I moved both my (formerly free) hosting provider and domain. Read more below!
Often wondered how you can customize the image that appears when your website is shown in a tab or link? It is called a favicon. Many image formats, like .png and .gif (even animated gifs!) are supported but not by all browsers. The .ico format is most universal.
My problem was: How to turn an existing jpg image of 167×169 pixels into a .ico favicon? I tried different image editing programs until I found IconLover, which does exactly that. It is free for 30 days and a great little tool to remember. The .ico file also contains the image in larger resolutions, which become visible if you drag the link (in the address bar) to the desktop. Then suddenly the icon appears in a larger resolution.
When I get around to it, I can make the 16×16 icon better, but for now is a quick and easy solution.
If you want to experience the synesthesia experiment, click on Color Letters to the right! (To undo this, do page reload or F5.)
My colleagues Olympia Colizoli, Romke Rouw, and I just published an article in Plos ONE called Pseudo-synesthesia through reading colored letters. Many people (up to 1% of the population) see specific letters or numbers always in color, even if they are printed in black. This is not just a thought or association but actual perception: they really see it and experience it as very real. It is effortless and remains constant over time. This experience of an extra sensation is called synesthesia.
Humans learn to read in the course of several years, so we argued that there must be some kind of learning process linking a letter to a specific color. To test this, we asked 15 participants to read an entire book with some of the letters printed in a different color (e.g., we printed all lower-case letters ‘t‘ in red). That is a lot of words (over 100,000 on average) and a lot of colored letters. Our thought was that through being exposed many times to red ‘t’s and blue ‘s’, etc., our participants would develop a type of ‘beginning’ synesthesia. You can experience how it looks by clicking on the bookmarklet bar on the top right of this page.
This is pretty much what we found. When asked what color the letter ‘t’ had in a word like table (i.e., with a red ‘t’), participants were faster to respond correctly, if they had read books with red ‘t’s, but slower when they had read books with blue ‘t’s. Participants also started thinking about the letters in color. Most of our them liked reading in color and several asked for a second book to read.
Is this really synesthesia? No, at least not yet, which is why we called it pseudo-synesthesia. It has some of the characteristics, but most importantly participants did not experience a strong and automatic perception of the colors associated with letters. It is not impossible, however, that with continued reading such perceptions would eventually develop, especially in particpants who are already have some type of predisposition. We do believe the effect is solid, as we have now replicated it with a different group of participants. Now, we just have to see how far we can take it.
I am blown away by this. In a few hours I obtained a completely free domain, murre.tk, free hosting with 2freehosting.com and installed the WordPress blog you are now reading! I seemed to remember it was possible, and after looking around for a while, it appears that I remembered correctly.
The free domain name can be obtained at dot.tk. Although .tk it is not a popular or very well-known top-level domain, like .com or .org, it is respectable enough. And we are talking completely free here, without advertising etc. You can adjust the name servers and A records, which you will need to do if you want to use it with your free account at 2freehosting.com.
If you go to 2freehosting, a brief sign-up procudure with e-mail verification will get you on your way. There is a fairly complete control panel with many features you would find in a for-pay hosting-provider, such as e-mail management, file access, and automatic installation of popular content-management systems like WordPress (which I am using here), Drupal, Joomla, etc. It also has the learning management system Moodle and various e-commerce web stores like Zen Cart.
Documentation is quite good and a well-placed message pointed me right to Accounts -> Details, where I could find the IP address to copy into the A records in the DNS management screen once logged in into my free account at dot.tk. After entering it and waiting a few minutes, murre.tk was mapped to a default place holder page at 2freehosting.
In the control panel at 2freehosting, I could then go to the sidebar menu Websites -> Auto Installer and install WordPress with one click, though you do have to fill in an administrator user name and password for secure access of the WordPress system. I installed WordPress in the root, murre.tk, but you can also install it in a folder (e.g., murre.tk/blog). In that case, you still need to make a home age that links to your blog. Included with the free hosting are 75 pre-made home page styles in the Website -> Website Builder, which could form the basis for you own home page.
Once WordPress had been installed, I went to Appearance ->Themes and installed a few different themes, just to try them out. New themes are easily found (look for the right tab on top of the page) and have a one-click install as well. Most allow some customizing.
Finally, I went to Appearance -> Widgets and removed some of the default widgets from the right sidebar. I went to Plugins and installed the Simple Image Plugin, which adds a Simple Image widget to the Widget menu. This widget holds the Jaap comics character image.
And so, in a few hours it is possible to build a completely functional blogging site that can be fully customized (if you want to put in the time to do this) and even has its own custom URL, without paying anything.
On 17 July 2012, I was not blown away by the message on the image below. My site at murre.tk had become unreachable. Was I slashdotted? No. The number of visitors was actually quite low still (i.e., normal numbers for a new site). I put it down to the hosting being free and the company providing it arbitrarily limiting CPU time to extremely tight levels. Sadly, I can no longer recommend 2freehosting.com. I moved my site to my old stand-by host bluehost.com. I also started using murre.com again, though there is really nothing wrong with the .tk top-level domain. I do expect that google ranks it slower and lower, but I have not evidence (yet) to substantiate this.