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VirginiaDeBolt75x75Virginia DeBolt (bio) writes the bi-weekly Elder Geek column for Time Goes By in which she takes the mystery out of techie things all bloggers and internet users need to know to simplify computer use. She has written several books on technology and keeps two blogs herself, Web Teacher and First 50 Words. You will find links to Virginia's previous Time Goes By Elder Geek columns here.

One of my earlier TGB Elder Geek posts talked about a tool to make reading on the web easier. That article was Readability.

A lot of readers with Windows had problems getting it to work right. I found something better and I hope it will work for those of you using Windows. The developers promise that it works in Firefox 3.0, Safari 4.0, Chrome 1.0, Internet Explorer 7.0 and Opera 9.6.

The application I think is better has a similar name: Readable. You can customize the colors and sizes of what you see when you use it. Here's a before and after example using an article from

an article without Readable, and the same article with Readable

Start by setting up how you want it look at the Readable setup page.

choose font sizes, colors and other features of Readable

You can choose font, font size, width, margins, colors and something called full control which gives you even more choices about appearance. As you choose each option, you can preview how it looks in a preview window immediately under the setup options.

Once you like the way it looks, drag and drop the big button that says Readable into your bookmarks bar.

drag the bookmarklet into your bookmarks bar

If your browser's bookmarks toolbar is not visible, you can make it visible by going to View > Toolbars > Bookmarks Toolbar. To drag and drop the Readable bookmarklet, left-click on the big button that says Readable and hold the mouse button down. Move the mouse, dragging a ghost-like image of the button along, until your mouse is over the Bookmarks Toolbar. Then release the left mouse button.

You should see the word Readable appear where you dropped the button. It no longer looks like a button, it's just a word.

To use Readable when you are on a crowded page and want the article you're struggling to read to be a little easier to see, just click the word Readable in your Bookmarks Toolbar. Once you've read the article, click anywhere outside the text to go back to the regular page display. Those are the main usage features to know, but you can learn more in the Readable Tutorial.

I got quite excited when I found this tool. I hope it works better for those of you who tried my earlier suggestion and had a lot of problems with it.

TGB EXTRA: The New England regional TV channel, NECN, has featured Millie Garfield of My Mom's Blog in a story about elderbloggers. Her son, Steve Garfield, takes issue with the reporter about her stereotypical attitude toward old people. Don't miss it, and it would be nice to go thank Steve at his blog for being such a terrific advocate for elders.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mort Reichek: When Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas Rented My Old Apartment


Although the Readable program does give many options, I am sticking with the simple control plus scroll wheel to enlarge or decrease the font size. Perhaps your readers will find this simpler too.

Warren Cassell

Thanks, Virginia for taking the time to give us this valuable information.

I will certainly try this method and see how it "Fits me".

Your advice has been terrific so far.

Thank you, Virginia, for this follow-up. By the same token (with regard to your previous fine articles on Files) would you soon please provide information on backing up of files, etc? I have a new Toshiba netbook, but there is no back-up utility or other really helpful information included re. the XP installed. Presumably backups are crucially important for all of us.

Thanks for the idea, John. I'll add it to my list.

Thanks for more info helps, Virginia. I find print enlargements are occasionally needed. What I was using with my Firefox seems to not be compatible any longer.

Good for Millie and Steve!

This is a bit off the topic. Since you offer tech information perhaps you can direct me as to how to resolve an issue that is becoming most irritating to me.

Recently, and I notice it occurring with more of my blog comments elsewhere, including your "50 Words," now, when I made a writing prompt comment -- an icon I did not adopt and do not want is appearing next to my name.

This racing bike figure icon pops up next to my name. This is very misleading as I do not ride a racing bike, 10 speed or other street bike.

I do not want this icon and do not understand how it has come to be affixed to my comments in this manner. I've never used it on my blog.

How do I get rid of the racing bike icon and prevent it from turning up on any other blogs in the future when I make comments?

Eventually, I plan to add an icon or photo of some sort on my blog but not that one and I don't want this racing bike icon used with my blog comments elsewhere in the meantime.

If you can direct me as to how to get rid of that icon permanently, everywhere, I would greatly appreciate it.

Virginia, I think that racing bike icon has somehow become a virus from a link on "Photoblogging In Paris" since Claude has made that public from when I was engaged with her private exercise program. I reluctantly agreed to that bike icon 'cause we couldn't find what I wanted, but I thought it would remain inaccessible to open Internet.

I still don't understand how it would get affixed to various comments of mine popping up as it does on others blogs. I still want to know how to keep it off all those other blog comments.

Virginia: Don't know if you've seen this earlier question of mine, but in the meantime I've posted the question on a "Help" site. Meanwhile I've also added a photo to my blog where there was none previously, so maybe it will begin to replace the racing bike icon in my blog comments such as my last one on your "First 50 Words." Couldn't find an email address for you or would send all these communiques to you by email.

Virginia, apparently you've never received my comment question as I've not noted or rec'd a response anywhere. Disregard it now, as after days, and hours of tech madness I think the issue is resolved.

There seemed to be no quick, simple and easy way for me or others to resolve this. Time will tell now if the Racing Bike icon/avatar appearing with all my comments on WordPress blogs only, has been deleted as I've been told, and that the correction will take place "gradually over time."

Hi everyone, I contacted Joared months after she posted these questions. I don't get any notification when you comment on my TGB Elder Geek posts, so I may miss something sometimes. I apologize if I seem to be ignoring you.

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