Whilst browsing through images tagged with “hitchcock” on Flickr, I came across this image by Paul Szynol:

My initial reaction was “that’s a cool scale model” and then I started reading the comments… my mind boggled when I realised it wasn’t a model, but a real photograph that’s undergone a process called “tilt-shift” (which is something I’d never heard of before).
According to Wikipedia:

Tilt-Shift Miniature Faking is a process in which a photograph of a real location or object is manipulated so that it looks like a photograph of a scale-model miniature. By distorting the focus of the photo, the artist fools the eye into believing that the distances in the photograph are much smaller than they really are.

A search on Flickr brings up hundreds of other tilt-shifted images, and I couldn’t resist having a go myself (a quick Google search show you how):

(the original image is here)

Librarians as books – part 2

Here’s a few more…
By the way, if anyone would like an image “bookifying” then feel free to email it to me: email[at]daveyp.com
Stephen Abram (stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com)

(largest version – 3,420 book covers)
Sarah Houghton-Jan (librarianinblack.typepad.com)

(largest version – 4,680 book covers)
Casey Bisson (www.maisonbisson.com)

(largest version – 2,700 book covers)
Meredith Farkas (meredith.wolfwater.com)

(largest version – 3,000 book covers)
John Blyberg (www.blyberg.net)

(largest version – 4,080 book covers)
Jessamyn West (www.librarian.net)

(largest version – 2,040 book covers)

(largest version – 3,480 book covers)
Michael Casey (www.librarycrunch.com)

(largest version – 2,940 book covers)
note: the largest versions are hosted on my home PC, so you’ll probably have time to make a cup of coffee, run a bath, and rearrange your entire library stock by the colour of the spines before they finish downloading 😀

Librarians as books – part 1

…or should it be “books as librarians”?
Anyway, some more playing around with book covers and average colours…
Michael Stephens (www.tametheweb.com)

(largest version – 3,720 book covers)
Stephen Abram (stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com)

(largest version – 2,460 book covers)

(largest version – 2,040 book covers)
Kathryn Greenhill (librariansmatter.com/blog/)

(largest version – 3,600 book covers)
Hopefully the people who took the original photographs don’t mind me using the images, and the librarians concerned don’t mind being “bookified” 🙂
I should also point out that the book covers are pretty much chosen at random as being the closest colour matches, so you shouldn’t read anything into the titles that were used!

Michael Stephens = Norman Bates?!?

Following on from searching for books by the colour of the cover, it would be just plain rude if I didn’t have a stab at ripping off retrievr at the same time!
Once Iman gets back, I’m going to grill him mercilessly about the best way to analyse and match images. In the meantime, here’s my first stab at searching…
Using ImageMagick, I resized the book covers to 8×8 pixels and then stored the hex colour value of each of the 64 pixels in a database table.
For example, Nielsen’s “Designing Web Usability” changes from…

…to something like this (I’ve added the black lines)…

You can then give it an image like this one to search for…

…then cross your fingers and see what pops out the other end…
The search works by comparing the hex colours of the 8×8 version of the search image with the corresponding pixels of the book covers. Each book cover then gets ranked by how well it matches the search image.
The only catch is that it currently takes about over 30 seconds to complete the search, hence the need to get Iman on the case.
Anyway, I’m sure what you really want to know is what the lowdown on Michael Stephens is — here’s what came out the other end when I gave it a well known image of Mr Stephens…
Continue reading “Michael Stephens = Norman Bates?!?”

Go John, Go!

Just spotted that Ann Arbor now have suggestions on their OPAC — yay!
The suggestions on our OPAC are very much driven by books recommended on the student reading lists, so it’s going to be fun comparing suggestions from a public library to see how similar they are.
Taxi Driver (DVD) (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
Our DVD collection is mostly art films, with a few mainstream/popular titles thrown in, so our top suggestions include “City of God”, “Y tu mama tambien”, and “The Godfather”.
The Ann Arbor suggestions are a much broader range — from “The Aristocrats” thru to “King Kong”, via “The Killers” (1946)
The Hobbit (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
This almost looks like a LibraryThing unsuggestion, but our only suggestion is for “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”!
The Ann Arbor suggestions include lots more Tolkein, along with quite a few GA McKevett titles.
Ulysses (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
We’ve got an interesting selection of classics, poetry, and classical music (inc. Mozart, Nyman, and Bartok).
The Ann Arbor suggestions include at least three books on how to pay for college, along with books by Asimov and Stephen Baxter.
I’d love to see more libraries offering suggestions. Imagine if you were able to easily compare your borrowing trends with other libraries — how much common ground would there be, and how much to local demographics come into play?

Searching for books by the colour of the cover

Iman and Jonathan’s comments on my previous post got me wondering how accurate searching by the average colour of a book cover would actually be…
Here’s a quick & dirty prototype:
It’s so quick & dirty that you’ll need to enter a hex value for the colour you want to search for (e.g. FF8C00 or 9370D8) — if you’re not that familiar with the hex values, then try this page.
Alternatively, just hit the “pick random colour” button to make something up!
There are currently around 12,000 book covers that it knows the average colour for, but I’ll keep adding more once I’ve finished indexing them.

Shock horror — local area makes it onto BBC News site!

It’s not often that the area where we live gets a mention on the BBC News web site:
Homes evacuated amid factory fire
…in fact, the last time might well have been this story about a local inventor who was attacked by a squirrel.
Unfortunately the main road where we live is still closed by the police, so it’s going to be fun getting back home tonight!

“Smoke lingers ’round your fingers”

Now this is why I have absolutely zero interest in getting a job in London:
BBC News: Table-sized flat for £170,000

In case you’re not from around these parts, that’s:

  • $336,074 US dollars
  • €259,428 Euros
  • $426,364 Australian dollars
  • 3,664,289 Mexican pesos
  • 14,821,889 India rupees

As a comparison, our 3 bedroom period terraced cottage (which is actually 2 cottages knocked together) set in a lovely rural location with oodles of wildlife cost us just £70,000.