Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Anybody who takes more than ten photos per year (and everybody has at least a point-and-shoot camera these days) needs a good online photo sharing service. I have been a diehard fan of Smugmug for several years now. I love the elegant, somewhat Apple-like interface, the slick animations, the ability to easily organize and tag photos, the fact that pictures can be displayed at seven different sizes, that it is easy and fast to order high-quality prints, not to mention the significant integration with Google Maps and Google Earth. While I have realized that Flickr seems better equipped for more 'Web 2.0' interactivity (maybe largely due to the sheer number of users and photographs), and that there are far more photographs of turbidites on Flickr than Smugmug , I find the Flickr user interface confusing and its design inferior to that of Smugmug, with a lack of style that does not do justice to the zillions of great photos that are out there on the servers.
Having said that, I have recently started to use and appreciate Flickr a lot more. The reason: the updated Apple TV can stream photos directly from Flickr. Television sets with high-definition screens might be a bit ahead of the time due to the limited number of easily (and cheaply) available HD TV programming and movies, but they are perfect for displaying even relatively low-resolution photographs in brilliant colors and surprising clarity. After all, the best HDTVs have a pixel count of 1080 x 1920, and you get more than two megapixels with most digital cameras. Sitting down with a glass of wine and discovering good photographs on a big screen while listening to music is my favorite new pastime and I think it is a lot more enjoyable than browsing photos on much smaller computer screens that usually have a lot of clutter in addition to the photograph.
Now, if Apple was smart and kind enough to put Smugmug on Apple TV as well...