Dave’s New Thingy

It's been coming for a while in plain sight but Dave has now put a name to it: FlickrFan. Is it something new? Seemingly not but, knowing Dave, I know he is seeing something I currently cannot see. And the chance of mis-focusing is pretty high. Software is magic, folks. Like the way one can put meanings between lines of words, one can capture something wonderful between lines of code, even crappy code, code that anyone can write but all too often fails to capture anything but vain eye candy or crippled features.
I still remember hearing about Dave's Living Video Text two decades ago. It seemed mundane at first glance and it took many years before I saw it on store shelves. But his outliner idea dawned on me eventually. Since then, there were scriptable apps, blogging, and podcasting.  I don't know why ideas he gets attracted to always end up being late bloomers but, thankfully, his persistence gives us time to come around eventually. When a mountaineer points at something, one should not focus on his finger.
Is FlickrFan a start of something wonderful or will it be much ado about nothing? Frankly, I don't know but I also don't see much return in being a premature critic or a flip-flop.
This is what I am seeing in FlickrFan at the moment:

FlickrFan captures and projects images from a user's social network without all the clutter of web user interface. Photos of friends floating by on the big ass screen you paid thousands of dollars for, every day and every glance, in every gorgeous detail, each throbbing HD pixel filled with bits and hearts of the world you choose to care.

Now, if you had to choose between the FlickrFan show and "Deal or No Deal", which would you choose?

What I want for X-Mas


Wacom Cintiq 12WX

It's expensive but I can see myself getting my drawing-arm back with this baby. I wonder if these things come with textured transparent overlays to simulate different types of paper surfaces. I know there are textured nibs but nibs can't simulate bumps.

New Icon for Appily?

I think Appily's current icon is too abstract and boring so I went looking for a replacement and found a photo of dashboard hula girl doll at iStockPhoto.

hula-128 Hula-64 hula-32 hula16
This is how it looks on the OS X dock:
What do you think? Unusual and happy looking icon, no? Corny for sure but, heck, it's a fair price for having fun. I wish there was an animated version so I can wiggle it whenever new messages arrives. Heh.

Appily 0.8 Released

Appily 0.8 is out for Mac and Windows. Appily is an AIR app (AIR B3 required) that currently supports Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Flickr, and Facebook. You can download it here.


          The main feature of 0.8 release is introduction of agents. There are currently three types of agents:
          <ul><li>Echo Agent - echos messages from a source to an outlet. </li><li>Router Agent - creates a virtual outlet that routes messages to multiple outlets. </li><li>Ticker Agent - detects incoming messages containing stock ticker symbols and adds relevent links to financial sites (currently only Yahoo Financial is supported).</li></ul>
          For my own use, I have following agents working for me:
          <ul><li><em>Flicker2Twitter</em> echo agent monitors my Flickr feed for photos tagged &apos;tweet&apos; then echos it&apos;s title plus shortened Flickr link to my Twitter account.</li><li><em>Twitter2Others</em> echo agent monitors my Twitter account for messages from me then posts them to a <em>Others</em> outlet.</li><li><em>Others</em> router agent that posts incoming messages to my Jaiku and Pownce accounts.</li></ul>
                    Three agents works together so that, when I snap and mail a photo to Flickr using my iPhone, it will show up in Twitter, Jaiku, and Pownce automatically as long as I have Appily running on my desktop at home. These agents are good examples of client-side web services which I think we&apos;ll be seeing a lot of in the future; services on the edge, if you will.
Anyway, please give it a whirl during the holiday season and contribute ideas or complaints via <a href="//groups.google.com/group/appily-users">Appily Users</a> forum cuz, so far, I am my worst critic which is bad news. 

Life Update

Just an update on what's going on in my life. The good news is that I am doing a security startup with a few good friends. My security related past involved Arcot, PassMark, and RSA and resulted in technologies that protect millions of online banking and payment users everyday. I think chances are good that my latest startup will have a similar reach. The bad news is that I can't talk about it much. Just a self-imposed ban to avoid unnecessary complications. So expect little or nothing from here on about the company until the launch then nothing but positive afterward.
My Appily project will continue on, limping for sure, but onward as time allows. Besides, it's good to have an outlet for wayward creativity.

Preventing Copyright Conflicts

My take on Lane Hartwell vs Richter Scales copyright conflict:

I think it is more practical to think about ways to prevent conflicts than trying to separate right from wrong afterward.

Flickr should allow users on opt-in basis to display a clear unignorable warning sign to viewers that copyrights will be contested if photos are used without explicit permission because, as it is now, it's too difficult to distinguish wolves from sheeps.
Update: I think it also makes sense to do this at per-photo and per-photoset level. This would allow photographer to have a copyright-loose photos as well as 'pro' photos for sale.

What we have here is, IMHO, a communication problem, not a legal problem.

Air B3 and AMF Spec/Library Released

Whoa. Adobe released AIR B3 and Flex 3 B3 last night. I won't have time to look at the goodies until the weekend but this is great news. Adobe also released AMF3 spec (Flash binary wire format) and reference implementation called BlazeDS.
I wrote my own AMF3 library in Java while back and there are at least two public implementation of AMF3 library so BlazeDS is not a big news but the spec will be useful to see if I missed anything in my implementation. But revealing the details of AMF won't make a major impact because 1) it was mostly known already and 2) it's not the wire format but the format of proprietary contents flowing over the wire that is keeping third party Flash servers back.