INSTAGRAM: 18 facts and statistics you probably never knew

Instagram is currently one of the world’s most popular social networks by usage and membership. Owned by Facebook, and lovingly known by its fans as simply ‘Insta’, the site is a valuable treasure trove of pictures and memories and offers a glimpse into the lives of its 600 million or so active users. While Instagram has developed a reputation as a bit of a narcissist’s heaven with many users flooding it with selfies, posing like there is no tomorrow, it also has become a valuable resource for creatives such as photographers and graphic designers to showcase their work, and many celebrities use it to give their fanbase a way of keeping up to date with their daily goings-on. And of course, if you ever feel hungry or have no idea what’s for supper tonight, then Instagram’s impressive collection of food photos is the ideal place for culinary inspiration. Not to mention those awesome filters.

 

 

With the help of content, social media and online marketing blog The Social Ms, here are twenty facts and statistics about the photo-sharing network you probably had no idea about.

  1. By the end of 2016, Instagram reported it had 600 million active users, that is, people who use their accounts and upload photos or images. This is an additional 100 million shutterbugs joining the service since September 2015
  2. Instagram has a rapidly increasingly ‘growth base’ with rises of 15 per cent, and there is no sign of it slowing down. In the United States alone (its biggest market), the number of users is expected to hit 116.3 million (34.8 per cent of the then population) and become the second-most popular social network, overtaking Twitter, fellow photo social network Pinterest and micro-blog Tumblr, according to recent figures by eMarketer.
  3. Not surprisingly, just like all social networks, Insta is a hit with the young ‘uns. For all age groups of Internet users, 28 per cent use it, 55 per cent of people between the ages of 18-29 are Insta-fanatics, forming its largest demographic, according to the Pew Research Center in the US. The centre also reported that 52 per cent of teens aged between 13 and 17 were also fans of Instagram.
  4. Instagram has good product loyalty. Fifty-nine per cent of its users post daily, and another 17 per cent use it at least once weekly, according to the Pew Research Center.
  5. The site has enjoyed massive growth rates in some subjects, according to MediaPost. Beauty (74% growth rate), ‘big box’ (128%) and household goods (149%) have been some of the most popular topics, at least for businesses using their Instagram accounts to promote their goods to private users. For the rest of us, I assume selfies probably have a growth rate of 100,000 per cent (I kid).
  6. Instagram is big money for marketers. In 2015, it netted advertising revenue of USD $500 million (GBP £407 million). It is expected that this year, Insta will make more money from its advertising platform on American mobile handsets than Google and Twitter, claims eMarketer.
  7. Although Instagram is US-founded and run by a big American tech company, most of its success has been from outside. Eighty per cent of its users are non-American.
  8. Over 80 million photos are uploaded per day. There is believed to be more than 40 billion images crammed into Insta’s servers and users generate an astonishing 3.5 billion likes per day, says ClickZ.
  9. The most prestigious account, going by popularity and celebrity anyway, is the one owned by U.S. singer Selena Gomez. She has 99.5 million followers allegedly.
  10. The most liked photo over all of Insta was one by reality show star Kendall Jenner. The picture of her lying on her back, eyes closed with her hair spread out and arranged into hearts got 3.5 million likes.
  11. If you post a photo, fifty per cent of comments will appear within six hours, meaning a good post will stick around and not get lost in the noise.
  12. Instagram is quite secure, with only eight per cent of its accounts said to be fake, according to an unnamed Italian security firm.
  13. Like any social network, people sometimes do get bored of posting or other things happen in their life that pull them away. The same Italian firm discovered that nearly 30 per cent of account are rarely used or inactive, usually posting one post per month or less, according to Business Insider.
  14. For businesses, Insta is marketing gold. Forrester published stats that suggest people engage with brands ten times more on Insta than they do on Facebook. Facebook ads are annoying, I grant you that.
  15. One-third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online.
  16. Fifty-three per cent of Instagrammers, as fans are sometimes called, are following brands.
  17. As humans love seeing faces, this fact is probably not surprising, but selfies and group photos on average are 38 per cent more likely to get liked, than other kinds of pictures, such as inanimate objects.
  18. The most Instagrammed food is… pizza.

 

SOURCES:
HEM Bloggers List, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-bloggers-list
Susanna Gebauer‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/dreckbaerfrau
“20 Instagram Facts And Statistics You Should Know” – Susanna Gebauer, The Social Ms/Friendly Fellows UG (haftungsbeschränkt) (23 September 2016) https://blog.thesocialms.com/19-instagram-facts-and-statistics-you-should-know/
IMAGE CREDIT:
freestocks.org via Pexels (13 January 2016) https://www.pexels.com/photo/lg-smartphone-instagram-social-media-35177/

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs – the full set

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

For our very last article in the Animated ccTLD flags series (a.k.a Virtual Vexillology), you will have the opportunity to see the flags we have featured in the previous articles altogether in one place, along with some examples made for forum users who wish to decline their country of origin when creating their signatures.

It has been a fun and enjoyable series to work on, and it does seem a bit sad to be finally drawing it to a close. This series may be wrapping up, but we are going to do it in true fluttering style. Here are all the flags in alphabetical order of top-level domain. Feast your eyes and enjoy.

P.S. At some point in the future, the Hancki flag icons plus some even smaller flag icons originally from ‘FamFamFam‘ , a website run by British graphic designer and developer Mark James and other sources too, will be added as a page on this blog’s sideline website, HEM Graphics. Don’t click the browser window…or touch the dial!.

A small inspiration for me writing and researching for this series is that at work we often work with ISO codes (which are broadly similar to ccTLDs) when processing data and so it was interesting to see more exciting examples of these shortened country names in use. Sadly since these flags first burst onto the scene in 2008, forums have lost a bit of popularity as social media has become the new outlet for people to air their voices, and the forums that are still be updated now tend to go for the minimalist look, dispensing with embellishments like signature GIFs, userbars, stats and of course these flags. In a way, this is my way of preserving this piece of internet history for the future, should forums no longer use them.

 

 

No flags available under this letter.

 

Previous Articles in the Series

Part 1 – North America

Part 2 – South America

Part 3 – Europe

Part 4 – Africa

Part 5 – Asia

Part 6 – Australasia/Oceania

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Animated fonts 018” – APRENDE INGLÉS CON GIFS ANIMADOS http://clafoti.com/dictionary/A_alf_018.htm
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

 

 

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 6 – Australasia/Oceania)

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

Our final leg of the journey in this series on animated flag icons featuring ccTLDs now takes in the continent of Australasia, also known as Oceania. While this continent’s total area is very dominated by the landmass and Commonwealth of Australia, it also has a large number of small islands dotted over the breadth and length of the Pacific Ocean. Many of these islands are their own sovereign states, while others are dependencies of larger Australasian nations.

As far as flags go, one common theme with flags from Australasia is that a lot of them carry a smaller flag in their cantons (top left-hand corners of the flag). This is the Union Flag (Union Jack) of Great Britain. The reason for this is simply that many of these countries were at one point part of the British Empire until the latter half of the past century, and it was standard for British colonies to carry an ‘ensign’ which included the UK national flag. After independence, many did away with the colonial flags, but some, like Australia and its southerly neighbour, New Zealand, retained them for cultural and political reasons.

While we are on the subject of ccTLDs, did you know that the domain registries of several Pacific countries allow their ccTLDs to be used for commercial purposes by companies which may have nothing whatsoever to do with the country that the TLD is related with.

.tv is the ccTLD for the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu. It also is very much like the acronym for television (TV). As a result, several media companies have adopted the .tv domain for their websites, usually ones rich in video content. The .tv domain is owned by a private company, dotTV (Verisign) based in the United States. The Tuvaluan government owns a 20 per cent stake and makes US$1 million in royalties annually of the back of renting out their TLD. The neighbouring island of Niue has also turned its .nu domain into a moneyspinner as well. This was one of the first such domains to be auctioned out for marketing purposes as an alternative to the bog-standard .com, .net and .org trinity. The domain sounds similar to the English word ‘new’ as well as in other European language versions of that word, and has been particularly popular in  Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium, as nu is the word for “now” in Swedish,Danish and Dutch. Another island nation, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) still uses its old TLD .ws . It is administered by SamoaNIC, for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the government of Samoa. It can also stand for ‘web site’ or ‘world site’ and has been popular with companies looking to expound on their international credentials. All three of these examples from Pacific island registries are known in the web business as ‘domain hacks’.

Bouvet Island is normally considered part of Antarctica, but for the sake of brevity I have included it along with Australasia.

AUSTRALASIA/OCEANIA

(c) Cruickshanks/Wikimedia Commons

 

as - American Samoa

au - Australia

bv - Bouvet Island

cc - Cocos (Keeling) Islands

ck - Cook Islands

cx - Christmas Island

fj - Fiji

fm - Micronesia, Federated States of

gu - Guam

ki - Kiribati

mh - Marshall Islands

mp - Northern Mariana Islands

nf - Norfolk Island

nr - Nauru

nu - Niue

nz - New Zealand

pg - Papua New Guinea

pw - Palau

sb - Solomon Islands

tk - Tokelau

to - Tonga

tv - Tuvalu

vu - Vanuatu

ws - Samoa

 .as American Samoa
.au Australia
.bv Bouvet Island
.cc Cocos (Keeling) Islands
.ck Cook Islands
.cx Christmas Island
.fj Fiji
.fm Micronesia, Federated States of 
.gu Guam
.ki Kiribati
.mh Marshall Islands
.mp Northern Mariana Islands
.nf Norfolk Island
.nr Nauru
.nu Niue
.nz New Zealand
.pg Papua New Guinea
.pw Palau
.sb Solomon Islands
.tk Tokelau
.to Tonga
.tv Tuvalu
.vu Vanuatu
.ws Samoa

We are very nearly reaching the end of our special series on the flag icons that make ‘virtual vexillology’ a success. Next week, the Half-Eaten Mind plans to bring the flags featured in this series, plus a few extra others that were excluded for not being country-specific, together into one article in the form of a gallery. There will need to be some groundwork to see if it is possible to create such a gallery from the flags already uploaded to the Mind’s image gallery, but we are hopeful of success.

Previous Articles in the Series

Part 1 – North America

Part 2 – South America

Part 3 – Europe

Part 4 – Africa

Part 5 – Asia

This article was mainly prepared at the HEM home office in Plaistow, with some writing and formatting work done at Informa in Maple House, Euston, London. Some of the work adding links to Australasian government websites was also undertaken at Maple House.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“.tv” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.tv
“.nu” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.nu
“.ws” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=.ws
IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:Oceania UN Geoscheme – Map of Australasia.svg” – Cruickshanks, Wikimedia Commons (30 January 2014) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oceania_UN_Geoscheme_-_Map_of_Australasia.svg
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

 

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 5 – Asia)

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

Asia is one of the most linguistically, ethnically and religiously diverse continents on the planet. Its kaleidoscope of nations and cultures is well reflected in its range of flags.

Just like Africa and South America, which we explored earlier on in the Animated ccTLD Flags series, Asia was once part of foreign empires, but is also home to many countries which escaped colonialism and have a long and vibrant history.

Asia is home to a wide variety of alphabets and writing systems, which makes it an interesting point to note in what comes next. While the first set of ccTLDs which became current from the 1980s onwards (and featured in our series) were rendered solely in the Roman alphabet, the advances in internet and computing technologies mean that such domains are no longer restricted only to Western-style letters.

In October 2009, at its annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea, the organisation in charge of TLDs, ICANN, announced a plan to extend the range of alphabets enabled for use in domains and URLs from the old American influenced system of writing ‘root zones’ in Latin characters. At this critical meeting, ICANN representatives tabled a motion to introduce the ‘Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)’ which would enable people using other scripts to use the Web in those scripts, thus ending the discrimination of the current state web in favour of those using languages written in the Roman alphabet. The new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program, approved at the ICANN meeting in Singapore in June 2011, paved the way for countries using other scripts to create their own TLDs in their own writing.

By May 2010, the first such internationalised codes were implemented for Arabic, applying to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Russia followed soon after. According to ICANN, Arabic was chosen for the initial rollout because it is one of the most widely used non-Latin languages on the Internet. Languages in India and much of South Asia were then catered for. As of December 2014 there are 45 approved internationalized country code top-level domains. The most used are .рф (Russia) with over 900,000 domains names, .台灣(Taiwan) with around 500,000 and .中国 (China) with over 200,000 domains.

(c) Wikipedia
(c) Wikipedia

A comprehensive list of IccTLDs published by Wikipedia.

The oldest flag-like object ever found, according to one source, was a metal square sheet mounted on a copper pole. Dating to the third millennium BC (BCE) it was uncovered in an archaeological site near Shahdad in Iran. Depicting depicts two figures facing one another on a rich background of animals, plants, and goddesses, the vexilloid is still a mystery as to what purpose it served or who created it.

Asia is also home to the world’s only pennant style national flag, that of Nepal. Nepal adopted this unique flag with its crescent moon and sun design in 1962, and the deep red is said to reflect the hue of the rhododendron, Nepal’s national flower.

ASIA

(c) Tsui/Wikimedia Commons

ae - United Arab Emirates

af - Afghanistan

am - Armenia

az - Azerbaijan

bd - Bangladesh

bh - Bahrain

bn - Brunei

bt - Bhutan

cn - China

ge - Georgia

hk - Hong Kong

id - Indonesia

il - Israel

in - India

iq - Iraq

ir - Iran (Islamic Republic of)

jo - Jordan

jp - Japan

kg - Kyrgyzstan

kh - Cambodia

kp - Korea (Democratic People's Republic of)

kr - Korea (Republic of)

kw - Kuwait

kz - Kazakhstan

la - Laos

lb - Lebanon

lk - Sri Lanka

mm - Myanmar

mn - Mongolia

mo - Macao

mv - Maldives

my - Malaysia

np - Nepal (rectangular flag)

np - Nepal

om - Oman

ph - Philippines

pk - Pakistan

ps - Palestine, State of

qa - Qatar

sa - Saudi Arabia

sg - Singapore

sy - Syrian Arab Republic

th - Thailand

tj - Tajikistan

tm - Turkmenistan

tp - East Timor

tr - Turkey

tw - Taiwan

uz - Uzbekistan

vn - Viet Nam

ye - Yemen

.ae United Arab Emirates
.af Afghanistan
.am Armenia
.az Azerbaijan
.bd Bangladesh
.bh Bahrain
.bn Brunei
.bt Bhutan
.cn China
.ge Georgia
.hk Hong Kong
.id Indonesia
.il Israel
.in India
.iq Iraq
.ir Iran (Islamic Republic of)
.jo Jordan
.jp Japan
.kg Kyrgyzstan
.kh Cambodia
.kpKorea (Democratic People’s Republic of)
.kr Korea (Republic of)
.kw Kuwait
.kz Kazakhstan
.la Laos
.lb Lebanon
.lk Sri Lanka
.mm Myanmar
.mn Mongolia
.mo Macao
.mv Maldives
.my Malaysia
.np Nepal
.om Oman
.ph Philippines
.pk Pakistan
.ps Palestine, State of
.qa Qatar
.sa Saudi Arabia
.sg Singapore
.sy Syrian Arab Republic
.th Thailand
.tj Tajikistan
.tm Turkmenistan
.tp East Timor
.tr Turkey
.tw Taiwan
.uz Uzbekistan
.vn Viet Nam
.ye Yemen

Next weekend, we’ll be completing the final leg of our world ccTLD tour by visiting Australia, New Zealand and a panoply of beautiful ‘South Sea’ islands as we move southwards to Australasia, otherwise known as Oceania. This will be our second to last article in the series, and the very final blogpost will bring all of the flags together as a reference, possibly to be arranged in alphabetical order.

Previous Articles in the Series

Part 1 – North America

Part 2 – South America

Part 3 – Europe

Part 4 – Africa

This article was mainly prepared at the HEM home office in Plaistow, with some writing and formatting work done at Informa in Maple House, Euston, London.

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Internationalized Domain Names” – ICANN/Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (25 February 2012) https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/idn-2012-02-25-en
“Internationalized country code top-level domain” – Wikipedia/ Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalized_country_code_top-level_domain
“Bronze flag, Iran, 3rd millennium BC” – HISTORICAL FLAGS, Tumblr  http://historicalflags.tumblr.com/post/61418440418/bronze-flag-iran-3rd-millennium-bc-this-is-a
“Flag of Nepal” – Wikipedia/ Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Nepal
IMAGE CREDITS:
“Internationalized country code top-level domain” – Wikipedia/ Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalized_country_code_top-level_domain
“File:Asia map pastel de.png” – Tsui, Wikimedia Commons (18 January 2006) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Asia_map_pastel_de.png
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 4 – Africa)

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

A continent of colour, vibrancy, determination and contrasts, Africa is often in the news for the wrong reasons, but there is far more to it than the media diet of armed revolutions, wars, poverty and famine. Africa is a place where art has always been close to the hearts of its people, from the cave paintings of the Algerian desert, the Egyptian hieroglyphics, or the masks of the Ashanti Empire or the kingdom of Benin.

Africa’s flags are no exception. Once carved up by colonial powers greedy for natural resources, many African countries seized their independence and freedom during the 20th century. The birth of so many independent nations gave rise to a plethora of flags with meanings of struggles of the past and hopes for the future. It is here where we find a common theme, the Pan African colours. Influenced by the flag of Ethiopia, at one time Africa’s only country not colonised by people from abroad, the colours of red, green and yellow (yellow sometimes replaced with black) were adopted by countries as far apart as Malawi and Ghana as Africans took their place among the stage of free nations. The first African state to adopt a red, gold and green flag upon independence was Ghana in 1957. The other set of Pan African colours was influenced by the UNIA led by accomplished statesman Marcus Garvey in around 1920.

It is this continent that has given us some of the world’s brightest, most expressive and meaning-rich flags. The author of this article also has a connection with Africa. His mother hails from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, a nation with a flag of four colours.

Internet penetration is relatively low-key in Africa but nearly all African territories still have their own ccTLDs. One of the largest markets for mobile phones (with or without internet access) in the world is Somalia, and Google maintains servers in Kenya and Mauritius.

Please note: South Sudan, Western Sahara, the de facto republics in Somalia, one of the Congos and Ascension Island could not be found for this article. The Libyan flag is the old one of the Libyan Arab Jamhiriyyah of Pres. Muammar Gaddafi, now no longer in use.

AFRICA

(c) Seeds of Hope/Flickr

 

ao - Angola

bf - Burkina Faso

bi - Burundi

bj - Benin

bw - Botswana

cf - Central African Republic

cg - Congo

ci - Côte d'Ivoire

cm - Cameroon

cv - Cape Verde

dj - Djibouti

dz - Algeria

eg - Egypt

er - Eritrea

et - Ethiopia

ga - Gabon

gh - Ghana

gm - The Gambia

gn - Guinea

gq - Equatorial Guinea

gw - Guinea-Bissau

ke - Kenya

km - Comoros

lr - Liberia

ls - Lesotho

ly - Libya

ma - Morocco

mg - Madagascar

ml - Mali

mr - Mauritania

mu - Mauritius

mw - Malawi

mz - Mozambique

na - Namibia

ne - Niger

ng - Nigeria

rw - Rwanda

sc - Seychelles

sd - Sudan

sh - Saint Helena

sl - Sierra Leone

sn - Senegal

so - Somalia

st - Sao Tome and Principe

sz - Swaziland

td - Chad

tg - Togo

tn - Tunisia

tz - Tanzania

ug - Uganda

za - South Africa

zm - Zambia

zr - Zaire

zw - Zimbabwe

 

.ao Angola
.bf Burkina Faso
.bi Burundi
.bj Benin
.bw Botswana
.cf Central African Republic
.cg Congo
.ci Côte d’Ivoire
.cm Cameroon
.cv Cape Verde
.dj Djibouti
.dz Algeria
.eg Egypt
.er Eritrea
.et Ethiopia
.ga Gabon
.gh Ghana
.gm The Gambia
.gn Guinea
.gq Equatorial Guinea
.gw Guinea-Bissau
.ke Kenya
.km Comoros
.lr Liberia
.ls Lesotho
.ly Libya
.ma Morocco
.mg Madagascar
.ml Mali
.mr Mauritania
.mu Mauritius
.mw Malawi
.mz Mozambique
.na Namibia
.ne Niger
.ng Nigeria
.rw Rwanda
.sc Seychelles
.sd Sudan
.sh Saint Helena
.sl Sierra Leone
.sn Senegal
.so Somalia
.st Sao Tome and Principe
.sz Swaziland
.td Chad
.tg Togo
.tn Tunisia
.tz Tanzania
.ug Uganda
.za South Africa
.zm Zambia
.zr Zaire
.zw Zimbabwe

Part Five sees us journeying across the Indian Ocean to visit the continent of Asia. From the virtual land of little waving flags, see you next weekend.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Apologies to everyone for the late showing of the article this Saturday. This is in fact the first posted from my new laptop, a Toshiba C50-B-189 Satellite, which I only picked up this morning from the Argos store in Broadway, Stratford. My previous laptop, also a Toshiba Satellite, finally ‘handed in its notice’ after four years’ loyal service to myself and the Half-Eaten Mind. Indeed I established the blog as well as its associated sites on that very laptop, a C660 model. But now that baby has flown the nest to the great laptop scrapheap.

Previous Articles in the Series

Part 1 – North America

Part 2 – South America

Part 3 – Europe

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Pan-African colours” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-African_colours
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search/Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“2 africa-map” – Seeds of Hope, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/31617132@N06/3009598007
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

HEM GRAPHICS: Our new portfolio website

Last night, we decided to visit the Internet for an end of day jaunt….and came back with an awesome souvenir….a brand new website.

Introducing to you our latest presence on the web, a slick, contemporary and attractive portfolio website, known as HEM Graphics’.

The purpose of the website is to act as a portfolio for the images and graphics I have created for this blog over the past three years, including our famous header images and idents created for individual pages. In addition, HEM Graphics will also serve as a depository for images from contributors and for interesting GIFs that have been featured on the Half-Eaten Mind, such as those in our Diwali specials and the recent forum flag icons I have been blogging about on our Animated ccTLD flags series (the Virtual Vexillology articles).

The website was created using Weebly, a free website-hosting service with a unique drag-and-drop approach to making webpages. Weebly was set-up in 2006 by three university students as part of an internet portfolio project and by 2012 had 20 million users and was receiving 1 million unique visitors per month.

 

HEM Graphics Weebly pizap.com14330233749031

 

 

Although I am quite good with computers, I had very little website design or formatting experience, so I found Weebly a relief in that they pretty much make things stupidly easy for you. You begin by choosing a site URL (address), which for the free version always ends in ‘.weebly.com’, then you choose a template, and after that is registered, you can begin customising your site’s appearance with text, titles, images and even Flash/HTML widgets.

The HEM Graphics site has a minimalist vibe in order to make the graphics I will be featuring on it more prominent and noticeable. Unusually for a website the page menu and blog logo are on the left hand side, and just like the blog, the header image is of that famous dawn photo of the tower blocks in Plaistow, London I took years back in 2007.

The website is still in the development stage, but so far I have made some astonishing progress in the hour or so I spent setting everything up. I have organised the home, about and contact pages and also uploaded all my ‘homemade’ graphics to a dedicated page for them. I also made some time to add some fun functionality to the place, installing a revolving globe from RevolverMaps that records visitor locations and a clock widget to make things business-like.

I am also moving the links to the two Paper.li e-newsletters along with this new site to a dedicated page on the blog, provisionally titled ‘HEM Links’.

The new website can be viewed at :-

http://hemgraphics.weebly.com/

Let me know in the comments section what you think, and any suggestions or improvements you may have. If you are a Weebly user yourself, what were your impressions of the site and its usability?

 

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

 

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Weebly” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weebly
IMAGE CREDITS:
piZap http://pizap.com/
“Showing (20) Pics For (Blue Fading Background Tumblr)…” – pixshark.com http://pixshark.com/blue-fading-background-tumblr.htm

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 3 – Europe)

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

Part 3 of the Half-Eaten Mind’s series on animated ccTLD flags now arrives on the shores of Europe, a linguistically and historically diverse continent with a rich history of flags too. Many of Europe’s flags have religious and heraldric meanings, as it was in this continent that such devices as coats-of-arms and banners for military use were developed.

The world’s oldest flag design still in continuous use is the “Dannebrog“, the national flag of the kingdom of Denmark. This Christian inspired flag, featuring a white long-armed cross on a red field has a pedigree of several hundred years, and took its present form design in 1625. The world’s only square national flag is found here, representing Switzerland.

Europe also has a much smaller claim to fame. It is the continent where the Half-Eaten Mind operates from.

We bring you the waving flags of the European continent, including a nod to one of the most impressive projects of intra-national unity and co-operation in recent history – the European Union. You may notice that the flags for Jersey and Guernsey look different from the others. I was unable to find the TLD flags for the two Channel Islands so made do with close alternatives from one the websites I extracted some of the flags from. This also applies to the other crown dependency of the Isle of Man.

Interestingly enough, on an Arabic language forum, I came across two strange examples, one with a Scottish flag but the TLD for Spain (.es) (some sources attribute the flag to Tenerife island in the Canaries, which would explain the .es tag) and a blank ‘white flag’ with no text. On the Maple Royals forum, for players of the MapleStory online game, I came across a user whose forum signature had a previously undiscovered forum flag for the province of Friesland (Frisia or Fryslan) in the Netherlands. Its distinctive flag of red hearts and blue diagonal stripes on a white field soon found a home in my collection. It appears to have been made by someone influenced by the original designer and is not one of the original set of flags that at the end of the last decade.

During further research, I found forum postings from 2008 on Xenforo, another forum development platform, where a user named SchmitzIT made available some attachments for downloading of these GIFs, alongside instructions on how to power them up for your own forum. He attributed these flags to a web graphic designer with the tag name ‘Cobro’, who was working with VBulletin, another popular provider of forum software solutions. Sadly, despite registering for the site, I was unable to get access to the downloads. The user had also made available a single sample of the flags, that one being for the U.S.A.

I have included most of those flags here too.

EUROPE

(c) Wikipedia

ad - Andorra

al - Albania

at - Austria

ax - Aland Islands

ba - Bosnia and Herzegovina

be - Belgium

bg - Bulgaria

by - Belarus

ch - Switzerland

cs - Czechoslovakia

cy - Cyprus

cz - Czech Republic

de - Germany

dk - Denmark

ee - Estonia

es - Spain

eu - Europe

fi - Finland

fo - Faroe Islands

fr - France

fr - Fryslan

gb - Great Britain

gg - Guernsey

gi - Gibraltar

gr - Greece

hr - Croatia

hu - Hungary

ie - Ireland

im - Isle of Man

is - Iceland

it - Italy

je - Jersey

ks - Kosovo

li - Liechtenstein

lt - Lithuania

lu - Luxembourg

lv - Latvia

mc - Monaco

md - Moldova

me - Montenegro

mk - Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of)

mt - Malta

nl - Netherlands

no - Norway

pl - Poland

pt - Portugal

ro - Romania

rs - Serbia

ru - Russian Federation

se - Sweden

si - Slovenia

sk - Slovakia

sm - San Marino

su - Soviet Union

ua - Ukraine

uk - England

uk - Scotland

uk - United Kingdom

uk - Wales

va - Vatican City State

yu - Yugoslavia

000 - Scotland

.ad Andorra
.al Albania
.at Austria
.ax – Aland Islands
.ba Bosnia and Herzegovina
.be Belgium
.bg Bulgaria
.by Belarus
.ch Switzerland
.cs Czechoslovakia
.cy Cyprus
.cz Czech Republic
.de Germany
.dk Denmark
.ee Estonia
.es Spain
.eu Europe (European Union)
.fi Finland
.fo Faroe Islands
.fr France
.fr Frisia
.gb Great Britain
.gg Guernsey
.gi Gibraltar
.gr Greece
.hr Croatia
.hu Hungary
.ie Ireland
.im Isle of Man
.is Iceland
.it Italy
.je Jersey
.ks Kosovo
.li Liechtenstein
.lt Lithuania
.lu Luxembourg
.lv Latvia
.mc Monaco
.md Moldova
.me Montenegro
.mk Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of)
.mt Malta
.nl Netherlands
.no Norway
.pl Poland
.pt Portugal
.ro Romania
.rs Serbia
.ru Russian Federation
.se Sweden
.si Slovenia
.sk Slovakia
.sm San Marino
.su Soviet Union
.ua Ukraine
.uk England
.uk Scotland
.uk United Kingdom
.uk Wales
.va Vatican City State
.yu Yugoslavia

 For Part Four, we cross the Mediterranean Sea and get ourselves acquainted with the many colourful flags of Africa.

Previous Articles in the Series

Part 1 – North America

Part 2 – South America

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UPDATE: I managed to find a Isle of Man ccTLD icon at the Live Members Only website.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Oldest continuously used national flag” – Guinness World Records http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-continuously-used-national-flag/
“[SchmitzIT] Animated Userflags” – SchmitzIT, xenFORO/XenForo Ltd. (27 January 2011) https://xenforo.com/community/threads/schmitzit-animated-userflags.11203/
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“Template:European Australian map” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:European_Australian_map
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags
“صفحة البلاغ ترحب بكم” – balagh, page2 rss (20 October 2012) http://page2rss.com/abccc22de5fb9e5a6addc8c4618b3827
“Storage loss” – mecheez, MapleRoyals/XenForo Ltd. (14 August 2014) http://mapleroyals.com/forum/threads/storage-loss.12851/
“Forza Inter Forums” – ForzaInterForums.com http://forzainterforums.com/forum.php
“Live Members Only – Index page” – Live Members Only http://www.livemembersonly.com/

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 2 – South America)

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

Part Two of our Animated ccTLD flags takes us to the other, hotter half of the Americas, namely South America. With the exception of a few nations, this continent is predominately Spanish speaking, and many of the flags shown here date from the independence of these countries from Spain during the 18th and 19th centuries.

As before, the countries and their flag icons will be listed in alphabetical order of TLD.

ccTLDs are based on a system developed by internet institution ICANN. The ICANN is a global forum in charge of managing some of the Net’s core technical elements, such as the domain-name system. Individual two-digit ccTLDs are managed by different organisations or statutory bodies, known as ‘country-code managers’. You can see a list of which managers run which ccTLDs at this link.

SOUTH AMERICA

(c) Wikimedia Commons

ar - Argentina

bo - Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

br - Brazil

cl - Chile

co - Colombia

ec - Ecuador

fk - Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

gs - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

gy - Guyana

pe - Peru

py - Paraguay

sr - Suriname

uy - Uruguay

ve - Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

.ar Argentina
.bo Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
.br Brazil
.cl Chile
.co Colombia
.ec Ecuador
.fk Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
.gs South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
.gy Guyana
.pe Peru
.py Paraguay
.sr Suriname
.uy Uruguay
.ve Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Next weekend, we take a long trip across the great Atlantic Ocean to visit Europe.

Previous Articles in the Series

Part 1 – North America

This article written at the HEM office in Plaistow and published in Seven Kings, LB Redbridge.

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ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Resources for Country Code Managers” – ICANN/Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/cctlds-21-2012-02-25-en
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“File:”Political South America” CIA World Factbook.jpg” – Central Intelligence Agency, Wikimedia Commons (5 April 2014) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Political_South_America%22_CIA_World_Factbook.jpg
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 1 – North America)

HEM Animated ccTLD Flags Ident pizap.com14318621928841

For every country, and indeed many various territories, dependencies, states, provinces etc. one of the most important elements of self-representation, self-recognition and identity is a humble piece of cloth. The flag, for governments and patriots alike, is more than that though. It is a symbol of their identity, replete with symbolism, sacrifice and values. Many flags have become well-known enough that even the most geographically challenged can match the national flag to the nation it flies under. Everyone knows the Union Flag (Union Jack) is for Britain, the Tricouleur represents France, and the Star-Spangled Banner flutters over the States.

A few years ago, one enterprising graphic designer decided to make full use of the internet’s awesome superpowers and marry the thousand-year old tradition of the flag with a very recent innovation – the top-level domain – to produce a set of virtual animated flags.

A top-level domain is essentially a part of a website’s address, or URL, which identifies a website’s host origin or its function. For example, .com means that the site is engaged in commerce (usually), while .ac (or .edu in the US) means an educational institution.

Top-level domains with a regional flavour are used to represent the hosting nation of a website where that site would be registered. For example, .uk would be for a site registered in the United Kingdom, while a site URL ending in .mu means that the site is based on a Mauritian server.

(c) Wikipedia

These regional domains are officially known as ccTLDs (country code top-level domains). They are generally used or reserved for a country, a sovereign state, or a dependent territory. They are always two letters long and usually are formed from letters in the country’s name, though not always the one in English. While .us is for the United States and .in is for India, Algeria’s ccTLD is .dz (Al-Djazair) and Switzerland’s one is .ch (for its full Latin name, Confœrderatio Helvetica).

The first registered ccTLDs to come into service were .us, .uk, and .il, all registered in 1985. In 1986, .au, .de, .fi, .fr, .jp, .kr, .nl and .se were registered. This was long before the Internet as we now it even came into being.

The story behind these animated flags is shrouded in the depths of mystery. The only solid lead I could find from my research was on a forum post from Forumotion, a company which offers forum setup and development services. A member of Forumotion’s staff, nicknamed Hancki, who also moonlighted there as a forum helper, started a thread in which he/she showed off some animated flags they had allegedly made. They made no comment on how or even if they did create the ccTLD flag GIFs but the other forum participants loved them and thought they were great.

That first selection of little waving flags appeared in April of 2010, and since then have become hot property for forum lovers and gamers looking to add some patriotic sparkle to their signatures. Numerous forum owners from Pakistan to the States have snapped them up, and now for the first time, the Half-Eaten Mind has brought them together in one place, free for use to represent your homeland.

With the help of a list of ccTLDs provided by Wikipedia and another source, I found other forums that had these distinctive animated flags, and by changing the part of the forum’s URL with the country name or ccTLD, was able to collect a flag of nearly every country and territory on Earth. It was just like FlagCounter, only with more fluttering.

To celebrate the amazing design of these flags, the Half-Eaten Mind is producing a special series of articles showcasing the flags of the world’s nations, with their relevant ccTLD. Due to the size of the project, I will be covering a different part of the world every weekend, with links to previous articles in the series. Part One will cover the continent of North America. This geographical region includes Central America and the Caribbean. I will then work my way eastwards and southwards.

Below each set of flags, arranged vertically in the page’s centre due to WordPress’ horrifically fiddly HTML editor, are a list of the featured countries, alphabetically by their ccTLD. Each country name has a link to its government’s website or the nearest equivalent.

Some flags, such as that of Libya are out of date. Some newer countries, such as South Sudan and some dependencies are also absent. There are also some flags of now defunct countries, such as Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, that were issued ccTLDs in the Eighties and early Nineties, which I have also included.

By the way, vexillology is the study of flags, their designs, meanings and history.

NORTH AMERICA

ag - Antigua and Barbuda

ai - Anguilla

an - Netherlands Antilles

aw - Aruba

bb - Barbados

bm - Bermuda

bs - Bahamas

bz - Belize

ca - Canada

cr - Costa Rica

cu - Cuba

dm - Dominica

do - Dominican Republic

gd - Grenada

gl - Greenland

gt - Guatemala

hn - Honduras

ht - Haiti

jm - Jamaica

kn - Saint Kitts and Nevis

ky - Cayman Islands

lc - Saint Lucia

ms - Montserrat

mx - Mexico

ni - Nicaragua

nl - Curacao

pa - Panama

pr - Puerto Rico

sv - El Salvador

tt - Trinidad and Tobago

us - United States of America

vc - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

vi - Virgin Islands (U.S.)

.ag Anguilla and Barbuda
.ai Anguilla
.an Netherlands Antilles (no longer exists)
.aw Aruba
.bb Barbados
.bm Bermuda
.bs Bahamas
.bz Belize
.ca Canada
.cr Costa Rica
.cu Cuba
.dm Dominica
.do Dominican Republic
.gd Grenada
.gl Greenland
.gt Guatemala
.hn Honduras
.ht Haiti
.jm Jamaica
.kn Saint Kitts and Nevis
.ky Cayman Islands
.lc Saint Lucia
.ms Montserrat
.mx Mexico
.ni Nicaragua
.nl Curaçao
.pa Panama
.pr Puerto Rico
.sv El Salvador
.tt Trinidad and Tobago
.us United States of America
.vc Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
.vi Virgin Islands (U.S.)
(c) Wikimedia Commons

Next weekend, we head south to the other part of the American landmass. Stay tuned.

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SOURCES:
“Country code top-level domain” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_code_top-level_domain
“Some animated flags” – Hancki, Forum of the Forums/Forumotion/phpBB (9 April 2010) http://help.forumotion.com/t68097-some-animated-flags
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“ccTLD” – Wikipédia (Portuguese)/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/CcTLD
“PHOTO MOMENT: Old Mauritian coins” – RedDodo.com, netanimations.net via Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind (7 September 2013) https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/pm-old-mauritian-coins/
“File:Map of North America.svg” – Cacahuate, Texugo, Joelf, Globe-trotter & Piet-c, Wikimedia Commons (2 August 2008) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_North_America.svg
“Image and Video Post-Processing With WebGL” – Nicolas Garcia Belmonte, Dev.Opera/Opera Software ASA (17 October 2012) https://dev.opera.com/articles/webgl-post-processing/
“Flag Icons” – Webshocker, dribbble/Dribbble LLC. (10 May 2014) https://dribbble.com/shots/1546961-Flag-Icons
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

 

GIF MOMENT: Easter 2015

The season of new beginnings, spring flowers and chocolate eggs returns upon us again. As the days get longer, the temperature picks up (sort of) and the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs come out of hibernation, Easter is now here.

OK, well the weather hasn’t been that great. Some sunshine yes, but also rain, combined with mad and roaring winds like you wouldn’t believe. In Northolt, north west London, wind speeds there on the last day of April reached 60 mph. It’s calmed down a lot though now. The streets around my neighbourhood have practically been blasted clean.

This Easter, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you (or should that be ‘springs at you’) our great gallery of Easter-themed GIFs for 2015. From me to all of you, I wish you a very Happy Easter!!!

What will you all be doing at Easter?

(c) Anjali Shah / piZap. Republication copyright solely under the Half-Eaten Mind & Vijay Shah.
(c) A. Shah / piZap.

Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, “An Easter Hymn”

(c) Easter-2015.ORG
(c) Easter-2015.ORG
Via LoveThisPic

 

(c) Easter Wallpapers 2015
(c) Valentine’s Day Wallpapers & Images
(c) Valentine’s Day Wallpapers & Images

 

(c) ARG! Cartoon Animation LLC
(c) HAPPY EASTER DAY 2015

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Quotations for Easter” – Welcome to The Quote Garden! http://www.quotegarden.com/easter.html
IMAGE CREDITS:
Anjali Shah & piZap.
“{*HOT*} Top & Best Easter Gifs 2015” – Easter-2015.ORG/Easter 2015 http://www.easter-2015.org/2015/03/hot-top-best-easter-gifs-2015.html
“Happy Easter” – LoveThisPic http://www.lovethispic.com/image/85351/happy-easter
“Easter Animated Wallpapers 2015, Easter GIF Images” – Amit & Manoj Kumar, Easter Wallpapers 2015 http://www.easterwallpapers2015.com/2015/03/easter-animated-wallpapers-2015.html
“Easter Animated Photos | Gif Pictures” – Valentine’s Day Wallpapers & Images (27 March 2015) http://valentinesdaywallpaperimages.com/easter-animated-photos-gif-pictures.html
“Easter Bunny in Eggmobile” – Rebekah Failla & Artie Romero, Easter Cartoons/ARG! Cartoon Animation LLC http://toons.artie.com/easter/
“EASTER IMAGES FREE DOWNLOAD { EASTER WALLPAPERS }” – HAPPY EASTER DAY 2015, EASTER EGGS IMAGES, EASTER SUNDAY 2015,HAPPY EASTER DAY QUOTES (17 February 2015) http://happyeastersunday2015.net/tag/easter-2015-wallpapers-download-in-4k/