Monday, July 25, 2005

Flickr and My Inner Geek

I've discovered that you cannot right click on a picture in Flickr and save it locally. (I'm talking about a photo that does not have the "All Sizes" option.) It looks like you can save it locally. The right-click menu appears. You can select "Save" on the right-click menu. The Save file dialog appears. Everything seems to go according to plan. Except... when you're done you have no picture (sing: yes, we have no pictures todaaay). Flickr has pulled a fast one.

Now, I understand why this should be so. I respect the principle of copyrights. A photo belongs to the photographer. I'm good with it.

But my Inner Geek didn't see it that way.

I think what upset my Inner Geek was that it appeared that the photo could be saved. That the save process worked. I mean, Flickr could have popped up a little message that said, "No no! Bad boy/girl/other! No download copyrighted material!" But it didn't. It tricked me -- and Inner Geek -- into thinking we were downloading a photo when we weren't. It made fools of us.

Now, I'm good with that. Don't get me wrong. I can live with looking like a fool.

But Inner Geek didn't see it that way.

Inner Geek's eyes got big and round and bulged and turned a bilious green. Red fire flew from Inner Geek's nostrils. Inner Geek's mouth twisted into a shape that resembled the outline of the Great Lakes. All of them.

"Calm down, Inner Geek!" I cried. "Calm down!"

Inner Geek did not calm down. Steam screaming out of his ears made fingernails scratching on a blackboard sound like Schubert. His bilious green eyes crossed.

"No, Inner Geek, don't! Don't do it!" I cried. (Because I knew what Inner Geek wanted to do.) "Don't do it, Inner Geek! It's wrong!"

But Inner Geek did it anyway.

What Inner Geek did was write a bookmarklet that, if executed on a Flickr page, will strip the photo out of the page so you can right-click and save it. Here's the bookmarklet:


To use this product of my Inner Geek's evil dementia, you need to create a Favorite or Bookmark (or whatever your browser calls it) with the above string as its target. Depending on your browser, you may be able to create a bookmark directly, or you may have to bookmark an innocent and unsuspecting Web page (like this one) and then edit the bookmark's properties to change the target. Make sure you get the whole thing (it starts with javascript: and ends with src;}) with no embedded spaces and all on one line. Also, if you copied-and-pasted from above, make sure you have a less-than sign, not an &lt;, between the n and the a.length. (I apologize for that, but HTML does not like less-than signs.)

Next, bring up a Flickr photo page (that doesn't have the "All Sizes" option -- you don't need this to save an All Sizes page), and pull down your Favorites/Bookmarks menu and click on the bookmarklet. The Flickr stuff will disappear, the picture will be by itself, and you'll be able to right-click on the picture and save. For real.

If you have any questions or problems, Inner Geek will try to provide tech support via this post's Comments.

But remember, photos are copyrighted material and belong to the phtographer.

And pray for my Inner Geek's soul.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Kiss

Years ago, my little dog, BJ, developed cataracts. I had them operated on, and for several years her vision was restored, but gradually scarring from the surgery made her blind again. And, as she approached her fifteenth birthday, her health declined. Between the blindness and her health, she wasn't able to make her way into the back yard to do her business, so I had to carry her out front and stand with her while she wandered around a little, picked up a few scents, found a spot, and did her thing. I took her outside every morning, at noon if I came home from work, after work, and before we went to bed. But sometimes BJ would have to go in the middle of the night: She would cry quietly from her kennel, and I would get up and pick her up and carry her outside.

I'm afraid I'm not a patient person, and people who know me might have expected me to be angry or resentful when my sleep was interrupted. But, strangely, I wasn't. I gently picked her up and cradled her to my chest and carried her outside. We stood together in the dark, fending off mosquitoes, until she squatted and stood again and it was okay to carry her inside and just as gently return her to her kennel.

One night, a year ago tonight, as I was carrying BJ down the dark hall about two in the morning, she tilted her head up and gave my a lick -- a kiss -- on the bottom of my chin. As if to say, "I appreciate your doing this for me." It was precious to me, at that moment. It made every time I carried her down that hall in the dark worth it. At that moment.

The very next morning -- a year ago tomorrow -- BJ didn't seem well. By lunch time she seemed to be in distress. I took her to the vet, and she was admitted to their hospital. That night -- just twenty-four hours after giving me The Kiss -- BJ died.

Now The Kiss haunts me. Was she thanking me? Was she saying she loved me? Was she saying goodby? Or... was she asking for my help. Could I have saved her if I had brought her to the vet that morning, instead of waiting until lunch time? Did she give me The Kiss and then did I let her down. Let her hang her head back down and die.

I loved BJ. Those of you who don't have dogs will be shaking your heads and wondering why you ever read this post -- yeah, you wasted a few minutes of your life. Find another blog. Bye. BJ and I had spent all of her life and a third of mine together. I miss her terribly. But I can't shake off The Kiss.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005


Last Sunday, the local newspaper, Florida Today, ran a feature story by Pam Harbaugh: "Music can make the movie." (Subtitled "Gripping tracks convey emotions, help tell the story.") Some excerpts:

Music is crucial to a movie, say composer Ron Owen and film director Jim Hanon....

"It's an important part of story telling," [Christopher] Confessore [music director and conductor for the Brevard Symphony Orchestra] says. "In a movie, you can either have a very beautiful sweeping 'Out of Africa' landscape. Or eye candy like 'Star Wars.' But the music that accompanies either of those scenes is what gives you goose bumps or helps your heart flutter. It's something in human nature that responds to music."

How can you show victory without pumped up brass, or sadness without minor strings? [Brian] Slawson [a professional musician] asks.

You see character, all alone in the night, a saxophone plays far off. You know that character is lonely.

Oh, really? You can't convey victory or lonliness without music? Whatever happened to, like, acting? As I recall, plays don't have soundtracks (unless they're musicals or operas). So, obviously, we can never know when a character in a play is lonely. And as for not being able to convey victory without pumped up brass, I hope the guys who landed in Normandy had their band coming up behind them so they could actually feel victorious after they scaled the seawall.

Ah, but previously quoted director Jim Hanon has an explanation:

Hanon says there is a growing dependence by directors on composers because of poorly written scripts....

"In order to make the audience feel more, there is more reliance on music today," Hanon says. "I think it's a weakening of the stories. If there were better stories, you wouldn't feel music as overtly. Music has to compensate for lack of content."

So in the end, it all comes down to mediocrity.

But then, what doesn't?


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