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Summary:

Update: Over a month ago, I visited Dave Winer’s Berkeley, Calif. home. We went for a walk that knocked the wind out of me, but during course of our conversation, Dave mentioned that he was working on something new. After nearly 45 minutes of rigorous walking, […]

Update: Over a month ago, I visited Dave Winer’s Berkeley, Calif. home. We went for a walk that knocked the wind out of me, but during course of our conversation, Dave mentioned that he was working on something new. After nearly 45 minutes of rigorous walking, we returned to his house and he showed me an early version of his new application, FlickrFan.

One caveat, the first beta release is Mac only. That’s because I’m doing all my work on the Mac, and this is a one-man show. Later we will work it out for Windows too, and with a bit more work and a bit more luck, for Linux.

It is a simple application — download and install it on your Mac, and using RSS it pulls down images from Flickr and displays them on your screen. It can be a Mac Mini attached to a giant LCD screen or simply your iMac. Doesn’t matter! What matters is that images become almost like a constantly changing channel. Dave showed me his personal channel where photographs from professional news photographers were mixed with baby pictures, photos of vacations long forgotten and friends we have forgotten to call for a long time.

This is a highly personal use of RSS, just like Dave envisioned it long time ago. Our readers are pointing out that there are similar offerings for Windows platform, Slickr in particular. I wasn’t aware of that application, and glad to hear about it. It is understandable that some might be underwhelmed, but to me it is not the application, but the concept that is more exciting.

As broadband becomes faster, who is to say that we can’t randomly pull videos (that some day will be better quality than today) that interest us from YouTube and automatically display them on our screens. What FlickrFan shows that with ample broadband, open platform (PC or a Mac or a Linux device) and RSS (or some such subscription mechanism), we can create real simple convergence.

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  1. Slickr does this on PC,

    the display part , not the upload part

  2. Thanks Om!

    That’s a very nice writeup.

    Come back to Berkeley soon, I have some more software to show off (sooon).

    Dave

  3. listen_to_blogs Thursday, December 27, 2007

    I presume its a desktop app. Why is it so different from regular blog readers(desktop/browser based), that can pull of different kind of media(images, text, audio, video?

  4. Didn’t Windows 98 have this feature with Active Desktop? You could set your screen saver to show a pre-defined webpage in full screen mode, which would then constantly be updated in a slideshow.

    The idea is a clever one, but it’s not particularly new that I can see, other than it being limited down to specifically RSS rather than just any old set of pages. I suspect if anyone other than Dave Winer had written the app, it would not of gotten a mention on here or most of the other blogs talking about it.

  5. Movie Trailers Geek Friday, December 28, 2007

    FlickrFan is awesome and if it function properly, it might be good as the regular RSS feeds.

  6. Another great one for the PC is called “John’s Background Switcher” that draws on pictures from all sorts of sources including your own PC, Flickr, Picassa, Smugmug & Phanfare. It’s easy to create your own theme and the configuration options for each source match those on the source’s website. If you have a second monitor, it can be configured independently, which is actually how I use it.

  7. Roger Benningfield Friday, December 28, 2007

    Boot up any TiVo made since ~2005 and add the Flickr app to it. Better TV-based experience without the hassle of moving a Mini to the living room.

    Or just subscribe to your photo feeds using a normal aggregator like Feeddemon, and have it dump the photos into a shared network folder. Then fire up a slideshow on the Xbox 360 that’s already in the living room to begin with.

    I’ve done both of the above, and in all honesty, it is fun… for about two days. Then you realize that sitting and staring passively at random photos just isn’t gonna fit in anyone’s time budget.

    Ditto for a theoretically random selection of YouTube vids. The absolute last thing I want is random video. I’ve got a DVR to avoid just that.

  8. Dave Troy’s flickrvision does this too but with a literal twist. It projects the flickrs onto a rotating map of the world, indicating the origin of the image. It’s pure art. Take a look..

    http://flickrvision.com/maps/show_3d

  9. That must be an interesting application. Thanks for the post

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