September 6, 2006

Favicon

I had to perform a hard reset of my Palm V yesterday My choice seemed to be to try a hard reset or to throw away the unit and buy a new one. The digitizer had gone banannas, and I could not access the menu to recalibrate it. But that’s another story. My Palm V seems to be working fine now.

While tapping from screen to screen to assure myself that the organizer had been fixed once I had synchronized it with Microsoft Outlook, I was reminded that I had a note called “favicon.ico” on it, a note intended to remind me that, someday, I wanted to add a favicon to my Web site. A favicon is a “favorites icon,” originally an icon associated with a Web page saved as a favorite in Internet Explorer. Different browsers now use favicons in various ways, and Internet Explorer seems to use them less extensively than do other browsers. Firefox, for example, displays the favicon next to a page’s URL and on a page’s tab, as well as showing it when bookmarks are displayed. You have almost certainly seen Google’s “G” favicon or Wikipedia’s “W.”

Anyway, when I first learned about favicons, they seemed difficult to construct, so I put the task aside for another day. Upon rediscovering my Palm V note, however, I went to Google and looked up “favicon.ico.” There, I quickly found a page called “FavIcons from Pics,” which promised to generate favicons from nearly any graphic. This seemed worth a try.

Of course, one reason I had not gotten too excited about creating my own favicon was that my Web site, Lionel Deimel’s Farrago, did not really have a logo. The offer of a free, easily generated favicon, however, got me thinking. It took me little time to get the idea of using existing graphic elements from my site to create an attractive icon. I took the backgroun for the page banners used on most pages, compressed it horizontally into a square, and superimposed a white “LD.” (I tried superimposing “Farrago” in red over the result, but this produced a design that was too busy and that would not reduce well to a 16x16-pixel graphic.) I saved the result, tried the free favicon generated, and liked the result.

All this is by way of saying that almost every page of my Web site is now changed, which I explain only because visitors may be perplexed that, on my Site Map page, almost all page dates are 9/6/2006. This seems a small price to pay for better “branding” for my Web site. If you have a Web site, why not try getting your own favicon?

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