Data is not meaning – but a web badge

6. Januar 2011 um 00:57 3 Kommentare

I’m am sure that Douglas Adams and John Lloyd had a word for it: you know exactly what you mean, but not how to call it. Recently I tried to find information about : A particular kind of “web banner”, “button”, or “badge” with specific size, border, and two parts. I finally found out, that it is a 80×15 web badge as introduced by Antipixel in 2002. A helpful description of the format is given by ZwahlenDesign, who also points to two online badge creation tools: Brilliant Button Maker and Button Maker. Note that the tools use “Button” instead of “Badge” to refer to the same thing.

I created a web badge to promote a simple philosophical web standard: data is not meaning* Here is the data as 177 bytes hexdump:

89 50 4E 47 0D 0A 1A 0A 00 00 00 0D 49 48 44 52 00 00 00 50 00 00 00 0F 01 03 00 00 00 49 07 DA CC 00 00 00 01 73 52 47 42 00 AE CE 1C E9 00 00 00 06 50 4C 54 45 FF FF FF 00 00 00 55 C2 D3 7E 00 00 00 59 49 44 41 54 08 D7 63 F8 0F 07 0C 0D 0C 50 C0 C8 B0 FF FF FF 0F D8 99 0D 10 E6 8E CF 7D 05 2D 7E 86 42 2E 85 0C BB 73 EF 6E 7E 76 C2 73 52 4A 23 C3 EE C4 3B 06 AD 7E 95 41 21 1B C1 A2 4F 3C 3C 8D 7C 26 32 EC 78 7B 77 43 8B 9F A7 90 4B 22 B2 09 D8 AD 40 72 03 C2 65 00 CA 67 45 A7 86 69 B7 81 00 00 00 00 49 45 4E 44 AE 42 60 82

If data was meaning, that should be all to say. But data is just a stream of bits, bytes, numbers, characters, strings, nodes, triples, or sometimes even words. You have to make use of it in a meaningful way. For instance you could give the data above to a specific piece of software like your web browser. Here comes the data again:

This PNG image was the smallest I was able to create with optimized colors, LZW compression etc. There is another piece of data, that is only eight bits more (178 bytes) and looks the same as GIF image:

I could also express the monochrome badge with one bit per pixel. That makes 80×15 = 1200 bits = 150 bytes uncompressed. The meaning could be the same, but not when only looking at your browser (because this piece of software cannot handle my “ad-hoc monochrome 80×15 web badge format”).

I also created a version with color. Feel free to use and modify as you like. In this case the PNG with 198 bytes is slightly larger than the GIF with 196 bytes.



* I was suprised that there were only seven Google hits for this phrase, none of them with the same meaning (sic!) that I try to express by this article. The badge was inspired by this important warning sign.

P.S: Enough data philosophy, time for music. There is so much more than one and zero and one and zero and one!

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  1. Content and form are intertwingled. :) Meaning comes out somehow.

    Kommentar by Jodi Schneider — 6. Januar 2011 #

  2. hm, short enough to put it into a “data:”-URI (which is a very strange thing by itself) :-)

    Kommentar by hw — 6. Januar 2011 #

  3. Good idea! The data:-URI also contains a mime type, but don’t expect that mime type have a unique meaning ;-)


    Kommentar by jakob — 6. Januar 2011 #

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