Portfolio Work – Interweaving the Personal API

I know. The title is pure click-bait. That’s part of why this blog is so wildly popular.1 I’ve been building a new portfolio site2 and I think some of this is kind of interesting even if it sounds boring. There are a few different goals in play. One challenge is to create a site that stays up to date with minimal work on my end. It’s a parallel of the small-pieces-loosely-joined mentality. I want tiny-actions-over-time (from the aforementioned small pieces) rather than widely-spaced-herculean efforts. I’m also trying to make sure that it fits in well with my current workflow and that I’m capturing the work I do elsewhere in ways that make sense. Another focus is to keep any work highly portable. I’ve had to re-enter data a number of times as I’ve migrated and I don’t want to do that any more. That’s going to be made possible mainly through some new API options and by working on my API/JSON, JavaScript skills. I’ll probably have to do chunks of it over anyway but I like to pretend I wont. I’ve got a ways to go but I’ve made some decent progress. The basic template/visuals are handled by Bootstrap. I’ve also got some simple Angular views, Timeline JS, JSON from Google sheets, WordPress WP Rest API v2, and Pinboard’s API. […]

Grabbing Flickr Photos

flickr photo shared by goosmurf under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license This one will be improving considerably in the near future but given I’ve just been talking to many interesting people about APIs, reclaiming various things, and Indie-Ed Tech1 I figured I’d get it out early and that’d force me to follow up. Nothing like ugly betas to drive development. It’s also a chance to test my new blog to Twitter system as I disentangle myself from IFTTT. Nothing kills momentum like not doing something . . . So this script currently works on public photos. You’ll need a file named imgs and a file named data.json. This thing should chew through all your photos and download the original size image to the folder. It’ll also make a giant json folder with the image title, any lat/long coordinates, tags (not machine entered though), and the photo date. I will warn you that I’ve only run it on 100 photos so far. I’ll give the full thing a shot once I get things setup to put it on S3. 1 Count down to book . . .

Flickr Group Widget – Round 1

flickr photo shared by Little Orange Crow under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license The goal here was simply to take the Flickr API knowledge I’d gained earlier and apply it within a WordPress widget. In doing so, I learned a few things. The primary one being that I often harm myself by being fairly good at making stuff work rather than understanding what I’m doing. That’s what I did here. The Flickr API thing was pretty legitimate. I knew what I was doing there but I pretty much crammed it into a widget plugin template without really understanding the whole thing. That led to more confusion around print

results of Flickr api group request

Flickr API Basics – Pulling a Group Feed

Someone at work mentioned that the Flickr WordPress widget didn’t work with group photos. We use this group as part of our (sort of just getting started) Friday photo walks. Since I’m trying to learn stuff I figured I’d play a bit with the Flickr API and see how that worked. After getting an API key, my first stop was at URLs. I thought that’d mean endpoints like on Instagram but it was the URL structures for photos. Useful and needed but not what I thought it’d be. I then saw in the right hand sidebar groups and browse. That turned out to be a list of groups. I ended up finding what I wanted at groups.pools get photos. I planned to get the information in json if I could given I’d just spent some time figuring out how that worked so I went back to the main index thinking the json response format would show me how to ask for json data given the variables I’d seen as options in groups.pools.getphotos. It didn’t. This section shows the structure of the json response. Which makes sense it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I found what I was looking for under request.formats which makes sense. This shows the URL structure. https://api.flickr.com/services/rest/?method=flickr.test.echo&name=value is the basic URL. Method is the thing […]

Exploring Explored

As part of the Connected Courses MOOC, we were talking a bit about understanding different networks and how to both navigate them and use their vocabulary/tools. The picture above captures a few interesting elements along those lines. I took the picture walking to work. It was one of those fortuitous moments which happen much more often if you’re out looking for them. After getting the nod from the artist (I now know it was Ross from Sure Hand Signs.), I took a few shots and really felt I’d gotten one or two that captured something interesting. I am experimenting a bit with triggering the Flickr Explore algorithm and developing more of an audience for my photos in a way that doesn’t make me feel dirty or hypocritical. Within Flickr I put it up on Flickr when I got in- something I do only if I’m really excited about a photo which happens less often than I’d like. I usually wait until late at night or the weekend to download/upload images. One of the things I did was title it clearly. I also included a variety of tags and added to one group (Flickr Today). It seems adding the picture to lots of groups would end up being punitive in the land of the Explore algorithm because people try to game […]

Photography – Week 33

There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman. Emile Zola Letter to Paul Cézanne (16 April 1860), as published in Paul Cézanne : Letters (1995) edited by John Rewald As I continue to take more pictures, more consistently, and with a bit more focus1– I find I wander farther afield (both geographically and conceptually) rather than narrowing and, perhaps, perfecting. Or at least improving more rapidly. It seems I follow a path in photography similar to the way I wander in everything else. I don’t really know if this leads to greater or lesser progress. Does taking landscapes influence your street photography? Do macros influence your portraits? Is it all part of a greater whole which shapes how you see the world? I have no idea. I’m hoping for the last one. It seems our society bets heavily on the opposite. It’s interesting to me to look at how the extrinsic “reward” elements of photography plays out as well. It’s a tricky thing in my opinion. There is this idea of “pure” art for art’s sake versus a kind of “compromised” art for audience. This feels overly polarized to me. Art and audience seem inextricably intertwined. Weighing the value of audience against your own ideas and intent […]

Flickr Commons Wandering

@twoodwar I can't shake this image of you at home, alone, eating cheese doodles and going down Flickr rabbit holes all weekend. — Jon Becker (@jonbecker) July 7, 2014 I’m working on a presentation and have been putting all sorts of words in the wonder machine that is the Flickr Commons. I’ve found not only great pictures but case after case of useful comments and associative trails that lead to more interesting things. If you’d like to do the same you can go to the search page but in the end I just would just change the word “YOU” in this URL string to whatever I wanted to search for https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=YOU&is_commons=true&sort=relevance but now on to some examples. This is not Father Guido Sarducci but French Anarchist Georges Cochon. The comments straightened out his name despite the fact that the picture was mislabeled. Aliases, violin, robberies, a straight razor, a fall to his death – it’s like a movie.Another beautiful example of the comments holding as much value as the image. Go there and read them. More solid commenting and I love the guy in the window. Both the mirror and the “access by bodily pressure” made this one stand out. Mocking the Coast Guard . . . Early release for good handwriting? This guy looks just like someone famous but […]

Four Leaf Clovers, Question Paths, & Literal Names

Yesterday, I decided I’d look for four leaf clovers getting in and out of my car. Not hanging out searching, just opening my eyes and paying a bit more attention. Wikipedia tells me there’s one four leaf clover per 10,000 three leaf clovers. What surprises me is despite their relative rarity just how many four leaf clovers seem to be out there. It’s like interesting things. If you just start looking around, you end up amazed at how many interesting things surround you daily that you never noticed. One interesting thing leads to another. It gets to be harder to pay attention to more mundane things like crossing the road because there are so many interesting things to see and think about. Generating Questions I tried to take pictures representing each question I had walking to work the other day. I only decided to do it about halfway in but it was interesting to see it snowball because I made it intentional. The results are embedded below as a set. Additional questions are sometimes in the descriptions and won’t be visible in the embedded view. Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR. Literally Literal Dodge Caravan takes on a very odd feel if you read it literally. I decided to start capturing all the car/bike names I came across that were also actual […]

Flickr Photos by Year/Month

I was looking around to see how many pictures I’ve been posting to Flickr since taking the new job at VCU. I had a feeling there was a dramatic increase but I was curious about actual numbers. After stumbling around the Internet for a bit attempting to do things the hard way, I stumbled on a URL from 2004 — https://www.flickr.com/photos/heather/archives/date-posted/2004/06/calendar/ It didn’t seem to be working but since the URL itself made sense, I just replaced heather with my flickr username and put in the current year/month to get https://www.flickr.com/photos/bionicteaching/archives/date-posted/2013/04/calendar/. Dingo!1 So not only do I get the numbers I want, but I also get a calendar view of all the days I took pictures. I’m still far away from the D’Arcy/Alan shot a day stuff but that’s not really my style. I can now look and see that in three months at VCU, I’ve taken more shots than I have in entire years in the past. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything but I’m having fun and I have the mental energy and desire to do things like this in ways I hadn’t previously. Quantity isn’t the goal but lots of practice and lots of reflection ought to create some improvement. 1 It feels right. Surely you aren’t going to argue that bingo really makes better sense somehow?


We found this monster today. He’s a Hickory Horned Devil1. We researched him- learned about his habitat, that he’ll eventually become the regal moth, and the fact that he’s just about ready to burrow into the soil for pupation. We’ve found a lot of animals and insects this summer. Everything from tortoises to caterpillars- all by chance. They each led to more knowledge for my sons but more importantly they’ve increased their interest and curiosity about nature and science. That’s what I want out of schools. I want them to create more opportunities for teachable moments, more chances for kids to follow their passions and interests, more pathways and more flexibility. I want schools orchestrating chances for serendipity. What I see instead are multiple choice tests and many, many more multiple choice tests to prepare you for the final big multiple choice test. What little chance, individuality and spontaneity left is getting stripped out and we pretend to wonder why teachers quit and students are bored. Serendipity is the enemy of standardization. Serendipity happens when your class is out in the woods and finds a giant, terrifying caterpillar even though you’re supposed to be looking for leaves2. You supplement serendipity by letting kids use class time to research this monstrous worm despite the fact that it isn’t on any state […]