Happy new year, everyone

Banded Stilt

First, wishing everyone a happy new year. It’s been good for me so far – went to a great new years party with friends, have been out and about, enjoying myself. Things seem to be going alright so far.

If you haven’t seen it, this is pretty amazing: Bob Gosford’s photographs of Jewel bugs. Makes me want to get a macro lens. I’ve done a bit of research and have decided on the lens I’d like. It’d be really neat to do a survey of the insects in the 3x4m dimensions of the allotment.

On photography, I’ve been considering the effect thumbnails have. It’s necessary on the web to shoot images that look interesting or attract attention when scaled down a lot. That could be mitigated if the photographer chose a crop before scaling was applied, so as to select an interesting bit of the full image for previews. That’s pretty rare though (and high labour), and sites such as flickr don’t do it.

Quite a few of the photographs I take are of birds or other animals in a natural setting. It’s tricky getting those shots to look exciting when naturally scaled, and also when viewed in full, or printed.

Automatically detecting which parts of an image are ‘interesting’ is one of those problems computers don’t solve well. If when I uploaded a photo set I was given the thumbnail options;

  • full image scaled
  • for each in-focus point/area, an image with a crop applied of roughly appropriate area around that point

… I might be able to quickly click through and end up with a nicer preview of my images. Anyone got other ideas?

Flickr is starting to feel monolithic and slowly developed. I want to store my images in the cloud, but I would like to build the photo gallery side of things on top of that, collaborating with others to build something great. I suppose I could build something using App Engine and Amazon’s storage stuff. The real blocker is that nobody has designed useful federated social networking infrastructure.

This blog is effectively an island. Moving off Livejournal I lost the ability to trivially post private messages to my friends. Friends can log in with OpenID or create an account, but if they must do that for each blog they read the effort involved becomes too much. Using a service such as LJ it’s possible to trust the site to identify you, when appropriate, to access protected content.

I wonder, do we need browsers to start explicitly doing OpenID or similar and providing their own, quick UI to allow a user to identify themselves to a site? The present experience of having to click through popups and faff about for a minute or two is too painful to be commonly used.

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2 Responses to Happy new year, everyone

  1. Dunc says:

    Funny you mention that – I couldn’t get the openid thing on your site to work. Tried dunq.livejournal.com and a couple of other URLs but no dice. I think I’m retarded.

    • grahame says:

      Hmm, seems to be working somehow for Yakk. I’ll have a fiddle with it when I’m less tired, I might have stuffed some permissions up while upgrading the other day :-)

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