Barack on Flickr

Originally uploaded by Barack Obama.

A Yahoo staffer noted this recently… Barack Obama, or more likely his campaign team, has established a flickr photo feed to cover his campaign for the U.S. presidency. Here, he announces his candidacy to the residents of Springfield, Illinois — poetically associating himself with Abraham Lincoln.

I suspect of all the presidential aspirants, he will be covered most extensively by user-generated content and various social media systems.

Rodrigo y Gabriela at The Independent, Oct 24, 2006

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Oct 24, 2006 at The Independent
Originally uploaded by Lyndon Wong.

An intimate sell-out crowd gathered tonight at The Independent in San Francisco to hear virtuoso acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela perform. Most of us heard about them the same way… some radio airplay on KFOG or word-of-mouth supported by audio and video snippets on YouTube and MySpace. Social media clearly helps new ideas spread fast with minimal advertising spend, especially when it concerns music.

My personal highlight from tonights performance had to be the guitar duo’s rendition of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. RodGab, as they label themselves for short, will go far. Thanks to social media, even a middle-ager like myself, unconnected to the latest in music, quickly recognized their talents.

Fans may appreciate Mike Peyzner’s excellent photos from the concert, including the shot of Gabriela above.

Flickr geo-tagging

Flickr geo-tagging
Originally uploaded by Lyndon Wong.

Finally, this weekend I had a chance to try out Flickr’s relatively new geo-tagging feature, using images taken on a recent visit to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I could zoom-in to specific satellite views of the canyon, and place photos from my trip onto specific segments of hiking trails visible in the satellite map imagery. Despite the high number of photos already available for the Grand Canyon region, I applied the world’s first Flickr geo-tags for photos of the Indian Gardens and Plateau Point, both well-known hiking destinations accessed via the Bright Angel Trail below the South Rim. In a modest sense, I felt the joy of a pioneer :-).

Flickr geo-tagging is a fascinating social media user-experience for both the content tagger and the viewing audience. Andy Laakmann, founder of Webshots, actually discussed a very similar notion around the year 2000. But at that time, sateliite-image enhanced maps were not readily available, nor were the rich browser UI capabilities and mapping mash-up API’s that enable a compelling no-install user experience.

All goes to illustrate that every good idea has a proper place and time. Flickr turned out to be the right place, and August 28, 2006 the right time. For the curious mind, this approach surly beats spinning a plastic globe and flipping through textbooks. Variants of the Flickr geo-tagging experience could be of great value for identifying lodging and dining options, submitted either by the user community or advertisers, preferably an orderly combination of both.

HackDay 2006

HackDay 2006

Cool and genuine, this Sept 29 – 30, 2006 HackDay event hosted by Yahoo. Here’s what the Sunnyvale HQ campus looked like, complete with overnight guests:

Flickr photo by laughingsquid

And here’s a funky video commemorating the event by the musician Beck, who performed Friday evening for the assembled crowd of 500 or so:

Thousands of photos on flickr tagged hackday06.

I must concur with Michael Arrington of TechCrunch… “something special happened at Yahoo“.


Web 2.0 Business Models?

Web 2.0 Business Models?

Spending this early Sunday morning catching up with blog activity from various former colleagues. Especially like thoughtful posts from Adam Wolff, Narendra Rocherolle and Raj Kapoor – all gifted digerati actively grappling with the future of software. They comment on aspects of Web 2.0 that many find befuddling. Why is this important? How does it make money? What is the basis of recent valuations of acquired applications?

The new services seem destined to be free, and to generate economic value only as potential ad media placements or as acquisitions. Presumably, all those teenagers and young adults reveal enough via their open communications for marketers to instigate a stampede to various products and services. And the economic opportunity appears confined to serving the young audience, because older generations do not adopt these Web 2.0 services in sufficiently large numbers to support significant advertising business models.

Interesting riddle.

Funtwo’s Canon: Digital Media Tipping Point

Funtwo’s Canon: Digital Media Tipping Point

I was struck by recent New York Times coverage of a mysterious virtuoso electric guitar rendition of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon that has become the sixth most popular video of all time on YouTube.

Quoting from the article:

This process of influence, imitation and inspiration may bedevil the those who despair at the future of copyright but is heartening to connoisseurs of classical music. Peter Robles, a composer who also manages classical musicians, points out that the process of online dissemination — players watching one another’s videos, recording their own — multiplies the channels by which musical innovation has always circulated. Baroque music, after all, was meant to be performed and enjoyed in private rooms, at close range, where others could observe the musicians’ technique. “That’s how people learned how to play Bach,” Mr. Robles said. “The music wasn’t written down. You just picked it up from other musicians.”
At a moment in pop history when it seems to take a phalanx of staff — producers, stylists, promoters, handlers, agents — to make a music star, I asked Mr. Lim about the huge response to the video he had made in his bedroom. What did he make of the tens of thousands of YouTube commenters, most of whom treat him as though he’s the second coming of Jimi Hendrix? Mr. Lim wrote back quickly. “Some said my vibrato is quite sloppy,” he replied. “And I agree that so these days I’m doing my best to improve my vibrato skill.”

A complete chain of digital media creation, publication and appreciation technologies have at last been made accessible to non-specialists, to stunning effect. Do those enjoying the fruits of the Internet revolution fully appreciate how fortunate they are?

Rare Sunset at Baker Beach

Sunset at Baker Beach
Originally uploaded by Lyndon Wong.

Tourists and locals alike can appreciate the rarity of this moment captured in a photo. Baker Beach in San Francisco is warm enough for shorts, and the horizon is sufficiently clear to allow a setting sun to cast a warm glow on happy faces. The norm is coastal fog, wind and sub-60 temperatures by this time of day.