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All created using a custom playing card generator I’ve developed.

Avatars now supporting the new generated backgrounds (and some decent facial hair).

Avatars now supporting the new generated backgrounds (and some decent facial hair).

I’m temporarily back onto generative backgrounds.

I’m temporarily back onto generative backgrounds.

How many programmers have walked down this path? I’m trying to find a palette layout that’s practical for simple colour picking.

This is the best I’ve come up with so far. It exhibits pretty good colour locality (though the greys are ‘buried’, it doesn’t matter for my purposes).

All colors are afforded the same total area too, but some are too narrow to be practical for selection in this layout.

How many programmers have walked down this path? I’m trying to find a palette layout that’s practical for simple colour picking.

This is the best I’ve come up with so far. It exhibits pretty good colour locality (though the greys are ‘buried’, it doesn’t matter for my purposes).

All colors are afforded the same total area too, but some are too narrow to be practical for selection in this layout.

Six more randomly generated faces. Tricky things, necks.

Six more randomly generated faces. Tricky things, necks.

Harmonica tuning update

For some downtime, I’ve been practising scales on a couple of different harmonicas, and thought it would be a good excuse to update my harmonica tuning app.

The new version now provides a comprehensive list of all playable scales for any tuning, in addition to the chords it identified before.

Harmonica Tuning Screenshot

I’m very pleased with how the feature turned out. It was simple to code and includes the neat use of a canvas to overlay arrows onto a set of HTML controls. The controls are laid out in a table and the transparent canvas draws arrows between them based on their screen coordinates as reported by the DOM.

The app is available in the Chrome store.

Verb hierarchies for Web Intents

I just listened to a video about web intents and one of the questions that came up was:

How will web intents handle verbs like ‘edit’ where the application desired would be as dependent on the context as on the file type? e.g. Editing an audio file that’s a song, I want to open it in GarageBand vs general sound in Audacity.

The Audacity/GarageBand question reminded me of something that’s been twisting away in my mind: I really think web intents would benefit from using prefix matching on verb hierarchies.

The idea may already have been discussed and dismissed, but I think its a big net-win. For example it would allow a developer to distinguish between edit/resample (Audacity) edit/compose (GarageBand).

Instead of an action being limited to a single verb, an intent action could (optionally) include a nest verbs, each more specific than the last. An edit/compose intent would be matched by services that declare the same edit/compose action, but also by the less specific edit action.

It provides valuable contextual information to the service and importantly assists the UA to make sensible suggestions to the user (its hard to imagine the number of matching services there could be when intents are declared on the open web); services that match the action most specifically could be given more prominence to the user.

I also have a hunch that it would encourage developers to introduce (sub)verbs where it’s useful whereas the flat verb namespace at present discourages it; I think developers would struggle to justify introducing a new verb (eg. compose) when no client apps support it yet: no one is going to discover their application. Whereas if it hangs under edit/compose then they know that their service will still be discovered (by matching the universal edit intent). Then, when the client app developers see this new, more specific intent action being used by services, they might be encouraged to adopt it knowing that it may give their users a better experience because it returns more meaningful matches without excluding services that continue to declare the more general edit verb.

I came to these conclusions when I settled on the idea that analyze would be a very good standard intent verb; it covers a large number of common cases that are not covered at all by the verbs you have already. But on its own it might not be specific enough and from my perspective it’s the same problem with edit in this scenario.

Given an image, analyze/translate might translate the text inside the image, analyze/scan might scan a barcode and analyze/recognize might perform image recognition. Google Goggles can do all three and is the epitome of an application that would simply register itself for the analyze verb.

One can argue that a flat verb namespace is simpler; it is, but it isn’t in the interests of developers and the cost will ultimately be borne by users who will be left picking through large pools of applications for the ones they want to use.

This weekend I found a few spare minutes here and there to work on adding hair to the face-drawing code I’ve developed. Still some way to go.

This weekend I found a few spare minutes here and there to work on adding hair to the face-drawing code I’ve developed. Still some way to go.

I’ve been poking around with Web Intents and WebRTC and I’ve combined them into Pixzy a web app for taking photos with your webcam.

I’ve been poking around with Web Intents and WebRTC and I’ve combined them into Pixzy a web app for taking photos with your webcam.

menshn puh!

British Member of Parliament launches eponymously named topical/political twitter service but makes launch US only. I would have said it’s a hoax but you couldn’t make it up.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/19/mensch-launches-menshn-for-us-elections-a-new-platform-for-realtime-topical-chat/

What sort of elected representative diverts her energy away from her responsibilities to her constituents to create a platform that facilitates political discussion for her own financial benefit while at the same time excluding the very people who voted her into the offices she’s now exploiting?

Have you ever experienced a really nasty taste on your tongue that made you involuntarily do something with mouth between blowing a raspberry and spitting? Yeah, that.

The answer incidentally is Louise Mensch MP. Could the good people of Corby please do something about this, thanks.