Speaking of Science

The Scienticity Blog

Archive for September, 2011


Android Wallpaper & Eye for Science Images (Again)

Posted by jns on September 14, 2011

I’m still inspired by joining up images from the “Eye for Science” project database with smartphones, and today I implemented another way to make it easy and quick way to turn an image you like into smartphone wallpaper.

All I’ve done is add a QR Code to the image page, i.e., the page you get when you click on the thumbnail image in the widget at the upper right (if you’re looking at this in my blog, and if you’re not you can do so to see what I’m talking about by clicking here).

When you see an image that you think will make a stunning wallpaper image on your smartphone, just use of the available bar-code scanner apps to scan the QR Code, which will translate to the URL of the image page it’s on. You can then easily load the page on your smartphone and use your phone’s image options to make the image your wallpaper. At least, that’s the way it works on my Android phone.

By the way, if you just want to look through some random images you can access this URL : http://scienticity.net/efs. Then, if you see an image you’d like to make into wallpaper, follow the steps above. You can do this repeatedly : every time you access that URL you get a different image randomly chosen from the “Eye for Science” collection. It’s a great way to waste a few minutes or a few hours late at night.


“Eye for Science” and Android Wallpaper

Posted by jns on September 14, 2011

You may recall my mentioning Scienticity’s “Eye for Science” project, a Flickr group to which members contribute interesting and provocative images that tell a story about science or nature or something related, which images we then try to get in front of others to provide a brief science moment. One way we do this is through a widget that shows a clickable thumbnail of the image; you can see it in action right there on the right of this blog page (or the left, if I’ve redesigned the theme). Every time the page is reloaded, a different image, chosen randomly from the group, shows up. At the time of my writing this the project has been going for a little over two years and the group has 97 members who’ve contributed 994 images. Why not consider joining us?

Ever since smartphones started to appear I’ve wanted to have an “Eye for Science” app that would serve up a random image from the collection whenever the user accessed the app. But, I’ve never taken the time to learn how to program in the necessary way to create such an app. Very recently I upgraded my own phone to something “smart”, an Android model as it turns out, and the thought crossed my mind again, and I made a happy discovery : no programming required!

Well, nearly. Which is to say that I could accomplish the best part of what I wanted with tools that existed on my phone, without writing an app. What I decided I wanted one afternoon was to use an eye-for-science image for my phone’s wallpaper and be able to change it easily whenever the whim arrived to do so, maybe every day (or more often). I did have to do a little behind-the-scenes programming with the Scienticity-hosted webpage that accesses the Flickr database, but that I knew how to do.

So, here’s how I have a pseudo-app–a bookmark, actually–on my Android home page that let’s me view a random sciency image and make it my wallpaper.

I used the “web” app (browser) to access the url, http://scienticity.net/efsm/ ; you can do this in your regular browser, too, there’s nothing magical about it. Accessing this URL returns a random, full-sized image from the Flickr database, along with the title and caption, the same thing you’d get by clicking the thumbnail in the widget on this page.

Once I have this page in my browser I can make a bookmark (“menu / more / add shortcut to home”) on my home screen. From my home screen, then, touching the bookmark opens this URL in my browser with a new random image. If I’m already looking at an image page I can get a new image, randomly selected, by touching “menu / refresh”, because each time I access the URL I get a new random image. Then, I can keep trying images (and enjoying what I see) until I get to one that strikes me as something that will make good wallpaper.

Then — on my phone at least — all I have to do is touch the image on my screen and hold my finger there until I get a menu of options, one of which is “set as wallpaper”. I touch that option and I have new wallpaper!

I’m a little embarrassed to say how inordinately pleased I am to be able to set my wallpaper so easily to new eye-for-science images whenever I feel moved to do so, but there you go.

Please, I invite you to give it a try, It’s quick, it’s easy, and you’ll see interesting things that might make you think “hunh”, which is the goal of the project. Have fun!