Easter in the Cemetery 2005
Monday, Mar 28, 2005
AliAs has become our annual tradition, Rachel and I and a bunch of friends went to a nice brunch on Easter Sunday and took easter eggs to a cemetery where we did some sightseeing and photography.

The first year it was just Rachel and me wandering around the cemetery across the street from my apartment in Pittsburgh. Last year it was Karen, Crystal, Gina, and a tiny, old (150 years; that's old by California standards) cemetery in Half Moon Bay, where we dyed the eggs off the back of the car with vinegar we brought and cold water we got from the diner next door.

This year eleven of us went to a really fine brunch at Crimson then went to Oak Hills cemetery, a sprawling expanse of resting places in such a variety of ages, themes, and ostentation. Along the way we took plenty of pictures which I'm sure Rachel and I will be posting for several days.

To start things off though, I have a small gallery of portraits I shot at brunch and later. Last month I got a new lens, a fixed 50mm f/1.4. It's a really fast lens (lets in a lot of light allowing for fast shutter speeds and very narrow depths of field) and was great for indoor photography. Using spot-metering for exposure, I got a lot of nice pictures with good subject tones and completely blown out backgrounds. I really like this effect.

Mostly because they do a better job than I can, I've taken to using Flickr for most of my blog galleries for the time being. Feel free to comment on pictures there.


Transparent Desktop meme
Thursday, Mar 24, 2005
The latest photography meme is to take a picture of what's behind your computer monitor and make it your desktop picture. In addition to what a cool effect this is, it's another example of the power of Flickr, that I could just go there and find a collection of transparent desktop pictures that people have made in the last two days. I recommend the slideshow.

Also of note is that Flickr has added a 'popular tags in the last day' and 'last week' list, so you can get a sense of what's going on in the blogging world, and see the photographic evidence. It makes things like today's Playstation Portable release into a communal event.

Yahoo buys Flickr! (actually, they buy Ludicorp)
Sunday, Mar 20, 2005
After rumors, cagey refutations, and more rumors of acquisition countered by rumors of next-round VC funding, Ludicorp (creators of Flickr) today announced that they have indeed concluded an acquisition deal with Yahoo.

Personally, I (almost) couldn't be happier with the news. Unlike a lot of acquisitions happening in this space by leading internet companies, Flickr wasn't a technological or 'quick-fix' acquisition. They've really hit the spot on how photo sharing on the net can be scalable, community oriented, and centered around the photographers, and not a proscribed business model.

Unlike so many sites based on premises like 'we can make money by getting people to print their photos through us' or 'we can make money by using other people's content to build the walls of our garden a little bit higher,' Flickr instead is a mirror of the web, where photos are atomic pieces of content, like web pages. The ability to create linkages between photos based on common theme, author, reader favorites, or collaborative groups, means that the Flickr site is a fertile bed, full of nutrients giving rise to communities formed through usage, instead of (well, in addition to) explicit friendship circles.

Flickr didn't start out as what it is today. Stewart and Caterina started Flickr small, with a group of users who were highly focused on both photography and online community, and they paid close attention to what worked about the site and what didn't, and they changed it again and again. There are so many features of Flickr that don't bear enumerating because they don't read well as an itemized feature list, but when you're actually reading or publishing through the site, you're constantly surprised by how well thought out it is, and how you can do nearly anything you want.

One of my favorites is the concept of monthly storage allowance. 500 megs of photo space sounds generous when you've only uploaded four pictures, but when you're at 450 megs, it seems a lot smaller. Opting instead to let people upload a fixed amount of data per month, Flickr allows users to throttle themselves if they're adding too much too fast, instead of forcing them to hit a functional brick wall when their quota approaches at highway speeds.

I was also encouraged to read that Flickr isn't seen by Yahoo as a Photos substitute. They each have their own user base, with their own wants and needs, and merging the two would only end up with muzak (and picking one over the other would result in pebcak, as one set of users' application knowledge becomes obsolete).

I'm eager to see how this fits into Yahoo 360, and hopefully I don't have more than a week or so to wait, though Flickr integration may take a bit longer, unless the deal's been signed for a while now, and integration is already well underway. Then again, maybe I speak too soon. Flickr already provides RSS and Atom feeds of almost any page you can get to on its site, so much of the groundwork may already be laid down.

Congrats Ludicorp, and congrats Yahoo. Now let's see if we can get Game Neverending back up off the ground!

Think with the camera
Friday, Mar 18, 2005
Talk about moblogging dedication. Heather always has her camera at the ready.
The Password design pattern: My single biggest web peeve
Friday, Mar 11, 2005
Okay, aside from the larger problems of having to have passwords at all, the need for multiple passwords to prevent your global security being lowered to the scruples/security of your weakest content provider, frequency attacks, and all the rest, my biggest peeve is entirely the site owner's fault, and is so easily fixed.

The following scenario happens to me at least twice a month:

  1. Go to rarely-visited site requiring registration (eg The Mercury News)
  2. Enter email address (I like that more and more places are using email addresses as unique identifiers instead of usernames. This is good.)
  3. Enter my most-standard password
  4. Find out that the password is incorrect. Try a variation
  5. Still incorrect, try another variation
  6. Asked again for my email address so they can send me a password-reset link
  7. Go to email, follow link to reset page
  8. On this reset page, and only on this reset page I'm told what the password requirements are. In this case, at least 6 characters, at least one of which can't be a letter
  9. Instantly know what my password was all along, based on these obscure restrictions

    And these steps are just icing on the SJ Merc cake:)

  10. 'Change' my password to what the password was all along
  11. Get presented with the site's home page, not the story I was originally trying to access
  12. Find the original article link I followed in the first place
  13. Click that link
  14. get presented with the LOGIN SCREEN.
  15. Be thankful that I have at least the chimplike IQ to remember the password I just entered
  16. Read the story I spent 10 minutes acquiring access to

Leaving aside the dumbfounded wonder of why my newspaper identification account has to be so secure as to necessitate password-acceptability constraints (Oh no! Someone is reading the news while pretending to be me!!), I ask you: how hard would it be to help out the user by reminding them of the idiosyncratic password constraints of your site after they enter the wrong password the first time? ("Your password was incorrect. Remember, SJ Merc passwords are at least 6 characters, one of which may not be a letter.")

For one of the most common design patterns on the web, it's amazing this one is usually so poorly implemented and non-standardized.

Totally easy photo and video colorization
Thursday, Mar 10, 2005
Put a few representative color scribbles on a b/w image and the software will colorize it accordingly. The quality of the result is truly impressive.

After looking at the photo results, I was blown away by the video results. Looks like Ted Turner has a new toy...

Exercise = life
Thursday, Mar 10, 2005
Rachel and I biked 10 miles before work today, and I feel so good. It's been too long since we've kept with this routine. I'm so glad Spring's here.
The Memory of Sound
Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005
They say that our sense of smell has the strongest ability to evoke long-distant memories, but sound can't be far behind.

Today's trash pick-up day and as I'm sitting here in my home-office the ultrasonic squeal of the garbage truck's brakes takes me back to waiting for the school bus, lost in a book, when the sharp bright sound of the bus's overtaxed brakes is the first cue that it's time to dog-ear the page, get up from my Indian-style repose atop my backpack on the sidewalk, and climb aboard for the hour's ride to the fourth grade.

See how my day is shaping up?
Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005
What's worse than a flat tire when you're about to leave for work?

Two flat tires. Gah. Now how'd that happen, and did I drive home on them last night? I'd think I'd notice something like that.

Memories made real
Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005
So the funny part is that one minute I'm blogging about the nostalgia of riding the bus to school, and an hour later my girlfriend is driving me to work because my car's out of order, much as my mom used to do when I missed the bus.

Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

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I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox