Don Knotts’ Family

From chemgal.

(Not a mirage! You are seeing two copies of the comic. Temporarily there really are two posted. This is a tech experiment. Viewers who have a difference in how easy the two are to display on your device, or in how easy they are to read, please feel free to put in comments — particularly if your device is a phone. Thanks!)

Let’s try another comparison, to avoid confounding factors.

OMG that is terrible! Well, I guess I learned something, even if not real clear what …

What if we make it really tiny, give it rounded corners, and put the comment as a purple caption?


  1. When one looks up some piece of info (the weather) on their phones, always some trash will sprout with it (‘currently featured: Don Knotts’ family confirms the rumors’).
    Just a little comment on modern life, I guess.

  2. Would it be possible to “open” the right margin of the block container so that graphics are displayed with their own full resolution? This strip is about 500 pixels wide within the confines of the CIDU page, but if I view the image in a separate tab, it shows up over 800 pixels wide (dramatically improving the legibility). I don’t think the limitation is anything the Editors have done, I think this came with the new editing setup that Bill complained about several times.

  3. Kilby (and others interested) — please check the revised appearance. Does the first or second instance of the image work better for you? Or no real difference?

    (I reserve for later the technical issue being tested, so as to at least single-blind the experiment. Will clarify later.)

  4. On desktop browser view, second is larger. But both are quite legible without doing anything.

  5. It doesn’t entirely clarify the remarks about his family. But helps establish some association between weather conditions and Don Knotts. You’re welcome! 😋

  6. This would have been clearer if the line “Don Knotts’ family confirms the rumors” was in quotation marks, so it was clear she was quoting the ad.

  7. I prefer the larger one. On a phone in portrait orientation, both are the same size, but if the text is hard to read, rotating to landscape mode lets the larger image scale up and be more readable.

  8. On a desktop. The smaller image is smaller than I would like, but the larger image shows signs of artificial enlargement. (The text, for example, is slightly gray and blurry). The purist in me would prefer the unaltered image, but I can see the advantage of the bigger one. Many’s the time when I’ve opened a small image in a second tab so I can zoom in on it, which only makes the pixels bigger.

  9. No difference on my iPhone. As far as the joke, I think Olivier has it in the first comment.

    What I found odd is the wording in Arlo’s question. “What does your weather radar say?”. Janis has her own radar?

  10. On my laptop, the first is smaller and I have trouble reading it. The second is just right. They both seem to have the same sharpness and same colors, but my eyes (as indicated above) are youthful.

    Usually when the family confirms some rumor, it’s that the celebrity has died or come out.

  11. Olivier has it right. A lot of sites have click-bait nonsense to go with the useful info.

    Today’s stock market indices ended at blah, blah, blah . . . and Alex Trebek’s net worth left his family in tears. I hate those things.

  12. Max, what was Alex Trebek’s net worth? I have to know!

    Darn it, if you’re going to put clickbait in your comment, you have to provide a link!

  13. I prefer the bigger image. In the past, I often had to open the image in a separate tab, to be able to read it. The bigger version would be immediately readable. And no, I don’t think it is artificially enlarged.
    I try not to read comics on the phone, to hard to read regardless of the way it’s presented :-\

  14. I guess the “clickbait” explanation works — but it’s pretty unsatisfying. It leaves unexplained the specificity of the Don Knotts message, both for the fictive clickbait purveyors and for the cartoonist Jimmy Johnson. Did they (or he) come up with this out of thin air?

    This would all make sense if Chak’s suggestions turned out real, and indeed they occurred to me to check. But wikipedia and some biography sites all give his death as 2006, and no suggestion that he was gay, or other surprising disclosure in recent years. Closest was a late reminiscence from Andy Griffith that Knotts’s departure from “The Andy Griffith Show” involved some financial issues that they were both a little misleading about in public.

    Anyhow, I don’t particularly resent the clickbait purveyors for the insipid nature of the stories when you do click and read them. The ones I get mad at are those that don’t actually show you the story that reeled you in. I figure there will be ads, and maybe some tangents, but in maybe four more clicks I should be able to see if the idea was Alex Trebek’s estate was much larger or much smaller than anticipated. I feel cheated if there is nothing related; but if there is, no matter how trivial in fact, I will feel foolish but not mad.

    This goes for legit and important matters too! I got an email from my prescription mailing service, due to terminate and switch to another one at New Year, with a link to log in to their site and register for a transfer of the Rxs with remaining refills. The link took me to their site alright, but no hint of where to find that transfer-register thing. And, folks, if I do say so myself, I’m fairly good at these mazes, not usually helpless and at a loss. But I couldn’t arrive at that service option at all. And the original email really sort of promised that the link would go right to it. Pah!

  15. iPhone XS running iOS 14.2 with Safari – vertical: the two comics are the same size
    iPhone XS running iOS 14.2 with Safari – landscape: the comics are different sizes
    The comics are readable in all cases.

  16. Mitch4: “… it’s pretty unsatisfying. It leaves unexplained the specificity of the Don Knotts message, both for the fictive clickbait purveyors and for the cartoonist Jimmy Johnson. Did they (or he) come up with this out of thin air?”

    Yeah, it’s out of thin air, but I don’t think this is unsatisfying. I think this is akin to the Beetle Bailey Bashful Gorilla joke. There’s no reason for the details to be specified, and in fact, it probably works better if they’re not.

  17. Welllll … yes but, Beetle and his gorilla don’t have actual families who might want to deny or forestall the rumors.

  18. There are actual jokes about gorillas, some of which might be bashful.

    It’s possible to imagine actual jokes about bashful gorillas, and it’s possible to imagine actual rumors about Don Knotts. But I don’t see why the cartoonist needs to specify them in either case to make the joke satisfying.

  19. And we’re very close to a “fifteen ringer”! That’s when all 15 items in the Recent Comments list in the sidebar are from the same thread. At the moment (before this comment is posted) the earliest one, bottom of the list, is from Happy Chanukka!.

  20. WW, sorry! I should have known to use a spoiler space. But if you want, you can still do the clicking. I won’t tell.

  21. Mitch4: Did you legitimately and organically decide to make your last comment, or did you just do it to make the “fifteen ringer”? 🙂

  22. Winter: that would be an unanswerable circularity! … Except that Chak was there within a minute anyway so it would have happened even if unnoted!

  23. These old eyes like the 2nd one better. I don’t have to “Zoom” the page or “View image” like I would the 1st one on this Windows laptop.

  24. Mitch, I know you said you don’t want to say what you’re testing, but. . . the second image is bigger, which makes it obviously easier to read, regardless of what else you’ve changed. Is that intentional?

  25. The second one is bigger but a bit out of focus (lower resolution?) on a big screen (laptop).
    On a smartphone they’re both the same size and resolution.

  26. Right, it’s rather untidy as a test. Also I misread what Kilby was asking for, and didn’t note that he didn’t mention his platform — at first I thought he must be on a phone, but realized later he never specified.

    I used the same image, not one enlarged in separate image editing software. But put it in an Image block (as discussed in email) — mostly because I thought that might do a better job of adapting to screens of different sizes. But I let it go in at the size it wanted, which was larger already. So there were two factors.

    If it were possible … well why not … we could also have that same image, in an Image block, but sized like the top one. Then see if it looks any different on any platform. (One of the nice things is that the image block lets you adjust size right in place.)

  27. Yikes! The third one looks worst of all (in full screen preview). It is the same width as the top one (500 px) but squeezed to that by the image block. Now I don’t know what to think. Apart from “don’t squeeze down the images when you don’t need to”.

  28. I concur, the 3rd one is blurry and no good.
    the second, larger one is more readable, and best

    for me the first one is also readable though. At least this specific strip. Some do have finer details

  29. Added a fourth option: a tiny comic with rounded corners and a purple caption. This is best of all, right?

  30. The second one is very slightly blurrier on my desktop PC but overall easier to read. These days I have the font size cranked up in my browser.

    There were close to 80 comment links when I checked LarK’s page. Besides this, we had a Tuesday Meryl flood.

    The Comics Kingdom free pages have those clickbait ads interspersed throughout the comments section. Examples:

    Many failed before. Will you complete the Trial? Hero Wars
    Braxton Labs Ketone Ultra – Braxton Labs All of our skincare products in one convenient package!
    10 Ways You Never Knew You Could Eat Avocado all delish
    This Is What Stone Cold Is Up To Now
    Couple Adopts Pregnant Dog, This Is What She Was Hiding

  31. I started off (@2) from the perspective of a desktop browser (Mac/Safari), but I have since tested the results in both orientations on three different mobile devices (one iPhone and two different iPads), and the second graphic is the best overall solution. I see now that a large part of the problem is adaptive sizing: on the tiny phone screen, the first two images are always scaled to the same width. This also happens on the iPad, but counter-intuitively only in landscape orientation, because Safari carves out space there for the left-hand menu, so the column for the “content” block is “smaller”. In “portrait” orientation, the menu is undocked from the left, leaving more width for the “content”: this is where the second image has a definite advantage. On a desktop browser, the menu is still on the left, but with plenty of space, the second image shows up in its full “native” resolution, clearly beating the first (and 3rd & 4th) images.

  32. Kilby, thank you for reminding me of the term “adaptive”. All morning it kept escaping my language center and I ended up writing things like “accommodational”.

  33. On the laptop, 1st and 3rd are the same (2nd is bigger but blurrier).
    On the smartphone, 1st and 2nd are the same; 3rd is blurry.

  34. On Android phone, Opera mobile browser, same as others report for phone. I also tried the finger-spread magnification while in portrait orientation, and it worked identically on the first two images. Turning to landscape, the second one expanded on its own accord, and was the most legible of the many options

    (Why were earlier commenters scare-quoting portrait and landscape? Aren’t those the standard terms?)

  35. “it kept escaping my language center and I ended up writing things like “accommodational”.”

    This happens to me all the time! I know there is a perfect word that I want to use, but I cannot for the life of me come up with it, coming up instead with similarish looking or sounding words which are not the word I want. And it seems clear to me observing from the inside that it is certain language centers not being turned on, or firing on all cylinders; they later come on-line, and I effortlessly retrieve the word.

    I’m even worse for math centers in my brain: sometimes they are not online, and I can’t do certain math things for the life of me (I can do an algorithm by rote to get to an answer, but that answer might as well be “fish” for all the intuitive sense it makes), but then later, when I’m more awake, more alert, or just that part of my brain is now online, I can intuitively “see” the answer, do the math five different ways, and just know the answer and why it is the answer.

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