Archive for the 'Photos' Category

Photo editing

Friday, December 29th, 2006

As if my photo hobby needed any added components, I have finally gotten around to doing a bit of editing on my photos. Here is one result:

Bike rack black and white with glow effect

There is a group on Flickr called Which do you prefer? where you can post a couple of photos and ask others to tell you which one they prefer and why. In response to such a request, a user suggested I try out my bike rack photo in black and white.

After changing it to B&W, I decided to play around with it a bit more. I ended up trying out the Glow effect under the Effects menu in the handy free Windows program Paint.NET. I used the following settings: Radius 3, Brightness 4 and Contrast 39. Above is the result. I think it works best with a black frame, thus the border around it.

By the way, this is the original:

Bike rack 3

Project 365: #38-#44

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Those of you who read my blog, but do not visit my Flickr account may be thinking that I abandoned Project 365 weeks ago. Not so! I have been very diligent about taking at least one photo (if not dozens) every day and designating one for the Project 365 set each day. Before the year is over, I hope to catch up with posting these to the blog.

Decadence table

Taken: December 1, 2006

#38: At the last social hour at the Center, we decided to expand the Wine Committee into the Decadence Committee, because, well, some of us don’t like wine, but more importantly: there are more ways than one to be decadent. So we created a Cheese Committee and a Chocolate Committee. Which one do you think I’m in? These were the fruits of our labor. More coming next time.

Red fountain water

Taken: December 2, 2006

#39: In honor of the big Stanford-Cal football game the next day, the fountain water was turned red (bright pink is a more like what it was, but I am assuming the goal was red).


Taken: December 3, 2006

#40: I got a great deal on Cranium Pop 5 (<$11 including shipping!) and as soon as it arrived, I had some friends over for a game. This is my teammate’s rendition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which needless to say, I guessed.:)

Project 365 email

Taken: December 4, 2006

#41: Screenshot of an email singing the praises of Project 365 and why more who like photography should join! (hint)

Sex and the City book cover

Taken: December 5, 2006

#42: Sex and the City Kiss and Tell book, a must for any SATC fan.

Orange leaves, blue sky

Taken: December 6, 2006

#43: Leaves in the Center parking lot.

Taken: December 7, 2006

#44: Spotted on East Campus Drive at Stanford, reminded me of all the work my project group and I are doing.. although likely not quite the same type of surveying.


Sunday, December 24th, 2006

I just put in an order for the Gorillapod that has come recommended to me by a couple of fellow Flickrites. You can get free ground shipping and a 15% discount if you buy it on Joby and put in the code gorillapodlove, which is something they’ve made available until the end of this year. (That Flickr group page says 10%, but it was 15% off.) Enjoy!

UPDATE (12/26/06): I had a bad experience trying to use Paypal for payment and in the end it didn’t work. Joby seems to care about customer experiences so I emailed them about this, but the response I received was very generic. So take note that 1. you may not be able to use Paypal for a purchase on; and 2. don’t bother sending an email to

Where’s Waldo, 21st century edition

Friday, December 15th, 2006

Wow. These images are amazing. Viewing these may benefit considerably from a high-speed connection and definitely from a large screen.

In case you can’t get to it, it may be that the site is being blocked by your school/workplace, because years ago it was an “adult site” and it got banned by a bunch of filters. That raises an interesting point about buying domain names. It’s worth looking into their past. In this case, a quick check on the Wayback Machine would’ve helped.

In any case, the images are amazing, enjoy if you can get to them.

Gift guide: DIY photo projects (& a request for the number 3)

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

‘Tis the season for buying gifts (lots of us have December birthdays*, you know). So I’m starting a discussion of various gift ideas. My plan is to post about items that I have bought myself and so can recommend with confidence. Alternatively, I may suggest some do-it-yourself projects on occasion.

I’ll start things off with the latter. Consider giving someone a personalized memory game made up of photos that would be of interest either because they portray people/places of interest to the person, or because they are simply great photos. More details on this here. Note, however, that creating multiple wallet-sized photos can get expensive quickly. If you’re short on cash, but have time, you may consider editing images that contain a pair of two images each and then simply getting the regular size photos of these. That way, you can get two pairs for 5-10c each instead of 99c each with a leftover pair.

Another idea is to use one of the many amusing tools from fd’s Flickr toys. You can create a funny motivation poster, a magazine cover, a movie poster, or lots of other things and get these printed out. Regular size photo print-outs are only about 10-20c so definitely on the cheap side. And note that despite the site’s name, these don’t require a Flickr account, you can upload a photo directly from your computer.

Photojojo has additional ideas. I am intrigued by their Fotoclips selling for $15 (including shipping), but I haven’t bought any of those nor have I ever tried them out so this is just a pointer, not a recommendation.

Of course, nowadays, you can get a photo printed on just about anything, but the above items are mainly do-it-yourself so fairly cheap and have that extra personal touch.

* No worries, I’m well aware of the comment “There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.” Nonetheless, if you care to contribute to my upcoming celebrations, I’m collecting photos of the number 3 from around the world. So email me one if you can (or better yet, post one on Flickr and send me the link). (Yes, I know I can find tons of 3s on Flickr, but these would be from you to me.:)

New Flickr features

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

For those of you not following the official Flickr blog, here are a couple of exciting features introduced recently:

1. Mobile support. Just point your mobile browser to Yes!

2. Guest passes to otherwise private photos. One possible limitation of Flickr is that in order for friends and family to see private photos, they have to log in to the system. But we all have friends and family who don’t want to be bothered. Well, now they don’t have to do anything, but click on a link to your otherwise private photo set. Go to one of your sets, click on “Share this set”, enter people’s email addresses and there you go.

If you like sharing photos with others and you don’t use Flickr then can you please comment on this post and let me know why? Because it is an awesome service and I keep waiting for more of my friends to start using it, and given all of its features, I don’t understand why more people aren’t coming on board.

I realize it’s not the most user-friendly site if you don’t know anything about it, but you can laarn quickly. And there are some tutorials to help you.:)

Also, another perhaps not widely-understood feature is that you can upload photos simply by emailing them to your account. You don’t have to bother with their upload tools if you don’t want to. I just thought I’d point out that additional helpful feature.

Playing with celebrity pics

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Via Alex I found a celebrity look-alike tool. A couple of people have told me in the past that I look like Sigourney Weaver, but she didn’t come up on any of the results regardless of which photo I tried. (Yup, I got different results depending on the photo so that, in and of itself, should tell you about the value of this exercise.:-) FYI, you do have to register for a free account to play with this tool.

Announcing Project 365

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Inspired by this Photojojo story, I have decided to start taking at least one photo every day and posting these regularly to the blog.

Those of you who are familiar with my uses of the photo-sharing site Flickr are probably thinking: as if you needed any more reasons for taking photos. True. But I don’t take photos daily and I think it’s an intriguing idea. Moreover, one-a-day suggests that when you take several dozen, you still have to pick just one to represent the day. Interesting.

Morning sun from my CASBS officeI happened to be GChatting with American Frog aka Katie Bessiere as I was thinking about this yesterday and successfully got her to join the project. She has started a blog just for this. I’m still working on getting Jeremy to join in. Anyone else interested? Let me know and I’ll start a sidebar just for one-a-day photo blogs of people I know (or people I may not know, but who know me:). I am not starting a new blog for this, but I’m starting a category for ease of access.

I usually travel enough that I can supply a wide array of photographs. However, I have no travel plans in the next few months. (That is by design. Why leave paradise?) This means that you will either see a LOT of deer photos or I’ll have to get very creative.

The photo above I took yesterday as I was thinking about doing this project. In a later post I’ll kick things off with Photo #1.

Record-setting snow

Friday, October 13th, 2006

Snow sets record I have no idea why I’m smiling in that photo. There was not much fun about the scene. The Chicago area saw record-setting weather yesterday. Apparently this is the earliest measurable snow since snow has been measured in the city. Yikes. Thursday’s snow beat the record by six days! It’s not as though I wasn’t already very happy in California, but I guess the weather thought I needed more reminding of why I should just stay put and enjoy the sunny and warm days.

Fun Flickr finds

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Over the weekend I found a few fun Flickr tools. I’ve bookmarked these (see links), but they are worth a separate post.

First, Steeev’s Flickr Projects is a goldmine. The resources there are mostly Greasemonkey scripts, which requires that you use Firefox and that you download Greasemonkey. (For the non-techies in the audience, it’s not that painful. The instructions are pretty straight-forward on that site. Just remember, as with all Firefox extensions, you’ll have to restart Firefox after the installation.)

My favorite script from Steeev’s site is FlickrPM. It adds useful links next to each user’s name. You can now quickly find out whether they have any images in the Explore archives, view their images in order of interestingness, jump to their mail or profile page directly, all via a direct link right next to their name.

There are several other goodies on that site, it’s worth a look.

Another interesting Greasemonkey script imports information about the Upcoming event with which the photo may be associated. I no longer remember, but this may also be the script that lets you add a tag with Upcoming event information from your Upcoming event list seemlessly to any Flickr photo.

Finally, for some fun, check out Museumr, which lets you place any of your Flickr images (or probably any image from anywhere online) in a museum setting. Here is an example.

Celebrating 90,000 Flickr views!

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

Celebrating 90,000 views!

There are 2,122 images in my Flickr stream viewable to all, 2,868 viewable to me (the number’s in between there somewhere for family & friends). It’s so much fun to be able to go back and remember various things from the past year by being able to browse photos of people, events and places. It’s also a delight to communicate with people on the site and learn about others’ interests, passions and environments. If you’re not yet a user, I highly recommend it! Here are some instances of Flickr mentions on this blog.

Yahoo! Hack Day

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Taking advantage of my Silicon Valley location this year, I decided to go check out Yahoo! Hack Day (it’s actually a two-day event so I’ll be back for more today).

Hundreds of people showed up for the opportunity to spend a day adding functionality to various Yahoo! products such as Flickr, and now even Yahoo! Mail. The demos of these creations will be this afternoon (Saturday) where we’ll get to hear 90-second descriptions of the hacks. It sounds fun and exciting especially to someone like me who’s such a fan of some of Yahoo!’s products.

The event organization so far has been impressive with clear directions, plenty of parking, fast registration and some fun swag. Yesterday was filled with various presentations culminating in a pizza dinner and then a live concert. I finally met Lifehacker Gina Trapani in person and hung out for a while. This was fun since despite having written for Lifehacker in the past, we’ve never met in person.

The surprise of the evening was the Beck concert (see a recent interview in Wired as to why he was an especially appropriate selection for this event). The performance included puppet versions of all the artists projected onto the screen behind the stage. It was great. You can find photos of the concert on Flickr (mine, others’) and there’s also a Yahoo! video not of the concert, but of the Beck puppet’s visit to Sunnyvale. Google gets most of the attention for being a fun place to work, but Yahoo!’s campus seems quite fun as well, something I already noted when giving a talk there two years ago.

Introducing Casbie

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006


A deer visits me almost every day here at the Center. There seem to be plenty of leaves falling from the tree to keep it well fed. On occasion I’ll look out my window and there it is. I have decided to name the deer and have given it the name Casbie as a mix of the Center’s abbreviation (CASBS) and perhaps you can guess what else. I’ve started a separate set for it on Flickr. (Sorry about all the “its”, but I can’t tell for sure if it’s male or female. At times like this Hungarian is so much more convenient without gendered pronouns.)

Free Flickr minicards

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

For all you Flickr Pro users out there (and I know some of my readers share my addiction), note that you can try out the new minicard service at for free, for a pack of ten cards. The service is free for the first 10,000 Flickr Pro users so don’t delay. You know how active Flickr users are, it will be curious to see how quickly ten thousand of them take advantage of this opportunity. My understanding is that a sample of 10 is not otherwise available so it’s worth a try.

The service is being advertised mainly as a business card solution. Some seem to be saying that the cards are too nice to give away.:-) I look forward to seeing them in hard copy.

Before you start, it’s worth noting that the cards are much slimmer than a regular photo so try to pick ones where inclusion of the entire image won’t be necessary. The cropping can have an interesting effect, but in some cases it just doesn’t work.


Flickr trolls?

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

I noticed a fairly bizarre comment on one of my images on Flickr. (Screenshot here in case the person decides to delete the comment.) The picture is of a motel in Nevada. The comment by user “s_jagdish99” reads:
ok great………!
come on get good pictures like beaches.

That same user left a comment on another one of my photos (screenshot) so I took a look. I then realized that user “rushi.1985” had left the following comment three weeks ago:

whats this r they tennis courte?
ok great………!
come on get good pictures like beaches.

User “rushi.1985” has nothing in the account. User “s_jagdish99” also has no photos, but does list my account as the one and only contact.

There are no links on either account, so I don’t quite see how this is about spam for the purposes of gaining traffic. Is this supposed to be a troll? Curious.

What makes a town a town?

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Buford, WyomingI’m now on on the West coast after spending a chunk of last week driving to Palo Alto from Chicagoland.* I didn’t have much time so I just got on I-80 and drove with few interruptions. I made a stop in one of the more populated parts of Wyoming: Buford. As you can see from the sign, the town has a population of two. It’s also noteworthy due to its high elevation, apparently the highest on I-80. I had no idea I was that high up had it not been pointed out on this sign as the roads on the way weren’t particular steep. In any case, I am curious, what makes a town a town? The Eisenhower Expressway (I-80) goes by plenty (more than plenty, in fact) unpopulated areas with just a house here or there. So what makes Buford a town of two vs just a house attached to another town?

[*] For those not familiar with distances in the US, this is similar – in terms of distance, pretty much nothing else – to something like driving from Moscow to Madrid.

Photo scavenger hunt

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

Time sink!

Looking for a summer [or insert appropriate season] hobby? Consider joining the Flickr Monthly Scavenger Hunt group!

June Scavenger Hunt

Each month, you’re given a list of items for which you have to post photos. The challenge is made a bit easier by the fact that you can use photos taken at other times. (I think the really hard core version would not allow people to look in their archives, but it’s hard enough as is so it’s likely a reasonable rule.)

The July list has just been posted. It looks considerably harder than last month’s list, not that that was easy. I think for #8 “Hot pink” I can recycle my “Oink” entry from June. And probably few will have my particular take on #13 “Pest”. But what about entries like #11 “Most exotic animal for your location” or #14 “Road sign with wildlife on it”? This should be interesting…


Monday, June 12th, 2006

I wanted to send my parents something nice the other day (just because) and ended up playing around with One True Media. I wouldn’t spend too much time coming up with something elaborate as they hold your material hostage to a large extent, but it’s worth a try.

So here’s a little trip down memory lane.. a few images of my brother and me from a few decades ago.

Create your own video at One True Media

Princeton Reunions

Monday, June 5th, 2006

I’ve posted lots of photos and a few videos from this past weekend.

The Princeton orchestra gave a nice performance, here is a snippet from what sounds like a waltz. They ended with Star Wars:

Here are some videos from the fireworks with music, including the singing of Old Nassau.

Captions sought

Monday, May 29th, 2006

My brother just sent me this picture of my nephew:

Last in has to get out on his own

My first reaction was that I laughed. The second was that I started coming up with possible captions for it (here’s one). It seems like a natural for a caption contest. I’m not holding a contest as I have nothing to give away, but I still invite you to suggest a caption, you know, just for the pure amusement, glory and fame associated with participation. As my brother kindly pointed out to me, my nephew is the one on the left, Pooh is on the right, fyi.