Right, you may be wondering about my new userpic. (I plan to change the userpic associated with some of the entries retroactively, so if you've been reading my archives, this is where I first used this one.) It's a design for a five-segment digital display, as compared to the seven-segment displays everybody currently uses. I doubt someone will actually produce it, but one can hope.
Some of you may know that kinkyturtle has created a six-segment display, which he also uses (in two versions) as userpics. One or two of you may even have seen the five-segment display he attempted in the comments to that entry, re-posted below.
The chances that you've seen ceruleanst's design are infinitesimal (partly due to his forced domain name change), so I'll put it here too. The point, of course, is that this idea is not entirely original with me.
Now, the other reason I posted these other designs is so I can compare them against my own. First, the shortfalls of my own design. Of course it's tricky to read, but there are usually more specific reasons for things like that. In this case, there are gaps in most of the digits, and the top of my 6 is misaligned. It looks like a lowercase delta. Here:
This particular delta isn't quite as curvy, but you get the point. I have gaps in my design, whereas the others don't.
My design, however, has advantages too. While it's gappy, at least it's universally gappy; whenever a pair of segments are visible in a digit and it looks like they should be connected, the connection makes sense for all digits with that pair visible.
But this begs the question (not in the sense of raising it; it was implied enough earlier on): Why does this design contain gaps? Well, shortening the segments prevented what I felt were distracting outcroppings. You can see my 6 and 7 are complementary, so note how either would look if the top two segments made a full circle. Admittedly, some 7's are written with a stroke across the center, but I stand by my choice. For contrast, compare the 4's in each design against the 5's. In each case, one segment has a "serif" that should be ignored in the 4, but which is an important part of the five: the bottom one in kinkyturtle's and the top one in ceruleanst's.
But I think the most important advantage of my design is that its shapes are simple. This goes with the previous point, because a simple shape doesn't have fiddly bits to confuse the issue. Furthermore, this means that if one of these three designs were to be selected for production, it would probably be mine. (I know it's unlikely, but like I said, one can hope.)
Just a couple more interesting notes. First, it should be possible to extend this configuration to either hexadecimal or four segments (though not both, since then a blank space would be overburdened), but I won't bother posting those, since they'd be too contrived. Second, my design has one segment which, if it burnt out, would not keep you from remembering which digit was meant to be shown (this is the maximum, since 2^3=8). This claim can't be made about the other designs, as you can see by running through the sequences 2739495 and 459708, respectively. Finally, my design uses less hypothetical electricity compared against 7 of kinkyturtle's digits and 9 of ceruleanst's digits. In the other cases, usage is the same.
Now, to actually finish this entry, I'd like to mention that the userpic? Was created in Flash. Once I'd animated the segments, I exported it to a GIF format using the command under File. (I mention this because some people may find it helpful. Trust me.) The upshot of this is, since I just learned this, you will be seeing more animations here in the near future.
(By the way, since I started this post, I did see "Monk," and it was great. I suspect it was filmed far in advance, or at least I hope so.)