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As you know, tin is in my blood. For generations my family has worked with this most useful of metals. When I joined Yahoo! back in '21, it was a sheet-tin concern of great momentum, growth and innovation. I knew it was the place for me.Butterfield and Fake join a number of illustrious figures leaving Yahoo! recently. It is not clear what will happen to Flickr now; presumably it will continue on on its considerable momentum, until whoever's in charge at Yahoo (or Microsoft or News Corp. or whoever ends up buying it) cocks everything up, or else does a mp3.com and trashes it, replacing it with a craptacular new site also named flickr.com.
Speaking of craptacular sites, MySpace are redesigning their website to minimise some of the clutter, and have enlisted the services of design consultancy Adaptive Path. It's not clear how much suck they will end up removing, or whether the site will be significantly less unpleasant to use.
Microsoft has abandoned its attempt to buy Yahoo!, having failed to reach an acceptable price and decided against a hostile takeover (which would have involved the legal equivalent of house-to-house combat and probably ended up with most of Yahoo's best people leaving for Google or someone). Across the world, millions of Flickr and del.icio.us users (particularly those who don't use Windows) breathe a little more easily.
Of course, it's not necessarily over; Yahoo's share price will almost certainly slump in the short term, and if their attempts to turn their business around don't bear fruit, Microsoft could come back a few months later and pick them up for less. Unless, of course, they buy AOL instead.
Yahoo to merge with AOL? Apparently the deal (still being hammered out) would involve Yahoo acquiring AOL and Time Warner acquiring 20% of the combined company in return. If it goes through, it may be good enough to stop Microsoft from absorbing Yahoo, as they have been making increasingly menacing noises about. Which means that we may be able to access Flickr with non-IE browsers for a while longer.
Holy shit, Microsoft have made an offer to buy Yahoo, for a generous US$44.6bn. I hope that this doesn't happen; given how Microsoft are fond of leveraging their power to lock people into using their products, a Microsoft-owned Yahoo would be bad news. We could probably expect things like YUI going the way of the Dimension X Java VRML libraries (remember those?) and Flickr being rewritten as a Silverlight application and/or requiring Windows Vista/7 to upload photos.
Yahoo has announced that it will be an OpenID provider, allowing users to log into OpenID-enabled sites using their Yahoo ID. Of course, as Yahoo want everyone to have a Yahoo ID (which gives them clout in targeted advertising), they have no plans "at this time" to accept OpenID logins from other providers.
Photo-sharing site Flickr has recently implemented a draconian censorship policy; under the new policy, users in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Germany are prevented from turning off content filtering which blocks them from seeing any accounts which have posted non-"safe" content. (I'm surprised that Australia, with its strict censorship regime, is not on this list. Perhaps they forgot about it?) There has been a firestorm of protest here.
Flickr's management have issued a sequence of content-free communiqués regretting the decision and saying that they're working on a solution, and basically spinning like Tony Blair on speed to appear cool and easy-going, without actually committing to any course of action; it appears that for all their professed hipness, they have as much input into how Flickr is actually run as Frank the Goat has into LiveJournal, and the risk-averse bean-counters and lawyers at Yahoo HQ are calling the shots.
Anyway, as long as this policy is in place, I will not be uploading new photographs to my Flickr account, and I urge those who are concerned about freedom of speech to do the same. Should this policy persist, I will look for alternative hosting for my photographs.
In their infinite wisdom, the management at Yahoo! head office decided, some time after buying Flickr, to eliminate old-sk00l Flickr accounts, and force everyone to get a Yahoo! ID. With the date of the shutdown looming (in two days' time), I have reluctantly walked the plank, Yahoo!'s cutlasses at my back, and jumped into the shark-infested waters of getting a Yahoo! ID (I had at least one, from years ago, which I didn't use, though I have now created a new one), and tying my Flickr account to it. My new ID is the same as my last.fm username, for what it's worth.
The ID came with free webmail, as everything does these days. Yahoo!'s new webmail client is quite an impressive showcase for the power of their AJAX user interface library, and does some quite slick things. Unfortunately, Yahoo! being considerably more corporate than Google, the pane in which you see your emails is tiny, with the bulk of the space being given over to a large, animated banner ad. (This is in addition to context-sensitive text ads.) I think I'll stick with Gmail for the time being, thanks.
I just hope that Yahoo! don't decide to fold Flickr into their mainstream photo-sharing site or otherwise attempt to maximise their revenue by cluttering it with ads.
BTW, those using Uploadr.py on Linux (or similar systems) to post to Flickr may be interested in knowing that there's now a new version that plays nicely with Yahoo! authentication.
A compelling argument claiming that Yahoo! will buy SixApart within six months. Which, given Yahoo!'s tradition of clueless heavy-handedness, means that TypePad and LiveJournal will be steamrolled into an all-new, cut-down and obnoxiously ad-saturated Yahoo! personal publishing solution for those who don't know any better. (See also: eGroups)
Link via David Gerard, who speculates that the smarter rats aboard the LiveJournal ship will already have sensed what's in the offing and made developing a method of cryptographic cross-site authentication their priority; this makes sense, as it will allow people to jump ship to their own LJ-based servers and keep the social-network functionality that made LJ useful, without having to get all their friends to agree which server to be on.
Yahoo Instant Messenger have changed their protocol yet again, locking out third-party clients. Cerulean Studios, makers of Windows multi-protocol client Trillian, crack the new protocol within 24 hours; shortly later, Gaim announce a new version, with a number of fixes, including the Yahoo fix. Which will probably filter through to the Debian package system sometime within the next 2 to 4 weeks
(Hmm; do I wait for the Debian package, or download and compile my own Gaim, taking charge of that package? I'll wait. A funny thing happens when a vendor shows the will to lock people out (as Yahoo have done before); people stop relying on them and move to other systems. At the moment, I don't expect Yahoo IM to work and generally don't bother with it. Though some of the other features, like MSN file transfers and user-icon dragging, look good.)
Speaking of MSN, it's reassuring that Microsoft haven't made good on the vague noises they made some time ago about locking unapproved clients out of their network. Perhaps they've realised that that would encourage people to move to other systems (read: AIM/ICQ); or perhaps they just haven't gotten around to it.
"Upgrading" is as simple as changing a version string. We already have it updated in Gaim 0.69. This was a no-brainer easy-to-fix thing, as was MSN.
If any Slashdot staff are watching, please, please refrain from posting articles related to IM unless you consult someone who knows what's going on. Too many trollish comments occur, and we get too many questions in Gaim support, all pointing at Slashdot as their source for the inaccurate information as to what's happening in IM.
Though wasn't it implied that from October, MSN's servers will require clients to produce a license certificate of some sort, which identify the client as a Microsoft-approved one, prior to connecting?
(If you don't want your IM network to be at the mercy of a profit-oriented corporation whose management may at any time decide to maximise profits by asserting control over your client, there's always Jabber, an open, decentralised, XML-based messaging system. Though nobody seems to be using that; I know of only one person on Jabber. Maybe if someone came up with some cute smiley themes for it...)
Fuck. Yahoo are following Microsoft and blocking third-party clients from their IM system, starting in a week's time.
Analysts believe Microsoft and Yahoo don't want third-party clients on their networks because they use their own clients to deliver advertisements and direct users to other services. "Both Microsoft and Yahoo value the control over the clients and the last thing they want is for their users to be using third-party clients on their networks," said Michael Gartenberg, a research director with Jupiter Research.
(Yes, they have a Linux client; but I'm not going to download it and give Yahoo my bandwidth to blast ads at me. Bugger that for a game of soldiers. If you want to reach me, use Jabber; my ICQ or AIM accounts will still work, at least until AOLTW lock those down.)
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