So last night I ran that ClearType tuner I mentioned, on the Microsoft site. It turns on ClearType and runs you through a few text samples to supposedly get ClearType to a point that it works well for you. Didn’t work for me – I turned it back off, and everything looks fine. This is on a Samsung Syncmaster flat panel monitor – where ClearType was intended to work best.

This morning I’m checking my mail (in Thunderbird, not Outlook) and all of it is washed out and blurry. Was something wrong with my eyes?

Nope. After right-clicking on the desktop to check properties, I found that the ClearType tuner on the Microsoft site had apparently talked to XP Pro and turned on ClearType for all my screen fonts too.

Talk about Big Brother. I can’t stand sneaky things like this – ClearType had never been enabled on my machine and Microsoft decides that now I must want it because I check out an online tuning page for IE7. That doesn’t follow.

See what I mean by looking at this image of my email with and without ClearType.

If your screen fonts are blurry, try right-clicking on the desktop, go to Properties > Appearance and then Effects. Change ClearType to Standard font smoothing and see what happens (remember to click Apply in the Appearance screen).

Today I was putting the finishing touches on a client’s site built in X-Cart. All was looking pretty on Firefox, but side-by-side I noticed that all my fonts were looking a bit fuzzed out in IE7.

Confounded, I did a search and discovered that this is not a bug – it’s a ‘feature.’ A feature of IE7 called ClearType that’s automatically on in the browser.

I turned it off (do that by going to Tools > Options > Advanced and scrolling about halfway down to ‘Always use ClearType for HTML.’ Uncheck that box). And now everything looks great.

Now this may just be me (although I’m seeing a lot of unhappy posts about this subject) and I read that ClearType was intended to make things easier to read on LCD monitors. I’m using one, and it definitely doesn’t work for me.

However, my problem is that it’s on by default. Why not offer a choice? Why force users to accept a new feature without letting them know what it is and what it’s doing to the websites they visit?

I see that there’s a tuner you can use to configure ClearType for specific monitors and/or users. But do you think that the average web user knows this or even suspects it exists?

Today is the second day I’ve sat down and worked on the layout for my new business website. This is, without a doubt, the trickiest layout I’ve ever done. Which is a good thing…

Today I found this super-handy little hack (it’s a hack, I know, and ordinarily I wouldn’t use this but for now I’m going to because it works perfectly and I’m not sure about using the Microsoft expressions for IE lt 7…). This is from Dustin Diaz:

Sweet and simple. And it works with min-width too.