GOOGLE SEO: What are the SEO trends in 2017?

London, UNITED KINGDOM
MEHFUZ HUSSAIN (writer) with VIJAY SHAH (editor)

 

This article was written by Mehfuz Hussain, a digital marketing specialist based in London with expertise in online marketing concepts and Google Analytics.

Search Engine Optimisation has seen many changes in 2016 thanks to Google. From the launch of its ambitious AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project in February 2016, Google has shaken up the way traditional SEO worked. Understandably, Google knows well that the best way to dominate the industry is to be aware of how search engines are changing, and strategising SEO and content techniques accordingly. The world of SEO continues to evolve at high speed. While some SEO techniques have been a staple for several years, there will be many new ones that you will have to pay attention to. Here are some of the game-changing trends to help you stay ahead this year.

 

Photo credit: BigOakInc.com

 

1. Mobile-first Approach by Businesses

With ongoing improvements in the mobile computing field, browsing on mobiles has become equivalent to desktop browsing if not more In many countries, mobile browsing is more popular and dominant than via traditional desktops and laptops. In the last few years, the plethora of new smartphones with internet capabilities has changed the way search engine look at them. Remember Mobilegeddon?

A few months ago, Google said, “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” This influenced their latest search algorithm which prioritised ‘responsive’ websites at the cost of older, mobile-unfriendly sites.

So, in 2017, your top priority is to separate your desktop and mobile measurement plans to account for the fundamental differences between mobile and desktop behaviour.

 

2. Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Google Rank Brain

There is no doubt, Google’s main focus in 2017 is on Artificial Intelligence. If you followed the Google I/O event 2016, most announcements were related to AI. Google also said that the speech recognition errors have reduced from 25 to 8 percent. It’s been officially named Google’s third-most important ranking factor. Voice search will grow even more in 2017, with better voice recognition and understanding.

 

3. Infographics

Infographics make complex information eye-catching, shareable and easily digestible. An image coupled with information tends to stay in the minds of readers. Such content generates more social shares and also generates leads. Of course, your content should also be suitable enough to add Infographics to it, and they can really make it pop.

 

4. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) takes centre stage

A great way to ensure better user experience is switching over to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). More brands are using this option as Google also has begun to favour the use of AMP. It contains three sections – AMP HTML, AMP JS, and Google AMP Cache. Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) allows websites to make pages equipped for loading right away onto mobile screens. Interestingly, sites that have switched over to AMP are given more visibility with a special icon in Google searches.

 

 

5. Branding gets personal

There is no denying the power of personal branding. If used strategically, it can be a powerful tool in ensuring the success of SEO campaigns. Even social media platforms like Facebook refine their algorithms to favour individual posts over branded posts. Also, once you have a personal brand in place, it gets much easier to boost user trust and engagement. This, in turn, will up the traffic to your site.

 

6. HTTPS Everywhere

Google has inducted https as a ranking factor in its algorithm. Since then many companies hurriedly made the transition from HTTP to HTTPS in order to protect their own and their users’ privacy. It helps even more if there is money transactions happening on the website (e-commerce) and gives consumers extra confidence about their privacy. Let’s expect more websites switching to HTTPS than ever before in the history of the Web.

 

7. Focus on Content Curation

Though many people do not realise it, content marketing and SEO needs to work together for better results and visibility. Include all types of content in the mix: press releases and newsletters as well as articles and blog posts. A good content mix will help you increase backlinks on authority websites and establish you as an expert in your field. This strategy will help you boost your business to the top of Google’s SERPs.

 

2017 will see a massive hike in Internet usage. People are more concerned about the content they read. Now is the right time to prepare a well-developed strategy to survive in the market and beat the competition. As an SEO marketer, you have to be prepared for changes. Keep an close eye on SEO trends in 2017. All the best everyone!

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Google SEO Magnifying Glass” – BigOakFlickr, Flickr (1 July 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/31682982@N03/27940989741
“Free illustration: Seo, Web Page, Responsive – Free Image on Pixabay – 2016484” – Templune, pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/seo-web-page-responsive-web-design-2016484/
Advertisements

ONLINE TRANSLATION STUDY: English-language websites becoming more popular for foreign language speakers

gb

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via the Open Business Council

A recent survey by an online translation company has discovered that English-language websites are becoming more and more frequented by speakers of continental European languages, particularly French and German, the Open Business Council reported this past Thursday.

One Hour Translation, an online translation agency which self-describes as the world’s largest in this sector, and which provides translation services to global e-commerce companies, conducted a research study of 4,000 e-commerce translation projects during late November 2016. The projects stretched from a period beginning in 2015, and up until November this year. The agency’s research discovered that the first language of choice for translation of Anglophone sites was French, with German coming in at second place.

 

 

Several international tongues were examined in the study. The analysis ranked target languages according to the rate of translation projects opened for them, against the total annual number of translation projects for English-language e-commerce websites.

In 2016, translations from English to French ranked first, with 13.5% of the total relevant projects, followed closely by German, with a rate of 13.4%. Unexpectedly, Dutch was placed at third, with 11.3% of the projects. The languages that ranked 4th to 10th in 2016 were, respectively, Italian (10%), Korean (9.8%), Japanese and Spanish (both 9.3%), Polish (8.5%), Norwegian (7.8%) and Swedish (7.1%).

French and German also topped the 2015 ranking, with 19% and 17% respectively. However, in 2015, Spanish was ranked third (15%), Dutch fourth (12%) and Italian fifth (9%). Ranks number 6 to 10 were Swedish (8%), Korean (7%), Norwegian (6%), Polish (5%) and Japanese (2%), respectively.

One Hour Translation’s chief marketing officer and co-founder Yaron Kaufman commented on the study results “…the fact that the French and German markets top the priorities of global e-commerce players immediately below the English-speaking markets is not surprising, since Germany and France are the strongest economies in Continental Europe. French and German are also spoken in other strong economies such as Canada, Switzerland and Austria. Dutch came third as a target language in 2016, compared to number 4 in 2015, and this strengthening demonstrates the resilience of the economy and purchasing power of the Netherlands compared to other European countries.”

Kaufman added: “Another notable fact is the sharp rise in the ranking of Japanese, which rose from number 10 in 2015 to number 6 in 2016. This development demonstrates that e-commerce players are also targeting the significant purchasing power of consumers in Japan.”

English is the most dominant language on the web, with more than half of sites written in that language. While English is widely used on the net due to its founding and dominance by Anglophone countries such as the U.S., other language communities like Chinese and French are also strong internet users. 

 

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
intelligentHQ.com, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/intelligentHQ
“English Language E-commerce Websites Target French German Dutch Markets” – Open Business Council (15 December 2016) http://www.openbusinesscouncil.org/2016/12/english-language-e-commerce-websites-target-french-german-dutch-markets/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:WMF Fundraiser 2011 Translation Project-1.jpg” – Victorgrigas, Wikimedia Commons (29 December 2011) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WMF_Fundraiser_2011_Translation_Project-1.jpg

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

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

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

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.

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

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.

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

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

 

PHOTO MOMENT: (Customisable road) signs of the times!!

A couple of months back, while completely bored out of my head and dealing with a set of itchy fingers, I decided to go on the Net and search for ‘do-it-yourself’ motorway (highway) signs that you could change the writing on to something of your choice. Not quite cute little kittens with balls of string, fair enough, but this was my inner trainspotter coming out to play…and nothing was stopping this old anorak!. Although I don’t and can’t drive myself, I’m often out and about in taxis, buses and the like, and often notice the road signs here in east London. For those of you based in the UK, you’ll know that we are crazy when it comes to filling our roads with signs of all sorts. We take safety…and not getting hopelessly lost….very seriously here.

One of the more unusual UK road signs, at the ...
One of the more unusual UK road signs, at the Magic roundabout in Swindon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the throes of my internet research, I stumbled across a few sites where you could churn out personalised signs at your pleasure, although disappointingly for me as a Brit, most of these signs were more oriented to the US side of things, and I couldn’t find much of the personalisable signage like the endless diagrams that grace the pages of your average driving theory book/Highway Code. It weren’t an issue though, and I soon began creating some cool signs, which are featured below in their original format. It’s a nice bit of fun for when you have nothing better to do and procrastination rears its ugly head. Find your way out of boredom, and remember, the destination is a whole bunch of laughs for you and your friends. Scroll down at the next sentence (satnav voice)…..

Make your own Highway Sign

(c) Atom Smasher
(c) Atom Smasher
Reading this while trapped in a traffic jam? Tailbacks for the next 10 miles?….hopefully the first of our recommended sign generators will switch all your happiness traffic lights to get-going green. Retro website Atom Smasher has a special adaptable widget where you can alter the message on this LED sign attached to a bridge over a U.S. motorway. You have four lines of space to enter text into, which is then re-imagined in little yellow lights that are the bane of every motorist. Delays…roadworks….overturned lorry…ah who cares?…I’m running for prime minister and giving old Davey Boy a run for his expenses. Even if your ambitions are more humble than mine, you can write a four-line message of your choice. Perhaps even email one to your boss to say you’re stuck in traffic. Check she has a sense of humour first though. I cannot accept any responsibility for anyone getting their ass fired.
The website runs under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License or similar attribution based licence which means you won’t get a lawsuit slapped on you if you decide to reproduce the picture on your site or blog. You have to download the picture though, so no hotlinking. While I’ve used the highway sign generator, there are a few others on the homepage to choose from to soup up your own petrol station, error message, and even Chinese restaurant and corporate office signs. Go wild!
http://atom.smasher.org/highway/

Road Traffic Signs

(c) Road Traffic Signs
(c) Road Traffic Signs
RTS is a website for DIY traffic signs using North American formats. Using the RTS custom traffic sign wizard, you can design your own traffic or warning signs with options for sign shapes, colours and sizes. Unlike the ‘Make a Highway Sign‘ featured above, this is an actual company that manufactures signs according to customers’ specs. They’ve been accredited by the US Better Business Bureau and were in the top 500 online commerce sites for the US and Canada in 2014. However you do not need to give any credit card details or buy anything in order to use the wizard.
I chose a warning sign with red striped border and lettering…and yes it is a warning….I can be a bit ‘unusual’ at times. Be warned haha!!. If you’re based in north America and want to make your virtual sign a reality as a cool thing to stick on a wall at home, you can order direct and securely after creating your sign with the wizard.
http://www.roadtrafficsigns.com/custom-road-signs

London Street Sign

(c) M. Kampf/MyFunStudio.com
(c) M. Kampf/MyFunStudio.com
Now for something from this side of the Pond. Web designer/developer Marijn Kampf runs a site called MyFunStudio.com, where you can create your own ironic London road name sign, just like those found in the touristy hotspots of the City of Westminster, Theatreland, and the like. The format for this sign has become as much of an icon representing London Town as our red buses, Beefeaters and the underground. Kampf’s site offers customisation using a choice of four popular fonts including the official ‘Streetsign‘ typeface used in the real deals ready to be teamed up with an overwhelming choice of colours. You can download the finished product as a standalone PDF or PNG file or go further and have your design transferred to all kinds of items from baby dummies and skateboards to leggings and doodle speakers. MyFunStudio also do a side range in Keep Calm posters and bored punters writing their names using elements from the periodic table. Very interesting and unique site, which is a good slice of the creativity my city is renowned for. These signs are highly recommended for blogs and sites on or operating from London as a way of showing some civic pride. North…South…East…..West London. The Half-Eaten Mind has got it covered!.
P.S. This website was originally used to create our new logo. Here I’ve gone somewhat narcissistic and named a major London throughfare after myself…well I’ve been in London virtually my entire life so surely naming rights are due. Anyone want to sign my Change.org petition?…Anyone?….*sad face*
http://www.myfunstudio.com/

Image Chef

(c) ImageChef Inc.
(c) ImageChef Inc.
While this is not strictly a road sign, it does give you an idea of how versatile the sign customisation technology found online can be. Image Chef, run by the company CyberLink, offers an option where you can take over a cinema’s backlit  entrance sign for your own star-studded premiere. Declare your love for your favourite movie star, name-check some friends or beg some popcorn off the VIP guests, this silver screen’s all yours buddy.
The Half-Eaten Mind is the star of the red carpet round here, but you can add your own blog’s name for that special 9 pm blockbuster post.
In keeping with the theme of this article, Image Chef also offers road signs, including one template that allows you to add text to an image to an artsy montage of Swiss signage and a standalone sign in the Midwestern desert. Check out my interpretations below. From my blog office to my world, you’re in for an interesting journey. Don’t feed the scorpions.
(c) Image Chef
(c) Image Chef
(c) Image Chef
(c) Image Chef
This fun site offers several images beyond flat metal pavement furniture that you can doctor easily to your heart’s delight. All look realistic with no stray pixels or shoddy resolution in the final image. Very useful for blogs, forum signatures and the like.
http://www.imagechef.com/

Homer Simpson Sign Generator 2015

(c) images-graphics-pics.com
(c) images-graphics-pics.com
From signs in the real world to signs in the animated world. The next pitstop in this road trip of virtual signage takes us to Springfield, U.S.A and the home of Homer J. Simpson and his merry band of yellow-skinned townsfolk. When not irritating the hell out of Mr. Burns in his day job of safety inspector at the nuclear power plant, our favourite donut-muncher likes to roam and pose with rictus grin around the streets of Springfield, scrawling over road signs in much the same way as his son writes lines on the board in the opening credits of every episode of hit cartoon The Simpsons.
More “woo-hoo!” than “d’oh!”, the sign generator at images-graphics-pics.com lets fans of America’s favourite dysfunctional family add a message to one of Springfield’s famous, if bland, signs. Just enter some text, choose your typeface style and size and then push the button to change the sign. Just like El Barto, you can make your mark on one of the world’s favourite mythical animated small towns. Just don’t let Chief Wiggum catch you.
http://www.images-graphics-pics.com/signs/signs/homer-simpson/

Good Fortune Cookie Generator

After our long journey you’re bound to be feeling a bit peckish. All that altering of road signs on the Information Superhighway certainly leaves a hole in the stomach. Why not head to your local Chinese takeaway for a slap-up meal of chicken chow mein and steaming dumplings? When the plates are cleared away and the bill’s paid, help yourself to a fortune cookie and find out what the future holds for you….
(c) images-graphics-pics.com
(c) images-graphics-pics.com
Well, for once, a fortune cookie that gives some decent advice. Want to create your own crunchy yet insightful snacks?. images-graphics-pics.com also offer a good fortune cookie generator, using the same principles as their Homer Simpson generator featured above. Simply choose a suitable font and colour and your message will be faithfully reproduced unscrolled on a platter of the finest produce this side of the Yangtze. Ideal for takeaway-loving couch potatos or for the Chinese New Year.
http://www.images-graphics-pics.com/

All these websites make great pictures for blogs and personal websites, and are perfect for emailing to work colleagues and friends for a bit of a laugh. Give one or two a try and see for yourself. Completely free of charge and very amusing to boot.

Thanks for reading this special Half-Eaten Mind presentation.

(c) V. Shah/M. Kampf/MyFunStudio

placeit

IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:Magic Roundabout Schild db.jpg” – Dickbauch, Wikimedia Commons (20 February 2005) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magic_Roundabout_Schild_db.jpg
“Make your own Highway Sign” – Atom Smasher http://atom.smasher.org/highway/
“Custom Road Signs – Design Yours in a Minute!” – Road Traffic Signs http://www.roadtrafficsigns.com/custom-road-signs
“London Street Sign” – Marijn Kampf, MyFunStudio.com http://www.myfunstudio.com/designs/lss/make?t=LONDON+STREET%0D%0ASIGN&tp=wc2&tl=Leading+to&tb=CITY+OF+WESTMINSTER
“Signs / Movie Theater Marquee” – image chef/ImageChef Inc./CyberLink http://www.imagechef.com/t/n8lf/Movie-Theater-Marquee
“Signs / Road Signs” – image chef/ImageChef Inc./CyberLink http://www.imagechef.com/t/j65a/Road-Signs
“Signs / Freeway Sign Blue” – image chef/ImageChef Inc./CyberLink http://www.imagechef.com/t/as06/Freeway-Sign-Blue
“Homer Simpson Sign Generator 2015:” – www.images-graphics-pics.com http://www.images-graphics-pics.com/signs/signs/homer-simpson/
“Good Fortune Cookie Generator (Change The Text)” – http://www.images-graphics-pics.com http://www.images-graphics-pics.com/signs/sign-generator/simple.asp?text=Confucius+says%3A%0D%0AYou+eat+too+many+cookies%21&align=Left&align2=Middle&fontsize=18&font=typewrtr&color=black&parody=Fortune+Cookie+Is+A+Cookie+That+Is+Baked+Around+A+Fortune+%28piece+of+paper+with+words+of+prophecy%29&rotate=-20&pic=good-fortune-cookie&x=-25&y=346&w=357&h=63
Placeit https://placeit.net/