"To preserve the reputation of the fraternity unsullied must be your constant care..."

Welcome * Blog * Books * Calendar * Chris Hodapp * Alice Von Kannon * Photos * Contact

Sunday, May 08, 2016

A Little Help For Those Who Squint At This Page

This isn't a post about Masonry, but I wanted to address an issue that several folks have complained about, especially in recent years. Some readers apparently have trouble viewing posts on this blog because of the white type on a black background. 

I understand.

In all fairness, I made this formatting decision back when a lot of people felt that a darker background with lighter type was easier on the eyes. (Alice still uses the ancient blue background/white type screen option on Microsoft Word because white screens with dark type give her migraines, and even set off old epilepsy symptoms.) However, many others seem to disagree.

I know that loads of blog authors have moved off of Google's free Blogger platform to Wordpress. I have looked into it, but I have to admit to being a little confused by Wordpress' CSS and PHP formatting details. Blogger is old style HTML, and I just haven't kept up with the technology - mostly because I just don't do anything else on a regular basis that deals with CSS and PHP. But I do still understand HTML, and I can actually fix code when it breaks things. I intensely dislike the era in which we live where software interfaces require just fumbling around like a drunk hunting his car keys until you finally stumble on a solution or a hidden menu item, instead of just making it intuitive, labeling things, or - God forbid - actually writing documentation. (Try to navigate Google+ sometime. Best of luck on that expedition.) Sorry, but that's just bad design.

The much bigger problem is that with over 2,500 posts across a 10 year span, the decision I made way back in 2006 about the blog's formatting has now totally hamstrung me. When I exerpt clips from some online news articles these days, they don't format correctly and I'm forced to change the type background to black and the letters to white just to make them look right here. The unfortunate result is now a massive backlog of posts that can't easily be fixed if I change to black type on white by exporting all of this buried formatting code to a new platform. 

In addition, I can move the blog articles over to Wordpress if I absolutely have to, but there's no way to take the comments that people have posted over the decade with them. Unfortunately, I have spoken with too many other blog authors who have done this, only to discover the comments had vanished.  I really don't want to lose them, because there is often lots of good followup information within them. 

So, I'm kind of stuck with this, at least until Google makes the corporate decision to toss Blogger in the bin entirely and forces me to confront the problem more seriously.

In the meantime, if your eyes just can't take this kind of high contrast page design, Brother John Ruark has a simple suggestion. Subscribe to this page using an RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed reader, such as Feedly.com. There are others, but Feedly is pretty simple to use. Create a new account, then once you do, enter the URL for this page - http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com . When the small preview box opens, click the green plus sign to subscribe my posts to your Feedly page. That way, when you view the blog through the Feedly site from now on, the articles will be black type on a white background, and the photos will be there properly. You can also click the photos within the articles to enlarge them, just as you can here on my page. And if you find a story that you need to print, it will work much better there than trying to print from this page. Think of all the black ink you'll save. (The only downside to an RSS reader like Feedly is, again, the comments don't export. So if you want to read the followups, you have to come back here.)

Hopefully, this will assist those of you who get a headache reading the blog (the actual content of the stories, notwithstanding). I apologize, but hope this helps. 

I looked at the stats a few days ago, and at some point this year I noticed that the page has been viewed over 5 million times since Blogger started keeping track in 2010. That's astonishing to me. To everyone who reads the site on a regular basis, please accept my deepest gratitude. I appreciate your ongoing patronage. Many, many thanks.


  1. I went from Blogger to Wordpress because I liked the various formatting options, but the move failed to import many of the comments. Also, in a switch from a self-hosted to the Wordpress hosting, I broke a lot of links and after a while just gave up on trying to hunt them all down.

    That said, what *I* hate is the recent style design to put light gray text on a white or light background. Yes, it looks all airy and cool and stuff, but on a mobile device it's a huge PITA to read.

    I used to read blogs on the old Good RSS Reader, but since Google dropped support for it, I switched to Feedly. It's a much easier solution, especially for mobile reading.

  2. FWIW, If you have an Apple device, whether OS X or iOS, in Accessibility, you can simply "Invert Colours".


Kindly sign your comment posts. Anonymous postings on Masonic topics have the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned, and may be deleted if I don't recognize you or if I'm in a grumpy mood.