- Photoshop Lightroom Essential Training - lynda.com Online Training Library ™
More Lightroom videos (Adobe's new image cataloging and non-destructive editing program).
- 10 company name types on TechCrunch: Pros and cons : The Name Inspector
Both interesting and potentially useful. via Guy.
- Clipmarks - Just the best parts of the page
Why does everything have to be a social tool? But the clipping capability seems useful.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
- Word Source (www.word.sc) - The Social Dictionary
I'm not sure the social aspect will add much, but seems like a possibly nicer (cleaner design) alternative to dictionary.com.
- O'Reilly Radar > "the free download isn't a frivolous act"
"We're still learning the science, if you will, of online promotion via viral distribution."
- ongoing · Photo Camp and High-End Compacts
As I've complained repeatedly, the camera manufacturers have (again) largely walked away from the space between point-and-shoots and DSLRs.
A tag-cloud style searching engine. Seems potentially useful for finding related search terms and research paths to follow.
- Pascal Chesnais’ fishWrap » Blog Archive » Soft on Hardcopy
Interesting post discussing soft-copy vs. hard-copy customized news in the context of the seminal MIT Media Lab fishwrap project.
- Oscar's greatest crimes | Features | Guardian Unlimited Film
If you're not thoroughly sick of the Oscars, a really funny piece about the worst Oscar picks of all time.
Friday, February 23, 2007
- Flickr shows a little too much skin | CNET News.com
Some of the commenters really need to get back on their meds; the effects of this one incident are hardly catastrophic. However, it does raise some legitimate broader issues.
- Ten Leading Open Source Innovators
Interesting run-down on the 10 top Open Source Innovators (projects, not people). (And I'm not listing this just because I was interviewed for the article :-))
- Sorry Julian, But your Comment will Stand | NSLog();
In a way I'm thankful that my early life was less public tha it would be today. Apparently there are now even businesses whose mission is to try to expunge old web footprints.
- Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: News Readers for New York Times, Forbes, and Seattle P-I
I get a bit cynical about some of the new media hype. However, a one reader/one newspaper approach sure feels anachronistic to me. Just because people have done things a certain way in the paper world doesn't mean that's how they want to do it in the online world.
- A VC: Outlook Invite Spam
I'll go further. I don't want anyone, except select co-workers, messing directly with my Outlook calendar. Use one of the web-based scheduling services if you must.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
- Streamburst Offers Innovative Non-DRM
An interesting approach to "stamping" online video sales as an alternative to DRM.
- HipMojo.com - Main Street Meets Madison Avenue, Wall Street and Silicon Valley » Someone Please Put Satellite Radio Out of Its Misery
"satellite radio is a niche product intended for a very small percentage of consumers. The simple reality nowadays is that the user wants to be in charge of programming in a non-linear fashion." I don't have the expertise to comment on the financial analysis, but I can say that satellite radio has never done much for me.
- Creating Passionate Users: Are our tools making us dumber?
"If you make a tool that's hiding things the user should understand, maybe you could provide a tutorial or even an understanding mode where the user can ask the tool exactly what it's doing and how it made the decisions it made. "
- Rob Galbraith DPI: Canon announces EOS-1D Mark III
Lots of info (including pointer to a detailed white paper) about Canon's latest pro DSLR. The EOS 5D better matches my needs, but this is some impressive stuff.
- Download Free Fonts and Dingbats | Urbanfonts.com
Looks to be a good site for, not only finding freely downloadable fonts, but learning about typography.
- Songbird - Will Desktop/Web Blends Take Off?
Interesting looking "rich" music app that's a hybrid between desktop and online.
- Daring Fireball: Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Macrovision CEO Fred Amoroso's Response to Steve Jobs's 'Thoughts on Music'
- The 55 Piece Mobile Search Tool Kit
If you have a Smartphone, check this out. Richard notes: "The Mobile Search field is going to be "huge", but right now it's growing in fits and starts. So for the early adopters amongst us, a tool kit will come in handy."
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The first is that the technical barriers to entry are not that great. That's not to say that there aren't other barriers to entry. In particular, there's a very real difficulty of creating community critical mass. (Metcalfe's Law in action.) However, to the degree that there is a "correct" approach to blending community and commerce, the point that someone will hit on it seems very credible.
So, what is that "investment?" Oddly, not much. To get a sense of this, one of the start-up companies that emailed me is a two-person team, only one of which is a programmer (whose 18 and never had a real job). You'd never know it by their site, as it looks and acts surprisingly professional, looking as though it were managed by a sizable team. Of course, great credit goes to the duo, but the real underlying "magic" is simply the ever-growing development--and use--of AJAX, the basic underpinnings of what is now more broadly known as "Web 2.0" technologies. (Flickr is what is it because they were early adopters of AJAX.) In other words, creating the technology behind what would become a social-networking photo-sharing photo licensing site is not hard. This means that the technical "barrier to entry" is not technology. It's really about three other things. First, one has to have the vision that this is the future. Second, the ability to attract a critical mass of users and create a living, breathing social network that people talk about. And third, to know and understand the economics of selling a commodity whose value in the individual units, not as a generic "class" of widget. Hint: an auction-based system where buyer and product are combined to establish viable price points.The second point that I found particularly interesting is Dan's discussion of an auction model for pricing. Supply-demand pricing is a particularly interesting notion in a case like this where many of the content creators are amateurs who 1.) Don't really have a lot of experience in setting prices and 2.) Would, in many cases, be more than happy to take whatever price they can get for what is essentially a zero-cost product--assuming that it is photography that they would have created anyway. No-reserve auctions aren't perfect pricing mechanisms but one need only look to eBay to see wrinkles such as "Buy It Now" and reserve prices that could be optionally layered atop a basic auction mechanism.
The auctioning system in online advertising is a model to follow, and I would certainly expect eyes to be looking in that direction. It took the online ad auction system a long time to get to this point, and I would expect nothing less here. Best yet, it is a much more efficient system than the $1/image microstock model.I continue to think, as I wrote earlier, that the surety offered by a more traditional microstock site, such as iStockPhoto, will continue to appeal for certain types of applications where guarantees around quality or legal concerns may trump variety and lowest price (e.g. a lot of the pics in corporate presentations for example). However, I do tend to agree that the "world's biggest flea market" (as eBay is sometimes called) model has a place as well.
- Supreme Fiction: Interview: S. C. Quinn of the American Museum
Good interview (and pics) about the dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.
- IAG - Aviation and Travel - News, Information and Services
Includes a very cool video of a jet engine test.
- Google Video Search vs Gootube - which will win ? - Blog Maverick
"Do No Evil has become See No Evil." Mark Cuban has been consistently skeptical of "GooTube."
- How to Change the World: Ten Questions With Micha[el] Raynor
As it says in one of the comments: "Michael gives intelligent answers about why it is very difficult to predict the future and at the same time it is very important to be able to do so :)"
- Can Photographers Be Plagiarists?
Interesting photogrtaphic essay from Slate.
- since1968.com: Mark Hamburg Interview: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Part 2 of 2
The second part of an interview with the driving force behind Adobe's new Lightroom product.
- O'Reilly Radar > Photobucket to launch online video editing
Yet another data point on the increasing richness of online apps.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Be that as it may, the document is here. I'm licensing it under Creative Commons-Attribution license so that others can re-use some of these definitions if they find them useful.
[Update: Oops, I had a bad link up. Fixed now.]
- Rothman - Brand Killer Extraordinaire | Security Incite: Analysis on Information Security
No company I've worked for still exists (at least in the format it was) either.
- xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe
For the Lisp (or Perl) fans out there.
- John Nack on Adobe: Master & Photoshop Commander
A free add-on to simplify Photoshop scripting.
- O'Reilly Radar > The Google WiFi Saga / Creative Commons Spectrum
Municipal wifi is turning out to be harder than its proponents thought.
- GigaOM » Browsegoods, a new shopping experience
"Most sites make a user scroll through 10 product listings and then hit the ‘next’ button. This is fine if the user knows exactly what he is looking for, but is terrible for browsing," I agree. Interesting Ajaxian take on the problem.
- GigaOM » The New, New Music Industry
Nice analysis of the music industry's present ("a hit-driven, high-risk/high-reward business model") and future by Raghav "Rags" Gupta.
- Techdirt: DMCA Takedown For Professor Showing How Copyright Owners Exaggerate Their Rights
Today's "What were they thinking????" case study.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
As I've written previously, there are perhaps more differences than meet the eye between a photo site like flickr and one like iStockPhoto. The former is far more about community, the latter about commerce. Conflating the two as both representing the same flavor of "crowdsourcing" therefore seems like too much of an oversimplification to me.
However, the incredible popularity of flickr--and the great quality of many of the photos contained therein (including by professionals)--probably makes it inevitable that Yahoo! (who owns flickr) would look to ways to make the site more pro-friendly and pro-enabling. After all, there's almost certainly far more money to be made off those using a service for business than as a hobby.
And indeed, Stephen Shankland of Cnet news.com yesterday pointed me to some speculation about flickr getting into the stock photo business over at Dan Heller's Photography Business Blog. Stephen's thoughts are here. I pretty much agree with his take. iStockPhoto is constituted to make it very easy for buyers by manually vetting every photo for quality, model release forms, lack of trademark violations, etc. And it would be a mistake, I think, to minimize the usefulness of what's effectively a service level guarantee that iStockPhoto (and the other microstock sites) provide. A lot of "stock" may indeed "often seem so oversaturated and artificial and sometimes creepy" (to quote Stephen) and remind us eerily of the default Windows desktop. But when you're a graphics director putting together a corporate presentation, you tend to be far more concerned with issues like technical quality and legal safety than you are about ars gratia artis.
Thus, I'm not convinced that there's a great fit between flickr and the sort of commercial stock that tends to dominate iStockPhoto.
That said, I do think that there are opportunities for flickr to get more pro-friendly. One need only look to some of the features available on a site such as SmugMug, for example. It offers custom watermarks and you can choose which resolutions of your photos to make public (unlike flickr where it's all or nothing). One could also imagine more expansive file size limits and the ability to upload RAW format images for archiving and backup purposes. You'd also need to add some way of indicating that model releases were available and probably some sort of reputation mechanism a la eBay's feedback. This is all very do-able.
More difficult would be figuring out when and how to involve humans on the flickr side. As a non-commerce community site, flickr needs very little in the way of staff to resolve conflicts between members and over transactions today. That would rise exponentially were it to more explicitly weave the filthy lucre into its model (and hopefully without causing too many problems with the successful community that it's built to-date).
For the reasons I discussed earlier, I don't see a more commercially-oriented flickr as a replacement for iStockPhoto. It may evolve to better enable the sorts of services and features that would benefit pros, but I think it likely to remain a somewhat messy Web 2.0 bazaar. In other words, a site with lots of great bargains and art for the adventurous but caveat emptor.
It's an odd dichotomy: amateur bloggers are the ones who produce the vast majority of original content on the Internet. Professional bloggers, on the other hand, serve as a human filter for the internet according to a subject and their own passions, because (and here's the rub) pro blogging only pays in volume.
This strikes me as a very perceptive comment. I'm sure one can come up with plenty of corner cases where it doesn't quite hold true. However, it's pretty clear that the true "pro blogger" sites are very much about cadence and volume (of both posts and readers)--traits which, almost by definition, pretty much rule out a lot of carefully-written, thoughtful original content.
Great graphic too from mental floss for Visualizing the Blog "Echo Chamber."
- A Web 2.0 Valentine | Social Signal
This is very well done!
- What's In A Name? - Forbes.com
I don't think Dan likes Notes much: "Lotus Notes is far and away the most horrible software on the planet. Sure, people grumble about Microsoft products. But that's nothing compared to how people feel about Notes. People hate Notes."
- The Psychology of Security
"Security is both a feeling and a reality. And they're not the same."
- Mad Techie Woman » Pipes Missing the Target
A less positive take on Yahoo Pipes. "the only folks playing around with the site are people capable of creating their own mashups." That doesn't surprise me. The question is whether it makes it easier for the geeks.
- IMified - Instant Productivity
Potentially useful tool to access various services (blogs, project management, etc.) from IM accounts (AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk--but not MSN). I couldn't get it to work with my Basecamp account for some reason, but it has a built-in ToDo list.
- The Top 100 Alternative Search Engines
In at least some of these cases, specialization has its virtues.
- Minding the Planet: How the WebOS Evolves?
Some interesting thoughts from Nova Spivack on the evolution of the Web.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
While this isn't an automated process, I may actually prefer being able to control when and what I post--and the procedure is faster to do once you've done it a couple of times than to read about.
(Just put in your own username. There are some commented out date functions because this script could also be written to just return today's bookmarks, but I decided that wasn't the best fit with a manual posting approach.)
- Creating Passionate Users: How much control should our users have?
"The big problem is that we make our beginning users suffer just so our advanced users can tweak and tune their configurations, workflow, and output." Typically great post by Kathy Sierra
- The “evite” killer? « Scobleizer - Tech Geek Blogger
The Evite of today has hardly changed from the Evite of a few years ago. The problem is that, for most of us, it's a pretty peripheral service and there's a lot of inertia to counteract changing to something new.
- tecosystems » A Mashup Developer’s Bill of Rights?
Good thoughts relating to the business model and licensing issues relating to Mashups that I've discussed previously.
- » Windows Live: A guide for the perplexed | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com
"A Microsoft Fortune 500 customer recently asked me to explain Windows Live. Since Microsoft is doing such a lousy job at it, why not take a crack at demystifying Live myself, I mused." Both an explanation of what Live is and just how terribly Microsoft has handled Live branding.
- Yahoo! Pipes and The Web As Database
"What is new though is the recent systematic thinking about the web as a database." This interactive aggregator and manipulator looks interesting but I haven't had a chance to take a look yet.
- Mac Rumors: More Multitouch from Jeff Han
More Jeff Han multitouch here. I wrote about an earlier video here: http://bitmason.blogspot.com/2007/01/hardware-side-of-collaboration.html. via James Governor.
- HipMojo.com - Main Street Meets Madison Avenue, Wall Street and Silicon Valley » Content Might Be King, But it Gets No Respect?
Another take at online video and a reminder that content matters too.
- Online Video Industry Index
Good job of laying out the market for online video.
- Cisco's new security target: consumers | CNET News.com
As the digital home moves beyond geek-world, security needs to evolve to "just there" and "just works"
- Kick Ass Classical - The Most Popular Classical Music
Amusing and quite detailed site of classical music as found in movies, etc.
- Amie Street Takes Innovative Music Model Into Beta
As I've commented before, it's a matter of when and not if digital music evolves from a flat price model.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
There's been the predictable amount of hoopla around Steve Jobs' comments about music and DRM. What seems to be have been missed (or at least drowned out by all the noise) is the simple fact that of course DRM is bad for Apple and Jobs (assuming that the alternative is DRM-free music.
My intent here isn't to use "of course" in place of an argument though. Consider the following:
Apple doesn't really care much about making money off the iTunes Music Store (iTMS). After all, they don't today. Various reports have suggested that 70 cents on the dollar or so go to the labels. iTMS is a vehicle to sell more iPods because, even if most iPod music comes from sources other than legal, digital purchases, iTMS and its ilk remain an important part of the mix (and will likely be more so over time).
All other things being equal, consumers clearly would prefer DRM-free music. It's more transportable; it's less hassle. Simple economics suggests therefore that its value is higher--meaning that either higher prices can be charged or that more will be purchased. Econ 101.
Therefore, reduce DRM, you increase digital music sales, and you increase the sales of digital music devices--of which Apple has the lion's share of the market. Looks pretty straightforward to me.
I also believe that, if anything comes of all these discussions (or perhaps I should say "when" as I've discussed previously), I seriously wonder if the whole pricing model will be revisited as well. Flat pricing makes no economic sense. It only exists for practical reasons such as setting a nice psychological upper limit in negotiations. Thus it's no surprise that we're starting to see more dynamic and innovative approaches to pricing; I have to believe those will win out with music as they have elsewhere.
(The current pricing of most digitally-downloaded TV shows and movies also makes little sense but that's a topic for another day.)
Friday, February 02, 2007
- Picnik - edit photos the easy way, online in your browser
It won't replace Photoshop but we're starting to see some really nice rich/thin client applications enabled by Flash.
- Lightroom Review
Adobe Lightroom, essentially a cataloging and (mostly) whole image manipulation tool, has been announced. I've played with the beta and am leaning toward buying the final application.
- Official Google Blog: Find and compare local businesses
More location meets search.
- Intel Says 45 Nanometer Microprocessors Due Later This Year | PodTech.net: Technology, Business, Media, and News Podcasts
Podtech video about new Intel 45nm process.
- Chance Welcome Page
Web page for Dartmouth quantitative literacy course with some good links and materials.
- Worth1000.com | Photoshop Contests | Are you Worthy™ | contest
Some funny spoof iProducts.
Indeed, as Virgil Zetterlind remarked to me at Mashup Camp, it's entirely possible that, at least for certain types of searches, something like Google Earth could become our next-generation interface--i.e. something that explicitly looks at the world through the lens of place.
Thus it's with interest that I note Yahoo is testing local mashups. And, as Om Malik notes:
Pretty nifty mash-ups to boot: taking bookmarks from Del.icio.us, events from Upcoming, Flickr photos, News and even blogs. Flickr modules are seriously hot. They are taking data from Wikipedia and adding it to the mix. Missing: Yahoo Maps! Pretty easy to get a quick snapshot of what’s happening in a city. If they can roll this out across the world, I think they easily best Google’s local efforts.There's some argument in the comments about whether this will take off at Yahoo! or somewhere else instead. I'm not sure I have an opinion on this, but there's clear value in providing this sort of mashed up and aggregated content--including information from social networks (although those probably will require some sort of reputation-based filtering to really become an integral element). There's still a lot of experimentation in form, type, and (yes) business models needed. But it's clear to me that the future Web will be less disconnected from the physical world than it is today.