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the coolest use of Flickr EVER!!

Sorry for the exaggeration marks.

But it is pretty cool. It seems to be this guy‘s idea, but this is the recipe I’m most tempted to try:

You need to click on either the link or the photo above to see why it’s such a fab idea. I’m almost tempted to try doing one of these myself.

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Culture Other

blog design

I’ve been thinking about web design recently, specifically as it applies to a possible redesign for this blog. There’s no rush, because the current look is fairly new and I’m pleased with it, but I had set myself a more ambitious target. Inspired by an exchange I had with Will over at Corridor of Uncertainty, I wanted to come up with something which broke away from the standard layout of ‘header and 2 or 3 columns’, which looked genuinely distinctive and sharp.

Obviously you can’t get away from the fact that most of the content you want to present (posts, blogroll, categories) is naturally in a column form. What you can do, hopefully, is break up the boxy visual appearance, both by disguising it – rather as I’ve tried to do with the fading-out of the blue boxes in the current design, which softens their appearance – and by laying them out somewhat differently. And that’s quite apart from all the decisions about typography, visual style, colour-scheme and so on. I would want to get the look stylish without being über-tasteful, modern without trying to present myself as terribly hip (which I’m not), and low-key while still being distinctive. And no Flash or Java, both because they’re completely unnecessary with this kind of site and because I wouldn’t know how to do them anyway – it took me long enough to learn my way around basic HTML and CSS.

I do have a few ideas, but it’s not coming together just yet. In the meantime, I had a (not very thorough) scan through the long poetry blogroll to see what other people have done. Most, sensibly enough, have just used one of the blogger templates. And there are plenty with good, simple designs based primarily on sensible colour and type choices. But here are a few that have managed something a bit more distinctive. In no particular order:

Equanimity (probably my favourite of the lot, though the one-column layout is a bit limiting)
jane dark’s sugarhigh!
Shanna Compton
{lime tree}
JewishyIrishy
Jacob’s Ladder
One Good Bumblebee
Odalisqued
Postcards from the Imagination
Watermark

Note that I’m not talking about anything particularly radical or super-ingenious, just good design.

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Overheard in New York

Overheard in New York is always worth a look. Some recent faves:

Teen boy #1: So the other day I was watching TV and I said out loud, “Fuck, I wish I didn’t just eat all those Doritos.” And then I was like, “Wait, I didn’t just eat any Doritos.” And now I’m like, “Maybe I had one wish and I blew it on Doritos.” You know?

Teen boy #2: Damn, dawg. That sucks.

Girl: I mean, I was rivaling Mary Tyler Moore in her peak for cuteness, and he didn’t even look at me.

Guy: I would totally freeze-frame you, if it’s any consolation.

– Washington Square Park

Queer: I didn’t go to the Roxy on Saturday night; that’s way too many gays in one space. Plus I heard the disco balls were falling on people’s heads.

– Silver Building, Waverly Place

The only London version I know of, Tube Gossip, is less consistently amusing, which is a blow to local pride. Overheard Lines looks to have some good ones. Oh, and I’ve just realised that OiNY has a partner, Overheard in the Office.

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Me Other

For a short time only – valid XHTML *and* CSS!

It’s not that I go out of my way to use non-standards compliant HTML or CSS, but some of the specs seem pretty petty (tags must be lower case, img tags must have an ‘alt’ quality, you have to close your break tags), so I certainly can’t guarantee that the site will remain valid for long. And I’ve only checked the front page. But, just at the moment, the front page does validate both for XHTML and CSS.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about – it’s not important.

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Other

Google Analytics

Google have just launched a free web-traffic analysis service which looks pretty damn good. At the moment, they seem to be struggling under the weight of people joining up, so it hasn’t recognised my site yet. Presumably they’ll get it sorted soon enough. I don’t quite see how they’re going to make money at it, though; it’s only free up to 5 million hits a month, but that’s *a lot* – about 800 times more traffic than this site gets, for example. Even if you go over that, you only need to make a $5 deposit and open a Google Adwords account to get unlimited stats. Mind you, given the sheer staggering oomph of computer power Google must have, perhaps the extra processing is fairly trivial.

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Culture Me Other

Flickr interesting photo meme

Well, it’s not actually a meme unless anyone copies the idea, but hey-ho. Or at least, I guess technically it still is a meme, just an unsuccessful one. Don’t get me started on evolutionary theory.

Search Flickr for photos tagged with your first name. View them ordered as ‘most interesting’. Post the most interesting photo to your blog. The most interesting photo tagged with ‘Harry’ is a Dutch cuckooflower:

cuckooflower

Free bit of trivia – cuckooflower is also known as ‘milkmaid’ or ‘ladies smock’.