Archived entries for Info Mgmt

Don’t risk losing your photos!

This showed up in my inbox today:

We’re happy to store all your memories at the Kodak EasyShare Gallery, but because you haven’t made a purchase in the last 12 months, we may begin deleting stored images from your account. Don’t risk losing your photos!

You’re gonna delete my images?!!! You gotta be kidding me. Don’t you get it?

Picture are irreplacable treasures. Digital information is hard to maintain. (Fried hard drives. Obsolete file formats. New computers.) I want my grandchildred to have a digital shoebox of all my photos, so they can enjoy them as I enjoy my grandparents collections. I think anybody who shoots digital photos worries about this. Apparently Kodak – the people responsible for the shoebox of photos from last century – doesn’t get it.

Storing things online let’s me outsource the upkeep of my data. That’s a key part of the value proposition. I can let somebody else worry about backing up the hard drives, and maintaining redundant data centers to prevent Act of God loss.

I initially put some photos up on Kodak for exactly that reason. I was worried about using a startup service because maybe they’d go out of business and disappear some day. I wanted a trustworthy brand that would be around well into the future. Guess I was wrong – guess these old companies really don’t get it afterall.

As the records and artifacts of my life move online more and more completely, the network has a tremendous responsibility to safeguard and maintain that info. Any service that doesn’t take the seriously has no place in my life. It goes 10x for photos.

Hello Flickr. Hello Yahoo! Photos.

Upcoming.org, Welcome to Yahoo!

The great news continues to flow. Just a few hours ago it was announced that Upcoming.org is now a member of the Yahoo family.

(I stole the “family” phrase from Upcoming.org’s own Andy Baio. I must admit, it’s great to hear people are as excited to join the work here as we are to already be doing it. There is great work going on here, and and it is a great place to work.)

For those that haven’t been playing with Upcoming yet, here’s their blurb:

Upcoming.org is a social event calendar, completely driven by people like you. Manage your events, share events with friends and family, and syndicate your calendar to your own site.

As a side note, I’ve been playing with Microformats for a few things at work. “Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.” Upcoming.com was an early adopter of these semantic markup structures, so I’m excited to have the experience around now. Of all the types, “events” are the perfect use case for this emerging technology.

Read more about Yahoo!/Upcoming on the ysearchblog, or any of the Upcoming.com guys’ blogs: Andy Baio, Leonard Lin or Gordon Luk.

Tonight’s a big night for news!

C|Net is reporting New Yahoo Mail beta unveiled. I’m so excited to see this.

Yahoo was set to unveil on Wednesday a limited public beta of its new Yahoo Mail service, featuring a new desktop e-mail application-type interface and faster response time.

I’ll wait to say more, but I’m excited is an understatement.

Update: Charlene Li’s blog has the most thorough review I’ve seen so far, including several screenshots.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hearing a bunch about Memeorandum. On the way home yesterday, I listened to [yet another] great ITConversations podcast. This one was a recent interview of Microsoft’s Robert Scoble by Rob Greenlee. The most interesting part was about search, and specifically ways to search the social web and the live web. Ways to make sense of all this new user generated content, and the relationships between it all. He mentioned Memeorandum, then still in private beta. I saw it only in three or four other places when I got home, even before…

…I noticed that he’d just blogged it’s launch. From Scoble:

OK, so, it looks like a lame boring blog site, right? Look again. It’s a news page for blogs. It tells you what bloggers find important. Right now. . . . Well, remember that I read 1,389 RSS feeds? Well, it takes a weirdo like me hours to go through all of those and finding trends in that is pretty difficult.

What is important to the bloggers? You won’t know unless you read all those blogs and keep track mentally of when various bloggers link to something or talk about it. Memeorandum chews through thousands of blogs in minutes and tells you what’s important. It does this every few minutes. It is dramatically faster than I could ever be. It’s all machine based. No humans involved.

And finally, John Battelle gets the scoup tonight on the new Google Blogsearch tool. (It’s 3 hours after his reported press embargo, and the url is still 404-ing. Man, I feel for the engineers over there – they must be scrambling right now.)

Update: it’s live now: http://blogsearch.google.com/

It’s fun these days. Multiple cool products launching every day. Change all around. A renewed focus. Stimulating competition. Integration. Powerful tools. New mediums and models. Collaboration. And it’s all about users.

Flickr Tips: Monitoring Comments and Configuring Alerts

Monitoring Comments and Conversations

After I used Flickr for a while, I started to pay more and more attention to the social and community aspects. I haven’t ventured onto the message boards or chat yet, but I enjoy leaving comments on photos and having conversations there.

In several instances, I’ve asked for travel advice and questions about the locations and people in certain photos. Other times I’ve inquired about the techniques used to capture wonderful photographs or after-effects. In all these cases, it’s easy to comment but it had always been hard for me to remember where I’d commented, and notice when a reply was posted.

Then I discovered the Photos you’ve commented on page. This page solves all those problems for me: in a clean way, it presents all the photos you’ve commented on. It’s ordered by most recent activity, so you see photos you’ve recently commented on, as well as those that have been recently replied to. It works great, and has encouraged me to contribute and participate even more.

Notes and also Comments are shown in this nicely-integrated view.

Configuring Flickr Alerts

The Flickr mailbox is OK, but it doesn’t’ really fit into my personal online workflow. I prefer to receive my notifications in email. To set it up so Flickr sends you email instead of only adding to your Flickr mailbox, click My Account from the top of any page. From there click Notifications from Flickr (which you’ll see on the right, under the Privacy Settings header) and adjust the settings. For the four choices on the page, I have “Yes”, “Yes”, “As soon as it happens” and “Yes please!”.

To modify which email address these messages are sent to, click “Edit your email address” from back on the My Account page. (I set up an Address Guard on Yahoo Mail, which allows you to create a unique mail address, which I use to keep “alert” messages like this out of my main inbox.)

If you haven’t played with Flickr for at least 10 hours, start now. You’ll discover cooler and cooler features the more you use it. In fact, this “discoverability” aspect of Flickr is one of it’s great strengths and attributes.

Information Esthetics (i.e.)

Lecture Series One: March–July, 2005

If I was in New York this spring, I’d definitely check out some of these lectures. Looks excellent, and these topics and critical as unfathomable amounts of information continue to be made available to the world.

Making data meaningful—this phrase could describe what dozens of professions strive for: Wall Street systems designers, fine artists, advertising creatives, computer interface researchers, and many others. Occasionally something important happens in these practices: a data representation is created that reveals the subject’s nature with such clarity and grace that it both informs and moves the viewer. We both understand and care. This is the focus of Information Esthetics.

Information Esthetics, a recently formed not-for-profit organization, has organized a lecture series dedicated to helping this happen more often. World leaders in seven different aspects of sense-making have been invited to speak on topics from typography to visual perception, from charting to electro-mechanical engineering. The goal: to help expose the beauty experts see in their databases, better engaging their whole minds in interpretation; to help inspire art that’s not just decorated with data but makes the data readable, satisfying viewers’ minds as much as their eyes and hearts.

The format of the talks lets us explore more deeply than a typical panel or academic paper presentation. Each speaker will talk for a full hour, we’ll break for a half hour of fine spirits and snacks, then sit down again for an interview/chat led by series organizer and interaction designer W. Bradford Paley. The intent throughout is to delve into the implications these profound ideas have for human communication in general—but also to share some simple techniques that people can immediately put to use in their own projects.

The lectures will take place Thursday evenings in the Chelsea Art Museum at 565 West 22nd street in Manhattan. They are free with the discounted $3 museum admission, and start promptly at 6:00pm on these dates:

  • Robert Bringhurst, March 31 · Typography and layout

    The distinguished Mr. Bringhurst is perhaps the most recognized typographer, a published poet, and the author of the fundamental contemporary work on typography: “Elements of Typographic Style.” http://www.typebooks.org/i-r_bringhurst.htm

  • Judith Donath, April 21 · Social computing

    Dr. Donath’s group at the MIT Media Lab studies intriguing social interactions and produces some of the loveliest and clearest visual representations of these complex systems. She is a well-read and careful observer of fine art. http://smg.media.mit.edu/people/Judith

  • Ted Selker, May 12 · Situated devices

    Dr. Selker focuses on putting intelligence into everyday objects: his invention of the eraser-like IBM Trackpoint device transformed laptop keyboards throughout the industry. His MIT media Lab group continues to expand those explorations. http://web.media.mit.edu/~selker

  • Lisa Strausfeld, May 26 · Real-time charting

    Ms. Strausfeld is a partner in Pentagram, the respected New York design firm. Her dense, readable information displays are well structured, visually rich, and intellectually satisfying. http://www.pentagram.com/people-strausfeld.htm

  • Bill Buxton, June 16 · Supporting creative analysis

    Mr. Buxton is a musician, mountain climber, and interaction designer; former Chief Scientist of Silicon Graphics; and a well-known and controversial computer interface expert. He owns an art gallery in Toronto with his wife and has been developing user interfaces explicitly for designers for over a decade. http://www.billbuxton.com

  • Ron Rensink, June 30 · Visual perception

    Dr. Rensink is one of the world’s experts on “Change Blindness” a feature of the human visual system that allows major changes to happen unnoticed right in front of one’s eyes, allowing (among other things) magic performances to work. He studies human perception, discovering and sharing principles useful in design. http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~rensink

  • Tamara Munzner, July 14 · Large data sets

    Dr. Munzner specializes in information visualization: showing complexities in subjects that range from genetically-determined phylogenetic evolutionary trees to environmental sustainability. Her work is informed by an eye developed under her art-teacher father, and often reveals structure more clearly as a result. http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~tmm

This lecture series is an Information Esthetics production, made possible by a project of Digital Image Design Incorporated. The talks are presented by The Project Room at Chelsea Art Museum by producer/curator Nina Colosi, and are supported in part by the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University.

Generous volunteer efforts support Information Esthetics, including high-reliability Web site hosting by Michael Rosenthal, Web site supervision by Perry Metzger, and (soon) graphic design by Warren Kemp. Please contact i.e.director W. Bradford Paley if you would like to volunteer, be put on our mailing list, or otherwise participate.

If you go, please point me to your notes!

[Invites] Filangy – Your Personal Search Engine

Filangy is a personal search engine. There are a few startups and companies playing in this space right now, but Filangy is my early favorite. Other’s have written about it, including John Battelle’s Search Blog, Larry Borsato, and a thorough write-up on Rob’s Blog. (You can always check the latest murmurings by running a Technorati search.

Filangy is an intelligent search tool integrated with a search engine to make searching productive. We offer features that allow users to personalize their search experience. Two of the features that we have launched in our beta products are WebMarks and WebCache.

WebCache
This is a secure, web-enabled archive of all your visited webpages.
WebMarks
These are your portable favorites that are accessible from anywhere.

In other words, Filangy captures every page you visit (while it’s enabled — its’ easy to pause it if you’re feeling secretive), and also allows for instantaneous bookmarking while you’re on a page. When you use Filangy to search, you can limit it to either of these groups: pages you’ve been on before; pages you’ve bookmarked.

I’ve got a few extra invites. Leave a comment or send me an email if you’d like one of them. Please include a sentence or two on the root of your curiosity and why you’ll be a good recipient. (I just want to make sure that, like extra pets, they’re going to good homes.)

Like most of my favorite apps these days, the value of the services is only slowly revealed. The more you use it, the more help it’s able to provide. The more you use it, the more advanced features on the interface become visible… While it’s somewhat counter-intuitive to hide value initially, this wonder and dare-i-say glee of discovery pays huge dividends. Anyways, let me know what you think if you’ve been using it, and like I said, let me know if you need an invite.



San Francisco, California | Creative Commons By-2.5 License | Contact

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.