Words-Pictures-Web

An eMarketer Blogging about Media & Technology

Archive for the ‘freeware’ Category

Flickr & Picasa Your New Photos

Posted by buddyscalera on December 27, 2008

I’ve been posting more pictures these days to photo sharing sites. My two current favorites are Flickr and Picasa.

Picasa (owned by Google) offers some nice sharing features, including the ability to embed your photos inside your blog. It makes it easy to share a gallery…except on WordPress. (Unless I pay for a WordPress upgrade.)

At least I can embed a preview image that links to the Picasa gallery:

Random Photos by Buddy Scalera

Flickr (owned by Yahoo) is also a cool service, but it only allows you to insert a link to your gallery. That’s sort of old school, considering all of the cool things you can do with widgets and code.

Flickr has a really vibrant and engaging social network, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. I can join groups where I can share my photos and I can track photographers I like.  By comparison, Picasa’s social community is a little weak.

On the other hand, Picasa offers many cool features, including the ability to upload video and embed slideshows. For the same features, Flickr requires you to pay $24.95 to get the premium features, which include basics like the ability create multiple galleries.

If one of these sites offered the right package, I’d certainly be willing to pay. Of course, I want to pay according to my needs. So, I’d pay $12 a year for upgraded consumer services on Flickr. And if I wanted pro-level services, I’d be willing to pony up $24.95. With only two choices (free or $24.95), I’m sticking with free.

On the Picasa side, I’d like to see Google do a better job of integrating their other services. I already use many Google services, so I’d pay extra to have them synchronized. Again, give me some pricing thresholds, and I’ll choose the one that makes the most sense.

Posted in freeware, Google, new media, photo reference, photography, Uncategorized, Yahoo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

AudioSwap for YouTube – Legal music for videos

Posted by buddyscalera on November 29, 2008

Now that my book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men and Boys” is on the stands, I am looking for new ways to promote it.

Using my trusty Mac, I created a video showing key images. The video looked great, but I had no audio. Well, no legal audio, at least.

In the past, I might have just slapped a song on it and posted it. But there’s an increased awareness about using copyrighted music. Plus, as someone who creates copyrighted images, I wouldnt want someone using my work without permission.

Creative Commons music was too restrictive for what I wanted to do.

Then I discovered a cool little feature in YouTube called “AudioSwap.”

Basically, I uploaded my video without an audio track. Then, YouTube found songs of the approximate length of my video (1 min 31 sec). YouTube allowed me to “Preview” my video with several different audio tracks.

When I finally found something I liked, I clicked “Publish,” and waited. (And waited and waited.) A few agonizing hours later, my video appeared with a fantastic audio track.

It wasn’t perfect, since the music just cuts off when the video starts. A better feature would be to give the option to fade out the audio.

But all things considered, it’s a fantastic solution for video producers like me. Hopefully YouTube continues to support this effort. And keep it free.

The final video is posted below:

Posted in books, freeware, marketing, new media, YouTube | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Converging on Convergence

Posted by buddyscalera on November 19, 2008

As interesting new web technologies become available, I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of sites I need to visit….just to keep them fresh. (There are some feeds and whatnot to streamline these services, but that just becomes another site to visit.)

Recently, I’ve been trying to leverage these services by incorporating features into my personal website. As web technologies pendulate toward the middle, I am one step closer to converging on convergence.

My goal is to make my personal website a little more compelling for people who come to check it out.

Examples:

  • This weekend, I added my Twitter feed to my personal website. It’s just a little piece of Flash code that I was able to drop right into my web template. Very easy and elegant. (Note: I tried to use the Javascript code, but it just kept breaking.)
  • I also added a Facebook “badge” to my homepage. It’s really basic, but it looks kind of nice.
  • Then I synched my Facebook with my Twitter. Sort of sounds dirty, doesn’t it? Anyway, now, when I post to Twitter, it automatically feeds into my Facebook “current status.” Nice.

You can check out my handiwork at: http://www.buddyscalera.com. Feel free to look at the code and see how it’s done. Very simple and easy to do, even for an HTML novice.

Eventually this blog will probably migrate over to my website too. I really like blogging here on WordPress, but I get frustrated when I can’t control my widgets or outbound links better. So, we’ll see.

Now, I am off to find new convergence tricks.

Posted in facebook, freeware, fun stuff, new media, technology, twitter, Web Design | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Free Isn’t Really Free

Posted by buddyscalera on June 14, 2008

Lots of people, including me, use free applications. This blog is on the free version of WordPress.

But free really isn’t free. There’s always a price.

As Google grows, more people register to use their free tools, including GMail, Google Documents, YouTube, and this little tool called “Search.” Yes, and it’s all free. We love free, right?

Google is a for-profit company that has a responsibility to it’s shareholders and employees. The smart engineers who write the code for these free applications…well, they need to get paid. Everyone needs to get paid.

So how does Google make money? Well, right now, they leverage the immense amount of data that they capture every time we do a search. Or they monetize the content of our emails. Or our social networks. Or our video viewing habits.

And it’s all legal and completely above board. It’s right there in their privacy policy, if you choose to read it. It’s really not Google’s fault if you dont read the fine print. Google is an exceptional company, creates a lot of great of amazing products and does a lot of wonderful socially responsible things. But all this is made possible because they also run a hell of a business.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, WordPress and others offer free services with the hopes of getting a LOT of people to register. Then, they monetize it by selling profiling data about how we use their free services. (Note: Broadcast television and radio work in similar ways. Newspapers charge a fraction of what it costs to print and deliver the paper. It’s all fueled by advertising.)

Many people are thrilled that there’s a free alternative to Microsoft’s Office suite. But when you buy their software, you get a certain amount of protected anonymity. Microsoft isnt data mining information from your private Excel spreadsheets, but free services like Google Documents and Zoho can. The front end of these services are free, but they need to find a way to earn a profit. And currently that’s done by aggregating user behavior and selling it to advertisers.

There’s really no such thing as free. And with Internet applications, free is a temporary concept. Eventually, we will all have to pay.

Posted in freeware, Gmail, Google, marketing, Yahoo, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »