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1 pixel by 5 pixel font (distractionware.com)
126 points by shard 2161 days ago | hide | past | web | 32 comments | favorite

To me it was illegible until I darkened red and green channels (because blue is less perceptible)


Still completely illegible on an iPad. Just an endless series of vertical blue lines with the occasional red dot. I think I made out an exclamation point a few paragraphs down, but that's it.

Hold it with the home button to the right.

wow thanks for that, I thought it was just my eyes/monitor this morning.

I can figure out some of the words, but I wouldn't really call that font "legible".

Edit: Well, apparently I didn't even realize it was the lyrics to Never gonna give you up. Tells you how hard to read the font is! Once you know it though, the font suddenly becomes much easier to read!

This really depends on your display being exactly the same type as the author's. I have to just about rub my laptop screen on my nose, but once I do that all the words are perfectly legible for me. (I don't mean pleasantly legible, but I can definitely read it.) If you look at Cleartype or font smoothing controls, you can see how many types of LCD monitors there have been.

A good reminder for anyone doing sub-pixel tweaking: not all monitors are set up in the same orientation. This is completely illegible with my resolution at 1050 x 1680 (screen rotated 90°).

Gamma/colour temperature settings also affect this massively. It's nighttime here, and f.lux has dimmed my screen to make me sleepy. No chance of reading it. That said, I'm having severe trouble making it out even with f.lux disabled on all my screens. (30" Cinema HD, old 19" Iiyama - both with VA panels, and 13" MacBook - TN panel AFAIK)

This font has the unusual property that zooming in (using e.g. Ctrl+ScrollWheelUp on a Mac) actually makes it less legible.

It does help you appreciate just how small we can make pixels, though. Given that we can make pixels so small, I wonder if there could be a market for B&W triple-resolution display? If I valued high-res over colour?

"This font has the unusual property that zooming in (using e.g. Ctrl+ScrollWheelUp on a Mac) actually makes it less legible."

Hrm, it's possible to write a zoom tool that emulates the LCD sub-pixel effects. I bet that people working on such technologies already use one, otherwise they'd lose their sight squinting at their monitors.

For anyone who isn't lucky enough to have an LCD screen that displays this message properly, I've take a couple of photos (because screenshots obviously wouldn't work) to show off how clever this is.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dafalcon/5204409225/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/dafalcon/5204413187/

It also helped that people recognize English by words not by individual characters.

I couldn't make out any words on the original image, looked at your example, and then when I looked at the original image again, it was perfectly legible. So, thanks!

I thought I was immune to rick rolling!

Me too. But I have to hand it to the Op. This is one of the best Rick Rolls I have ever witnessed.

My laptop screen must have some gigantic pixels. The "Error Establishing Database Connection" text looked pretty big to me.

Edit: Not trying to be a dick, but the site was down for me (and others, as reported by Down For Everyone...), so here's the Google cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:distrac...

I "discovered" this about 2 years ago. It's really only visible with a magnifying glass or camera with a good macro lens. http://msarnoff.org/millitext

I also made a web-based generator: http://msarnoff.org/millitextgen

that's neat (i can read it on my laptop screen no problems). years ago i tried to get a minimal font with no aliasing - it's 2 pixels wide (plus space) and visible at http://www.acooke.org/minimal/ and http://www.acooke.org/minimal/background.html (but this cleartype approach is more readable - mine requires a lot of effort (note that it's best to read mine at its smallest size - making it bigger does not help because it relies on using shapes that look like they're blurred out at small sizes))

I wouldn't say your font is completely readable, but each character is unique, so learning to read it would almost be like learning a new alphabet. Perhaps then one could read it fluently.

After working on it, can you easily read text in your font?

It was some years ago. I don't remember ever being able to read it easily and certainly can't now. The letter "c" was (and is) the worst ("z" too, but it's hardly used) - the problem is that there are too many small letters for the central 4 pixels.

The best way I've found to "read" it is to learn "c" and then guess words given the context and easier letters...

I think it could be made more legible by having a lowercase font instead. Most of us are accustomed to recognizing entire words by just the shape of them, but uppercase text doesn't provide much cues for such pattern-matching.

Yeah, lowercase letters have a lot more visual cues - ascenders and descenders, more variation in width, etc.

I agree. In such a small font it would be easier to make n, m, and w look unique than N, M, and W.

All I see is are tiny pixel lines. Maybe some advanced rendering technology on my monitor ruins it?

IPS monitor here - completely illegible. Not all monitors have the same subpixel properties?

Did , did I just get rick rolled ?

Goddamnit, rickrolled again!

Reads fine on my mbp screen, I'm impressed.

Interesting - I made it more legible by holding a camera up to the screen to magnify the pixels. And now I know what it says, I can read it normally.

EULA's should be written using this font :)

It assumes your monitor sub-pixel layout is RGB, where in fact it can be BGR (reverse order), V-RGB (vertical RGB) and V-BGR (vertical BGR).


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