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May 15, 2012

How Yahoo killed Flickr and Lost the Internet Wars

This is a #longread full of object lessons in how a corporate strategy can utterly swamp and fuck up a project, especially when mixed when liars with forceful personalities. I still use Flickr for that oldest of reasons: I have friends who use it. And I don't like putting my photos on Facebook because I do not trust Facebook at all (which distrust they have earned, by constantly stealing user photos to use in ads). But I probably will not renew my Flickr Pro account because it just isn't worth it to me. There isn't value there anymore. How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet
Among other problems, it wouldn't let you upload several photos at once, you had to go in manually submit them one at a time. It was downscaling photos to 450 x 600, murdering image quality. Users had to log in via Safari rather than in the app itself. It was striping EXIF data from photos as they uploaded—precisely the kind of thing Flickr's photo nerds wanted to see. People. Fucking. Hated it. The app landed like a pile of mud on a wedding gown. As one App Store reviewer put it, "For uploading to Flickr, this is really the worst app I've tried; you're better off just emailing photos direct from the phone in that respect." It somehow managed to get Flickr's two key strengths—photo sharing and storage—completely wrong. Possibly worst of all—at least from a business perspective—you couldn't sign up for a Flickr account from the app. (In fact, you still can't. It kicks you over to the Web to sign up with Yahoo if you want to register as a new user.) While other apps draw users into their Web services (think Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and notably Instagram) the Flickr app that Yahoo Mobile rolled out had no mechanism for that. It was not a recruitment tool. It was just for existing users. "That was a big oversight," says Fake. That's an understatement. It was the mother of all fuckups.

May 14, 2012

Microsoft and Russian programmers teaming up on Bittorrent jammer

BBC News - Pirate Pay torrent 'blocker' backed by Microsoft
A Russian company has developed software it says can disrupt and prevent people from downloading pirated content. Pirate Pay has been backed by Microsoft and has so far worked with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures to stop "thousands" of downloads. The tool poses as real bit torrent users but then "confuses" peer-to-peer networks, causing disconnections. Critics argue that the method will be ineffective in the long term. The entertainment industry claims that the downloading of pirated material costs copyright holders billions of pounds in lost revenue every year.

May 07, 2012

It's basically Warhammer 40K but with Legos or whatever you have around the house

Free pdf of the rules at the link. Download Mobile Frame Zero rules preview 1 | Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack

May 03, 2012

Elder Scrolls Online coming in 2013

Now I am a huge--HUGE--fan of Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series. I literally bought an Xbox so I could play Morrowind and Oblivion and even enjoyed Skyrim, which honestly is the weakest of the three in terms of storytelling. So I will give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to an online version of their world Tamriel. But so much of the fun of the games involves your own character toppling the political landscapes of the fantasy world you play through that it's hard to imagine it will have the same appeal as a multiplayer online game. The Elder Scrolls Online Coming Next Year
Bethesda will release a massively multiplayer online version of its popular The Elder Scrolls series next year for PC and Mac, Game Informer reports today. Set a millennium before the events of Bethesda's last The Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls Online will take place across all of Tamriel during a time when daedric prince Molag Bal is wreaking havoc on the realm. The game will feature three player factions and PvP combat. Presumably you'll be able to travel across the entire world of The Elder Scrolls—Game Informer mentions recurring areas Elsweyr, Skyrim, and Cyrodiil as locations in the MMORPG. "We have been working hard to create an online world in which players will be able to experience the epic Elder Scrolls universe with their friends, something fans have long said they wanted," director Matt Firor said in a press release. Firor previously worked on fantasy MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. "It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years. The entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise."