★ Flickr

It's not often that I find value in any web based service. When Yahoo started charging for POP access, I threw a fit. I've stuck with Blogger even though more advanced (aka more expensive) CMS solutions exist out there. There is, however, one service that I saw enough value in to actually pay for.

I bought a Flickr pro account over the weekend. This has seriously got to be the best way to manage and share your digital photos. To be brutally honest, Imagestation and Ofoto are complete piles of crap compared to Flickr. First of all, they make you create an account just to view pictures. How many times have I been excited to see pictures from someone's camera only to give up when forced to set up an account. Even worse, no one really cares to remember their log in next time more pictures are uploaded. With Flickr, you don't have to be a member to view the pictures. Just bookmark a member's homepage and you can visit anytime.

The coolest thing about Flickr are the different ways you can share and view others' photos. I didn't quite understand how cool Flickr was until I really started playing with it. You can organize photos in the way we're all used to doing it; with albums. Flickr does that, but takes it a step further. You can assign tags to photos. They are like keywords that help you organize your photos. Plus you can assign as many tags as you like to a picture. You can then browse your photos by tag name, such as "birthday" or "memorialday". Even cooler than that, is that you can actually browse all the pictures on Flickr with the same tag. And I haven't even talked about integrating it with my blogs, posting directly from your cameraphone, RSS feeds, downloadable hi-res photos, etc. I could go on and on.

With my pro account, I eventually plan to move all my albums from my website to my Flickr page. And if I'm really bored, everything from iPhoto as well. I know I'll keep my albums around so as not to waste all that time coding them. So give Flickr a chance. Play around with it and maybe even create a account. If you do, add me as a contact!