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EJK for the Year

Music: Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton

One year ago today, I was playing around with Automator in OSX and decided to create a script that would automatically upload my latest picture in ichat to flickr. Every time I change my chat icon in iChat I upload it, (mostly) daily. It has gotten to the point where it’s taking over my photostream and I’m just ready to quit, or at least slow way down.

So what better way to celebrate the one year anniversary of my first ichat2flickr picture than a nice 90 second slideshow of all 187 pictures. You’ll see at the 0:47 mark where I upgraded to Leopard and the ichat pictures changed to 640×480 instead of 256×256.

I used iPhoto to create a slideshow of all the pictures, then exported a quicktime movie into Quicktime Pro to squish it all down to 90 seconds.

This also means that I won’t be posting all these goofy pics as often, so my contacts won’t see my face plastered in their photostream quite as incessantly as in recent months.


ichat2flickr automator action

ichat2flickr.gifSince I started using a Mac with a built-in iSight, I’ve been changing my buddy icon every morning. It’s always a bit of a surprise how it comes out, because you only get 3 seconds to pose. Some of them were turning out pretty funny, and I wanted to be able to store and share them. So I wrote this automator script to upload the new picture to flickr using the email to flickr method.

The keys to this project were:

  • Buddy icons are stored in ~/Library/Images/iChat Recent Pictures/
  • Automator can create and send a mail message with an attachment
  • An Automator Workflow can be saved as a plugin, and run as a Folder Action whenever a file is added to the folder.

This script is saved as a plug-in Folder Action on the ~/Library/Images/iChat Recent Pictures/ folder. When it sees a new file added to that folder, it copies it to ~/Pictures/Flickr Selfportraits/, then changes it from a TIFF to a JPEG, then attaches it to a new email in the Mail program, then sends off the email to flickr.


  1. Open the workflow in Automator.
  2. Customize the email details with your [|Flickr Upload by Email address], customize tags if desired, and choose an email account to send from.
  3. Save as a Plug-In, Plug-In for Folder Actions, Attached to Folder: ~/Library/Images/iChat Recent Pictures
  4. Change your buddy icon in Adium or iChat, and test it out!

I’d like to be able to upload to flickr directly from the automator script instead of having to use the Upload by Email function, but I haven’t found anything that does that yet. I did find [|this Automator Action], written by Fraser Speirs which does just that, but it’s not intel-friendly at the moment. Maybe I’ll offer to help him update it.

Have fun, and please leave a comment if it works or doesn’t work. I’m new at releasing Automator workflows.

Note:Apparently, an Automator workflow is really a folder, not a discrete file. I’ve zipped it up into an archive now for distribution. Drupal did NOT like trying to attach that.

Funny Dancing Men!

PictapsI found this on [|Boing Boing] last week, and it’s been a blast with the kids.

[|Pictaps] is a super-cool flash app written by Japanese web designer [|Masayuki Kido] that allows you to draw a character, then watch a multitude of them dance, cheer and jump around to the beat of funky music. The drawing tools are simple enough that my 6 and 3-year-olds were able to use them, but still sufficiently powerful to create some real artwork if you put some time into it.

Another cool aspect is the semi-social features of the app. When you create a character, you give it a name, and it is placed into a pool of all the characters that have been created, along the bottom of the screen. You can click on any of these other characters you can see their drawing process and then see them dance around. You can even keep a list of favorites to watch again when you return.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to vote for other characters or see how many have been favorited to see any sort of ranking of the best ones, but it’s still totally cool and a fun way to let the kids be creative.

I just found that you can embed a character in your own webpage with the “Put in Blog” feature. It keeps getting cooler. Here’s my first creation (the embedding doesn’t seem to grab all of the drawing, but you get the idea):

Flickr as Local History

We had a magical sight outside yesterday: near freezing temperatures combined with a slow, steady rainfall had produced a thin layer of ice on everything. Tree branches, bushes, lampposts, street signs and even individual blades of grass were all transformed into china-shop glass treasures. Combine this with the recent warmer-than-usual weather and there were plenty of tree buds encased in shimmering ice. And the temperatures and rain continued all day, leaving plenty of opportunity to experience the sights all around town.

I was able to grab a snap of a maple tree in our yard with my cameraphone and upload it to flickr:

Iced Buds

As I looked, I found that I was not the only flickr user around town that grabbed the moment. So, rather than trying to describe the scene, I could just show people all of the pictures on flickr. I searched for “Ann Arbor”, and then using advanced search restricted the dates of the photos to only Monday, January 15. Here’s just a few of what I found:

[|Here’s the whole bunch, sorted by “interestingness”, for you to see for yourself.]

Flickr is such a great tool. The day after a local event, I can do a quick, simple search, and be able to find tons of wonderful, artistic photos to remember and share with anyone else in the world.

I’m also finding some [|local] [|stories] of those upon which the [|weather] has had less pleasant [|effects]. I hope they were still able to find some [|sights to enjoy] in contrast.


Here’s my first upload to [|youtube]. Yeah, I know, welcome to 2005.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone.

As my first post of 2007, I thought I would share a favorite video from youtube. This embodies everything that is good about web 2.0. It’s made by a guy in Norway that has either way too much time on his hands or he’s a prodigy. Either way, it’s an incredible demonstration of this new wave of communication, allowing worldwide connections. It’s great fun to watch.

The only problem is that for every gem like this on YouTube, there are 99999 lumps of coal. That’s why the rating systems and popularity tracking are so important.

Go Blue.

McFreakin' Me Out

Okay, is it just me or is anybody else really disturbed by the new McDonald’s chicken sandwich ads?

I’m not sure if what happens to this guy is really encouranging me to rush out and buy one of those chicken sandwiches. I mean, since when is inducing the fear of body transformation considered as something to encourage the purchase of your vittles? No thank you.

Wii will teach you to pronounce

wiiviivSo Nintendo’s upcoming video game system has a new name. Initially referred to as the “Revolution” during development, it is now going to be called the “Wii”. When I saw that, the first question that popped into my mind was, “how do you pronounce that”? Apparently, Nintendo foresaw this problem, as they knew to explain it within the first few paragraphs of the unveiling announcement. From Nintendo:

Introducing… Wii.

As in “we.”
Wii sounds like “we,” which emphasizes the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.

Okay, so it’s pronounced “WE”, Not “Why”. That’s great. The one problem is that I had finally taught my brain to pronounce the name of Intel’s new Multi-media platform, “Viiv”. It’s a new brand for a computer configuration made to work well with multimedia applications, handling video, audio and pictures, similar to “Centrino” for laptops that are configured to work well with wireless. But how do you pronounce “Viiv”? From Intel’s page on the subject:

What does the word “Viiv” mean?

The Intel® Viiv™ technology brand name communicates the excitement, vibrancy, and vividness of the latest technologies that enables people to have a great entertainment experience in the home.

Viiv is pronounced “viv” and rhymes with “five.”

So, Nintendo’s “Wii” is pronounced “WE”, and Intel’s “Viiv” is pronounced “VIVE”. Not “WHY” and “VEEV”. Got that? Oh, and just to throw a spanner in the works, here’s the last sentence I just saw on the intel page:

In Japan, Viiv rhymes with “sleeve.”

What? So, in Japan, “Viiv” really is “VEEV”, but in the U.S. it’s “VIVE”? Great. That’s just great. I’m not confused at all now.

The nice thing is that we won’t have to worry about pronunciation any more after we all get the internet jacked directly into our brains and we can just instant message people directly from our thoughts.

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