Scoopt – citizen journalists get an outlet

For some reason, I saw Scoopt, thought it was a great idea, and neglected to write anything about it here! Anyway, allow me to do so now… From their FAQ:

What is Scoopt?

Scoopt is a media agency that has been created specifically to help members of the public sell photographs and videos of newsworthy events to the press.

There’s been a sudden interest in “citizen journalism” – at least in the UK – following the exclusives captured by cameraphones in the London Underground on 7th July and Scoopt is there specifically for this kind of reporting.

Anyway, right now Scoopt exists as a great idea, in need of more members from the general public. Join up on the Scoopt site.

AJAX and all that jazz

I have to say, as a long-time non-fan of Javascript, the idea of depending on it to make things nicer didn’t really appeal. I think my subconcious was successfully preventing me from following those tempting links on Webreference, Sitepoint and of course Adaptive Path, promising me the ability to take my web apps to the next level, create amazing interactivity while retaining compliance and generally making my life worth living.

Of course, apps like Gmail, which I still remember being amazed by when I first got a look at the beta about a year and a half ago, drag you inexorably toward wanting to get some of the same interactivity action. My old school usability head was still in control though. Then I showed an admin app I’m building to a friend and top notch web geek and he said it’s a lot like AJAX and that was it: I was turning to the Dark Side.

So, what’s the big deal? Can you have funky load-in-the-background stuff and keep the usability? Does losing the back button damn us to interface hell? And can you get all the niceness without going insane from coding Javascript anyway?

Well, so far I think you can. Yes, you lose the back button – that’s one of the main things you can’t get around or easily build any nice alternative. You could have an in-page “back” button (or “undo”, whatever) but that could be interesting to code. In any case, can you normally trust the back button in a web app? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t trust it when I’m taking a look at my bank account. Of course, that doesn’t apply in the case of things like Google Maps, where going back is a useful feature or would be.

Something I really hate in this kind of app is that you can’t bookmark specific pages (or “views” I suppose we should call it, as there usually is only one page.) Google Maps gets this right by having a simple “Link to this page” to get a URL that will take you right to the same view. (Here’s where I’m sat right now…)

At the moment, I’ve tried a couple of toolkits, both of which seem pretty nice: Sajax and xajax. I like the latter’s way of working slightly more, but there’s not a lot in it. More soon, once I’ve given these a proper going over.

So, while this is a completely incomplete (can I say that?) look at AJAX, I’m going to be investigating further…

Canon 5D DSLR rumour mill

Ah, how I love the rumour always associated with possible new Canon cameras (especially DSLRs)… This time it’s the turn of the 5D and it certainly looks like, if true, it’ll be an interesting addition to their DSLR line-up. The usual “It’s real!”, “No, it’s fake!” is going on, but I’m hoping for true.

One of the biggest issues with this model is the name 5D is the name of Konica/Minolta’s budget DSLR, which should be fun! Then again, this is aimed at a completely different segment – I’m not sure too many shooters in the market for a full-frame Canon will be accidently purchasing the Maxxum (or vice-versa, given the price differential.)

The supposed features:

  • 13 MPX Sensor, full frame
  • 3 fps to a maximum of 60 shots at high quality JPEG
  • 9 point AF
  • 2.5″ LCD
  • Magnesium body
  • USB 2.0

Cosmetically, it’s a lot like a 20D but with that nice big screen dominating the rear. Much discussion is about how it looks like a Photoshop-adapted 20D in fact, but there are enough differences that at the very least it was a nice bit of work pushing pixels! IMHO, the thing doesn’t look all that Photoshopped, but what’s the diff?

Most commenters seem to have missed the price, given in this PDF: 3.459€ which sounds about right to me.

I’ll stick my neck out and say that the announcement will come, as purported, at the end of August, with the camera available in October.