Syntax Coloring

I'm Max. My interests include programming, aeronautics, astronautics and linguistics.


It’s the year 4025 and our heroes find themselves in an alien planet.

Protagonist person: Quick hack their system!

Hacker person: *plugs laptop into USB port on alien computer and types “color 0a" and "tree" into windows command prompt*

ipconfig /all

This hotel has one of those Wi-Fi networks that direct your browser to a login page before you’re allowed to browse. I guess you’re supposed to get your credentials from the hotel staff, but the username and password are both hard-coded into the page’s JavaScript, like this:

if (username === "foo" && password === "bar") {

If you get the username or password wrong, it just throws you a JavaScript alert("wrong password") box.

People are lazy. Lazy and inept.

Does anyone else think makefiles are kinda fun?


konnichiwa. steven spielberg desu.

Stan Lee’s is even better.

The False Distinctions Between Sans and Serif

There’s a dumb infographic going around that boils the serif vs. sans-serif typeface choice down to whether your text will be on paper or on a screen. bamhelps posted it on Tumblr with this comment:

The most common ding I give to RPG admins looking for a critique or review from me is the use of serif fonts in their themes. I hope this clears up any confusion as to why serif fonts are obnoxious as hell to read and will make me (and other potential applicants) want to click away from your blog without even attempting to read a thing.


First of all, don’t take typography advice from someone whose theme uses gray-on-gray 9px text. Look at how it renders its links (click for full size):

screenshot of awful typography

Seriously. That’s the actual size and color, and it’s ridiculous. You want to avoid having text that’s “obnoxious as hell to read”? Try worrying less about the font and more about how you use it.

Moving on, an infographic that doesn’t even bother to cite references can hardly be “the final battle” on serif vs. sans. The conclusions that this infographic trumpets are wholly unsupported by any meaningful scientific consensus. They even contradict themselves: it says on one page that both “serifs … improve identification” and “the simplicity of [sans] letter shapes makes them more recognizable.” Well, which one is it? It’s neither, actually, because you are trying to create a rule based on unsubstantiated claims.

Plus, even if there were facts to back up this infographic’s assertions, the “serif for print, sans for web” distinction would still be a gross oversimplification. Optimizations like font hinting are much more important to legibility than choosing sans over serif or serif over sans, and even those don’t matter so much anymore.

One of the few things that this infographic does do right is its final sentiment: “The best font choices are ones where readers do not notice the font, but the message.” Chill out about the stupid serifs and concentrate more on making your text look good in context. (Among other things, that means don’t decrease the font size any more than the browser’s default in your stupid Tumblr themes.)

Here is a much more in-depth review by Alex Poole that addresses the infographic’s claims and more - with legitimate sources!

Experiments in sprite normal mapping. Click the images for info.