Introducing FlickrFan

Update: Over a month ago, I visited Dave Winer’s Berkeley, Calif. home. We went for a walk that knocked the wind out of me, but during course of our conversation, Dave mentioned that he was working on something new. After nearly 45 minutes of rigorous walking, we returned to his house and he showed me an early version of his new application, FlickrFan.

One caveat, the first beta release is Mac only. That’s because I’m doing all my work on the Mac, and this is a one-man show. Later we will work it out for Windows too, and with a bit more work and a bit more luck, for Linux.

It is a simple application — download and install it on your Mac, and using RSS it pulls down images from Flickr and displays them on your screen. It can be a Mac Mini attached to a giant LCD screen or simply your iMac. Doesn’t matter! What matters is that images become almost like a constantly changing channel. Dave showed me his personal channel where photographs from professional news photographers were mixed with baby pictures, photos of vacations long forgotten and friends we have forgotten to call for a long time.

This is a highly personal use of RSS, just like Dave envisioned it long time ago. Our readers are pointing out that there are similar offerings for Windows platform, Slickr in particular. I wasn’t aware of that application, and glad to hear about it. It is understandable that some might be underwhelmed, but to me it is not the application, but the concept that is more exciting.

As broadband becomes faster, who is to say that we can’t randomly pull videos (that some day will be better quality than today) that interest us from YouTube and automatically display them on our screens. What FlickrFan shows that with ample broadband, open platform (PC or a Mac or a Linux device) and RSS (or some such subscription mechanism), we can create real simple convergence.