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Blog : Posts tagged with 'Flickr'

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The image of popularity

In which we see how popular food is


After posting pictures of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park last week, it got me looking at my Flickr account and wondering what pictures are the most popular. Flickr will, if you like, give you pages of tables and graphs to tell you how many people have been looking at each of your photos,* so I thought I’d see if there’s any general pattens in what sort of photos people like to view at full size.

The results were rather surprising. The least popular photos: pictures of random countryside, close-ups of tree bark, that sort of thing.** More popular than that: trains, with steam trains and “heritage” trains being more popular than normal ones. But, what photos get the most hits, and fastest after they’ve been posted? Food. Pictures of food being cooked or ready to be served. I don’t know what you think, but I wasn’t expecting that. Post a picture of a nice meal being made, and hits come up right away.

Given that: here’s some pictures of a nice meal being made. Pan-fried parmesan-crusted chicken breast, with salad. Very very easy, and delicious.

Cooking: bashing some chicken Cherry tomatoes Coating chicken Cooking: frying tenderised and coated chicken
Cooking: salad dressing Cooking: frying tenderised chicken breast Cooking: fried chicken breast with salad

* in my case, the graphs (for individual photos) are generally rather flat with the occasional spike

** That’s not quite true: the very least popular are photos of people at parties. That’s unsurprising, really; photos of people at parties, unless they’re exceptional photos, are usually only likely to attract other people at the same party.

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Cartography

In which we wish for better maps


Maps are wonderful, lovely artefacts. I love to spread one out and read it like a book, analysing every square. Nowadays, though, I only do it for pleasure. Because, for practical reasons, if I want to plan a route or look somewhere up, it’s usually much much easier to go online for it.

There are downsides to this. Google Maps are nowhere near as good as a paper map. Their cartography just isn’t up to the same standard. They include roads, railways, rivers, and that’s about all. No buildings, no landmarks, no landscape. In Britain, Google Maps have the slightly odd habit of only including railway lines with passenger services,* and there seems to be no contours and few footpaths.

Google, though, are nowhere near as low-quality as Yahoo Maps. Since I bought a full Flickr account, I’ve used Yahoo Maps a lot, to record where I take my photos; and there are just so many places where Yahoo’s map doesn’t match reality. Take, for example, somewhere I visited recently with my camera: Battersby, on the edge of the North York Moors national park. This is Google:

Battersby, from Google Maps

For comparison, this is the Yahoo version at the same scale:

Battersby, from Yahoo Maps

Never mind the lack of street names, and the general lack of contrast which makes it difficult to see where the roads run, especially within the National Park. Where exactly does that railway run? Where is the park boundary? The park boundary does indeed follow the line of the railway; but what shape is it? There’s a big difference there, just because Yahoo’s maps don’t include enough detail, apart from for roads, to be at all accurate when zoomed in. Rivers are just as bad, and apparently have zero width too.

If you really wanted to know the answer to the park boundary question, incidentally: it’s Google that’s right, as you can see by looking at Streetmap, who license the Ordnance Survey’s maps. Now that’s what a map is supposed to look like.

* It probably derives from the Ordnance Survey’s long-standing division between “railways” and “freight lines, sidings or tramways”, which dates right back to the start of the One-Inch series. It was bad enough when Landrangers, at I think the Second Edition, dropped the distinction between single-track and multiple-track railways. I have some First and Second Edition Landrangers somewhere, so I’ll have to check when the single-track railway symbol disappeared. First Edition were the last One-Inch maps photographically enlarged, which leads to some odd discrepancies on them;** the Second Edition were redrawn.

** for example, on the First Edition Sheffield and Huddersfield Landranger map (sheet 110), a chunk towards the south of the map is lettered in a different, older, font, which suggests that part of the map was derived from a rather earlier original than the rest of the series. I’ll scan a section some time to show you.

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Tourism memories

In which we wonder whether to keep posting photos here


One thing about using my Flickr account more: it’s meant, I’ve been going through all the photos I’ve taken in the past year, going: “ooh, actually, that’s not bad.” And: “Oh, yes, I hardly mentioned that trip on the blog.”

I wonder if, with Flickr, posted photos are going to disappear a bit, into a void packed with millions of similar photos from other people. If I post them here, though, then even though far fewer people will probably see them, they’ll be easier for me to find myself. Maybe that just means I haven’t learned how to use Flickr properly yet. In the meantime: the Cornish tourist-trap village of Mevagissey, back in May.

AA Road Sign Dog walkers Fishing Boat Sleepy dog

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Popularity

In which we wonder how useful social networking is


Chatting to Vee last night, she said: maybe she should cut down on social websites. She showed me the list of sites she’s got profiles on. Seventeen. Maybe she’s overdoing it a little. I have at least five at the last count, at least one of which lies derelict and abandoned.

Gordon, too, recently wrote about this. There are so many social websites out there that, if you’re not careful, they become nothing more than a time-sink. Or, the other extreme; you leave abandoned profiles scattered across the internet like so much silent litter.

Now, social interaction has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks, ever since my friend Maz called me an ignorant and antisocial git. This was largely because I hadn’t popped round to put up some shelves for her like I’d promised; but she’s not the only person to have complained that I don’t keep in touch with my friends as much as I should do. The solution to that, though, isn’t networking websites with long lists of “friends”. What’s missing is deep interaction. Going on Facebook to throw a sheep at someone is meaningless; writing them a letter or two is what counts.

Sites like Facebook are kind of pointless, except as an address book and a distraction. At least, they’re pointless as far as building up real, meaningful relationships are concerned. The social sites that are useful, though, are the ones which have some genuine purpose other than being a list of friends. Last.FM,* for example, or Flickr. I’ve always been too lazy to upload photos to Flickr, although I keep meaning to. I have a backlog of photos going back about a year, that are unsorted and mostly unseen; occasionally I dribble a few onto this site. So, I’m going to use Flickr more.** I’m going to spend more effort on the friends and acquaintances I already have, rather than collect more I don’t really know. I’m going to stick with the social networks I have, but only because, hopefully, I might become less of an ignorant git in the future. The only way to do that is with real interaction, not a quick Facebook poke.

* Well, it’s useful if you’re a music geek

** Partly because I’ve started playing with the maps. I love it. Photos and maps in one place – what more could a geek ask for?

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End of another week

In which we get back to work


You can see, now, why I wanted to end the London post series early – I didn’t want yesterday’s post to merge into it. Yesterday’s post was “written” some time ago, and the last of the London series was written nearly a week early too – see, there is planning involved in some of this.

Not many people at work observed the two minutes silence yesterday, as far as I could tell. I found a quiet part of the building, where I wasn’t on the security cameras and wasn’t likely to be interrupted, so I could spend a few minutes with my own thoughts. From what other people have said, it seems that most of the people I know who were personally affected did something similar – rather than join in some sort of group silence, they found somewhere quiet to sit and think on their own.*

It’s been a bit stressful at work, coming back from a week away and trying to catch up on everything. “That’s nothing,” said Big Dave, “I was working 12-hour days while you were off. And I’ve been told I can’t take any holidays until the end of the month.” Fortunately noone has said anything like that to me since I returned.

Scanning got so boring that I’ve given in and bought an expensive digital camera. I’ve signed up for a Flickr account too, to try to avoid running out of disk space on this site; when there’s more on it than just daft test-shots of myself in the mirror, I’ll link to it.

(and with that, I’m going off out for the weekend. See you next week)

* and eat cake, which is the best way to remember someone who loved baking.

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