On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 09:47:05AM -0700, Aahz wrote:
> On Tue, May 26, 2009, Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn wrote:
>> Personally, I would consider "objective arguments" to be controlled,
>> repeatasble, studies with quantitative results. I've seen such studies
>> about light-background-dark-foreground vs. dark-foreground-
>> light-background, which is why I use the former now. I haven't seen
>> such studies about line width, especially not with Python text as
>> opposed to English text.
> Personally, I would be amazed to see any significant difference between
> the two foreground/background combinations you list. ;-)
BTW, I know the topic's pretty dead by now, but there is a pretty
conclusive argument on this topic (which I bring back up only because
I find myself continually annoyed at most IDE's).
If the medium *emits* light, it's significantly better to have a dark
background (the reverse being true if the medium is reflective--like
the surface of a book or Kindle). Several arguments *support* this
and none *contradict* it:
1) Examine the edge cases. Which would you fatigue in front of
faster: a monitor emitting and filled with bright white light or one
that is dark? (duh)
2) Adjust screen refresh to 60Hz. Text your source code on the screen
with the different foregrounds. Stand back and move your head around.
With which do you see the flicker? (answer: white background)
3) The retina has to resolve the actual raw and otherwise meaningless
dark and light spots into useful information. Partly due to the
resolving power of the retina being greater than the display and also
because of interpolation effects that happen within the retina itself,
there's going to be a slight advantage if the actual data on the page
is emitting the light (i.e. a light foreground) rather than having to
compete with trying to stand out against the white wash bleeding over.
The significance of this problem is inversely proportional to the
fatness of the fonts (finer fonts-->more problem).
4) It's easier on your monitor and your ears (if your using a CRT).
The photon gun only has to emit streams of particles on the "on" bits
and can be off less, saving your shadow mask and those 15kHz screams
emitting from the back.
5) Less power consumption. I'd estimate the power savings roughly 60%
and higher on CRTs. If anyone has one of those $15 Kill-o-Watt power
measuring device they can check.
And for those who would otherwise take a populist approach to the
problem ("gee if it was better, it would have been adopted by
now...."), consider that the main reason that white backgrounds are
common is because the guys at XEROX Park took either a naive approach
to wanting a display "more like the real world" or because they knew
that it would be that much more striking and novel at a time when
green monochrome was the norm. It was then subsequently and blindly
copied by Apple who wanted to be like XEROX, and then again by MS
Windows which wanted to compete with the Mac. I seriously doubt
($0.02 blah blah) that any of these companies propagated the idea
based on research into white-foreground effects on neural fatigue and
such. And now it's a serious chore to re-customize all the colors to
work well with a dark background and that totally *blows*....
Hope that puts THAT issue to rest.... ;^)