‘Unseen World War I photos’

I am posting these images with the kind permission from Dean Putney.

Dean Putney, a software developer at boing boing, is currently busy scanning in and publishing pictures from a family heirloom – a photo album with a huge number of photographs from World War I. They were taken by his great-grandfather Walter Koessler, who served as an officer in the German army during the war. Koessler later emigrated to the United States, where he worked as an art director at movie studios, even though he was trained as an architect.

The images are posted at his Tumblr blog, Walter Koessler project. A selection also has been posted at boing boing.

While there are a great many images from WW I, these are quite unique. As he writes at his blog:

1 Walter was German, and he was an independent photographer. Most surviving photos from the war are from the Allies, and they tend to be propaganda or journalistic. Walter’s photos are very personal.

Photography was going through big changes at the time, and Walter was a major early adopter. Film cameras were fairly new, and he took his in the trenches and everywhere else. WWI saw the first major use of airplanes in war, and Walter took aerial reconnaissance photos from biplanes and hot air balloons.

He has a project at Kickstarter to publish the images in high quality form, and most importantly, as a coherent collection.

If you want to contribute, pledges start at a $1 minimum.

Happy new Year!

Be of good cheer, what can possibly go wrong with a year that has a 13 in it? I mean, the Mayan Apocalypse wasn`t that bad either, now was it? Most likely because there are just trace elements of the Mayans left, but still…

Player characters and player avatars in roleplaying games

Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun I found this on characters of roleplaying games (RPGs): RPG Style: Analyzing the Structure of RPG Protagonists.

A player character:

For as much as a role-playing game Human Revolution is, it’s difficult to truly play it as a role-playing game. Every bit of dialogue that grates with my ideal is jarring, and snaps me back out of the magical game-world where player and character are the same. I found myself dreading dialogue options: Would choosing this option make Jensen look like some faceless arm of a crime syndicate instead of a person who merely weighs options to find the most logical one? Should I find a bag of puppies for him to oppress?

The problem is that Jensen is not me. He can’t be the character I envision in my head, no matter how much I try. He is his own character, an entity wholly separate from me. I am just the invisible hand telling him which baddies to shoot and what to say in conversation.

as opposed to a player avatar:

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The ‘Building Technology Heritage Library’ at the Internet Archive

The cover of a trade catalog about the practice of graining, which was common in the 19th century.

To make sure that past designs and practices aren’t forgotten, the people at the Internet Archive have founded a collection called the Building Technology Heritage Library:

The Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) is primarily a collection of American and Canadian, pre-1964 architectural trade catalogs, house plan books and technical building guides. Trade catalogs are an important primary source to document past design and construction practices. These materials can aid in the preservation and conservation of older structures as well as other research goals.

The BTHL contains materials from various private and institutional collections. These materials are rarely available in most architectural and professional libraries. The first major architectural trade catalog collection is that of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, which encompasses more that 4,000 catalogs from the early 19th century through 1963. In addition to the architectural trade catalogs, the initial contributions include a large number of house plan catalogs, which will be of great interest to owners of older homes. The future growth of the Building Technology Heritage Library will also include contemporary materials on building conservation.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

This is a delightful little movie by Moonbot Studios.

From the movie’s description at the Vimeo page:

Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a new narrative experience that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. “Morris Lessmore” is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is one of five animated short films that will be considered for outstanding film achievements of 2011 in the 84th Academy Awards ®.

Film Awards Won by “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
To date, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” film has drummed up fans all over the world taking home the following awards:
· Cinequest Film Fest: Best Animated Short
· Palm Springs International ShortFest: Audience Favorite Award
· SIGGRAPH: Best in Show

I still can’t seem to center images or videos in WordPress, at least not easily. When I save a post, WordPress simply removes the ‘center’ tags. With images I can work around the problem by putting the HTML code for a table into the post. Inside the cells of a table, WordPress will leave the ‘center’ tags alone. I don’t want to do this with a video like this, for I’m not sure if I won’t mess up the look of the blog if I make it too wide.