Friday, March 31, 2006


I'm using the excellent tracking software, Slimstat, to record how many lovely people visit the site.

Recently, a plugin has been released to show graphing of some of the data.. and being the visualisation loving types that we are at TVD, we installed it. Here's one of the graphs which looks like we're really popular (visits over time)


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Word of the day

Today's top post, from nh is:


Great find. Of course, you all know its the science of teaching children. ped- children, -gogy... um.. teaching.

Friday, March 24, 2006

They stole our idea..

well, kinda.
expedia have a new outdoor advertising campaign i spotted on the tube this morning.
sort of a TVD mashup:

expedia does TVD

anyway, i returned the favour, and snapped and posted the words ;)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Exclusions - Part Deux

I've added more moderation tools to allow the marking of images as 'exclusions'. This means i'll soon be able to provide a) users the ability to filter on exclusions and b) moderation rights to other users. If you're interested in receiving moderation rights on the dictionary, let me know.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Your comments

I've spent some time on the dictionary today.

  • I've updated the word cloud (as I discussed above) to improve the way in which it displays.

  • I've started work on user profiles. You'll all be able to set up your own profile, listing a little bit more about yourself, and preferences as to how you use the dictionary

  • Commenting is now available on any image. If you're logged in, view and image, and you can post a comment. I'll eventually add notifications if you're the photographer and want to be emailed when someone is saying something about the image, but the time being, its just pretty simple. Let me know if it breaks
  • 1000th image

    Caution - another 1000 words ahead

    1000th pic!

    Well done to Flicko, who is an outstanding contributor. We'll arrange a little bottle of appreciation for him next week.

    Word Cloud 3

    View the Word Cloud

    I've revised the word cloud once more - it wasn't really looking like how I wanted, so its changed again. I think its more representative of the words now. Your thoughts would be appreciated.



    Apologies to any posters who saw a delay in getting their images posted over the last week. I've been away on holiday, and provided a number of users with moderation rights to accept images into the dictionary. However - a bug appeared, and stopped the moderation tools from working correctly - meaning none of the newly posted images could be entered into the dictionary.

    I've removed the cause of the problem, will be implementing a fix this weekend, and have moderated a *whole* bunch of images last night when I got home. We'd delightfully been posted on K10K (amongst a fair few other places.. i see referer urls from, and even

    Plus, and this is the cool thing - have you looked at the image count recently? :)

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    500 today!

    Tra la la.. 500 images.
    Come on 1000!

    "It's amazing how many words you see on the way to work."

    I thought i'd post someone's comment to an image this morning - as I think it effectively sums up the way I feel, and I know a few other posters do, about TVD.

    "It's amazing how many words you see on the way to work."

    No kidding. Not just on the way to work, but everywhere. I've found myself crossing the road, taking diversions, unusual routes, getting off trains, going back to something i saw and just generally the hunt for words being quite all consuming.

    I was in the pub last night, and remarked (to one of the users i happened to be drinking with) "ooh, there are no words in here" - and it was quite refreshing - I could relax ;)

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    new rule

    I've had a lot of comments about heavily cropped images.
    In a nutshell, people feel that heavily cropped images, ie. where you just get a tiny strip showing a word, isn't in the best interest of TVD - someone said "i might as well just open the the dictionary and start at page 1 with my camera" - which I suppose is justified.

    As a result, and I apologise to anyone who has posted heavily cropped images, i've removed them. I suppose if you think about the longer term goals, being able to create nice imagery with the photographs, something more 'square' or 4:3/16:9 ratio makes sense.

    I've also given moderation rights to some of the users on the site - and they're being more ruthless than I am ;)

    I'd appreciate your comments on this if you have any thoughts - apologies to new posters who've posted quite a few cropped images, but if its less than half width/height of the recommended size (640x480), its unlikely to be accepted.

    Monday, March 06, 2006

    [tvd-update] March 2006


    First of all, let me say thanks for the support you've already shown towards The Visual Dictionary.

    We're already encroaching upon the 500 images mark, which is fantastic, and it wouldn't have been possible without all of you, no matter how many images you've posted.

    We're only in our early days, and still trying to drum up interest and get people posting, whilst more development of the functionality is taking place, but it would be great if you continue to help out by sending the link on to your friends, as well as continuing to post images.

    We've recently added a word cloud to the AZ view, as well as starting to add support for non-English words. I don't know how many of you are keeping up to date with our progress by reading the blog, but its the best place to keep up with new functionality being added, as I don't want to bombard you with email!

    Anyway, thats all for now. I'll drop you all another email when I've added some more key functionality, for instance, the ability to add comments to images, and add a little more information to your user profile.

    Thanks again!

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    clouds and stuff

    I've added a little extra functionality.

    First of all is the word cloud. You can see this by going to AZ and then clicking on 'as cloud'. This is the complete list of words in the dictionary with images, and arranged in such a way that the more 'popular' words are larger. Popularity is how many images that word has, not how many people think the word is nice. The algorithm behind this isn't correct - but it'll do for now. I've got one of my more math-knowledgeble type friends on the case. I got confused when he said Natural Log, thinking he was discussing trees (you wouln't know I did A-Level Maths, would you?)

    Secondly, is the ability to move through images in chronological order. Try clicking on any image and you'll see the prev/next buttons. These will take you to the image posted immediatly before or after the current one you're viewing, depending on which you click. You'll get the basic idea. Play around and let me know. There is also a 'random' button if you get bored of going forward and backward in time.

    I'm hoping to work on the user profiles functionality this week - so we get more of an idea of who is posting.

    300 (again)

    We love celebrations at TVD.

    w00t! it's root

    We've recently passed the 300th word in the dictionary (by my reckoning its "root") thanks to a session at the bowling alley with lots of signs and neon, and recent enthusiasm from londonrubbish, mikeoliver, capecornetto to mention just a few. Nice work people!

    500 - here we come!

    RSS Feeds on Recent Images

    I've added an RSS2.0 feed to the recent images page.

    You can subscribe to it here, or you'll find a link to it on the bottom of the 'recent images' page.

    I'll eventually skin up the RSS page so if you view it in a browser, its not minging, and add some more, ie. users, stats, etc. But this should appease the more data hungry of you for now.

    What is RSS? Have a little read here

    Thursday, March 02, 2006


    tick tick tick boom!


    300th accepted image in TVD.
    quick, i have to check pagination on divisions of 150 doesn't break ;)

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    RSS and TVD

    Oh, its worth mentioning (as its not immediately obvious on this page) that you can get your TVDBlog in RSS flavour, courtesy of blogger's atom thingy.

    We'll also be adding RSS support for recent images (in fact, its already done and in there, but i manage to break it somehow :-)

    RSS, for the less RSS-savvy of you, is a way of easily subscribing to content streams from around the web. You'll need an RSS reader - try

    Exclusions / Foreign Words


    I've started work in earnest on creating 'exclusions' in TVD this week.
    Exclusions are explained in more detail here, but in a nutshell, they're images which I'd like to include in the dictionary, but aren't in the OED - and remember kids, that's the rule.

    Its fair to say i've broken then rule several times already with allowing content which isn't in the OED. Locations aren't. Numerics aren't. Company names certainly aren't. Equally, Italian, Hawaiian or Filipino words wouldn't be in the Oxford English Dictionary. So, exclusions are tags against words which you'll eventually be able to filter upon.

    The purists of you will be able to see nothing but OED worthy words. Those of you who are just out for a quick word-pix-fix, you'll be catered for too.

    More importantly, this is the start of the work to allow multiple languages within the dictionary. Its a little more involved than just setting a language flag for a word, what do you do for restaurant, cafe and other non-food related words? But I'll cross that bridge when required.

    I've also added a few pointers on the Contribute page with regards to what is accepted and what isn't. We're still getting a fair few images of multiple words, sentences, etc. which, I'm afraid, can't go in. We'd just be flickr otherwise.

    I hope you understand if I don't accept your perfectly lovely image, but if it doesn't fit the golden rule:

    a photographic image of a single word which would be found in the OED

    its probably not going in.