Category: Uncategorized

Flickr’s parent company Yahoo made some major changes to the look-and-feel of Flickr as well as its business model. Will the new look make Flickr more competitive with Facebook, Instagram, and Google+, or inspire a wave of alienation and doom the once-great photo-sharing site? After playing with the new design for a few days, here’s my list of rants.

For starters, all pages now have a black header on a semi-transparent background, used for the site’s navigation. The header sticks to the top of the page, wasting space better used for the main content when you scroll down. I believe Flickr had recently introduced a smaller version of this a few weeks ago. The site navigation isn’t as important as Flickr thinks it must be. I’d much rather have the extra vertical real estate and just scroll to the top if I need their navigation options.

flickrhomeThe home page: Flickr now really wants to force you to pay attention to your contacts and groups. Every little update now has a photo as a background, though for new faves and comments, the photo gets a tiny square thumbnail, while a large cropped version is severely darkened as a background for the text, to the point of being unrecognizable and pointless. And the fave announcements no longer have a link to the user’s collection of faves, which I use to judge their taste. The home page has a weird two-column format, but the shorter column stops scrolling when it gets to the end, until the other column has also reached its end, at which point the footer scrolls into view. It’s a cool effect, but frankly annoying as it over-complicates the page’s mental model. » Continue Reading…

Can a blog make enough money to recoup the cost of supporting it? The main goal of my blog is to showcase my projects, but a little revenue on the side would be pretty darn awesome.

I monetize my web site using two methods: Google AdSense and the Amazon Associates program. It’s not enough to live off of, and in fact it doesn’t even pay for a cup of coffee each day, but it does cover the web-hosting costs.

My expectations were set by an article about Nomadic Matt in the New York Times, back in 2009. He said his blog alone made $3,000 per month, from Google AdSense, affiliate sales, and direct advertising. He advised that “1,000 visitors a day would get you enough traffic to generate a good-size income.” My Flickr site was getting thousands of hits per day, so I figured if I could somehow transfer my Flickr readership to my own blog, I could generate a good stream of income. So, in July 2011 I procured a web host, and the next month I set up WordPress and got started. » Continue Reading…

Discussion in the RoundI attended my first “unconference” this weekend at Transportation Camp, which came for the first time to Washington, DC. The conference was for anyone interested in urban transportation and technology.

The “unconference” aspect meant that the attendees themselves created the presentations. Anyone interested in leading a session wrote their proposal on a large fluorescent sticky note. The camp leaders then culled the proposals and organized them into four time slots. Presenters with similar content were encouraged to merge their sessions together. The choices were presented on a large grid, referred to as “The Board.”

The day began with a great breakfast, as folks gathered at the cafeteria tables in the School Without Walls, a public high school on the George Washington University campus. I was really impressed with the facilities. » Continue Reading…

Transportation Camp 2012

All angles < 90°
One angle = 90°
One angle > 90°
Each side of different length
Two sides of equal length
All sides of equal length

I love categorizing things; it helps me to understand. So here’s a breakdown of two ways of categorizing triangles, based on their sides and angles.

Acute, right, and obtuse describe the angles, while scalene, isosoles, and equilateral describe the sides.

The two blank spaces for equilateral spaces are a fun mind game. What shape has equal sides and with every angle equal to 90°? What shape has equal sides and with (at least) one angle greater than 90°? (Answers: a square, and a rhombus.)