A couple of years ago I made a video of all my flickr videos in the style of the now dead pummelvision service.

I dug out the script tidied it up a little, and made the above video with my 2016 photos.

I uploaded the script in the unlikely event that someone else would want to do something like this. It is not a thing of beauty, I am well out of my depth and just type and test. The script need ffmpeg on your computer (I’d guess mac only as it used sips to resize images) and a Flickr API key.

The script also leave you with up to 500 images in a folder. Before I deleted them I made a montage and averaged them using imageMagick

montage -mode concatenate -tile 25x *.jpg out.jpg which is the featured image on this post.


convert *.jpg -average aver.jpeg


I guess all that the average proves is that most of my photos are landscapes, given the hit of a sky…

The weeks are flying by. I was hoping to backtrack on a few things this week but Week Six. Copyright, OERs and Creative Commons – 23 Things popped into my inbox and thing 11 is quite timely.

Here and there

I’ve blogged here about copyright quite a bit, but it is a constantly interesting subject.

I am in general a respecter of copyright. I use other people’s images her on the blog and always attribute and respect copyright.

Occasionally for more creative purposes I sidestep the rules to use of old movie or tv footage on my DS106 blog for more fun stuff (example: characters). I don’t think any corporate dollars have been harmed;-)

I’ve had a licence on this blog for a while, originally a BY, Share Alike-Non Commercial one. Currently a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

A couple of days ago I read [Trying] Going to Flickr Zero, CC0 where Alan has changed all of his Flickr licenses to CC0. I can see the point.

My flickr photos are CC-BY-SA in the same way as this blog. This got me thinking. I am, unlike Alan, no photographer. It is unlikely anyone is going to make loads of cash from any of my images (or my deathless prose here). Over the years I’ve had a couple (2) of folk contact me to use a picture of mine for “commercial” purposes, and been delighted to do so. CC0 would change little except make reuse easier.

But I do like the idea of attribution and getting attributed. The attention feels nice. It also might encourage others…

The Share Alike idea seems nice too, but I guess might occasionally make things more difficult to use. I may lose that soon.

Another recent post that looks at the issue with some subtly: On Attribution vs Privilege of CC0Reflecting Allowed | Reflecting Allowed.

But not everything I create can be CC0. Not yet. And in my local context these things can really really matter. It can make the difference between who gets a job or tenure or promotion and who doesn’t.

and in the comments:

Audrey Alan and Doug are examples of intersectionality here – no stable academic job but famous and with lots of social capital.

I’ve not really got any problems in this regard, being an amateur sharer rather than a pro.

In Primary School

This is hard. Over the past few years I’ve had to explain copyright to teachers. Now I am back in class working with 8-11 year olds. Since I was last in the classroom full time pupils spend a lot more time on line, they are very familiar with finding images via google searches but digging out the license is hard. Lots of tools now make it very easy to ignore copyright.

I fall back on providing my class with some  public domain sites to search and my FlickrCC Stampr.


Some things I’ve found useful:

Featured image: Life is Sharing | Part of a Cleveland mural, the full saying… | Flickr CC-BY Alan Levine. Stamped my module for Alan’s’flickr cc attribution bookmarklet maker.

Dean Groom on Poekemon Go:

Teachers should care about Pokémon Go! – after from the initial network effects (craze) as it is a good way for kids to develop socially. It isn’t designed for education and certainly presents the all too common accessibility issues of commercial games – but THIS game leads you to start thinking about why games, play and learning are important – and how they can be connected with helping children deal with saturated media cultures – Great!

from: Should teachers care about Pokémon Go? | Playable

There is a lot more to think about in that post.

As usual with games, my mind wander and my eyes glaze, I’ve never caught the game bug (although I am interested when I read something like the above).

My first though was it is a wee bit like golf, a good walk spoiled. I am now wondering if some of my own behaviour fits the pattern.


  1. I wander about outside, searching, looking at the map on my phone
  2. I capture images
  3. Share and store online, socially, flickr, instagram.

Featured image my own, IMG_5868 | John Johnston | Flickr CC-BY, sort of hunting idea. The kind of Pokemon I look for.

search and fetch

Over the years I’ve been very keen on Creative Commons and using CC material in blog posts by pupils.
Pupils (and adults too) find attribution difficult.

Back in around 2008-2009 I made A flickr CC search toy aimed at pupils, to help them attribute. Later I added a feature that stamped the image with the attribution, which hopefully was easier than embed code. Later again, in 2010 I made FlickrStampr the same sort of search but squarely aimed at users of iPod Touches. At the time I believed that iPod Touches would be big in schools (Lot of ipodtouch posts here).

Both of these webpages were knocked up fairly quickly and had various modifications over the years. A couple of years back I made the iPod size one a bit more responsive so that it displayed a little better on an iPad or computer. I’ve now taken this and worked on it a bit more with the intention of replacing both of the above pages.

Earlier this year Jo Badge pointed me towards Photos For Class which is a very similar beast, except that it is built by professionals. I wonder if I inspired them?

So over the last couple of weeks I’ve been updating a new version: FlickrCC Stampr combining and improving (I hope) the two pages.

This new one will search flickr for cc images and then give you a stamped version or embed code. If this new page works out I’ll redirect the old pages to is soon.

I got boost to my interest in this playing with Alan’s flickr attribution helper: Now Three Flavors of Flickr CC Attribution Helper. I found out how to and added the code that gets all available sizes from flickr and lets you embed or stamp any particular size.



If you have an interest in this sort of thing, please give  FlickrCC Stampr a try. I’d be interested in any feedback.

A few years back I used pummelvision to make a video of all of my flickr photos. Pummelvision was an online service where you pointed it to your flickr stream and it built a video for you and posted to vimeo. It could also take input from tumblr and facebook.

I though it might be interesting to make a similar video for my photos this year. However going to look for pummelvision drew a blank, the company had closed. I then though It might be interesting to try to create a similar video. From my memory and looking at my old video, pummelvision made a video with no transitions and very fast. As far as I remember it just used one tune. I downloaded my old video from vimeo and extracted the audio file using QuickTime pro. I took a guess that the frame rate was about 6 photos per second.

Grabbing the images

I guess there a few ways to grab all your photos from flickr, but this is how I did it. If I was doing it frequently I’d look into automating it, but this was a once off, or once a year if I do it again.

Flickr’s api would allow you to do this, but it seemed a bit excessive to try and write a pile of code. The Flickr API has a section to test all of the command so I headed to: Flickr Api Explorer – flickr.photos.search. There I put my own user ID in, set the min_date_taken and max_date_taken, increased the per_page to 500 and added the large photo url to the extras field.

This produced an xml file will all the information:

Flickr xml

I then extracted the 397 urls from the text. There will be many ways to do this, but I am experimenting with the Sublime Text application at the moment, it found & selected all of the https: occurrences and the with cmd-shift-right arrow expanded the selection to the quotes. One copy got all of the files!

Once I had a list of urls I edit those so that each line was:

curl "https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3897/14598292323_ae6462fa07_b.jpg" > image_183.jpg

With the numbers out the image sequential and padded to 3 characters, eg image_001.jpg, image 002.jpg etc. I also numbered then in reverse so the oldest photo would be first.

I saved this text as a file, dl.sh and moved into the terminal:

cd path/to/thefolder
chmod +x dl.sh

This code set the dl.sh file to executable and then ran it, the terminal filled with text and the folder with images. Curl is the command-line tool for downloading files.

Sizing images

Downloading the large size gave a folder full of images but some where landscape and some portrait, ie 1024 × 768 or 768 x1024 I need the images to all be the same size. So i used the sips utility to first resize them, sips --resampleHeight 768 *.jpg, then to pad the portrait ones: sips --padToHeightWidth 786 1024 *.jpg

Which gives me pictures like this for the portrait ones:

Img 076 toad

Making the movie

I discounted using iMove, moviemaker or the like as I wanted something quick (not necessary quick this time…) and that could be automated. I am also not sure in iMovie can show as fast as 6 per second. (Update, a quick look shows iMove can set speed to fractions of a second per frame.)

I though of a couple of ways to make the move, using Quicktime pro or ffmpeg. Quicktime pro proved the easiest option, opened the app and File -> Open Image sequence…, choose 6 frames per second, then all I had to do was save the movie.

Unfortunately Quicktime pro has been replace by Quicktime and it is a bit of a bother to get your old QT pro working if you had paid for a license. So I though I’d figure out ffmpeg too.

With great power comes great complexity

FFmpeg is A complete, cross-platform solution to record, convert and stream audio and video. It is a command line application and has a lot of variables. I can usually find out the right command with a bit of google. This one took quite a lot of google and failures. Most of these failures came from me trying to set a framerate, which lead to skipped frames. Eventually I dropped the idea of using the framerate options and got a very (too) fast video with this:

ffmpeg -f image2 -i IMG_%03d.jpg -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p out.mp4

Note to self, in the -i, iput option IMG_%03d.jpg means all the images with 3 numerals, eg 001, 002… 375

I then slowed it down a little with this:

ffmpeg -i out.mp4 -filter:v "setpts=4.0*PTS" 2014-flickr-show.mp4

And added the audio:

ffmpeg -i 2014-flickr-show.mp4 -i pum.mp3 -map 0 -map 1 -codec copy -codec:a aac -strict experimental -b:a 192k -shortest 2014-flickr-show-audio.mp4

It took a fair bit of google to get the audio right too, the -codec:a option seems to sort things out.

Whys and Wherefores

As noted above, I could have done most of this with iMovie. But by using ffmpeg or QT pro, I’ve the opportunity to play, learn and possibly end up with an automated system. It would seem well within the realms of possibility to have a script that used the flickr api to download a bunch of images, perhaps for a year or with a tag and make a movie from them.

I’ve now figured out how to do most of this by piecing together the above fragments and finding out a bit about loops and renaming files, but I’ve no idea of how to create a bash script that will replace my hard coded tags, usernames ect with input, more to learn.

Once you have a lot of jpgs

You might as well do other things with them: Flickr 2014

I’ve made a updates to a couple of simple web pages/apps aimed at pupils and teachers using iOS and images.


photoblitzer is a really simple page that just gives a list of ideas for taking photos. I originally made it for a #ds106 project (20 Minute Photo Challenge: ds106 Photoblitz – CogDogBlog) and blogged about it on my 106 blog 106 drop in – Photoblitzin.

Since then I’ve used it as a starting activity on a couple of iPad training courses for staff and it worked well.

Originally I was thinking of this as being used on an iphone or ipod touch, but we have seen a lot of schools buying iPads and running a fair number of training twilights on useing these so I updated the app to look a bit better on an iPad:

Staying the same on an iphone or ipod touch:

The idea of the app is to generate a list of ideas for taking photos from a list of over 106 and let people mark them off as they take them. This seems to get people started in thinking about making interesting photos even in the rather limited places we run training courses in. This leads in turn to more interesting possibilities later when working with application to use the photos, say SonicPics, comic makers, iMovie and the like.


After I had played with photoblitzer I though I’d do the same sort of thing for FlickrStampr ( a new slightly catchier name for flickrcctouch). I made this way back when I first looked into using iPod Touches in class and neglected it after that.

The idea behind FlickrStampr is to give pupils an easy way to use creative commons images with the required attribution. The app lets the user search for flickr photos by tag. and provides a set of thumbnails. Clicking on a thumbnail creates (on the server, a copy of the image with a strip at the bottom with a simple attribution text. The means the user can download the image and use it on blog posts or presentations and the attribution is on the image, easier, I hope, for pupils than copying both the image and the attribution and then useing them together.

I started by cleaning up the iPhone interface a wee bit, before it did a fair amount of hiding and showing, now it just shows everything: flickrstamper iphone I messed about with the CSS a little and the page looks a bit different on an iPad screen; FlickrStampr iPad The main problem with the interface as it stands is that if you want to just see a bigger version of the image the image is processed on the server adding the text. This is, I suspect, a little inefficient but it makes for ease of use: you don’t need to preview them click a create button, then download the result. Just press the ‘preview’ and choose save. 

Not exactly responsive

The design improvements falls quite short of what is normarly thought of as responsive. In FlickrStampr the layout just squishes as the screen gets smaller, pushing one secion below the other. I photoblitzer I’ve used a media query in the css for the first time: @media screen and (max-width: 480px) there are a lot of possibilities for improvment. I am slowly learning hopefully more improvements to come.


I’ve now given both an icon to make it look a bit nicer when added as a bookmark on your homescreen, Ive also use a useful bit of javascript that alerts folk to the fact they can do this:Add to home screen, you can see it in action on some of the screenshots above. iOS web apps are a lot less powerful that native apps, especially ones developed by peole like myself with pretty limited knowledge, but they do offer the possibility of simply addressing niche uses. I hope that some folk will find these things of interest or even useful. I’ve had a ton of fun working/playing with this stuff and am open to suggestions for improvments.

The value of free

As an aside, testing the flickr API, and some recent play with the freesound API reniforce for me the value of sharing under a CC license with the proviSion of a powerful API, there are some amazing people sharing wonderful captures and creations freely, this need to be vslued, used and protected.

A decade ago, metadata was all the rage among the geeks. You could tag, geo-tag, or machine-tag Flickr photos. Flickr is from the old community. That’s why you can still do Creative Commons searches at Flickr. But you can’t on Instagram. They don’t care about metadata. From an end-user point of view, RSS is out of favor. The new companies are not investing in creating metadata to make their work discoverable and shareable.

from: Joho the Blog – [berkman] Anil Dash on “The Web We Lost”

Some great reading this morning starting at How the Web is being body-snatched ~ Stephen’s Web through Doc Searls Weblog – How the Web is being body-snatched to the post with the above quote.

This quote really jumped out at me, I’ve loved the flickr API for a long time and used it for lots of fun. I enjoy Instagram too, for its easy, quick hit, and lightweight community.

I really hope that we are not drifting away from such valuable resources with apis and rss feeds to the easy and locked in.

One of the things that makes the huge gap between sites like flickr and facebook is who has access to data and how they access it. When you share on flickr you are doing something quite different, and potentially much more valuable than sharing on facebook or google+.

I hope that open never gets old.

I’ve not posted much here recently, I have made a few posts over at my DS106 blog including in December:

Mostly playing around with gifs for the ds106 GIFfest which leads to messing about with JavaScript, flickr & freesound.org.

I had a way of generation a list of images and audio found with the same search word. I’ve now improved this to make a image/audio slide show like the one below. The new interface is rough as I’ve just added a button to get an iframe code that produces something like the one below.

Getting all the audio to play has been a bit messy, but it works for me in Safari, FF & Chrome on my mac and FF and IE9 on windows. Probably of little use to most folk as wordpress blogs, for one, usually do not allow iFrames.

Here are a couple more: drip and 404

I am pretty keen on posting photos to the Internet, not because I have great interest (or any skill) in photography but as an alternative, to blogging, way of recording events. I’ve been using flickr since 2004 and am currently enjoying instagram (mine via api) and posterous

Mostly I take photos with my phone (the best camera). Recently I’ve been testing the ways apple gives you to post photos from an iOS device.

Public Photo Stream

I’ve become a fan of photo stream,

When you take photos on an iOS device or import photos from your digital camera to your computer, Photo Stream will automatically upload it so it is available on all your devices.

You can also publish photos to a public photo stream.

Here is a guide to making a public photo stream. Click to see a bigger version:

How to Photo Stream 500

And here is the photo stream:
Ben Challum – Photo Stream. These are simple and quick to create and easy to share.

iPhoto Journals

For these you ned to buy iPhoto. There are a wee bit more complex and interesting as you can include a variety of different elements, including, map, weather, notes and the like.

Journal Elements

Again they are pretty straightforward to create and upload. Here are much the same photos as a journal: Ben Challum.

Here is the gallery, created on an iPad viewed in iPhoto on a iPhone

Journal iPhone

Photo Stream vs Journal

On thing I noticed with photo stream was that you could post a link, before the photos are uploaded. With iPhoto journals you have uploaded the whole journal before you can share the link. You can share a photo stream privately, although I don’t think I would. Both produce online sites with pretty horrible urls (eg: https://www.icloud.com/journal/#2;CAEQARoQpdbIWlofBmKRAh_cPbtctA;09537452-2A80-49C7-A86F-71E8734846CF!).

Photo stream is quicker, with less choice, with a journal you can edit the layout of photos easily (especially easy on an iPad). Journals have more features for telling a story by adding non photographic information. The photo stream seem to be designed to share photos as you go.

Educational Use

I could see the photo stream being used by a class or group to share photos and images with each other as they go allowing them to work on or use images created on classmates devices as they are created. It is simple to add images to a shared photo stream over a period.

Shared Photo Streams don’t count against your iCloud storage, and they work over Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Apple – iCloud – photo stream. Realistically I doubt there are many cellular devices in our classrooms.

Journals are more suit to creating artefacts, perhaps using photos gather via photo stream. Journals allow the addition of text, editing of layout and look like an interesting way to tell a story, record some learning and share it, a fairly easy way to create a image heavy, attractive mini Web site.

Thus far and no further

Apart from the lengthy and un-rememberable urls the other thing I don’t like is the locked in aspect of the sharing. There is on api or RSS feed that could be used take the images and reposition them, but I suppose that is what flickr is for.

Flickr Export from iPhoto

This is pretty good, it is easy from iPhoto on iOS to send images to flickr, create sets and tagging photos as they go, here are the same pictures on Flickr: Ben Challum – a set on Flickr and flickr makes it easy to repurpose the images:

Although both photo stream and journals provide slideshow views there is no way, as far as I can see, to show these elsewhere.


I still like to play with putting photos on a map: A Mapped Walk and a have a reasonable workflow that let me put that together in about 20 minutes. I also like messing with panos so here is one from the same walk:
Ben Challum Pano.

Haiku Deck is

the simple new way to create stunning presentations – whether you are pitching an idea, teaching a lesson, telling a story, or igniting a movement, it’s fast, fun and simple for anyone to use.

Says Haiku Deck. It is an iPad application for making presentations. Very simple to use and the defaults look nice.

That took about three minutes to knock up. The main feature, based on three minutes use, seem to be a nice search to find images to match your words. Looks like it searches Flickr and some other sources. It does some sort of cc search. I don’t think it quite respects the license though. This image:


By David Muir is licensed under a Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic — CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license. Unfortunately the app does not seem to do the attribution for you.

Haiku deck says:

Where do Haiku Deck images come from?
Haiku Deck finds images from across the Internet that photographers have licensed under the Creative Commons license. Some Creative Commons images carry a “not for commercial use” restriction. If you’re making a Haiku Deck for commercial use, please be sure to turn the “commercial use only” filter.

I am not sure that is in the spirit of the attribution part of the license?

It does however make a very presentable presentation pretty quickly, saving to the web, announcing by twitter and providing an embed code. It also exports to PDF via mail.

The price is right, free with some paid for themes, the app is extremely easy to use and if they added attribution to the images it would be even better.

Update, my bad: I had adjusted the embed code to fit the iframe into my blog the attribution appears on the Haiku Deck website: Radio #EDUtalk – A Haiku Deck from Giant Thinkwell and on the embed if you don’t mess about with the code to resize the iFrame. Apologies to Giant Thinkwell.

So here is the attribution copied from the Radio #EDUtalk – A Haiku Deck from Giant Thinkwell page:

Much to my embarrassment I asked about this on twitter: Twitter / kleneway: @johnjohnston @HaikuDeck you …

Update 2: I’e also noticed a nice feature, republish a slideshow with an extra slide updates the original and the embed.

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