In case you hadn't noticed, today is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day," which means it's socially acceptable to start speaking in tongues to your friends, family, and coworkers without them being able to roll their eyes as much as they usually do. It's also a time to check out Flickr, who has managed to translate the entirety of the site to pirate-speak. To toggle this option, just go down to the bottom of the page and select "Arrr!" as the language. Flickr's logo changes, along with all the menus, greeting messages, … Read more
Been looking for a way to get a Flickr slide show on your blog or Facebook profile? Check out SlideFlickr, a dead simple tool for pulling in albums or photo streams in an embeddable slide show. Just drop in a Flickr username, or a URL for a group, photo set, or tag, and hit a big pink button. SlideFlickr will spit out some embed code you can plug into your blog, Web site, or social networking profile. If you're interested in a simpler solution, they've also got a Facebook application that lets you add your SlideFlickr slide shows … Read more
If you want instant messaging without an extra app, there's always Meebo. For those missing out on the desktop experience, however, there's a new solution called AirTalkr that does multiclient IM sans a full installation using Adobe's Integrated Runtime (AIR). The service works with five of the major clients, along with several Web services including YouTube, Flickr, along with Twitter and MySpace. In addition to its AIR namesake, there's also a Web version that has identical functionality sans the install, if you're willing to relegate yourself to the Windows Vista-style virtual desktop it creates in your browser.
The app breaks up IM, photos and videos into three different tabs. The IM is multitabbed and supports something called AirCards, which pull up your buddy's MySpace and Friendster profile, along with Flickr shots, Twitter updates, blog, and profile on LinkedIn from their e-mail address. If it can't find it, there are links to ask your buddy (which will start a conversation) or add it yourself using another e-mail address or a URL.
The photos tab links up with Flickr, and if you're a Flickr user you can authorize your the app to browse your photos, which can be opened up and viewed on your desktop. The Video feature is a little more basic, with four pages full of popular and featured videos from YouTube that play in a small window, along with a search tool. The video player is small and cannot be resized, which is where the illusion of a real app begins to break down.
All in all, Air Talkr is off to a good start, although it's in a very competitive field. Competitors like Meebo have things like buddy list pop-out, file transfer, and public rooms. AIR is also a bit young, and still very much in beta. Keep an eye on this one, though, the AirCard concept is a second layer of convergence on top of multiclients that might make this one stand out.
To see a video of Air Talkr in action, click the read more link below. On a related note, if you're a developer working on a hands-on video with your service, Kelly Clarkson is not the way to go.
If you're a Flickr user, you might be unaware there's a whole world of tools that take advantage of Flickr's API to let you tweak and repurpose your shots. This morning I've been enjoying BigHugeLabs, a site that's home to about 40 tools that let you play with Flickr photos--yours and everyone else's. Several provide simple ways to add text, or a filter to your photo. Others dig deep into the heart of service to let you turn your photos into desk kitsch and conversation starters. I've picked five of my favorites.
In a Guardian column earlier this year, Andrew Brown lamented the hard times that have befallen professional photographers. What caused the "death of an honorable profession," he argues, is an army of mostly mediocre shooters posting millions of shots at Flickr and selling to advertising agencies via "microstock" sites. Few make a living at the latter, but their gravy is "bread taken from the mouths of professionals," Brown said.
I think he has a point. But I think he misses another, less gloom-and-doom aspect of the digital photography revolution: the innumerable amateurs who are … Read more
Update, 3 September: I have learned that Jason Bentley is Director of Community Development at Scribd. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "disingenuous" as "Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating." I'd say that definition applies to this kind of astroturfing. So someone from Scribd is seeking to deflect attention away from the massive piracy going on at his company by throwing mud at Flickr. Interesting. But anyway, Bentley's points deserve to be addressed.
I suppose I was making a point by declining… Read more
The update to Digg yesterday brought with it a handful of tweaks, although notably absent was the much anticipated photos section. Keep in mind that you'll still find Digg saturated in photos, there's just not a bona fide section for them, or way to view pictures on-site. While confirmed on the official Digg blog that a special photo section is on track for October (two months from now), there's already a handful of sites to get your fix for photos made popular by real people. Here are seven of my favorites:
If you've ever used Picnik (review) before, you have an idea of how far online photo editing has come. Similarly, there's Fotoflexer, a user-friendly photo editor that offers one-click tweaks, along with some advanced tools on par with desktop class photo editing software. The service has been around since late last year, and is launching version two this morning.
Like several other online photo editors, Fotoflexer integrates major services like Flickr, MySpace, Picasa, and Facebook to pull your photos down for editing. Short of MySpace (which doesn't have an open API), you can send your edited photos back to all of them if you've plugged in your login credentials. Once you've found a photo you want to "flex," the app will jump you out to a full-screen editing canvas, where you have quick tabbed controls for all the usual editing goodies like rotation, a cropping tool and a resizer. You'll also find some fun distortion effects similar to the liquefy tool in Photoshop (as seen in the screenshot below). This is probably the most enjoyable of the bunch, since it processes the effect in real-time.
The real claim to fame however, is Fotoflexer's Smart Cutout and Recolor effects, which can help you cut out various pieces of a photo, or recolor them to match the tone of your choice. The cutout is the more useful of the two, and lets you cut people or objects out from a shot without having to trace their outline. If you've ever used Photoshop's magnetic lasso or masking tool, you'll know full well how tedious a process this can be. Instead, you use a small paintbrush to "tag" objects you'd like to keep or remove. One click later, and the app will do its best to single out those parts of the photo. If it makes slight mistakes, you can then go back in and remove or replace bits and pieces manually.
Once you've got a cutout, you can add it into another photo, or bring another shot in to the workspace. Fotoflexer lets you have as many layers as you want, and you can move them up and down, or merge them by simply right-clicking. Again, it's probably one of the few Web apps for photo editing that offers contextual menus.
Despite its beauty, there are a few snags here and there. For one thing, even in full screen, the editor remains the same size, which looks and feels very odd if you're using a wide screen monitor. The feature is being added as early as this week according to the Fotoflexer team, although in the meantime, if you're working with a landscape shot, things feel a bit cramped. There's also a lack of some of the advanced editing controls on the quick color effects. For example, clicking the "stamp" button will do its best to make your shot black and white shot with an excess of contrast, however there's no slider or option to tweak it. You either like it or you don't. Luckily, if you know what you're doing, you can achieve similar effects by using the advanced options to recreate each effect manually.
All in all, Fotoflexer is a really well put together app that could make a solid piece of standalone software. The fact that it's free and runs in your browser makes it even better.
FreeWebs has officially launched the WYSIWYG Site Builder tool we blogged about last month. In short, it lets anyone build a site without any knowledge of HTML, or having to refresh the page to see changes. The service soft-launched the tool early last week, and I took it for a spin this morning.
Site Builder emulates a desktop app, with a small floating tool bar, and context-sensitive menus that will serve up different actions depending on what tool you're using. For example, if you've inserted an image, the menu will give you options to align it with text, … Read more
Camera makers long have sponsored workshops, camera clubs and other activities to try to nurture new generations of camera buffs with time and money to spend on a hobby. Now Nikon is adapting the principle to one of Flickr, the social-networking, photo-sharing powerhouse.
Flickr on Wednesday announced Nikon's sponsorship of a Flickr site, the Nikon Digital Learning Center. The site provides online tips and tutorials and lets photographers chat live with pro shooters Rosanne Pennella and Cliff Mautner as well as Nikon School instructors Reed Hoffman and Bill Durrence.
The Nikon effort grafts onto Flickr social-networking tools such as … Read more