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new and cool email signature

So what's the big deal about an email signature? It's for the fact I never use them. I've been anti-signature for as long as I can remember. But now I have one. I put a lot of thought into it (because I'm not about to have some generic thing everybody else has), and here's what I came up with:

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I apologize for the email address fuzz-out stuff, but spambots do "read" text from images, and I take no chances when it comes to spam prevention. If you want to email me just go here.

Anyway..

This was not easy to make. I had to hand-code it. Thankfully Hotmail has an HTML editing mode for email signatures.

The big deal here is the icons. I wanted something visual that looked good but didn't take up a huge amount of space, and linked to the stuff I use. The images are called from my domain which is fine becacuse they're tiny 1k files so it's not a huge bandwidth draw. You have to do it that way because when using web-based mail you cannot embed inline images in your signature.

If you want to embed icons like this, first get the icons (I use 24x24 but 32x32 would work fine) then host them on your own domain or a freebie image hoster like ImageShack, TinyPic or the like. Because they're so small it's very unlikely they would get pulled from the server. And even if they did, it's a quick edit of your sig and you're back in business. Then you have to manually edit your sig using HTML <a> and <img> tags like <a href="http://your-web.site"><img src="http://whatever.site/image.png" align="absmiddle"></a>. The absmiddle part means absolute middle so the text lines neatly with the vertical center with the images. This will work for Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. Gmail I don't know because there isn't any rich text editor for the sig part.

My favorite part about the sig is that it's one line. These types of sigs are the best kind. Everything you need to know is right there and instantly accessible. The understated look gives it a little bit of class, or at least I think it does. You could almost (repeat: almost) call it artistic. 🙂

Yes, I know I'm making a big deal about this, but bear in mind I do not use email signatures.

I'm using one now for the following reasons:

1. I'm favoring web-based mail over client-based these days.

I only use a sig when I know it will always look the same no matter where I use it. In the web-based interface, the sig is always the same. On a client (WL Mail in this case), it isn't. In fact, one of the very few things the WL Mail client doesn't sync with Hotmail accounts is the sig.

It's also becoming increasingly common for me to do all my mail stuff in the browser. I only jump to the WL Mail client now for periodic backups and not much else.

2. I know very few that use plain-text-only email.

My sig takes full advantage of HTML formatting. This is the reason I was able to add in fancy things like fonts, font sizes and small icon images.

There's less than a handful of people I know who purposely read mail plain-text style. The HTML'ers far outweigh the plain-text'ers, no question.

3. Bandwidth is not a concern any longer.

Were we still in a dialup world, my sig would be considered an abomination on the internet. A complete waste of bandwidth. An utter disregard for the speed of that which email travels.

We don't live in a dialup world. Everybody has broadband.

4. I can fit everything on one line.

Like I said above, the big deal is the icons. HTML formatting allows me to fit the entire sig on a nice short single line.

Wouldn't it be great if...

After creating this seemingly trivial thing, I started to wonder:

"How cool would it be if all email sigs were like this?"

Seriously, think about it. Wouldn't it be great if Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and other web-based mail had a built-in "one-liner" email sig creator that allowed you to drop in icons from a menu that easily linked to your social profiles/web sites/blogs/whatever?

It would seriously kick ass. You could even prefix it with an avatar, so your sig would be this:

[Avatar] [Name] [Linked social media icons] [Email Address] [Optional text]

Come to think of it, maybe I'll add in a small photo of me as an avatar at the front of my sig. Would work out nicely. 🙂

In all seriousness, this is what needs to happen to email sigs. We need to start using avatars and icons. Hopefully one of the major webmail providers will step up to the plate and do it.

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