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Apple showing off!

The other day I was sent a screenshot of what my blog looks like on iOS:
How my blog looks on iOS

This is, to quote the message, a much more flamboyant manner than I would have expected. Indeed. What it should look like is the infamous Comic Sans MS (or Sassoon in RISC OS).

This is parly my fault, and partly Apple showing off. It is partly my font because I specified the fallback font as "fantasy", and partly Apple's fault because it took this request and ran with it, switching to what might be the least likely font - Zapfino by Hermann Zapf. If the name sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of the Zapf Dingbats font - which was hilariously used in a music magazine in the early '90s where the editor felt that an interview with Bryan Ferry was so boring, he decided to liven it up by printing the entire interview in Zapf Dingbats!

The font has a ridiculous number of flourishes, plus an appearance that 'flows' from one character to the next as if it was actually written. Enter here Apple, more than willing to show off that their font rendering can cope with all of this nonsense. As shown!

I think the issue can ultimately be traced back to NetSurf. It seems misconfigured in that it uses Sassoon (the RISC OS version of Comic Sans) as the fantasy font, and Homerton (Helvetica) as the cursive font. So I probably looked at that and figured that it should be fantasy.
I have since switched this to be "Cursive", and I've also added a reference to the "Caveat" font for Android devices, which is a sort of handwritten appearance font, better than Comic Sans, far less OTT than ZapFino!

It still doesn't work on Firefox on Android, but it does something a little more useful on Chrome, Opera, and the stock browser. And, hopefully, something a little more normal on iOS too!

It now will not show Sassoon on NetSurf. In order to get this back, please set the Font configuration to use Sassoon for the cursive font family, or if you prefer, anything that looks like it was handwritten.


Bye bye Eagle '80s

For several years, I have listened to Eagle Radio, the station that I used to listen to in the UK (96.4 FM from Guildford). A couple of years ago they launched a streaming-only station called Eagle 80s.
Actually, truth be told, the parent (UKRD) had a number of 70s and 80s stations, and the presenter used to always refer to the channel as "the home of the eighties", so I rather imagine that it was a generic broadcast into which local idents, adverts, and news was inserted.

It was perfect. A nice genre to listen to (it's basically what I grew up with) along with news and info from where I used to live. I've basically followed that station since it was an incarnation of Radio Mercury from that transmitter, becoming Eagle in the mid '90s, when it used to broadcast out of the upper floor of The Friary shopping centre in Guildford.

All of that has stopped. It turns out that all of the UKRD stations have been bought by Bauer Radio, a media group that appears to own a massive chunk of the UK's independent radio stations.

Bauer offers a streaming service that looks perfect - Absolute 80s. The only problem is that it is region blocked. I don't live in the UK, so without a proxy or VPN, I cannot access that station. Given what is going to happen to Eagle, I wouldn't be surprised if that didn't become blocked as well.

Eagle, itself, still exists. For now. In September it will become Greatest Hits Radio with one local program a day, and the rest coming from elsewhere (Wiki says London, Liverpool, and Manchester). So it's liable to end up as "yet another generic station". Looking at Spire FM (former UKRD station in Salisbury) and Spirit FM (West Sussex), they all are apparently being rebranded as Greatest Hits Radio. In other words, quite likely throwing away all that made local radio local and running, as I said, "yet another generic station".

What. A. Shame.


I am looking at some alternatives for my '80s fix. What might work is one of Heart 80s or The Mix 80s. I'll need to listen to each for a while to see which one is closest to my tastes. Last night, Heart played a lot of "dancefloor" style songs. It may be themed programming, though.

Another one I'm looking at is Retro Hits Canada, which isn't strictly 80s. It's 70s-90s, but more importantly when I had it on yesterday, it played a lot of stuff I've not heard before (or, if I have, that I don't remember). This is quite likely due to it being westpondian, so will have a different outlook on what was good in the '80s to the UK. Take, for example, Erasure. They had three "top 20" songs in the US (highest charting position being 12). That's a little different to their popularity this side of the ocean.



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John, 22nd July 2020, 21:38
Is not VPN what I offered you last week? 
Mark you, you'd have to set it up! I'm no genious! 
Do me RPi image and I'm still willing to donate some electricity to you.
Rick, 22nd July 2020, 22:16
The problem is that a VPN isn't protocol specific. It means bouncing everything through the service, and it'll only work on devices that have the VPN set up...which is unlikely to be my radio player! 
Thank you for the offer, anyhow. 
No worries about the electricity. My bills tend to be about fifty euros. That's a few pennies for the whizzing electrons, and the rest being standard charges and taxes. 
Bernard, 23rd July 2020, 17:14
Font alert! Comic Sans was popularised by Microsoft arousing much derision from typographers, whereas the Sassoon faces are the creations of Rosemary Sassoon and Adrian Williams and are accepted as excellent for children learning two of the three Rs. Acorn’s espousal of Sassoon Primary was presumably for educational use in the main. Compare also Christopher Jarman’s script typefaces also available in Acorn format.
Rob, 30th July 2020, 02:39
If you can get it, I recommend Love 80s Radio. (Comes in Liverpool and Manchester varient.) The local DAB stream has now been fixed; it'd been getting worse and worse until yesterday it sounded like someone was jumping up and down on a record player. We then got the Liverpool stream for a bit, before they fixed the Manchester one. 
I used to listen to MAX80s, via DAB, but that seems to have vanished totally...
Rick, 30th July 2020, 08:23
I chose the Manchester version, the stream is at:; 
(easy to determine, just get UBlock to list all fetches, then play it, then go back to see what the media URL was) 
Nice that it's available outside of the UK. 📻

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