O'Reilly logo

Flickr Hacks by Jim Bumgardner, Paul Bausch

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Hack #47. Make a Ransom Note

Say it with photos, and defy handwriting analysts everywhere!

In these uncertain days of paperless offices and instant messaging, it can be difficult for harried kidnappers to find magazines, newspapers, scissors, and glue. So, it's good to know that high-tech kidnappers can use their stolen laptops to make good old-fashioned ransom notes with Flickr!

Flickr contains a few groups that collect photos of individual characters or glyphs. The first such group was One Letter (http://www.flickr.com/groups/oneletter/), which collects photos of the letters A through Z. This was followed by One Digit (http://www.flickr.com/groups/onedigit/), which collects photos of the digits 0 through 9. And then came Punctuation (http://www.flickr.com/groups/punctuation/), which collects photos of, uh, punctuation—you know, the stuff that cartoon characters use to curse with.

The PHP script in this hack translates a string of ASCII text into a sequence of photos from these groups, producing a typesetting job only a felon could love.

Tip

In [Hack #13] , we looked at the One Word group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/oneword/), which contains photos of individual words. You can build a ransom note out of whole words using the techniques in this hack, but here we'll build our words one letter at a time.

What You'll Need

To use this PHP script, you'll need a web server that supports PHP 4 or later and your own Flickr API key. See [Hack #40] for information on how to get an API key. ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required