Why hasn’t Flickr got a belting App?

There was some discussion recently about the success of new and emerging photo sharing sites such as Instagram and Photovine.

The counterpoint of this discussion was the effect it has on more established sharing sites like Flickr (and Photobucket?).

At first, I failed to see the point of the discussion (as I interpreted it) as Instagram and Photovine offer completely different services to sites like Flickr and Photobucket.

Ref:http://davepeck.visibli.com/share/K4VmAN written in response to http://thomashawk.com/2011/08/flickr-is-dead.html

I had to ask the question (via Twitter): What do people want from photo sites? Why is Flickr dying? What changes are needed? @alextronic replied to @dsugden @jamesclay and @davepeck – It’s an amazing site that could do with a better app!

And that made me realise the problem. Flickr really could do with an App that does ‘stuff’. Following a recent James Clay blog post [http://tech.jamesclay.net/?p=2099]I recently bought the Paper Camera App http://bit.ly/qxJuMK (to go with Instagram and all the other photo Apps). I paid 69p. and am only marginally disappointed with it. How difficult would it be for a company like Yahoo! to develop an absolutely belting App that allows the pencillification of Paper Camera along with all the different filters found on Instagram. Even if they charge more than 69p! After all their customers have an abundance of photos – perhaps they’d like to play too?

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Screen Recordings

I’ve referred to screen recordings (screencasts) in the past but have never written anything specifically about them.

There are a number of tools out there which capture screen events along with any spoken dialogue and many of them come at quite a cost, which is fair enough if you need to regularly create professional output. However, many of us only need to create the odd screencast and don’t have the means of paying for such tools. I will therefore concentrate on just three free tools: one for a Mac, one for a PC and one for both (on the ‘net).

CamStudio [http://camstudio.org/] is a free tool which works on PC platforms. It’s also available to work from a USB stick as part of RSC Scotland’s AccessApps provision. With CamStudio, full screen, or a chosen region can be recorded and the output can be .avi or .swf.

Quicktime Player, on Mac’s OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) is also a useful screen recorder. It only records full screen but thanks to Cath Ellis (@cathellis13 on Twitter) I am aware that regions of the screen can be recorded if you have ‘Lion’ installed.

See http://screenr.com/OZxs to learn how to ‘trim’ the screen recording on the fly.

Shows various sites used to register with ScreenrScreenr [http://www.screenr.com] is a web based tool. It can be used on a Mac or on a PC – provided that Java is installed. There is no need to register with Screenr provided that you have an account with any one of a number of other services (see picture). Record any part of the screen. Output is hosted on Screenr servers and shared via URL (embed code provided). Also available to download as .mp4 file or upload direct to YouTube. The video clip above was recorded via Screenr, to show how Quicktime Recorder can be used. It was then posted to YouTube so it could easily be embedded into this WordPress blog.

How would you use a screen recorder? Which would/do you use?

It’s easy to forget

It’s been a while since I chose to employ any Microsoft OS for my own use. However, most of the places I visit or work with have now moved up to Windows 7 and furthermore, I have been retained to give someone a report on certain aspects of Win 7’s potential. I have therefore bought a copy of Windows 7 and have installed it on my Aldi-Medion (formerly Vista) laptop. Well, number one son Ben has installed it for me – I may well have asked the laptop AND the software to pick a window (through which I would the throw it!)

I have brought the very same laptop on holiday with me, to a) put Win 7 through some easy paces and b) to upload my pics to Flickr and to keep up to my holiday blog. Internetting has been OK but drafting blogs became a tad tricky as I have not yet invested in Office 2010 – which is the plan. I tried the already installed MS Works and (as I have done many times before and many years ago) wondered what its purpose in life was. I then downloaded Open Office 3.0 and I was ready to go.

I missed Microsoft Picture Manager big-time too, I’d thought that was part of Win 7 but it seems it isn’t. On the ‘net, Fotoflexer wouldn’t work for me because it thought I was French and threw me out; Picnik tried to do the same, but I found the button that said ‘hey – I’m English and need English titles etc.’ so was able to crop/edit some pictures for use later.

So, tonight I tried combining all elements in a holiday blog post: Open Office 3.0 draft words, Picnik’d Flickr photos and WordPress. What a disaster!

My lack of recent familiarity with Windows and the ubiquitous Internet Explorer is to blame I think. I know I could use other browsers like Firefox (which is my default on the Mac), Chrome (which is my default on Parallels) or Safari (Which I use now and again) but for the same reasons detailed above – I need to reacquaint myself with it.

I did all the usual things like importing the words into WordPress via the ‘Paste as Plain Text’ facility and importing the picture ‘from URL’ but things just didn’t go right. I could see that I’d lost half of my text after inserting the picture – I wasn’t sure why that happened – and I pasted it right back in. Then, later in the evening I noticed that an complete paragraph had been missed. I’d deleted my original by now too!

I’m not blaming Windows or IE25 (or whatever version it is this week), it was definitely operator error, but it’s amazing how soon you become unfamiliar with a tool, when it’s been updated. Sorry to anyone who read that post and wondered what I was talking about 😦