Scripting News for 1/16/2008

Library of Congress Flickr feed 

Wow, this is really really coooooool.

The Library of Congress is partnering with Flickr, releasing pictures that it believes are not copyrighted, through Flickr.

One of the fantastic side-effects of that is that there’s an RSS 2.0 feed of those pictures that connects perfectly to FlickrFan.

If you click on this link on the machine that FlickrFan is running on, you’ll automatically subcribe to the Library of Congress feed on Flickr.

This is one of those moments when the standards are working, really well.πŸ™‚

PS: If for some reason it doesn’t work, try clicking on this link to get the latest update (v0.42), then click on the link above again.

Video for tomorrow? 

I know it’s the last minute, but it’s worth a try…

A number of people have asked if there will be live or recorded video for tomorrow’s FlickrFan demo at Yahoo in SF.

The answer — yes, if we can find a way to do it.

If you have a camera and laptop and are willing to webcast it tomorrow, please post a note here in the comments, or just show up tomorrow a few minutes early.πŸ™‚

A decentralized Twitter? 

Andrew Baron is a smart guy, and he’s not a techy, so when he explains technical issues he does it in a way non-technical people can understand.

Dembot: “If you hosted your own Twitter, just like you host your own website, you could put your twitter anywhere.”

Twitter is doing us a service, with its lack of stability, in illustrating the dangers of centralized systems. We do need to figure out how to build a Twitter-like system with all the advantages of centralization and none of the disadvantages.

And like Andrew, intuitively, it seems to me we could do it with RSS. Of course RSS is not very nice to edit by hand, so a little bit of software would be needed to handle the editing. We would also need a place to store our RSS (easy and cheap), and a discovery mechanism, but none of this is impossible or even very hard, considering that Twitter already exists. If it didn’t, discovery would be a mess. Because it does, discovery would just be inconvenient, and would require foresight — the kind of foresight that tells you to keep a bunch of bottled water in the garage so you won’t die when there’s a big earthquake. You do have bottled water in the garage?πŸ™‚

The problem is, of course, when Twitter goes down, it’s too late to use Twitter to bootstrap the decentralized Twitter-like system. Heh. Just like after the earthquake it’s too late to go to Safeway and buy a crate of Aquafina.

Larry Dignan: “Twitter is a classic case of a neat little tool that wasn’t built to scale but now has to because it has become a big deal.”

Today’s links 

Tomorrow in SF: First public demo of FlickrFan.

Congrats to Scoble on his new job at Fast Company.

Gcast: “Record your podcast via a toll-free call from any phone.”

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