Seeing Through Google’s New Icon

Google Favicons

Google has a new favicon. If you don’t know what a favicon is, rather than explain it, I’ll suggest that you probably won’t care about the rest of this post.

If you’re still with me, the new favicon is notable because the old one was a small but ubiquitous sign-post on the web. What I find more interesting, though, is a particular aspect of the implementation.

The new favicon is a full RGBA color icon file with alpha transparency. What makes this noteworthy is that the this type of icon isn’t supported in Internet Explorer, still the dominant browser on the web.

Is Google intentionally leaving Internet Explorer behind on this visible, but admittedly trivial, part of their website? Or, is this an oversight (or part of an incomplete change)?

Either way, it doesn’t sound much like Google.

UPDATE: I was wrong about this. It is supported by IE – see my comment for a bit more detail.


The Silent Majority (of laptop users)

I’ve often wondered how it is that Apple remains in the single-digit percentages of market share, while any computer-related event I attend (even open-source software related conferences) seems riddled with MacBooks (and PowerBooks, though to a less extent these days).

Who’s the other 95% of the market? Well, I am, for one (a happy ThinkPad user running Linux). However, I couldn’t figure out who the other 94.99999% were.

Then, I piggybacked into the fancy-pants Maple Leaf Lounge at the Toronto Airport with a friends’ membership. Side-note: the Maple Leaf Lounge is where rich people wait in the airport for Air Canada flights – free food, magazines, wifi, etc.

Here I found the other 95% and he/she is the Business Traveler.

The lounge was riddled with laptops, but there was but one MacBook (proudly carried by the good Rob Patterson, in this case). The rest were a slurry of Dell, Compaq, HP, IBM, and mystery-machine models.

Note: The market share percentages I’m using here came out of my “derriere”, so don’t bother correcting me. I do suspect Apple has a larger chunk of laptop sales than desktop.


Inconsolata: Quality Free and Open Font for Programmers

Inconsolata PreviewIf you spend a significant amount of time working with any type of scripting, code, or markup, then you’re probably looking at a monospace (fixed-width for each character) font.

The quality of these fonts varies, though the defaults that ship with Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Windows Vista are quite good. The Consolas font included with Vista is particularly good.

Fortunately, there is a quality free/open alternative. Raph Levien has developed a great programming font cleverly called Inconsolata. I have been using it as my primary terminal/coding/text font for several months and find it superior to anything else I’ve used.

Incosonata is freely available under the Open Font License. The OpenType version of Inconsolata will work on all major platforms. There is also a PFA version available.

Font geeks can download the Inconsolata FontForge source file and a PDF sample is available.

Here’s a quick screenshot of Inconsolata used in a simple PHP file on my desktop.


“This Apple ID has been disabled for security reasons”

Tonight I got home from a movie (Everything’s Gone Green – good movie) and headed to the iTunes Store to listen to some previews from the soundtrack. I was greeted by this message:

Sharpmusique iTunes account error

I suspect this is because I have used SharpMusique, an unauthorized Linux-based client for the iTunes Store (that lets you pay for music). That said, my account has been disabled from logging in from the official iTunes client as well (screenshot).


Phantom Cell Phone Vibrations in Print

A few weeks ago I got a call from Angela Haupt, a reporter for USA Today. She wanted a few quotes for an article she was writing about phantom cell phone vibrations. Thanks to Google, a short post I made in 2004 makes me a leading expert on the topic.

The article went up on the USA Today website, uh, today under this question-mark-heavy heading: Good vibrations? Bad? None at all?. I’m not sure if/when it will be in the print-version of the newspaper.

I should have recorded the phone call so I could listen myself say this again (I don’t remember saying it, but it does sound like something I would say):

“I’d be sitting on the couch and feel my phone start to vibrate, so I’d reach down and pull it out of my pocket. But the only thing ringing was my thigh.”

It’s nice to be part of America’s most colourful [sic] newspaper. I look forward to being stepped over as people leave their hotel rooms all over the nation.