Posts Tagged 'Flickr'

Update: Urban Wildlife Project

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

A few weeks ago we wrote about our new prototype project, the Urban Wildlife Photography Challenge. We wanted to create an exhibit where the content (in this case, photos) came from the community, and where visitors could interact with the content and add their experiences, too. Working with Maria Mortati from Gyroscope, Inc. (the wonderful crew who’s helping us design the exhibit master plan for the new Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center), we came up with the idea to create what we’re calling the Urban Wildlife Photography Challenge. The exhibit opened on October 17th.

Using Flickr as our “home base,” we asked the community to send us photos of wild animals or plants in urban settings here in northern Colorado. We received 120 submissions from Fort Collins, Estes Park, and Timnath — photos of everything from snapping turtles (who knew we had snapping turtles in Fort Collins?) to butterflies, and of course the ever-popular elk on the golf course in Estes Park (my personal favorite).

Our fantastic exhibit designer Cory Gundlach came up with a clip rail system where the printed photos from Flickr could be displayed on the wall in the prototype exhibit area (see photos below). And this is where the fun really gets going: beyond just looking at and admiring these great photos, visitors can rearrange them on the wall, add Post-It note comments and tags to the photos, and add their own content by drawing a picture of an urban wildlife encounter they’ve had, or writing a “field note” about it.

One of the most important pieces of information we want to capture from each of these contributions is where it happened. We asked that photos submitted through Flickr be “geotagged,” and that drawings and field notes left by visitors to the exhibit also include a location. Each photo, field note, and drawing has a number assigned to it, and a corresponding number is placed on the large maps on the back wall of the exhibit. The effect is really cool — we’re really starting to see clusters of activity, and not surprisingly, those clusters are popping up in a lot of Fort Collins’ wonderful urban natural areas.

There are a lot of things about this exhibit that we’re really excited about — and I think the biggest one is that every day, it’s different. We’ll be adding new photos as we get them, and every day we’re seeing new drawings and field notes that visitors have contributed. It seems like people are really digging it. People have been a little shy about actually rearranging the pictures, but hopefully that will get going soon as well. Or I may just go arrange everything by color, as I’ve been so tempted to do!

An exhibit built by the community, and curated by the community — we’re loving it. Come be a part of it too. You can upload your urban wildlife photos to our Urban Wildlife Photography Challenge Flickr group, or come to the Museum and draw a picture, write a field note, and interact with the photos already on display. It’s your exhibit — go for it!

The Urban Wildlife exhibit, with photos on the left wall and maps on the back wall

The Urban Wildlife exhibit, with photos on the left wall and maps on the back wall

The clip rail system

The clip rail system

Photos, field notes, and drawings with map numbers

Photos, field notes, and drawings with map numbers

The Fort Collins map

The Fort Collins map

A visitor-contributed drawing

A visitor-contributed drawing

Field notes

Field notes

Photo with a Post-It tag

Photo with a Post-It tag

Calling all photographers!

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

urbanwildlife
As we plan for the new Museum (which will break ground in 2010), we’re launching pilot projects to test with our visitors. Our first pilot project is a photography challenge, where we will be experimenting with image display, and how people interact with photos in the Museum.

We need your help!

For our first project, we’re looking for photos of urban wildlife from the northern Colorado area. We’re asking participants to add their photos to our Flickr group, which you can find at www.flickr.com/groups/1178989@N20/. Read through the instructions on the group page, then start uploading!

The Museum will begin showing this photo project on Saturday, October 17th. Come check out the photos, add your own stories of urban wildlife in the “Field Notes” section, or exercise your artistic skills by drawing a picture of an urban wildlife encounter (raccoon tails hanging out of a garbage can, anyone?). This pilot project will be running through the end of the year, so participate early and participate often!

It’s a series of tubes!

by Toby J. Swaford, K-12 Education Coordinator

The Internet turns 40 this year. 1969, the same year that brought us the Apollo moon landing and Sesame Street, also saw two computers at the University of California, Los Angeles, connected for the first time. Leonard Kleinrock and his team of researchers had been charged with the task of developing the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or ARPANET. The idea was to allow computers to communicate with each other from anywhere on the globe.

Of course, the first step was getting two computers to share information from across the room. On September 2, 1969, Kleinrock’s team, using a length of nondescript grey cable, successfully networked two computers. A short burst of nonsensical data was transmitted from one machine to the other. It was nothing more than a test; but it planted the seed for what would follow.

After a quick gestation, the first actual message was shared between two computers on October 29, 1969. One machine, located at UCLA, was set to exchange a single word with another computer at the Stanford Research Institute. Leonard Kleinrock was only able to type the first two letters of the word “login” before the system crashed; but it was a start. Kleinrock regards those two letters, an L and an O, as “the first breath of life the Internet ever took.”

What was really important about this second test was the use of the network’s packet switching data transfer method that allowed messages to be broken down into smaller packages, which could be reassembled at their destination. The idea of breaking information down into easily managed pieces is still in use today, enabling users to share larger and larger files in shorter amounts of time.

The system continued to grow. By 1970, computers could share information from one side of the United States to the other. The following year, Ray Tomlinson, an engineer at BBN Technologies, would send the first network e-mail, choosing the “@” symbol to connect the user’s name to the host computer for no other reason than he thought it was a neat idea. A global network was created with ARPANET establishing nodes in the United Kingdom and Norway by 1973.

The 70s also saw the advent of the Internet Protocol Suite, the series of rules that computers must use to communicate over the net. Throughout most of the decade, the service was used mainly by universities and the government as a means of exchanging information quickly from one location to another. However, the groundwork had been set for something much bigger. In 1979, private companies, like CompuServe and The Source, offered the first commercial online services to the average consumer. For an initial fee, plus hourly rates, citizens could read online news and financial updates. Perhaps more importantly, those same individuals could connect to each other – chatting with people connected to the same network.

This new feature became so popular, CompuServe soon launched their CB Simulator, the first online chat service in 1980. Named after the Citizen’s Band radio phenomena of the 1970’s, this development saw everyday people interacting and contributing to the online community. Michael A. Banks, author of On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders, states “Lives were changed immediately. People stayed online longer and later, fascinated with the ability to interact with several people at once. The online world and its denizens took on a new aura of reality, and the online experience grew far more entertaining and unpredictable.”

Unpredictable it was. In 1988, the first computer worm, or virus, was unleashed on the net by Robert T. Morris, a graduate student at Cornell. He claimed it was an experiment gone awry. Prosecutors saw things differently. Morris was fined $10,000, plus three years of probation and community service. He would later go on to success, joining a company that was eventually purchased by Yahoo, and becoming a professor of computer science at M.I.T.

Online services continued to grow. America Online was introduced in 1989, reaching over a million users, one third of the online community, within five years. 1990 saw the phrase “World Wide Web” coined by British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee. While many use the terms Internet and Web interchangeably, they are not the same. The Internet hosts the World Wide Web, which Berners-Lee created while working at the CERN research facility in Switzerland.

The 90s would see the Internet and World Wide Web grow in leaps and bounds. Mosaic, the first browser that featured text and pictures became available to consumers in 1994, the same year that Yahoo was founded. 1995 saw online retail operations revolutionized by Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com. Google, named after the mathematical term for a 1 followed by a 100 zeros, was incorporated by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two computer science engineers in 1998.

1999 saw Craig’s List, which started four years earlier in San Francisco, go global. Today, the service can be found in more than 700 cities and in 70 countries. That same year, web logs, or blogs, went mainstream with the advent of Blogger, a user-friendly platform. Blogs have since become an important communication tool used by individuals and institutions to share what’s on their minds. (Hello, there.)

The 21st century continues to move the online experience in new directions, connecting people in new and exciting ways. YouTube, My Space, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter have become a part of many people’s daily lives. Over a million articles have been posted to Wikipedia; and, thanks to the diligence of the online editing community many of them are now accurate.

All together, the Internet has more than one billion regular users – including you. Let us know how the Internet affects your day-to-day life.

Check out photos from First Friday!

The First Friday event at the Fort Collins Museum last week was a great success! We had a full house in the Gallery to listen to traditional Irish fiddle music with “antique musicians” Larry Lashley and Ben Alexander. Our friends from Discovery Science Center were also on hand to talk about serpent legends and myths with their wonderful ball python, Slinky! Go to our Flickr site to see all the pictures (many thanks to our photographer Melanie Barge), and join us in April for our next First Friday event, “The Move to Fort Collins: Local History Stories of Immigration.”

ben-and-larry1

Ben Alexander and Larry Lashley perform at First Friday

 


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