Encore

Quote

“You’re a man who knows what he wants, and you’ve found it. Not many can say that.” […]
“What can I do for an encore?”
“Yes, exactly. What do you do when you’ve walked on the moon, and then they cancel the space program?”

Lucifer’s Hammer, by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.

The new Flickr sucks

What I hate most about the new Flickr design is:

(1) It is difficult to find the description for a photo, most ways of viewing the site do not show photo descriptions at all anymore, only the title is displayed.

(2) Once you do find the photo description by clicking on the individual photo (but not viewing it in lightbox! no description there), it is hard to read the description and view the photo at the same time, you must scroll down the page to read the description.

(3) Photos are no longer clearly separated into sets. In the old design, the sets were listed down the side of the page, so you could see “Oh, these pictures are all from X convention, while these pics are from a different place entirely.” Now all photos are smushed together on the page and it is unclear where any of them came from. Context has been completely lost.

(4) There doesn’t appear to be a way to read the full description for a set anymore. The first line is displayed over the cover photo, and after that it is truncated. UPDATE: Currently you can see the full description for an album by clicking “show more” but it’s still very difficult to read.

The phasing out of Flickr Pro also bothers me, but I suppose I can either renew my Flickr Pro subscription as long as they will let me or move to Free to demonstrate my lack of support for the changes.

There is still time for Flickr to fix this lousy redesign, but if it doesn’t respond to the community’s complaints soon, there will probably be an exodus and somewhere down the line Flickr will be killed off like all of the other websites that Yahoo screwed up. I fear this bodes poorly for Tumblr.

Perhaps it is time to take a closer look at open-source, self-hosted alternatives again. I may try to revamp my old WordPress site and copy my Tumblr over there. I may experiment with OpenPhoto or MediaGoblin to replace Flickr. How many times can we use and love a web service and have it be taken away from us by corporate whims before we finally learn our lesson? If you don’t have the source code and the ability to run the software yourself, it may disappear tomorrow, or turn into something you despise.

UPDATE 2015: OpenPhoto became Trovebox and then died in 2015. MediaGoblin appears to still exist. Most of my complaints about the new Flickr remain problems but some people still muddle through and use Flickr anyway, including me I suppose.

Youth

Quote

He had been that young once, that sure of himself and his ability to remake the world in the shape he chose. And it had been true, within bounds. It seemed like something that had happened to someone else, except when it seemed like it had all happened a week before.

The Tyrant’s Law, by Daniel Abraham.

Screencast of my Wesnoth match vs. Dauntless

A while back someone did a screencast covering a Wesnoth game that I played against the then reigning champion of Wesnoth, Dauntless (he’s still ranked #3 today). This may not interest you if you’ve never played Wesnoth, but I think Wesnoth is a fascinating combination of chess-like strategy and poker-like risk management, and I wish it were more popular.

The good news is that I won this game against a higher-ranked opponent, the bad news is that I won partly due to incredibly good luck at crucial moments. I made some mistakes, which Dauntless exploited to the hilt, but my luck allowed me to recover. Of course, Dauntless made mistakes too, otherwise I would never have had the chance to get lucky 🙂 At any rate, this was a hard-fought game with complex tactics and strategy, and despite my mistakes and luck I feel I acquitted myself well.

If nothing else, watch this video to hear the commentator Neki boldly advance his opinions and get really excited about the game ^_^ Sadly Neki left the Wesnoth community in frustration when his efforts to create a serious Wesnoth esports competition, complete with sponsors and prize money, fell through. I kind of miss him, as abrasive as he could be at times.

P.S. Make sure to watch the video fullscreen in HD quality, otherwise you won’t be able to read any text and it’s hard to tell what is going on.