Tag Archives: Flickr

Urban Explorers take Neverland

Pictures of the world’s most infamous derelict fairground now up on Flickr

neverland knockerPhotos from Scott Haefner’s Flickr. Via Gawker.

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Flickr Burns

More Flickr zeitgeist

Flickr is the news — particularly its long, spikey tail. Here, Flickr user johndoe40 records the recent attack on the US embassy in Belgrade. Also note the Belgrade protestors staging a televised ‘fuck you’ by mooning at the mainstream media’s cameras. How long before we dispense with embedded news reporters altogether? Or are we just replacing the mass media’s agenda with that of the individual citizen journalist?

Source (typically): a blog (namely, Jezebel). We filter our news through our interests now; not the other way around.

UPDATE: more citizen journalism from Belgrade — two female looters are currently featured on YouTube.

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Breaking news on Flickr

Flickr user uploads photos that seem to be taken from the viewpoint of an evacuee of the MS Explorer

msexplorer.jpgMany news outlets are currently reporting on the breaking story today that a cruise ship is sinking in Antarctica after hitting an iceberg. Thankfully, this is no modern day Titanic: Susan Hayes, of Gap Adventures, which owns the ship, told the BBC, that 91 passengers and nine crew members have been evacuated to lifeboats and then to another ship.

But what is extraordinary is that either someone onboard the ship, or involved in the rescue, has already managed to upload some photos of the wreck to Flickr. For traditional news outlets this represents somewhat of a problem: users don’t need their platform anymore. We’ve certainly got our RSS feed fastened to Flickr user Keep Left and not the BBC for developments on this story. And yes, we are ambulance chasers – we admit it.

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PhotoSynth: Making the World…

…One snapshot at a time

A brief (highly subjective) list of internet milestones:

  • 1980s: newsgroups and email & packet-switched internetworking
  • 1990s: multi-user virtuality, streaming media, dotcom 1.0
  • 2000s: people (finally) embracing social media

Anyway, you get the idea. Fast forward through Web 2.0 to get to 2007, and this — Microsoft’s PhotoSynth.

A bit of perspective: when I studied computational approaches to vision in the 80s, ‘state-of-the-art’ meant software that could get a cruise missile somewhere near Red Square, given a decent topographic map. PhotoSynth can build 3D models of Red Square (or anywhere else on the planet) from snapshots on Flickr, aggregate and process tags & other metadata to build a semantic web describing what’s there, then navigate the whole kaboodle in real time on any recentish networked PC. Google Earth: roll over and play dead. At least for the next few weeks, Microsoft owns the coolest tech on the block, bar none: some important part of the future looks like this. The original post and other options for viewing are here: just watch the video all the way through. You can see what the BBC have been doing with this tech over at their How We Built Britain site.

Paranthetically, note the presence of the 90’s poster child of infinite zoom — a Mandelbrot set — at the top-left of the SeaDragon demo image used in the video. Does the demo go anywhere near it? No way. In 2007 we no longer use trippy fractals to show off the bewildering wonderfulness of our tech. Instead, we are taken on a zoom into a car ad to show how it’s possible to embed tech specs in a teeny corner of the image without pop-ups. How times change. Wasn’t there a moment there when we were dreaming of more than a better car ad? Maybe not at Microsoft. Sigh.

[via Tim, who sent me a link to the early Java proof-of-concept last year, and a link to this video yesterday]

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Flickr Feels

Find yourself on Flickr.

97938703.jpgWe’ve talked before about how much we love Flickr (despite that little falling out a while back). Mainly we love it because we think it knows us — Flickr presents our life in a tag cloud. And so it should — what we photograph says a lot about who we are (shiny shoes!).

Cunning brands out there should be looking into how their brand is defined through Flickr’s folksonomy… here’s Abercrombie & Fitch’s. And here’s how Abercrombie & Fitch describes itself:

The highest quality, casual, All-American lifestyle clothing for aspirational men and women.

We’d argue that Flickr’s suggested description — “try a search for af, model, abercrombiefitch, newyork or gay instead?” — is right on the nail. Where the brand sits within Flickr is the consumer perception regardless of how the brand sees itself. In world defined by folksonomies and not taxonomies what matter is not what we’re told about a brand but how we feel about it.

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Flickr Riot

Yahoo! takes its corporate clod-hoppers to the photosharing site… and messes up bigtime.

Why do big companies like to stifle little ones? You’d have thought that in the brave new Web 2.0 world, big brands would have a better way to deal with mergers and acquisitions but apparently not. Example: we are currently witnessing a major user-generated riot as long-term Flickr users are informed by Yahoo! that they will soon have to use a Yahoo! id to access and use the photo-sharing site.

We’re with the rioters.

Yahoo! bought Flickr a while back. Since then it’s grown hugely and doubtless benefited from Yahoo!’s grown-upness and corporate clout. As for us users, the folk who actually populate Flickr with our stuff, Yahoo!’s presence has until now been pretty benign. We’ve also been patted on the back for being ‘old skool’ by Flickr when we sign in — i.e. a user from before the buyout. This makes us feel kind of with it and proud in a very ‘get me i’m an early adopter’ type way. We’re also the biggest marketing tool Flickr has. Only yesterday we were earnestly telling colleages that ‘Flickr changed my life’. And it has.

Here’s an email that one of us sent on receiving the mail saying that I would soon need a Yahoo! id to sign in — the petulant tone is particularly important:

I don’t want a sucky Yahoo! account.

I hate Yahoo!

I like being an old skool user.


I guess that Flickr/Yahoo! are betting they can afford to lose the old-timers for the sake of more joined-upness and the ability to flog Yahoo! products to the Flickr users who are left. We’re just left feeling that something brilliant has now been tainted and that — much like when Google took over YouTube — the party is somewhat over. And — more worrying for Flickr — I don’t know if I’m going to be envangelising about Flickr for much longer — not if it involves becoming a Yahoo! user. Urgh.

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Springtime for Flickr

How the internet is making the world a nicer place: Flickr’s awash with cherry blossom.

blossom.jpgWashington or Toyko, take your pic(k).

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Dotcom 2.0: Magicians of Media

The strategic sleight of hand behind the successes of the second dotcom boom.

How long ago it seems, the dotcom bubble and bust. To our eyes, there are two real differences-which-make-a-difference between the first dotcoms and what’s going on at the moment:

  • There’s a touch of the vaudeville magician about the current crop of dotcoms: while distracting their consumers (and the markets) with simplicity and openness, they make their money (and are betting their futures) on plans for media empires to rival anything we’ve seen before.

    While punters are having fun with these new toys — uploading their photos, posting to their blogs, gawping at the bigshinything — those same consumers are themselves building, click by click, from the online terra nulla, new media territories where tomorrow the future of marketing and sales will be decided through products and services sold back to them via the channels they themselves have created. Brilliant!

    As evidence, we offer the following:

    • Google is still viewed as a search engine, but its revenue (and future) depends on its footprint as a media owner: every Google brand extension gives it more media surface on which to plant its ads — and as for targetting, who knows what you want better than Google?
    • The must-have iPod probably only really exists to get iTunes onto people’s desktops, and to thus give Steve Job’s growing media empire an early mover advantage in owning media delivery in the next decade — leveraging both brand loyalty with consumers and his success in getting traditional content owners to actually sign up for online delivery — a major triumph given their conservatism.
    • Skype wants ‘the world to call for free’, but still makes its margin from the extras it offers which allow Skypers to interact with the world of traditional telephony.

    For these magicians, a little prestidigitation to keep the brand simple also makes it easier to expand or change the real business plan without having to worry whether its on-brand or not, and without really letting consumers into the secret that they’ve been charmed into doing all the hard work of building the market for them.

  • It’s not just consumers being roped in to create the very markets in which the dotcoms wish to sell. The most savvy of these businesses offer out their services for others to innovate with.

    Got a clever idea for a location-based service? Use Google Maps for the interface, and concentrate on the bit of your business that’s unique. Want to add voice chat to your dating site? You don’t need to spend millions on infrastructure, just build it using Skype. Google, Skype, Flickr and the rest make it easy for other people’s clever ideas to come to market: each business using their services increases their media surface and earns them some incremental revenue. Individual bloggers might add a few new pages for Google ads — a startup using Google Maps might just kick-start a whole new category of media in its own right. Lowering the bar for other clever businesses is a low-risk investment in the 99.9999% of innovation that happens outside the established dotcoms themselves.

    These then are what the volume businesses for the 21st century look like — billion-dollar enterprises with cuddly, fun brands and friend-get-friend appeal, which offer access to their core services ‘for free’ to other innovators in return for new media opportunities in the ecosystems they encourage to flourish around them. And so far, it works: not only are these upstarts making obscene amounts of money, they’ve jump-started a new wave of creative systems and services. Look on their works ye traditional media giants, and despair.

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Flickr Colour Pickr

Lovely Flickr hack that allows you match photographs to the colour spectrum.

pickr.jpgWe’re forever banging on about wonderful, world-changing photo-sharing site Flickr. And now people are tinkering with it to create exciting new applications — like this. Go play.

We’ve written before about the power of open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), whereby anyone with a modicum of programming ability can hook into API-enabled online resources (Technorati, Skype, Google Maps, Flickr etc) to build their own tools and toys, but we’re still amazed what people come up with.

Link courtesy of Wired.

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Tattoo You

In case you missed/avoided it, photos from the biggest-ever London Tattoo Convention are now available on Flickr.

neck.jpgThe featured lovely is from Flickr user icethesite‘s photostream.

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