Scripting News for 2/4/2008

Agence France-Presse in FlickrFan 

We have some big news today for FlickrFan users, a major new source of high-def photography for the networked living room. They come from Agence France-Presse, one of the world’s great news organizations, and a fantastic source of high-resolution news photography.

I met with Agence France-Presse when I was in Paris in December, introduced them to FlickrFan and explained what we were doing with the Associated Press. They got excited, it took a little while to work out the technical details, but now we’re ready to go. The updates are all out, here’s the howto for FlickrFan users.

Change #30: Agence France-Presse photos in FlickrFan.

There were unique challenges in this project because their flow is huge. Yesterday we got over 3000 new photos. Because there are so many, I asked my friend Matt Mullenweg, if his company Automattic could help us out with server space and bandwidth, and he said yes. The AFP pictures are hosted on Many thanks to Matt and his company for helping us out. To the extent we’re bootstrapping a new use of the net, which I hope is what we’re doing, Matt’s company has made the kind of contribution we’d like to see more companies make. Usually the companies are happy to make the money, but not willing to help out with the bootstrap, which often costs money. Matt has always been a great guy and a visionary. I thank him and hope that FlickrFan users find an appropriate way to thank him too.

And also, please consider the generosity of Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. We all hope that there’s a market here, a way to monetize the flow of high-resolution photography to enrich and inform. Other content companies have been reluctant to take a chance on the Internet, we saw that in the early days of RSS and podcasting. I feel that these two media companies are playing the same pioneering role that the New York Times played with RSS 2.0 and NPR played in podcasting. Associated Press and Agence France-Presse deserve our respect and admiration for steping out, for going first, this is how new Internet activities get going. This is what we call market leadership, the real kind. Bravo!!

And this couldn’t come at a better time, with tomorrow being Super Tuesday here in the USA. Think of all the great photographs we’re going to get in the next few days!

Kevin Tofel helped test the feed over the weekend.

Philosophy in Boston 

Tim Jarrett understands what I’m saying.

What a great Superbowl, and what an opportunity for Boston sports fans to learn the value in losing.

What? Value in losing? You bet.

It wasn’t that long ago when Boston was one of the best cities in the USA for sports precisely because Boston teams were such spectacular losers. I’ll never forget the misery of the Dowbrigade after the Red Sox lost something (or did they win, I forget). They must have lost because he swore he’d never let them break his heart again the way they had for his whole life (he’s about my age).

Losing teaches you that there’s more to life than winning, and that’s the best lesson possible and it’s the one lesson you keep needing to learn over and over until you lose everything, which like it or not is what we all do in the end.

People write poetry about losing, great music is composed about lost causes. Who writes an ode to winning? They’re too busy getting drunk or getting laid. 🙂

Never have I loved a team more or felt more kinship with my fellow fans than when our team goes down in flames after a season of great ups and downs. No doubt there are no smiles or tears of joy in Boston today. But there is hope. And that, even when you win, is all that’s left after a great season.

Campaign moments 

Yesterday CNN’s Ballot Bowl, which continues to be an excellent and very useful program, ended with Caroline Kennedy at a campaign rally in Los Angeles. She was introducing Oprah, and they had to cut to a tape of Thursday’s debate, which struck me as odd. I totally wanted to hear what Oprah had to say.

Update: Oprah at UCLA on YouTube.

Later in the car driving to a SuperBowl party at the Scobles in Half Moon Bay, I listened to the debate which was being broadcast on KQED, the local NPR station, and I was struck by how intelligent the two Democratic candidates are. I had totally missed that the first time, when I watched it live, I was paying too much attention to Twitter, and I was looking for the zinger. They had a thoughtful debate, both candidates were very well-informed. At one point I imagined Obama saying, “There you go again, see that’s what I’m talking about” and saying how lucky he was to have an opponent who is so intelligent and thoughtful.

We are lucky. After eight years of Republican appeals to our naivete it is refreshing to be talked to as adults on TV by political leaders.

In contrast, the Repubican field is a mess. The front-runner, McCain is a petulant angry sore-winner, he argues about nothing. Ron Paul tells the truth, and they laugh at him. Huckabee cracks jokes about how irrelevant he has become. While the Dems were talking about real stuff, and arguing the fine points, the Republicans have been reduced to talking about nonsense like being a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution and waving the white flag of surrender. Obama is right when he says the wheels have come off the Straight Talk Express.

I want Obama for President. I’d love to see Hillary as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, so she can drive the effort, this time for real, for universal health care. The difference this time is that it’s one of the central issues of the campaign. It’s going to happen this time if a Democrat is elected. We have to make sure of that.

This piece is cross-posted on the Huffington Post.

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