Which one has the astigmatism?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/04/16 06:31 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/04/16/2152451.aspx

We've been talking about DPI a whole bunch, including not disabling and disabling the high DPI support in Vista. These two screen shots taken on a machine with 192 DPI will not show the final word (that comes in another post, soon!), but they will provide the penultimate word....

Which one has the astigmatism? :-)

I can't be the only person who is tired of that ACUVUE commercial....


This post brought to you by (U+25c9, a.k.a. FISHEYE)

# Mike Dimmick on 16 Apr 2007 10:40 AM:

Well one of them is made with the 'use XP scaling mode' turned on and the other is made with that feature turned off. I'm guessing the top one uses the Vista scaling mode since it's been scaled up from 96dpi, while the second shows that the application can actually handle the higher DPI.

You tell Vista 'no, I really *do* understand DPI' in the manifest, or by calling SetProcessDPIAware. This design has the problem of not working well for any existing applications that did work properly at non-default DPI.

When trialling a late release candidate of Vista on my 'new' laptop (1680x1050, about 15" diagonal, approx 120dpi), I found both options to be equally horrible and set it back to 96dpi. Particularly I found IE 7.0 didn't work well - a lot of too-small icons and misplaced text. AVG seemed to be claiming to be DPI-aware but then getting their font size calculations wrong, so a lot of text was too small.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 16 Apr 2007 12:58 PM:

Of course ClearType makes the whole scenario a bit worse here -- the bluriness here is easily attributable to ClearType not knowing when to quit. :-)

# Mike on 16 Apr 2007 5:09 PM:

I beta-tested Vista at my Tablet PC's real DPI of about 115. Regardless of whether that "XP Scaling Mode" was on or off, so many non-Microsoft apps (including Windows Mail, which exposes old MFC UI bugs cleaned up in Outlook Express) produced that astigmatic look. I think all were returned again and again, build after build, as not repro.

Since running a Tablet at real DPI produces tangible benefits in that on-screen measurements = real world measurements, that's one thing that's made Vista less palatable than XP.  

I didn't check the released build, but was comprehensible help text every produced for the "XP Scaling Mode" option?

And while I think about, there's another international twist to the ClearType issue. The ClearType Tuner was never integrated into Vista (IIRC it was only an XP Power Toy because of timing issues with ship dates) and so is left as an English-language-only utility.

# Dean Harding on 16 Apr 2007 7:55 PM:

Having used Windows XP at 144DPI for about 3 years, the change in Vista was really disappointing for me. 90% of applications that I used worked very well with higher DPI settings (the exceptions were usually applications that went with their own "skinning" system -- but even then, some of them still worked [such as Media Player]).

Once I upgraded to Vista, though, many of my older applications were not marked with the "high DPI aware" compatibility flag -- even ones from Microsoft (Visual Studio 2005 was a big one for me). Even brand spanking new apps, like Hold'Em Poker!! Hold'Em Poker looks AMAZINGLY GOOD with high DPI settings.

Anyway, I've ranted about this enough (see http://codeka.com/blogs/index.php/dean/2007/02/04/more_high_dpi_woes_in_vista_solution or http://codeka.com/blogs/index.php/dean/2007/01/13/why_i_won_t_use_windows_vista_mail and so on) so sorry about that... we're getting rather off-topic here anyway ;-)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 17 Apr 2007 5:12 AM:

Although so many applications you have worked with do well in the original mechanisms for high DpI settings, the fact remains that there are many applications that do not do well here.

Now that I have learned more about the reasons for the high DpI feature added to Vista, I am disappointed in it because it does feel like "giving up" on the plan for having apps properly support the scenario. But at the same time, I think most customers have given up on Microsoft making it easy for developers to do....

# Dean Harding on 17 Apr 2007 7:58 PM:

Obviously, there are those applications that don't work well, but I personally would have flipped the option around -- the default is the old-style "correct" scaling, and the compatibility flags are there to switch to the new-style "hack" scaling.

It's certainly more work to get your app working in high DPI than it used to be. Even Microsoft gets it wrong (ref the the posts I pointed to above).

# Michael S. Kaplan on 18 Apr 2007 1:14 PM:

To be honest, I am inclined to agree with you, mainly because I am philosophically opposed to "punishing" the people who make an effort to do the right thing (especially when it is in order to assist those who have done squat).

But I know that my particular feelings in this case are often outweighed in the minds of those who triage by the real numbers on how many customers end up with a better effect....

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