Tasty mash-up

I must admit that when I think of a “mash-up“, food rarely enters my head (even though most people in the UK associate the word “mash” with mashed potato).
Anyway, what do you get if you mash-up the following: a picture, an RSS feed, Helene Blowers, a cake?

Just in case no-one said this on the day, Helene — you look good enough to eat! 😉
I’m kinda curious how the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike licence attached to the image applies to all this… The licence allows you to make derivative works (e.g. a cake) but I guess you are not allowed to sell the cake. You have to share it (yay, I like cake!) and “distribute the resulting work only under a licence identical to this one”.
So, does that mean the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County has broken new ground by creating the very first Creative Commons cake?
All the very best with the new job, Helene!

Move over Bernard Herrmann!

One of the sections in Brendan Dawes’ book is about generating images from music.
Whilst messing about with the “North by Northwest” images (see previous blog post), I began to wonder if you could create music from images?
Anyway, here’s the first 90 seconds of my replacement soundtrack for “North by Northwest” 🙂
It was created by grabbing a frame from the movie every half a second and working out the average colour of the frame. That colour is then split into its red, green and blue (RGB) components, and their values are used to generate a guitar tablature file which is pumped into the MIDI::Tab Perl module. The first chunk of the tab looks like this…

    D6: --1-5---3-4-4-4-4---4-4---3-4---3-3-3-
    A3: 0---1-2-3-4-4-----4-----4-----4-----4-
    E2: 0-----0-1---1-----1-----1-----1-----1-

Going for a 3/4 timing seemed to give the most pleasing output. That seemed appropriate, as Hitchcock often used waltzes in his films 🙂
I wasn’t too sure just how it would sound, but it’s actually not too bad!

“North by Northwest” squished

After reading Brendan Dawes’ “Analog In, Digital Out“, I’ve revisited the colours of “North by Northwest” (see earlier blog post).
Rather than squish every frame to a single horizontal line, this time each frame is squished vertically — see if you can spot the “crop duster” sequence:

( full sized version on Flickr )

Dear Facebook, Huddersfield is not in Northern Ireland

I was really tempted to create a protest group in Facebook but, for some reason best known only to themselves, the people at Facebook are insisting that Huddersfield is really somewhere in Northern Ireland…
Even though the correct option is there (“Kirklees, United Kingdom”), it always changes it to “Huddersfield, Northern Ireland” when you click on the save button.
I wouldn’t mind, but there isn’t even a Huddersfield in Northern Ireland!
To get to Northern Ireland from Huddersfield, I’d have to drive for about 8 hours, catch a ferry to travel 50 miles to another country, change all my money into a different currency, and I’d have to remember to take my passport with me.
So, please Facebook — Huddersfield is in England, which isn’t the same thing as Northern Ireland!!!

Baroque Star Wars

Just relaxing at home with a small glass of Disaronno Amaretto**, having spent a big chunk of the day down in Milton Keynes at the End of PROWE Project Dissemination Event (Facebook group). Just in case anyone is looking for them, my slides are available on slideshare
(more photos here)
Anyway, whilst doing a bit of random browsing, I came across the work of Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson (Flickr). Anyone who can cross Star Wars with Baroque is a certified genius in my book!

** One of the reasons why I bought the bottle (apart from that fact that it’s nice to drink!) is that it’s specifically mentioned in one of the narrative segments of the 1989 album “When in Rome, Kill Me” by Leeds based band CuD (official site). How’s that for uber obscure, eh?

spam in the hot topics

Apologies for the spam words that are currently appearing in the hot topics cloud at the moment.
It looks like the BlogJunction blog has been hacked — if you view the page source for the blog, you’ll find multiple hidden links to gambling sites (the links are currently being hosted by Universitat Oberta de Catalunya UOC).
I’ve removed BlogJunction from the list of sites used for the cloud, so the spam should disappear in the next 48 hours.

Librarians — in their own words

I’ve spent the last couple of days being inspired by Brendan Dawes‘ book “Analog In, Digital Out“, and playing around with ImageMagick and PerlMagick.
This evening, I felt like doing something for Kathryn Greenhill to commiserate with her for not winning the “Best Librarian/Library Blog” Edublog awards, so here’s what you get if you take ImageMagick, 30 minutes of furious Perl coding, a little bit of random font rotation, a suitable JPEG source image, and the RSS feed from Kathryn’s blog…
I thought Jessamyn West‘s photo might also make for a cool textual mashup too…
In other news, Michael Stephens has gone a little dotty…

BBC Breakfast News items about YouTube

I briefly mentioned this item from the BBC Breakfast News during Jane Dysart‘s session at Online Information 2007…

History lessons online
Three teachers are using the website YouTube to teach history. 60 films have been posted online covering topics such as D-Day, Bloody Sunday, the Slave Trade, Vietnam and Mary Queen of Scots.

The videos are available on YouTube, along with the TV interview.
Apart from the serendipity of it linking in with Jane’s session, what impressed me the most was that a news programme was actually featuring a really positive story about YouTube. The majority of news items I’ve seen before have been generally negative, e.g.:

If your place of work has banned access to YouTube, then positive stories like schoolhistory might be a useful tool for questioning such draconian measures.

“Engaging the Xbox generation of Learners in Higher Education”

Just a little pointer towards a report recently released by Jebar Ahmed and Mary Sheard in the School of Education at the University of Huddersfield:

New generation learners seem to be surrounded by technologies everywhere, at home, at school and in their pockets. Computers and interactive white boards are available in the classrooms, but how do these learners engage with technologies to actually learn? And what can we learn from them to inform teaching in HE?

The Executive Summary is available here.