Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks tagged flickr

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Tip: Flickr standard photo response as slideshow. Neat trick—you can construct a URL to Flickr’s slideshow widget that includes the results of any API method, including the all-powerful flickr.photos.search. It’s a shame you can’t embed the resulting slideshow in an iframe. # 25th January 2011, 3:51 am

Porting Flickr to YUI 3: Lessons in Performance (at YUIConf 2010). Some very interesting tips here. The new Flickr photo pages suffered from what I’ve been calling “Flash of Un-Behavioured Content”, where slow loading JavaScript results in poor behaviour from some UI controls. They started using “Action Queueing”, where a small JS stub ensures a loading indicator is shown for clicks on features that have not yet fully loaded. Also, it turns out some corporate firewalls (Sonicwall in particular) dislike URLs over 1600 characters, and filter out any URL with xxx in it. # 10th November 2010, 6:33 pm

5 Questions for Simon Willison. I got interviewed about WildlifeNearYou for the Flickr code blog, in particular the way the site uses machine tags. # 10th February 2010, 2:31 pm

glitch zen. Glitch is the upcoming online game from Tiny Speck, many of whom are ex Flickr and indeed ex Game Never Ending before that. Glitch Zen is the first fan site. # 10th February 2010, 11:36 am

WildlifeNearYou can now tag your Flickr photos for you. I’m really excited about this feature: if you opt-in, WildlifeNearYou will now write name and latin name tags to your Flickr photos after you’ve marked the species in the photo. This is even more interesting when you combine it with our suggest-a-species feature (the photo won’t get tagged until you’ve approved the suggestion). We also set the location on photos which don’t yet have one, but the real fun is the machine tags we’ve added, which allow developers to use the Flickr API to find photos by their WildlifeNearYou metadata (trip, species and place IDs). As a neat extra touch, the identifiers we use in the machine tags are the same as the ones used by our custom wlny.eu URL shortener, so it’s trivial to turn a machine tag in to the URL for that page on the main site. # 4th February 2010, 5:01 pm

Introducing docent. Paul Mison’s clever little Flickr app for viewing galleries that have been added by your contacts. It runs in Python on App Engine and makes extensive use of the Task Queue API. # 28th January 2010, 8:35 pm

russell davies: datadecs. Personalised christmas decorations made from data from Twitter, Doppler, last.fm and Flickr. The Twitter snowman came from a 3D printer—the size of the head varies depending on your number of followers. Best of all though is the Flickr decoration which represents the apertures you’ve used over the past year. # 7th January 2010, 9:58 pm

Language Detection: A Witch’s Brew? The Flickr team make the case for using the Accept-Language header over IP detection to pick a site’s language, with a simple UI for switching languages in case you get it wrong. They’ve been using this for two and a half years without any significant problems. # 5th December 2009, 5:30 pm

“That’s maybe a bit too dorky, even for us.”. Astonishingly exciting: Flickr now have machine tag support for OpenStreetMap—tag a photo with osm:way=WAY_ID and Flickr will figure out what OSM feature you are talking about and link to it with a human readable description. # 28th September 2009, 10:39 pm

Red Dust. Tom Coates used Flickr’s new Galleries feature (which lets you build a curated collection of up to 18 photos from other Flickr users and add your commentary) to construct a stunning compilation of photos of the Sydney dust storms. # 23rd September 2009, 2:20 pm

Building Rome in a Day (via) “The first system capable of city-scale reconstruction from unstructured photo collections”—computer vision techniques used to construct 3D models of cities using 10s of thousands of photos from Flickr. Reminiscent of Microsoft PhotoSynth. # 29th July 2009, 3:41 pm

The Twitpocalypse is Near: Will Your Twitter Client Survive? Twitter tweet IDs will shortly tick over past the maximum signed 32 bit integer, potentially breaking applications. I learnt this lesson when the same thing happened to Flickr photo IDs: never store numeric IDs from external systems as integers, always use strings. # 9th June 2009, 10:52 am

Flickr Shapefiles Public Dataset 1.0. Another awesome Geo dataset from the Yahoo! stable—this time it’s Flickr releasing shapefiles (geometrical shapes) for hundreds of thousands of places around the world, under the CC0 license which makes them essentially public domain. The shapes themselves have been crowdsourced from geocoded photos uploaded to Flickr, where users can “correct” the textual location assigned to each photo. Combine this with the GeoPlanet WOE data and you get a huge, free dataset describing the human geography of the world. # 22nd May 2009, 6:12 pm

Building Fast Client-side Searches. Flickr now lazily loads your entire contact list in to memory for auto-completion. Extensive benchmarking found that a control character delimited string was the fastest option for shipping thousands of contacts around as quickly as possible. # 19th March 2009, 3:35 pm

Panda Tuesday; The History of the Panda, New APIs, Explore and You. Flickr’s Rainbow Vomiting Panda of Awesomeness now has a family of associated APIs. # 4th March 2009, 11:49 am

Found in space. The Astrometry bot on Flickr (which detects which part of the night sky is contained within your photo and adds notes to some of the more interesting stars) is the most delightful use of the Flickr API I’ve ever seen. This interview provides some background, including a link to a paper on the “scale and rotation invariant hashing algorithm” that is used to build the index. # 18th February 2009, 10:52 pm

husk.org. a flickr machine tag browser (via) Flickr recently added API methods for exploring the machine tags used by the community. Paul Mison has built a neat OS X Finder style interface for exploring them, using JSONP and jQuery. # 15th December 2008, 11:24 pm

On UI Quality (The Little Things): Client-side Image Resizing. Two neat tips for cleanly scaling down images in IE 6 and 7 from Flickr’s Scott Schiller. # 12th November 2008, 11 pm

The Flickr Panda. Reminds me of the prime number shitting bear. # 4th October 2008, 9:42 am

Flickr Engineers Do It Offline. Flickr wrote their own queuing mechanism (in PHP), and currently run ten queue servers on dedicated hardware for tasks like pushing new photos in to indexes, denormalisation and “backfills” which move data between clusters and run bulk scripts against large numbers of existing rows. # 28th September 2008, 1:24 am

WolfenFlickr 3D—An unlikely mashup. Brilliant: Wolfenstein 3D style raycasting in JavaScript with images on the walls that have been pulled in using Flickr’s JSONP API. # 29th August 2008, 10:24 am

FriendFeed Blog: Simple Update Protocol. FriendFeed infamously poll RSS feeds on the 43 services they support millions of times an hour in an effort to keep their content as real-time as possible. SUP is a new proposal by FriendFeed for a sort of “master feed” of changes to a site—instead of hitting the Flickr feed for each of their users they would just poll Flickr’s SUP feed every minute or so to find out who had uploaded a new photo, and only retrieve the RSS feed for those users. # 28th August 2008, 12:16 pm

Flickr Developer Blog: API Responses as Feeds (via) Flickr API calls that return a “standard photos response” (e.g. flickr.photos.search and flickr.favorites.getList) can now output eight different feed formats as well, including Atom, RSS flavours, geoatom, geordf and KML. Error codes are returned as X-FlickrErrCode HTTP headers. # 25th August 2008, 10:20 pm

Around the world and back again. Flickr are using data from OpenStreetMap to provide street-level detail of Beijing for the Olympics. # 13th August 2008, 11:05 pm

Exposure (iPhone app) behaves suspiciously. Exposure on the iPhone does OAuth-style authentication incorrectly—it asks the user to authenticate in an embedded, chromeless browser which provides no way of confirming that the site being interacted with is not a phishing attack. Ben Ward explains how the Pownce iPhone app gets it right in the comments. Exposure author Fraser Spiers also responds. # 12th August 2008, 7:47 am

Yahoo! Internet Location Platform. As an ex-Yahoo! this is really exciting—WhereOnEarth (a London company acquired by Yahoo! in 2005) provide the incredibly detailed geographical data used by Flickr, Upcoming and FireEagle—and now it’s available as an external API. # 12th May 2008, 9:02 pm

Video on Flickr! There’s a 90 second length limit, because “... Flickr is all about sharing photos that you yourself have taken. Video will be no different and so what quickly bubbled up was the idea of long photos, of capturing slices of life to share.” # 9th April 2008, 1:16 pm

Welcome to Game Neverending. It really is back! Hot tip: start by taking the survey, then sell the five pieces of blue paper at the bank with the pig on the roof. # 1st April 2008, 9:15 pm

Find Your Friends. Flickr have added a characteristically classy friend import feature, pulling from Gmail, Yahoo! and Hotmail address books without any unhygienic password sharing. It’s a crying shame that the Yahoo! contacts API they are using isn’t available outside the company. # 1st April 2008, 1:01 am

Flickr Uploadr: Open Source and Powered by XULRunner. Quietly released a few months ago; it’s really nice. # 13th February 2008, 11:30 pm