bookmark_borderSetting up WordPress blogs on Flickr properly

En el Desierto - Flickr NO SE VENDE
En el Desierto – Flickr NO SE VENDE, a photo by Rocorocks on Flickr.
Flickr allows you to connect your WordPress blog, which allows you to use a Flickr photo to illustrate a blog posting by pressing a button.

(I always use this in conjunction with Donncha Ó Caoimh’s “Blog This To Draft” to prevent it from getting published immediately.)

However, Flickr’s standard WordPress code isn’t very good. It encapsulates the whole thing in <div>s, which means that WordPress cannot work out that it’s an image, which leads to all sorts of problems when you’re trying to pull out the first chunk of text from a posting, for instance in an RSS feed.

However, if you know what you’re doing, it’s quite easy to change. You need to go to your Flickr settings, and then click on the “Sharing & Extending” tab.

You should now see your blog (if it isn’t there, add it by clicking on “More sites” and following the instructions).

Now click on the “edit” button next to the name of your blog, and click on “select a blog layout”.

Now pick one of the layouts by clicking on it, and then choose “customize”.

This should display some HTML code such as this (I’ve added some white-space):

<div style="float: right; width: 240px;
    margin: 0 0 10px 10px; padding: 0;
    font-size: 0.8em; line-height: 1.6em;">
  <a href="{photo_url}" title="{photo_title}">
    <img src="{photo_src_m}" alt="{photo_title}
      by {uploader_name}" />
  <span style="margin: 0;">
    <a href="{photo_url}">{photo_title}</a>,
    a photo by <a href="{uploader_profile}">
    on Flickr.
<br clear="all" />

Now change it to use WordPress’s [caption] syntax, e.g.:

[caption align="alignright" width="240px"]
  <a href="{photo_url}">
    <img src="{photo_src_m}" alt="{photo_title}"
      width="240px" class="size-thumbnail" />
  <a href="{photo_url}">{photo_title}</a>,
  a photo by
  <a href="{uploader_profile}">{uploader_name}</a>
  on Flickr.

Now click “preview”. This will look dreadful, because this is WordPress code, not HTML, but just click on “save this layout” anyway.

You should now be able to use the “share” button on Flickr to generate pretty WordPress posts.

bookmark_borderTwo Philadelphias

Two Philadelphias
Originally uploaded by viralbus

The centre of Glasgow has been transformed into a copy of Philadelphia for the purpose of shooting a Hollywood movie called “World War Z” (starring Brad Pitt).

Phyllis and I went down there last Sunday to take a few photos of it.

However, when we got home, I tried to compare it to photos of the same places in real Philly, and I must say I find it hard to see the similarity.

I guess the film’s producers must be counting on very few people actually knowing what Philadelphia looks like!

bookmark_borderPhyllis and the chip-shop menu

Phyllis sent in a few photos to an Oxfam competition, and the result was a lengthy article in the Evening Times today.

Here is the relevant part:

A photo of a Glasgow chip shop menu is among images of the city which have been made into postcards.

Tourists will be able to send friends and family the quirky image, which was one of the winners of a competition run by Oxfam.

It is one of four new Glasgow postcards which will go on sale at the Oxfam Bookshop in Royal Exchange Square.

The chip-shop picture was taken by Phyllis Buchanan, 43, from Newton Mearns and bosses had more than 200 entries.

Phyllis, who compiles dictionaries, said: “I took it in West Nile Street. The reason I submitted it is my husband’s Danish, my ex-husband’s French, and the one thing that seems to unite foreigners when they come visit is the dreadful things we eat. I thought foreigners would like to send a postcard like that.

“I was thrilled to be chosen.”

I think she would have liked to have won the competition with a more artistic photo, though. 🙂

bookmark_borderFrom 8 mm film to YouTube

My maternal grandfather, Otto Nielsen, was a keen photographer, and he also recorded the family on 8 mm film from 1973 till around 1978, when he had to stop due to illness.

As an example, here is a brief recording from my first birthday (which is quite appropriate, given that my youngest daughter will be one tomorrow):

However, going from the original film strip to YouTube has not been all that straightforward.

After his death, his 8 mm films were lying around in a drawer in my grandmother’s flat, mixed up with some films he must have bought at some point.

After quite a few years, my grandmother finally got round to viewing them all with a view to throwing away the ones he hadn’t made himself, and she took the remaining ones up to a shop where they converted them to VHS, added some easy-listening music and discarded the original films.

This week I then bought a kit to connect our VHS recorder to my Windows 7 computer, which creates an MPEG file.

I then loaded this file into iMovie on my Mac (which was a bit tricky, because iMovie won’t admit that it likes MPEG, so I had to create a MP_ROOT folder at the root level of my USB key and create a folder called “101PNV01” inside this folder and put my MPEG files inside this [thanks!]).

From then on, it was easy – iMovie is great for editing films and putting them onto YouTube.

My only remaining problem is what to do about a church service starring my mum which was broadcast back in 1982: I have it on VHS, too, but the video capture software on my PC claims it’s copy-protected and stops after five seconds. 🙁

bookmark_borderBaroque anatomy

The Photoshop Disasters blog is one of those sites that can be mediocre for a while, but then they post something so wonderful that you know you’ll keep following them forever.

I don’t think I should really comment on this photo – there’s really nothing I can add.

However, in general I must admit I simply don’t understand why so many photos get photoshopped. Surely the original would have been better?

bookmark_borderIs this iPhoto?

I’ve been playing around with iPhoto on and off ever since Complexli bought the Mac mini for me.

In particular, I’m interested in face recognition. It would be so nice if all your photos could be tagged correctly to show who’s in them.

However, I’m less than impressed with iPhoto’s performance in this area.

One thing is that the face recognition on its own is quite bad. I appreciate it’s a hard thing to do well. It appears to me, though, that it’s doing a worse job recognising the blond members of the family, such as Léon, than spotting the darker ones, such as Anna. I read somewhere that it’s been developed by a Japanese company, which might explain this.

However, I have two major complaints.

Firstly, if you upload a lot of photos in one go (I tried about 15,000), it will keep processing faces in the background forever. It’s now been running almost constantly for over a week, so I think it might have entered an infinite loop somewhere. This means that it will almost never make a suggestion, and it keeps one processor 100% busy constantly, which is not great for system performance.

Secondly, it seems not to use any other information when making guesses.

For instance, if ten photos have been taken within half an hour, and the nine of them contain only Léon, wouldn’t it be reasonable to suggest that the tenth also contains him? iPhoto doesn’t think so: It will happily suggest it’s Léon on one photo, Anna on the next one, then Gordon, then Charlotte, and so on.

Also, it doesn’t seem to take dates into consideration. If there’s a baby in a photo, it’s a good guess that it might be Marcel if the photo is from 1997 or 1998, Charlotte if it’s 2000, Léon if it’s 2005 or 2006, and Anna if it’s 2007 or 2008. But iPhoto will happily make suggestions that are not reasonable given that all photos have a date stamp.

It’s so frustrating to know that it could easily be improved, but it’s closed source, so I can’t do anything.

I prefer open source!