This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Flickr upsets early adopters
Lots of people are throwing a fit over the changes being made over at Flickr. The changes include requiring everyone to merge their old Flickr account with a Yahoo! account, not allowing you to have more than 3,000 contacts and not allowing a photo to have more than 75 tags.

While I don't like having to merge my account (because I'm not a Yahoo! fan and I don't use any of their services except YIM at work), it wasn't a big deal for me. And the other two changes won't affect me much either.

However, after reading the angry posts on Flickr, two things hit me:

1. Why didn't Flickr try a little harder?
While this change affects a relatively small number of people, these are the people who helped Flickr grow into the type of service that Yahoo! wanted to acquire. The way they communicated it could have been a bit better. Sure, it isn't a big deal to most people; however, it is clearly a big deal to some of the early adopters. Why not craft a more thoughtful message/approach to the changes?

One thing I've learned about early adopters is that they will be extremely loyal... until you piss them off. Then, they will often ditch your service just on principle. I'm not going to do that in this case; however, I have definitely done that in the past with services like Sirius who I felt treated me poorly.

2. Why aren't these early adopters more upset about the total lack of innovation at Flickr over the past couple of years?

I've been a paying member since September 2004 (I think) and very little has changed in terms of features.

My biggest gripe is how the site really downplays its community-based content (i.e. try to easily see all of the stuff from your Groups in a single place). I would consume so much more Flickr content if I just had a good way to browse to the stuff I've already said I care about (like stuff in my Groups).

And how 'bout better tools for creating sets, like Zooomr's Smart Sets? If I tag a bunch of things as "smorty71," the system should go ahead and create a set with those photos... or at least ask me if I want to make one once I upload a certain number.

And don't get me started on the home page. Are you deliberately trying to show as little interesting content as possible (while making plenty of room for co-brands that most people won't ever use)?

I'm going to stick with Flickr for a couple of reasons:

1. I'm paid up through the end of the year
2. While it lacks innovation, it still meets my basic photo needs. Sure, I would love for them to do something more interesting; however, I can still do most of things I want with it.

I know neither of those things are like the glowing endorsements I used to do back in 2004; however, they could have done a lot more with the money and resources that the Yahoo! acquisition gave them and they didn't.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Helping the Kim family
Dave Zatz over at Zatz Not Funny has started a cool contest/memorial fund for the family of James Kim.

For every $10 you send Dave via PayPal, he will enter your name in a drawing to win a cool TiVo toaster (which actually toasts the TiVo logo onto the bread).

You have until January 31st to donate. I just did it. Hopefully others will, too.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Maddox Milo?
Amy and I have been trying to settle on a name for the baby for a couple of weeks now. Of course, it has to start with an "M," so we had some limitations on the range of choices. However, even with that limitation, we were still having a tough time.

Now, we have a name we like, but I am worried about how it might be perceived. The first name that we really like is "Maddox;" however, considering that is the name of one of Angelina Jolie's kids, it looks like we copied it (even though we saw the name and liked it before we realized where we had heard it before). A quick search of the Social Security database shows that Maddox came out of left field in 2003 (I'm guessing that's when Jolie adopted) and has grown in popularity ever since. I'm not sure why it bothers me that people might think we copied it, but it does.

The middle name we like is "Milo." Our concern there is that it is too close to our son Miles' name. However, considering it will be a middle name, it probably wouldn't be a big deal.

Even with this two minor issues, I still really like the name "Maddox Milo" and I'm hoping that is what we go with.
Monday, January 15, 2007
MySpace turns out to be sorta useful
I was hacking around on my MySpace profile doing some research for how we might integrate MySpace into Profilactic. I guess I must have added some information that trigger alerts to existing MySpace users because, within a couple of hours, I had messages from several people from high school and college.

The coolest part was that they were all people I wanted to get in touch with. It was nice to actually see names that I recognized in my friend request list rather than "sexycandy" or "brooke~is~naughty."

So, despite all of the terrible things I've said about MySpace, it may turn out to be useful (in small doses, of course).
Thursday, January 11, 2007
It's a boy!
We had another ultrasound today and found out that we're having a boy. Mira, of course, is mad at us because she demanded a "girl baby!!!"

Now, we have to figure out the name. I want "Mars Manley," but I am definitely in the minority with that one. Could end up being "Miller McIntyre" or some other "M-M" combination.
My XBOX 360 is gathering dust
If you are keeping up with my XBOX 360's blog (and I know you are), you'll notice that my 360 has been collecting dust for over a week.

Part of it is that I have been busy with Profilactic stuff. Part of it is that there is very little HD content that I have been recording on my Media Center PC (which I stream through my 360) with all of the holiday breaks that most shows took. And a big part of it is the Wii.

When I have 10 or 15 minutes to game (which is much of the time lately), it is so much easier and more fun to fire up the Wii and play Wii Sports than it is to try and jump into a game on the 360.
Monday, January 8, 2007
PS3 is completely underwhelming
We finally got the PS3 hooked up in the office today and I have to say it was pretty underwhelming. Now, anyone who reads this blog knows that I am pretty down on Sony, so take this for what it's worth. However, there were 4 or 5 other people in the room and all of them shared the same opinion.

Issues I had:

Setup
We plugged in the HDMI cable between the TV and the PS3. We powered up the TV and the PS3. We got a black screen. We toggled the power on and off a couple of times and still nothing.

We eventually had to break out the manual to get the PS3 to reset its settings and work on our 1 year-old 42" Samsung HDTV. The solution? Hold down the power "button" on the front for 5 seconds. That's intuitive.

Not sure what was wrong; however, we suspected that the PS3 was set up for 1080p and our TV is 1080i. Dunno, but it was a crappy out-of-the-box experience.

Another annoyance involves powering it up. The PS3 has a power switch on the back of the unit. THE BACK! That is in addition to the nearly invisible power "button" (it's not even a button, just a slightly raised power icon) on the front. You have to turn both on to get the PS3 powered up.

It took us over 10 minutes to get the PS3 hooked up and working.

PS3 UI

Who ever designed the PS3's default interface should be fired. It is awful. The first experience you give users of this $600 1080p HD-capable console is a black-and-white set of icons? We all thought there was something wrong with our TV.

And once you get over the lack of color, the menu system is frustrating too. It's as if Sony took everything that would be intuitive and added 2 or 3 layers of complexity on it.

The funniest part was that we COULDN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO START THE GAME THAT WAS IN THE PS3! We had the Madden 07 disc in the PS3, but we couldn't find where to start the game in the PS3 menu system. Eventually we stumbled upon it; however, it wasn't very obvious.

Controller
The controller is where the rubber meets the road in terms of gaming. The fact that Sony didn't really redesign the controller means that the PS3 feels just like the PS2. Seems like they would want to differentiate the products in the hands of the consumer (even if just with a superficial upgrade).

Gameplay
So after all of the frustration in getting the PS3 set up and starting up a game, was there really any improvement in the gameplay or the graphics? Nope. It was just like looking at the XBOX 360 version of Madden.

The other guys in the room questioned whether it even looked as good as the XBOX 360. To my eye, it seemed to be pretty much the same.

I didn't bother trying to watch a Blu-ray movie because I had seen enough. If the PS3 ever overtakes the XBOX 360 in market share, I will be shocked.

Being an XBOX and Nintendo fan, I still welcomed competition from Sony in order to keep the companies on their toes. However, this thing is pretty lame all the way around.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Scored two more Wii remotes!
Target is turning out to be a great place for Wii shoppers. Of course, I got my Wii there last week. And then, tonight after work, I was able to get two Wii remotes.

Scored 2 more Wii remotes today!

I had gone to the Gamestop around the corner from Target and was told by the GS employee not to expect Wii remotes until the end of January and that I could just pre-order the Wii Play bundle which includes a remote. Considering I rarely get credible info from GS employees (and I hate to be upsold), I decided to try Target anyway.

After seeing that Target had removed the end cap that had held the empty racks where the Wii remote and nunchuks should go, I thought I was out of luck. However, I asked the clerk if they had any and, much to my surprise, he said, "Sure. Lots of 'em."

Turns out that they had just gotten a shipment and he had a whole box of Wii remotes that hadn't even been put on the shelves. Even though I wanted just one remote and a nunchuk (they didn't have any nunchuks), I felt compelled to grab two remotes since they were so hard to find.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
My photo to be used on Wonder Pets
A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by someone at Little Airplane Productions via Flickr about using one of my Navy Pier photos for a TV show. I've received a couple of random requests like that from Flickr users in the past, so I didn't take it too seriously.

However, after checking out Little Airplane Productions, I realized that they are the company behind one of our kids' favorite shows, Wonder Pets (as well as Little Bill and Oobi).

After exchanging a couple of e-mails, I agreed to let Little Airplane use this photo:

Navy Pier

So if you're a Wonder Pets fan, keep an eye out for my photo.
Someone is spoofing my domain for spam
When I checked my e-mail this morning, I found about 15 "mail not deliverable" e-mail bounces in my inbox. On closer inspection, it appears that someone is spoofing my shawnmorton dot com domain address to send spam.

If you have received any spam from that domain (and you are here to kick my digital ass), please know that I did not send the spam and I am working on getting this resolved. Sorry.

What a way to kick off the New Year!

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.