Oct 26, 2007

Award-Winning for Peace

The American Friends Service Committee won the best integrated online and off-line e-philanthropy campaign award from the E-Philanthropy Foundation for the Friends for Peace campaign.

Thank you all for supporting Friends for Peace. Seeing your signs and photos -- and donations -- has been inspiring.

Here's a photo of Levana, Aaron, and me holding the hefty glass award AFSC won. (Yep, that's me with the red hair on the left.) Many people worked on this project, including all our volunteer photo moderators and photographers. This award is all of ours.


Project Coordinator for Peace

Oct 9, 2007

Calling Facebook Users

Over the last couple of days I've been trying to come up with a simple facebook app that might help draw attention to Friends for Peace. So far, I haven't had much success at coming up with a good idea that works.

I've created a very simple app that will display a picture on the users profile page. I had wanted to have that image change to a new random page every time you reload your profile, but it turns out that Facebook's cacheing mechanisms don't make that easy (if someone knows a good way around this I'd love to hear it).

My other idea would be to create an app that would allow users to sent pictures to each other, similar to the gifts apps that are so prolific on facebook. That's a lot more involved of a project, so I'm stalling in the hopes of getting another better idea. Are there any facebook users that have a better idea, or that would be willing to help create an app?

Coding for Peace

Update 10/11/2007:
I was able to figure out how to do the random image changes, so there now is a Facebook application called: Friends for Peace. I'd love to have a bunch of people add the app and give me some feedback about what we can do to make it better. -- Aaron

Update 11/8/2007:
Facebook users can find the app here. -- Aaron

Sep 18, 2007

Quakers Quakers everywhere

The last couple of weeks have generated pictures from several different Quaker groups. Now I'll grant you that this is not surprising for a Quaker organization, but since I have personal connections to these groups getting posted now, I couldn't resist pointing them out.

First came the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Middle School Friends, who took some pictures during this year's Residential Yearly Meeting, including this Foosball player. Not only was I once a member of this group, but I'd also helped arrange getting the materials to them, so it was fun to see the pictures come through.

The next set that came in were from Powell House, which is part of New York Yearly Meeting. I took noticed these in part because they included a felter I met while I went to college near her meeting.

Finally, the group that meant I had to write something was from Buckingham Friends Meeting, which runs the elementary school I attended. That was one too many groups I knew, so it was time to say something.

Coding for Peace

Aug 17, 2007

1000 images and counting

Just a few moments ago I finally got to approve the 1000th image. Thanks to everyone that's posted an image so far, and please keep them coming. It's great to see all these faces from all over the country supporting peace.

Coding for Peace

Jul 25, 2007

Summer Activities

Over the past few weeks I've been enjoying watching images come in from various summer activities. We got a bunch around the 4th of July that included images from events like parades. I've also been enjoying watching images come in from various Quaker groups over the past few weeks. Intermountain Yearly Meeting sent some nice images from their annual sessions, and this past week we got a bunch from Friends Meeting at Cambridge.

I'm still hoping we can push the image count over 1000 soon. There should be images from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting coming after their annual sessions this weekend, I'm looking forward to seeing them after I get back from vacation. If you know a group that would like to put pictures up, please take the time to run a photo booth, we love to see what comes in!

Coding for Peace

Jun 29, 2007

4th of July for Peace

As you may have noticed, we have almost reached 1,000 Friends for Peace. We need your help to push the number over 1,000, and 4th of July is the perfect time to do it.

Many of you will be gathering with family and friends, and we encourage you to take photos at your gatherings. What a great way to show a majority for peace in Iraq -- on the 4th of July!

Here are some instructions and helpful hints for taking photos in a group: Photo booth kit. (PDF 1.76 MB) You can download these instructions and print them out.

We hope that everyone has a peaceful holiday and thanks for your support of Friends for Peace.

Jun 15, 2007

Thanks Anne

I want to publicly thank to Anne in AFSC's NYC Office. Over the last couple of days she's uploaded roughly 70 Friends for Peace pictures. Anne was traveling around her region with the Eyes Wide Open exhibit. Her first stop was in the Bronx:

The second stop was on Long Island, where she found an exciting array of community college students interested in participating.

Coding for Peace

May 11, 2007

Your stories: West Shore UU's for peace

This is the third in a series of stories from our Friends for Peace.

Friends for Peace coordinator and Red head for Peace

From Pamela in Ohio:

We wanted to celebrate the Network of Spiritual Progressive's Generosity Sunday in a way that included the entire congregation. After service, which was titled "The Things that Make for Peace," we gathered everyone and took the picture.

West Shore is the name of our church and we're Unitarian Universalists.

We played the pictures of others from the website before our church service on April 15th and everyone really enjoyed it.

Your stories: bee keeper for peace

This is the second in a short series of reflections and stories from our Friends for Peace. Please add your stories by filling out a comment below.

Friends for Peace coordinator

Why “bee keeper” for peace?

After I left Meeting, I was trying to think of something to show about myself that would be interesting and fun. I'm a Quaker, a mom, a wife and a lawyer, but my friends find it interesting (and a bit nutty) that I'm also a beekeeper. So I went with that.

What response have you received?

I've sent it to most of my friends and they have been amused but they also get the point. I've been told "that's just insane" but of course they are referring to the beekeeper's hat, not being for peace. A friend sent the picture to his beekeeping friend in the Peace Corps in South America, and it's getting around in the beekeeping community here in the US too.

Your stories: a family for peace

We recently asked people who have posted their photos to the site to share their stories about why they've joined Friends for Peace. Below are just a few responses. More will be coming later this week.

Please feel free to share your stories by commenting on the blog.

Red head for peace
Friends for Peace Coordinator

From Richard in Arizona:

"We are an extended 'family' who all care about bringing about peace now: We are comprised of a grandmother, a daughter, a niece, a son-in-law, and a grandson.

"It is just nice to be a part of a grassroots campaign for peace. Nothing big, nothing special, just people wishing for peace with other people of many diverse backgrounds. Thank you for starting this!"

Top ten searches

One of the things that the Friends For peace software allows us to do, is track what search terms are entered into the search field (don't worry, it just saves the terms, not who searched for them). As of this morning there have been more than 5000 searches performed on the Friends For Peace site, and I thought you might be interested in the top 10 searches. Each links to those results so you can see what's so popular.
  1. DC March (although I noticed you get more images from the DC march, if you just search for March. I'll having to figure that one out): 219
  2. Quaker: 172
  3. Carl: 149
  4. swarthmore: 141
  5. Coding: 122
  6. mothers: 99
  7. dog: 95
  8. afsc people: 64
  9. baltimore: 58
  10. YAF: 55
Given the number of people that have searched for Kent state since those images were posted the other day, I expect it will be on the top 10 list soon.

Coding for Peace

May 9, 2007

Kent State

This past Friday was the anniversary of the Kent State massacre. During the annual commemoration someone was nice enough to setup a photo-booth to take Friends for Peace pictures. I noticed them arriving on the site a few minutes ago. They were also smart enough to tag them all with “Kent State” making it easy to find them all together. There are more to come, so you might want to check in a couple times to see what’s coming in. Remember you can always find the newest images by going to: http://www.friendsforpeace.org/browse

Coding for peace

May 2, 2007

Musical Friends for Peace

I have been playing with a program called Soundslides to make slideshows with audio. I thought it would be interesting to use some of the Friends for Peace images with some music. We can use music from the Omnimusic music library thanks to Doug Wood, one of the owners. Doug performed his alternative service with AFSC during the Vietnam war.

So, here's the show.

Photographer for Peace

Apr 23, 2007

700 images and counting

I noticed this morning that we had crossed 700 images on the site (there are 708 as of this writing). Simon here was the 700th.

It's great fun to see the different pictures going up. The images that recently came from the Unitarian Church in Sarasota, Florida have been particularly fun.

Keep at it!

Coding For Peace

Apr 13, 2007


For a while now we have been wanting to get images from Friends For Peace onto maps...we finally have it.

Before you get too worried, no, there is not going to be a point on your house from your image (more on that in a minute).

There are two places you can see maps, first is on the browse page where we have put a menu of states. If you want to see all the pictures submitted from people in Ohio, just select Ohio from the menu. The second place is on the search results page. So if you do a search for "dog" you can now see a map of all the dogs. Google Earth users can also pull those results into Google Earth, which will update the search results so you can see them over time.

Now, for those of you concerned about (or interested in) how the points are placed, let me explain how I set this up. First off, all points are generated using the location of the zip code covering the city provided when the image was uploaded (for cities with more than 1 I calculate their average location). From that point I then randomly shift the location just a little (within a couple minutes of the original point), so that they aren't all stacked up on top of each other. I also located the markers 8 KM off the ground; while Google Maps doesn't currently respect this last setting, when you look using Google Earth you'll see the points move around a bit as you zoom in, and after a while they will fly past you, making it even more clear that they aren't exact locations.

Take the dog search for example. My dog Patrick lives with me in Claymont, DE. While the marker does appear somewhere generally over Claymont, frequently the random shifting causes him to be located on one of the nearby highways...I can assure you that he's not an outside dog, and lives mostly on my couch, not the highway.

Coding for Peace

Apr 7, 2007

Pictures from NTC

Last Wednesday, we ran a photobooth at N-TEN, during the science fair. It took us a couple days to get all the images posted, since we were in sessions most of the time.

We got an overwhelmingly positive response from the people at the conference. We tagged all the images using the 07NTC tag that was requested on the N-TEN blog, so they are appearing with the other pictures from around the conference. If you want to see where we've been all week, check out the photo stream.

Coding for Peace

Apr 5, 2007

Images from another era

Whenever we take on a project to encourage peace, one of the questions we ask is can this make a difference? Our archivist was nice enough to take a few minutes to look through some pictures from past peace movements. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of what he found.

Coding for Peace

Mar 21, 2007

Better Image Browsing

Most people probably haven't noticed, but everyone couple of days we post a few updates to FriendsForPeace.org. Mostly they are small changes like bug fixes, and minor tweaks, sometimes they have been big (like when we added slideshows) and I make a point to bring them up here. Today's update was about 1/2 way between the two. While most of the changes were small design improvements, there are two changes I wanted to point out.

First, you can once again get the recent images from the home page with 1 click. If you click "Browse more photos" you will be taken to the new browsing page, which starts with a slideshow of the recent images. Right now that page doesn't have any new features on it, but it creates a space for us to provide more ways for to explore the pictures. We are kicking around ideas like: showing the most popular tags, slideshows by city and state, popular searches. We're not sure which we'll do in what order, but stay tuned to see what we come up with. If you have ideas please let us know and we'll add them to the mix.

The second improvement today is a small improvement to the search engine. If you enter a US state, you will get only images from that state. So to see all the images from Colorado search for CO. Hopefully this will make it easier to find images that are interesting to you.

Your input is always welcome.
Coding for Peace

Mar 19, 2007

People like me

One of the things I enjoy about Friends For Peace is watching images appear of people with similar interests.

For example, I put up my dog Patrick, then Leigh and Peter included Maggie in their picture:

Last Thursday I noticed Eric, and it was nice to not be the only programmer around.

Although my poor Sammy is still the only rabbit to appear so far.

What interesting pairings of pictures have you found? Put their flickr links in the comments and I'll highlight them in a later post.

Coding for peace

Mar 16, 2007

Peace events: Need a sign? Have a photo?

This weekend, hundreds of communities are holding commemorations of the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war. If you have pictures from peace events -- especially photos that include Friends for Peace signs -- feel free to post them to our site.

To find peace events near you, go to the United for Peace and Justice coalition's web site.

If you can't make a peace event, I encourage you to make your own sign and post it up at work, at home, and we've even heard of a few people posting signs on their cars. (However, I hope signs in cars are not blocking the view through the windows...)

Red head for peace

Mar 7, 2007

New Design

One of the first comments we got about the Friends For Peace website is that people wanted the images to be larger; well, we've delivered. Thanks to Carl's efforts to redesign the home page we now have bigger images and the slideshow is integrated into the home page. One of the nice things about this new layout is the site should perform better on low speed connections, since the images now load in a more sensible order. Over the next few days we're planning to design more of the site, to improve your experience overall. Please keep sending us feedback, we like to know how people are using the site and ways we can make it better for you.

Coding for Peace

Feb 23, 2007

I like this one

You may have noticed that at the bottom of each photo you can vote online for the photos you like. (Just click on "I like this one.") But, you may not know that when you vote, your votes bring your favorites up to the front of the line. The more you vote and email a photo to friends, the more popular it becomes -- and the most popular photo will rise to the top of the homepage.

All of the photos have been great, and we have some favorites here at AFSC. Here are some of the photos we have been talking about. (Click on the pictures to see the larger version.)

Most hopeful:
Unique Location:

Creative use of sign:
You can email pictures to friends and vote as many times as you want. Tell us about your favorites.

Feb 16, 2007

Calling all Cameras!

Many of you have told us that you want to take pictures in your community groups, churches, schools, and in other venues -- but you are not sure how to organize it. So, we created a guide for hosting a "Friends for Peace Photo Booth."We have created this Kit to provide some guidance, tips, and materials. Please download the kit and print it out.

Photo Booth Kit (PDF 177 kb)

Go out this weekend and take lots of pictures and upload them to the site. Let us know how it goes and if you have any other tips for your fellow photographers.

Feb 14, 2007

E-card Valentines

If you got Peter Lems's email about sending e-card Valentines, here's how to do it.

Step 1: Use the thumbnails to the right or the search engine to find the photo you'd like to send with your Valentine message.

Step 2: Click on the "Send on a Friend" link just below the big image on the page.

Step 3: Type in your email, your friends'/loved ones' email addresses, and your message into the e-card form. In "Subject," add your email subject line. It could be "From your friend for peace" or "Valentine for peace" or anything you'd like.

Step 4: Hit the "send" button. Your email(s) is on its way.

Any comments or questions? Comment away!

Friends for Peace Coordinator

Feb 12, 2007

Friends for Peace Slideshows on your own blog

Last Friday a poster asked about embedding a slideshow in other blogs. Since Friends for Peace uses Flickr as a backend this is not only an option, but there are several tools to make it easy. Most sources I found referenced Paul Stamatiou's blog, but there are plenty of others. Using Paul’s technique the final code should look something like this (your mileage may vary):

<iframe align="center" src="http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?user_id=81805697@N00" frameBorder="0" width="500" scrolling="no" height="500" />

To control which images come up you can use the “tags” variables described in the article I linked above. If you create something like this, or use Friends for Peace images in some other way, please let us know by leaving a comment on the blog.

Coding for Peace

Feb 9, 2007

Friends for Peace Slideshows

You asked for slideshows and now we have them! Anytime that a slideshow is available you will see a link labeled "Open Slideshow" under the main image; click on the link and the sideshow will start in its own window.Please let us know how this new function works for you by leaving a comment on the blog.

We are currently working on other ways for people to look at Friends for Peace images. If you have an idea about new features you'd like to see us develop, please let us know by commenting on this blog. We can't promise to do them all, but we're always looking for more ideas.

Coding for Peace

Feb 1, 2007

We're live and public

Friends for Peace is now publicly available. We've kicked the tires and so far, so good. We hope you enjoy this site and we hope to see a photo of you soon!

Thanks all for your helpful comments and all the enthusiasm and support. It's kept us going and given us great directions to head.

We've heard from many people that we need to have a slide show view to view the photos. Check back for that new feature next week. We should have something up soon.

Ads are going to go out soon. But be sure to blog about us or link to us, so we can get more and more photos. We're hoping for a photo avalanche.

Do you have an idea for the site? Please write a comment on the blog.

Friends for Peace Coordinator

Jan 30, 2007

DC March pictures posted!

Terry and I spent the last couple of days posting the pictures that he took this weekend in DC. We tagged all those pictures with "DC March", so that you can find them all by searching for "DC March".

If you took pictures during the march that you would like to contribute, we'd love to see them. Put "DC March" into the tags field on the upload form, and your pictures will be displayed along with all the others.

Thanks for participating.
Coding for Peace.

Jan 29, 2007

Photos from DC March, Jan. 27

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and expert photographer, Terry, we have up many photos of those who had us take their photo at the Jan. 27 March on Washington.

We had a tremendous response at our Friends for Peace launch. We handed out all the signs we had and took more 100 people waited to have their photo taken for this site.

People have been excited to make a sign that fits their personality. Standing at the table, it was fun to talk through potential words or phrases with people and seeing what they wrote down. Some words came up more often than others. We found several people wrote "student," "mom," "Friends," and found a lot of people from Illinois, Ohio, and Vermont. (It seemed that half the state of Vermont was on the National Mall last weekend.) I hope you enjoy browsing through the photos.

Special thanks to all the AFSC staff and volunteers who pitched in to make this a great success. We did a lot of last-minute coordinating to create a Friends for Peace table at the March on Washington and we couldn't have done it without their support.

I hope you enjoy the photos. Right now, if you view "Most Recent" photos, you'll see the last 90+ are from the January 27 march.

For peace,
Friends for Peace Coordinator

Jan 16, 2007

Your comments needed!

We're knee-deep in web site testing right now and we need your help. If you're looking at this, please email your thoughts about the site to friendsforpeace (at) afsc.org. We will really appreciate it.

What makes sense? What do you like? What don't you like? What is confusing? Please let us know.

friendsforpeace (at) afsc.org

Jan 7, 2007

Launching the Test Site

If you're reading this, you are looking at the Friends for Peace test site. For the next two weeks, we are in testing mode, making sure that the site works before we announce this publicly. If you have comments about the site, please add them as a comment to this blog post below.