Archive for the 'Flickr' Category

How to Scare Your Users, by Flickr

Posted in Flickr on October 24th, 2008 at 13:05:58

A friend of mine recently had his account ‘restricted’ by Flickr for “potentially offensive content”. His comments on Flickr’s treatment of the issue are concerning to me: as he describes in his entry:

They still haven’t gotten around to telling me what this content IS or why it is potentially offensive. … “There are millions of people visiting Flickr who may not see the world the same way you do” is certainly true, but a dangerous way to run a community.

I understand Flickr’s needs for the adequate use of controls on users accounts in order to make the site they want it to be, but threats of account termination on a service like Flickr are very concerning to me. I’ve invested a lot of work in my photos on Flickr, and although I’d like to continue to use the service, the feedback of anonymous users being able to lead to account termination with no human feedback in the loop is a scary prospect.

I’d love to hear that this is an oversight somewhere, but if I don’t see Dan get some feedback on his issues, maybe I should consider abandoning Flickr as the primary place to host my photos. Convenience isn’t really worth the possible risk of having an account terminated — presumably taking all its content with it — without even having feedback from a human on why. Clearly, that risk always exists with the Terms of Service that exist on the site — almost every site I’ve seen which has lawyers behind it has some sort of “We can do whatever we want, and in that case, you’re screwed” clause in their terms of use — but to have it become clear that they follow this path in something that seems a routine matter to resolve is a somewhat scary precedent.

Flickr Authentication API Documentation Bug

Posted in Flickr, Web Publishing on October 18th, 2008 at 08:54:17

In the Flickr authentication API documentation regarding their Authentication Specification, the example in section 9.2 seems to have an invalid value.

They provide the following:

  • API Key: 987654321
  • Parameters: method=flickr.auth.getFrob
  • Secret: foobarbaz

According to section 8, this should result in taking the md5sum of:

foobarbazapi_key987654321methodflickr.auth.getFrob

Which is 91216d07a9e945a8e2bf2b2660e7ba86 . Hoewever, the md5sum used in the api_sig parameter in the example is 5f3870be274f6c49b3e31a0c6728957f. (I’ve tried several different combinations, and been unable to figure out what this value might be based on.)

This yws-flickr post also confirms that the documentation appears to be incorrect.

I couldn’t find the appropriate place to put this given a short search, so I’m publishing it here in hopes that it will remind me to inform someone who might be able to fix it. (There are 5 authors listed on the spec: Emailing all five of them feels like overkill, especially since I’m pretty sure that not all of them still actively work on flickr.) If you know anyone who might be involved, feel free to pass it on…

Flickr’s Interestingness Patent

Posted in Flickr, Photography on October 16th, 2008 at 06:02:07
Easter Sunday at First Parish
My most ‘interesting’ photo

One of the things that has always confused me is how Flickr’s ‘interestingness’ score worked. It’s clearly not based directly on views — my most ‘interesting’ photos have ~500 views, while my most popular ones have ~5000. The same is true of comments, tags, groups, etc: Some of my most interesting photos are, all in all, the least obviously ‘popular’ ones.

However, reading through the patent on Interestingness, I see:

[0027] The statistics engine generates statistics and other metrics based upon aggregated metadata. In one embodiment, the statistics engine determines the popularity of metadata (e.g., tags) within a grouping of media objects over a predetermined time period. For example, the statistics engine may determine the number of different users that have assigned a particular tag to one or more media objects within all groups on the system, within a single group, or within a set of media objects, over the last 24 hours. The aggregation engine may determine (and display) a histogram of the tags, and may determine the most frequently assigned tags (at any point in time or over a predetermined time period) by determining those tags either having a frequency exceeding a minimum threshold frequency or belonging to a predetermined number of the most popular tags.

The patent application doesn’t directly claim that this is used in the interestingness calculation, but this type of time-period based tag aggregation/valuation is clearly a non-obvious metric that can’t be calculated by looking directly at user-visible information on a single photo.

Still, none of this really changes the fact that I wish that flickr had a per-person ‘most interesting this week’ sort: my ‘eastern bunny’ photo above has been at the top of the interesting list for ages, and I want new interesting photos, damnit!

Finished FOSS4G Photo Uploads

Posted in FOSS4G 2008, Flickr on October 10th, 2008 at 05:13:26

I finally finished uploading all the photos I took at/around the FOSS4G conference.

FOSS4G 2008 Set

Includes photos from:

  • Various nights hanging out at the bars/hotels during the conference
  • A trip up Table Mountain with OpenLayers/OpenGeo folks
  • GeoDjango Workshop
  • Sessions, exhibition hall, etc.
  • Pictures from the Gala Dinner at Moyo
  • Closing Session
  • OSGeo AGM
  • OpenLayers Workshop
  • GeoServer Workshop

Photos that are taken at the conference center/of conference proceedings are also tagged with foss4g2008:

foss4g2008 tagged

And most photos of people who I recognized are tagged with first name in the title, and with a username (as used on IRC or other unique identifier) attached as a tag:

Photos of Arnulf
Photos of Steven

Photos of the OSGeo AGM are also tagged as such:

OSGeo AGM Photos

I’ve made my tagging settings as open as possible, but I believe you still need to be a contact on flickr in order to add notes/tags to photos: simply add me as a contact, and I’ll add you back.

Any names I got wrong, please let me know, either via email or by simply commenting on the flickr photo.

Thanks to all for helping to create such a photogenic conference.

Symbian Python Update

Posted in Flickr, Mobile Platform, Python, Symbian Python on June 4th, 2005 at 10:08:49

Matt Croyden mentioned the other day that there is a new Python for Series 60 Alpha release. Reading through Erik Smartt’s post on the topic, I realized that this offers a number of the features that I had wanted built in in the original release: Camera access, Address Book and Contact APIs, and other similar things.

I had put off working on Symbian Python work for a while, but with the new release, I think I’m going to put some more effort into it: use of the new APIs will make things easier (like automatically uploading pictures taken to flickr, one of my original goals) and makes me want to get hacking again.

Congratulations to the Python-on-Symbian team, and I’m looking forward to starting work with the new alpha release.

Flickr Image Region Selection

Posted in Flickr, Image Description, SPARQL on May 26th, 2005 at 22:58:33

One of the things I’ve noticed with my Image Region stuff, which I posted about recently, is that it’s slow. I didn’t really think about why: at first, a lot of it seemed to have to do with the client side XSL, or the CSS cropping of gigantic images.

However, I’m now realizing that this is using a regex with a pretty heavy query: The kind of query that I wouldn’t want anyone to run against julie, because it would just take too long.

The reason for this is Redland’s current REGEX implementation: It basically loads all the literals out of the store and does a regex against them after it has them, which is obviously not ideal.

With that in mind, I tried to think of interesting queries which could be done without requiring a regex, and came up with the idea of flickr images searches: show me a closeup of all the regions in a flickr image of mine.

So, now there’s an additional search box on my SPARQL interface: Flickr ID/URI. It then uses the foaf:page part of the photo to query against, which is obviously much faster.

Maybe I’ll expand this: let people put in any flickr photo ID, and display the information using XSLT against an RDF datasource, with a link to the output of the datasource. I’ve got all the tools to do it now running in Python locally, so I don’t think it would be too difficult: I would need to get some error parsing together though. I really wish I could tie PHP / Python code on the web together more easily though…

Anyway, an example: Flickr Page to RDF generates Regions.

Try it out at The SPARQL search. As always, data and query are shown inside the source of the page, at the bottom.

More on Image Regions

Posted in Flickr, Geolocation, Image Description, RDF, SPARQL on May 23rd, 2005 at 18:43:40

My post last night was a bit cryptic, so let me walk through a bit more clearly what I’ve been doing, since I seem to have picked up the interest of some more people.

I currently am using Flickr to annotate my photos: primarily because I like their image region annotations, and partially because their API offers me a way to get lots of data out that I’ve put in, which is useful to me. So, that’s what I’m using for photo annotation at the moment, which may change at any point.

Masahide has a flickr2rdf service: flickr2rdf takes a Flickr Photo page URI and exports RDF from it: For example, a picture of myself, my ex girlfriend, and Foghorn Leghorn can be seen, fully annotated, using XSLT+RDF, via the flickr2rdf tool.

Additionally, the original photos stored at flickr (full size) have EXIF information: this information can be exported via Masahide’s equally cool exif2rdf tool: Foghorn Leghorn Example.

Once I have the photo_id of a photo, I can collect all these statements together. Additionally, since I am using tags from GeoBloggers for geolocation, I have a tool which parses out these tags (using the Flickr API) and creates Geo data for them.

I add a few tracking statements: specifically, links to seeAlso the final RDF/XSLT view of the image, (again, Foghorn Leghorn example). I serialize the Model out from Redland, and get a directory full of files full of RDF singletons. From here, I use cwm to process the singletons into an abbreviated RDF/XML file. These files are then synced to the http://crschmidt.net/albums/flickr/ directory. Here, I use a couple little tricks to add an XSLT declaration as the first line of each file, so that the content negotiated version offers XML delivered as application/xml, rather than just application/rdf+xml (which Firefox won’t display in a browser).

Next step is to add each of these files into an RDF model. Since I’m still occasionally changing statements, I’ve been dropping the whole model and readding every time: this doesn’t take too long, as it’s only a few hundred files, and Redland is speedy quick.

So, now we have a database full of RDF statements. Fine. But that’s not too useful. So, I have my SPARQL query interface. Which is all well and good, for people who have lots of knoweldge of RDF. It can provide some cool results.

But it doesn’t really do anything *fun*. So last night, I added an optional checkbox, that said “If you ahve something in a specific query format, process an XSLT file against it”. I tweaked this XSLT from masahide’s example, linked yesterday, into what it is now, which you can see, if you’re interested.

Well, that’s all well and good, but most people don’t understand SPARQL enough to know what they should type in. What’s the use of having to learn a language just to see some pictures? So, my next step was to add a search box specifically for Regions: my sparql page has a search box now specifically for this purpose.

I realized after a couple times, though, that using client side XSLT to process the XML was really slow, clunky, and generally ugly. Not to mention that Mozilla’s XSLT doesn’t let me disable-output-escaping on variables: so, I installed php4-xslt, and started using that implementation on the server side.

Yeah, that’s all well and good too, but now my pretty RDF with queries and all went away! So, I added them back: at the end of the Foghorn Search, in a comment, you’ll see:

Generated using the XSLT stylesheet at http://crschmidt.net/xslt/imgreg.xsl against the data generated by the query:

PREFIX dc: <http ://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/>
PREFIX foaf: <http ://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>
PREFIX imgreg: <http ://www.w3.org/2004/02/image-regions#>
SELECT ?img,?title,?page,?desc,?atitle,?coord
WHERE {
?img
dc:title ?title;
foaf:page ?page;
dc:description ?desc;
imgreg:hasRegion ?r.
?r
dc:title ?atitle;
imgreg:coords ?coord.
FILTER REGEX(?atitle ,”Foghorn”) }

Data was:

followed by the XML version of the SPARQL query results.

Another interesting example: Schmidt - myself, family members, and others.

Anyway, being a bit more informative seemed appropriate given the situation. So there’s my implementation toy of the day.

XSLT + Image Regions + Sparql

Posted in Flickr, Image Description, RDF, SPARQL, XSLT on May 22nd, 2005 at 20:05:23

Read Masahide’s notes on XSLT+Image Regions. Used some tools to convert my flickr photos to RDF.

Converted an XSLT Stylesheet to a different result format. Loaded ~400 RDF files into a Model, totalling 33,000 statements. Added an option to my Sparql Interface. Changed the default query. Made the extra option add the stylesheet.

Ran a query. Tweaked until it worked. Typed it all up here, to share with all of you.

Hooray for masahide, flickr, and all kinds of other wonderful things.

Flickr Posting App Update

Posted in Flickr, Symbian Python on March 2nd, 2005 at 07:25:29

Since I’ve gotten a couple people asking about it - my application for my phone to post to flickr has a basic shell built, and works, but I’m llooking to add a few more features and make it more user friendly before I post the code for you all to use.

Featureset right now:
* Ability to store options, including default tags, username, password, and security
* Browsing through filesystem in a filebrowser and selecting a photo to upload
* Uploading a photo, and adding additional tags to the defaults

Other Features that I want to implement:
* Actually respecting the security that’s stored.
* Uploading more than one image at a time
* Less confusing interface.

So, it’s still on my todo list, and I’m going to continue to work on it, it just hasn’t gotten done yet. Mostly because I’ve been too busy reading Snow Crash.

One thing I’m not sure if people want to do is type in a title and description for the image while uploading the image. I don’t have any t9 enabled input boxes that are easy to use. So, it’s a question of whether I want to use the more difficult (and possibly confusing) Form box, or if I want to just skip it for the time being.

Actually, now that I think about it, the appuifw.Form wouldn’t be as bad of a way to go as I thought it would be… Hm. Will have to check that out.

Quickies…

Posted in Flickr, Geolocation, Mobile Platform, Symbian Python on February 28th, 2005 at 09:46:41

Wombat takes charge : learning how easy it is to work with location stuff in Python, he starts work on a project that sounds a lot like the work I’ve started on locative stuff. Looks like I need to get back to that…

As FrankK reports, Darla will record an orgasm ringtone if she gets requests on her blog for one. Think she’ll follow through? I’m interested in finding out.

Flickr stuff is close to done. I’ve got a user interface put together, using code stolen from the included file browser provided by Nokia. You can browse through, select a picture to upload, and upload it, using the given tags, security, and stored username/password. It’s not ready for prime time yet, because I want to set up a way to do multiple uploads at once. I’d also like to be able to type in titles/descriptions, but the limitations of the UI widgets available blocked me there. I don’t have anything that I can type t9 into with ease, so getting the data out would be a pain. Is it so much to ask for a t9 enabled appuifw.query window?

Jess asked me yesterday if I’ll ever make any money hacking these things together. My answer is probably not: I don’t like the idea of charging people money for something. I’ve never even asked for donations, because I just think it’s not fair to expect people to pay me for the work I do. Despite this, if anyone wants to offer me money to do what I’m doing, I’d be glad to take it. I really need to move this stuff to a server that isn’t hosted in a house with four cats running around: they have a tendancy to pull out the ethernet cable nightly, which means downtime for everyone.

I’m looking to move stuff soon, I’ve had my eyes on one of the Sagonet bargain servers for a while. (The reason I’m going for my own box rather than a virtual box type solution is memory based: I want to run julie off a different machine than my own, and that requires me to use a hell of a lot more memory than any virtual hosting solution I’ve yet found.) The price is good, it’s just that initial extra setup fee that’s putting me off.

However, every day that goes by is another day that I realize I really just need to move stuff and be done with it. Waking up every morning and having to restart my menagerie of bots is getting old. I want something stable.

Is anyone looking for hosting? $10/ a month, and I’ll do all the work to install anything you want! :)