Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Once Again, the Little Things

So nice to discover that absent my attention things continue to go well in the world.

Case in point: with the release (a year or so ago) of the "Rapier" version of Microsoft's Windows CE, M$ added a feature called ClearType™ to their document reader. This allows for better horizontal resolution when displaying text on color LCD screens by using the red, green and blue sub-pixels that represent every "full" pixel on such a display. This is tough to get your head around, so if you're in need of clarification at this point, here's an excellent explanation of the theory and practice. In short, in the horizontal dimension (the most important one for purposes of text rendering), the three-pixels-in-one design of color LCDs amounts to a happy accident that allows the savvy programmer to effectively triple display resolution.

All well and good, and a spiffy hack to boot, but this tech was only available for Microsoft devices (with their 240x320 screen resolution that barely needed it) so far as I was aware, and I'm a Palm guy. Ah well, I thought; someday this will be the standard, and until then I'd better get used to my chunky 160x160 display and like it.

Today I stumbled upon WordSmith, a PalmOS word processor from BlueNomad that purported to bring a similar text-smoothing algorithm ("FineType" in BlueNomad's lingo) to my little Palm IIIc. Downloaded, installed, marveled. This is good stuff. Suffice to say that 160x160 benefits from the process a lot more than 240x320 does. I'll try to make some screen shots myself, but for the nonce, check out the explanation at the above link. I'm actually considering not taking along my iBook, and just relying on the Palm IIIc on my coming vacation.

I'm easy to please. Just teach an existing toy of mine a new trick. :-)


No comments: