Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Party in full Orange

So you thought the wedding of William and Kate is a big deal? If you want to see a huge royal party, try Queensday in Holland, every year on the 30th of april. There will be a party of half a million people, in Amsterdam alone. This party is not only BIG, it's all orange too.
Step aside William and Kate, here's the real party. 
But why all the orange? What's that got to do with the Dutch Queen? 
First a bit of history. The progenitor of the Dutch Royal family is William, count of Orange. William received the title 'count of Orange' way back in the 8th century AC when he conquered the city of Orange in the south of France. That's why the Dutch royal family is named 'House of Orange'.
The Dutch flag is red, white and blue. But in the olden days it used to be orange, white and blue. Orange was only replaced by red in the last century. However, we still have a 'wimple' which is an orange extra on the flag, which makes the Dutch flag quite unique.

In 1885 politicians invented "princess's day', to celebrate the fifth birthday of princess Wilhelmina and to invoke a feeling of national unity. When Wilhelmina became queen, the yearly princess's day became queensday. When she was succeeded by her daughter Juliana, Queensday moved to the 30th of april, Juliana's birthday. In 1980 Juliana retired and the current queen Beatrix succeeded her. In honor of her mum, Beatrix kept queensday on the 30th of april.
Queensday is a national holiday. Tradionally, open-air parties are organized in all towns and villages, with artist's performances and music. Another tradition is that everyone can sell anything anywhere that day. This gave way to the world's largest garage sale. On queensday many people in Holland drag all the stuff they don't need anymore out into the streets to sell it. For 12 hours or so, a crazy buy and sell frenzy takes place, with people dancing in-between.
For most people these days, queensday is just an excuse for the biggest party of the year and doing crazy things with everything orange.
BTW, the Dutch national sports teams are always dressed in orange. Now you know why...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

10 Tips for Monitor Calibration

Our friends over at Colour Confidence published 10 tips for monitor calibration. Paraphrased:
Tip 1 - Take the ambient light into account
Tip 2 - Colors surrounding your monitor impact the colors on your monitor
Tip 3 - Don't overdo the brightness.
Tip 4 - Turn off auto-brightness
Tip 5 - Remove Adobe Gamma
Tip 6 - Default settings: Luminance 90, Gamma 2.2, Temperature 6500
Tip 7 - Warm your monitor up first
Tip 8 - Repeat first time Calibration
Tip 9 - Compare to print
Tip 10- Calibrate once a month
You can download the full text here.
You can use our free Calibrize utility for Calibration. But hardware calibration tools always yield better result.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Biological arms race leads to unique egg colors and patterns

To ward off the cuckoo finch, every host bird lays eggs of different color and pattern, thus leading to a wealth of colorful eggs.
New research by Claire Spottiswoode and Martin Stevens reveals that the biological arms race between cuckoos and host birds can escalate into a competion for unique egg colors and patterns. Variations in eggs seem to act like the complicated markings on a banknote: complex colors and patterns act to make host eggs more difficult to forge by cuckoos.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grass in Any Color You Want

Did you know that some people spray their yard with paint to make it more green? Seriously. Not exactly my cup of tea. But I was wondering what would happen if you use paint other than green? I mean, when you paint, you might as well paint it in another color, right?
Click on the grass to paint it any color you like.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bizarre Colors of Rock

Wired.com had a contest for geology photos. Boring rock you say? Not at all. Go see the winning photos here. Nothing boring about them. And the colors are awesome. I never knew rocks could have such bizarre colors.
An ancient banded iron formation in Michigan, US. And yes, the rock is this red.

Schist rock in Brittany, France.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Calibrize for accurate colors on your monitor

Contrary to popular belief, you can actually achieve a very accurate match between the colors on the monitor and actual paint. But is is not easy. It takes more equipment and expertise than even most professionals have available. However, you can achieve a 'rather well' match by calibrating your monitor with a free calibration utility such as calibrize. And if you own a Mac, a utility is built right into your OS. (See system preferences>monitors>color)