Bad Signs Badly Captured

One of my favorite Flickr groups is Bad Signs. I’ve contributed a photo or two over the years (yes, self, it has been that long).

24 Hour Access to Driveway?I tried to get good photos of two of my current favorite bad signs, which happen to be less than a hundred yards apart in Jamaica Plain. Here’s one. Due to the setup of the sign and the driveway, I could have got a good shot of the sign itself or of the reason it’s a bad sign. Since this photo is a compromise that makes clear neither the sign nor the reason for its badness, I’ll explain. The sign says “Please do not block driveway. 24 hr access.” A glance at the car, its tires, and the vegetation around and in front of it suggests that the car hasn’t moved in 24 months, let alone 24 hours.

My attempts to capture the other sign were even less successful. It’s a sign that proclaims that “Boston police seek aggressive drivers.” It’s on the District E-13 police station. I’m wondering how many people have gone in there saying something like, “I’m an aggressive driver and I’d like to apply for the job.”

I thought it unwise to get to take a photo of that sign from too close. That would have put me either in the middle of Washington Street, which would have meant trouble with traffic, or right next to the sign itself and hence the station, which might have meant trouble with the police. “Ridicule of District E-13, eh? We don’t take kindly to people shooting that film.”

So I remain free to take further bad photos.

Long Self-Portrait as About Video

The folks at PhotoJojo coined the phrase long portrait, Mashable Stan hailed the long portrait as a use for Flickr video, and Heather Rasley commented about the long self-portrait.

That got me thinking about an About video, in lieu of, or as part of, a blog’s About page. So I made such a video. There’s about a minute of About video.

Battered Box

As I suspected, I’ve started to actually use the video feature of the digital camera since Flickr started allowing short video clips, as well as photos. Here’s a fascinating clip of me approaching a box that recently arrived rather worse for wear. It was shipped by Electronica Direct via the US Postal Service.

Did the contents survive the journey? What were they anyway? All will be revealed right here at this blog in a day or two.

Video From Flickr to WordPress.com

For those of us who blog at WordPress.com, there’s already a shortcode making it easy to embed video from Flickr in a post. I’ll illustrate/test it with this clip, which looks to me like something from William Gibson.

I found the shortcode on the support forum, thanks to quxx/kellan. Like other WordPress.com shortcodes, it should be placed within square brackets. Then it’s just “flickr video=uri”. Note, by the way, that attribution for the video clip is built in to the clip itself.

Backlash Against Flickr Video

A day after Flickr added video, there’s a NO VIDEO ON FLICKR!!! group with more than 7,000 members. I won’t be joining the group. That’s not just because its name is in all caps and I don’t like shouting. It’s because what Flickr is doing with video makes as much sense to me today as it did when I posted about it yesterday.

Stephen at WebWare points out that you can set up your Flickr account so that videos don’t autoplay. Brad at Download Squad has a well-worded remark on the NVOF!!! group.

Of course, anyone can filter out videos from their search results just by clicking on the advanced search options. It would be nice if the feature were more prominently placed, but why ask Flickr to modify its search bar when you could just try to incite a riot?

Brad and Stephen’s comments together made me wonder if it’s possible to set up your Flickr account so that you don’t see video in search results. It doesn’t seem to be possible right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that option appearing soon.

Video on Flickr

The advent of video on Flickr has been long. It’s hard to see how the birth could have been anything but an anticlimax (unless it happened in a stable with a star overhead, three righteous dudes bringing schwag, etc.).

The gospel according to Michael (Arrington) describes Flickr video as a unique experience. I’d describe it as… neat. That’s based only on the first video on the Flickr blog, on Mike’s post, and on the comments thereon.

There are limits on video clips. You have to have a Pro account, and you can’t upload videos longer than 90 seconds. Neither of these limits bothers me. I consider my Flickr Pro account $25/year well spent, even though it’s one of the very few web services for which I pay anything at all.

The 90 second limit reinforces Flickr as the site for stuff you took with your digital camera. Most such cameras can capture short video clips. I rarely use that feature of my camera, but Flickr Video might change that.

Yes, Flickr Video might have allowed long clips, and might have been free. But there would still have been an “is that all there is?” response, partly because of YouTube, partly because of the above-mentioned wait for Flickr Video.

By the way, I saw Mike’s post on Techmeme before it appears in my feed reader. That’s more of a positive comment on Techmeme than it is a negative comment on Google Reader.

Yahoo, Not Acquired Yet

Takeover bid? What takeover bid? We’re just doing business as usual here at Yahoo!. Thus Stan refers to a couple of musical moves.

One is the closing of Yahoo Music Unlimited. YMU users will be able to migrate their libraries over to Rhapsody. However, as Duncan points out: The move itself may be short term with Yahoo users likely to be forwarded to the Zune marketplace if Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo is successful.

Y!’s other musical move is the acquisition to Foxytunes. Hence Y! isn’t changing its mind about the importance of online music; what it’s changing is emphasis. By the way, I like the Foxytunes plugin. I trust Yahoo not to mess it up, but I’m not so sure about Microsoft.

That’s similar to how I feel about Flickr. I am not alone in my fears for Flickr, although I have yet to join the group stridently named MICROSOFT: KEEP YOUR EVlL GRUBBY HANDS OFF OF OUR FLICKR.

I’ve seen several arguments that Yahoo will be able to fight off the Microsoft offer. Fred Wilson’s argument is one of the better supported.

But I just bet that Y! will accept Microsoft’s bid by February 8. I did so at the new Industry Standard, which includes a prediction market. I’m already annoyed with the Standard over niggling user interface details. For example, it took me multiple attempts to get through the signup screen. Once signed up, I spent some of my “$100,000” by entering “10,000.” I was told that my bid couldn’t include letters.

Photojojo Eye-Fi Memory Card

Photojojo! We find the best photo shiz anywhere“Eye-fi is a magical orange SD memory card that will not only store 2GB worth of pictures, it’ll upload them to your computer, and to Flickr, Facebook, Picasa (or 14 others) wirelessly, invisibly, automatically!” I first saw that quote at Signal vs. Noise; it originated at the product page at Photojojo.

Would I like one? Yes please, along with some of the other cool photo-related stuff from Photojojo.

Editing Flickr Photos Using Picnik

Picnik has teamed up with Flickr to bring photo editing awesomeness to all Flickr users, reports the possibly biased Peter Picnik. The more impartial Mike Arrington also has the story. “The deal has been signed and implementation will occur sometime in the next few months.”

I created the image in the post from a photo already on Flickr, initiating the edit by clicking on the “edit in Picnik” icon above the original. No, that doesn’t mean that I used a time machine to go ahead a few months. It means that I’m using the Picnik add-on for Firefox.