Saturday, May 7, 2011

Well hello there!

Wow, has it really been over a year since I last posted to this blog? Well, I've been adding features, but you kind of have to know about them; one of these days I'll get around to making them more obvious. Two of them — speed control and the ability to go back to previous images — are mentioned on this support post. Another exciting development is that Kevin has been creating some delightful new splash screens for the site! Each time you go there it loads a random one from its collection.

I've also added social and patronage buttons to be About panel (too hidden, perhaps?); if you like the site, share it and/or help support it!

In related news, I wanted to mention a cool site I recently discovered for surfing through Flickr photos: ffffl*ckr. The basic idea is that folks who create pictures that you like are probably into other pictures you'd like, so you surf from one person's favorites to the next person's favorites and so on. Very slick and engaging. Reminds me of my Snapdragon (may it rest in peace).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You've Got Some Gimme Shiny In There

Part of the beauty of Gimme Shiny is that it's so simple, it can be used as a building block inside other things. The folks at ebStart figured that out a while ago, using Gimme Shiny to seriously upgrade their photo homepage. More interestingly, a Second Lifer, utilizing the new "Web on a Prim" feature, has found that Gimme Shiny makes a delightful piece of animated jewelry for their in-world character. I guess I do a similar thing in first life, using it as a screensaver on my living room TV.

I'd love to see more of this sort of stuff. I guess that means I should make it easier to embed a Gimme Shiny straight off the website.

In the meantime, give this a try if you're feeling enterprising, and let me know what you come up with!

<iframe style="width:400px; height:300px; border:1px solid black;" src="" scrolling="no" frameborder="1"></iframe>

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Screensaver/Desktop for your Mac

Want to use Gimme Shiny as your Mac screensaver? IdleWeb lets you do just that! Actually it works for any webpage, or a series of webpages. Anyway, install it, open up its Options panel, replace the default URLs with and set the "Start scrolling after" to some really large number so it won't keep reloading the page. Enjoy!

IdleWeb also has a desktop option if you want Gimme Shiny running on your desktop, though at the current pace it's pretty distracting (as recently pointed out on the support forum); I'll have to provide the ability to slow it down.

Another option for running a webpage on the Mac desktop is Mach Desktop. Know of any others? How about for Windows?

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Developments

Gimme Shiny recently got a nice mention in Mashable! The article was about real-time TwitPic viewers, but the author threw Gimme Shiny in for good measure, even though it didn't support TwitPic. Well, why not? So, inspired by that, I whipped up a TwitPic-only mode, accessible via a special URL: I suppose at some point I'll add a way to access that mode (as well as the meta mode) via the UI, but for now you just have to know the URL. For that matter, one of these days I'll set it up so you can fine-tune the mixture of sources (such as watching Flickr and TwitPic but not deviantART) via URL and/or UI. At any rate, I think you'll find the new mode is pretty mesmerizing (and disturbing from time to time).

I've been making various other changes as well... for instance, when I first created the site, it would actually only load 25 images each from the image services and then just rotate through them. That would give you a nice dose of imagery, but it was certainly far from infinite. I've now fixed that; once it runs out of the first set of images, it gets a new set, and so on, so you can now literally sit and watch it for hours.

I've also updated it to use Safari's new CSS animations for the cross-fade, which makes a big difference on the iPhone (but also on the desktop Safari, version 4 or greater). It's still slower than I would like on the iPhone because it's not being smart yet about what size image to load; one of these days I'll fix that as well.

It's been great to see everyone's enthusiastic posts about the site on Twitter and elsewhere... thank you all, and keep spreading the word!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ambient Websites

My favorite place for Gimme Shiny is on the TV in the living room. It becomes ambient visual stimulus, like a picture on the wall, but one that's always new. This has led me to go hunting for more such "ambient websites"; sites that you can just go to and they do something interesting, often based on the amazing amounts of user-generated content on the Internet, with little or no input.

David Troy has made a few of them, including Flickrvision and Twittervision, and he's got some great things to say about our over-reliance on clicking. Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs have created a couple nice ones as well: Twistori and CreativeScrape.

To bring it all together, I'm experimenting with a "meta" mode for Gimme Shiny that cycles through a few of them (currently Flickrvision, Twistori, ___will___you, the normal Gimme Shiny of course, and an experimental web mode that flips through popular pages on Digg and Delicious). Check it out, let them know what you think, and please let me know if you know of any other ambient websites I should know about!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Splash Images

I load a splash image, selected at random from the splash images I have, when you first go to the site. So far I've got three of them, but I'd love to have more if anyone would like to contribute. It can be pretty much anything, it just needs to say "Gimme Shiny" somewhere. Drop me a line or leave a comment here if you've got one!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What's It All About?

I'm glad you asked...

There's an awful lot of amazing artwork, as well as just interesting or silly images, uploaded to the web every day, but who has time to click through it all? I like the idea of being immersed in all this amazing creativity, but in a passive way, like posters on the wall. I also wanted to do away with all of the clutter of your typical webpage, filling the screen with only the images. I figure something like this is great for everyone; the artists get more exposure, the viewers get more art, and the world is filled with beauty!

At first I thought maybe I should write a screensaver or an application, but then it would only work on the platform I created it with (which would be a Mac, for those of you keeping score at home). I realized that if I do it as a JavaScript webpage, it'll work pretty much everywhere. As a bonus, it'll be easier to create and more flexible to expand. So far I've been quite pleased with the results. The Ajax revolution has shown that JavaScript is a lot more powerful than most people have given it credit, but I think we're still just scratching the surface.

It's just a side project (my day job is working on Seadragon at Microsoft Live Labs), so we'll see how much time I get to work on it. I plan to add more image streams, and to expand the ones I'm already using. I also like the idea of making it work better on mobile browsers; it already works pretty well on the iPhone, but there are issues. Let me know, either here on the blog or on the Get Satisfaction page, if you've got ideas on what Gimme Shiny can become.

In the meantime, enjoy!