Archive for the 'Yahoo!' Category

Goodbye Yahoo! Podcasts, we hardly knew ye!

yahoo! podcasts closingAccording to their site, the Yahoo! Podcasts site is due to close at the end of October. It was funny to see the news spread from a post to my Twitter account, on to Marshall over at Read/Write Web, then out to the rest of the blogosphere and TechMeme. :)

I’m sure this has a lot to do with the various culling and belt-tightening going on at Yahoo! recently since they started shuffling things around. Who knows, maybe they’re saving up money to buy Facebook? ;p

When their podcast site launched, I was well in the middle of coding podcast.com and was a bit perturbed by the Yahoo! splash in the pool, especially as I knew they had some great people there who could do a lot to threaten what it was I was trying to achieve. They had a nice site which read RSS feeds, but how many people were behind it? WHO was curating it?

Let’s not forget that back in the early days of Yahoo! their site was a selection of quality website links curated by human beings. All placed in to very easy to navigate categories proving some of the earliest taxonomy on the web. Nice and organised!

I like taxonomy PLUS folksonomy. Now THAT’s delicious ;)

I get so sad when I see people who produce podcasts only linking to their iTunes ‘phobos’ link. This is NOT an RSS feed. Dave Winer also pointed this out recently. Also, you’ll notice that iTunes do NOT let you grab an RSS from a podcast in their system. They even make it impossible to copy and paste the rss feed url when you do eventually find out how to expose it.

I have a solution.

podcast.com LogoSome of you may not know this, but I coded every single line of PHP, JavaScript, Flash Actionscript, Apache configs, etc, etc, myself. ;) I work from home in London engineering the site and system, while the business end of the company resides in Boston under the command of the excellent Scott Beatty. It’s a GREAT team and works a LOT better than some might imagine.

It’s quite a task to undertake, but the basic principle of podcast.com is very simple: Help people find podcasts, then give them easy tools to build their own directories and playlists of their favourites, to share.

Readers of my blogs may know about my passion for OPML and RSS over the years (if you look between the slew of image posts appear from various other mobile and virtual publishing tools I have built in my spare time (‘spare?’ *chortle!)) and that is at the very heart of the system at podcast.com

I’ve said it before: it’s “OPML plus RSS to the Power of users” – Which kind of translates to “User generated multimedia content libraries curated by people using machines” – Heh. Maybe I’ll work on that. But hopefully you get the gist ;)

Having the opportunity to build the architecture and system for the generic term domain name for podcasts was a hugely attractive prospect for me. It still is. I left the BBC to sit and do it.

Two years or so down the line and we are about to throw open the doors to the beta, so the news of Yahoo! Podcasts closing could not have come at a better time, to be perfectly honest with you ;)

3535 feeds have been put in 654 folders
from a total of 17282 feeds

The collection of podcast rss feeds on our site has been steadily growing and keeping track of the vast amount of great multimedia content there is out there. The site makes it a snap to sample an episode and download or subscribe to the whole kaboodle.

For a long time now, the site has been ‘curated’ by myself and the boys in Boston using some tools which enable us to build directories really easily. These tools are about to get in to your hands. You will also see how we are leveraging the power of the generic term domain to provide very easy to remenber urls for your podcasts and collection of podcasts for the consumer or business and brand.

Think about it: BRANDX.podcast.com

Our brand (podcast.com) does not dilute your brand (X) – in fact it helps it! I’d guess that if someone saw that url, they would expect to find a podcast about Brand X!

Correct! :)

I really need to record a podcast about all this, as I have lot to say on the matter. There are so many opportunities out there! Expect a heap of widgets and gizmos for your websites and blogs soon!

Adios Yodellers! :)

Yahooflickr! Ruckus!

In response to John M who asks :”I’m totally confused by the animosity here. Like Chris, I can’t see that it makes any material difference whatesoever. What gives kosso?

You know what? It’s weird I can’t put my finger on it exactly. Why I feel peeved at all this, after recently renewing my account fee. Oh.. hang on!! ;)

It probably has something to do with me not really liking Yahoo’s web stuff that much recently, and particularly all the ads that have appeared over the years. I was a Yahoo! user a looong time ago. I liked it (and them) a lot more back in the day. But this complete and utter blind hunger for ad revenue is kinda screwing my experience a bit.

At least it certainly feels that way.

I CAN see the technical reason why they would want to streamline stuff – in a way. But also I can see programmatically how they could get over or around it.

It’s the fact that I pay flickr for this hosting, in a world where more and more, hosting will be offered for free – IF you don’t mind the ads squirted in here and there.

You are correct though – there is no ‘material’ difference here. But that’s not what they have damaged. They have knocked some of their users’ passion and loyalty.

I love flickr.

Free PHP5 Script to grab YOUR flickr Photos

UPDATED: To support Curl, if it is installed. It appears that some servers have the ‘fopen’ wrapper disabled, preferring Curl – which is faster too ! )

OK, so I have just knocked up a PHP5 script which, WITH SOME MORE WORK (on your part) will grab all your photos from flickr, should you want to move away from them.

This script takes your screen name and then lists all your photos, with the original photo file url, the title, description and any tags, comments and geocoding data too.

That’s as far as I go – the script is not doing any downloading at all – I leave the rest up to you :) You could add the details to a database, store images anywhere you like, ftp them somewhere – it’s up to you to get the PHP to do what you want.

If I get the time, I will create a desktop version which does the same thing. The tricky bit might be deciding on a static xml format for all the rest of the data – maybe a big RSS file would do. Or OPML. Or both?

Here is the PHP5 SOURCE.

NB: You MUST have PHP5 with simplexml and fopen wrappers or Curl activated (Some webhosts prefer you to use Curl, so they deactivate file_get_contents)

Enjoy! Feel free to use this code and hack and mash it up at will. Please add to the comments of this post, if you do extend it. Cheers! :)

Damn Youhoo, flickr!!

Merge This!Well, it seems like the time is nearly upon ‘old skool’ flickr users like myself where we will be FORCED to ‘merge’ our accounts over to a Yahoo! account.

I expect this story to hit TechMeme later today – looking forward to seeing what others have to say about it, beyond the 500 700 or so responses to this news so far on the flickr help forum. It’s times like this that TechMeme is so invaluable.

UPDATE: BBC News now has a story on this

STILL NO SIGN of it on TechMeme, which I find very odd at this time of day

Judging by the responses to this, people are not too happy at all. And can you blame us? We PAY for this service. If I merge my account, will I still be subjected to the constant onslaught of advertising banners which Yahoo! riddle their systems with? Fair enough, these ads make them money, but we are PAYING customers. Do ‘regular’ Yahoo! Photos users have to pay for their hosting?

I think this a BIG BIG mistake.

I have had a Yahoo! ID for years, but rarely, if ever use the messenger etc these days. So many better systems have emerged since. I have a very old ICQ account somewhere too.

Not that long ago, when Yahoo! introduced the ’360′ blogs, they placed links on those ‘old skool’ Yahoo! profile page, trying to get you to create one of these ‘blogs’. The trouble is, they don’t tell you that once you have done that, you will not be able to see your ‘old’ profile page ever again. It’s gone. Then, you can’t revert and change your mind. You’re stuck with it.

Usually I really like what Yahoo! do for users, but this completely sucks.

I think it’s time I wrote a script to pull all my photos out from my flickr account soon. Who knows, it could prove to be quite popular.

PS: If there’s anyone out there who runs a server hosting facility, please do get in touch – We can build a system pretty quickly to ‘merge’ OUR PHOTOS to a new system – Hell, I could even let you use your flickr usernames and passwords if you like. Same url structures, widgets (to a degree) – just a different domain.We can build it to be what users want. It’s not that hard to do – in fact I’d say their Flash based Organization features are the most complicated bit. The only way I could do this, is by working with a web-server hosting farm ‘guru’ with the hosting infrastructure already in place. (Hey Libsyn! Fancy getting into the photo hosting game? ;) )

PPS: Kris from Zooomr should be very excited around about now. There’s an opportunity screaming at him right about now.

PPPS: Here is link to a Google search for flickrbackup. Some useful stuff here.

- I nearly have a system working here to download all my photos ;) Now, the question is, where and how to move them – apart from back home here, on my hard disk.

Word from the Blogosphere (seeing as Techmeme still hasn’t woken up to this yet)

http://ipadventures.com/?p=1591
http://grahamcase.com/?p=120
http://flickrville.com/2007/01/31/reactions-to-flickrs-announcement/

UPDATE: Techmeme now has a thread on the subject, after Thomas Hawk, the CEO of Zooomr weighs in about it ;)

Flickrhoo!

I’ve been meaning to say this for a while. Are there any Flickr users out there who are a bit pissed off that now, when you click to sign in, you have to go to a Yahoo sign-in page, where you have to find the link to the old Flickr sign-in form?

Also, when you want to comment on a photo and sign in to do so, the link used to take you back to the photo you wanted to comment on after logging in. Now, due to this Yahoo! sign-in interstitial, the link back to the photo I wanted to comment on is lost. Very annoying. I paid for this service.

I’ve always been very happy with Flickr, as it gets the pictures I take ‘out there’ as opposed to in the various self-hosted galleries I have set up over the years. They get seen more.

I’d love to know what’s going on inside Yahoo! since the big reshuffle announcements. I also wonder what’s going to happen to Flickr. Have I missed something?

Yahoo!’s Tech Mom Looks at Second Life

Dory Devlin, Yahoo! Tech’s ‘The Mom’ has a post here about Second Life, since hearing of ‘Adam Reuters’ (Adam Pasick) being ‘embedded’ as a journalist in Second Life for Reuters – they have a dedicated site at http://secondlife.reuters.com. There’s a hearty discussion thread building on Dory’s post! Lots of ‘I don’t get it’ posts and lots of ‘I make money!’ posts.

Recently, Adam posted a story that the US Congress are launching a probe into the virtual economy that exists within Second Life (and a follow-up here). Many people make quite alot of money in this virtual world. Some even more than the employees of Linden Lab, the creators and curators of this new ‘metanation’ which I inhabit.

It’s an interesting discussion – and one which will have to be addressed soon, whether we like it or not. I heard about a year or so ago of someone who was trying to go through his taxes and wanted to deal with the money he was being paid to look after someone’s character in a different game. His accountant and the taxman had no idea what to do, so shrugged and ignored it.

I think it’s bound to change. But I wonder how the various global tax offices decide to deal with it. There will probably be virtual tax havens you could log in from, to avoid paying. We’ll see. What about if Linden move all their servers offshore? How about Sealand? That’s a ‘very Second Life’ place ;)
In the next week or so, we’ll hit the 1 million users mark in Second Life. (Currently stands at 983,621) That will be a big day which will no doubt garner headlines all over the world – then more users will come – and more money will be exchanged – etc, etc… ;)

Doctoe Schnook and I (Koz Farina) hope to start a podcast purely about Second Life soon. Stay tuned! ;)


Who is this ‘kosso’ anyway?

I am a 'Createc'. A creative technologist, entrepreneur/ hacker/ geek. Worked on building things on the web for over 12 years.

Used to work at BBC News interactive and created the publishing and delivery systems for video news to get distributed on huge screens in major railway stations around the country.

I left the BBC to become CTO / sole-lead architect/developer at podcast.com for three years.

I have now left them to build a start up a new system called 'Phreadz', which is a 'Social Multimedia Conversation Network', integrating everything that is 'V.I.T.A.L' to us on the web. Video, Images, Text, Audio and Links.

I built the whole thing my myself. I programmed every line of code and positioned every pixel. I'm looking forward to attracting an hiring new members of the team to help me out! :)

There are currently over 1000 happy and helpful beta testers on the system so far and one client of a white-labelled solution.



@kosso : twitter

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kosso's flickr stream

Bristol Panoramic

Printed Paint-pot Angel

Mobile Lovers

Paint Pot Angel

The Punishment Book

School Days

School Days

School Days

School Days

School Days

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