art and graphics

Bush (or lollipops) made children cry

Art, and not least political art, is often designed to cause an emotional reaction. But perhaps Jill Greenberg wasn't after the reaction she got with her latest exhibition entitled "End Times", now showing in the Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles.

The display consists of several photographs of upset children, each entitled in a rather anti-current-US-administration way such as "Four more years", "Shock", "Awe" or "Apocalypse Now". The Poorhouse regularly wants to scream, shout and cry and shout at the actions of Bush and his seemingly at times insane neo-liberal cabal, but many people both in and outside the blogosphere object to this being deemed art. Some go so far as to claim that Greenberg is nothing but a deranged child abuser.

Resizing images via the web with PHP

Oftentimes you might want to display an image on the web that is a certain size, whether to avoid breaking your beautiful (CSS of course) layout, preventing download times getting too long or so on. Intelligent people like you would of course not even consider using the HTML <img> tag's width and height properties to fake resizing, the consequence of which is usually that your reader waits for a megabyte of picture to download before seeing a messed-up 10x10 pixel thumbnail. Naughty.

Of course if you have the image in advance, and there's not too many of them, you can resize it on your computer before upload. On the other hand, if the image is getting added later and is somewhat unpredictable in nature - for instance to be uploaded by a visitor to your site - it would be nice to allow them to avoid having to do that themselves, or more likely, ruin your page because they couldn't be bothered to do so. Enter Mr PHP.

Label for fun (and good search results)

Tagging (or in more conventional English - labelling) images, all very Web 2.0 but not always so interesting to do. It is however important for search engine semantics because as yet they tend not to be able to actually identify what the content of a picture is. Google image search et. al. tend to look at the text on the page with the image on, inbound links, its filename and so on. When you search for a "house", you're actually searching for a picture on a page with a lot of house-content on, which likely will be a house but on the other hand it could be, well, anything. What you really want is for a human to hand-label each image with "house" if it itself is a house and "donkey" if actually it is a image of a donkey on a page about houses.

Rename all your digital photos at once

These days digital is increasingly king, including in the sphere of photography. More and more people see the virtues of the digital camera, most obviously the ability to take 2000 pictures of your pet cat sleeping and display them repeatedly to friends and family with zero development cost to yourself.

On the subject of 2000 photos, one such frequent annoyance is that when you download them from the camera to the computer, they get rather conspicuously geeky and semantically useless filenames as DSC00001.jpg, DSC00002.jpg all the way up to DSC02000.jpg. Hitting rename 2000 times to make them a little more sensible will take up unnecessary amounts of your life up and potentially give you repetitive strain injury.

Paintshop Pro for cheap

Wannabe designers - now is a chance to escape the ravages of editing your hi-res pictures in Microsoft Paint. If of course, for some reason, you would want to. After all, if you can't solve it with a heady mixture of rectangle and the spray can tool why bother?

Anyhow you have until the 31st August to purchase Corel's (formerly Jasc's) Paint Shop Pro at an especially bargainous price. Until then, you can purchase it for under half price - a most reasonable £41.

No, it doesn't have the word "Photoshop" in its title, but nor does it have its (literally) above £500 pricetag.

How does the e-world feel today?

If you have plenty of time on your hands, go visit the rather too fascinating We Feel Fine. In a rather scary computers-will-take-over-the-world way, this site has been set up to check out how people are feeling on a mass scale and portray it in a most artistic, if slightly voyeuristic, way.

The art of blogging has never been more popular what with everyone and their dog owning their own web domain, and even if not there are numerous hugely-popular services like MySpace and Blogger. Every few minutes We Feel Fine sends its web bots to scan through new entries people have made to their online journals, in which many people publish their deepest thoughts and emotions, to search for phrases like "I feel".

Full size Yahoo Photos

Yahoo Photos is not as trendy as Flickr and the rest of the vowel-dropping services, but it is nonetheless useful. The main advantages are that it is free and takes unlimited images of unlimited sizes. It's less for sharing your photos with the random world and more for constructing online albums for your family and friends.

One downside is that even though it accepts full resolution pictures, you can't see them. Useful, no? What you get is a much smaller screen-size photo of your mega-mega-pixel camera-taken beauty, even if you're the album owner. Pretty much all you can do is pay them money to print off a high-resolution copy for you. Or so it seemed.

Action replay your paint skills

The Poorhouse feels a tad traitorous to even discuss graphics packages other than the elite Microsoft Paint (a tool its creators describe as being useful for creating "simple or elaborate drawings" - perhaps around 50% accurate), but to be fair it does lack one key feature. No, we refer not to gradient fill, texturise, clone brush or even purple fringe correction. Rather, whilst we can see what a terrible artist you are, we only see the end result. We don't see the how and why of your personal artistic deficiencies.

The world's biggest photograph

Delft: soon to be dwarfedDelft: soon to be dwarfedMicrosoft, not content with likely having impinged itself in some form on all the computers you'll be using in the near future, apparently needs to be bigger and better than everyone else at yet another thing. This time, world peace being just too easy to create, the scientists at Microsoft Research are instead going to try taking the largest photograph in the whole wide world.

First, some history. At the end of 2004, some Dutch engineers created the world's largest known digital photograph, a less-than-inspiring aerial image of the city of Delft, a mini version of which is pictured to the right. Why? Apparently it started as "lunchtime bet". Nontheless, the picture ended up being 7.5 gigabytes big and contained 2.487 billion pixels. If printed out at a standard resolution, this photo would be around 22 feet by 8.7 feet large. You can play with a high-detail zoomable version on their website.

Doodling's a doddle

Random scribbleRandom scribble

Two men who clearly have far two much time on their hands (unlike The Poorhouse) have made a sport out of scribbling.

We've all played it: drawing a random squiggle and challenging a friend to make it into a "wonderful" piece of art (or perhaps its just me in my innocent youth). Most get bored of it after a few resulting smiley faces and anthropomorphicised animals. But these two dood-les, Campbell and the enigmatically named "Mr Squiggle" have been locked in a blog-war for months, setting each other numerous squiggle-challenges. The only rule is that the original doodle must be visible in the final artwork. Hardly going to impress the hoity-toity higher echelons of the art world, but I think you'll agree quite impressive from their humble beginnings. You can see their hours of hard work here

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