Icons, Favicons, Countrymen...
Note: This post references my old TypePad site, but the instructions still apply. Note the little lion logo in your address bar ;)
Visitors to West of the Expressway may notice something new in your address bar: an orangy-red "W" favicon.
Favicons, also known as shortcut icons, are small graphics, usually less than 1k in size that usually contain a miniature logo or other graphic element, to help quickly find sites out of your Favorites list, bookmarks, and lately, RSS feeds. They were introduced with Internet Explorer 5.0 and, in a reversal of the usual, the standard was quickly embraced-and-extended by other browser makers.
For bloggers who use their sites as promotional tools, favicons are an important way to extend brand identity to their sites and their RSS feeds as well. In fact, my research into this was really about how to add favicons to RSS feeds, and I went around the Web and back before I found the extremely simple answer. There's one or two twists involved in adding a favicon, and what I learned might be of use to you. So here goes...
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The Sweet Spot
The Nixlog has a splendid infographic charting Apple's slow but steady move towards the big, fat middle of the mass market -- the sweet spot and the tipping point.
Macworld + The Value of Rumors as PR
Macworld Expo kicks off tomorrow in San Francisco, and Steve Jobs will be giving one of his semi-annual "One more thing..." keynote addresses.
This keynote is more shrouded in mystery than usual, as Apple has taken the unusual step of suing rumor site Think Secret and not simulcasting the keynote via satellite feed or QuickTime, opting instead for a 9 hour delay.
I have a suspicion they're announcing something either really good, or really disappointing -- either way, something that would cause a major fluctuation in their stock. In that case, quashing rumors may be more to comply with SEC insider-trading rules, than out of meanness to rumor-lovers.
Apple knows that ongoing interest is almost entirely handled by Mac news and rumor sites. What company wouldn't kill to have dozens of rumor sites and blogs talking about it 24/7, passionately, for free?
The Branding Of Polaroid: Paul Giambarba
In the late 1950s, Polaroid was the technical leader in consumer photography with the Edwin Land instant camera system. But the company was still getting hammered at point-of-sale by Kodak's ubiquitous, highly visible yellow boxes. Their dull, conservative, silver-and-red packaging simply had to go.
Polaroid in-house designer Paul Giambarba was part of the team that developed an American classic -- Polaroid's "rainbow" brand identity. One little old lady in Upstate New York liked the new design so much, she bought it, sent back the product and kept the box.
Giambarba discusses the evolution of Polaroid's brand identity from its 1960s high through to the late 70s failure of Polavision instant movie film -- true tales from the advertising Creative Revolution instigated by the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency. The story starts here on his spiffy TypePad blog.
He's also got a lot of other articles about art and design, well worth reading.
The Economics Of Sprawl
Sometimes you have to marvel at the human capability for living in denial.
In June 2004, National Geographic was the first mainstream magazine to put Peak Oil on the cover, with its story The End Of Cheap Oil. They put up an online feedback forum as well. I popped in to take a look.
There were dozens of people offended by a single quote from a suburbanite security mom who praised her Hummer H2’s capacity to crush other vehicles; universal disgust with the tax break for light trucks, urging that it be eliminated and given to hybrid cars instead.
Hardly anyone broached the question: “Why do we drive so much?”
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