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Show HN: Giving my mother-in-law an easy internet radio with real icon buttons (bef.no)
238 points by AgoRapide 64 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 117 comments



This is amazing - and incidentally has given me a solution to a very real problem.

My grandmother is suffering from dementia, and within the last few months has forgotten how to tune a radio. She's an avid radio listener, so I worked around this by buying her a few radios, tuning them, and labelling them - so she only has to hit the power button on the one she wants.

Unfortunately, she's not thrilled by how much space the set of radios takes up, and she's also at the edge of the coverage area for her favorite FM station.

Within the next few weeks, I'll definitely give this a shot with a Pi Zero W, and hopefully write something up on how workable of a solution this is for her.


Hi, I made an account so I could show you what I've been working on. Maybe it will give you some ideas and hopefully you won't have to reinvent the wheel. I "restored" an old Sears radio by gutting it and adding a pi Zero W, a DAC, and some rotary encoders. [1][2] It basically works like a radio (streaming NPR in the images), but it also has local storage. My goal was to have it working pretty much the way the stock radio did (with the notable exception of the screen). It is running MPD, which means that it can be controlled by a phone app or external hardware as well as the dials on the front.

I have also rigged up a bluetooth "keyset" [3][4] after reading a how-to article about those.[5] I am currently using it to control zoom meetings, but it would be trivial to set it up so that the big clicky buttons switch the radio stations. If anyone indicates interest, I'll elaborate on the hardware and software details.

[1] https://c_return.u.blinkenshell.org/hn/1.jpg [2] https://c_return.u.blinkenshell.org/hn/2.jpg [3] https://c_return.u.blinkenshell.org/hn/3.jpg [4] https://c_return.u.blinkenshell.org/hn/4.jpg [5] https://learn.adafruit.com/ble-hid-keyboard-buttons-with-cir...


I think there's a business opportunity around people who aren't tech literate and want what tech they have to stay the same, but every time I think about what an ecosystem that could handle everything from photo sharing to email to even the TV, it seems like a fool's errand because the market seems small, it keeps shifting to people to are comfortable with somewhat newer things, and I don't think enough people would actually pay for it.


sort of in the same market:

https://www.greatcall.com/phones/jitterbug-smart-smartphone-...

https://www.jitterbugdirect.com/

If you see the paper magazine published by the AARP, there are ads for phones and various technology things marketed for the age 65+ group in there.


I think the last point is the most important. People who are not tech-literate usually don't want to spend much on tech, even if it solves their problems.

Just the device shown in that article is worth €100. I don't know any older relative that would pay nearly that much to listen to the radio. Same reason why most people who don't care about tech struggle with a €200 Chinese Android rather than an easier-to-use iPhone.


I wonder if all the boomers would pay for this. Supposedly they are the ones with lots of money. The market might only be good for 20 years, but you could make a lot of money in those 20 years.


Why the downvotes? My parents are boomers, I'm not using the term pejoratively.


A SDR + some sort of "stream deck" from the parent article could be a potential "offline" solution. You could even wire a couple mechanical keyboard switches to Rpi's GPIO pins for selecting preset channels and avoid the stream-thingy all together.

RTL-SDR: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0129EBDS2

https://github.com/pothosware/SoapySDR/wiki/PythonSupport


I also like the idea of this more because it means you do not have to worry about URLs changing. FM channels changing are much more rare.


There are linux libraries for the elgato streamdeck shown here


I have never ever been able to get a good FM signal out of the RTLSDR. I even have one of the expensive ones where they improved the shielding.

Luckily this is less of a problem where I am as all of the stations I'm interested in are also broadcast via DVB-T.


I am the family tech support person and I have learned that the things that work best are wired, tactile, and easy interfaces. After COVID hit I set up my father's home office, but recently replaced his bluetooth keyboard with a wired one which eliminates downtime and frustration. My mom likes her iPhone 5S with a real button, and I've enabled accessibility options on her large monitor to show a gigantic mouse pointer. My MIL has trouble using social media and other phone apps, but at least can answer FaceTime calls because the answering interface is so easy to use.

Worth mentioning the 2016 OECD tech skills survey, which found 2/3 of people are not skilled technology users. In the U.S., <6% are level 3 (highest) while 20% can't use computers. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/skills-matter_978926...


> at least can answer FaceTime calls because the answering interface is so easy to use.

This! I can't believe how shitty every single other video call apps are! Who invented swipe-to-answe? How did they test that? It's the most anti-intuitive move I've ever experienced and it took me months of frustrations to teach my 80+ old parent when he has an Android tablet... I ended up giving him an iPad just to use FaceTime


I am probably at the opposite end of comfort with technology and still get confused on whether swiping up or swiping down will accept the call - one of the dumbest interfaces. Why, two buttons to accept and reject calls that we used to have everywhere was too complicated?!


Omg 100x yes, the answering UI on modern phones is the pinnacle example of why flat-ui needs to die. It should be the easiest UI to create with only two freaking buttons but still everyone fails so miserably bad. Shape of buttons are identical, colors are very faded and the icons to indicate phone up or down have been flattened so much you can hardly even recognize any of them is a phone. Or even worse are those you need to pick up the button and drag it either left or right to answer, without indication which direction means what until you touch.

Not even Apple gets it right, half of the time the answer button is white and placed on the left side of the screen and half of the time it's green and placed on the right! How fucked up is that??! I thought i was going crazy by constantly imagining the button being on the other side last time i answered but it turned out it actually was!

https://6abc.com/technology/why-your-iphone-can-accept-or-de...


It is nice to get some reminders why I still use a so called 'dumb'-phone.

Very easy to use and with extremely long battery life.

And if I lose it or damage it, the replacement cost is a non-issue. I had a Nokia costing 79 NOK (approx USD 10) for over ten years. Eventually the screen died. Now I am using my daughters old Nokia, which I got free of charge because she swithced to Apple.

And even better, the kids can not demand 'better' or more expensive phones than what I use myself. That is where the big savings are :) :) :)


Considering myself pretty tech-literate, using computers for 3/4 of my lifetime - yet, i've to pause AND think each time i've to answer a Microsoft Teams call which button is going to pick up the call...


Same for me, and in the beginning it happened often enough I am too quick and pressed the wrong one ...

At least make the "answer" button green.


Keep in mind that the OECD survey is administered via computer. The results may be conservative in representing a lack of computer proficiency.


That's a really good idea.

For reasons I won't trouble anyone with, I've been educating myself with accessibility features on computers/phones/tablets, smart speakers, appliances, etc. It's funny how much shittier it all is than it could be.

It certainly hasn't helped that the button-per-function thinking in consumer product design has been largely replaced with low cost small displays. Maybe I'll design a piano that uses sub-menus to play each note.


I was just thinking about how I'd like to redesign an internet radio.

. Break apart the programming/setup from the physical interface.

. Use a phone or pc for all setup, perhaps like a Google wifi router, a lot of the time this is done by a different person than the end user.

. make it look like a Tivoli Model One, except with an 8 (or so) pole switch or button set. off/am/fm/aux/internet preset 1-5


https://www.amazon.com/Urbanears-Multi-Room-Bluetooth-Connec...

These came quite close to this (but have since been discontinued by Urbanears). Physical knob presets to internet radio stations (or turn it to “airplay/Bluetooth mode”)


That does look pretty darn close.

The other thing I worry about with internet radios is to keep the price low. It's just too easy to have the underlying webstrate (is that a word?) up and disappear. Think of Frontier or the death of the early Grace Digital radios (Reciva?)


But there's a big gap between the cost of producing such a device, and what the target market would ever accept to pay just to listen to the radio.


That's always the problem with US-based startups it seems. Anything that involves making a device involves a lot of upfront expense, probably offshore manufacture, sometimes running into the shoals of the FDA. Consumer electronics is a tough ol' business.

Years ago, most new companies made a physical thing, and if I helped they had supporting software. The move into an economy based on surveillance advertising appears near-total.

Obviously you could sell a box with knobs and buttons and a speaker that a R-Pi is stuck into, but that's hardly mass market and itself wouldn't be cheap to build at low volume.


Could you trouble me with reasons? I for one just looked around what accessibility APIs are where and am thinking about a custom widget toolkit that would go from accessibility first down to typical graphical stuff. So if that's not a trouble for you, could you expand?


You know, a reasonable place to start would be to (for example) fire up a Mac, fire up Siri, turn off the monitor, try to get anything done at all.

Write some software, set up the machine differently, reboot it, turn off the monitor, try again.

Wash, rinse, repeat.


By Siri you don’t actually mean Siri, but the accessibility voice controls right? Like VoiceOver or Voice Control? Siri is not an accessibility tool so if you were trying to use it as one it could explain your problems.


I mean both really, and to be sure I'm no expert in it's use.

It got me to thinking about all the visual gingerbread on websites and to some extent on applications. From just a cursory look at this world, it would be interesting to design an audio-only interface to a computer rather than one that reads a display to you.

That would be a wonderful hobby project, some sort of displayless Linux with a mic and a speaker that does useful standalone things.

One thing it did occur to me to look into are (for instance) Alexa skills. That would be a natural way to provide access to a number of necessary abilities (like paying the power bill) and in many cases could work simply like traditional voice access via a phone. I see that this exists to some extent already.


If you have an iPhone or iPad, have you played around with Siri shortcuts at all? You can essentially create voice-operated scripts that can perform chains of actions on your phone. It's limited, but not as limited as you'd think.


+1 for tactile buttons!

Through our work at GoGoGrandparent.com (a service that helps older adults and people living with disabilities use Uber/Lyft, grocery services, meal services and pharmacy services reliably without smartphones) we’ve interviewed dozens of folks living with visual impairments.

The feedback that stands out the most was from a gentlemen in his 30s or 40s living with blindness since birth. Paraphrasing: “owning a smartphone was like living in a house where every time I entered a room, it was as if someone had just rearranged the furniture. Tactile buttons give me a literal feeling of control. If I get lost I can find my way.”

I thought it was really powerful.

Disclaimer: Our current landing page gets accessibility wrong in a lot of places and we’re in the middle of a site redesign to make it more accessible.


I spent an hour or so messing with Siri on a Mac Mini I have lying around from an old contract gig. Wondering how I would use it without much (or any) vision. It's directly hooked to a fairly fast lump of hardware and communicating with a potentially huge back-end.

Utterly maddening, barely useful, overly tied to Apple products, and it's a design problem I had never considered before. Kind of disappointing after watching some video of Tesla auto pilot do it's thing, perhaps natural language processing is harder.

Other people have gone down this road, but it would be interesting to think about how a purely audio and button based internet and phone system would act. It's a wonderful thought problem. It could well be that the solution is not in website redesign, but in the parsing and analysis of the website. How would you describe a banking site to a sightless person?


My understanding is that blind or visually impaired people tend to use Windows because that's where the two(?) big screenreader programs run; JAWS is one[1], I forget the other but it might be NVDA[2]. Microsoft have traditionally had some focus on accessibility, e.g. there's a video from a few years back of a blind programmer demonstrating how they program in Visual Studio[3]. Outside that, Emacspeak[4] is an eyes-free Emacs, I think it can boot into that environment; it was developed by a blind person and claims:

> Emacspeak introduces several improvements and innovations when compared with screenreaders designed to allow blind users to interact with personal computers. Unlike screenreaders that speak the contents of a visual display, Emacspeak speaks the underlying information. As an example, using a calendar application with a screenreader results in the blind user hearing a sequence of meaningless numbers; In contrast, Emacspeak speaks the relevant date in an easy to comprehend manner.

> The system deploys the innovative technique of audio formatting to increase the band-width of aural communication; changes in voice characteristic and inflection combined with appropriate use of non-speech auditory icons are used throughout the user interface to create the equivalent of spatial layout, fonts, and graphical icons so important in the visual interface. This provides rich contextual feedback and shifts some of the burden of listening from the cognitive to the perceptual domain.

[1] https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/software/jaws/

[2] https://www.nvaccess.org/download/

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94swlF55tVc

[4] http://emacspeak.sourceforge.net/


I'll break out a Win10 PC and give it a shot, although it seems like ipads and iphones get most of the accessibility credit. I was also fooling around with those sorts of features on a Chromebook.

I can't help but wonder if simply reading the screen is the wrong answer. It's as if the important thing is to understand the screen and then explain it without the need for any visual/location kind of concept. Another angle would be to write a completely audio-based alternative interface for important websites.

No doubt people a lot smarter than me have spent a lot of time on these issues, but I'm pretty dissatisfied with what I've seen so far.


Siri isn't the same thing as Voice Over/Voice Control! [0]

Apple has been frequently recognized for their efforts to make their products accessible - including by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) [1]. Not to come off as a shill, but their contributions in the area of accessibility are worth praising.

iOS was the first mobile OS to include accessibility features. Apparently they're now using the LiDAR scanner on the iPhone 12 Pro to power a "people detection" feature for people with sight impairments.[2]

Here's a few of Apple's marketing videos on their accessibility features that are kind of neat:

A blind drummer who uses an iPhone with a black screen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHAO_kj0qcA

Accessibility: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB4cjbYywqg

Voice Control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqoXFCCTfm4

---

[0] https://support.apple.com/accessibility/mac

[1] https://www.afb.org/aw/16/6/15452

[2] https://support.apple.com/guide/iphone/people-detection-iph4...


I've used Voice Over to some extent also (once again, this isn't an exhaustive survey by any means). It does appear to be oriented to people with motor issues more than the blind.

As I've said a couple of times here (mea culpa), my gut feeling is that the philosophy is wrong. By building verbal control systems on top of (over-) visually dense user interfaces, you have to run just to stay in place.

It could be that the answer is an entirely different audio UI for computer management and then the replacement of standard applications with ones that are suitable for audio control (with perhaps a few buttons). Perhaps somebody has made an email app for blind people, but I haven't run into it yet. It certainly wouldn't be Outlook with a robot reading the screen to you. Probably the only way I could understand this at all is to attempt to produce one, writing software has the side effect of forcing you to fully understand a problem.


If the author is reading this, you've hit/stumbled on "HTTP Live Streaming" radios which are sort of the next evolution of classic Shoutcast/Icecast generated streams. There are better clients for it out there than Chrome which could probably enhance the experience (proper audio controls, etc.): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Live_Streaming#Clients


I am reading this, just been busy with some errands last hour :)

Thanks for the tip, a dedicated application in combination with Stream Deck sounds even better.


You can do an http based live stream of any video or audio using ffmpeg as a server, and VLC as a client. With the right scripting VLC can be launched in a non interactive mode and begin playing immediately.


The author is using random online radios so they don't get to choose the server end - as a client, VLC is powerful but I prefer Audacious for the user interface. (random user survey :) ) - I have the same problem with VLC on my Android, it works but I much prefer other streaming clients for the better (subjective) UI.


there are some audio clients with http interfaces - I know VLC does, for one. So depending on how fancy you want to get, there's quite a lot of buttons a dedicated app could push on an audio client to get it to do exactly what you want, just by sending some HTTP requests (although just plain command line may be fine).


I did something similar for my kids, but I used Raspberry Pi’s running MusicBox, which can do internet radio, Spotify, local MP3s, or in my case load a folder of MP3s from a share drive on my network.

I threw on a $10 USB DAC and some cheap Logitech Z120 speakers, and I hardwired some big arcade buttons from Adafruit to it. I wrote a little Python script so each button plays an MP3 playlist (Eg one for sleep, one for daytime, and one to stop everything).

The same buttons could quite easily play an internet radio station.

I think the entire thing cost me ~AUD80 total.

Next I want to integrate it all into a 3D printed housing and add some LEDs as night lights.


Sounds like a great idea for a blog post :)


Planning on it once I tidy it up a bit. I've got about 10 projects 95% done... as usual.


the solution involves buying a 100 euro product with 6 customizable buttons (cool product but expensive). Anyone know of cheaper alternatives for a keyboard buttonset (between 4 and 20 keys)? Probably standalone numpad (with customizable keys) comes closest but maybe someone knows better.


Macropads are a whole big thing in the mechanical keyboard community. You can get one that runs QMK, you can put encoders on them, have many layers, etc.

https://mechwild.com/product/murphpad/

https://knob-goblin.com/

https://github.com/dekuNukem/duckyPad

https://www.gboards.ca/product/faunchpad

It's also worth looking into small ortholinear boards where you can do the same things, but the form factor is more horizontal or has more keys.

https://mechwild.com/product/big-dill-extended-bde/

https://www.gboards.ca/product/butter-stick-limited-edition

https://github.com/nicinabox/lets-split-guide


You could do it with like an Arduino and any kind of button. There are tons of examples of using an Arduino to run a keyboard's firmware.

Another project i've done was with a Rasberry pi. A benefit of that would be that the system is self contained. Their Python GPIO library is one of the easiest i've ever worked with and you could have it easily launch Chrome or Firefox programmatically and play audio without a monitor.


MAX Falcon-8. $50 assembled, $40 DIY (some soldering, but easy). Add a few dollars more for switches and you provide the keycaps. 8 programmable keys. I wouldn't call it cheap but it's definitely cheaper than the author's option. I got one somewhere; it is nice but I don't really use it much nowadays.


I've looked but they don't seem to exist. Closest I found was MIDI pad controllers (around £40) but I'm not sure about the ergonomics of using a pad as a button.

I gave up and went with an Mbed board instead. It has the advantage that you can program key sequences without writing any host software. I use it with Audacity.


Simplest solution would be to just remap keys you don't use with something like Autohotkey.

If you want a separate keypad a cheap solution would be to use any old keyboard and then remap that one specifically with a tool like http://www.hidmacros.eu/whatisit.php (optionally you can paint or add labels to the keys to make it easier to use).


I think simple website (with all your favorite channel as big black button) and pin it to taskbar would solve your problems


Icons on desktop


Instead of mucking about to get Chrome to play various streaming formats - author could have launched VLC instead. VLC will play any URL you throw at it. I have completed the software of a Raspberry Pi radio project, I've been procrastinating on the hardware for months now (buttons, DAC/amp speaker and maybe tiny OLED screen?)


Good point, even more so because I use VLC myself because of the exact same reason, it plays anything. I just never thought of giving it URLs, only local files.

(But the user interface in VLC sucks though...)


I have a standalone internet radio device because I also wanted buttons.

To find streams I usually use Radio Garden: http://radio.garden

Use the network inspector while browsing stations and you'll find a working URL to the stream you can use anywhere.


http://www.q2radio.co.UK make a cube shaped internet radio - you assign 4 stations to 4 of the sides of the cube, whichever side is facing up is played


I like this, because it's beautifully simple. I have been collecting radio stations since 2016 now, and something I have noticed is that streaming URLs tend to break rather often. It might be worth putting them behind a simple redirect so you can change the streaming URL remotely.


Stream decks are really nice, I got one recently and have been playing around with various uses.

So far I've hooked it up to auto-post things to a Slack (using IFTTT) and done bindings for a MMORPG (DDO) as well as it's intended use (scene switching in OBS)

All works fine and it's pretty easy to setup.


I'm confused on what the stream deck actually is. And the elgato site is overloaded with motion graphics. Is it basically just a grid of buttons with LCDs backing them? So you can attach a dynamic icon to each button and pressing it will run some macro on the host PC?


Pretty much that. In addition to raw macros it has integrations for all the main streaming apps (e.g. OBS) which simplify the process of adding actions for them.

So for example I can easily select scenes from OBS within the stream deck application to add them.

In addition there's various add-ons that can be enabled, so for there are buttons that'll show your CPU usage or Internet speeds.


Yes


That's clever as hell. The StreamDeck is really just programmable buttons that can be used for anything.


Does anybody sell Bluetooth Bakelite Button Boxes?

http://www.johnwolff.id.au/calculators/BellPunch/PLUSBakelit...


Another retro approach: a knob that you turn that generates static when you're between stations.

For extra authenticity, there should be hiss (or a station) when the knob is sitting still and crackling when it is turning.


Ideally recordings of old school retro static from the 1950's, instead the kind of modern high-tech static you get with cell phones and bluetooth and wifi and 5G networks polluting the spectrum.


The photo is much higher resolution than it appears to be:

http://bef.no/radio/Photo3.jpg

Those buttons look great, and this is a very thoughtful idea.


Never took the effort to reduce it to standard Internet size. But I will if I get 10 000 hits on the page tomorrow too. Amazon wants its dues.

Yes, it looks really cool, expensive but cool.


Oh, I mentioned it in case anyone wanted a better look at the buttons...


Well, he could have bought an actual wifi capable radio for around half the price of a Stream Deck. (Unless, of course, he already had the latter device.)

It's an existing product.


Yes, I could.

It would not have been so fun. And all Internet radios I have seen so far have some features that irritate me. For instance volume is push-buttons instead of turning knobs.

Actually, the only interface I would have on a radio is two turning knobs, one for volume and one for channel.

Thats all. The rest could be some phone or PC setup like 'kingsuper20' suggested.

Too sad Apple never gave us a radio. I might have been an Apple customer if they had.


I love internet radio projects.

Did you consider making a DIY internet radio from a raspberry pi? That's actually what I was expecting to see based on the title.

I used a rpi to make an internet radio for our living room our of a 1950s wooden console radio I picked up at a thrift store for 20 euros. Works great and keeps the illusion that the room is free of computers.


I was very limited with regard to time available.

With one baby, one toddler and three more kids around there is not much free time :)

I would love to put a Raspberry Pi inside an old radio myself.


A turning knob is not the best UI for channel selection. It is a traditional one, but even my grandmother's large box radio, that must have been manufactured something like 70 years ago (not a transistor one, mind you!) had push buttons for remembering the stations. (Besides the tuning knob.) Or maybe those were 'pre-programmed', not sure.

But again, if you didn't like them and had this gadget (or wanted an excuse to buy one ;) ), then it's the better solution. I was mainly reacting because it seemed like a lot of people thought that this is a generally practical solution.


or, you know, just a radio, a device that's cheap, reliable, fast, responsive, low power, potentially small/portable, fault-tolerant, and private and secure by default.

it's a neat project, but if the goal is simply to listen to nearby radio stations (rather than streams), the simple radio is peerless.


Not nearby, that was the original problem.


yah, figured as much but didn't see anyone else mention the obvious.

as mentioned in your sibling comment, i also wish apple had given us radio functionality in their idevices. as i understand it, it was mostly a matter of providing an app and not disabling the hardware, at least in some if not all iterations of the iphone.


Even easier (from the user's perspective) solution:

1. Make a photo of her own radio.

2. Put that photo on a tablet device.

3. Allow her to click on the photo where the buttons are.

4. Adjust stations/volume accordingly.

Next step: physically operate her own radio remotely :)

Or: let her bring her own radio, and use internet and an FM transmitter to relay the signals.


Even even easier: hack an existing radio, have its buttons interact with a raspberry pi and use mopidy on that raspi: https://mopidy.com/


Given an Android phone or tablet, you can get sticky NFC tags and make the device play the corresponding stream when it touches one. Stick them to photos with the radio station logo, and you’ve got a record player / Toniebox.

The tablet never unlocks, so you don’t have to worry about UI quirks.


I do not agree with the tablet thing. Too many things can go wrong, and tablets are touch only, no tactile feedback.

But your last idea was actually an excellent suggestion :) An ideal hacker project!


I’ve seen an 80 year old with partial dementia learn how to use an iPad from cold start in about 15 minutes.


It’s exhausting getting accessibility points communicated when there’s always a reply which is just an exception that proves the rule.

“Oh iPad too complicated you say? Well one time I saw an example where that wasn’t the case.”


Hear! Hear!


older non-pc literal people seem to take to tablets very naturally though. at least from what I've seen


Indeed, my 80+ year grandmother uses a tablet everyday


Another option is cut out a template in vinyl or even just some card stock (or 3d print if you can). Position each stream source icon behind the open spots. That being said, tablets aren't likely to cheaper than the device he's using.


> operate her own radio remotely

I can't tell if this is suggesting OP gaslight his mother-in-law


That sounds like skeuomorphism which is a big no-no with the HackerNews crowd


Very wholesome :)

Good way of staying in your MIL good graces too lol


Big kudos to you for supporting mother-in-law!


Slightly off-topic, but as much as I like all these low-tech websites (and I really do!) - I think I need some sort of extension that does this:

    body {
      max-width:900px;
      margin-left:auto;
      margin-right:auto;
    }
Because trying to read full width text on modern resolutions is way too wide, and I don't even run my browser full screen - I have no idea how people that do, can read it.


I grew up reading the newspaper every day and I prefer quite a narrow margin, here is my bookmarklet for narrowing pages (and it changes font).:

    javascript:!function(){var e,t;e='body {margin: auto;margin-left: 100px;max-width: 540px;font-family: "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, sans-serif;}',t=document.createElement("style"),t.type="text/css",t.appendChild(document.createTextNode(e)),document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(t)}();
You could change the "540" to "900" for your needs. I prefer this to narrowing the window because I prefer the whole screen to have a uniform background color.

Edit I don't think it is infaillible, it didn't work on this page, but it works well on pages with no markup. For more complicated site you may try this: https://oxal.org/projects/sakura/bookmark/


I didn't think of doing this! I'll edit your snippet to do just the css I need and save it as a bookmark(let). Cheers!


I send the page to Reader View in Firefox when I can. otherwise, Pocket and Outline are great for that.


Author here. I agree :)

What I do myself on sites like this is to use CTRL+ until the text is so large that I can read multiple lines in parallell (that is the secret behind speed reading, but the lines can not be too long of course).


Reader mode, when it works, is a godsend for these sites.


I almost always have 2 vertical side by side windows (meta+left and meta+right shortcuts), that's useful about wide high resolutions


I don’t think you’ll need an extension, most browsers still support a custom CSS file, I think.


Might also try resizing the browser window. It's kind of a waste to have a single app fill the entire screen, just to put blank bars on the sides.


> It's kind of a waste

To you. What I or someone not you does is up to them. For example, keeping a window full screen might have a lot of empty/negative space, but sometimes that's the desired effect to cover up all of the other things attempting to grab one's attention without having to hide/minimize other windows.


resizing the browser window messes with the other tabs which i do prefer in fullscreen, so i'd have to switch back and forth


here is the more versatile way:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">


By the way, while we are discussing readability, important message to all hipsters: We boomers prefer high contrast, that is black text on white background.

Sites with grey text on grey background I usually skip.

Once Firefox was my web browser because it has a very easy setting for forcing exactly this (black on white).


Firefox has a reading mode that is quite handy.


I typically read either on mobile, where reader view is a single tap. On Desktop if it’s too wide (and it rarely is since I browse at 150% zoom) then popping the window to one side is generally sufficient (two taps: Cmd-Right), and if that’s not enough, follow up with Cmd-+.

To be honest I never notice this particular problem because it’s easy to mitigate. The one I do notice is when someone creates an unnecessary minimum width so all the text doesn’t fit. I’m not a huge fan of max width either but it usually is a pretty minor annoyance.


FYI - access to the site via HTTPS is broken, which makes it hard to access on browsers with https-only mode enabled.


Thanks for the information, I will considering getting myself a SSL certificate. I did not knew this to be a problem until now.


FYI - browsers with https-only mode enabled are broken, which makes it hard to access HTTP only sites.


FYI - "https-only" mode does not work the way you think it does ;) The site is hard to access on such browsers only because it actually does serve something over HTTPS - however, it's just an error page there.


Just because there is something on this domain listening on :443 and serving HTTPS, doesn't mean it has to serve the same content as the HTTP on :80, or even work at all.

Always-redirect-to-HTTPs plugins _are_ broken by assuming otherwise.


> doesn't mean it has to serve the same content as the HTTP

Of course, that's the exact reason I wrote the original comment.


Author here. I took a look in IIS Admin and is unable to see WHERE did I ask it to serve https. I thought I was http only. The bindings only say http, both for the bef.no site and for the 'Default Web Site'.


Broken is in the eye of the beholder. Why the hard stance?


These plugins are based on a wrong assumption that the scheme is not an important part of the url. For some urls, the assumption works; for others, it doesn't and the result is an interminable stream of messages complaining that something is broken. The thing that is broken is the assumption.


Are we still arguing for HTTP-only sites ?


I would link to implement https since almost all other sites I surf on now are https by default.

But the last time I tried it with multiple domains pointing to the same server it was too cumbersome.

And having to renew the certificate is also not very appealing for a small hobby site.


The last two are solved with modern software and with the ACME protocol. Just use Caddy, it's the easiest way to host HTTPS websites.




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