This Week’s Tweets

This Week’s Tweets

This Week’s Tweets

This Week’s Tweets

Death Becomes Flickr


I just finished reading this fantastic article on Gizmodo lamenting Yahoo’s ignorance and immense missteps in how it mis-handled Flickr (I think I’m being generous here). And the article just made me so sad.

Between 2003 and 2010, Yahoo basically demolished Flickr, along with Delicious – two groundbreaking services. But we all know that. What this article did for me was put it all out there in all of it’s gory detail. It was like reading Bill Simmons’ pice about the Los Angeles Clippers of a few years ago. Once you are done with the article, you sit back and say “How the fuck could these people be some utterly inept?”.

It’s hard to remember, but back in 2005, Yahoo seemed like it had its game on. After losing out on search dominance to Google, it snapped up a bunch of small-but-cool socially oriented companies like Flickr (social photos), Delicious (social bookmarking), and Upcoming (social calendaring). There was a real sense that Yahoo was doing the right thing. It was, to some extent, out in front of what would come to be widely known as Web 2.0: the participatory Internet.

The funny thing is that in reading this article about how Yahoo focused on integrating Flickr into the Yahoo “ecosystem”, I said “Oh, that is what Lycos was so focused on when they acquired companies when I was there.” Where is Lycos these days?

I could go on about how Yahoo crushed the lively community within Flickr, how they still have yet to get it right with mobile, and some other amazing oversights, but just read the article. But there are two paragraphs that hit home for me and pretty much justified my decision to walk away from Flickr this year.

Illustrating just how bad the Flickr mobile effort was:

Among other problems, it wouldn’t let you upload several photos at once, you had to go in manually submit them one at a time. It was downscaling photos to 450 x 600, murdering image quality. Users had to log in via Safari rather than in the app itself. It was striping EXIF data from photos as they uploaded—precisely the kind of thing Flickr’s photo nerds wanted to see.

Today, it all seems too late. The iPhone is the most popular camera on Flickr, but the feeling isn’t mutual. Flickr isn’t even among the top 50 free photography apps in iTunes. It’s just below an Instagram clone in 64th place. By way of comparison, an app that adds cats with laser eyes to your photos is 23rd.

And illustrating how the once vibrant community within Flickr has fled to Instagram, 500px, Facebook and others, while at the same time describing in exact detail how I currently utilize Flickr:

As a result, Flickr today is a very different site than it was five years ago. It’s an Internet backwater. It’s not socially appealing.

Recently, Flickr rolled out a “Justified” view, a way to scan your friends’ recent photos where they are all placed together like puzzle pieces. It’s similar to the way Pinterest lays out images. It’s a dramatic, gorgeous way to look at photos—that mostly highlights how rarely many people update now.

As I scroll down I note that friend after friend has quit posting. At the bottom of the page I am already back in mid 2010. So many of my friends have vanished. It feels like MySpace, circa 2009.

This is anecdotal, sure, but I follow many of these same people on other networks (Path, Facebook, Instagram) where they tend to be very active. I see photos of the same people, with their same children and their same dogs—all looking a year or two older than on Flickr.

This justified view also serves to highlight just how many of my friends’ photos are formatted in perfect squares—the tell-tale sign of an Instagram snap that’s been exported. Many of my contacts’ entire photostreams are made up of Instagram photos. In other words they are mere duplicate streams—with fewer comments and activity—of content that exists in primary form elsewhere. The only reason they are active on Flickr at all is because they automatically export there.

The leadership of Yahoo should be fired. Oh wait. They have been. And again. And again. And again.

This Week’s Tweets

Shaken And Stirred


Someone has taken the time to count the number of gunshots fired at James Bond (aka Agent 007) throughout all 22 Bond movies.

It turns out that there have been over 4,600 shots fired at him.

A static well-aimed shot would almost certainly have proved lethal, but assuming all 4662 were “on the run”, the probability of a single fatal shot is about 5 per cent. That is, the chance of a single shot missing is 0.95, and hence the probability of all shots missing is 0.954662 or 1.4 × 10-104, which is as close to zero as makes no difference

Now, about all of those Bond Girls he has gotten to know so well.

via New Scientiest by way of NextDraft.

Brooklyn Is Sleeping


So sad about the news of Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys losing his fight with cancer. The Washington Post, of all places, (The Washington Post!) pulled together one of the best tributes I’ve seen yet:

A Tribute to Adam Yauch, Composed Entirely of Beastie Boys Lyrics

Born and bred Brooklyn — U.S.A.
They call me Adam Yauch but I’m M.C.A.
Like a lemon to a lime, a lime to a lemon
I sip the def ale with all the fly women (1)
I’m not James at 15 or Chachi in charge
I’m Adam and I’m adamant about living large (2)
I’ve got more rhymes than I’ve got gray hairs
And that’s a lot because I’ve got my share (3)
Now what do we have here, an outlaw and his beer
I run this land, you understand, I make myself clear. (4)
M.C. for what I am and do
the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true
so as pray and hope and the message is sent
and I am living in the dreams that I have dreamt (5)
I wish for peace between the races
Someday we shall all be one (6)
That’s right y’all
Don’t get uptight y’all (7)
I’m out and I’m gone
I tell you now I keep it on and on. (8)

via The Washington Post by way of Buzzfeed.

This Week’s Tweets

The Great Escape

Steve McQueen in The Great EscapeThis story and the movie of the same name is one that still peaks my interest. Today’s NY Times listed the obit of the World War II veteran Alex Cassie from Britain’s Royal Air Force. He was an unassuming hero in a (IMHO) very under-appreciated element of World War II.

It was on the moonless night of March 24 and 25, 1944, that 76 Allied prisoners of war, most of them British, clambered down a 30-foot shaft and crawled through a 340-foot-long tunnel below the supposedly escape-proof Stalag Luft III camp in eastern Germany — the daring breakout that was celebrated in the classic 1963 movie “The Great Escape.”

In their pockets, the escapees carried what looked like officially stamped documents, identification cards, business cards and even letters written in German from purported wives and sweethearts, all of which were intended to make it possible for them to befuddle a hapless guard or police officer stopping them on their way to freedom.

Flight Lt. Alex Cassie, a British bomber pilot, was one of a half-dozen artists who had been forging those documents for months, playing a central role in the larger conspiracy to free hundreds of the nearly 1,000 airmen in the camp. They called their unit Dean and Dawson, after a well-known London travel agency.

Mr. Cassie created many of the falsified documents, papers and assets that the 76 escapees used to help them escape Nazi Germany. He and his fellow POW used great ingenuity and inventiveness in planning out their task. They used paper from the nicest book bindings for the passport and identification cards. They got ink, photos and information by bribing the German guards with cigarettes. More broadly, they used planks from their beds as support beams for their tunnels, and used the heels of boots as stamps for the forged paperwork.

The 1963 movie “The Great Escape” was a loosely accurate description of this event, with the typical Hollywood flair. Its funny to read the less than kind 1963 review of the movie which today is considered a classic.

Ironically, while his fellow POW’s shimmied their way through the tunnel that evening, Mr. Cassie stayed behind because he was claustrophobic and could not handle the tight enclosure of the long tunnel to freedom. His decision to stay ended up working to his favor as 73 of the 76 escapees were captured and 50 of them were subsequently executed by the Germans.