Coverpop Mosaics – Mashups like you won’t believe!

I ran across these and they blew my mind! It is called coverpop and it is a website created by Jim Bumgardner, of KrazyDad.com, to house his experimental coverpop project. Per his FAQ page: ”
A coverpop can be a unique work of art, a software toy, or a fun way to shop for stuff.

Each coverpop is an interactive mosaic, made of tiny images, such as magazine covers. These are called “micro thumbnails”. As you drag the mouse over each micro thumbnail, it pops up to a full-sized thumbnail image, and provides some information about the item. For some coverpops, you can click again to produce either a full-sized image, or to go to another website to learn more information about the item.

Some coverpops arrange the images by time, by price, or color. Other coverpops arrange the images into a photomosaic.”

If you go to main coverpop site , you will see a random choice of oneof his coverpop mosaics. You can choose from the list on the right side to see specific ones. He creates mashups using flickr, youtube, amazon and other web 2.0 apps to create really amazing mosaics that you can spend endless time browsing and playing with.

He has a set of youtube video mosaics too. And just plain mosaics that are really interesting. Here is a description of how it works and here is a brief description from that page:

“Data for each coverpop is prepared using Perl and the ImageMagick library. Space-filling is implemented (with visual feedback) using Processing (p5). The interface itself is presented in Flash/Actionscript within a PHP webpage.

I download information about all the covers using various means. I use Amazon Web Services for the Amazon-powered coverpops, and I screen-scrape websites, such as the Visco archive for the Science Fiction coverpop. This is done using a Perl program. Then I download all the thumbnails (again with Perl), and analyse them for color, using ImageMagick to reduce each image to 1×1 and recording the color of the remaining pixel.”

You can also generate banners to put on your website with various mosaics like Harry Potter on Amazon or Time’s Top 100 Novels. These are linked to amazon and you receive credit when someone buys through your site except he receives the credit every 6 times or so. I created one just to try it out (you can generate the code from his site) and put it on the bottom of my Goggle Blogger blog Along the Path to 2.0. It is at the bottom of the blog. Go take a look at it! Unfortunately I can’t put it on my WordPress blog yet since it is hosted by WordPress.com. I hope to correct that soon!

To learn about new coverpop or just to find out more, you can go to his blog. He has a lot more interesting things on there.

He has also co-authored a book called Flickr Hacks – Tips and Tools for Sharing Photos Online that talks about the flickr .APIs and how to do some of these things and sounds VERY interesting.

Check it out! But don’t do it until you have some time to spend because you definitely will.

~Susan Mellott

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Celebrity 2.0 – Wil Wheaton is Web 2.0

I imagine most of you know who Wil Wheaton is. He is an actor who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Actually, he has done a lot more than that, but that is mainly how I know of him.

But what makes him interesting is his love and knowledge of technology and his leading edge use of Web 2.0 tools. Here is the wikipedia entry that talks about him and what he has done.

From wikipedia: “After leaving Star Trek, Wheaton quit acting altogether. He moved to Topeka, Kansas to work as a programmer for Newtek, where he helped develop the Video Toaster 4000.” (I assume they meant he temporarily quit acting)

Wil was a very early adopter of blogging, creating his site wilwheaton.net (see the wikipedia article on his blog) which is currently being updated (since about last June) and is replaced for now by his blog WWdN: In Exile – Wil Wheaton’s not-so-temporary blog. Per the wikipedia article on his blog: “Rather than just a fan forum, it was a place where people could gather to talk about various subjects including movies, music, books, religion, politics, gaming, geocaching, and miscellaneous topics; the original emphasis was on topics of interest to Wil Wheaton and not the man himself.” He has entries on his blog dating back to July 2001.

Wil also has written 3 books, and most of the entries are extended versions of his online blog entries. (Take note, bloggers, this is not a bad idea if you have a following).

Also from wikipedia: “In late September of 2006, Wheaton began hosting a Revision3 syndicated video podcast called InDigital along with Jessica Corbin and veteran host Hahn Choi. ” Of note: Wil found an error on the wikipedia entry for himself and asked on slashdot for someone to correct it.

Wil also twitters regularly and has just recently twittered on the Comic-Con he attended. Interestingly, he is having a problem at the moment trying to remove people he no longer wishes to follow and is talking about it on twitter. Update: as of about 4 hours ago, he twittered that the problem was a bug in twitter and was fixed by Biz Stone.

Wil also uses flickr and has some very interesting photos. And something I found interesting too that Wil has been doing on buzznet is “What is Wil looking At?” which is sort of a cross between flickring and twittering (flittring?). It looks like he is taking pictures with his phone of whatever he is doing and uploading them. It’s a neat idea and I’m sure at some point, people will be doing that just like they twitter now.

And of course, he checks technorati for links to his blog and has a profile technorati for wilw. Here are some other things of his (from his blog):

 

And there are quite a few interesting videos of him talking about technology on YouTube. Here is one where Wil talks about Podcasting (answering fan’s question at reading of his book, Just a Geek)

And there is a lot more that he is or has been involved with. The wikipedia article and his blog has more information.

To be honest, although I knew who he was, I’m old enough that I watched the original Star Trek more than I watched The Next Generation. But I think he seems like an interesting person and certainly one who is Web 2.0.

~Susan Mellott

Diagon Alley comes to Life and the ACPL Goes all out!

Pictures with Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore Last night, the Fort Wayne Allen County Public Library held probably the most outstanding event that I remember at the Library. They recreated Diagon Alley and had so many great things to do and see and have. There was a free wand shop, free candy, tattoos, harry potter glasses and more. You could make and adopt an owl, make a clock, make a card and mail it with a special Harry Potter postmark. There was a costume show and Potions class and a magical astronomy show. You could have your picture taken with Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore at the headmaster’s table and in the Flying Car. There was a magic show, games, fortunetellers, and so much, much more.

I videotaped the crowd when the doors opened at 9pm and I must have taped a steady stream of people going into the library for probably 10 minutes. I hope to have some YouTube videos up soon. I don’t know how many people were there, but I know there were thousands. There will probably be an official estimate soon.

Library staff (including several senior managers) became Harry Potter, Professor Dumbledore, Professor McDonagall, Professor Snape, Hagrid, Moaning Myrtle and Mad Eye Moody. They mingled and interacted with the crowd and signed autographs, posed for pictures and stayed in character beautifully.

Then at midnight, checkout opened and the lucky lottery winners checked out the final Harry Potter book. The smiles on the faces of kids and their parents and everyone who came down was priceless.

It was a wonderful, magical night. Here are my flickr pictures of the event. I hope to have some YouTube videos coming soon.

UPDATE – NEW! Here are flickr pictures of the party from the ACPL.

UPDATE – NEW! Here is a blog entry from blyberg.net about the Darien Public Library Party for the new Harry Potter release.

I hope Fort Wayne appreciates the wonderful asset the city has in the library and how much it does for the community. Go check out the ACPL web site to see some of the activities they offer. Or better yet, visit your local branch and see what is going on. You might be very surprised.

~Susie

I have a Flickr Account!



I just set up a Flickr account. Wow, was it easy! I used a piece of of software that I downloaded from Flickr that let me just drag and drop my pictures and mass upload them to Flickr. And adding a Title/Description to each photo was really quick too. I did notice that if I needed to see the larger picture (in order to identify the people in it), when I went back, some of the descriptions appeared to be lost. I retyped them at first until I realized that they were not really lost, it just looked that way. If I went to another page and then back, they appeared correctly.

I have a Kodak digital camera and have used the Kodak online gallery for my albums and sharing them for ages. But Flickr seems to be the one the industry is standardizing on. Another example of Web 2.0. It is not so much that the technology has not been available, it is that no one standard existed and none of the existing technology was open.

So here are my first pictures on my Flickr account.

~Susie


Creating my Blog and Random Web 2.0 Musings

I have been working on learning about and creating a blog. It has been very interesting and time-consuming I might add. All the choices: what template to use, what widgets to include, which blog engine to use, what to name it, what should I say about myself… the list goes on.

I created this blog using the Google Blogger and another one in WordPress https://allthingsweb20.wordpress.com/

After trying each, I believe I prefer Google Blogger. It seems to have more features and customization capabilities. I especially like the ability to easily edit the HTML. Although I do not know HTML yet, I was able to add the code to add a button to “Add this blog to my Technorati favorites”. I tried to do the same for del.icio.us but was not as sucessful with that yet.

So what is the purpose of Technorati and del.icio.us? Honestly, I am not completely sure yet. I have tagged my blogs and added buttons to my firefox to add/tag in each, but I have not quite figured out what real purpose this serves. I hope to learn more about these soon. For now, I am just going to use them and see where it leads.

I am not sure what to do about posting to each blog. I don’t want to duplicate my posts, but I still want to explore both blog engines. I figure I will eventually settle on one but for now, I will add different posts to each. Hopefully I can combine them into one relatively easily at some point.

I should probably come up with a division of thought for each blog, maybe have one contain more personal observations and one that is more technically oriented. That is problematic though, since everything I write tends to be personal, even when I am trying to just explore something technical. It is, after all, my own personal journey. And isn’t it ultimately the personal journey of each of us, no matter what we do or where we go with it?

And how do people keep their blogs (and online persona for that matter) so impersonal and ultimately, so unrevealing? I think it is easier to state a position than a direction, and a thought than a feeling. Even the bloggers who like to take stands and state opinions seem to do it passionately, but impersonally. Do they ever feel vulnerable? Do they agonize over what they said, not so much for the content, but for the nakedness of exposing themselves to anyone who comes along? What is the difference between a blog and a diary? How do you keep the content and hide the person? What is the difference between data and information?

It seems to me that much of the Web 2.0 paradigm involves social sharing and
networks, like Second Life, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Blogs, MySpace, Twitter, wikis and more. Much, much more. Although I don’t know if it has been suggested yet, I could see having a presence in other places such as online gaming site (again, virtual worlds) like World of Warcraft. It makes sense to me to have libraries in such worlds, after all, everyone needs help and information and reference materials, everyone, everywhere needs libraries. And what are libraries if not a presence in every place and every way people gather and disseminate information?

It’s way too late (or should I say way too early) and this post is all over the place. I see that I need to learn to break my blog posts into concrete, coherent pieces. But I’m going to let this one stand. So just view it as my “stayed up too late” Web 2.0 stream of consciousness.

And one last thought. I’ve noticed that wikipedia is really becoming a viable source of information. For a long time it did not seem to have whatever obscure thing I was looking for. Now, more and more, it is becoming a first source for information.

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