I found it via a Reddit link to this post on WebUrbanist. Each of these way stations includes a discussion of HDR imaging. I have no strong views on HDR in general, but I do really like some uses of it.
This post was prompted by a recent conversations with friends who are considering this question, and by a recent post by Frederic at ReadWriteWeb. Frederic compares 10 services, while acknowledging that there are many more. He provides a good comparison between the 10, with a service/feature table and a couple of paragraphs on each of the 10.
I’ll complement Frederic’s post by focusing on user actions and priorities, rather than on services and features. I’ll start with the question: what do you want to do? I suggest that the following are among the most important actions for many of us.
- Get started quickly, and then be able easily to work with the service, rather than having to spend time and effort working the service out. I’ve put ease of use at the top of the list, but it ease of use should flow down to the other items; in other words, everything else on the list should be easy, not just possible.
- Share photos with others.
- Specify who should, or should not, be able to see particular photos. This is the other side of the sharing coin. Sharing is important, and should be easy. But not sharing everything with everyone may also be important, and should also be easy.
- Create stuff, such as prints and books, from the online photos.
Central to this list are the second and third points: the two sides of the sharing coin. If we take these as our twin starting points, we might quickly arrive at the conclusion that the service you should use is the one your friends and family use. If the service already knows about them, you can identify them as people with whom you want to share. Hence you can share photos of, say, your kids, with them, without having to make them visible to everyone on the web.
That suggests that, if you’re looking for an online photo service, you should use the one your community already uses. It may of course be more complicated than that. You probably have multiple communities; to take the example of one friend, I’m on Flickr, but the childcare we used to send our daughters to has a “room” on Snapfish.
I won’t even mention some of the other complications. Frederic covers some of them. Having contrasted his post with mine, I’ll finish on a note we can sing together. Flickr is the one to beat, and, for many of us, it has yet to be beaten.
Now, I am of a anxious nature, and eager to avoid a one-way trip to Guantánamo Bay, and Uncle Sam,who of course owns US post offices, is of a suspicious nature these days. So I asked the very pleasant person who served me if I might be allowed to photograph the boxes.
She told me that permission was required to take photos in Post Offices. I asked who I needed permission from, she told me that it was the manager, went to ask said manager, and returned a minute later to say that permission had been granted.
After snapping the PO boxes, I went to the nearby and recently-renovated Roslindale Community Center. As an aside about community/public access, shouldn’t a community center have a web site? There are a few details on various Boston.gov pages, but I was unable to find a site that told me about services, hours, etc.
I went in, asked if I could take some photos, was told that I could and asked why I wanted to. I took one of the front desk (and no, I’m not sure why the word of the day was venal). I also took one outside, although I didn’t feel I had to ask permission to do that. (I actually took more than that, but only posted those two to Flickr. And no, the map image isn’t here by mistake in place of either of them; it’s from Boston.gov).
On a roll, and having some books to return, it was on to the library. There, I was told that I was not allowed to take pictures inside the library without permission from HQ. I was given a phone number there. I didn’t call the number. Instead, I looked up the photography policy on the BPL web site: We are happy to have you take photographs of our buildings for your enjoyment but… (follow the link to see the restrictions; they seem rather reasonable to me). Anyway, I contented myself with taking a photo of the outside of the library.
It has since occurred to me that I should go to the USPS site to seek the Post Office’s official photography policy, but I find it hard to find simple information (such as the postage to airmail a birthday card to one’s mother in the UK) at that site. But that’s another post…
I was initially flattered, then saw that there are over a hundred lobsterish photos associated with the story, then saw that most of them are very good and was flattered again. The NowPublic people didn’t need to ask permission: on Flickr, as here, I use the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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.
Yesterday was an interesting day as far as storefronts go. On the same walk along Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, I snapped this sad sign of the Boston real estate times. I also noticed that the location where the Aldrich Dry Cleaners used to be, before it moved to a larger place a little further away from Aldrich Street, has been taken by… another dry cleaners. Are we particularly messy in Roslindale, that we need so many dry cleaners?
Later in the day, we went to Brookline, where we encountered another sign that times are tougher than they were a few years ago.
How come most profile photos are full face? That occurred to me as I was choosing and cropping a photo to use on my Livemocha account.
I really should spend my time at that site learning Chinese rather than uploading a profile picture. Livemocha, by the way, is an interesting combination of language learning and social networking.
“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.
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.