Tag: flickr

Social Sustainability and the importance of sharing

Flickr Advanced Search with Creative Commons

I wondered for a while what to post on first here after the re-branding of the site and the new focus on Social Sustainability.

First I thought about doing a post about blogging seeing as it is one of the most basic building blocks of social media but then I took a step further back and decided to talk about Social Media and Sharing!

Why? Well, sharing of content is essentially the raison d’être of Social Media, whether it is sharing it privately behind your corporate firewall, or sharing it with as many people as possible on the public Internet. And that’s really the key thing, isn’t it – you generally want your social media generated content to reach as large an audience, as possible.

So, how do you do this?

There are many strategies you can rollout to try to maximise the reach of your sustainability message – everything from ad campaigns to search engine optimisation – however, one of the less discussed ones that I wanted to mention is the use of Creative Commons licensing.

Flickr All Rights Reserved notice
Flickr All Rights Reserved notice

What is a Creative Commons license?

These are like the opposite of the “All Rights Reserved” notice you often see associated with works online – it is the default copyright on a lot of online content and it means that the owner of the copyright reserves all rights around distribution of the content. Obviously, if you want to get your message to the widest possible audience, you want to be sure it is not licensed as All Rights Reserved.

There are different forms of Creative Commons license – from the Creative Commons 0 – which is the least restrictive and is basically a legal tool for giving content into the public domain, through to the most restrictive Creative Commons license which says people are free to re-distribute your works as long as they 1) give you attribution, 2) share the content under a similar license and 3) do not use it for commercial purposes, and various shades of licenses in between.

So, any sites you are creating content on, be sure that you have made it clear to people that they are free to re-distribute your content for you on other sites by displaying the Creative Commons logo along with your content.

So, why the Flickr Advanced Search screenshot above?

Well, when I’m writing blog posts I like to include images to make them look more presentable, however, I don’t want to potentially fall foul of copyright restrictions. Luckily the Flickr Advance Search page allows you to restrict your search to only Creative Commons licensed images. The obvious corollary of this is that if you want to increase the viewership of your images (or any other content, including blog posts, videos, audio, etc.), apply a Creative Commons license to it.

By the way, if you are wondering how to go about getting a Creative Commons License for your content – head on over to the License Your Work page on the Creative Commons site and follow the instructions there.

And if you are looking for the Creative Commons license associated with this article, see the bottom of the right-hand side sidebar.

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Photo credit Tom Raftery

Photo editing within Flickr

One bit of functionality which Flickr has long been missing is online photo editing. This was a bit of a gaping hole considering Flickr is a site for online photo sharing and storage!

However, Flickr announced yesterday that they have integrated the functionality of online photo editor Picnik into Flickr and it is now possible to edit your photos within Flickr.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the editing functions are quite basic as yet, but the great thing about these online apps is that they tend to improve their functionality over time.

Photo editing in Flickr

I’d love to hear Walter Higgin’s take on this (Walter is a friend and CEO of Sxoop Technologies, the makers of Pixenate – the premiere online photo editor).

Free downloadable wallpaper files

Tired of looking at the same old desktop on your computer?

There’s a free gallery of very nice downloadable wallpapers for Windows Vista available here.

The photos are from a blogger and prolific Flickr user called Brajeshwar and as well as individual photos, you can also download a .zip wallpaper pack.

I’m not quite sure why they call them wallpapers for Windows Vista though. They are just .jpg files and work equally well on OS X (and XP as well).

Your top Web 2.0 apps?

If we ignore the fact that the term Web 2.0 is controversial for all kinds of reasons and concentrate on the applications themselves, which Web 2.0 apps (using the broadest possible definition) do you use most?

I use:

  1. my blog and podcast software all the time (they are run out of WordPress)
  2. my Flickr account regularly to post photos
  3. Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets frequently for collaboration or sharing of documents
  4. Google’s Calendar to synch with my laptop and mobile phone calendars
  5. Technorati, PubSub and Google’s Blogsearch to subscribe to RSS searches
  6. Flock as my main browser of choice (primarily because of the Flickr and Del.icio.us integration) – I also use Firefox, Camino, Safari and IE7
  7. Feedburner to burn and track my feeds
  8. NetNewsWire, Google Reader and iTunes to consume my feed list
  9. TechMeme, Megite and TailRank for keeping up with tech news
  10. Del.icio.us very occasionally to store URLs for items I have found interesting

What cool Web 2.0 apps am I not using that I should be using? What are your favourite Web 2.0 apps?

Do startups use Open Source?

I was very much of the impression that startups these days, because they want to keep spending to a minimum, would be more likely to use Open Source tools to develop their applications. The likes of MySQL instead of Microsoft SQL Server, for instance.

This view was re-inforced by an interview I did with Salim Ismail for the it@cork pre-conference podcast series where he said all his startups used open source software.

However, after a chat with Microsoft’s Rob Burke on his blog, now I’m not so sure!

In my comment, I said Microsoft’s SQL Server should support other platforms and in this way, startups would be more likely to use it (i.e. if they didn’t have to splash out for a Windows license). Rob’s answer surprised me though, he said:

Our group at Microsoft Ireland can, quite literally, not adequately keep up with the demand we get from local startups (and larger ISVs) who see the value of the platform for the data tier and want to find the best on-ramp. You may have noticed – we’re hiring two more evangelists! 🙂

So startups in Ireland are choosing Microsoft SQL Server in droves? Why? The latest version of MySQL has stored procedures, triggers and views. It is platform independent, has a very strong support community and runs some of the better known sites on the web like Craigs List, Del.icio.us, Digg, Flickr, and Wikipedia, to name but a few.

If you chose SQL Server, you are locked into the Windows platform and although there are free versions of SQL Server to start out with, a fully licenced version to run a web site will cost you tens of thousands of Euros/dollars.

Why would any startup choose SQL Server? What am I missing?

Adding images to your blog post

A picture is worth a thousand words or so the old saw goes and it is certainly true that an image can greatly help the look of a blog post.

Several people have asked me recently how to add images to blog posts so I thought I’d put up a blog post explaining how I do it in case it would be useful for others.

I store my images online on Flickr. When I want to use an image in a blog post I use the copy of the image which is stored on Flickr. This has the advantages that:

  1. it saves me diskspace from my hosting account,
  2. it saves me bandwidth from my hosting account and
  3. it is easy because Flickr provides the code to use the image from their site!

Being a simple soul, I like it when things are made easy for me.

How do I do it?

Well, click on the image you want to use in your Flickr account. If you don’t have a Flickr account, get one! A free account will allow you to upload 200 images and if you need more than that it costs around $25 p.a.

Once you have selected your image, click on the All Sizes button above the picture.
All Sizes button in Flickr

This brings you to the Available Sizes screen. Here you decide which image size you want in your blog post and select it. I generally go for images around 500 pixels wide (although the one selected below is 240 pixels wide).

Flickr's Available sizes screen

When you select the size you want, the code required to place the image in your blog post is in the field under:

1. Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage:

Copy and paste that code into your blog post et voilà, you now have an image in your blog post.

Finally (!) a Picasa uploader for Mac

Google’s Picasa photo sharing site has released an uploader for the Mac! It is available for download here. You will need a Picasa Web Albums account to use the Uploader.

The download contains a standalone uploader

Picasa Web uploader for Mac

And an uploading plug-in for iPhoto
Picasa iPhoto plugin

I setup a Picasa account to try it out and it seems straightforward enough. The advantage Zooomr and Flickr have over Picasa is how easy they make it to include pictures from either app in your blog posts. Picasa doesn’t make this function available (or I couldn’t find it).

Having both Zooomr and Flickr accounts, I don’t see any advantage to having a Picasa one as well. I suppose if you had a Picasa account and recently got a Mac, then this is useful. Otherwise (unless I’m missing something rad in Picasa), use Flickr or Zooomr.

EXCLUSIVE – Evoca launches in Ireland!

Evoca is podcasting made simple. So simple, even my parents could do it!

What is Evoca? Evoca is a site which allows you to record and upload audio to the Internet. Think Flickr for sound.

Recording in Evoca

How do you record and upload the audio? Well, there are several options. You can:

  • Record the audio yourself and have Evoca simply upload your audio file or
  • You can use Evoca’s built-in recorder to record (using your computer’s microphone)
  • With a Pro account you can record from Skype, or even easier still
  • You can ring Evoca’s server “Emily” from your phone and it (she?) will record and upload the phone call for you

This is fantastic – you are out in the car, perhaps listening to a podcast. Something in the show makes you want to respond – you grab your phone, dial the Evoca number and hey presto! your response is out there.

Or you are a journalist and a story/interview opportunity comes up suddenly – no prob, whip out your mobile, dial Evoca and you are away.

And if you want to save your phoned-in recordings as private (think company exec/journalist/legal or medical professional)? That’s as easy as toggling a switch in your account’s settings.

Evoca made this even easier for Irish users today by launching an Irish phone-in number. If you are an Evoca user and you are based in Ireland, simply dial 01-657 5601 to record your sound clip.

How much does it cost? Well, like Flickr, a basic account is free and a Pro account costs ($4.99 per month in this case). A basic account entitles you to upload 60 minutes audio while a Pro account entitles you to 200 minutes and Evoca are open to negotiate if you need more than that.

What else can it do?

  • Do you want to apply a Creative Commons to your recordings? Bing! No problem, you can chose from a range of CC licensing options (including none)
  • Do you want your recordings transcribed or translated? Bing! Evoca have that covered too.
  • Do you want to make money from your recordings? Ka ching! Evoca have an option to allow you charge for your recordings!
  • Do you want to blog/podcast your recordings? Bing! Evoca gives you the html with which to do that (see below).

Evoca is only out of beta a couple of weeks but already has loads of functionality covered. There’s a lot more I’d love to see it do – a blog sidebar plugin with the most recent 5 recordings, for example but for such a new application, I’m well impressed with what they have covered so far and am looking forward to see how Evoca develops.