Sometime during the planning of our two parallel Halloween parties, Chris and I realized we needed some way to allow the two groups to communicate. Videocasting was our first thought, but we didn’t have the equipment or the knowledge. But when it came to taking photos and putting them on websites, we had all kinds of both. Using something Chris had written a while ago as a guide, I wrote a quick script to pull the photos off the camera, resize them to a reasonable resolution, and upload them to our web server. I then wrote a CGI that would pick a random photo from each location and place them side-by-side. Chris asked me to make the algorithm weight towards newer photos, which was far easier than it would have been if we had been uploading to a service like Flickr or something.
After a rough (and late) start in Boston, things went well. Philly took some naughty shots early, which got people riled up here and for a period of time, things were pretty lewd. Eventually it became family-safe fun time party photos and some gentle photo-jabs were traded between the sister parties. Sometime around midnight, Chris texted me “this is the best thing we’ve ever done.” I agree. That said, we learned things. The script had all kinds of bugs (mostly because I wrote it without having the camera we were going to use or the software). The CGI was too weighted towards new photos. And whereas Chris had done this before and had a neat photobooth setup (a side room, tripod, IR trigger), Boston had a camera that had to be hand-shot and plugged back into the laptop every few minutes.
Will we ever be able to learn from the mistakes we made, and try out a new iteration of the script? I certainly hope so. Maybe we can hook in a third city. California friends, I’m gesturing in your direction.