Koff, Koff

I’m taking a sick day today, hoping that if I simply roll around the flat lazily, drink a lot of fluids, maybe a clear-the-lungs shower toward midday, read suspense fiction, watch movies, and so on, that the mild cold that I’ve been ignoring for the past few days (save for an unwelcome encounter with Lemsip on Monday) will give up and retreat. Productivity? Who needs it!
One activity that befits semi-conscious laziness is location-tagging photos in Flickr. It’s a repetitive, low-demand, restful pursuit, and it gets things done that I would be embarrassed to spend time on when I was more available for vigorous activity. That means I’m spending a lot of time with the new Flickr interface. I see the rationale for combining various things-to-do-with-this-image under two tabs, and a larger main image is always welcome. They’ve made a big misstep, though, with the “light table” feature. First, the interface uses a magnifying glass icon to represent the action “go to the light table” — because after all, when you use a magnifying glass, don’t you usually use it for guiding you to a light table? Then, once you get to the light table, if you really want to see a larger version of the image you’re examining, you have to click the “See all sizes” option which — /eyeroll — takes you out of light table mode, to the familiar range-of-sizes Flickr page. If it were up to me, I’d have separate paths to “light table” (using which you can’t resize the image at all) and “magnify/reduce.” But maybe that’s just me.
The location search option looks as though it could be very cool eventually, although for now it seems only vaguely useful. MAny of the photos aren’t particularly nearby the tagged location, and although I haven’t spent more than fifteen minutes on it, I haven’t hit on the way actually to get at the photos whose pink circles appear on the map. The satellite photos and the map don’t align perfectly, so some locations may seem off-target if the location is fixed with one of them. And off-road sites that are located under foliage — Partickhill Lane, for example, or the pathway from University Avenue to The Square — can be very difficult to find.
And I am led to ponder the semantics of location tags. Sometimes, for instance, one has taken a photo of a specific object (this morning, I was tagging photos I took of the stained glass from St Mary’s); then one can be expected to point the tag at the location of the photo’s subject. If there’s no single dominant subject for the photo, though, I reasoned it more appropriate to tag the photo with the location from which I took the photo.
But at least Flickr doesn’t introduce capricious interface changes that make the user experience more complicated and frustrating (I’m looking at you, Facebook). And for those who appreciated the xkcd comic about university websites to which I linked earlier this week, Inside Higher Education has picked up the story. They explain why university sites end up the (attractively packaged) dog’s breakfasts that they usually are, such that there’s little reason to hope for improvement in the near future. Oh, by the way, the University of Glasgow is rolling out its new website (important pages first).
Anyway, time for me to go lie down for to nap read.

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