nav search
Data Centre Software Security DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes
BOFH
Lectures

back to article
You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark

nematoad Silver badge
Unhappy

Not a good idea for me.

"Dark versions of interfaces are reckoned by some to be easier on the eyes..."

Not if you are my age. I struggle with dark themes and avoid them where I can. Physiologically your eyes let less light in the older you are. The cornea of a person of 60 will only pass a certain percentage of light to the retina compared to that of a person of 20.

Lack of contrast on some sites, I'm looking at you EVE Online, makes my life a misery. Black on white is definitely easier to read than white on black, or in Eve's case grey on black. Bah!

JohnFen Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

"Not if you are my age."

I'm no spring chicken myself, but even in my 20s, I found dark interfaces to be difficult to use.

LDS Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

There's also another reason: the pupil is no longer able to get as large as when you're young. Moreover, when the pupil is narrower, it helps with many eyesight issue. That's why I always hated dark themes, they are much harder to read.

Most monitors are too bright at the default settings. Mines are calibrated for photo editing, and the brightness is set to far lower values, compatible with ambient light, greatly reducing eye strain.

K Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

I've tried all the dark modes on the Python IDE's.. I was hoping some hipster mojo would rub off on me, and I'd become a wizz, alas I found them completely unreadable.

FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

Ever since I first used Windows around 1989 I've always set the background to grey as I dislike white backgrounds, they've always hurt my eyes after an hour or two and I find black text very hard to read on a white background. Wherever possible I like a grey background and colour highlighted text in a slightly bold standard monospaced courier style font, I just find I can stare that for hours and hours.

bobajob12 Bronze badge
Coat

Re: Not a good idea for me.

You need to add

import hipster

to your code. Or, if you don't care for the full man-bun avocado-toast privacy-surrendering experience,

from hipster import mojo

ShelLuser
Windows

@Nema

Well, fortunately (and somewhat surprising) Microsoft isn't forcing it on us this time. Which is actually somewhat of a surprise for me because I know how much they apparently enjoy to take color away from stuff which work(ed). (here's looking at you Visual Studio!).

Barry Rueger Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

@nematoad "Not if you are my age."

God yes. Sixties, incipient cataracts, and every other twenty year old web page designer has decided that grey text on a grey background would look Reel Kewl!

Said it before, and I'll say it again, there's a reason why every book, and almost every newspaper publisher in the universe uses black text on white paper.

Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

<quote>Said it before, and I'll say it again, there's a reason why every book, and almost every newspaper publisher in the universe uses black text on white paper</quote>

I agree completely.

Black ink is cheap

White paper is cheap

Cheap materials = more profit!

And it's easy to read. I guess.

katrinab Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

As far as I'm aware, brown paper is cheapest

LDS Silver badge

"White paper is cheap"

White paper is more expensive to create. It needs a bleach process, especially paper made from wood pulp, where many components would give it a brownish tint. Also, any amount of lignin left in the process will make it brownish with time (like newspapers, which use a low-quality, cheap paper).

I don't remember if "rag" paper (made from cotton and the like) is whiter without much additional processing. Some photo papers add OBA agents to make the paper look whiter.

Don't know about inks, but I'm not sure black inks are cheaper than other colors, especially in the past.

Also, reading dark papers in darker conditions is worse than white ones, because far less light is reflected and that mean your eyes may switch to low light, low resolution receptors....

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

Windows around 1989 I've always set the background to grey

Likewise. Except, in my case, a very dark purple.

On top of which the carosel of cat pictures continues..

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Not a good idea for me.

And it's easy to read. I guess.

Unless you have dyslexia of course..

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: "White paper is cheap"

your eyes may switch to low light, low resolution receptors

As in "In the dark, all cats be gray"[1] stylee?

[1] Which is, obviously, nonsense. White cats glow as they reflect what little light there is, torties are even better camoflauged than usual, gingers are in their usual place by the foodbowl and black cats are even more the negation of all good things than usual.

Chris G Silver badge

Don't understand what all the fuss is about

MS is continuously fixing stuff that isn't broken and offering stuff that hasn't been asked for.

I'm still holding off moving to W10, it offers nothing I need and 7 works perfectly well.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Don't understand what all the fuss is about

MS is continuously fixing stuff that isn't broken and offering stuff that hasn't been asked for.

I'm still holding off moving to W10, it offers nothing I need and 7 works perfectly well.

Truer words were never spoken.

// why do you hate progress?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't understand what all the fuss is about

re: why do you hate progress?

This is Microsoft we are talking about. Didn't you know that SatNad has put an RDF over Redmond to keep out the riff-raff such as us Users.

They will keep on doing their own sweet thing and ignoring what we want. SatNad must have been a Steve Jobs disciple in his younger days.

Chris G Silver badge

Re: Don't understand what all the fuss is about

Where in my comment did I use the word hate?

As for progress, there is no reason why progress could not be incorporated into any of the OSs MS have produced over the last decades if they had planned to do it that way.

However, their business model until W10 has been the system of selling a 'Totally new improved' OS every few years because it is a standard marketing method. With ten they realised 'as a service' would have the potential of producing updates more frequently which they will be able to charge for.

Whether any of this is progress depends on the offers and what the users actually want. For now 7 is adequate for me so anything that 10 has to offer is irrelevant, when support ceases for seven, ten will become relevant and I will progress to ten.

A great many new offers from sellers are not necessarily progress just different.

There is a good chance that come 2020 I will migrate to linux and MS can fuck off with its growing telemetry.

Dan 55 Silver badge
Meh

Yay, technology

We're back where we were with Windows 3.11 and a custom colour palette. Except 700* times more memory, of course.

* Something like 3MB to 2GB.

Christian Berger Silver badge

Re: Yay, technology

Actually even earlier than that, however early browsers just used the system colours to display websites... and had a way to control each of the fonts used.

Antron Argaiv Silver badge
Windows

Green screens making a comeback?

I recall green...wait, or was it amber...being hailed as an improvement over the white CRT.

The grass is always greener...

Long John Brass Silver badge
Windows

Re: Green screens making a comeback?

The correct and proper colour scheme is black background with amber text.

Now get the hell off my lawn!

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Green screens making a comeback?

black background with amber text.

Or, in my case, green lettering on a black background. Using EBCIDIC. And a right-hand CTRL key that acted as a Return key.

Douchus McBagg

well that didn't take long

its almost like you can set a timer for someone to take their own personal use case and make it Microsoft's fault that blahblahblah boohoo whinge windows7 ftw.

did you read the article about how its outlook.com? nothing to do with windows, nothing to do with office, or internet explorer, or edge....

I dunno why its taken so long for this dark mode to become more pervasive. any chance of a version of the el'reg site that's not like staring at a 60watt bulb? :D

Jan 0

Re: well that didn't take long

@ Douchus

> any chance of a version of the el'reg site that's not like staring at a 60watt bulb? :

The interface in front of you is yours. If you want dark sludge on crepuscular purple, adjust YOUR interface. Customisation, geddit?

Credas Silver badge

Here we go again

Microsoft warns that the functionality may not work in all browsers and recommends users having problems switch to Edge.

They don't change, do they?

Korev Silver badge
Windows

Re: Here we go again

And Google have never recommended viewing stuff in Chrome...

gujiguju

Re: Here we go again

True enough.

I would note as Google started growing fast, way back, most (or many) of the management team were former Microsofties...so the same "embrace and extinguish" approach with a fake "don't be evil" feeling from Brin & Page became the norm...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Here we go again

"They don't change, do they?"

Well it is at least faster and uses less memory than Chrome.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: Here we go again

Why would I want it to use less memory?

I bought that RAM to use it, not to make the "unused RAM" number bigger.

I want my applications to use all the RAM they can, and to give it up immediately when no longer in the foreground.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Here we go again

"I want my applications to use all the RAM they can"

Presumably only if there is some benefit to that. Edge is faster while requiring fewer resources. Win Win.

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Here we go again

Well it is at least faster and uses less memory than Chrome.

I'd like to say that it steals less user information than Chrome but we all know that isn't so, eh boys and girls?

(I'll stick to Firefox thankyouverymuch. It might not be the best browser out there but at least I can customise it and it doesn't insist on sending all my data to it's slave-handler..)

JohnFen Silver badge

Not unwelcome

"Or an unwelcome distraction to those who don't understand what the fuss is all about"

I don't understand what the fuss is all about -- for me, dark interfaces are more difficult to read than light, so I don't use them. But clearly there are people who are the opposite of me, and I have no problem with software being able to accommodate them. Just so long as I don't have to put up with the darkness myself.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not unwelcome

Well said. White on black and dark themes mitigate my visual impairment. I applaud anyone who tries to cater for everyone's needs.

a_yank_lurker Silver badge

Re: Not unwelcome

The problem is Slurp is not thinking that users should have real options and there is a good reason for very dark color text on a very light background. Granted there are people with visual problems where the opposite is better and the option should be there for them. But for most of us with relatively normal, if aging, vision dark text on a light background is the best.

One of my pet peeves is when the hipsters forget to ask a few gray hairs to look at the UI. A lot of UI issues would be fixed toot suit. But the hipsters have no clue about cataracts, etc.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not unwelcome

"One of my pet peeves is when the hipsters forget to ask a few gray hairs to look at the UI."

Or even waved an accessibility toolkit in its rough direction. Thankfully, come 23rd September, a few more web developers will be familiar with this sort of thing (in the EU at least - all public-sector web sites must meet WAI 2.1 AA...)

revenant

Re: Not unwelcome

@ a_yank_lurker

One of my pet peeves is when the hipsters forget to ask a few gray hairs to look at the UI.

Good point, but the way things are these days, I imagine the hipsters wouldn't be able to even find a grey-hair in the building, let alone think they might have something worthwhile to say.

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Not unwelcome

But the hipsters have no clue about cataracts

Except in the "Niagra Falls" sense. Some of the ones I've met would definately be improved by a trip over NF - either in or out of a barrel.

Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
Coat

Oblig

LookOut ... It's Dark Outside...

Coat with a really good torch in the pocket

herman Silver badge

Hmm, where is my Hercules card, green monitor and log printer...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

... so paper really is dead wood then?

VicMortimer
Mushroom

No. Just no.

The last time dark mode looked good was when the only options were green text on black or amber text on black, and you had to choose those when you bought the monitor.

Stop trying to bring it back.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Great!

It's much easier to sleep in front of a dark UI. Now the only problem I face in catching some zees at work is I haven't figured out how to disable the motion-activated lights - move in your sleep, and it's like "let there be light!". I need to fix it so I don't trigger the lights, but if anyone is coming down the corridor towards my area, then they turn on so I can wake up and look busy!

InNY

Re: Great!

Now we know it's you hard at work in the California DMV. :D

For those not in the know:

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/California-DMV-worker-slept-3-hours-a-day-on-the-13101363.php

hmv

Re: Great!

Sorted!

My desk is out of range of the motion detectors and when I manage to scare people out of the corridor that my desk is in, the lights will go out whether I'm banging out prose, code, pointing and drooling, or snoozing.

Palpy
Pint

If you want it. Not for me.

Use cases and aesthetic subjectivity has to be taken as read, here.

That said, dark-theme showed up quite a long time ago as the default in some Linux applications in certain distros, and I (with full-throated aesthetic subjectivity) loathe it. Glad it works so well for some people. Some people love the live-tile stuff in Win 10, too, but to me it's like having brightly-colored cockroaches on my screen, squirming uncontrollably.

However, my involvement with MS Outlook will last, at most, three more days. [cue old-guy laugh] Heh, heh, heh. Beer, because I'm having a retirement party.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge
Pint

Re: If you want it. Not for me.

"Beer, because I'm having a retirement party."

Welcome.

tekHedd

All the hate for dark

I like dark interfaces. The glaring white becomes exhausting after 10-12 hours.

I'm frankly surprised. It's only taken them, well, literally from the launch of the service until now to come up with a dark skin, one of the easiest things to do with modern CSS-based interfaces, and people are still complaining about the "waste of resources." This is why we can't have nice things.

Richard 12 Silver badge

Re: All the hate for dark

It's more that I'd really prefer them to make it work properly in the first place.

Skins are great, but assuming they don't have infinite resources I would rather they fix the bugs. Like the way it randomly freezes up and refuses to send emails.

stephanh Silver badge
Facepalm

So this great technical breakthrough was achieved....

....by editing the colors in the CSS?

Well, I can see that taking all of a day, if the CSS was particularly badly factored.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing