Flickr's fourth birthday "adults only"

Interesting, next week Stewart Butterfield will return to his post at Yahoo as founder of photosharing site Flickr after taking several weeks off for maternity leave.

But, if he were to try to bring his family to Flickr’s fourth birthday celebration tonight he would have gotten turned away at the door like we were.

The official Flickr invite email didn’t mention this. Hmm, at least I got a T-shirt out of it.

Anyway, competitor SmugMug invites families to its parties (and even holds camping trips for families). When we interviewed SmugMug there were even babies in their workplace (along with dogs). Both of which I thought were very cool. I guess Yahoo doesn’t allow the integration of family and work life at this level.

Competitor Zooomr is run by a 20-year-old (who was 18 when he started the company).

Some of my favorite photographers, Matt Roe being one, are even younger.

Oh, well, this motivated me to copy all my photos to SmugMug finally (which started a while back when I got a good interview with the CEO). Now I understand why thousands of people pay SmugMug to host their photos.

UPDATE: I’m not dumping Flickr, just copying my photos over to SmugMug so I can talk about SmugMug more often.

Being family supportive is important in this world, particularly with photography.

The team from Flickr blamed the venue, saying that they have insurance that only allows adults.

That’s OK, next time Flickr asks me to come and cover a new feature or something I’ll say the same thing: my venue only allows family-friendly sites.

So, what do we do when we’re kicked out of parties? We eat sushi (which we hear was a lot better than what they were serving at the Flickr party anyway).

Heheh, I did get some news from Gabe Rivera, the guy who runs TechMeme.

Bad news hits tech industry

First, this week I learned that Tom LeVine, CEO of the wonderful Pop!Tech conferences for many years, has brain cancer. Tom is someone I’ve met many times and was always inspired by. He welcomed me in his home and I counted him as a friend in the industry. I don’t know the extent of the cancer, but anything that goes on in your brain like that is damn serious. If I were a praying kind of guy, this is one opportunity I’d do just that. My mother-in-law had a brain tumor, which greatly affected her for about a month or two (in really weird ways, too, she couldn’t recognize anything to the right of her) but she’s made a full recovery. This gives me hope and I’m really hoping that the news turns out well for Tom. But the news I’m getting isn’t that good. UPDATE: Tom’s blog has been getting updates about his condition.

But, tonight, news started spreading that Russell Shaw was dead. Oh, my, this one hit me hard. I’ve known Russell for a few years. He always had a kind word for me, was one of the hardest working bloggers around (had blogs on all sorts of different things, from politics over on Huffington Post, to VoIP on ZDNet, among others). Was a fountain of information on all sorts of topics and I really enjoyed hanging out with him. I agree with Dan Farber, I’ll miss him.

It’s a somber mood here, and yet another lesson that we aren’t here very long in the overall scheme of things, so might as well try to do as well as we can while we are.

I’ll remember both of these guys, and, along with Marc Orchant, who died last year, make me wonder if nice guys do, indeed, die first…

News: Qik videos coming to YouTube

I should just call Mike Arrington at TechCrunch and let him post this one (I want to focus on innovative people, not so much on news), but what the heck. Qik’s engineers just told me that they turned on their YouTube integration.

I’ll test this out tonight at the Flickr party and let you know how well it works. Well, actually, you’ll be able to see the results! They will show up on YouTube here.

Some notes from the engineers:

- YouTube is slow at processing uploads (I’m sure you’re aware…)
- this is using a newly-available format for Qik videos: .3gp files. I wonder what other device might be able to play these .3gp files….
- the quality of the upload is dependent on the quality of the source; a 640*480 Qik file will be sent to YouTube at that resolution (although it will be transcoded down by them). Given the way YouTube handles video quality, I’d try to produce videos at a higher than usual quality setting in order to get good YouTube quality out of it.
- there’s a 10-minute limit on video length. longer ones won’t go.

Looks like it might not be completely ready for everyone to test yet. I’ll bring you more on this as it happens.

NewsGang'ing Twitter

Past guests on Steve Gillmor’s NewsGang seem to disappear (fired? quit? overworked? you decide) at a fairly regular clip, so who knows how long I’ll last. But so far it’s been a lot of fun and occassionally interesting for you as well (lots of famous geeks and journobloggers are on it). We did a live show on Friday morning, (right before I got on the plane to head home, and I was a bit, um, tired from all the music the night before) where Jason Calacanis and I Twittered it and that totally changed the dynamic of the show. Thanks to Steve Gillmor for inviting me.

Getting backstage at Austin City Limits with R.E.M. and AMD

Scott Carroll at AMD has an awesome job. He works with geeks in the entertainment industry to make sure they are using AMD processors. One of the places you’ll see his work is in the audio booth at the famous PBS show Austin City Lights (been going for more than 30 years and has filmed many of the world’s most famous music stars — a piece of the original stage was even turned into guitars by Gibson).

So, when Scott says “I have some people you should meet” you drop everything and go along. What did he take us to on Thursday night? The Austin City Limits studio where R.E.M. filmed a concert and then did a radio show (we made it for the radio show, and then did an interview with David Hough who has been an audio engineer on the show since the very beginning (that will be up on FastCompany.tv in a couple of weeks). Here’s Scott welcoming us in the entryway to the studio.

We filmed a bunch of stuff with our professional HD cameras, but of course I filmed with my cell phone too.

Sound checks (they were doing a live radio show).
Sound board during radio broadcast.
R.E.M during the radio show, where the lead singer talks about the importance of the Internet to their business. The interview starts at about 3 minutes in (it’s only a piece of the interview that was played on the radio) and they talk about the Internet at about 5 minutes into the interview.
An interview with John Rosenfelder of EarBender.com talks with me about promoting music (he is a professional music promoter).

Thanks to AMD and Scott for getting us access and introducing us to David. It’s a real pleasure meeting innovators like him.

By the way, the audio that David recorded sounded way better than the concert did outside. I totally understand why he loves his job and doesn’t like to leave his booth, which we’ll take you into after Rocky edits our show.

After the R.E.M. deal we went back into downtown Austin where we found Jo Hell and the Red Roosters ripping it up. We were so impressed that we stayed for something like two hours listening to him. Wow, what a great performer. After that we went to the Playboy party where Moby was entertaining about 1,000 people but we felt that Jo was just a much better performer. It’s amazing sometimes who gets popular and who doesn’t in music.

It was the first time I had a chance to see some music at SXSW and, boy, I wish I had been able to stay the whole week. They closed down sixth street and you could just walk from bar to bar, each with a different act.

Remember, you can download all the music from SXSW legally and free too. It’s just like walking down Sixth Street, albeit without the crowds or waiting in line for crappy pizza.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, but the band will stream its new album for free on March 24th on iLike. Here’s iLike’s CEO, Ali Partovi, talking about the deal.

Guy Kawasaki calls Mike Arrington a hypocrite

This week I saw TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington write a really negative review of Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop.

So, last night, when I saw that Guy was on the same plane that Rocky and I were on, of course I couldn’t resist turning on my cell phone and asking him about the negative review where he promptly called Mike Arrington a hypocrite on live video.

Of course he also pointed out that he put me on the ego page on Alltop. Embrace the ego, I say! What does Maryam say? Whack. Damn, she knows how to keep things under control here.

So, what does my ego say? I like Alltop and am glad that Guy kept begging me to try it out. Plus, it’s fun to have a front-row seat on the ego fight between Guy and Mike.

Almost as much fun as seeing R.E.M. up close. More on that in next post.

Controversy at Rackspace: light vs. dark offices

When I visited Rackspace’s headquarters on Thursday I ran into a little division in the offices there. Quite a unique division. See, I’ve been in corporate headquarters around the world. L’Oreal. Target. Microsoft. Apple. Google. etc. But I’ve never seen this kind of office division. What is it?

Light vs. dark.

Now, at Microsoft, I’ve known people who keep their offices dark and some who like a lot of light. So, this division exists elsewhere, but I’ve never seen it taken to this level where there’s entire sections of office space divided this way.

Here Rackspace’s co-founder, Dirk Elmendorf and Chief Marketing Officer, Lew Moorman, show my cell phone the division and explain why they do that.

So, which are you? Light or dark?

I’m definitely a dark!