The 11 August 2013 issue — Issue 1000 — brought a new look to This is True: as promised nearly two years ago, plain text is out, and “simple HTML” is in. I introduced it to the Premium subscribers this way:
A bit of a different look, eh? The redesign of the email newsletter has been in the works for nearly two years, when I finally did a reader survey to ask if you wanted a “simple HTML” version that would make it look better. More than two-thirds of you said yes.
It was a lot harder than I thought to make it look the way I wanted and keep it “simple” so that it would actually work for the vast majority of mail software packages. So I kept putting it off.
Until, that is, we started approaching Issue 1000, and I knew I had to get it done for this week without fail. I couldn’t have done it without my good buddy Leo Notenboom, author of the Ask Leo! newsletter, who is also my tech guru. (Sorry: he’s not available for hire! But you can still get his wisdom on Windows-based computing by subscribing to his newsletter. As it happens, it’s Ask Leo’s 10th Anniversary this week, so congrats to him, too!)
Leo actually drove from his Seattle home to mine here in Colorado and sat down with me to find out exactly what I wanted to do, and then wrote the software to make it happen. As I said: he’s a good buddy. 🙂
The basics were done in just a few hours. But then it was my job to play with it for a few weeks, doing test issues to find out where things went wrong (and of course they did, including a minor glitch today).
And then he revised the software to do what I wanted, and accommodate how I wanted to work, and still output the “simple” HTML formatting I wanted. I think it’s beautiful, and it was all I could do to actually wait until Issue 1000 to show it to you!
Yes, this week’s free edition on Friday will also be the same design. Naturally, just this morning, someone unsubscribed from the free edition with the complaint, “Looking for the HTML version. Plain text is hard to read.” I’ve known for some time that plain text was holding True back.
From my answer to a comment below — which I’m copying up here with a giant header because several people are asking the same question (tip: this especially applies to Outlook, but not exclusively):
I’m not sending any font attribute — not face, and not size — and the issues have never had font information in them. Font size (and, for that matter, face) is dependent on your settings, and it would be highly inappropriate for me to specify size, since it would be too big! too small! juuussst right! — depending on what kind of bear you are. How you change it depends on where you’re reading it. On a browser (like for webmail), it’s as easy as holding Ctrl while rolling (slowly!) the wheel on your mouse, or holding Ctrl and hitting the “plus” key on your numpad a time or three. (Ctrl-minus goes the other way; Ctrl-0 — zero — resets to base size.) For other things, including smartphones, I suggest Googling the software/phone name and “font size” — e.g., “iPhone font size” — for a how-to.
Again, I don’t send any font information, and never have — ever! And I don’t intend to start now. If you don’t like the font, it’s because you have your software set wrong.
Long Line Lengths
Hugely wide paragraphs are hard to read. This is nuts (from Yahoo mail):
This isn’t rocket surgery. The Interwebs are flexible that way. Also if I shortened the line lengths for someone on a computer, it’d wreck the wrapping for people on tablets, or their phones. So again, I leave such things to your control, which is the proper way to do it!