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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2007.05.25

Robots in disguise

00.40.10 - Mark

I'm really looking forward to seeing Transformers this summer, even if Michael Bay has traditionally produced mediocre movies (but with great visual effects) The previews I've seen for Transformers just amaze me. The fluidity of the CGI transformations makes me want to have the highest quality copy available to view frame by frame on a 30" wide screen monitor (which means I will see it in a theater) I didn't even imprint on Transformers as a kid that much. I might have watched a stray episode here and there, but by the time I was really watching Saturday morning cartoons that had moved from the original version and onto the Beast Wars Series and that never really clicked (despite involving both robots and Mainframe Entertainment - the people behind ReBoot)

Still, I'm looking forward to the movie.

As an aside, videos that can't be downloaded suck ass. I had to stop and restart the yahoo streams on my ubuntu linux box before I could watch the trailers (and even then it got cutoff), and the yahoo stream despite opening up quicktime was choking up on my macs.

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2007.05.06

Flickr Reloaded

22.42.17 - Mark

So I finally got around to connecting my flickr account to a yahoo ID (and got past how stupid Yahoo/Flickr is for forcing that on users) and dug out some of the Raven Knob Photos from last summer (just in time for this summer...) and uploaded them to my account. Anyone who was reading last year has probably seen them, but I wanted to put them up on flickr anyways. I need to stow some other stuff on there, but I'd really like an upload solution that lets me upload full resolution versions to my site, and then forward scaled down versions onto flickr. Its not that I don't like web apps, its that I've got Gigs to spare on my server, and Flickr limits me in a number of ways that fail to justify $25/year (at least to me).

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