We meet again, Photobucket!

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My first Snapbucket mobile pic.

The last time I used Photobucket a few years ago, it was basically an image-hosting site. You uploaded a photo, grabbed the HTML or IMG code, then posted your photo at some forum and forgot about the original file. On Wednesday, Twitter made public what had been rumored for a few days: It would offer its own photo and video sharing – “powered” by Photobucket. ZOMG. The last time Photobucket was a big deal, Tila Tequila was the Queen of MySpace. Or so I thought. In fact, Photobucket has remained a player, with 8 billion total uploads as of last December. That’s 3 billion more than Flickr. For a while it was owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Now it has hitched its wagon to Twitter. Photobucket recently launched a mobile app called Snapbucket, which has Instagram-type filters. I tried it out and the burger photo above is the result. Overall, Photobucket is a very functional image- and video-sharing service. As I described in my last post, I use an assortment of sharing services for Twitter. I like diversity and competition, so I don’t plan on giving them up. But if the simplest option for sharing pictures is inside Twitter itself, there will be a rough road ahead for outsiders.

Do I need to print another photo ever again?

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Photo credit: Me!

I was browsing at Staples this week and considered buying some photo paper for my inkjet printer. I used to love printing my favorite photos, especially letter-sized. And recently I went on a photo-shooting binge. But the urge to print was gone. There are just too many sharing options now that don’t involve paper. I upload pictures to Facebook, Flickr, and Imgur. I use Instagram and Picplz, which also allows me to share on Twitter (and Facebook and Flickr). I post photos to Tumblr, which is the best blogging platform for images. With the exception of Flickr, all these options are free. I have a Flickr Pro account, which I paid for so I could liberate old photos the site was holding hostage. I also store some photos in Dropbox and Gmail. My video needs are met for free by YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Every week there seems to be a new photo-sharing or storing service being launched. Wherever there is an Internet connection and a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, anyone will be able to view my photos. As long as there is an Internet, some of my photos will be out there somewhere. My one printing exception currently is Postagram, which offers to print and mail Instagram photos as postcards for 99 cents a piece. I do that because it’s novel and fun – and cheap. Will I print a photo again? I have a nice printer, so I can if I want to. But paper is expensive, and ink is very expensive. There must be a new free or super-cheap printing service being launched with venture capital money. I’ll poke around and see what I find.

Photo! Solution? Make Better!!!

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Nick Bilton at The New York Times noted on Monday that the iPhone 4 was fast-becoming the most popular camera being used for Flickr, the photo-sharing site. If you’ve reached your Times paywall limit of stories, you can just go to the Flickr graphs here that he cites in his blog post. Before I got the iPhone 4, I used to carry a camera bag containing my Canon PowerShot SX 1 IS, which is one of the best point-and-shoots just below the DSLR category. I still take it on special trips and vacations, but I don’t carry it around on a regular basis like before. The iPhone 4 camera is that good. I also carry a bendy Joby hand-held tripod that I carry in a pocket.  The iPhone 4 picture quality is impressive, but half the fun is in all the photo apps. I’ve written about the popular ones, but tonight I went on a downloading binge for crazy photo apps, particular ones from Asia. I have several now that put Hello Kitty-type cartoony decorations on pictures. Another one puts the face of a woman you photographed into a maid outfit. Fetish apps! I also downloaded several panorama apps, including the new Microsoft Photosynth, which looks pretty awesome. I have a big trip to California planned for next month with stops at Death Valley, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, and Big Sur, and I plan to go bonkers with my photography and tech. I’ll let you know how these apps work out as I test them to see what works. I can’t wait to use the maid app!

100 million photos uploaded to Facebook – every day

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Commodore 1541 Floppy Disk Drive
Photo credit: moparx Via Flickr

The other day I wrote about the crazy names created to describe vast amounts of data, such as an exabyte. We are quickly getting to the point where the amount of data traffic and storage that currently exists is pretty ridiculous itself. New reports say 100 million pictures a day are uploaded to Facebook – for a total of 60 billion. That is triple the combined total of Flickr, Photobucket, and Picasa. Every day I search YouTube for interesting videos and I marvel at the volume of video that is added by the minute, most of which will be seen by only a handful of people associated with the uploader. Thirty-five (35) hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube. Less than a year ago it was 24 hours every minute. Where is all this data stored? Server farms. According to a report from Data Center Knowledge that was updated last November, Facebook has 60,000 servers, and Intel topped the list with 100,000. Facebook keeps your info in data centers in California, Virginia and Oregon, which has its own Facebook page. Don’t forget to “like” the data center. The entirety of your Facebook existence could be stored there.
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Egypt protest photos via Flickr

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IMG00552-20110129-1405

The “monasosh” stream on Flickr was updated Saturday with the image above of a smiling Egyptian army soldier posing with a baby for a photo on top of an armored vehicle riddled with Arabic graffiti. She has been taking pictures with a BlackBerry. The Internet remains disrupted, including BlackBerry service, but she is still getting her photos out. This particular photo, in the context of fresh reports that wealthy elites close to President Hosni Mubarak are fleeing Egypt, makes me feel that the end is near for that nation’s autocratic ruler. Events are shifting so quickly that my meager blog posts feel stale after a few hours. Watch Al Jazeera English’s live stream for the absolute latest. Hopefully the blood that has been spilled will not have been in vain.

How long can Egypt afford to keep the Internet down?

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Photo credit: Monasosh on Flickr

See that cell phone in the top right corner of the photo? The Internet and SMS text messages may have been disrupted by the Mubarak regime, but cell phones and cameras were not rendered inoperable. This Jan. 28, 2011, photo was taken with a Blackberry in the neighborhood of Imbaba near Cairo. The photographer got it and other photos onto Flickr. How the photographer did that, I don’t know. The only regular Internet that was working was the one functioning ISP serving the Egyptian Stock Exchange. Others had the option – albeit very expensive – of using satellite phone services. But it really didn’t matter. The damage already was done on Facebook and Twitter and text messages rallying the Egyptian people to protest after Friday prayers before the Internet crackdown. One TV newscaster on Al Jazeera English believed that the loss of online information actually drew more people outside to find out what was happening. I also think that the protesters, without the need to keep uploading photos from their phones or check for updates on their computers, were left to be singularly focused on causing a breakdown of government authority. On Friday night, President Obama urged the Mubarak regime “to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet.” In reality, the regime cannot sustain the disruption unless Mubarak is prepared to take Egypt on a journey backwards to pre-Internet times. Sure, half the country is broke or out of work, but the other half needs ATMs and credit cards. Those don’t work without connectivity. And every minute without the Internet, Egyptians are missing out on this:

Source: The Clearly Dope