, I'm not buying one of those, either.


If one does find a book-length text online that one wants to read on the computer (and if the text is gripping enough, it can be tolerable), there is no reason anyone has to to accept a browser default setting or other formatting.

It is really not very difficult to either cut-and-paste the text, or download the source code, and then import it into a word processor (or, even better, a page design program), and customize it to your heart's content.

In general, I find it helps a lot to find a readable font (Georgia is not bad for the screen), increase it to a fairly large type size (18-24 point works for me), and make the margins relatively narrow (under 4 inches) to simulate the width of a page.

If there is a lot of special formatting in the document that you want to retain or modify, using a word processing or design program's Find/Replace function generally can accomplish most of what you need to do.

This is a one-minute project at most, and will greatly enhance and customize your e-reading experience.


From: Patrick Mueller (Aug 05 2007, at 19:40)

That hat shop, David Morgan, apparently also carries Tilleys. I bought a Tilley a year or two ago as my summer hat, and have been quite pleased with it.


From: David Magda (Aug 06 2007, at 05:49)

It should be noted that <em>Rainbows End</em> is a nominee for the 2007 Hugo awards. A good portion of this year's the nominees are actually online going from the list at:

(Some links simply go to ordering information or partial exceprts.)


From: Seth W. Klein (Aug 06 2007, at 08:23)

Yes, default browser fonts are not always well chosen. That's why I've bookmarked this: Bookman L%22;undefined;

One could attack something like with something similar, I suspect, but one can also just resize the browser window.

I also suspect there's a greasemonkey script that does the same much better.

As for editing user.css, that can mess up sites that assume the default font is a particular size and shape which happens more than it should since CSS doesn't allow em to pixel conversion or simple math in size specifications.


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