Dreams are Weird

I haven’t had much of a chance to catch up on a few things I was hoping to post about, but I had the most unusual experience Tuesday morning. It was so strange, in fact, that I can’t help myself from sharing it with you.

I have almost always had trouble sleeping. As far back as I can remember, I tossed and turned most school nights for whatever silly reasons kept a young boy of that age awake. I suppose it would have been (and may still be) diagnosed as some form of insomnia, but I confess that sometimes–sometimes–it is worth more to me than all the gold in the world.

Monday night/Tuesday morning was one such experience. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t get any sleep because every thirty minutes I was waking up laughing. I’m not talking about a foggy-minded chuckle, either. You know the sort: You’ve stayed up far later than any sane person would otherwise do and everything is just stupidly hialrious. Except it totally wasn’t like that at all. I think I woke up laughing at least 5 times with a loud cackle. Worse, it was my laughter that woke me up. Every time. I really wish I could remember what I was dreaming about each of those times, but I can only recall one. It made absolutely no sense, but the premise was so ridiculous I couldn’t keep myself from laughing.

It would’ve been classified as a partial flash back dream. I know you have all had this sort from time to time: You’re back in school, you’re sitting in a familiar class, maybe the instructor is someone you know–or someone you don’t–and you haven’t any idea what you’re doing there. You’re just there. I don’t recall a great deal about the class other than it was a rather peculiar combination of some room I vaguely recall from high school mixed with about three other locations at two different college campuses. I also recall that it was a mixed class–military, older folks, and younger folks all tossed in together.

Oh, and the marine I was sitting behind in this dream was ranting about some enlisted army man he couldn’t stand. That’s where this dream begins to break down into hilariousness. Not only was the marine complaining out loud, but before he was finished, he pulled a banjo out of thin air and started singing his disgust with his compatriot from another branch of the services. Weirder still, in the middle of his melodic rant about some poor army serviceman, two other guys in the class room pulled out their own banjos and started singing backup vocals. The entire scene was so outrageous and so silly that I started laughing. And laughing. And laughing.

Then I woke up–still laughing.

Sleep deprivation sucks. However, I have to confess something to you: If you’re going to be sleep deprived, it’s just way too awesome to be deprived because you can’t stop laughing in your sleep.

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Favicons and You

First of all, I want to tell you something very important:

No matter what you’ve read about free or open source tools to create favicons, it’s all wrong. Forget it. Ignore it. Listen to me.

Good, got that?

A little background: I wasted a good two or three hours this Saturday hunting down decent tools to convert transparent PNGs to favicons. Nothing would work. I tried png2ico (which I used back in 2002), icoutils, and xpm2wico (XPMs don’t support 8 bit alpha–just so you know), and the results were less than spectacular. icoutils tried to work, but I was left with one tiny image that contained tinier copies of itself vertically aligned, mangled, and contorted. It looked terrible, and I have no idea why I couldn’t get it to export even a single 16×16 icon that didn’t look like a Russian matryoshka doll.

I found the answer. The answer is to use IcoFX. It’s Windows only, but it works great under an XP virtual machine. Best of all it supports 8 bit transparency, and the output looks fantastic. I highly recommend this little app, and I suggested sending the author a donation if you use it.

I’m really disappointed about two things: 1) That IcoFX doesn’t show up under any search related to favicons (instead you get crummy online converters that don’t work) and 2) that you have to specifically search for icon editors. Seriously, people! Stop linking to horrible, awful, worthless online converters and start linking to IcoFX instead! Those online converters are absolute rubbish, and all of the F/OSS apps that generate ICOs don’t work well if you’re dealing with 8 bit transparency. IcoFX is the only app that works and works well. I can’t stress this enough, and because I wasted so much time chasing dead ends looking for favicon utilities, I hope I can save you some time. Don’t bother with anything but this tool. It’s free, it’s fast, and it just works.

Spread the word about this little app, not nonsense about tools that are almost 10 years old. Oh, and those online converters? Forget it.

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