Outstreched arm

Friday, January 20, 2006

Photocasts are people! I mean photocasts are standard RSS!

Apple.comApple recently released a new version of their iLife suite, a never-even-remotely-matched set of applications for what has to be described - marketing speak and all - as "your digital lifestyle." Listen to music and podcasts, buy and watch videos, or make your own. Etc., et-freakin'-c. The new version of iPhoto has a simple but neat feature - "photocasting." Basically, a way to publish and subscribe to iPhoto albums.

When this was first shown by Steve Jobs, he tied it to .Mac, Apple's hosting/backup/remote everything solution. And why not - the program hasn't been insanely popular, and it's a comparatively painless way to keep data "out there" rather than "in here." What he merely hinted at, but didn't really say, was that photocasts aren't just iPhoto-created galleries; you can use iPhoto to view any properly formatted RSS picture feed.

For instance, my Flickr feed. Open your copy of iPhoto 6, go to File > Subscribe to Photocast, and paste the above url. Voila - my Flickr pictures in your iPhoto. Now how cool is that?

Well, pretty cool. As much as I love Flickr's interface, it's faster and more intuitive to let the photos download and browse them using iPhoto. You can have fullscreen slideshows, drag photos to your library... there's one solution to the problem of getting your pictures back from Flickr!

P.S. There has been some kvetching about the RSS iPhoto 6 creates being a bit loopy, but I haven't looked into it enough to know. Hopefully they'll standardize them. A problem I ran into was that some Flickr photos would download only the thumbnail size (regardless of the privacy option selected in Flickr.)

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