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CC+Flickr+Keynote = my Monday

I head off to PICNIC in Amsterdam tomorrow night, and I’m a slide-making machine. I’ve sketched out the four talks I’ve committed to giving, and am now working on developing the visual accompaniment to the three where I have the luxury of using a slide projector. (The fourth talk is at a conference called Mastermundo, which won’t involve a stage, but in which speakers and listeners will be wandering through the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam wearing headphones, then travelling to the Hague by train. I chose to give my talk on the train for the simple reason that I’ll have an easier time looking at my notes if I’m sitting down.)

I used to put lots of text on my slides. Then I spent a couple of years attending really good conferences and discovered that the speakers I really like rarely put any text on their slides. (Lessig is the exception that proves the rule.) Now my slides usually feature webpages I’m referring to or photos vaguely related to the topic I’m discussing.

My preference is to use Creative Commons licensed photos so I’m not violating anyone’s copyright or artistic rights. So developing a talk means coming up with a detailed outline of what I want to say, then coming up with the ideas for the images I’d like to illustrate each point, and then searching for those images on Flickr.

Sometimes this works better than others. I wanted photos of African shopping malls earlier today – “african mall” works very poorly as a search, while searching for “mall” and the name of African cities works wonders. And then there’s the occasional search that just is custom-made for this method.

One of the talks I’m giving is about publishing and filtering in a digital age, and I wanted to refer back to the bad old days before citizen media and talk about how hard it was to get your voice heard. So I figured an image from Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park would do nicely.

Photo by Rüdis Fotos

But which image?

Photoby ben hanbury

The choices!

Photo by markandrew

By the way, if anyone’s figured out a way to customize search on Flickr, I’d love your tips on how to do it. I’ve saved this URL – http://www.flickr.com/search/?l=cc&ss=2&ct=0&mt=photos&w=all&s=int&q= – as a bookmark. It tells Flickr that I want only photos, only Creative Commons licensed, no concerns about Safe Search, and please search the text of image descriptions as well as tags, and search the results by “interestingness”. It works, most of the time. But what I’d really like is for the search box on Flickr to behave this way when I’m logged in, unless I override those settings. Any hints?

By the way, a congrats to my Creative Commons friends. This method used to give you pretty thin gruel on Flickr – now lots and lots of the images are CC-licensed, and it’s a very reasonable prospect to do a photo-rich talk using only other people’s cc images. Very cool.

6 thoughts on “CC+Flickr+Keynote = my Monday”

  1. Hi, Ethan.

    I’ve done the same, and my experience is that most CC images on Flickr are attribution required. I’ve never quite figured out an appropriate way to handle this in a talk. A readably-large credit on the slide is distracting to my presentation, but making a credit invisibly small seems to defeat the intent of the attribution license.


  2. Ian, within presentations, I’m using 18-24pt type giving attribution to the Flickr username. It’s a mistake on my part not to have those attributions within this post. But I find the 18-24pt type is subtle enough that it’s not distracting, but lets people review the slides after the fact and see the attribution… or sometimes sparks discussion about what I’m doing with the photos.

  3. For Flickr searches, I like using Compfight: http://compfight.com/

    It gives you some freedom in selecting a CC liscense you want to filter for (all cc, commercial, or doesn’t matter), as well if you want or need access to the original, high-rez photo. It displays search results in a handy lightbox-style format, so you can see many photos at once.

  4. I read this amazing story about a couple who traversed the entire continent of Africa. I am pretty sureyou would love this story
    They walked from South Africa to Israel : Africa Trek (I read it in its original language: French , but I am excited to see it is coming out in English ).
    What an adventure! It seems at first that this couple Alexandre and Sonia are like any other couple who love to travel , adventure and have enough love for one another to endure any hardship together. However what they did is completely out of the ordinary and it is almost a miracle , they were able to cross the entire continent of Africa on foot without assistance, sponsors, barely any money .nor did they know where they were going to be the next day. All they knew was they had to walk north , one foot step at a time.
    An adventure that could have failed without the kindness and generosity of the Africans, which helped them to understand what Africa is made of.
    It has never been done on foot, they were the first , and it easy to understand why when you read their books (Africa Trek I and Africa Trek II), they comprehend Africa and can teach us so much about it. Walking is the only way to be close to the people, the cultures, traditions with the richest and the poorest.
    It is objective and honest information on contemporary Africa and its people
    It was a life changing experience for them and could be for the reader. It helps us to better understand this misunderstood continent.
    Of course they went through their share of misadventure, sickness, hardship, but this book is more about lessons of life from people who have so little in way of material wealth but make the best of it, about love, about sharing and understanding
    If you have not read this book , I wish I could be in your place to relive the excitement of the journey that is awaiting you
    I think they have a mini series about their trip coming out on PBS

    check out this link on youtube :

    best regards

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