Yes, you’ve seen it. Those cute little icons next to your bookmarks and webpages in your web browser. They’re called “favicon.ico“s and I spent two hours last night trying to figure out how to add one to my site. I first noticed I didn’t have one when I switched RSS aggregators, just to see what else was out there. I currently use Sharp Reader, but I temporarily tried FeedReader. I easily imported all my feeds and was happily scanning thousands of kilobytes of data when I noticed that some of my feeds, like BoingBoing and Slashdot and The Village Voice all had nice little icons next to their names.
I must have one too, I thought, figuring that this was some hidden feature of RSS I had yet to discover. So I spent the next hour or more hunting through websites and my RSS code to figure out where to insert an image. For a brief moment, I had a really cool header above every post, but no that’s not what I wanted. I wanted a tiny little icon next to my website!
I couldn’t figure it out. Nowhere in the RSS code was there an image tag which would do what I want. Perhaps, I slowly came to realize, the icon had nothing to do with RSS at all. The eureka moment came shortly thereafter, as I discovered that the icon is merely a file distributed in the root folder of the website, and not embedded deep in the software bowels of RSS and PHP.
So now when new users come to the main page and bookmark it, they will see this nice little icon next to our URL. In my opinion, it was worth the effort.
In other news, I just got the new Billy Corgan album, Future Embrace after listening to it in a record store sampler (and subsequently crashing their machine). The album resonates with a new kind of sound, which is laced both with heavy synth and new-metal like riffs. But unlike the dreary, tatooed and depressed sameness of the new-metal bands, Corgan’s album reeks of optimism, even as he drones on that “You don’t know what it’s like to love somebody.” When I listen, I hear echoes of OMD, whose early 80s albums embraced the technological age that was emerging, and yet approached it cautiously at the same time. If Corgan’s sound is the herald of things to come, I say, bring it on.