Iconic and Ironic

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I’ve added a bunch of icons to the site. One is a “shortcut icon”, using the Windows XP icon file format, which allows for multiple icons of different sizes and color depths (including 32-bit true-color images with alpha channel) in a way that lets applications choose the appropriate size and highest quality. If an open-source format such as PNG or MNG could do this, I’d switch, but they can’t and for now it’s the .ico format.

You’ll also notice the matrix of browser icons floating in the top-right coner of the blog. All but the Safari icon were pulled directly from the respective applications using an icon editor and converted to 32-bit PNGs. Interestingly, all of those except the Netscape 4 and Mozilla icons are available in 32-bit color versions. I am surprised that Mozilla does not include a 32-bit icon, but that’s one place where this browser is behind the curve.

I hacked the Safari icon myself, using MS Photo Editor to apply a halfway decent alpha mask to a 32×32 Jpeg I found on the net, but a real icon set from the actual application would be better. Time to get OS X installed in the lab at the office, which is incidentally why I don’have Safari in the best column—because I simply don’t know how good it is yet…

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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