In Internet discussions, showing user icons really helps to show who’s saying what. Humans need more time to read a users name than they need to recognize a picture. As the old saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words - that’s quite an impressive compression ratio.
Many users can’t be bothered with uploading a photographs of themselves. To work around that - a site can use Gravatar, or some other automated avatar service. Gravatar is a project which assigns a unique image to every user. While users can choose override the image, by default it generates an image that’s quite unique.
Recently I was working on a project where some legal case goes through a workflow. It would be helpful for users to visually recognize the case. Of course, we show the case number and a case name. To help users recognize the cases faster, and to add some visual appeal to the otherwise boring case files, we decided to generate a unique visual indicator per case file.
In this application, each workflow page had a header containing basic case details. We gave each of those headers a different background image, and on case lists, we added a small indicator with the same pattern.
Of course, I couldn’t be bothered with creating unique images for every case, so I chose to generate the images automatically. Each image is generated using a seed (the case number), which is used to create a random number generator. With this random number generator, a basic tiling pattern is selected. Currently there are 9 patterns:
After a tiling pattern is chosen, the items in the pattern are shuffled around a bit, either by applying a crumble, bend, or zoom effect, or a combination of those.
Once the geometric layout is definitive, it is time to choose a color scheme. Currently there are three: monochromatic, two complementing colors, or to adjacent colors.
By themselves, these color schemes would look quite boring, so they are visually livened with some spatial color mutations. For each coordinate, the color is changed a little with random blotchiness on any of the HLS values, a vignette effect, a psychedelic hue shift or some combination of those.
Celery is an asynchronous job queue. It is used to build distributed applications — application which run on (potentially) multiple hosts, but it is also useful if your application runs on a single host.
Celery distributes and schedules work by passing messages around through an AMQP broker such as RabbitMQ ...Read More
I’ve been asked to compare Python to Java quite a few times now, far more often than other combinations of languages. While most of these questions came from trolls, some of them were sincere. In one instance, business decisions were made based on my recommendation.
If anything ...Read More
Lets face it: passwords are a usability nightmare, decent passwords are hard to remember and often hard to enter. Most system administrators hate passwords, and in Unix systems administration they’ve mostly been replaced by ssh keys, as those provide better usability and security. Unfortunately ssh keys don’t work ...Read More