Monday, August 20, 2012

Adam Hamilton

The only way to find relief is to learn to give. When we are generous—to God and to our families, friends, neighbors, and others who are in need—our hearts are filled with joy. They are enlarged by the very act of giving. When we give generously, we become more generous. That is how generosity works.

Wonderful post from Adam Hamilton's book on generosity.

Why I Often Think About Quitting My Blog

Why I Often Think About Quitting My Blog

…because the things I often write about, I fail to practice…

  • Caring too much about what other people think
  • About acting instead of talking
  • About removing distractions from our lives
  • About helping the millennial generation understand Christ

Those are some of the things I’ve blogged about in the past 3 months. At the time, they were all something God was teaching me and I was doing really good with.

For a while…

But for some reason, I find myself often trying to revert back.
I find myself practicing less and just blogging more.

Why I Haven’t Stopped Blogging

Because that’s the struggle.

Good post - encouragement to keep on posting.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Complex Churches Give People Christian Fatigue Syndrome

I remember vividly one late Sunday afternoon sitting on the back deck grilling with my dad. My little brother was swimming in our blue kiddie pool, and Mom was there taking it all in.

“I sure wish we could just skip out on going to church tonight.”

I felt guilty the moment this thought passed through my head, but I let it pass anyway. As I thought it, fire from Heaven spit down into my eyes and scorched me. I guess I was just a little devil child.

Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger's Simple Church is one of the books will be studying in our church's incubator group this Fall. Bringing about significant change in an established church isn't easy. It will take some time to accomplish. I expect we should see good progress by the second year.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day in the Water

So, this morning I head out for the beach about 11am. I spend the next three hours in and out of the water. It is so nice. After 2pm I go home. There I have a late lunch and watch a bit of the sharkfest on the SyFy network. Then Jo Anne calls me and says she is at the Byrd St. access and to come and join her. So I do. I get back into the water, but now it looks like every wave potentially carries a shark! Yeah, I didn't stay in the water so long this time. ;-)


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hospitality in the Middle East

In the modern Western world, hospitality has taken on different connotations. Perhaps as religious traditions became uprooted from the Middle East, the primacy of this virtue—or at least its association with the compassionate treatment of strangers—was lost. Westerners tend to see receiving guests as part of creating relationships. We entertain family and friends and those whom we wish to cultivate as friends rather than opening our homes to strangers. Our care for strangers tends to be monetary rather than personal.

While there are things to be said for this approach, it lacks the moral centrality of the view of hospitality John Koenig traces to ancient Greece and the Near East. As he writes in New Testament Hospitality,"According to this tradition, which has virtually disappeared from contemporary Western culture, hospitality is seen as one of the pillars of morality upon which the universe stands. When guests or hosts violate the obligations to each other, the whole world shakes and retribution follows."

Excellent look at hospitality from the perspective of the Middle Eastern culture of the Koran and Bible by Amal Barkouki-Winter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why light text on dark background is a bad idea « Tatham Oddie

Why light text on dark background is a bad idea

with 9 comments

As this is a suggestion which comes up quite regularly, I felt it valuable to document some of the research I have collected about the readability of light text on dark backgrounds.

The science of readability is by no means new, and some of the best research comes from advertising works in the early 80s. This information is still relevant today.

First up is this quote from a paper titled “Improving the legibility of visual display units through contrast reversal”. In present time we think of contrast reversal meaning black-on-white, but remember this paper is from 1980 when VDUs (monitors) where green-on-black. This paper formed part of the research that drove the push for this to change to the screen formats we use today.

However, most studies have shown that dark characters on a light background are superior to light characters on a dark background (when the refresh rate is fairly high). For example, Bauer and Cavonius (1980) found that participants were 26% more accurate in reading text when they read it with dark characters on a light background.

Reference: Bauer, D., & Cavonius, C., R. (1980). Improving the legibility of visual display units through contrast reversal. In E. Grandjean, E. Vigliani (Eds.), Ergonomic Aspects of Visual Display Terminals (pp. 137-142). London: Taylor & Francis

Ok, 26% improvement – but why?

People with astigmatism (aproximately 50% of the population) find it harder to read white text on black than black text on white. Part of this has to do with light levels: with a bright display (white background) the iris closes a bit more, decreasing the effect of the "deformed" lens; with a dark display (black background) the iris opens to receive more light and the deformation of the lens creates a much fuzzier focus at the eye.

Jason Harrison – Post Doctoral Fellow, Imager Lab Manager – Sensory Perception and Interaction Research Group, University of British Columbia

The "fuzzing” effect that Jason refers to is known as halation.

It might feel strange pushing your primary design goals based on the vision impaired, but when 50% of the population of have this “impairment” it’s actually closer to being the norm than an impairment.

The web is rife with research on the topic, but I think these two quotes provide a succinct justification for why light text on a dark background is a bad idea.

(Tip: If you want to be really good, use an offset grey on a light background like #222 on #fff as it’s a bit nicer on the eyes.)

Written by Tatham Oddie

October 13, 2008 at 08:58

Posted in Design, Web Development

One blogger likes this post.

9 Responses

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  1. Hi,
    I haven’t read any papers on this topic, but one thing that I know is that the reason for people to try and switch to white on black is the fact that the eyes get really tired by looking for 12+ hours at the white screen.
    So, the arguments you give here are may be relevant for short term, but what those articles say about long use?


    October 14, 2008 at 08:30

  2. Black print on a slightly yellow background (see my blogsite) is very readable AND helps on the tired-eyes issue.

    BTW: Follow-Me trucks at airports are black and yellow form aximum visibility.

    Ole Phat Stu

    October 15, 2008 at 03:54

  3. Agreed with previous responses. As a developer with very bad astigmatism and keratoconus, I notice that I am only good with dark text on white background for about 4 hours before my eyes hurt.

    I can code with bright colors on black screen all day without my eyes hurting.

    Maybe the having only one forecolor has a detriment not noticed when multiple colors are used say with Netbeans editor?

    Michael F

    October 16, 2008 at 02:03

  4. An interesting angle. One question I have: assuming it’s true that nearly 50% of the population has astigmatism, wouldn’t many (most) of them have corrected it? I’ve seen an estimate that 25% of American adults are myopic to at least -1.00 diopters; does that mean “make the letters bigger?”

    References cited in the Wikipedia article on astigmatism suggest a prevelance closer to 30%. One of those references points out that refractive errors, including astigmatism, vary significantly among children in four ethnic groups, even controlling for age and sex.

    Dave Ferguson

    October 16, 2008 at 05:25

  5. Yeah, I use light on dark as well. Although, regardless of the light on dark or dark on light, I never use full black or full white.

    I’ll typically use a light gray and a very dark grey, as I find it a little easier on the eyes.


    October 16, 2008 at 05:44

  6. [...] were hard to read. Apparently not being able to read light text on a dark background is due do to astigmatism. This was one drawback of bad eyes I have never heard of. Since all four contestants had the [...]

  7. As a CAD operator, light colors on a black background is a de-facto standard. It’s better for seeing details for longer periods of time with minimal eye fatigue.

    Which strikes me curious that MS has all but eliminated the ability to accomplish this in any of their software. See for yourself by setting your windows colors to make this occur by default – menus, text fields, title bars, and other items that should coordinate with your settings don’t, they want to be black on white, and therefore become the same color for both.

    Thank you MS for not getting the user base.


    December 11, 2009 at 09:21

  8. I was under the impression that white on dark is easier on the eyes. I just was under the impression that staring into a bright source of light is tiresome.
    Besides some people believe that dark background spare energy. And by the size and brightness of my LCD monitor, I don’t think that is far fetched.
    It appeared logical to me that something that (supposedly) uses less power and throws less white-bluish light into your retina would be healthier.
    Also, the white, paper-like background just looks sad and depressing.
    But the thing about focus and the iris also makes sense, so I really dont know what to do now! I was all proud of having switched all my IDEs to sci-fi like dark backgrounds.


    August 1, 2010 at 00:16

  9. I have recently had numerous conversations about dark versus light backgrounds. While there are several arguments in favor of light backgrounds (like those listed here), the only argument I have heard against light backgrounds is this notion of “eye strain”. I have spent a fair amount of time looking for any research that supports this argument and have not found any. If anyone is familiar with research on this topic, please post it.


    September 17, 2010 at 02:10

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

I really do NOT like sites with light text on dark backgrounds. When I come across one I try the following...

1. I select the edit CSS option with one of my extensions.

2. I use another extension to turn off all styles.

3. I just leave the site.

We do not normally read light text on dark backgrounds! Please take note!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Don’t leave learning to the young. Older brains can grow, too.

Whether it is by learning a new language, traveling to a new place, developing a passion for beekeeping or simply thinking about an old problem in a new way, all of us can find ways to stimulate our brains to grow, in the coming year and those to follow. Just as physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy body, challenging one’s brain, keeping it active, engaged, flexible and playful, is not only fun. It is essential to cognitive fitness.



Oliver Sacks is the author of “The Mind’s Eye.”


Read the whole article at


Yes, there is hope for us ‘older’ folks! I have taking on a renewed interest in linguistics. —aps