New Flickr

screen shot of new flickr pageI really like my new Flickr page.

This just appeared one day last week, with little warning. It’s taken me a short while to find the things I use on Flickr, but overall I’m well pleased.

I’ve thought for a while that it would be nice to see my photo-stream full page, rather than in small windows. Now, I can scroll through the year quite easily.

E.g. The ‘Gavin’ Coke and picture of Sharon remind me of the weekend we had summer earlier this month. The picture of Kings Cross remind me of what will probably be my last work-trip to London and the various jig-saw pictures remind me of a new hobby.

Right back to Christmas and the inevitable Brussels Sprouts.

Sets and Favorites (sic) are now laid out in a more eye-friendly way too – I’d forgotten all about this picture of me and Danny Atwere; I just found it in my Favourites.

So, whilst I can’t always appreciate updates and ‘improvements’ just for the sake of changing something, I can and do appreciate this major change. Well done Yahoo!

So – Facebook; can you make updates and ‘improvements’ that work as well as Flickr’s?  

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Photo editing – Aviary

Earlier this week, and just after posting my previous blog post I received a notification from Flickr which meant that some information I’d given in my earlier post would now be out of date.

We are thrilled to share the news that we’ve partnered with Aviary to bring you a brand new photo editing experience on Flickr. [Flickr blog]

I wasn’t overly surprised at Flickr’s decision to move from Picnik, given my earlier post [January 2012].

Aviary has never been one of the online photo editors I’ve mentioned or recommended before as although I’d always been aware of the service I had never used it. I’ve always thought that two or three different sites offering the same or similar service, is enough.

So I never went there much, before today!

Flickr does not link to the main (original?) Aviary site, which gives access to a powerful range of tools which go far beyond the sort of editing I want to do quickly and easily online. Instead, it links to a basic, icon-led and very customer friendly interface. This video demonstrates some of the features available (don’t worry that it shows it being used on a mobile device – I’ve only found links to the SDK online, not an actual App – perhaps it’s me?)

So, whilst I don’t always welcome major and constant change, I do do cautiously welcome this one. One of my predicted nails in Picnik’s coffin 😦

 

Photo hosting

picture of angler with huge fishI’ve had a Flickr account for several years now and I like the service so much that I have paid a little extra for the privilege since 2007.  I’ve also had a Photobucket account for about the same length of time, but I haven’t used that much. Mainly because I prefer Flickr’s interface and facilities.

I think that photo hosting sites like these two are essential in today’s online world. With both services, you can show your favourite pictures to anyone and everyone around the world. You can set access controls to individual images so that some can be totally public and some private to only selected viewers. For me the most useful facility is that I can insert pictures into my blog directly from Flickr/Photobucket. Both sites offer editing facilities – Flickr uses Picnik and Photobucket uses Fotoflexer, both of which are useful editing sites (I prefer Fotoflexer).

two chairs covered in snowHowever, Photobucket presents non-stop video advertising during the time you are uploading images and I find this intensely irritating. By comparison, I also have a different ‘free’ Flickr account where the adverts are far less intrusive, whilst on my main ‘paid’ Flickr account there are no adverts at all. I think that I prefer this option. By paying just a little over $47 every two years, I avoid all of the irritation of advertising (I even record T.V. programmes, so that I can fast forward through the adverts) and am not limited to the number of images I upload.

I don’t think that there’s a ‘pay for’ option on Photobucket.

Another service that puts Flickr in front for me is the fact that I can attach various levels of Creative Commons to my images and that I can search for similarly usefully copyright free(ish) images on the site.

Face to Face

I had another great day out yesterday. Once again, I was working directly with practitioners.

Sincerest thanks to West Thames College, in Isleworth for inviting me down to deliver two sessions on the pedagogical use of mobile phones in teaching and learning

And thank you too, to the thirty odd staff members that passed my way for being so receptive, positive and enthusiastic. Your students are very lucky.

Since the downturn, I’ve found it hard to get this type of face-to-face event, but every time I do I come away reinvigorated and recharged.

Since all of the national eCPD progammes stopped, several colleges and providers have been kind enough to invite me in on their staff training days and each one has told the same story: Practitioners still need help in learning how to utilise technology in teaching and learning and how to recognise opportunities for that utilisation – the difference is that they are now ready to accept this learning.

There is nothing like face-to-face workshops to encourage this kind of development. I never just deliver, I always show and then allow time for practice. Yesterday it was TEXTING (we all sent texts and explored Wordle as an aside) >> PEDAGOGY (some Q&A interaction around Bloom’s Taxonomy) >> QR CODES (everyone created codes and discussed uses) >> MULTI-MEDIA (we looked at iPadio, and sent photos and videos to Flickr). Everyone contributed and everyone stayed on board. Well done.

Over the last twelve months, I’ve also been invited to lead workshops at Blackburn College, Gloucestershire College, Leeds College of Music, Pontefract New College and at a small number of events with mixed audiences. Each time it has been like giving ice creams to children: much appreciated and very much enjoyed.

Thanks again to all concerned.

https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/boring-ict/

https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/enaging-with-moodle/

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?

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 😦

Reflections on 2010

Looking back (as we are apt to do at this time of year) I see that it is almost twelve months since I first blogged about the accessibility functions of the iPhone. [Link to first blog] Since then, a lot has happened in the digital world. That blog post had dealt with my then recent introduction to the Apple iPhone 3GS and how to operate the accessibility features. Since my post, Apple have launched the iPhone 4 (with iOS4) and the iPad, both of which have increased and improved accessibility features. See: https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/iaccessibility/

The iPad has been a real game changer. Unimagined (in its eventual form) in January 2010, it’s difficult now to imagine how such a tool had never previously existed. It is in no way a laptop replacement and cannot cope with some of the tasks [See earlier iPad post] even a netbook could cope with – yet it is becoming an increasingly important actor on the educational stage. This site by Ian Wilson is worth a look if you’re interested in learning more about the iPad in Education: http://www.ipadineducation.co.uk/iPad_in_Education/Welcome.html.

As the financial crisis continues to bite, many trusted and familiar Web 2.0 provisions have begun to teeter. For example, NING, the D.I.Y. social networking site, following years of adequate free provision started to charge at the end of summer 2010. I’m certain that this wasn’t a problem for too many educators but it was a harbinger of things to come. By December Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia was appealing for cash on every one of Wikipedia’s information pages.  Delicious was also under threat from its owner Yahoo! [See news of this] and although there was a form of retraction; the writing is still on the wall – even for this hugely popular and widely used site.

If we take the time to read figures, many such giants of the Web 2.0 world are feeling the pinch. Even Flickr, another Yahoo! provision, despite having a well supported ‘paid for’ membership, is seeing more competition from mobile-based tools such as Instagram and several other App-based photo sites (which will in time come under threat themselves).

Some people say that even Twitter will die – [See James Clay’s blog]

None of this is a bad thing, unless we invest time, effort and/or money into individual sites and provisions. I hope to expand upon this in a future post. Maybe I’ll title that ‘stick to basics’?

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope the financial crisis (caused by reckless banking) does not strike you too hard and that your wishes all come true. 🙂