Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
For anyone who wants to see them, I’ve finally managed to upload the slides from my SXSWi talk “Taking over the World: the Flickr way”, a broad-sweep view of some of the issues and solutions we encountered whilst taking Flickr from an English-only site to supporting multiple languages.
You can find them over at the talks page, along with the details of my next scheduled talk at XTech in Dublin on May 5th 2008.
(Photo of me by Gareth on Flickr, used by permission)
Posted on Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
One day – one day – I’ll actually find a coherent theme, and a workflow which means that I post here regularly, and it’s interesting, and people are so enthralled that they actually subscribe to the RSS feed.
I’ve started vague plans in that direction which will hopefully coincide with my rapidly-approaching 30th birthday.
But in the meantime, I’ll be at South by Southwest in Austin TX from this Thursday. The interactive portion of the festival will mean actual work for me, schmoozing with people who make me feel tremendously stupid in comparison, and speaking a couple of times.
If you want to see me and my new haircut fumbling their way rustily through public speaking, you can catch me at the following times:
Monday March 10th, 7-9:30pm – 20×2 at The Parish, 214 E. 6th St., Austin TX
Tuesday March 11th, 5-6pm – “Taking Over the World the Flickr Way“, Room A, Austin Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez, Austin TX
The second event is the one which has me stressing manically over slides, being an hour-long presentation by little ol’ me on exactly how we turned Flickr from an English-only colossus into a globe-spanning 8-language slightly-bigger-colossus.
I promise that, as much as such things can, it’ll be fun.
Posted on Sunday, August 26th, 2007
Bit quiet on the posting front this week – mainly due to my traveling around Asia for the second leg of the “24 hours of Flickr”/International promotion tour.
I’m trying to keep photos up to date on Flickr – the Collection will give you a good overview of the weird and wonderful experiences we’re having out here.
In the past week, I’ve…
A quick bit of site update news – I’ve added a Talks page in the uber-optimistic hope that I’ll be giving more presentations on Flickr, Internationalisation and related topics in the near future. For now, it just contains one set of slides from the Korean talk, notable for the fact that the lovely folks at Yahoo! Korea translated all the text into Korean, to make things easier for those developers who didn’t have perfect English.
The talks page is here:
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to fly to Kuala Lumpur…
Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2007
This is not a new observation, but it’s something which just popped back onto my radar, sitting as I am in a hotel in Seoul, Korea.
Google really did introduce a horrible flaw when they first internationalised their site; one which hasn’t been corrected to this day.
The flaw is simple: they assume (seemingly by IP detection and nothing else) that the country you’re in is the language you speak, and that you will get a site localised in that language for as long as you’re surfing the web from there.
Whilst only mildly annoying when in, say, France, this is utterly disastrous for most western travelers to places like Korea, because we have no idea what the page is saying. Even worse, there’s no obvious way to navigate back to the English site, barring a small link on the site homepage (which you won’t see if you’re visiting the results page from a browser plugin; and is still bloody useless if you’re, say, German).
It’s always interesting when a company like Google – feted for their flawless execution, makes a schoolboy error like this, because it tends to reveal interesting things about that company’s culture.
Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2007
Apologies in advance for the multiple threads this site has recently developed – there are 2 active topics which I consider to be “ongoing” right now – productivity and finance, and I’m brewing up more tasty mind-beverages on those topics even as I type this.
Veering onto another topic entirely, though, today’s major preoccupation is international in nature. Right now I’m working n a talk I’ll be giving soon to a bunch of Korean developers in Seoul, regarding Flickr’s API. What’s interesting about this is the peculiar challenges it raises.
Firstly, I’m not 100% confident that my inevitably-slightly-manic English presentation will be all that understandable to a diverse group of Korean speakers. I’ve brewed up something of a defense against this – designing slides for the presentation which contain both an English component (so that the presentation matches the talk, and I know what’s going on, more-or-less), and a Korean translation. Hence the hurry to get the slides done – so that a Korean co-worker can translate! Nevertheless, it means that every design has to be somewhat “symmetrical”; and that there’s half the usual space per slide for any given concept.
But the really weird thing is how much uncertainty a foreign culture injects into the process of building entertaining presentations. In the circles I move in (amongst my fellow Flickr-ites, for example, and other talented presenters such as the lovely Mr Coates), the Done Thing these days is to illustrate one’s slides with somewhat-relevant photographs, usually as a background to the slide.
The approach makes a lot of sense for the Flickr team (we are, after all, in the business of hosting awesome photos), and has taken off in general due to the ease with which anyone can find good creative-commons licensed imagery through Flickr.
Using photography in this way also has the advantage of making the presentation immediately more visually appealing, and allows for a host of sly (or not so sly) jokes in the form of tangentially-related imagery, or flat-out visual punnery.