I’ve been using Photophlow a fair amount over the last few days – It’s been pretty fun, although the real value will come if we manage to use it for shoot planning or review, which hasn’t happened yet.One thing that I’ve noticed is that having Photophlow open in a browser while I’ve got other webapps running tends to make the overall experience a bit less nicer. So taking a page from Travis Vachon, I created a Prism (Webrunner) application for Photophlow. This lets you run Photophlow as a standalone application, in a container which is essentially a custom version of Firefox. You can get the webapp here. You will also need a copy of Prism to make this work.
Last night, Scoble mentioned Photophlow on Twitter. I went over to see the site and then begged and pleaded for an invite – and got it. Photophlow is kind of like an IRC customized for dealing with Flickr photos. There is a global chat room, each user has his or her own chat room, and there is a chat room for every Flickr group. Within a chatroom, people can search Flickr photos and the room can follow along to see what they are searching. You can select photo out of the search, which will be transmitted to the room. There are some other features, like turning off the following of other people’s searches and turning off people’s ability to see what you searched for.
The Photo 2.0 angle
People like David Hobby and Chase Jarvis have been talking about (and living out) “Photography 2.0”, where there is massive sharing of photographs and photographic information. One of the things that I’ve often wished for is the ability to talk (in real time) to someone to get/do a critique of a photo. I think that this is something that happens best in real time. You could do that via IM and hyperlinks. You might even be able to do that via IM group chats, if all the people in the critique were using the same IM system. (It’s 2008, IM vendors). The value that I see in Photophlow is having a realtime way of talking about photos in a group. It would be even better if there was a way to annotate the photo being broadcast at the moment, so that you could focus attention on particular parts of a photograph. We’ve been doing some interesting group photo stuff here in Seattle lately, and I definitely think that Photophlow is something that could really help with some of the things we have done, as well as some of the things we are thinking of doing. Besides annotation tools, I would also like an easy way to log/archive a whole chat session or parts of a chat session.
The Web 2.0 angle
Photophlow is also pushing the limits of how some people think of using a web application. It’s designed to be used a lot and in a highly interactive fashion. I know that I would probably keep chat rooms for my personal group, the Seattle Flickr Meetups group, and the Strobist group open all at once if I could. The designers have also built in bridges to IM notification and to allow you to Twitter from within Photophlow. Too bad their isn’t a way to get a Twitter stream instead of an IM notification – but that’s more a limitation of Twitter than of Photophlow.
I bet that you could do some of what Photophlow does with a custom IRC bot. But I also bet that it would be substantially less accessible to people who are photographers first and computer users second (or third, or what have you). Then again, maybe here’s another opportunity for VOIP…
If you haven’t gotten into the beta yet, there’s a short tutorial video.
Recently I’ve been doing some photo stuff with some folks from the Seattle Flickr Meetup group, particularly a bunch of people that are interested in Strobist style off camera lighting. Being able to interact with a community of similarly interested people has been a huge help to me. David Hobby’s post yesterday was about helping connect people to others in their locales who are also interested in lighting. As a bonus, he links to some video of our latest escapade. Here are a few of my shots from that same event.
[This is my first post using MarsEdit 2.0, which has great Flickr support built in]
The Nikon pwnage continues with a camera that has built in WiFi and can upload directly to Flickr or a blog.
I’ve finally dug out a bit from several really busy weeks at work, so I thought I’d celebrate by sharing my candidates for Flickr’s “24 Hours of Flickr” event. I need to pick one of these to submit, so comments are very welcome.
This afternoon my Flickr stream hit 100,000 views. In honor of that occasion, here’s the photo that was at the end of the stream:
It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of stuff involving social networks recently.
Most of the fun activity in Flickr revolves around finding people that inspire me or who share some common interest. Sometimes that is even extending into the real world, as it did during last week’s SFlickr meetup.
Also last week was the first time that I really used Upcoming.org in any major way. I got an account when I went to the SFlickr meetup last May, but besides that use, I hadn’t done anything – no friends, no nothing. Since Macworld turned out to be the same week, I ended up following a number of the events at Macworld using Upcoming. I took the trouble to add friends, and subscribe to a few Upcoming RSS feeds, and this gave me no shortage of options for activities during the week. The combination of friends and locations seems to be a good fit for the way that I’d like to find out about events, especially while I am travelling.
Guy Kawasaki has written a pair of great posts on how to use LinkedIn more effectively. Of all the job or professional social networks, LinkedIn is the only one that has actually been any good for me. I’ve had several solicitations for contract work (even though I am not consulting any more) and I’ve seen some reasonable jobs go by (not that I am looking). I definitely feel that it is worthwhile to maintain my LinkedIn information, and to add people to my network. I’ve been much more stringent about letting people into the network, particularly since I’ve been asked to recommend people to each other, and I want to feel comfortable about doing that.
The most recent of the social applications is Twitter. Twitter is an app for letting you put your status out into the cloud. Your status will be recorded on a web page that people can see, and it will also be pushed to people via IM (I was having terrible luck getting IM notifications until I switched to the Jabber IM bot) or SMS (I turned this off early on before I exceeded my text message limit). You can also post status updates via the web, IM, or SMS.
It might seem like IM status messages would be enough, but they turn out not to be. At OSAF, we have a decently distributed staff using a number of communications media: IM (on multiple networks), IRC, and Skype. When I go away from my computer for lunch or an errand, I want to let people in the community know. Today, I have to go update the status of all those media. Also, in some of those media, your status information could turn into a message that scrolls off screen and gets missed. The fact that Twitter archives your updates on a web page is a great thing. For distributed working groups it provides a kind of status glue that makes up for some of the lost in person interactions. Up to a point — I’ve noticed that some people are using Twitter as if it were IM, having entire conversations through it. If you are using some kind of realtime monitoring, like IM, then this turns annoying very quickly, as you are privy to all kinds of conversations that don’t affect you, complete with IM notification sounds. If Twitter had the ability to send Tweets to groups of people, that would really help a lot. I also wish that it was easier to find people. The little pictures of people are cute but hard to read, and having to mouse over them individually to get more detail is RSI inducing.
There’s a small ecosystem springing up around Twitter. There are Ruby command line tools (sadly, I couldn’t get them to work because Ruby Gems is messed up on OS 10.4), Python/Growl notifiers (works, but high maintenance), and shiny Mac tools like twitterific. Someone has even written an Applescript Quicksilver action, Tweet, for posting. There are still a few things on my wishlist: 1) for Twitterific to both have it’s little history window and to deliver changes via Growl, and 2) to be able to set my status in Adium, Snak, and Skype based on Tweets.
Technorati Tags: twittterfeedback
My trip to OSAF last week was “bingo” kind of week. Not only did the week overlap with Macworld, but it also overlapped with the San Francisco Flickr (SFlickr) meeting. Of all the Web 2.0/social networking sites, Flickr seems to have done the best job of actually extending the network into the real world. There are a bunch of these local gatherings all around the country. We have one in Seattle, which I’ve gotten to once and almost gotten to a bunch of times.
This was the second time that I’ve made it to the SFlickr meetup, and I got to see/participate in the community a bit more this time. During the scheduled meeting there was the usual mad meta photographing, as well as discussion of people’s work, and equipment. Many of the people that I met last May were not around, but I did add a bunch of new people to my contacts list, and I found it just as easy to meet people as I did last time.
I was particularly interested in the ST-E2’s that Maximum Mitch and John Curley were using. I’ve been considering getting one of these to trigger my 580EX remotely. I’ve got my Strobist SB-24 and sync cord, but something is broken with that setup at the moment, and I need to sort that all out. But the corded setup is unwieldy for some of the situtations that I’d like to be in. After watching Mitch goofing around with it during the meeting, I am pretty sure that I am going to get one of these.
After the meeting ended, a group of us went to Skylark to hang out and keep on talking. Oh, and to shoot. The patrons at Skylark must have thought that they were the subject of some kind of magazine shoot. Flashes were going off all over, and a number of us were asked what magazine all of this was going to be in. There was also a scary kind of moment when an unhappy patron warned us not to take his picture, but the owner of the bar and the bouncers seemed to be totally into our presence, so we didn’t end up in any trouble. Mitch let me borrow his ST-E2 so that I could see for myself how it worked — which is to say very well. I didn’t have any flash failures except for the times when I covered the sensor on the 580 with my hand, and I forgot that the ST-E2 acts as an autofocus assist even if you don’t have a flash. John was using his mostly for this purpose and got some beautiful low light shots.
To top it all off, after we left Skylark and were heading back to the car, we encountered a band that was walking the street, on their way somewhere. We convinced them to stop and do some posing for us. Beware the SF Flickrazzi! Special thanks thanks to ms_trouble, tshane, maidelba (for the ST-E2 time), picsfromj (for the ride to Skylark) and jay_que (John Curley) (for making sure I got home)
My set from the night is here.