I am back in the Netherlands for over seven weeks now but I am still busy running around the country reconnecting to people and telling them about my experiences in Singapore.
It was great.
I really did manage to reconsider a lot of things and got reoriented, about which more later.
Learned a lot about myself and others by meeting and working with lots of new people from different backgrounds.
And I do miss the city already. The iron-clad guarantee of sun and warmth. Many places to explore offering lots of surprising experiences. And on every street corner, amazing affordable food.
I will miss Singapore, and I am thankful for all it has done for me in the brief period I got to call it my home.
Below are some photos. More are over at Flickr. Happy scrolling and maybe don’t look at these if you’re hungry.
Continue reading Singapore
Planning on making a trip to Rome, Venice or Florence? Check out the free digital travel guides from Schmap. The new editions contain some photos I took while vacationing there this spring. Schmap use Creative Commons-licensed photos from Flickr in their guides. They always politely ask for permission first even though strictly speaking they don’t have to. The guides are PC only but they’ve promised me Mac versions will follow shortly.
And yes, Edgar was there first.
Update: the nice people over at Schmap really love me. They’ve included this insanely great photo of the Cab Inn City hotel in their next Copenhagen guide.
Just now I finally finished tagging the last few photos taken in Venice. The whole set of Lieke’s and my vacation in Italy is now online. Total number of photos we ended up selecting is a whopping 411. You can start at the first new one since the previous update over here.
Plenty of pretty shots in this update, my favourite is probably this one:
Sometimes you learn something strange while tagging vacation shots. At least that was the case with this photo I took in Venice:
Looking for some proper tags I Googled “K‑141” and found a Wikipedia article on the Russian submarine Kursk. I pulled out the proper Russian text to use as tags but was puzzled about the reason behind the stencil.
I decided to let my direct colleagues in on the mystery and mailed it around at the office. Soon after, Peter pointed out that the same stencil art was blogged at zombizi zero-six and Wooster Collective.
Quite entertaining, but it gets even weirder. He pointed out this link, which apparently proves the stencil spree was part of Russia’s presence at the 51st Venice Biennale…
Bart rightly pointed out that it’s strange they didn’t get caught doing it. I mean: wouldn’t it be easy for the police to hold the Russians at the Biennale responsible for this blatant act of “vandalism”?
Anyway. You learn something new every day, don’t you?
Flickr launched its geotagging feauture a few days ago. Today I came across a few raving posts on TechnCrunch, so I decided to give it a go.
I’ve been geotagging my photos using Plazes for a while now (has it been more than a year already? This photo seems to prove as much.) I enjoyed doing that but it was always a bit involved. Also, geotagging becomes really useful and fun once lots of people start doing it. That wasn’t really happening yet so I’m excited about Flickr integrating it.
My first impression of their map-driven interface was positive. It’s tucked away in the organize section though; I wonder whether they’ll include some bits in the individual photo pages soon. For instance: a little map showing the location where the shot was taken and an easy way to add geotags (maybe even allow others to do it for me?) I’d like this mostly because now the map isn’t really social (in the sense that it shows an aggregation of geotagged shots, just my own.) Update: I found the social flavored map here; a bit underwhelming, but fun.
However: although Flickr proudly sports “gamma” at the top of its logo, the technology still lags behind. It’s beta quality at best. Newly tagged photos don’t appear on the map after a reload; perhaps Flickr doesn’t like me changing the tags outside of the map interface? Update: editting geoprivacy settings on batches gives back strange results too, these photos should show up on the map somewhere near Baarn, but they don’t. Weird…
Also, I think not being able to “snap” a batch of photos to a city I found through the search interface is a usability issue. Adding photos to locations I haven’t identified in Plazes (and thus don’t show up as hotspots on the map yet) becomes arbitrarily. Call me a metadata nut, but I really want to add my photos of Jurjen’s pretty street Zwartehandspoort in Leiden to the exact street, not drop them somewhere in the vicinity of the city Leiden.
Conclusion: a promising addition to everyone’s favourite social photo sharing site, poised to make geotagging ready for the big time, but not exactly there yet due to some technical and design issues.
Another update: after rummaging through the help forums, I learnt that indeed, Flickr doesn’t automagically pick up on newly geotagged photos from other services (such as Plazes.) You need to re-import them (as described in this post). This sucks big time, Flickr seems to think that only photos that have been tagged inside the system matter. Think again! (Of course all this is probably simply due to technical limitations, which is no excuse, but still…)
The last few shots from Florence are up. Here’s the first new one in the set. Now it’s on to Venice, almost done!
Fun fact: Florentine police use Segways to get around the station!
Despite the heat and humidity this evening I got around sorting through a few more photos taken in Florence. Around 50 new ones have been added to the set. You can start at the first new one here.
I’d like to treat you to a nice example of serendipity. Here’s a photo I took of some stained glass windows depicting the agnus dei:
Now check out this photo by Rich Nurcombe… Weird.
Before getting ready to watch the Germany vs. Italy match, I’ve managed to sort through the photos of our first day in Florence. You can go here to start at the first new one in the set. There’s around twenty.
There’s a disproportionate amount of street art shots in this batch, here’s the one I like the most:
I finally had the stamina to go throught the rest of my Rome photos. Another near 50 shots are in the set over at Flickr now. Next up is Florence!
Here’s my favorite of this batch: