Odd display issue

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Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
I'm using a dark theme, and had noticed in earlier versions that the text
in the group pane seems to not consistently be displayed using the color
defined in the preferences - if I define white as the text color, about 6
groups show up in white, but the rest show up in black.

Against a dark background, that makes it a little difficult to read -
wondering if anyone else is seeing this behaviour or knows how to fix it.

See attached image for more info (hopefully this'll work :) )

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Re: Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
On Mon, 22 May 2017 23:24:12 +0000, Jim Henderson wrote:

> I'm using a dark theme, and had noticed in earlier versions that the
> text in the group pane seems to not consistently be displayed using the
> color defined in the preferences - if I define white as the text color,
> about 6 groups show up in white, but the rest show up in black.
>
> Against a dark background, that makes it a little difficult to read -
> wondering if anyone else is seeing this behaviour or knows how to fix
> it.
>
> See attached image for more info (hopefully this'll work :) )

(Apparently not)

See https://goo.gl/photos/6DiHK4CkBRdqj2wQA for the image. :)

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Re: Odd display issue

Duncan-42
Jim Henderson posted on Mon, 22 May 2017 23:26:00 +0000 as excerpted:

> On Mon, 22 May 2017 23:24:12 +0000, Jim Henderson wrote:
>
>> I'm using a dark theme, and had noticed in earlier versions that the
>> text in the group pane seems to not consistently be displayed using the
>> color defined in the preferences - if I define white as the text color,
>> about 6 groups show up in white, but the rest show up in black.
>>
>> Against a dark background, that makes it a little difficult to read -
>> wondering if anyone else is seeing this behaviour or knows how to fix
>> it.
>>
>> See attached image for more info (hopefully this'll work :) )
>
> (Apparently not)
>
> See https://goo.gl/photos/6DiHK4CkBRdqj2wQA for the image. :)

So we have two things to discuss now, the attachment, and the groups
color issue, both of which I /think/ I can explain... with a workaround
for the one and I hope a fix for the other. =:^)


Let's start with the attachment.  Keep in mind that pan is primarily a
news client, and that when it is used via gmane for this mailing list, as
apparently both you and I do, the messages are bridged to mail via gmane,
and while the match is close enough for most things, attachments are a
bit of a special case due to the following...

Pan posts attachments in yEnc format, which was specifically designed for
news and takes advantage of a not entirely standardized loophole in the
nntp transmission and peering format to achieve far better encoding
efficiency than the older, long standardized, formats, that work with
both mail and news.

Both the old UUE (Unix-to-Unix Encoding) and the newer and better
standardized MIME base64 encoding bloat binary content by roughly 33% in
the encoding process, by encoding six original binary bits using selected
7-bit-ASCII characters, which are then transmitted as 8-bit/byte standard
ASCII characters.  So every eight bytes of encoded data only encodes six
bytes of the original binary data.

They did it this way in ordered to maximize compatibility and lossless
conversion going thru with all sorts of strange transfer and storage
format methods and conversion between them, choosing the 64 ASCII
characters that encode the 6 bits of binary very carefully from those
that were cleanly represented in all storage and transfer methods known
at the time, so the encoding could go thru multiple gateways converting
from one format to another without loss or destruction of the binary data
encoded within that ASCII.

yEnc improves upon that by realizing that all modern news servers and
their peering channels are 8-bit-clean -- all they had to do was reserve
and escape a few specific sequences, including the CRLF ASCII pair that
terminates a line by Internet messaging standard.  Additionally, yEnc
takes advantage of the full 1000-character (998 plus terminating CRLF
sequence) standard line length limit, instead of wrapping at the
otherwise standard 80 characters.  That means lower encoding overhead as
there's fewer line-terminating CRLF sequences in the data.

As a result, yEnc achieves an encoding bloat factor of only ~5% for
binary data, compared to the 33% or more common for the other two common
binary encoding schemes.  Which explains why it took USENET binary groups
by storm, even if it /wasn't/ exactly standardized.  (There have been
some efforts to standardize it since, but with nntp being a dying
protocol, it's unlikely to ever get thru the full process.  However, most
if not all dedicated news providers now support it, and many news clients
including pan do as well, because their customers and users demanded it,
and because it was designed to work with what servers were already
supporting in practice, beyond the standards.)

But the down side is that unlike normal MIME or UUE encoding, yEnc is
relatively unlikely to survive mail/news and similar format-conversion
gateways.

Which means that you can't simply attach a file in pan and send it via
gmane to a mailing list -- even if it did survive the gateway conversion
getting to the mailing list, for those reading the list as mail, few mail-
only clients will be able to decode yEnc at all -- even some news clients
still lack support.

There are a couple possible workarounds, depending on where the message
is going.  For the gmane lists-as-news special-case, probably the easiest
for many is simply using your mail client to send the message and
attachments directly to the list, bypassing gmane on the way in.  Mail
clients will almost certainly default to MIME base64 encoding, which
won't be as efficient, but should both get thru and be decodable by
pretty much any internet message client, including both mail and news
clients and definitely including pan.

Of course if that separate client handles news as well, either because it
handles both mail and news, or because it only does news, but still
defaults to MIME or UUE or lets you choose encoding format, using that
separate client to post to the news group (via gmane in our case, but
posting to a public group where some users are known not to have yEnc
supporting clients works the same way), you can also post to the group
using that separate client, and simply choose MIME or UUE encoding.

The third and perhaps most interesting workaround is to still use pan,
but do the encoding using a separate encoding tool like uuenview from the
uudeview package, inserting the pre-encoded result as if it were part of
the normal text message.  Note that in this case MIME is out of the
question, because it's not possible to setup the proper multipart message
headers in pan to deal with MIME properly.  However, UUE is older and
doesn't require specific headers, so works very well in this regard, and
indeed, has been used this way from the very beginning, when people
invented it as a method to cram binary data into a nominally text-only
format.

And actually... before pan had built-in yEnc-based attachment
functionality, I hacked up a couple scripts to semi-automate the
otherwise manual encoding and attachment process. Detailing them is a
topic for a dedicated post, but I've posted them here a number of times
over the years, and if there's an interest, I can do so again... and
will, as I've done before, actually use the script to attach it. =:^)


OK, so that should cover the attachments point, now on to the original
question, the group pane group list color issue.

As it happens I /strongly/ prefer light text on dark backgrounds, what
most people refer to as a "reversed" color theme, myself, so I knew
exactly what you were talking about even before you posted the link to
the image.

And as you might expect, I have a solution.  Actually, back when the
color-coded group names feature was introduced, I had to request some
adjustments precisely /because/ I couldn't read it the way things were!  
As it happens, that's actually why some of pan's other color prefs have
both background and foreground color options as well, because I found it
unworkable without that, and luckily enough for me, I've been around pan
and this list long enough that if I complain, things usually get fixed so
I find it workable again. =:^)

OK, so here's how it works.  There's actually two places to set group
colors, the global one in pan preferences, colors tab, under group pane,
where you can set the default text and background colors, and...

The per-group setting, in group preferences, where only the text/
foreground color can be set.

One point I discovered quite quickly...  If you ever expand "Other
groups" (aka the unsubscribed list), you will definitely want a
reasonable global/default setting, or you won't be able to read the names
of all those unsubscribed groups, and going thru double-digit (triple-
digit?) thousands of groups to individually set them all to readability
isn't feasible!

But for subscribed groups, and possibly for the occasional unsubscribed
group you're looking at but haven't decided to actually subscribe yet,
you can set individual group colors. =:^)

What I suspect has happened is that you opened and set something in group
properties on some of the groups, without changing the default group text
color.  Those are probably the dark ones.  Just open their group
properties and select a different color.

Or possibly it's the reverse, you set the individual group colors and
didn't know about the global setting.  That's actually what happened to
me originally, because when the group colors setting was introduced,
there /was/ no global setting, and the default text color for the per-
group setting was dark, which as you well observe, isn't particularly
readable on a dark background.  Which was OK as long as I stayed to
subscribed groups since I could switch the color for all of those, but
flat-out didn't work when I went to find a group I wasn't yet subscribed
to, since I couldn't read them and there was no way I could set them
**ALL** individually!! So I asked that the default colors be selectable,
background AND foreground/text, so I could set both a sane dark
background AND a readable default foreground/text, and a bit later, it
was. =:^)


Of course the quick way to set them all back to defaults is to
move/delete the group-preferences.xml file (with pan closed, of course),
which contains all the group settings for any that you've changed from
the defaults.  That of course includes group colors, but also per-group
settings such as character-encoding, default-group-save-path, posting
profile, etc.  So if you use different settings for those on some groups,
just deleting the file may not be something you want to do.  Running a
quick sed on it to delete all the color lines, while leaving the rest
intact, should be possible, however.  Or do effectively the same thing
using find and replace in your favorite text editor.  Just be careful not
to break the XML formatting. =:^)

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and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman


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Re: Odd display issue

Rhialto
In reply to this post by Jim Henderson-4
On Mon 22 May 2017 at 23:24:12 +0000, Jim Henderson wrote:
> I'm using a dark theme, and had noticed in earlier versions that the text
> in the group pane seems to not consistently be displayed using the color
> defined in the preferences - if I define white as the text color, about 6
> groups show up in white, but the rest show up in black.

I sometimes see that the group preferences seem to be forgotten (such as
the default save directoty and the colour of the group name in the list
of groups). Could it be the same? Or do your settings still show the way
you set them?

-Olaf.
--
___ Olaf 'Rhialto' Seibert  -- Wayland: Those who don't understand X
\X/ rhialto/at/xs4all.nl    -- are condemned to reinvent it. Poorly.

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Re: Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
In reply to this post by Duncan-42
On Tue, 23 May 2017 06:12:06 +0000, Duncan wrote:

> So we have two things to discuss now, the attachment, and the groups
> color issue, both of which I /think/ I can explain... with a workaround
> for the one and I hope a fix for the other. =:^)
>
>
> Let's start with the attachment.  Keep in mind that pan is primarily a
> news client, and that when it is used via gmane for this mailing list,
> as apparently both you and I do, the messages are bridged to mail via
> gmane, and while the match is close enough for most things, attachments
> are a bit of a special case due to the following...

Oh, yeah, I figured it was ultimately a gmane-related issue.  Especially
with the change in ownership and work that's currently being done to
rework it with elasticsearch, I figured it was kinda a longshot. :)

> As it happens I /strongly/ prefer light text on dark backgrounds, what
> most people refer to as a "reversed" color theme, myself, so I knew
> exactly what you were talking about even before you posted the link to
> the image.

:)

I've found that I also really prefer that - much easier on the eyes. :)

> What I suspect has happened is that you opened and set something in
> group properties on some of the groups, without changing the default
> group text color.  Those are probably the dark ones.  Just open their
> group properties and select a different color.

Cool, I'll give that a shot.  The weird thing is it's the majority of the
groups that are black on grey, but the preferences here have held over a
long time, so who knows what compatibility issues might've also
interfered. :)

If I have to edit an XML file, no biggie - I've actually got an excellent
XML editor that can do scoped search/replace using XPATH expressions for
that scoping.  Makes this a lot easier. :)

Jim
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Re: Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
On Wed, 24 May 2017 02:48:31 +0000, Jim Henderson wrote:

>> What I suspect has happened is that you opened and set something in
>> group properties on some of the groups, without changing the default
>> group text color.  Those are probably the dark ones.  Just open their
>> group properties and select a different color.
>
> Cool, I'll give that a shot.  The weird thing is it's the majority of
> the groups that are black on grey, but the preferences here have held
> over a long time, so who knows what compatibility issues might've also
> interfered. :)
>
> If I have to edit an XML file, no biggie - I've actually got an
> excellent XML editor that can do scoped search/replace using XPATH
> expressions for that scoping.  Makes this a lot easier. :)

Excellent, that was it - thanks, Duncan!

Jim

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Re: Odd display issue

Duncan-42
Jim Henderson posted on Wed, 24 May 2017 02:53:42 +0000 as excerpted:

> Excellent, that was it - thanks, Duncan!

Very cool!  As I said I know the pain of mismatched settings, because
someone sets background /or/ text/foreground, and simply /assumes/ the
other has sufficient contrast because it happens to be readable on their
own system.

OT in terms of pan, but for "light on dark", if you use firefox, I've
found the "Dark Background and Light Text" extension very useful there.  
It's not a webextension yet, but that's coming (it's e10s compatible
now), so it it should continue to work in general, tho as a web extension
it may lose the ability to work on internal pages as it does now.

--
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and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman


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Re: Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
In reply to this post by Rhialto
On Tue, 23 May 2017 20:10:47 +0200, Rhialto wrote:

> On Mon 22 May 2017 at 23:24:12 +0000, Jim Henderson wrote:
>> I'm using a dark theme, and had noticed in earlier versions that the
>> text in the group pane seems to not consistently be displayed using the
>> color defined in the preferences - if I define white as the text color,
>> about 6 groups show up in white, but the rest show up in black.
>
> I sometimes see that the group preferences seem to be forgotten (such as
> the default save directoty and the colour of the group name in the list
> of groups). Could it be the same? Or do your settings still show the way
> you set them?

It seems to have been the per-group colour settings (which I had
forgotten even existed).  Cleaning up the group-preferences.xml and
stripping the settings from each group resolved the issue here.

Jim

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Re: Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
In reply to this post by Duncan-42
On Wed, 24 May 2017 06:11:58 +0000, Duncan wrote:

> Jim Henderson posted on Wed, 24 May 2017 02:53:42 +0000 as excerpted:
>
>> Excellent, that was it - thanks, Duncan!
>
> Very cool!  As I said I know the pain of mismatched settings, because
> someone sets background /or/ text/foreground, and simply /assumes/ the
> other has sufficient contrast because it happens to be readable on their
> own system.
>
> OT in terms of pan, but for "light on dark", if you use firefox, I've
> found the "Dark Background and Light Text" extension very useful there.
> It's not a webextension yet, but that's coming (it's e10s compatible
> now), so it it should continue to work in general, tho as a web
> extension it may lose the ability to work on internal pages as it does
> now.

That's good to know - I tend towards Chrome, and have a fairly good dark
default theme there.  Overall, the openSUSE Leap 42.2 dark themes work
well, though I have one place there where the button colors are light on
a light background (with the dark theme - fine with the light).  I
probably ought to raise a bug on that. :)

Jim

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Re: Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
In reply to this post by Duncan-42
On Tue, 23 May 2017 06:12:06 +0000, Duncan wrote:

> What I suspect has happened is that you opened and set something in
> group properties on some of the groups, without changing the default
> group text color.  Those are probably the dark ones.  Just open their
> group properties and select a different color.

I was just looking at this a little more, and that does seem to be what
happened - I went in before changing to a dark theme and set character
encoding or a posting profile, and the colour got updated as well.

Might be good if there was either an option to only save the preferences
that have been modified in a group, or to select "use default" for the
colouring.

Jim

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Re: Odd display issue

Duncan-42
Jim Henderson posted on Wed, 24 May 2017 22:27:19 +0000 as excerpted:

> On Tue, 23 May 2017 06:12:06 +0000, Duncan wrote:
>
>> What I suspect has happened is that you opened and set something in
>> group properties on some of the groups, without changing the default
>> group text color.  Those are probably the dark ones.  Just open their
>> group properties and select a different color.
>
> I was just looking at this a little more, and that does seem to be what
> happened - I went in before changing to a dark theme and set character
> encoding or a posting profile, and the colour got updated as well.
>
> Might be good if there was either an option to only save the preferences
> that have been modified in a group, or to select "use default" for the
> colouring.

I like the "use default" idea, and make it the default, too. =:^)  That
way setting something else doesn't inadvertently screw with the color at
the same time.

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and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman


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Re: Odd display issue

Jim Henderson-4
On Wed, 24 May 2017 23:33:42 +0000, Duncan wrote:

> Jim Henderson posted on Wed, 24 May 2017 22:27:19 +0000 as excerpted:
>
>> On Tue, 23 May 2017 06:12:06 +0000, Duncan wrote:
>>
>>> What I suspect has happened is that you opened and set something in
>>> group properties on some of the groups, without changing the default
>>> group text color.  Those are probably the dark ones.  Just open their
>>> group properties and select a different color.
>>
>> I was just looking at this a little more, and that does seem to be what
>> happened - I went in before changing to a dark theme and set character
>> encoding or a posting profile, and the colour got updated as well.
>>
>> Might be good if there was either an option to only save the
>> preferences that have been modified in a group, or to select "use
>> default" for the colouring.
>
> I like the "use default" idea, and make it the default, too. =:^)  That
> way setting something else doesn't inadvertently screw with the color at
> the same time.

Yes, making "use default" the default would make sense. :)

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