April 2011 Archives

I've grabbed a few shots on my lunch breaks in the past two days. These photographs are of the exciting events taking place in London as London gets ready for the Royal Wedding. The media have set up a large area in Green Park, near Buckingham Palce, where flags are on display and lining the Mall. Temporary media structures have been built here and opposite Westminster Abbey. Expensive cameras and structures have been set up for filming on the big day, and several are already camping in front of Westminster Abbey to secure a desirable view. Flags hang along the procession route and down Regent Street. London is swamped with tourists, journalists, and reporters.

royalwedding01.jpg royalwedding02.jpg





Spring Flowers in Regent's Park

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To celebrate spring, I've decided to upload some photographs taken in Regent's Park a couple of weekends ago in the height of the mini-heat wave in the UK. I wish all of my visitors a happy spring!



Pencil Lead Sculptures

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A few months ago, I came across an article about an artist who creates tiny sculptures from the tips of pencil leads. Dalton Ghetti, based in Connecticut, uses needles and razor blades and a steady hand to carve the sculptures. The work is never sold; it is given away to friends. 


View this gallery website for more examples of Dalton Ghetti's work: http://www.silvermineart.org/gallery/exhibition_detail.cfm?exhibitionID=119

Creating QR Codes and Charts with Google

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Although the web has come a long way in displaying and rendering data and content, there's one area that has been missing, and this is the ability to display charts and graphs easily. Developers can easily display tabular data, well-formed content with styling, and map locations, but little has been done in the area of charts and graphs.

Google have developed a solution to fill this need, which is explained in the Google Chart API: http://code.google.com/apis/chart/docs/making_charts.html

With this tool, developers can create different types of charts and style them. This can be done through passing parameters in the URL. The following parameters can be passed in the query string, separated by the ampersand symbol, to create the chart:

  • cht: Chart type. (For example, lc for a line chart or p3 for a three-dimensional pie chart)
  • chd: Chart data. 
  • chs: Chart size. (For example, 200x350)
  • chl: Chart labels.
Here is an example Google chart in theory: https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chd=t:10,30,5,18,20,2&&chdl=April|May|June|July|August|September&chs=300x300&chco=FFFF10,F22432,012333,CC0012,234FCD,644CCC

As you can see, we have specified a pie chart with five data. The 'chdl' tag represents the style of label for the chart. The additional tag 'chco' specifies the colour for each chart item.

In addition to the graphical charts, developers can also create a QR (Quick Response) code for their website or marketing materials. (I've written a few articles on QR codes in the past in this blog.) An example QR code for my website can be found here:

Each type of chart comes with its variations and styling parameters; visit the Google Chart API for more detail about the different types of charts so that you can start developing your own.
A website that meshes the GPS-location mobile application Foursquare with the UK's Police Crime Statistics database has been launched so that users can see how dangerous the most popular places they visit are. The application is known as Fearsquare (http://www.fearsquare.com/).

According to the Fearsquare website, the developers would like to see if perceived crime levels have any impact to the people visiting the places.
I've been busy taking photographs in and around the City of London - with a theme on reflections. I thought that I would share my best photographs of Reflections in the City of London here.







Royal Wedding Updated

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Royal Wedding merchandise was available to buy soon after the engagement of Kate and William was announced for the wedding this month. The collection is too traditional for many, prompting one company to design their own 'Royal Wedding' collection with a modern feel. According to Dhub, the company behind the design, British culture is about "opportunity, energy, creativity, youth, style and perfection", and the designs created reflect this while keeping the royal status. The result: Royal Wedding merchandise is updated, and I like the style. To view the collections: http://www.dhub.com/work/identity/royal-wedding-collection
The best outdoor advertising posters in the UK have been voted on in a poll organised by the Outdoor Media Centre, and the winning results are available on 'The Outdoor Hall of Fame' website: http://outdoorhalloffame.co.uk/. The website also displays winning posters from different decades from the 1960s.

The top five, according to the poll, are listed below:

1. Wonderbra
2. Conservative Party's 'Labour isn't working' poster
3. Recruitment poster
4. Gramophone: His Master's Voice
5. Economist


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