Flickr Disaster?

Flickr announced some changes to terms and conditions today.

1) All users must now use a Yahoo account to login to Flickr.

2) A limit in the amount of tags has been added – 75 per photo

3) The maximum amount of contacts a user can have is 3000

When I saw the hysterical headlines about Flickr today I thought some hard hitting changes had been implemented. It even made the BBC tech news pages. However dig a little deeper and it’s some changes blown well out of proportion.

1) Yahoo integration with Flickr started a long time ago. I eventually merged my Flickr and Yahoo accounts last year with no problem. The Flickr page stills looks the same and I don’t need to do the ‘Yahoo dance’ when logging in. Is Yahoo a big horrible company – aren’t they all? If I had an issue with privacy at all I’d probably not be using many accounts on the net or indeed sharing my photo’s. I can understand there maybe some kudos with having an old Flickr ID instead of a Yahoo account but does that really matter? Did my photo’s or contacts disappear when I moved – no. In fact my user experience didn’t change at all – it’s something I don’t even think about now.

2) 75 tags is a limit? Who the hell wants 75 tags on one photo. Why? Who’s got the time to put 75 tags on a photo? How does that help to identify and manage photo’s. Some people have too much time on their hands.

3) 3000 contacts also seems a massive amount of contacts to have. Does anyone know 3000 people and want to share private photo’s with them? OK there is one guy on the Flickr forums that has 19000 contacts who he loves and respects. I’m sure they also love the private porn pictures he regularly posts. Not really the target audience for Flickr. I can’t see anyone realistically browsing 3000 users photo’s regularly. Is that not what Flickr groups are for?

Probably most annoying is the vocal minority that this affects and the influence of sites like Digg (I do love Digg but you’ve got to question some of it’s user base and their reporting). Firstly Flickr has around six million users. Don’t know how many are active but the Flickr group Flick Off which is against the forced usage of Yahoo accounts has 1447 members. Not much in the grand scheme of things. The mail that old school folk received today said 95% used a Yahoo account. Yet people in the main forum post that has all the complaints are making comments like 1 million pro folk may leave because they don’t want a Yahoo account. How bizarre. Seeing the Flickr staff respond frequently in these posts impresses me and reassures me all is well.

The Digg post with the most comments was submitted by Thomas Hawk. He didn’t point to the Flickr news page on these changes but to his own blog post. I guess there’s nothing wrong with self publicity or having an opinion as he has posted a lot of content on Flickr…but he is CEO for Zooomr, one of Flickr’s competitors. I’ve posted about Zooomr before and even have a pro account which I got via a give-away last year. The site however is so slow as to be unusable. It’s allegedly down to increased traffic today but I tried it last week to see if there were any improvements and I was disappointedly with it’s speed then. No fear – there’s an upgrade on the way sometime in March. Yeah, right.

I’ll be sticking with Flickr which offers a great service and since the Yahoo merger offers unlimited uploads. It’s also fast and they’ve now added an API which allows export of photo’s and tags if you so wish. Maybe long term there will be other changes which degrade the service as the doom bringers are predicting but something I’ve always felt hasn’t changed for me. Flickr isn’t Yahoo. Thankfully it isn’t Zooomr either.

Disable Snap Previews

It’s like a plague – the number of sites that have the Snap Preview plugin installed showing previews of links seems to be growing. i thought I was the only one that thought they were annoying, distracting and a total pain in the arse. Like blink all over again.

However a solution comes from Daring Fireball. The second question on the Snap FAQ page shows you how to disable the plugin via cookies. It works! Bliss.

Justice

For the first time ever I’m on jury duty at Glasgow Sheriff court later today. I’m not really sure what to expect but hopefully it won’t involve a lot of sitting around waiting which I detest. So no doubt there will be a lot of sitting around and waiting.

Other aspect I’m concious of is that you innocent until proven guilty. It’s one of the fundamentals of our law…but I am quick to judge usually on first impressions which is really the last thing I should do. It’s also in my head that there’s no smoke without fire. Never mind, there’s always a chance I’ll turn up only to be not picked. Hopefully.

TV Talk

Great to see Richard Hammond back on Top Gear tonight. When it happened I never thought we would see him back on TV joking about it, never mind just a few months after the crash. Pity the road laying ‘sketch’ was so lame. The crash film however was pretty shocking – amazing that he came through it at all. Thanks to YouTube it’s available only an hour after broadcasting (and pretty good quality too).

Shilpa wins Big Brother. No big surprise although good to see little mention of Jack’s girlfriend.

Sky HD rocks! Now that it’s back up and running I’m loving Battlestar and 24 in HD. The football over the weekend has also been good. There’s lots of rumours that Sky will be making Sky+ the default box from now on removing any cost for the service (about time). There’s even talk of making multi-room free. I can see the former happening but have doubts about multi-room. I wonder if there will be any announcements during the interim results on Wednesday? I would love multi-room to be free 🙂

Moved

I’m hoping the DNS propagation has worked for everyone now and you should be seeing the site at it’s new home. I’m pleased with the increased speed and the new flexibility. There’s a few other things I’ve installed on the domain which are also working well – wish I’d made the jump sooner. I’m also moving more to using web apps and making my data available on the dektop, laptop and at work. Anywhere in fact. It will take a while but I’m slowly getting there.

WordPress 2.1 is also a nice if not very interesting upgrade. Auto saving of posts, resizing of text area, some small changes to admin areas are the most immediate changes. Oh – and the login page from Shuttle. Considering it’s a year in development that’s not much return. There’s a lot under the hood although not much documentation on release detailing where the changes are. Still…it’s free and still an impressive blogging tool. There’s a nod to CMS with the ability to set a page as the front page and blog posts elsewhere and a slightly easier image/file uploader and management but Joomla is a far better tool if CMS is your thing.

What is interesting is Habari. It’s a new blogging platform that’s way to early in development to use in anger. However the people behind it are some of the bigger names in the WordPress support/plugin/theme arena. What interested me is that they are pledging to follow a more cutting edge than WordPress which means it is potentially more difficult to setup and your mileage is very dependant on your webhost. Click here to read more on Habari. If your feeling bold and interested in following the development the code is available via SVN on the Google code site. I managed to get it kind off working although there is a lot of development happening on it so it should improve quite quickly. If you’ve ever wanted to get involve in an open source project from a coding or community point of view then this is the perfect time to get involved.

Not Too Shabby

Today, the 22nd of January is allegedly the most depressing day of the year. Considering that is a scientific fact today’s turned out not too bad.

Firstly Sky have fixed my dish – it had moved less than 1 cm during the New Year winds and it took them three weeks but I’m now back in the game. Woo hoo!

I took the day off to wait in for the Sky guys. Normally there is nothing on TV but I had the fortune of watching the Murray vs Nadal match which the BBC had cleared their schedules to broadcast. What a game. Great to watch and a shame that Murray ran out of steam towards the end.

I also got my new host sorted. After looking at a number of options (Dreamhost, Media Temple, Site 5 and a couple of other UK based hosts) I went with A Small Orange. Like 34sp they seem to be customer focussed rather than in the business of overselling. Great website support and busy forums were a good sign. Once the hosting was setup I got things up and running without any issue. Just waiting for the DNS propagation to take place. I logged a call to enable shell access this afternoon. It took 4 minutes for them to do the task and reply. Great service. We’ll see how performance and downtime go over the coming months but I have high hopes that I won’t see any issues.

Finally the fence is all fixed up now. Just need to paint the bugger in the Spring. Can’t wait 🙂
Fence Repaired

Moving Home

It’s three years since we moved to the new house (which I still call ‘the new house’) – things couldn’t have gone better and this weekend saw us move into year four. However the moving home of this post isn’t off the physical variety – I’m thinking of moving hosts.

I’ve been with 34sp for a long time now and while I can’t complain about support or uptime there are a few things I’m looking for that they can’t provide due to their size. In fact I commend them for being open and honest in their support forums about why they won’t grow too quickly or oversell.

So – the hunt is on for a new host. I have a number of options that I’ll investigate over the next few days. If there is some downtime soon it will be due to swapping hosts…or my new provider not being as good as I hoped!

NTL Trials

So NTL are trialling a new way of shaping. Well, I think it’s new as I haven’t heard of any broadband provider working like this. If you are a heavy downloader, even during the day or at other off peak times then your connection will be limited during peak times. According to Cable Forum the trial affects 10Meg users who are limited to 5Meg during peak times.

Issues so far seem to be users who are out all day are still being downgraded during peak times. There is also ambiguity with the terms and conditions. This trial will only affect users who break the user policy…yet the user policy now states there is unlimited downloading on NTL. When will we get companies to spell out in black and white what exactly a broadband user can and cannot do. I’m on 10 Meg but to be honest there is so much contention on the network at the moment that in peak times I see around 3-4Meg. If this trial does free up bandwidth I’m all for it. Will be interesting to see what happens if NTL do keep their promise of everyone on at least 10Meg by the end of Q1 07 with 10Meg moving to 20Meg. I’ll be downgrading soon methinks.