Thanks to the way the open web works, I just put into play a fun new option for my pechaflickr site/game/thing. Nothing is changed with the way it has worked.

At the bottom of the site is a link to a Google form that collects info from those willing to to share of how they are using pechaflickr. I get a response like one every 5th full moon. But this message I got from Heather, a grade 6 teacher in Alaska, presented a great opportunity to tinker with the code.

I wanted to use pechaflickr for our spelling and vocabulary words. I love that I can type in words and the pictures are great. However, could you provide a setting where the word I’ve typed in will remain hidden or secret while the pictures are playing? That way, my students can make connections using the pictures and guess the word I have chosen. I tried this with a small group (covering the word on the bottom of the screen) (I don’t think any of them caught on to it being in the link at the top of the screen as well) and they loved it. This would be so great for my language arts class!

This is beyond great as it is an idea I never thought of. Nor might ever. It turned the idea inside out of using random photos to practice improv, to using random photos to try and find commonalities in the imagery.

Before I yak about it, why not try it? Here is a launcher for what I call “Heather” mode pechaflickr

heather-mode

Nothing needed to be done about the way pechaflickr grabs and presents photo from flickr, just needed to add a parameter to the URL query string, add some conditionals, set up the way it would present the results without revealing the tag.

The other “twist” was that the way it worked before there was a part of the url string you could tell right away what the tag was, like

http://pechaflickr.net/?tag=dogt&s=10&i=20&u=1

With some magic of the str_rot13 php function (someone wrote a version that works in JavaScript, in fact this whole site of php functions recoded as Javascript is a programmer’s bag of gold))

See how the same URL is redone- the tag is obfuscated and even padded with extra random characters.

http://pechaflickr.net/?t=krpufmx8xwqbt&s=10&i=20&u=1

This is not secure enough to protect your bank account, but we are just masking the string passed as part of a parameter string.

Speaking of which, this night have been easier and more elegant if I had database behind the site, then if could be called be something simple like http://pechaflickr.net/?id=3443 — all the parameters could be stored in a database. I kind of like the rogue nature of not being built ontop of another database.

The new option is there under the toggle for “Advanced Options” (which I wonder if 99% of the people even look at):

heather-mode-settings

Like before, you can change the default pecha kucha options of 20 slides 20 seconds each, but not the new check box for “Heather” mode.

You ca test it out first by clicking “play” as normal, seeing what kinda of images show up (it’s not much of a preview because each time you run it you get different photos.

It never states what the tag is, and when the round is done, it puts it out there as a question:

pf-exp

and is revealed by clicking the first blue button (I managed to work this out offline while traveling in a plane today)

reveal tag

And it can even be tweeted.

This is the same address the launcher offers, a special “heather” mode launcher http://pechaflickr.net/heather.php?t=43cjrngure&h=1&s=3&i=10&u=1

It’s mildly tested and likely has bugs. I checked with Heather to see if was okay I named it after her — “hidden tag mode” sounds more dull than “heather mode” (she said yes).

Give it a try, tell me what you think! http://pechaflickr.net/. You will find some more explanation as well as the most frequently asked question (inappropriate images) on the notes page.

I’m pretty excited about putting someone’s great idea into action, and its fitting, since pechaflickr was actually not my idea at all.

That’s the thing about ideas. They are like beneficial rogue waves.


Top / featured image: A google image search for “Wave” narrowed to ones licensed for re-use (which looks like it reduces the pool by 95%). Scrolled unti I got this one from flickr– photo by jdrephotography http://flickr.com/photos/jdrephotography/8406541465 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. I have like 10 thoughts.
    A. Love it. Love naming after Heather. Love Heather!
    B. Wanna use as ice breaker in class as students trickle in just for kicks.
    C. Would be cool if teacher like Heather could pre-select some “tags” if she is teaching ESL so the tags would be words from the vocab list they use
    D. Any guarantees re x-rated vs g-rated photos showing up?
    E. Could be used to introduce students to Flickr! And to “tags” and how to search for photos on Flickr using tags. And how to “tag” using appropriate words to make your stuff more easily searchable by others
    F. Tried it and failed to guess but it was fun and the diversity of the images I got gave me the ideas for E.

    That’s just 5 thoughts. E is compound tho ;)

    1. Thanks Maha!

      C. Would be cool if teacher like Heather could pre-select some “tags” if she is teaching ESL so the tags would be words from the vocab list they use

      She can. The tool creates a unique URL to launch an instance based on tag, numbers of slides together, so she can pre-make theem as URLs and make a linked list

      http://pechaflickr.net/heather.php?t=7ovoq7wrc8oajorclkyijrngure&h=1&s=20&i=10&u=1
      http://pechaflickr.net/heather.php?t=xa8vrutluqsemitpuvpxra&h=1&s=15&i=5&u=1
      http://pechaflickr.net/heather.php?t=edlltvln1bjfw29m9hitsnyyvat&h=1&s=20&i=10&u=1

      D. Any guarantees re x-rated vs g-rated photos showing up?

      Pechaflickr uses the Safe search option but that is dependent on how people identity their uploaded photo, no guarantees possible. I’ve never seen anything X-rated. If you seek 100% guarantee, tag your own photos and use that tag.

      See http://pechaflickr.net/notes.php

      F. Tried it and failed to guess but it was fun and the diversity of the images I got gave me the ideas for E.

      I found it hard too. I might opt for more photos and a shorter duration, like 30 photos 5 seconds each, to give people more photos to find similarities.

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