FlickrFan tonight. Though there are some kinks in it at launch, the service leverages a number of APIs to do some very cool things.Long-time inventor Dave Winer has released an early version of his new Mac software called
FlickrFan is basically a screen saver program that will display high-resolution images from any Flickr account, recent Associated Press photos or any other RSS feed with media enclosures (so Flickr tag streams or Photobucket feeds should be no problem). Presumably this is only the beginning. The software is run off of Winer's all-too-unwieldy OPML Editor, but FlickrFan looks much easier to use.
Users can easily schedule downloads of their photos, to back up their Flickr accounts locally for example, they can drag and drop photos to a desktop folder for upload to a Flickr account, there's link sharing via Twitter and a shared-photos feed for every user.
Flickr RSS feeds only make 20 items available at a time and Winer doesn't seem to have figured out how how to get around that. I hope he does, perhaps they'll work with him on it - it's a pretty big buzz kill.
The sharing is clunky - you have to go through the "events" page in your account to share a photo that you've seen in your screensaver. Maybe I'll get used to this, I don't know. Hopefully Winer will stick with the app and make it really nice to use - it's not there yet but the potential is big and you can feel how close it is. Podcasting News says the big picture here is that HDTV is the new platform. That sounds good to me.
Winer and Robert Scoble are encouraging people to set FlickrFan up on a Mac Mini connected to a big screen HDTV and that does sound like a lot of fun to me. Scoble has said that he'll do a live streaming video demonstration of FlickrFan from his cell phone tonight.
Particularly given the Bhutto assassination today, there's a lot of particularly moving AP photography coming through FlickrFan right now. Hopefully the bugs and burps in the service will be worked out soon - or at least as soon as Winer can unglue himself from coverage of the news on CNN. It's definitely software I'm glad to have on my computer.