Monthly Archives: January 2007

Iman and Jonathan’s comments on my previous post got me wondering how accurate searching by the average colour of a book cover would actually be…

Here’s a quick & dirty prototype:


It’s so quick & dirty that you’ll need to enter a hex value for the colour you want to search for (e.g. FF8C00 or 9370D8) — if you’re not that familiar with the hex values, then try this page.

Alternatively, just hit the “pick random colour” button to make something up!

There are currently around 12,000 book covers that it knows the average colour for, but I’ll keep adding more once I’ve finished indexing them.


Colours, and the moods they evoke, play an important role in Hitchcock’s films.

With that in mind, I got ImageMagick to figure out the average colour of each of the 1000 frames for “North by Northwest” — you can see the results here.

To put the average colours into context, here they are annotated with a selection of scenes…


Getting the average colour of a given image got me wondering if it might be possible to do the same with the book cover scans on the OPAC. You could then virtually arrange and group books by their cover colours, in the same way that Huddersfield Public Library physically did last year:

(image courtesy of Iman’s photostream)

Slightly inspired by Douglas Gordon’s “24 Hour Psycho” video installation, here’s the first part of “1000 Frames of Hitchcock”:

Spellbound (1945)

…be warned, it’s a bandwidth hungry page!

The 1000 frames are fairly equally spaced and each represents a section of film lasting roughly 6 seconds.

Seeing as the next Dynix User Group Conference will be held in Barcelona, here’s a segment containing one of the Salvador Dali “Dream Sequences”:


And, just to really tax your bandwidth and overload your computer, here’s a page that tries to show all 1000 frames in just 1 minute:

Hitchcock in 60 seconds – Spellbound (1945)

…the page might take a little while to load!

As promised to the HORIZON-L mailing list, here’s a Perl script we use to monitor our HIP server:

Once you’ve downloaded it, rename the file to

In summary, the script checks two URLs and sends an email to one (or more) email addresses if a trigger is reached:

(1) the first check is that your HIP home page is returning a 2xx HTTP status code

(2) the second check is that a HIP keyword search is returning results

Read More

Now this is why I have absolutely zero interest in getting a job in London:

BBC News: Table-sized flat for £170,000

In case you’re not from around these parts, that’s:

  • $336,074 US dollars
  • €259,428 Euros
  • $426,364 Australian dollars
  • 3,664,289 Mexican pesos
  • 14,821,889 India rupees

As a comparison, our 3 bedroom period terraced cottage (which is actually 2 cottages knocked together) set in a lovely rural location with oodles of wildlife cost us just £70,000.