Mute photos in the Flickr iPhone app

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Flickr’s new iPhone app (free) is very well done. The Flickr blog has listed 10 tips for getting the most out of it, including this clever mute option:

“Activities and conversations related to photos is one of the things people love about Flickr. We’ve made it easy to engage with the Flickr community and we’ve made it equally easy to mute conversations that you’d like to leave. Simply swipe over the item in your activity feed and tap the mute button. Easy.”

I love it. The other nine tips are just as good.

Smartphone as camera

Last week I spent 11 hours in a huge, crowded theme park. I saw rides, sweaty children, overpriced commemorative plastic cups and lots of people taking photographs. There was the occasional weirdo with a DSLR (who can navigate an amusement park with one of those monstrosities?), but most people were point-and-shoot photographers. And most of them were using phones.

As the camera optics in smartphones improve, I don’t know how camera manufacturers are going to keep up. I bought a Canon PowerShot about a year ago and rarely touch it. Why should I? My iPhone 4S is always with me. It’s got 8-megapixel resolution and a flash. It’s small, light and has decent storage. Plus, the iPhone lets me immediately edit and share photos in a huge number of ways. The Canon makes me wait until I’m home. Even then, I must connect to a computer, upload the photos, get them into an app and then work with them.

My own observations suggest that people use phones to take casual photographs more often than point-and-shoot cameras. That’s anecdotal, of course, so let’s look at some empirical data.

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