Archive: Posts about Web 2.0
July 17th, 2012, 19 Comments »
Travis has decided not to renew his Flickr Pro account.
Like Travis, I’ve been using Flickr for a long time. I got my first Pro account–a paid account that provides a variety of benefits, in December, 2004.
Travis bemoans the loss of community on the site–a pretty common complaint. Much of that community has, I think, migrated to apps like Instagram. I recognize the same style of friendly, real-time conversations on my Instagram photos that I used to see on Flickr. Several friends, like Rachael or Kris, who were active, popular photographers on Flickr now play a similar role on Instagram.
For me, Flickr has always been first and foremost a backup site for my photos. I enjoyed the community aspects, but I rarely really participated the way friends and colleagues did. I probably spend more time per week with Instagram than I ever did with Flickr.
A few years ago, thanks to a hard drive failure, Flickr became the only place where all of my photos from the past decade live. So, that kind of sealed my commitment to paying a $25-a-year tithe to Flickr.
I suppose I eventually ought to download all 7000 of my Flickr photos (using something like this), praying that all the metadata remains intact when I do. Assuming an average of, say, 3 MB a photo, that’s only about 21 GB of photos.
Our online habits have the same inertia as our offline ones. So, in truth, I’ll probably keep uploading photos to Flickr until the service’s quality really degrades, or it shuts down entirely.
Are you still using Flickr?
Footnote: I was poking around my account, and looking at my most popular photos, according to Flickr’s ‘interestingness’ algorithm. Oddly, the top photo is this scanned Vancouver Sun article from 2005. It’s about blogging, and quotes myself (with a particularly stupid photo) and Flickr founder Caterina Fake. I do not know why this article tops the list.
Sidenote to that Footnote: It saddens me that I can’t find that article online. Not because it’s about me, but rather because it’s only seven years old and there’s a (admittedly small) financial incentive for the Vancouver Sun to keep it online. We are doing such an awful job of archiving what we create in the digital age.
19 Comments »
January 19th, 2012, 5 Comments »
I like online satire. The technology world takes itself pretty seriously, and deserves its fair share of skewering. When it’s done correctly, satire doesn’t have to be mean-spirited. It’s cutting, and pokes gentle fun at the ideas and projects we may be taking too seriously.
Pinterest.com has exploded onto the start-up scene. In the current parlance, it’s a “push-button curation” site. A cousin to Tumblr, you use Pinterest to collect images from the web and ‘pin’ them to ‘boards’. To me, it’s mostly Delicious for pictures or collages of “stuff I want to buy”.
It represents the convergence of a few trends. First, and most importantly, there’s the crunchy, Etsy, DIY movement that’s popularized knitting and other crafty practices, and is reflected in the hipster ethos. Add to that mix the maturation of online shopping, where a lot of people spend a lot of their time (particularly on tablets like the iPad) browsing online stores. Then bake in the mainstream understanding of social sharing, thanks mostly to sites like Facebook and Twitter.
I’ve barely used the site–I haven’t thought of a personal or professional use for it yet. I was wondering about it on Twitter and somebody (I’m afraid I’ve forgotten who) suggested that it wasn’t for me, but rather for “co-eds to make visioning boards for The Secret“. Ouch.
Is anybody Pinterested?
Pinterest is ripe for satire. And I wish I had a good idea about how to satirize it. But life is a bit hectic at the moment, and, as I said, I’m a Pinterest noob.
I suggested on Twitter that the satirical site ought to be at Disinterest.com, but that’s already taken by a mortgage company. Then Paula suggested Dishinterest.com, which sounds excellent to me. So I registered it.
Now what should go there? What are the characteristics of Pinterest that most deserve a critique? In my limited time on the site, I see a lot of these quotations-in-image-form that are popular on Tumblr (ironically, it’s become immediately popular to use this collage site to collect blocks of text). This isn’t a great idea, but maybe the site is just a board full of the most banal objects one can find: a pencil, a clump of dirt and so forth?
What do you think? Any good ideas for Pinterest-related satire?
5 Comments »
April 29th, 2009, 2 Comments »
There are few blogs (and link blogs) that I’ve been reading longer than Andy Baio’s. He’s superb at finding the web’s weird and wonderful stuff before anybody else does, and is a passionate documenter of the web history. He also, as it happens, created Upcoming.org.
launched announced a new project: Kickstarter. From the announcement post on his site:
Kickstarter aims to let creative people of all kinds — journalists, artists, musicians, game developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers — raise money for their projects by connecting directly with fans, who receive exclusive access and rewards in exchange for their patronage. Like Josh Freese and Jill Sobule, the site allows creators to have multiple tiers of rewards (e.g. $20 for the book, $50 for signed copy) with optional limits for each.
It’s a terrific example of spotting something that people are doing in an ad hoc basis, and creating a site to formally organize and enable that behaviour. It takes a ton of deep observation and insight, I think, to identify these opportunities. Here’s a list of early projects.
I’m not sure how I might use it in the future, but I’ve squatted my namespace, just to be on the safe side.
UPDATE: I misunderstood Andy’s role in the project. He’s an adviser to Kickstarter and sits on its board, but he didn’t create it.
2 Comments »
March 10th, 2009, 4 Comments »
For a while, I’ve been banging on about the question of what happens to your digital assets once you’re gone. Today, via LIVEdigitally, I encountered Legacy Locker, which promises to solve that problem:
Legacy Locker is a safe, secure repository for your digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of death or disability.
Of course, for the process to work, Legacy Locker itself has to outlive its users.
4 Comments »
October 19th, 2008, 4 Comments »
Anyone paying attention to the web over the past five years ago is aware of the rise of crowd-sourcing and all its permutations. Whether it’s the amateur editors at Wikipedia or zillions of reviews on Amazon, it’s become commonplace to rely upon the wisdom of crowds.
I do this all the time. Before going to the cinema, I consult aggregated reviews at Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. When booking holidays, we’ll check hotel reviews on Travelocity or Expedia. And when I want to dip my toes into what the web’s talking about, I visit popurls or Techmeme or twitt(url)y.
We Need a Lot of Stuff
As regular readers know, we’re building a house. And, as you might expect, that house is going to need a lot of stuff: fridge, stove, dishwasher, TV, stereo, washer/dryer, etc. No matter how you slice it, the cost of this stuff adds up.
So how to choose the right stove or television? We’re pretty ignorant on this front, and I don’t fancy visiting a ton of showrooms. We could rely on the wisdom of crowds, but in this case, that seems a bit insufficient. Instead, we’ve bought a subscription to Consumer Reports. My family has relied on this publication on and off for as long as I can remember. I can picture the photocopied and highlighted pages, complete with dense little graphs, that would kick around my father’s desk.
It’s $25 a year for a subscription to the Consumer Reports website, but really it’s $25 for piece of mind. I’ll still google for opinions of the stove or TV we choose, but I’ll do so with the experts’ opinions in my back pocket.
I guess, at the end of the day, I can’t place all of my trust in the crowd.
4 Comments »
August 28th, 2008, Comments Off
On Twitter, Marshall just pointed to Tag Galaxy, a super-slick and fun new way to browse Flickr photos by tag. You enter a tag and it renders that tag as a sun, with a bunch of related tags orbiting it:
Add a new tag and it drills down into all of the photos and related tags that share those two tags. Finally, when you’re sufficiently happy with the filtering, click on the sun itself and it lays all of the photos on the surface of the sun…planet…er…heavenly body:
You can then manipulate the sphere, spinning it to browse using the scroll wheel to zoom. I’m not sure how practically useful it is, but it’s sure fun to play with. It’s kind of graphically-intensive, and brought my old Windows PC to a crawl. It was quite speedy, however, on my MacBook.
On a related note, Waxy just linked to WolfenFlickr 3D, which uses Castle Woflensteing 3-D, an old-school first-person shooter, as a Flickr browser.
August 25th, 2008, Comments Off
Reminded by Rebecca’s post, I wanted to post two quick notes about the forthcoming BarCamp Vancouver:
- We only have two sponsor slots left. If you’ve got $500 burning a hole in your company’s pocket, please consider sponsoring BarCamp.
- If I can get enough bodies, I’m going to run a hockey pool this season. The draft will be at The Backstage Lounge on Granville Island immediately following BarCamp, starting at 5:30pm sharp. For more details and to sign up, visit this page on the BarCamp wiki. I know there’s a reasonably small convergence of geeks and sports fans, but hopefully we can scare up 10 or 15. Non BarCampers welcome, of course.
August 12th, 2008, 9 Comments »
When you spend as much time as I do exploring the shiny and the brand new in the technology world, it’s easy to forget that the middle of the bell curve is receding into the distance. I sometimes get frustrated when Normal Humans, who (quite legitimately) don’t know any better, make poor decisions about their web presence.
Take, for example, the Victoria Fringe’s website. It’s nicely-designed, and accommodates almost all of my Fringe-going needs. There’s one glaring exception: the online schedule. They appear to have just converted the offline, hard copy schedule into HTML and dumped it on the site.
As you can see, it’s sorted by venue. There’s one page for each location where shows are running. That’s possibly a reasonable option for the printed schedule. On the other hand, it may be evidence of a classic information design mistake, where the designer chooses a structure that fits their needs instead of their users’. After all, the Fringe sorts its volunteers, technicians and shows by venue. You’d expect Fringe organizers to think of the schedule in those terms, too.
However, users may want to browse or search the show listings in different ways:
- They may only be in town for a couple of days, so they only want to see shows for a particular date range.
- They may only want to see comedies.
- They may only want to see shows from out of town. All things being equal, traveling performers tend to produce better shows.
- They may want to search for performers they’ve seen in previous years (either by the performer’s name or, for bonus points, by the titles of old shows).
Happily, this is a problem that the geeks have already solved. We can think of each show listing as ‘structured data’–each listing (or database record, if you like) has an expected series of values–show title, performers’ names, venue, dates, times and so forth. It’s really easy to host this information in a database and display it so that it’s easy to browse, sort and search.
I’m not sure about front-ends for these, but free database services like Google Base or Dabble DB would be a natural place to start. Even if the user interface was a little clunky in the first year, or a little messy to look at, I’m betting it would be an improvement on the current approach.
The problem, of course, is that this looks like a hard problem for a Normal Human. We need more Common Crafts, who are expert explainers of the new.
9 Comments »