Thursday, June 06, 2013

Amazing Things?

Last week I got an e-mail from Flickr. That’s the service I use to store some of my photos and, like many of you, to organize them in sets. Better word than organize—separate them. I have photos of a wedding and a funeral: the photos and the commentaries I could make were more appropriate when kept separate.

The e-mail was excited to tell me:

"Amazing things are happening at Flickr. We’ve made a lot of important upgrades to your service that we wanted you to know about."

Note, they had already done it and now they wanted me to know. What were these changes?

"Biggr.That’s right, a terabyte*"
Thank heavens the asterisk explained what a terabyte is—
*500, 000 pictures, 537, 731 6.5 to be exact.
The cute spelling continued—
"Spectaculr. Share in full resolution
Wherevr. Available anywhere you go."

Of course I went immediately to my Flickrpage and was taken aback by what I saw. It looked like a collage, but I had had no input into what photos I wanted in what size. After some research I made a little more sense of what  had been done, although as a Pro member I found no indication of whether my Pro subscription would be refunded now that I had a free terabyte.

I thought I would find some assistance by googling help  (there didn’t seem to be a help button on the Flickr page) and came across a help forum with almost 30,000 comments. Among them was “What an UTTER heap of CRAP”, Stupid, stupid and more stupid”, “It sucks”. Some I couldn’t repeat. Apparently the comments were shut down and there are another 6,000 in the new comments page. Many of the comments covered technical issues I could not understand, but there were enough dealing with aesthetic issues to let me know I was not alone.

I must admit that over the years Flickr has made it much easier to upload photos. I was using it as a vehicle to allow friends and family to follow our lives visually and yet provide an input for narrative. I have yet to find out what will happen when I try to upload new photos and create new sets—and I must figure out how to remove the berries in the banner.

Do any of you use Flickr? Any concerns?


Liza said...

Hello Beryl!

I actually think the collage page (in my case is quite beautiful and more pleasant for the casual visitor to see more pictures in a glance. When I send the link to my mom, I don't have to worry about whether or not she can figure out how to advance from picture to picture in upload order. This way she can quickly find the next grandchild picture and skip over the 20 angles of my lunch from that day.

To address the subscribers concerns, it would be nice if one could determine which of the main pages was their homepage - the Flickr page with their contacts, their own gallery, or the "Edit" page which some are referring to as "Classic" Flickr. Since each page has its own URL I suppose it just means changing one's bookmarks.

I have kept my Pro account for this year since it's already paid for. I had been maintaining the account for the Honors College (, but I've let the membership lapse for now. It will be interesting to see what the advertising looks like and whether or not I will miss any of the features for that account.

At the end of the day, I still find Flickr to be one of the best photosharing sites around. A very pleasant surprise to me are the number of friends and contacts I have made globally and locally, both amateur and professional.

And I love being able to control the privacy levels on my photos as well as the licensing through things like Creative Commons (e.g. allowing my photos to be used without permission as long as they are not altered and proper attribution is given). I've even had a few of my photos used for online publication! I know there's a whole discussion out there about whether or not I am hurting professional photographers by giving away my pictures for free, but that's another discussion.

Anyway, that's my two cents. That and about $1.78 more will probably get you a small cup of gourmet coffee. Cheers!

Beryl Ament said...

Thanks, Liza—No-one I would rather hear from on this than you. I understand why you want your mom to see Ben and Duncan and that she can more easily see them in this format, but I am using Flickr more to organize photos chronologically and I want to use words to make the photos meaningful to my family. I realize it IS possible, but I agree most with the school of thought on the forum which suggests a toggle between old and new format.

Anyway, I hope I can get the $1.98 of coffee in person. Maybe at Geoffrey's book launch.

Liza said...

The book launch may be a bit of a ways off, given how much our processing cycles are taken up by toilet training and milk management. Geoffrey is no longer on campus, but should you find yourself in the general WSU area, perhaps on a visit to the DIA, I'd love to meet up for lunch or afternoon tea.

If I ask you a question about transfer credit, I could probably call it a meeting and be done with it!

- xx