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Flickr's 300,000,000th photo was uploaded last week, http://flickr.com/photos/42909211@N00/300000000/. Alan actually let me know, which is funny because we met on Flickr back when it was a Flash chat environment with shoe-boxes. He guided me through the site and got me using it and I remember thinking people from FP were going to flock to it. It was a bit of fun, though I didn't really use it that much as I didn't have time.

Here's the first image I uploaded, file number 3430. Back when it wasn't photo focused. They didn't get so concerned about copyrights until Yahoo bought them, then stories of people's images getting removed started coming out so I hid this image. I just un-hid it as I'm told they don't really make a fuss until there's too much traffic going at it and flags get raised.

Here are the real early ones, though, Caterina's (#88) and Cal's (#74)—appropriately it's a test image.

I love Flickr and use it every day. You can see my own photo stream is a more accurate history of my life than this blog. In fact, I announced our engagement on Flickr before anywhere else. I didn't even think twice about doing this. And when people find out that's how the message was delivered to most of my friends they're a little bit surprised. It seems completely normal to me.

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I've given up completely on the Zune and am giving it away. There are a number of reasons why I decided to stop using it: being a Mac user, not wanting to boot into Bootcamp just to use it, unable to easily get movies onto the device (I never actually did get one on there, it'd fail every time), plus it was pretty damn big.

This isn't to say I don't think people should buy it. I could imagine being a Windows user and wanting that bigger screen, and possibly the ability to share songs with a friend. Plus it's a new device to hack away at. I mean, iPod security seems to be all sewn up, but there are already tales of hacking the Zune to rip files and stuff. If I was a Windows developer I'd be on that device trying to build the next iPodRip or something.

One thing though, I bought an original XBox and was less than thrilled with it. It seemed dated from the day I bought it. The games mostly sucked and the HD was pretty much just a giant memory card. Games don't need giant memory cards.

Fast forward a few years and the XBox 360º is an outstanding product. XBoxLive is nicely integrated. We buy TV shows in an iTunes-like fashion and get to see them in HD. The friend features are light years ahead of anything you can realistically buy (yes, the PS3 has those features, good luck getting your hands on a PS3 any time soon).

You can't count MS out. They fail (spectacularly) and have enough money to come right back. I can't wait to see what they do with the Zune 2...and I'm not even sure if I won't own one when they do get it right.

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Amber and I are sitting on the couch eating dinner. She's got some PC Vampire game running on her Mac with Bootcamp. I've got Gears of War paused and my shoulder is still a little sore from bowling a 214 game on Wii Sports (woo!). We've spent a perfectly beautiful SF day playing games and ordering food. I was just about to get back into this level when I felt compelled to record this moment someplace.

DSC00104.JPG I proposed to her on Thursday and she accepted. Not long after I asked I snapped this photo because I liked the composition of her ring and her Chucks. It's such an accurate of representation of where we are right now--excited about our new Wii, living in San Francisco, hanging out on the couch on a Saturday night, looking forward to spending our lives together.

My future wife just stabbed some vampire in the heart, and I think that's wonderful.

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Link: Daring Fireball Linked List: November 2006.

Jon has been the hub of the discussion surrounding the MacZot styled giveaways. Did everyone lose their mind and forget what shareware was about? I find this infinitely perplexing. Shareware does this job and does it well.

With dropload an ddropcash I've thought,

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Restore Your Library
Originally uploaded by torrez.

Something ITMS needs. Restore your library apparently lets you download everything you’ve ever purchased.

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  • I've been dreaming for an app like this for a while now. Hawk Wings had suggested one a few months ago, but I never got it working right. Hopefully this one will do what I want. It basically let's you sort mail into boxes with a few key strokes.

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296933266_fba22f6444_s_1 A couple of thoughts after three days of commuting with my free Zune and having to install Bootcamp because Parallels wouldn't let me see the Zune even after hours of troubleshooting and killing kernel extensions and watching my Mac crash repeatedly and then being told by MS Windows that my software key was in use (no duh, I used it for Parallels) and I was going to have to call them to clear out the key. (I did find something kind of funny though.)

  1. The little "community" icon looks like a reversed RSS feed icon. Every time I look at my Zune I get annoyed with that icon.
  2. The Zune Marketplace is okay. There's some bells the iTunes store doesn't have, but it's no iTunes store. It looks nicer than ITMS but doesn't work that well. About the only thing it does better than iTunes is casual browsing. I am always annoyed when I'm looking to buy an audiobook on iTunes and end up with a giant list of books sorted by author and/or narrator.
  3. Nobody has a Zune on my commute, or at least nobody is sharing their info. I tried randomly several times on the train and boat and found nothing. It's a little exciting to think I might be able to browse and share music with a friend someday (if not a bit creepy to think strangers might want to share with me*). The geek in me likes cool tech even if it's spawned from the womb of pure evil, so for now it's shiny and new and that's good enough. Gruber joked the other day that the only way to expose yourself was with a camera, but sites like Last.fm prove otherwise. Playlists are pretty powerful for some of us. Zune sharing is the new mix tape.

I Like

  1. I signed up with my XBox Live account. Points on XBox Live are interchangeable with points on Zune, so if someone bought me an XBox Live gift card full of Microsoft Points, I could use them to buy some XBox Live games and then maybe a couple of songs from the Zune Marketplace. That's cool.
  2. Points system. I know a lot of people think it's stupid, but while using it last night I had that same feeling you have when you're in Vegas and you tip the dealer a $10 chip and don't really think OMG THAT WAS TWO TACO BELL MEALS I AM DRUNK. It's just a point, big deal, you can buy more. The 79 points == 99¢ kind of screws with your mind. Things seem cheaper even if they aren't.
  3. I can stream video from my Zune to my XBox 360º. Currently we have a mess of wires and connections to get stuff off my PSP onto my Mac mini when we want to watch a TV show I borrowed from the web. (Do we still have to say "borrowed" when the truth is I take? I feel like I'm spelling words to other adults in front of kids. Yes, I like downloading TV shows and movies from the web, call it stealing, call it piracy, I call it not having to pay attention to the freaks on the train)

    This isn't to say I don't buy a ton of iTunes shows and music, it's just a choice I sometimes make when something is not available yet (yay 2nd season of Weeds) or being given to me for free (meh new Shins). Sorry, sidetracked...
  4. It's $80 cheaper than an iPod. $80 is like uh, 790 MS points? That's a lot of music. I'm an idiot. It's not $80 cheaper, it's the same price. Thanks, Dave. This kind of changes a lot, as I have had it in my head that it was cheaper. The choice between the two is pretty obvious now.

I No Like

  1. Doesn't show up as a mass storage device on my desktop. I take my MacBook to and from work, so it's not a big deal, but sometimes I need to carry around some backup files. I suppose that's what S3 is for. Still, that's a no brainer, I'm plugging in a hard drive to my computer, show me my hard drive.
  2. When I'm on the train, I feel like such a dork with such a blatant MS product. I pulled it out and noticed someone looking at it and I wanted to say, "Oh no! I got this free, I have a MacBook in my bag, see? I heart Steve Jobs! I heart him!!!"
  3. Zune is so closed off, I had a hell of a time trying to get a movie onto it (still failing) so it's a fancy WMV player for now. Am I missing something about video + Zune?

There are so many barriers with the Zune it's just kind of a joke for anyone who exists like myself (download tons of music for free, Macintosh user, likes to move music around), but for people in this world who think "good enough" is enough (and apparently that is several million Windows users) this is probably going to have some moderate success I think. My favorite beer is Boont Amber, more people like Budweiser. I like less mainstream music like Guided By Voices, even Guided By Voices likes Budweiser. You can't win.

* Fuck you, Balmer, for making it sound all grody.

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Amazing what a few press release can do.

I had no idea the site existed. Now it seems it's all anyone is talking about.

Twitter Fever! Catch it!

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I've had this idea for a while. I'm sure someone has already done it:

"I wasn't panicked until I saw the building," said Russell Grant, who showed up to take home his 5-year-old son, Justin, after hearing what had happened.

The damage was so severe some witnesses were in disbelief that everyone inside could have walked out. Two people crawled under the beams and wreckage looking for kids, but everyone already was out.

"She may have saved many of these children's lives," the mayor said.

The manager of the day-care center operating inside the building had made everyone get into the section of the building that survived the high winds.

"What I saw was just utter destruction," Slaughter said. "The children were scared, they were cold and dirty. They were crying and upset, but really they were calmer than I thought they would be."

Jon Slaughter, who owns two nearby businesses, arrived at the skate center with two employees about five minutes after the building was ripped apart.

Authorities were unsure whether it was a tornado that hit the skate center about 10:15 a.m.

Several states were battered by the storms, which unleashed tornadoes and straight-line winds that overturned mobile homes and tractor-trailers, uprooted trees and knocked down power lines. At least one person was killed and several injured. (Watch witnesses describe the storms' fury -- 2:15 Video)

"I'm amazed that anyone got out of there," said Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright.

One child suffered a broken bone and another a cut to the head. But everyone else emerged unharmed from the crumpled wreck of the Fun Zone Skate Center in Montgomery, Alabama. The facility doubled as a day-care facility.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Lines of powerful thunderstorms pelted the South with heavy wind, rain and hail Wednesday, turning a skating rink into a hulk of twisted metal soon after the 31 preschoolers and four adults inside had fled to the only part of the building that turned out to be safe.

  Storm destroys skating rink full of preschoolers

Published without permission, ©CNN.COM

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Picture_3 Due to some luck I happened to get this Zune a day early. Not sure if I'm allowed to thank the person who let me have it early, but it's a review model, so it came fully loaded with music, videos and movies. It also comes with a 3 month membership to the market-place where I get free access (I think) to download whatever I want. I'm not totally sure if normal consumer Zunes will come with so much music and videos, but if it does, that's pretty sweet. They picked some good stuff.

The letter that came with it says, "The setup on this device is exactly what a typical consumer purchasing Zune will experience." That could go either way, I think. They could just be talking about the volume settings.

Packaging

I'll start with packaging because it's something the iPod and Apple excel at, and it was on my mind while opening Zune. There's really nothing going on here, it's just a box you slide open to find a bunch of stuff inside. I couldn't find the earbuds at first. That's about it. There's a lot of brown. The earbud covers were in one of those little ziploc bags you'd expect a couple of crack rocks to come in if you're the sort of person who cares about what his crack rocks come in. I am I guess.

Enough about packaging. It kept the Zune from getting wet while I walked in the rain, I suppose that's all that matters.

How Does It Feel?

I was trying to come up with a suitable example about what a Zune feels like. It's not quite an iPod—that solid, dense metal feeling you get when you first put one in your hands. It's actually a bit like holding a MacBook vs. a MacBook Pro. If you've never held a MacBook, it seems heavier, a bit cheaper, a bit more plastic and empty space lurking just underneath the plastic shell. There's also the sense that not all the seams are tightly held together. So if an iPod is a Macbook Pro, the Zune is a MacBook at best.

The seams are indeed a little off, giving you the feeling that if you dropped it you'd get to see inside the Zune. The buttons are a little squirrely and move around a bit if you rub your finger on them. I hate that.

How Are The Controls?

Weird. I find myself rotating the thing back and forth because the menuing is all portrait, and the videos are landscape. Right now I'm still just playing with the thing, and even though it's not an iPod wheel I am not having problems getting around. The only thing that's already become annoying is seeking forward and backward with the button disc. It just doesn't work and I find myself skipping around too much, finally giving up and just watching the bit over again.

What Does It Feel Like To Push An Acorn In Your Ear?

Not fun. Maybe I have tiny ear holes, but both Apple + MS need to get away from this hard plastic, one size fits all earbud thing and get with what is becoming more common. Soft-rubber earbuds with three sizes for small, medium, or large ears. Maybe nobody really uses these things. Either way, my ear already hurts.

I switched to my daily earbuds and the audio was actually pretty good. I will have to look into what the bit-rate is, but it seemed to sound as good as my work computer through an amplifier. I'm guessing they ripped everything at a pretty high rate for the review models.

I'll see how the thing does on my trip to work tomorrow. I've already tried installing the Zune software on my Parallels install: no dice. It crashes Parallels so this Zune experience will probably get cut short if I can't get anything onto it. I am excited about the radio, it means I'll be able to listen to NPR again.

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Link: Bare Naked App » DropSend Monthly Profit.

A bunch of friends are pointing me to this story because I started Dropload a few years back. Sure we both help people send files, but the two sites couldn't be more different. Other than aping the name, he's done some awesome stuff with the idea, so I think it's cool that he's now selling it as that's what he was really doing. It just happens it's a site the sends files, the real motivation is to be able to—after a year of existence—post those graphs. So when people wonder why he'd be selling a profitable company the answer is right there on the page, it was always his intention.

The truth is, running a file sending site is boring. There is nothing interesting about it. In fact, I think the only thing that might be less interesting would be running a TinyURL clone. Running a profitable file sending site is obviously more interesting, but I can understand why nobody would want to keep doing it just for the money.

There is obviously a need for this sort of service as even Dropload continues to grow (450,000 users as of last night), millions of page views a month, but for how long? I don't know. There's so much competition and free options that it's almost like trying to do a for-profit web-based email business. The only thing it has going for it is that it's so niche, that the GYM monster probably won't come out with a competitor and blow you out of the water, not unless it's part of a larger WebOS type app.

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