Spinning some Gifs

Jim Groom and Scottlo pointed out Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012: ‘to GIF’. This got me watching a few old clips and movies looking for something to gif. Last night we were watching tv, a documentary about singles, with lots of archive clips with a fair bit of gif potential. I’ve run up a few, not too carefully.










Playflow, QuickTime player to capture footage, my own Movie2Gif to select frames and export to gifs. Obviously a bit more time and care would have had better results, but I quite like the roughness.

Hitching a Lift on the DS106 Express

Recently Alan was musing on the drop off in open online participants in DS106, this was continued on Zombies for Peace (or narrative)

Some comments suggest that ds106 has too much tech and not enough story, I guess it can go that way, the tech is certainly the easiest bit of ds106, but participants, particularly the umw students are pushed towards spelling out stories, either of creation or what is behind the creation. I was myself recently and I appreciated it. Alan defends this pretty well imo

So our students are not strictly asked to become multimedia storytellers, they are asked to explore the elements of story as told in media, as framed in the culture of the web. Yes, they are learning media creation skills, not as an end in themselves, but to have those kinds of creative abilities available as they move forward in their studies.

from: Zombies for Peace (or narrative) – CogDogBlog

I think the two main difficulties with trying to join in DS106 are the size of ds106 and time.

When I first saw ds106 it was a wee bit intimidating, there were some folk doing impressive things, and given that participation was in public it took a bit of courage to join. The DS106 site is now a lot more complex, and although there is a lot more documentation it does look like a lot of work.

I’ve dipped in and out of DS106 for two or three sessions, one, Camp Magic MacGuffin, I tried my best to keep up with in a full time way. I made it a few weeks in before struggling to keep up. One of the things that really helped was being put in a bunkhouse with a smaller group, easier to keep track of and try and comment on other folks work.

Interestingly and probably obviously the pice I enjoyed most was the exercise that I initially disliked even the idea of, the one that involved most group participation and went deepest into story telling: Impending Zombie Apocalypse

So I think while I can’t answer Alan’s questions about increasing participation I can recommend that you jump onto the DS106 bus and hold on as tight as you can.

A Story

I started thinking about this post this morning as I read my RSS reader, I have a holiday today and had a list of blogging/tech test and computer tasks to get to as the weather is poor. Unfortunately I also read this post Hitchhiking’s Time Has Come Again – NYTimes.com via Hacker News. (I glance over the hacker news occasionally, after played with Dave Winer’s OMPL editor and river of news, but that is another story).

Fortunately this was an interesting story, I used to love hitchhiking back in the late 70s. The article told of how the authorities discouraged Hitchhiking after it was taken up by subversive types:

But it was the ’60s and ’70s counterculture that embraced hitching as an anti-consumerist, pro-environment celebration of human interdependence. Students were hitchhiking to antiwar demonstrations. Civil rights advocates thumbed rides to register voters in the South. The American automotive industry, by then, had gone into overdrive: there were more cars than ever on the road. Yet an entire generation of young people, it seemed, was on the move without buying them.

This, apparently, irked local police officials, as well as the F.B.I. First, in the late 1950s, the F.B.I. began warning American motorists that hitchhikers might be criminals. A typical F.B.I. poster showed a well-dressed yet menacing hitchhiker under the title “Death in Disguise?”

so I am beginning to see a bit of DS106 in this story, homing in on the still from It Happened One Night, the plans for the day begin to unravel. Time for some comfort food.

homebrewing gifsicle

gifsicle is a commandline tool for animating gifs. I’ve blogged about it before, and created a simple gui for it to grab animated gifs from a movie. I checked the site for updates today and noticed that there is now a Mac OS X homebrew package.

For folk like myself who do not spend much time on the commandline this is a simpler way to install (as compared to downloading the source and compiling). You do need to install homebrew but you do that by copying a line of code from the homebrew site and pasting it into the terminal. Wait a while as a lot of text scrolls by and it is done.

you can then install gifsicle by typing:

brew install  gifsicle and pressing return.

You are then ready to convert a bunch of gif files into an animated gif.

A couple of examples:

Using a set of gifs created from these photos (and a few more), first set converted to B & W in FireWorks:

gifsicle –resize-width 500 –delay=60 –loop *.gif > eagle.gif

Using a set of coloured gifs exportedfrom the jpegs:

gifsicle –resize-width 500 –delay=60 –loop –colors 256 *.gif > eagle256.gif

If you are a ds106er who likes playing with animating gifs, gifsicle is a very useful addition to your toolkit.