2008.04.12

I Fear Change - Appease Me!

02.48.46 - Mark

Earlier this week Flickr added the ability to post short (90 seconds or less) videos to the site for it's pro users (people that fork over $25 a year for the service) and now a while bunch of people are up in arms saying that by adding video the site is going to turn into youtube, which is complete crock, and are boycotting groups that allow video, block people that post video, and some claim they'll be defecting from the site or otherwise demanding the new feature be taken offline and thrown into a deep dark dungeon and never be allowed to see the light of day again.

They may as well be chanting "I fear change - appease me!", which would be preferable since it would 1) do just as much for their "cause" 2) would tell you more about how far along they are in terms of mental and emotional development and 3) would simply be more entertaining.

For one thing Flickr is a business. Sure it's a business that makes you feel like it's all warm and soft and friendly and that it's totally hip to it's friends customers interests, and to be fair it does to a lot to be customer friendly (it is a community site after all) but it's still a business, and this is a business move.

Videos uploads are only open to those with pro accounts, so to upload video you have to pay. New pro membership benefit == more members == more money. Then there's the fact that yahoo (which owns flickr) doesn't exactly have a strong video presence, and flickr is a closer fit than a lot of things it could have tried.

Second, comparing Flickr to YouTube is pretty silly when you look at it. YouTube is free to all, and after a few family friendly parental type controls the site is pretty much a free for all. YouTube also isn't exactly interested in quality. Flickr seems to be sort of the opposite. The video clip I uploaded to flickr looks almost as good there as it does when I play it locally, and the player interface isn't bloated or bland. So you don't have the total dreck we've all come to expect from youtube clips.

The third thing is since you have to pay to use the service, you're setting a good barrier to entry. Everyone has seen a myspace page that made you want to suck your own eyes out with a drinking straw, and look at all the number of craptacular free blogs and websites out there. Now how many sites have you seen with a registered domain name (and I'm not talking a .tk or some other free domain) and real paid hosting? Nowhere near as many. Pay walls keep a certain level of junk out, so again, none of the youtube free for all.

Should flickr added a "Don't show me video" option? Probably, and it would surprise me if they don't (or if someone fails to come up with a no video hack) but I'm finding it a useful feature. I've got a bunch of short clips that are neat, and worth sharing, but nothing I really care to piece together into a video. So while things like youtube and blip (another video service) fail, flickr video works, and gives me more of a reason to keep up my pro account.

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2007.01.06

3006

00.51.43 - Mark

It's one thing to complain about the Bush administration, the US government in general, and the sad state of affairs in Iraq when you only have a vague connection to the whole middle east mess.

It's another when it hits close to home. Yesterday I found out that someone I knew,Jonathan E. Schiller was killed in Iraq last week.

Jon and I weren't friends exactly, but we tended to run into each other. I think our families went to the same church, and about the time I pretty much stopped attending church I started seeing him at orchestra practices at school. Jon played the sting bass and I was almost always the last chair cello so we occasionally talked (but more frequently hit each other with our bows)

If I went back to Iowa I certainly wouldn't be looking him up in a phone book, but I did know him, and I have several other, significantly closer, friends serving in various branches of the armed forces that could have been killed just as easily. You can't just shrug that off.

Here's to a quick resolution of this war - in whatever form that solution is

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2006.04.30

One World Divided

19.33.49 - Mark

Tomorrow there's going to be a 1000-man rally tomorrow in Dobson, NC about some of the immigration issues that are swirling around in our nation's political cesspool - and the local congress critter is anti-imigration/pro-"national security" in a big way.

I've been against the mentality of closing up our borders and allowing the government to monitor citizens' actions because I haven't seen the evidence that it protects us. I dislike the idea that this nation is no longer a shelter for the best minds of the world - those who question the government are condemned and their legitimante concerns are muted while those that want to push the border of human achievement are not allowed to do so.

More recently, I've been feeling that this nation isn't. In the broader picture it seems like this nation is divided in so many trivial ways it has stepped over the line of sickening. Religious individuals think they're the minority while the athiests and agnositcs claim the same title. Republicans and Democrats battle as if there's no tomorrow. Racial and ethic cultures clash internally while they all clamor against the foreigners.

In this day and age when its just as likely for me to hear about the latest news from Eurasia as it is to know what's happening on a local street corner borders have really become a pointless imaginary line in our minds.

Even thought I favor less government, the idea of Supranational Unions like the EU, or a World Government are tempting ideas

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2006.01.14

Unsymthathtic Jerks

15.46.04 - Mark

I wish I knew how podcasters/vloggers deal with jerks who make noise when they want to record something. Because I sure don't. I was playing with some video ideas this afternoon and the effort was quickly lost when people decided to rush in and then not leave me alone despite my asking. They left, eventually, but they sure as hell weren't happy about it.

In public spaces it's one thing. In a smaller area where they really don't need to be, it's another.

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