Curiosity got the better of me today… Over the weekend, I went chasing down a map rabbit hole, hence, my new website background showing the train tracks that used to come onto the “Rice Institute” campus in 1915. (Thanks, Tom…)

Incidentally, the University of Texas has a GREAT digital map archive.

And in going map-crazy, I went a little bird’s-eye-view crazy, looking at Houston in 1891 and Houston in 1873 from the Amon Carter Museum. I LOVE how you can zoom in really closely to view the horse and buggies on the downtown Houston streets!

Then that reminded me of the Google Art Project, which allows you to zoom in on masterpieces like Van Gogh’s Starry Night so that you can see his individual brushstrokes and even cracks in the paint!

So, how do they do this? Well, it seems that the former uses flash and Google uses integrates multiple tools and APIs like Google Street View, Picasa (for its “microscope view”), and… I haven’t quite figured it all out yet.

But then I came across something else that accomplishes something similar — Zoomify.

Below, I am specifically testing Zoomify Express (ie, the free version), and testing the way the YD Zoomify and Shadowbox JS WordPress plugins display the Zoomified images.

Original image size was 24″x36″? I think. When you zoom in, you can see the imprecision of the pencil lines.

Shadowbox JS

  • I’d like to figure out how to make the pop-out shadow box be full screen like this.


YD Zoomify

  • A border would be nice. Could probably be tweaked.
  • Why doesn’t it look like this, with the border and buttons?
  • I think I prefer this over Shadowbox JS.


Next to try/investigate:

StreetView Nederland


A new find!  Street view of the “home stretch” of my bike ride home when I was studying abroad in Amsterdam.  Reaching this kaas-kaas place meant I was almost home…  I wasn’t a fan of cheese then so I never went in this place; what a shame.  I did, however, do my grocery shopping at the Albert Heijn next door, parking my bright red bike along Haarlemmerstraat.

Related pages:

I took a lot of pictures in the Netherlands, but it’s incredible how being able to pan around such an “unremarkable” street brings back a flood of great memories.  I wish I could understand Dutch!  That would make navigating this site a lot easier!


Ahhh… Now THIS was home…  This red brick building on the left…  Google street views never cease to amaze me…  (Oh, and I was trying to find a Thai restaurant that I ate at my first night in Amsterdam…  Couldn’t quite find it, but didn’t try very hard.)

And… More of the Luxor in Rotterdam!


Flickr Downloader

Flickr Downloader is a great utility.  It’s small (~250 kb) and simple, yet very powerful – the best traits in software!  It can download ALL photos in a Flickr album at ORIGINAL resolution with ONE CLICK!

I’ve always wondered why Flickr never had that option – and that’s one of the main reasons that I uploaded my photos to Google’s Picasa instead of Flickr.  (Not that I would have a need to download pictures I uploaded – unless, knock on wood, my computer AND my backup drive both crash!)  The other reason I chose Picasa was that it allowed me to geotag my photos.  This online album allows me to relive a trip that my friends and I took through East Texas in our rented Prius in 2005!

After a few years of using Picasa, Flickr still seems to be hugely dominant, so with this Flickr Downloader program, I MIGHT become a convert…  Except…  How can I abandon Google???  I love Google…  GoogleEarth, GoogleMaps, Google Reader, Sketchup (never thought I’d say I loved this program)…  And I’m starting to like GMail and Google Documents…  But most of all, I love the mashup and collaboration POTENTIAL of their products.

But download Flickr Downloader and YOU, my fellow Google Groupie, can coexist with the Flickr Fanatics.  But Google is still better!

EXCEPT: Overall, WordPress is better than Blogger!