If you spend any time at all reading stuff online, you frequently run into Web pages whose stylesheets don't constrain the width of the text on the page.
At least until we get CSS3 multi-column support in all the mainstream browsers, doing a multi-column layout is (to quote our esteemed president here in the US) really hard work. Most people can't be bothered to do fancy layout stuff, and when you have a big monitor, the end result is ridiculously wide swaths of text that sprawl all the way across the browser window.
People argue about the optimal column width for readability, but everyone agrees that there is some limit (bonus irony points that the article linked here uses an excessively wide fixed width).
I know about how much my eyes can stand -- eventually I get lost going back to the left-hand side for the next line of text, so I finally sat down and did something I should have done long ago -- made myself a bookmarklet that forces a Web page to a certain width.
It looks like this:
It just appends an inline style to the page, and forces the width of all block-level elements to 580px -- using an !important rule to override any styles that may be already set directly on elements.
Of course any !important rules set right on page elements could potentially be a buzzkill here, also cases where the page author has done weird stuff like mutating normally inline elements like
span to be
Strip out all the linebreaks and spaces above (also the concat action going with the long string for the CSS rule), drop it in a bookmark, and you're good to go. Your eyes will thank you.
Thanks for sharing this!
Some time ago I found the joy of using an "edit page" bookmarklet from squarefree.com, helped me fix a page on Paul Graham site which to me suffered from the opposite - text too narrow for printing, described here.
Oh, and while I'm here - I loved your book! (posted a review on Amazon)