Rate Me? Sure

You know those iOS apps that nag you with a pop-up screen and asks your review? Usually the text in pop-up goes something like this, “If you like this app, please rate it”. (This actually doesn’t seem very democratic since the sentence actually only encourages those who like the app to review it, thus giving positive review.)

Quite frankly, I think iOS has a problem. This is super annoying. The popups appear again and again even if I rate the app or click “don’t bother me again”, or equivalent. Apparently it seems that the app doesn’t track what the user does (or doesn’t care), the popup will come again and again.

I actually do what John Gruber suggests. 1 star for every app that annoys me with the request, and a short explanation.

Good Bye Flickr

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I decided to part my ways with Flickr.

To be really honest, I guess I lost interest after the major revamp of the site, and Marisa Meyer’s particular statement. I used to pay for being Flickr Pro member but after the new site came along it lost it’s charm. Pro users still got ability upload files larger than 200mb and upload more than 1TB worth of images, neither of which I need. There are some stats and other such minor things that the new standard accounts didn’t include, but anyway.

To advertise the site with the tag line 1TB was just a silly move for Flickr; from point of view of professionals (oh but I forgot, there’s no such thing as professional photographer anymore) it just doesn’t make sense because no human can produce that many good quality images, even if they are like crazy large. Not even those who are like really really talented. So this sounds a lot like Flickr is becoming a site where you are supposed to upload mobile phone shots of your cat’s meals and latest trends in fingernail decoration. No problem with that but it’s just not where I want to be.

Then there was the Flickr app for iPhone which has still not made it to the Japanese App Store. Therefore, there is no legit way for me to even experience it.

Moreover, Flickr community guidelines forbid linking to commercial sites (such as your own). The guidelines are weird at best. Obviously they are just protecting their own interest regarding their upcoming Marketplace. Nudity in particularly is very poorly explained, kind of grey area really, what really is restricted and what is moderate and what not. There is no clear explanation.

Then there was the Getty Images Flickr program (which is finished by the way) which made me wonder, is this still about passionate, genuine photography? Or is this becoming another stock photography site? Finally Flickr’s Wall Art whatever thing answered that question. Although they didn’t technically break the Creative Commons licence, gimme a break! That kind of thing is just something service provider does NOT do. Only a micro stock site does that. So that’s pretty much it.

There is one more thing I’d like to mention although this isn’t actually Flickr’s fault. This year (oh man what lousy year this was) one of my images was stolen from Flickr by this shady Japanese company. It was a simple photo of a woman in cafe, a friend of mine. Her photo was used to sell some beauty product. She’s in her 30’s but in the fake profile she was told to be 40s. It was a total hell to get the Japanese advertising company to understand that they had broken copyright law and finally remove the image.

Finally I got a call from one of the guys. The conversation went somehow like this:

“Excuse me sir, am I calling you at the bad time?”

“No, not at all.”

“Yes, uhm. I’m calling you about the image you took that we used in our website”.

“Right”

“You see, we downloaded it from this website called Flickr. We have right to use the image legally”.

“Ex..cuseme?”

“Yes, have you ever heard of Flickr?”

I pointed the guy to the URL of my image and explained him the meaning of the copyright symbol. He was like “oh.. I see..” And that in fact my photo was not in Creative Commons. Next day with a cappuccino cup. I never got apology. But I don’t care. It appears that several Japanese companies are illegally obtaining images from Flickr in particular never minding whether it’s copyrighted or Creative Commons. Then, taking photos of Japanese people is my job.

Flickr? Nah, I don’t think so.

Sinking Ship

via Tech Crunch:

We hear and understand your concerns, and we always want to ensure that we’re acting within the spirit with which the community has contributed. Given the varied reactions, as a first step, we’ve decided to remove the pool of Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr Wall Art, effective immediately. We’ll also be refunding all sales of Creative Commons-licensed images made to date through this service.

Although technically they didn’t break Creative Commons licence, this is just bad ethics. As manager of the community they should at least somehow serve the users, not rip them off.

It is also worth mentioning the last point in their community guidelines:

“Don’t use Flickr for unauthorized commercial activity.
Flickr is a photo community for people to share, explore and discover new works. We also offer tools for the community to license their works to others; if interested, visit our Marketplace.”

What this unauthorised commercial activity means is not explained clearly but quite obviously they are just protecting their own commercial interests.

The Long Voyage Home

Do you remember first Hayabusa?  It was an unmanned space craft launched by JAXA in 2003 to gather samples from asteroid  25143 Itokawa. The journey was not without a drama.

Despite it’s adversities the mission was a great success. Hayabusa accomplished it’s primary mission, to bring tiny grains of asteroidal material to earth. It’s a mind-boggling achievement. I don’t know what kind of funding JAXA has but I doubt it’s even tenth of NASA or ESA.

Now that Hayabusa 2 is just launched, I thought it’s nice to finally check out the 2012 film. It’s by the way, now in hulu.jp.

The movie is a nice dramatization of the space craft’s seven years voyage. The old computers and CRTs and makes this movie feel delightfully analog and nostalgic. There’s mood of the early 2000, which strangely feels like another era.

The film conveys the spirit of the Hayabusa mission, tangibly. Japan’s film industry might have seen better days but it’s really nice to find a film with a spirit like this. Watanabe Ken’s performance is amazing as usual. He can convey so much, while doing so little in screen.  Legendary Tsutomu Yamasaki is also in the movie among other great actors such as Hidetaka Yoshioka (Always Sanchome no Yuhi) and Yui Natsukawa (Still Walking). Fantastic cast, really.

Although the movie suffers from being slightly a bit too long and has some editing problems (and VFX could use some polish) it tells a beautiful and inspiring human story. The pieces come together a very nice way in the end, especially the last snapshot of the earth sent by Hayabusa (is that real by the way?) .

JAXA logo is well present in the movie but I don’t remember seeing a single flag of the country in the movie. This movie does not fall into Hollywood-like boasting “we are king of the world”, despite of the remarkable achievement.  The heroes of this movie are the people who worked hard to make Hayabusa’s journey reality, and of course Hayabusa itself.

Japan needs inspiring stories like this now more than ever. Check out Hayabusa: The Long Voyage Home in IMDB.

ps. I would guess Hayabusa 2’s reaction wheels are not the ones made in USA.

Eric Kim regarding Moriyama Daido

Another wonderful piece by Eric Kim.

I second these words by Araki in his “Near Equal” documentary (a must see, by the way):

The photographer had been a slave of the camera for a long time. Good camera, good lens, Leica, etc. These were the masters of a photographer. But in a way, Daido Moriyama is a photographer who started to make the camera his own slave. Photography is not about the camera.

Of course we need the camera. If you want to write a romantic love letter, we need some tool to write it with. But anything– a pencil or a ball pen is fine. It is like this in photography, and he is a pioneer for that. (Araki 2001)

It’s all about passion and love.

Regarding Facebook advertising

Facebook’s ‘legit’ advertising for likes is actually kind of a fraud. I would advice against spending money on it; you will not only lose your money, at the end these bought ‘likes” will cause damage to your exposure.

Check out this informative video by Veritasium.

Moreover, as the video teaches us; there is no way to delete the fake likes should you get those. Facebook, of course benefits from this sad state of affairs.

The One I Love

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I am putting together a collection of best photos I took in 2014. I want to really focus on photos with most impact. In order to achieve this, I made special rules for myself:

  1. Only 2 photos from one photo session, no matter how good the photos are.
  2. Thematically focus on most strongest images
  3. No decoration or fill-in photos
  4. Every photo must have a story
  5. Never mind if photos have been in my exhibitions or not

Number 1 is really hard to follow because I have had some photo sessions that went really well (and others that didn’t). But this ultimately keeps number of images in control and is excellent, if not even painfully efficient eliminator of bad images.

Snapselect

via TUAW.

I have several old Aperture libraries lying around in my hard disk, and also massive Lightroom catalog. Without the application they were created it can be a major pain to access the images. It’s worth mentioning that Apple has officially stopped development of Aperture, so in future the application will likely go away entirely.

Snapselect is a software that can access the images in those libraries. Currently it supports iPhoto, Aperture and Lightroom and fully supports RAW.

According to the creators, Snapselect can also find duplicates of the images.

I will check it out and write a review soon.