Flickr down, the world mourns

Okay so maybe we aren’t mourning but we sure miss flickr. The amazing picture site Flickr recently passed 4 000 000 000 images. But today is unwell and is not available online. Here is news from the flickr blog post: Here thar be dragons…

10:05 AM PDT: We’re still here working on getting things up and serving to you, shouldn’t be too much longer!

9:18 AM, PDT: Hello! All hands are on deck over here and we’re still working on getting things back up for everyone. Apologies for the disruption!

8:51 AM, PDT: Ahoy everyone! Flickr is experiencing problems at the present time, and our engineers are all in the main engine room, working on resolving the issue. Please hang tight, and we’ll have things back for you as soon as possible. If we need to, we’ll post an update for you here.

More images in the commons

The Creative Commons blog writes about 250,000 images recently donated to Wikimedia Commons, a sister project of Wikipedia.

The images, part of the German Photo Collection at Saxony’s State and University Library (SLUB), are being uploaded with corresponding captions and metadata. Afterward, volunteers will link the photos, all available under Germany’s ported CC BY-SA 3.0 license or in the public domain, to personal identification data and relevant Wikipedia articles. The collection depicts scenes from German history and daily life.

As a bonus for the donating library, the metadata supplied by the German Photo Collection will be expanded and annotated by Wikipedia users, and the results will be seeded back into the collection’s database.

The donation marks the first step in a collaboration between SLUB and Wikimedia Germany e.V., the pioneering Wikimedia chapter who faciliated a similar 100,000-image-strong cooperation with the German Federal Archives last December.

Creative Commons license Creative Commons Attribution Creative Commons Share Alike

This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License.

No twittering in court

A post on Slashdot this morning dealt with a juror who posted twitter comments about a trial (while it was in progress) and the effects of this may be to declare the trial a mistrial.

“Russell Wright and his construction company, Stoam Holdings, recently lost a $12 million dollar lawsuit brought by investors. But lawyers for the firm have complained that juror Johnathan Powell’s Twitter comments broke rules when discussing the civil case with the public. The arguments in this dispute center on two points. Powell insists (and the evidence appears to back him up) that he did not make any pertinent updates until after the verdict was given; if that’s the case, the objection would presumably be thrown out. If Powell did post updates during the trial, the judge must decide whether he was actively discussing the case. Powell says he only posted messages and did not read any replies. Intriguingly, the lawyers for Stoam Holding are not arguing so much that other people directly influenced Powell’s judgment, rather that he might have felt a need to agree to a spectacular verdict to impress the people reading his posts.”

This is an interesting example of the way in which new technology practice is clashing with established rules and ideas. During the recent Pirate Bay trial in Stockholm there was a vertible information orgy with live audio feed, spectators twittering from within (and outside) the courtroom and live bloggers en masse – in addition to traditional media channels. Yet the interesting thing was that the audio tape picked up the judge telling individuals in the courtroom that no pictures could be taken. On a least two occaissions the judge asked whether a laptop and a phone was being used to film the proceedings.

Everybody was filmed, photographed and interviewed entering and leaving the courtroom. All the participants were activly seen courting and presenting their cases to the media on the courtroom steps – but no photographs in the courtroom.

When a witness who was to be heard at a later date was discovered in the audience he was asked to leave. Before leaving he asked whether he was allowed to listen to the radio. The judge understood the futility of the rules when he replied – well you cannot stay in here.

The “no images” rule in Sweden or the no communicating in the US are rules which need to be explained logically to the participants. Naturally the principles of justice and equality must be upheld and should not need to be questioned at every turn…

On the joy of reuse

Mike Linksvayer has written a post on the Creative Commons blog on the joy of having other people find and reuse material. And I agree. So ok I am a hobby photographer and like so many of us I take good and bad pictures and post them online. Well to be fair a large group of hobby photographers take brilliant photographs and post them online.

The fun part is that lots of my photographs have been used to illustrate stuff online on blogs (sweet things to say & your monkey called), discussion forums, encyclopedia (construmatica) and even as a title photo for a group on library thing. Some don’t get the whole attribution thing but most do and it is really a kick looking up photo’s that I have taken and finding them somewhere unexpected – sometimes on sites in languages I don’t understand.

For me it’s not about the mass recognition (well ok I admit it would be fun) but it’s about the everyday use all over the place that gives my work with the camera an extra kick.

Scooby Doo is ancient and Chinese

Scooby-Doo was a childhood favourite of mine the cowardly, hungry dog always getting into scary situations provided lots of memorable occaissions. Common knowledge was that the characters in the series were created by Hanna Barbera in 1969 but I have made an important discovery on the streets of Göteborg today.

Photo Chinese Scooby Doo by Wrote (CC by-nc)

This stone statue of the great Scooby was, according to its dating certificate, fired somewhere between 1500 – 2400 years ago according to the Thermoluminescence Analysis Report. So here finally the massive conspiracy has been unmasked 🙂

Obama as tech user

What you understand about technology is intimately related to the way in which you tend to use technology. This is why it always concerns me when non-tech users are put to regulate technology use. It’s a question of understanding.

President-elect Obama is on Flickr and uses a Creative Commons license for his photographs. Naturally this may be someone who works for him but at least he has the knowledge to hire people who “get” technology use.

Mental Popcorn

In my last post I wrote

Big numbers are of no practical use. They are mental popcorn, in the end unfulfilling.

Unfortunately I kind of like popcorn, especially when it comes in big packages. So naturally when I read Nicholas Carr’s blog about the amount of images on Facebook I realised that this mental popcorn was too good not to share. So dig in.

Facebook has announced that it now stores 10 billion photographs uploaded by its members (as noted by Data Center Knowledge). Moreover, since it stores each photo in four different sizes, it actually has 40 billion image files in its system. More than 15 billion photos are viewed at the site everyday, and at times of peak demand 300,000 images are viewed every second.

That is a seriously big bucket of popcorn…

CC photos of Göteborg on Flickr

Flickr has over 2 billion images – that’s a lot. If you type in the search term ”Göteborg” – my home town – suddenly you have the more manageable number of 66 804 hits. Of these 13 820 images are available under one of the six Creative Commons licenses which allow others to reuse the images.

The reason I know these numbers is that I have been doing some preparatory work for a project. I have looked through the 13 820 images and chosen 279 of them.

My camera history

The first camera I remember was my grandfather’s Ikoflex 1A 854/16

This is a very cool camera which I never really mastered. I now have this as a memory of my grandfather but after reading Ivor Matanle’s article on the history and use of the Ikoflex TLRs Classics to Use (Amateur Photographer, 29 October 2005) I have been inspired to test the camera.

My first camera was nothing this complex. I was eventually given a Kodak Instamatic with a cubeflash. I used this to take my first pictures.

There was an especially long gap between the Instamatic and my next camera. With my first paycheck I bought a Nikon F-301, a really cool toy which I used to experiment with. I tried out different lenses and external flashes. The only drawback was that I did not develop my own photos so experiments were slow and expensive. So I really did not make much progress. Eventually I dropped photography.

My hobby came back when I bought a Canon EOS 30 which was a really cool camera but still had the main drawback in that I needed to develop the photographs before I could analyze the mistakes I had made. Actually I should have gone straight to a digital version but due to some misguided snobbery I chose not to go digital.

Finally, I made the move to digital and got a Canon EOS 400D. Now I am happily taking photos, attempting to understand the results and develop what I see and learn. In addition to this, thanks to my Flickr account I am able to easily upload and share my photographs.

So by going digital I was able to develop my hobby to the extent that it actually can be called a hobby.