Fantastically written piece from my teenaged friend Abby Wagner:
People want to secure material in something more reliable than a single website.
I think she has a future in writing.
Fantastically written piece from my teenaged friend Abby Wagner:
People want to secure material in something more reliable than a single website.
I think she has a future in writing.
Before I even get started; Flickr can not stop Instagram at this point. Flickr can not beat Instagram in terms of hockey-stick-growth. Even with Instagram’s recent policy changes Instagram is on a trajectory to hit the nearest star and Flickr nor Bruce Willis can stop them now. But, to succeed they do not need to win – they just need to capture as many Instagram-escapees as possible.
Flickr has long since been very good at a few things; sharing, licensing, and interoperability. It is one of the reasons Flickr was included in Anil Dash’s The Web We Lost; Flickr’s API is world-class and the entire Internet can benefit from its rich offerings.
Instagram being bought by Facebook was the first step in the wrong direction in the eyes of many web veterans. And there are more and more web veterans every single day as the web gets older. Web veterans are people that know better. Web veterans know that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t the Internet. In fact, they are the antithesis of the Internet. These companies do whatever they possibily can to pigeon hole people onto their websites for as many hours throughout the day as possible. The rest of the web, the real web, tries to solve a problem for people while playing nicely with every other service out there.
Flickr made the first big step in capitalizing on Instagram’s move to Facebook last week when they debuted a brand-new iOS application that has gotten rave reviews from web newb and veteran alike.
However, Flickr is too expensive for people casually sharing a filtered photo from their mobile cameras now and then. Yes, you can use Flickr for free for up to 200 photos but I think just about anyone with a Flickr account would much prefer to have all of their photos available all of the time.
If Flickr were to change their model just slightly – one from a pro backup and catalog solution to one of sharing – they could easily win a ton of accounts that are falling off of the Facebook/Instagram table on a daily basis. Perhaps creating a cheaper account-type that costs, say $5 or $7 per year, would be enough for the web veterans (again, there are a lot of us) to completely jump ship from Instagram and pony up. This way, we would never have to worry about advertisements, creepy data collection, or wondering if our data will ever be trapped on someone else’s servers. And believe me, this isn’t something that is terrible difficult for Flickr to give a shot. They have everything they could possibly need already in place to do this.
Flickr, you’ve already made one step. Take the next step and bring us all back home again.
Anil Dash waxes poetic about the web of turn of the century before Facebook and Twitter. But then talks about what is happening now:
But we’re going to face a big challenge with re-educating a billion people about what the web means, akin to the years we spent as everyone moved off of AOL a decade ago, teaching them that there was so much more to the experience of the Internet than what they know.
Facebook is definitely the modern-day America Online. Twitter the modern-day SMS. But our blogs are still here. And Google does a decent job of indexing them. And maybe, just maybe we’ll see a resurgence of people “getting onto the web” as opposed to “getting on Facebook”. But the only way that will happen is if these tools of yesterday get as much attention and focus as the social web. And I think I see that coming.
Andre Torrez waxes on about how he’s slowly coming to the realization that we all need to back away a bit from the streams of the web:
I’ve been posting about this a bit, but I think my time off pushed me even further along to where I was going. I won’t say “off Twitter”, but I feel like focusing more on things around the edges of Twitter.
And maybe I am just looking for examples—seeing patterns where there are none—but a few things have appeared that makes me feel like other people are feeling the same way.
I’m with Andre. I’m starting to see a pattern among some of us that have been doing this for nearly 20 years now. The web is speeding up and I keep feeling like I want to put the brakes on. Yet another calling for The Slow Web to really filter the web for us.
Something I want to be clear about though, this isn’t a bunch of old guys yelling “get off my lawn” or yelling that the Internet is too fast and we can’t keep up with it. I want the brakes to be on me not the web. The realtime nature of today’s web is an incredibly good and valuable advancement and I hope it continues. The quicker information spreads around the globe the smaller this world becomes. And that’s an excellent thing. But as an individual I feel a natural inclination to slow down and connect more with the world around me than to be beholden to a torrential river of information that the web provides. I want digests. Rounded out ideas. Permanent thoughts and things. Less is more!
I think we can have our cake and eat it too. We just need to learn how to step onto the shore and only dive into the river when we’re ready to get wet.
At least, not in the same way. Andrew Mayne wrote on Google+:
“Much of the sales were generated by the news sites and blogs covering the story. This works great once, but is hard to repeat it. Other comedians, even established ones aren’t going to get as lucky. The publicity was a black swan event. We can’t draw any conclusions from it about how it will play out in the future.”
I agree with this. We’ve all seen it before – in different ways – that when someone is doing something “all new” there is a bunch of news about how they are taking a risk and doing something differently. Notice how most of the news regarding Louis’s video was about how it is new, how it is different, and how much money it made. The news wasn’t about how funny the special was.
I’m not saying the special wasn’t funny. Louis is consistently hilarious anytime I’ve seen him in just about anything. But his act wasn’t what made waves with the media over the last few weeks. It was because he spun this in a way that made everyone believe he was doing something different. And that is, as Mayne pointed out, impossible to repeat.
BTW, what Louis did was nothing different or new. It was new and a bit different for a relatively well established comedian to pay for and distribute their own special via the web – all without charging the customers too much, without putting undue restrictions on the use of the product, and without spamming the people that bought it with email. But this model has worked pretty well for a lot of media on the web including music. (think, Nine-Inch-Nails) But that doesn’t matter. It was new for someone like him to do something like that and he deserves credit for taking the chance that it would have flopped.
I’m fairly certain that Louis is popular enough that, if he should do another special like this, that he’ll sell enough copies to cover his costs within the first few days like he did this time. But it won’t be because the way he’s distributing it is new. It will because people love Louis. It will be because its great and well worth the cost. And those are very good reasons.
So, on the whole, we learned from this experiment something we’ve always known; new, novel ideas that are well executed, inexpensive, of decent quality, and put the customer’s interests first will generally do very well.
In a recent tirade against what some are calling Shit-ass Websites (pardon my french I try to keep it clean ’round here) there has been a bit of a backlash towards websites that make an overwhelming number of connections. Also, the size of the entire page load.
This site makes, at most, 39 connections and is, at most, 12Kb or so larger than the largest photo I post. Most of those 39 connections come from the WordPress plugin that I use to show the location in which I published the post. I’m thinking of disabling this plugin and if I did my site would go down to well under 12 connections.
This recent tirade is a good excuse to revisit the site(s) that you administer to see if you can cut some cruft.
In the good old days of the web I was able to subscribe to any site and receive updates via my feed reader for every post that the site made in the order that they were published. Even though RSS feeds typically only held a finite number of items in them the feed reader I used would typically cache all unread items so that I could always catch up later.
In short; I never missed a post.
In some ways, those days are going away and now I’m at the mercy of the realtime web and an algorithm. And so far I don’t think I like it.
On Twitter, from what I can tell, I have access to about 7 days worth of tweets in their official clients; web, mobile, and apps on the iPhone and iPad. Tweetbot, a third-party Twitter client for iPhone, only pulls in the latest 50 messages in my Timeline and also on Lists that I’ve created. If I haven’t checked Twitter via Tweetbot in more than 50 tweets I simply miss those tweets.
Some people do use Twitter just to see, as Twitter puts it, “What’s happening now”. And, of course, that is extremely valuable. The pulse of the planet. But I use Twitter to keep up with family, friends, a few interesting people, a couple of companies, and yes – even a few celebrities. But I want to see every tweet. Not just the most recent few.
On Facebook the News Feed is run by some algorithm (which I shall now refer to as “secret sauce”). This secret sauce is both pretty bad and pretty nebulous. It is pretty bad because I’m routinely missing posts that I probably would have cared about. Case in point, my brother asked me the other day if I had seen a video he put on Facebook. “Nope, never saw it.”, I replied. I have my brother marked as a family member on Facebook. Surely Facebook’s secret sauce would deem a post by him as something I would like to show up in my News Feed? Apparently it didn’t. It is pretty nebulous because apart from some controls on the News Feed about the types of items I would rather not see, there really aren’t many controls for this secret sauce recipe thingy.
I realize I’m probably in the minority but I prefer to have access to every single update from the blogs that I subscribe to, Twitter accounts that I follow, or people on Facebook that I friend. I wouldn’t have decided to make those connections if I didn’t care to see them all. I’m going to miss the good old days.
For years the Internet has challenged those that work on it.
At first it was all about how to get the bits from here to there. Then it was how to link them together and to navigate through them. Then it was about adding media. Next came display ports and fitting well-designed information on them using both text and rich media together. The next big challenge was bandwidth – using it efficiently, increasing it, and making it affordable. And on and on the challenges came and went.
The next challenge for Web designers, according to Jason Santa Maria‘s article on A List Apart titled On Web Typography, will be choosing font faces. Until somewhat recently a Web designer would have to go through some technical fire-circles to use font faces outside of the normal ‘system fonts’ that come standard on every computer in the world. Due to the limited choices, designers haven’t had too much of a challenge about what font to use where.
Web designers, according to Jason, are going to have to dive into Typography like never before. They will need to learn what font faces go well together, how many to use, how to use weight and selection to invoke certain emotions, etc. He lays out some really great rules to follow in the article but even he admits that his rules are breakable. His point is, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to work hard at this.
Two things excite me about the future of Tyography on the Web. The first is that we’re going to see an explosion of Web sites that incorporate font faces that we haven’t really seen on our screens. You know that feeling you get when you see a really well designed poster, magazine, book, manual, or anything else that is printed thesedays? You’re about to have those same feelings when you look at Web sites. The second is that old school designers, those that got ink on their hands when they started their career, are now the guys that know more than the new guys. The technical hurdles for using non-standard font faces on Web sites have been removed and the creative juices can now begin to flow from even the most non-technical designers. The field is wide open.
In a word, the world of type on the Web is getting interesting.
My friend and Viddler team member Kyle Slattery recently relaunched his Web site. Â He explains his thoughts on the design and development in this post, which got me to thinking. Â Having your own Web site is a truly awesome thing.
Especially on today’s Internet. I’ve had “my own site” for as long as I’ve ever been online. It all started on some Geocities and Tripod powered sites in the mid-90s. Then, when I switched from using AOL Â (read: When I finally realized AOL was not the Internet.), I used some shared space on Prodigy.net, my ISP at the time. It wasn’t long before I discovered the world of Web development and purchased a domain (then called colinspage.com) for around $70 per year.
Fast forward about a year and a few of my friends put together a Star Wars related news site called thehutt.net. I didn’t help out too much with the design and development but I did write some for the site. Â It wasn’t long after that when I wanted to scratch my own itch and had my own blog. Â Which ended up turning towards theubergeeks.net, and now I have cdevroe.com.
I think having your own Web site is a valuable thing, especially for those of us that work on the Web. Â It helps you stay in touch with what people are going through when they want to publish content online, edit some code, or even customize an open source project. Â There are countless lessons to be learned by having your own site to fiddle with.
Great work Kyle. I’ll check in on you and your site(s) in 14 years.
Source: Kyle Slattery.com.
I don’t know how many applications you have installed on your computer but I have enough where there is an update to one of them at least once per week and often times more.
Due to this barrage of updates yesterday’s release of Firefox 3.0 may just seem like another run-of-the-mill update to one of the applications on your computer.Â I assure you this just isn’t so.
Sometimes the beginning is the best place to start. Mozilla Firefox, an open source browser, started out as a project within the Mozilla corporation, then named Pheonix, to battle against the feature creep that was happening with the Mozilla Suite of applications.Â Do you remember when Mozilla was a huge download with tons of “applications” within one application?Â Well, that was why Firefox was originally branched off into its own application, to deal with that bloat.
But, we can go back even farther than that.Â Instead of reiterating what is already out there I recommend reading the Wikipedia entry on Mozilla Firefox (which leads to many, many pages of information) as well as watching a video that Andy Baio recently shared called Code Rush.Â Code Rush is a documentary that aired on PBS about Netscape opening the source of their browser, calling it Mozilla.
After reading through, and watching the documentary on, the information and history of Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, and Mosaic you just can’t help but feel that a little bit of history was written over the last few days while millions upon millions of copies of the Firefox 3.0 browser has been downloaded from the Mozilla Web site.
So while you download your copy ((The Mozilla Web site is nearly unreachable because of the attention that Firefox 3.0 is getting.Â I recommend waiting a day or two before giving it a try.)), install the software, and use it to view Web pages – realize that thousands of people and years worth of history are behind the application you are using.
Update: Also worth watching is a Google Talk by Mike Pinkerton who was on the original Netscape team and now manages the Camino project at Mozilla.Â Found via Andy Baio’s comment thread on Code Rush.
A few of my geekiest and most nit-pickiest brain cells just exploded. After reading about Safari’s odd tab dragging behavior, on two different Web sites on the same day, I am not sure I can take much more.
Both Pierre Igot and John Gruber cover this topic in great detail; the fact that the first user interaction with Safari’s tabs while dragging ultimately determine their ability to either reorder the tab and/or open a new window/tab. But that’s generalizing it far too much.
If you’re an anal Safari nut, like me, I suggest you read both of their articles.
Source: Safari 3.0: Dragging tabs up or down to move them sideways.
Secondary, source: Safari’s Tab Dragging Modes.
Have you ever asked yourself why you belong to a particular service on the web? Perhaps you are the type of person that belongs to every single one, and so maybe a better question for you would be, why do you use one more than another?
I recently gave Pownce a spin for a few days and I really like it. Being that I do not use the SMS features on Twitter, I actually like Pownce much better than Twitter. I’m not going to dive into all of the reasons I like Pownce better because that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am being forced to use Twitter over Pownce, sorta, because of “community pressure”.
Here is the breakdown of community pressure as I see it. There are a few reasons why we use services that, even though we like a different one, we still use the service.
All of our friends are on the service. This is a pretty compelling reason to use any service really. If everyone you “know” is using that particular service, you’re bound to check it out and be part of the action. If the only reason you use Twitter is to keep up with what your friends are doing, and not because you like it more than another service that offers the same features, then you fall into this particular facet of community pressure.
There is more activity on the service. Nearly everyone of my “friends” on Twitter has a Pownce account. Yet, they don’t use it. So, it isn’t a matter of them not knowing about Pownce, it is more about them not actually using the account they created. Why? Probably because everyone that has a Twitter account is using it right now. The activity is contagious and spurs more activity.
I have yet to meet anyone that says that Pownce doesn’t do something that they want it to, or, that it is inferior to Twitter in anyway. (With the exception of SMS, of course.) I believe that if everyone with a Pownce account shifted their daily activities from Twitter to Pownce at the same time, that the reverse could be said for Twitter that is being said now about Pownce, that it is a ghost town. It is all about the activity.
Everyone uses the service. This may not fit with the Twitter / Pownce scenario as well as it does with the YouTube / (everyone else) scenario. Here is a quote from a recent article by Ryan Carson of Carsonified that he wrote about using YouTube to promote your message.
“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather use Vimeo because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s beautiful, but the truth is thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot more people on YouTube. If you compare 90 views on Vimeo to 10,367 on YouTube thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just no comparison.” — How to use YouTube to get your message out
Ryan expresses that he actually likes Vimeo more than YouTube, but it doesn’t matter because his goal of reaching as many people as possible is better accomplished using YouTube. I like Pownce more than I do Twitter, but it doesn’t matter, if I want to be part of the conversation I am forced to use Twitter because that is where the conversation is happening.
I’m still not sure what the solution to community pressure is or even if there is one. You can’t fight trends. Being “first to market” is still one of the largest advantages in any industry, period. Even when teams like Pownce and Viddler innovate in ways that previous teams doing similar things have never done, they still end up with the same challenge of gaining market share by “stealing” it away from those that may have it simply because they were first, not because their the best.
Then again, these shifts usually happen over long periods of time. Fads don’t change in one year, but have patterns over decades. The Internet is a different beast, where it seems like these patterns have a much shorter wave-length, but they do change, and it is possible to find niches. I’m looking forward to the point where all services are so wide open, and applications are at the end-points, and which service you use no longer becomes as relevant. But that may yet be a little ways off.
Why do you use the services that you do?
This is a question that I am not sure of the answer to but it is something that I’ve thought about before. Saving a cookie to a user’s machine used to be something that concerned new Internet users but I am not so sure that people care too much anymore.
What reminded me of this was that this morning I saw a tweet by Steven Frank, of Panic, which read: “I’m bugged by “Remember me” checkboxes. I’d rather stay cookied and just log out of my desktop OS account. Or use the site logout button.”.
I think this is a relatively minor issue since the person logging in only needs to decide whether to check a single box or not – but it may be something that we could remove from our layouts altogether.
What do you think? Do you feel this ‘feature’ is imperative or, at this point, not as needed?
My personal opinion is that it isn’t needed because more often than not I want the site to set a cookie so that I stay logged in. But I use a laptop and bring it with me nearly everywhere I go. So for me, this is a matter of convenience not of security. Others may bounce from cafe to cafe, college computer lab to computer lab, and will view this much more as a security issue – and probably feel differently than I do.
Last week I wrote “Stop being entertained by today and try to be yourself” which, in short, was some of my thoughts on how I need to make an effort to do things in the real world and stop doing things just because other people do them.
Well, Roxeanne of Beach Walks with Rox, decided to reply to that post with a slightly different twist on the same idea. She says there is no need to keep up-to-date on everything all the time, but she’d rather search for something once she needs it.
Great idea. Why keep up with everything when you may not even need that information? Just look it up later. This reminds me of another famous great mind Albert Einstein (yes I’m comparing Roxeanne to Einstein) who:
When one of Albert Einstein’s colleagues asked the eminent physicist for his telephone number one day, he reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. “You don’t remember your own number?” the man asked, understandably startled. “No,” Einstein replied with a shrug. “Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?” — via Anecdote
I am not sure if this is fact or fiction but the idea rings true regardless. The Internet is an enormous phone book that can be consulted at anytime using powerful tools like Yahoo! or Google whenever you feel like you need some information. And as Roxanne says “…you might find something even better…” than what you would have if you’d kept an out-of-date bookmark of that information from the past.
If you aren’t already subscribed to Beach Walks with Rox I certainly suggest you check it out. The show is ran by two of my friends (whom I’ve not yet met) in Hawaii and it is one piece of entertainment (though I think Beach Walks has an enormous amount of value beyond simple entertainment) that I will never get rid of.
Thanks for responding Roxeanne and “Secret Cameraman”. Keep up the great show!
There are also some other great replies to that post in the comments, so be sure to check out those too.
[tags]beach walks, video, personal, thoughts, entertainment, hobbies, internet, web, thinking, roxeanne darling, hawaii[/tags]
Over the last few months something has come to my attention that has slowly revealed itself in a few different forms. Being entertained by “what is happening today” gets boring really fast and finding what your own personal interests are can be increasingly difficult if you are. I suppose this needs a little bit of background.
The world continues to shrink due to the speed at which information is broadcast worldwide. This makes it really easy to tap yourself into pretty much whatever type of information you want and soak it all in. However, regardless of how small the world is perceived to be because of technological and information distribution advancement – the world is still huge. The amount of information found on the Internet is increasing at an immeasurable rate. In other words; you will never be able to keep up.
Let’s say for example that you are interested in space. By now you probably know that I have a modest amount of interest in space that continues to grow. The amount of information on the Internet about space is staggering. I can imagine a kid walking into a library years ago and pulling an entire section of books off the shelf dealing with space and being overwhelmed with the amount of information he has to catch up on. Even with modern day tools to help us find exactly what we’re looking for, this feeling remains very much the same for me. But this is a good thing – the bad thing would be to try to “keep up-to-the-day” on a particular subject globally, since it proves to be near impossible to do unless you are a researcher by trade.
Call it information overload. But there are ways to combat this. Be specific in what you are looking for and the amount of information on the specific thing can be whittled down into something manageable. Do not “tap your brain” into the Internet and hope that you have the time, or the ability, to weed through the right, the wrong, the bad, and the good. Eventually the cream will rise to the top.
More specifically; finding out what your personal interests are. I get the whole “social web” thing that allows us to monitor hundreds if not thousands of topics or people in various ways. It allows us to interact with people who have similar interests than us regardless of geography, economic situation, or language. I completely agree that the Web is a cool place.
But have you ever found yourself being a follower of everything? I touched on this in “Taking advantage of the things you already own”, where people want the latest and greatest before they even know how to use what they already have. I’ve been guilty of this. But there is also the idea of the quantity of “things” you have too. Or the quantity of the interests you supposedly have. Do you have 1,000 hobbies? Or, perhaps you just have 1 but it changes every single day before you have a chance to fully explore the hobby you did yesterday? I think it is good to have a few hobbies, this way you can pick what you want to do today based on your mood – but having too many can lead you to never fully exploring any of them.
Hopefully if you read this you are able to understand what I am trying to say and maybe you can even relate. I’m definitely not the best writer and I seem to leave stuff out pretty consistently so I hope I was able to at least make a little sense.
Where did this all come from? A few months back I was notified that my Flickr account was going to expire. It got me to thinking about whether or not I use Flickr to its fullest potential, and whether or not I could simply live with the free-account for what I actually do use it for. A few days later I got an email from Microsoft about my Xbox Live account expiring. I looked at the pile of dust on my Xbox and decided that I would not renew that either. I don’t want to be forced into using something because I’m paying for it. Then I looked at my telescope and watercolor paints collecting dust. Realizing I’d much rather use them than the Xbox. I spent some time outside collecting fossils (I used to spend the majority of my life outdoors and now it is the opposite) and I really wanted to start to find out what my “real world” interests were again. It used to be mostly natural things. The woods, animals, plants, dirt, anything outside. Then it completely switched where I spent over 10 years almost completely indoors learning how to do what it is I do now – but I believe there to be a balance and I am definitely not striking it. Call it my resolution for 2007 or just a personal goal – I want to balance things.
I was talking to my friend Dave O. the other day and he feels very much the same as I do. I’m guessing that we’re not alone. He was commenting to me how much he enjoyed playing games with his son, or just “petting the dog and staring at the wall”. I couldn’t agree more. I’m looking forward to this new challenge – and it will be a challenge. I’d like to start spending nearly the same amount of time pursuing real world personal interests as I do online ones.
The World only looks like it is shrinking when you look at it through a monitor.
[tags]personal, thoughts, entertainment, hobbies, flickr, xbox, nature, space, telescope, internet, web, thinking[/tags]