Earlier I mentioned that I have some photos uploaded to Panoramio. I’ve also played with Flickr off and on, and have recently started uploading some photos there as well. To add to the confusion, I use Picasa to manage photos on my hard drive, and my wife uses iPhoto on her Mac. Picasa has a web albums feature, and I’m sure iPhoto has something similar with a .Mac account.
Why use four different services that overlap each other to such a degree? Picasa and iPhoto both do the important job of managing photos locally, Flickr seems to have the largest community and the most widgets written for it, and Panoramio integrates with Google Earth. Since I want to do all those things, I have to use them all.
There are ways to make them play nice together. You can use a Gmail account to email photos from Picasa to Flickr, and so far it seems to work fairly well. There are a few iPhoto plugins to upload to Flickr and you can use iPhoto to subscribe to Flickr photostreams. Google just bought Panoramio, so I’m sure there will be more integration there soon as well.
Even with all these options, there are some annoyances. Picasa’s keyword tagging is not very useful, it only allows one-word tags. I tried creating multi-word tags with dashes or by enclosing them in quotes, but Picasa ate the special characters. There’s also the complication of managing public photos vs private photos.
Still, it is amazing how well these different websites and programs work together, through the magic of RSS, web API, and plain old email.
If you’d like, you can see my Flickr photos here. You can also see my photos in Panoramio, or just look close enough in Google Earth, since a few of my photos now how up there.
Panoramio is yet another photo sharing site like Flickr. What sets them apart is their integration with Google Earth. As you pan around the globe, photos from Panoramio users will appear in as icons. The also support tagging and some social networking features as any Web2.0 site should.
I’ve uploaded some photos, you can see my page here. I’m a little disappointed that I don’t see an easy way to embed my photostream directly into a blog post.
Even more interestingly, you can see my photos in Google Maps or (if you have it installed) on Google Earth.
As part of a class project I’ve been reading the Online-News mailing list and responding to some of the issues and discussion brought up there.
I went ahead and looked up some info on RSS. It seems pretty interesting-details can be found at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, a common format for content you want others to be able to pick up through their news sites, blogs, and web applications. It’s a flavor of XML, which allows you to set up different channels and different items within the channel, with some other standard tags like creator and description. It’s nice because it’s an open format, and it seems to be getting pretty big. Like so many other things, there’s a set of dueling specifications for it, though some are backwards compatible with each other which is nice. If more sites keep using it, I’m sure Microsoft will ad their own proprietary version to Office any day now.
One thing that’s interesting about this list is that people use it to announce papers, books, and projects. For example, there’s “The current status and potential development of online news consumption: A structural approach” by An Nguyen at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_9/nguyen/index.html, which makes the bland assertion that more news web sites are going up and more people are getting their news from the web. That one was mentioned by someone who had read it; other times the writers themselves make announcements like Robert Berkman, who co-wrote Digital Dilemmas: Ethical Issues for Online Media Professionals. This book likes kind of interesting, just because I’ve read a few journalism ethics books and they usually don’t have much on online journalism. There are some important issues which are particularly pressing online as opposed to print–like reader privacy.
In other threads, some people have been discussing a poster called “JOE BIALEK” who seems to have appeared out of nowhere to write huge diatribes. The name looked familiar to me and some of the other posters confirmed my suspicion-he’s a troll from Usenet and other forums who tries to start fights. There was an interesting meta-thread about how these sorts of things happen. Another thread was about the use of mobile phone cameras by reporters. The first poster talked about how great it could be, but others quickly added there could be ethical concerns. It might not be a great idea to let your reporter (who’s not a trained news photographer) take insensitive pictures of victims and post them without going through an editor first.