[rfc-i] tiny tablet text was Fwd: draft-flanagan-plaintext-00.txt

Dave Crocker dhc at dcrocker.net
Fri Jun 27 08:16:50 PDT 2014

On 6/27/2014 7:06 AM, John Levine wrote:
>> What exactly is the manifestation of the problem with displaying the
>> ascii art?
> In my experience, the problem is that it's not easy to tell a tablet
> to show you something in a fixed pitch typeface if it isn't already
> marked up that way.

I have a text editor app on my android which I tell to use a fixed-width
font.  There are lots of those.

I generally find that reading fixed-width font-oriented text is better
done with such an app and indeed it is.

However in the example I cited (of reading RFC 5598) it was directly in
Firefox, with no special settings and it looked ok/normal/sufficient.

> Tablets all run PDF display programs so you can look at the PDF
> versions of RFCs, but again the text is too small for my aging eyes to
> read. 

That depends entirely on how the PDF is formatted and whether the app
lets you zoom.  I use ones that do and it helps quite a bit.

> On the other hand, I was reading this week's Supreme Court
> decisions (Aereo in particular) as PDFs on my tablet with no trouble,
> because they happen to be in 12pt text with wide margins.


However I note that your note, as with others in this sequence, is
conflating non-txt issues with txt issues.

My original query (to Wes) was about claims of problems with the display
of ascii art on ereaders.

Perhaps we can all try something different for this topic and actually
focus on the issue raised?

On 6/27/2014 6:24 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:> On 2014-06-27 15:17, Dave
Crocker wrote:
>> On 6/27/2014 6:13 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:
>>> The problem with ASCII art is that it doesn't display well on a
>>> 7inch device in portrait mode.
>> Displays fine on my Android 7" google nexus device. Nothing
>> interesting about the device or the display of RFC 5598 ascii art
>> diagrams.
> Which file did you try, using which software?


Firefox.  When I use a text editor on Android, it's Jota.  They both
handle txt RFCs with no problems.

>> So I'd appreciate more detail about the problem you are asserting.
>> BTW, a longer line length will require the text to be smaller, for
>> a line to fit on a display line. This will make it more difficult
>> to read, especially for my older eyes. (Yeah, my newer ones have
>> no trouble...)
> Yes, the "smaller" is the problem here.

The proposal is for ascii art line length to grow to 85 characters.
That will make the characters smaller, which will make the art harder to
read.  That's why it's a bad proposal.

On 6/27/2014 7:09 AM, George, Wes wrote:
> On 6/27/14, 9:05 AM, "Dave Crocker" <dhc at dcrocker.net> wrote:
>> On 6/27/2014 4:47 AM, George, Wes wrote:
>>> WG] Well, no, but the problem with the current format, especially
>>> the ASCII art, is that it actually doesn't render properly on
>>> some eReaders due to the width+font requirements, where a graphic
>>> will.
>> What are the specifications of these problematic ereaders?
> WG] Ok, fair enough. I shouldn't have assumed that people were
> familiar with this issue.

Wes, you misunderstood the basis for my query:

     There's an under-specified and under-documented claim that is being
used to drive a strategic technical choice.  I am asking that the claim
be substantiated with better data so that the choice can be evaluated on
more than a whim.

     And indeed...

> My google-fu is not enough to find me a
> pointer in the documentation that tells me what the row x column text
> limitations are, and I don't have my kindle with me to count it, but
> based on trying to view previous I-Ds on the Kindle 3 via someone's
> conversion of the RFC series to ebook format, 

So somebody, somewhere, used a /converted/ version of an RFC and had
some sort of problem and folk here think that is a reasonable
justification for dismissing ascii art on ereaders or justifies longer
line lengths or...  (It really is quite difficult to discern what is
being justified by what, through these threads.)

> I can say for certain
> that the monospace font, even at smallest size, is capable of <70
> columns in portrait mode, and less than the 55-ish rows we paginate
> at today.

That assertion is factually incorrect, on both counts.

I am presently looking at RFC 5598, on my 7" android tablet, showing
exactly one page, zoomed so that it all just fits on the screen.

I have to wear reading glasses, but I can read that page with no
problem.  I'd prefer the text to be larger, but am not suffering with
it's being this size.

>> Which ereaders?
> WG] The e-ink kind. 

What this mostly highlights is the need to properly characterize target
device categories for specific output formats.

If we target 4", low-resolution phones for txt, that will produce
different choices than 7" high res tablets, and different than...

So far, what we've got is a random walk through personal preference and
stray anecdotes.  That's really not a very healthy way to produce
standards that are supposed to be useful for decades...


Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking

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