Psycho collage

Following on from the book covers arranged by hue/lightness, I’ve been playing around with the 1000 Frames of Hitchcock thumbnails.
Here’s the result of 15 minutes of coding and 2 hours of rendering using a single frame from the famous shower scene in Psycho…
To see the individual frames, you really need to view the full sized image (9526 x 5475 pixels).
The code works by sampling a pixel and then randomly selecting a frame that has a similar hue and lightness value. As before, a little bit of randomess (position, rotation and size) is thrown in to make it visually more interesting.

Mashed Library ’08

Just another plug for the Mashed Library event, now that the registration page is available!

This informal event is a chance to meet others involved in Library Technology and related fields such as metadata, search, etc. Inspired by the Mashed Museums event, the day will give the opportunity for you to discuss ideas, share visions, and hopefully actually develop some stuff. All you need to take part is some enthusiasm for exploiting technology in the Library and Information world.

Our books, arranged by Hue and Lightness

Sunday afternoons were made for doing this kind of thing…
Book drop
(click here for the biggest version)
Several thousand of our books, arranged vertically by hue and horizontally by lightness. The value was calculated by finding the average colour of the book cover and then converting that to the relevant HSL value. There’s a little bit of randomness thrown in too, in terms of rotation and position. The image was created using Perl and ImageMagick.
If nothing else, it shows that we have more red and blue books than green or pink ones!

Bloomin’ global warming

Just in case anyone was in any doubt about the reality of global warming, the BBC Ceefax service is currently reporting (on page 402) that we’ll have a peak temperature of 54°C (129°F) tomorrow…
So, for anyone heading to London for Internet Librarian International 2008, I’d recommend lots of sun cream and a big hat.

“only in America”

I’ve lost count of the number of times this year it’s felt like I’ve woken up in a parallel universe — it’s happened again this morning when I read about the US Lingerie Football League on the BBC News web site, which features “teams of models playing an American football game while dressed in lingerie”.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know very much about American Football, but I’m pretty sure when men play it, they seem to wear full body armour and the kind of shoulder pads that would make a 1980’s Joan Collins green with envy. Can a couple of millimetres of silk and lace really provide the same level of protection? Where can you buy babydoll negligees with reinforced shoulder pads?
This opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities for alternative versions of popular sports whilst wearing totally inappropriate clothing. How about…

  • long jump for people wearing lead weighted deep sea diver boots
  • 100m freestyle swimming for people wearing oversized chunky Aran sweaters
  • pole vault for people wearing Carmen Miranda style tropical fruit hats (points are deducted for dislodged fruit)
  • 110m hurdles for women wearing pencil skirts

So, it’s Friday and we’re all winding down for the weekend — what’s the best combination you can think of?

Horizon 7.4.2 – available “worldwide”

The press release for Horizon 7.4.2 has just gone online.
Both Talin Bingham (Chief Technology Officer) and Gary Rautenstrauch (Chief Executive Officer) use the word “worldwide” in the press release:

This new version adds functionality requested by our customers worldwide and offers great benefits to libraries and patrons alike…

Providing the features librarians need and delivering the best user experience worldwide are SirsiDynix’s highest priorities.

However, the reality is that Horizon 7.4.2 is a North American only release. Much as I would love to be able to roll out some of those new features here at Huddersfield, and much as I would love to have all those really nasty security holes in HIP fixed, the bottom line is that I can’t — SirsiDynix’s definition of “worldwide” is a curiously US-centric one.
Horizon customers in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, etc, are not “qualifying customers”, despite paying their yearly maintenance.
SirsiDynix International made a decision a year or two ago that they would no longer provide regional variations of Horizon, and I can fully understand why. As a non-American customer, I might not be happy about it, but I can understand why. What I can’t understand (and frankly, it’s starting to really piss me off) is why the company continues to pretend in public that they are.
If anyone senior from the SirsiDynix US office would like to contact me today, then please do — I’m sure you’ll find my direct telephone number in your UK customer contacts database. Maybe there’s a perfectly good reason why most of your Horizon customers in Europe are no longer classified as being part of your “worldwide” customer base and I’d really love to hear it.

Mashed Library ’08

Kudos to Owen Stephens for getting Mashed Library ’08 off the ground! According to the mashed library page on, the event will take place at Birkbeck College, London on Thursday 27th November.

(“mash and gravy” by chotda)
In the spirit of all things unconferency, the aim is to…

…have a reasonably informal event at which we try to do interesting stuff with library technology and/or data.

Come hell or high water, I intend to be there! 🙂

Slow news day at the BBC?

No disrespect to the family of Damilola Taylor, but I’m not sure why the BBC have deemed this (“Porn posted on Damilola web forum“) to be a newsworthy headline story? The forum in question only appears to have ever had 1 legitimate thread since it was set up and only a couple of non-spambot members.
The news item was posted on the BBC site 2 hours ago and the hard-core links are still there. In fact, porn links from several days ago are still there. So…

  1. How long should it take an “administrator” to delete half a dozen inappropriate forum posts?
  2. Why are they running a version of vBulletin that has known security holes and is over a year out of date? (in fact, it looks to be been nearly 10 months out of date when it was installed)
  3. Why did they choose to set the forum up so that spambots could register and post articles straight away?
  4. Why not just take the forum offline until you can clear up the offending articles?
  5. There are thousands of message boards and forums out there with porn spam links on them posted by automated bots — what makes this one newsworthy?

Please, BBC, stick to reporting real news.
answers to the above questions:
1) a couple of minutes at the most
2, 3, & 4) because the person administering the forum is clueless
5) because the BBC News Editor on duty this afternoon is clueless