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December 20, 2005

Searching By Color

A while back, when I was searching for stock photos for a project, I noticed this little tool as part of the search interface on istockphoto:

istock1.gif

I clicked one of the color swatches and recieved this result:

istock2.jpg

Very cool, an innovative and useful tool. I don't think I've seen the ability to search a photo database by color before. I can't even count how many times I've tweaked an image's overall color to better fit a design - to create more contrast or better match the tone of the rest of the colors in the design.

As I was writing this post, I noticed another helpful part of the search function:

The search returns the keywords most commonly attached to the pictures in your results to help you brainstorm additional terms you could search on. Your search can also include limiting to horizontal or vertical orientated photos, photos/illustrations/vector drawings, and images with people only.

In general, I continue to be impressed by istockphoto -- in addition to reasonable prices and a useful variety of photos, they seem to excel at usable interface design and they foster creativity and interaction in their user group of graphic artists, designers, and photographers. I love the articles, forums (which are always very active and interesting), and artist-of-the-week profiles. This is a great example of a site that nurtures communication with their users and takes their feedback and suggestions to heart with great success.

December 19, 2005

Saint Martin's Table

Cool on the Hill (a blog I found on MNSpeak that I've been reading for St. Paul Hip-ness tips) reminded me about St Martin's Table. It's on the West Bank, right by my office (and the North Country Co-op), but I haven't eaten there in at least a year and a half. I keep meaning to go back. Apparently it's still delicious (and has been since the 80's). Hearty vegetarian cuisine, and the volunteer servers donate 85% of their tips to the monthly cause (this month is ORMEDA, the Oromo Relief Medical Educational Development Association). Worth a trip if you haven't been there. Mmmmm...what I wouldn't do for a bowl of piping hot homemade soup on a cold day like today...
You can call Mysti Murphy at (612) 339-3920 if you want to volunteer to serve over a lunch hour. I am going to do this on Monday the 26th if people are still needed or maybe a Saturday some weekend instead. Anyone up for joining me, zip me an email!