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Posts Tagged ‘smugmug’

Unbelievable 1080p video from Canon's new 1D Mark IV!

October 19, 2009 9 comments

Wow, Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Vincent Laforet has done it again! This time with Canon’s brand-new 1D Mark IV and a film shot at ISO6400. And SmugMug’s got it in all it’s full 1080p hi-def glory, of course.

UPDATE: Canon, whom I love, has requested that Vincent take the video down.  As a courtesy to both Vincent and Canon, we have done so, but hope to put it back up again as soon as they give us the green light.  Read more about it over on Vincent’s blog.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Related posts:

Nasty Safari bug not fixed since December :(

March 26, 2009 33 comments
A rotten little apple

A rotten little apple by Ashley Harding

Apple has had a nasty Safari bug since December which breaks SmugMug, Facebook, Gmail, and lots of US banks.

3 months later, it’s still not fixed. Your only option is to use Firefox if you’re affected.

Apple’s known about the problem since December, and has lots of internal bugs on the issue (30+ I last heard). (For my Apple readers, here’s our bug on the subject and the one it was marked as a duplicate of).

I’ve done everything I know how to get this resolved – Apple employees have been internally working on our behalf, we have an AppleCare Enterprise Support case open (#332101), I tried to open an ADC Premier case (it was denied because they don’t “provide code-level support for content creation issues” whatever that means). Still no luck.

Apparently this is fixed in Mac OS X 10.5.7. We have the latest seed, so we’re going to find out, but 10.5.7 is likely a month or more away from shipping, so expect this stuff to be be broken at least until then. Use Firefox.

Safari happens to be my favorite browser, so this is especially disheartening. The good news is you may not be affected. Not everyone running 10.5.6 with Safari is, for some reason, but lots of you are. You’ll know you are if you see SmugMug galleries which appear to be empty (but aren’t) or see ugly white pages with undecipherable error messages. For that, I apologize – I really wish we could help but we can’t. You can help yourself, though – use Firefox.

Put another way, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, sits on Apple’s board of directors. Gmail has also been broken for 3 months. Apparently he’s powerless too. 😦

Yahoo adds SmugMug support!

January 16, 2009 21 comments
Yahoo! in cloud OR Hadoop? (Яху в облаках)

Yahoo! in cloud OR Hadoop? (Яху в облаках) by Alexander & Natalie

tl;dr: Yahoo adds SmugMug support to Profiles. Windows Live coming. Lots of other services, too.

Wow, what a pleasant surprise! Woke up this morning to this story on TechCrunch about 20 new services they’d added to Yahoo Profiles (here’s mine). Lo and behold, SmugMug is one of them! In fact, in Yahoo’s blog post about the new features, SmugMug was the one mentioned for photos. Cool!

As far as I know, we haven’t talked to Yahoo about this at all – which is part of what makes this so great. Microsoft was supposed to have rolled something like this out to Windows Live profiles awhile ago, but I still haven’t seen it drop. We’re very excited about that, too, but the two company’s approaches were very different: Microsoft came over, chatted with us about the product, then had us sign a contract to participate. That was months ago, and I have no idea when it’s actually coming. Yahoo, on the other hand, seems to have just built it and shipped it.

I can see the arguments for both approaches: Microsoft is probably being extra careful about privacy, and working through their internal rules and regulations about re-using user generated content. Yahoo, on the other hand, is scrambling to catch up now as the underdog. I assume Yahoo realized that SmugMug already has strong privacy controls around our feeds and simply hit the gas – full speed ahead.

Either way, what’s especially heartening is the number of sites, services, and pieces of software that now support SmugMug. At The Crunchies last week, we weren’t nominated (we won for Best Design last year), but it still felt like we were winning – many of the winners use or integrate with us: Google Reader, Windows Live Mesh, Cooliris, lots of companies using Amazon Web Services, lots of apps on the iPhone 3G, and FriendFeed. Very cool.

(And all of that despite what we *know* is terrible and/or nonexistent documentation around our feeds. Yes, we’ll work on that.)

First 1080p video from Canon's new 5D MkII – Amazing!

November 30, 2008 54 comments

My father and I got our 5D MkIIs on Friday and we could hardly wait for the batteries to charge. He took his to SF to test its vaunted low-light performance and posted this 60-second 1080p clip (along with other resolutions) on his SmugMug site: Click to watch it auto-sized for your monitor or check out the full 1080p resolution (caution – *high* bandwidth! UPDATE: Apologies if you tried to watch 1080p on Windows earlier. My bug made it look terrible. Try again, please?).

Here’s his story:

“I had seen Vincent Laforet’s amazing short film, but only in 720p. I knew what an amazing photographer he is and wondered how close an everyman like me could come to footage like that. Could the clips possibly hold up to viewing in 1080p?”

“So with only an hour’s practice shooting my dog licking peanut butter and the neighbor’s kids running in their yard, I left for the city to compare myself to a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with his helicopter, pricey stabilizer, models, set lighting, and post-production experts. I had a few hours and a tripod. What we had in common was the 5D.”

“At first, shooting video on the 5D makes you feel stupid. You’re holding the camera out in front while you look at the LCD on the back and use completely different buttons. I was always wondering if it was in focus, especially at the wide apertures I thought you probably needed at night.”

“How dark was too dark? I’d point at things that seemed impossibly dark, like the fishing boats you saw lit with mostly a string of Christmas lights on the bow of one. But I couldn’t tell how noisy the clips were on the viewfinder, so I held my breath and set the camera at ISO 3200. Why? ‘Cus it was lower than ISO 6400…”

“I had just one sekret weapon, same as Vincent: a Canon 200mm f/2.0 lens, not exactly an everyman item. It made a difference and I used it for maybe half the shots, including the opening clip of the couple kissing at Grace Cathedral, the rotating jewelry in the shop window, the hotel entrances, and the TV reporter. The city skyline was shot with an f/4 lens and it’s noisy. I also used an 85mm f/1.2 for scenes like the cable car, and toys in shop windows.”

“Dog and kid shots look amazing too, but I have to be honest: I missed many shots of fast-moving kids that I would have gotten with my video camera. Maybe I just need figure out how to juggle zooming, focus, and having the controls scattered across the back of the camera, but it felt like I needed three hands and the skillz of a Cirque du Soleil juggler.”

“So which camera for filming my grandkids? Now there’s a question… This calls for some serious 5D time to answer. Even my wife approves of that message.”

BTW, if anyone else out there is shooting 1080p video with cameras like this and would like their SmugMug Pro accounts to allow 1080p video, let us know. That feature is currently in beta, but we’d love to get a few more people using it. 🙂

I'm *not* speaking at Cloud Computing Expo 2008

November 17, 2008 11 comments

Just a quick update, I was invited to speak at Sys-Con’s Cloud Computing Expo 2008 West (how’s that for a mouthful?) and accepted, planning on talking about SkyNet, S3, and our future use of cloud computing. Alas, my Inbox is so crazy, I failed to see the handful of emails the conference sent me asking me to sign a contract of some type. So I missed the deadline and they canceled my spot. (BTW, I can’t recall a conference ever asking me to sign something to speak, but this one does and I was full of FAIL.) 😦

So, I’m sorry, despite being listed on the program, I’m *not* speaking there this week. It was my bad – I just missed the emails (as I miss so many emails these days). But still, a phone call from them wouldn’t have hurt, would it?

Who knows if I’ll be on their invitation list next year, but the conference will be great anyway, so have a great time without me!

Now is the time to build

October 30, 2008 12 comments
Big Cats

Big Cats by micalngelo

“Every startup CEO is at least thinking about the need to cut back right now” – Michael Arrington

“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffet

I’ll give you one guess as to which man I’m listening to. So no, not every startup CEO is cutting back. Apple spent their time innovating during the last downturn and look where it got them. I’m thrilled to have just passed out big, healthy profit-sharing bonuses to all of our employees this week for the 5th consecutive year. We think and hope they’ll be even bigger next year.

SmugMug was founded in the middle of the last “nuclear winter” in Silicon Valley. Everyone told us we were crazy, and we knew there was no chance at raising venture capital at a decent valuation, even with our impressive backgrounds. So we did what any good entrepreneur would do: We did it anyway, with both eyes firmly on our business model.

So if you’re running a startup, or thinking of creating one, take heart – downturns are a fabulous time to build and grow businesses. Focus on your revenues and your margins, not your growth rate or # of unique visitors. Find some stable income streams and a customer need. Listen to your customers and give them what they want – and what they’re willing to pay for. And take care of your employees – they’re your most valuable asset.

SmugMug is still hiring Sorcerers, Heroes, and all manner of other mythical beings capable of impossible feats. We filled our last position (quickly, I might add) with a *great* hire (and I’m still sorting through the avalanche of resumes we got to see if we can add a few more), but the job door is never closed at SmugMug for true superstars. Our philosophy is to not let anyone amazing get away, even if we don’t technically have an open position for you.

So if you can make magic and want to work for a company that takes crazy-good care of its employees, let us know.

Success with OpenSolaris + ZFS + MySQL in production!

October 10, 2008 82 comments
Pimp My Drive by Richard and Barb

Pimp My Drive by Richard and Barb

There’s remarkably little information online about using MySQL on ZFS, successfully or not, so I did what any enterprising geek would do: Built a box, threw some data on it, and tossed it into production to see if it would sink or swim. 🙂

I’m a Linux geek, have been since 1993 (Slackware!). All of SmugMug’s datacenters (and our EC2 images) are built on Linux. But the current state of filesystems on Linux is awful, and it’s been awful for at least 8 years. As a result, we’ve put our first OpenSolaris box into production at SmugMug and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the performance (the userland portions of the OS, though, leave a lot to be desired). Why OpenSolaris?

ZFS.

ZFS is the most amazing filesystem I’ve ever come across. Integrated volume management. Copy-on-write. Transactional. End-to-end data integrity. On-the-fly corruption detection and repair. Robust checksums. No RAID-5 write hole. Snapshots. Clones (writable snapshots). Dynamic striping. Open source software. It’s not available on Linux. Ugh. Ok, that sucks. (GPL is a double-edged sword, and this is a perfect example). Since it’s open-source, it’s available on other OSes, like FreeBSD and Mac OS X, but Linux is a no go. *sigh* I have a feeling Sun is working towards GPL’ing ZFS, but these things take time and I’m sick of waiting.

The OpenSolaris project is working towards making Solaris resemble the Linux (GNU) userland plus the Solaris kernel. They’re not there yet, but the goal is commendable and the package management system has taken a few good steps in the right direction. It’s still frustrating, but massively less so. Despite all the rough edges, though, ZFS is just so compelling I basically have no choice. I need end-to-end data integrity. The rest of the stuff is just icing on an already delicious cake.

The obvious first place to use ZFS was for our database boxes, so that’s what I did. I didn’t have the time, knowledge of OpenSolaris, or inclination to do any synthetic benchmarking or attempt to create an apples-to-apples comparison with our current software setup, so I took the quickest route I could to have a MySQL box up and running. I had two immediate performance metrics I cared about:

  • Can a MySQL slave on OpenSolaris with ZFS keep up with the write load with no readers?
  • If yes, can the slave shoulder its fair share of the reads, too?

Simple and to the point. Here’s the system:

  • SunFire X2200 M2 w/64GB of RAM and 2 x dual-core 2.6GHz Opterons
  • Dell MD3000 w/15 x 15K SCSI disks and mirrored 512MB battery-backed write caches (these are really starting to piss us off, but that’s another post…)

The quickest path to getting the system up and running resulted in lots of variables in the equation changing:

  • Linux -> OpenSolaris (snv_95 currently)
  • MySQL 5.0 -> MySQL 5.1
  • LVM2 + ext3 -> ZFS
  • Hardware RAID -> Software RAID
  • No compression -> gzip9 volume compression

Whew! Lots of changes. Let me break them down one by one, skipping the obvious first one:

MySQLMySQL 5.1 is nearing GA, and has a couple of very important bug fixes for us that we’ve been working around for an awfully long time now. When I downloaded the MySQL 5.0 Enterprise Solaris packages and they wouldn’t install properly, that made the decision to dabble with 5.1 even easier – the CoolStack 5.1 binaries from Sun installed just fine. 🙂

Going to MySQL 5.1 on a ~1TB DB is painful, though, I should warn you up front. It forced ‘REPAIR TABLE’ on lots of my tables, so this step took much longer than I expected. Also, we found that the query optimizer in some cases did a poor job of choosing which indexes to use for queries. A few “simple” SELECTs (no JOINs or anything) that would take a few milliseconds on our 5.0 boxes took seconds on our 5.1 boxes. A little bit of code solved the problem and resulted in better efficiency even for the 5.0 boxes, so it was a net win, but painful for a few hours while I tracked it down.

Finally, after running CoolStack for a few days, we switched (on advice from Sun) to the 5.1.28 Community Edition to fix some scalability issues. This made a huge difference so I highly recommend it. (On a side note, I wish MySQL provided Enterprise binaries for 5.1 for their paying customers to test with). The Google & Percona patches should make a monster difference, too.

Volume management and the filesystem – There’s some debate online as to whether ZFS is a “layering violation” or not. I could care less – it’s pure heaven to work with. This is how filesystems should have always been. The commands to create, manage, and extend pools are so simple and logical you basically don’t even need man pages (discovering disk names, on the other hand, isn’t easy. I finally used ‘format’ but even typing it gives me the shivers…). zpool create MYPOOL c0t0d0You just created a ZFS pool. Want a mirror? zpool create MYPOOL mirror c0t0d0 c0t0d1Want a striped mirror (RAID-1+0) w/spare? zpool create MYPOOL mirror c0t0d0 c0t0d1 mirror c0t0d2 c0t0d3 spare c0t0d4Want to add another mirror to an already striped mirror (RAID-1+0) pool? zpool add MYPOOL mirror c0t0d5 c0t0d6Get the idea? Super-easy. Massively easier than LVM2+ext3 where adding a mirror is at least 4 commands: pvcreate, vgextend, lvextend, resize2fs – usually with an fsck in there too.

Software RAID – This is something we’ve been itching for for quite some time. With modern system architectures and modern CPUs, there’s no real reason “storage” should be separate from “servers”. A storage device should be just a server with some open-source software and lots of disks. (The “open source” part is important. I’m sick of relying on closed-source RAID firmware). The amount of flexibility, performance, reliability and operational cost savings you can achieve with software RAID rather than hardware is enormous. With real datacenter-grade flash storage devices just around the corner, this becomes even more vital. ZFS makes all of this stuff Just Work, including properly adjusting the write caches on the disk, eliminating the RAID-5 write hole, etc. Our first box still has a battery-backed write-cache between the disks and the CPU for write performance, but all the disks are just exposed as JBOD and striped + mirrored using ZFS. It rocks.

Compression – Ok, so this is where the geek in me decided to get a little crazy. ZFS allows you to turn on (and off) a variety of compression mechanisms on-the-fly on your pool. This comes with some unknown (depends on lots of factors, including your workload, CPUs, etc) performance penalty (CPU is required to compress/decompress), but can have performance upsides too (smaller reads and writes = less busy disk).

InnoDB is notoriously bad at disk usage (we see 2X+ space usage using InnoDB) and while it’s not an enormous concern, it’d be something nice to curtail. On most of our DB boxes, we have idle CPU around (we’re not really I/O bound either – MySQL is a strange duck in that you can be concurrency bound without being either CPU or I/O bound fairly easily thanks to poor locking), so I figured I’d go wild and give it a shot.

Lo and behold, it worked! We’re getting a 2.12X compression ratio on our DB, and performance is keeping up just fine. I ran some quick performance tests on large linear reads/writes and we were measuring 45.6MB/s sustained uncompression and 39MB/s sustained compression on a single-threaded app on an Opteron CPU. We’ll probably continue to test compression stuff, and of course if we run into performance bottlenecks, we’ll turn it off immediately, but so far the mad science experiment is working.

Configuration

Configuring everything was relatively painless. I bounced a few questions off of Sun (imho, this is where Sun really shines – they listen to their customers and put technical people with real answers within arms reach) and read the Evil Tuning Guide to ZFS. In the end I really only ended up tweaking two things (plus setting compression to gzip-9):

  • I set the recordsize to match InnoDB’s – 16KB. zfs set recordsize=16K MYPOOL
  • I turned off file-level prefetching. See the Evil Tuning Guide. (I’m testing with this on, now, and so far it seems fine).

I believe since ZFS is fully checksummed and transactional (so partial writes never occur) I can disable InnoDB’s doublewrite buffer. I haven’t been brave enough to do this yet, but I plan to. I like performance. 🙂

Performance

This box has been in production in our most important DB cluster for two weeks now. On the metrics I care about (replication lag, query performance, CPU utliization, etc) it’s pulling its fair share of the read load and keeping completely up on replication. Just eyeballing the stats (we haven’t had time to number crunch comparison stats, though we gave some to Sun that I’m hoping they crunch), I can’t tell a difference between this slave and any of the others in the cluster running Linux. I sure feel a lot better about the data integrity, though.

Why not [insert other OS here]?

We could have gone with Nexenta, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, or even *gulp* tried ZFS on FUSE/Linux. To be honest, Nexenta is the most interesting because it actually *is* the Solaris kernel plus Linux userland, exactly what I wanted. I’ve played with it a tiny bit, and plan to play with it more, but this is a mission-critical chunk of data we’re dealing with, so I need a company like Sun in my corner. I find myself wishing Sun had taken the Nexenta route (or offered support for it that I could buy or something). Instead, we’ll be buying software service & support from Sun for this and any other mission-critical OpenSolaris boxes.

FreeBSD also doesn’t have the support I need, Mac OS X wasn’t performant enough the last time I fiddled with it as a server, and most FUSE filesystems are slow so I didn’t even bother.

Gotchas

  • On my 64GB Linux boxes, I give InnoDB 54GB of buffer pool size. With otherwise exactly the same my.cnf settings, MySQL on OpenSolaris crashes with anything more than 40GB. 14GB, or 21.9% of my RAM, that I can’t seem to use effectively. Sun is looking into this, I’ll let you know if I find anything out.
  • For a Linux geek, OpenSolaris userland is still painful. Bear in mind that this is a single-purpose box, so all I really want to do is install and configure MySQL, then monitor the software and hardware. If this were a developer box, I would have already given up. OpenSolaris is still very early, so I’m still hopeful, but be prepared to invest some time. Some of my biggest peeves:
    • Common commands, like ‘ps’, have very different flags.
    • Some GNU bins are provided in /usr/gnu/bin – but a better ‘ps’ is missing, as is ‘top’ (no, ‘prstat’ is *not* the same!), ‘screen’, etc (Can anyone even use remote command-line Unix boxes without ‘screen’? If so, how?)
    • Packages are crazily named, making finding your stuff to install tough. Like instead of Apache being called ‘apache’ or ‘httpd’, it’s called ‘SUNWapch’. What?
    • After finally figuring out how to search for packages to get the names (‘pkg search -r Apache’ – which doesn’t provide pleasant results), I discovered that ‘top’ and ‘screen’ just simply aren’t provided (or they’re named even worse than I thought). Instead, I had to go to a 3rd party repository, BlastWave, to get them. And then, of course, the ‘top’ OpenSolaris package wouldn’t actually install and I had to manually break into the package and extract the binary. Ugh.

Whew! Big post, but there was a lot of ground to cover. I’m sure there are questions, so please post in the comments and I’ll try to do a follow-up. As I fiddle, tweak, and change things I’ll try to post updates, too – but no promises. 🙂

UPDATE: One other gotcha I forgot to mention. When MySQL (or, presumably, anything else running on the box) gets really busy, user interactivity evaporates on OpenSolaris. Just hitting enter or any other key at a bash prompt over SSH can take many seconds to register. I remember when Linux had these sort of issues in the past, but had blissfully forgotten about them.

UPDATE: I went more in depth on ZFS compression testing and blogged the results. Enjoy!

Just so we're clear – I love Canon :)

September 24, 2008 23 comments

So you may have seen all the hooplah yesterday over Canon and Vincent Laforet’s amazing Canon 5D MkII footage. I thought maybe a little explanation was in order. First, a little background on me and Canon:

  • I, personally, am a monster Canon fanboy. I have a lot of cameras, and all of them – my collection of happy-snappys, our dSLRs, and even our video cameras – are Canon.
  • Our company is filled with Canon fanboys. We have more dSLR Canon bodies and lenses lying around than I can count.
  • The 5D MkII is the coolest camera I’ve ever heard of. Dozens of SmugMuggers have already pre-ordered them.
  • I’ve been dying to work with Canon since we started SmugMug. We’re a Top 500 website, we reach 6.5M people a month, our demographic is definitely high-end, and Nikon’s already in bed with Flickr. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

Ok, so now that I’ve set the stage, let’s talk about Vincent’s movie a little bit:

  • SmugMug had nothing to do with the production of the film. We didn’t even know it existed until we read this post on Vincent’s blog on Saturday afternoon.
  • The entire company caught fire. We lost our minds, we were so excited. Within minutes, we’d offered to provide *unlimited* HD bandwidth to Vincent. Bear in mind this was an unknown, but likely very large, cost with no real tangible upside. But we built this company because we love photography, video, and gadgets – and we’ve gotta stick with what we love.
  • Vincent enthusiastically took us up on our offer, and we all started brainstorming about how we could best release the film. Then we started brainstorming on how great this camera would be for indie photographers and filmmakers, and we lost our minds again. By Sunday morning, we had committed $25-50K to create a community-driven film using the Canon 5D MkII. (Note how fast things are moving – they were moving so fast, none of us had time to catch our breath).
  • We found out that Vincent had some awesome Behind-the-Scenes footage of the making of his film, Reverie, and so of course we offer to host that for free again.
  • The time for release arrived. Now, this entire time, we’ve never talked to anyone at Canon. As far as I knew, this wasn’t a Canon deal – Vincent clearly says Canon told him “You can then produce a video and stills completely independently from Canon U.S.A.”
  • We posted full HD versions of both Reverie and the behind-the-scenes footage for the world to see, crossing our fingers that our bandwidth bill wouldn’t be more than we could bear.
  • Our customers went bananas. Awesome! They’re thrilled we’re interested in this stuff, because they’re interested in this stuff. Ok, great, so maybe this bandwidth bill will pay of in goodwill. 🙂
  • The press went bananas – both mainstream and online. Awesome! They’re gaga over the user response and the remarkable camera.
  • We got busy (and I personally got busy) telling everyone, press and non alike, who called, emailed, tweeted, blogged, etc that the Canon 5D MkII is a game-changing camera the likes of which we haven’t seen before.
  • Canon asked Vincent to ask us to take Reverie down.

SAY WHAT?!

Canon asked Vincent to ask us to take Reverie down.

😦

Being a Canon fanboy, I quickly complied – with a very heavy heart. I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut by one of my heroes. I felt betrayed. I also wrote a few things in the heat of the moment that came out harsher than they should have (and thankfully I didn’t publish what I’d original written – whew!). I’ve now edited my blog post and would like to apologize to anyone at Canon who I offended – I certainly wasn’t attacking Canon’s great employees, I was just lashing out.

But look at it from my point of view. I was risking an awful lot of money on bandwidth (I doubt it would have topped 6 figures, but easily could have been in the 5s) because I’m a camera geek and I love this stuff. Customer goodwill is fabulous, and we love generating it, but we were really doing this because we love the camera, love the passion that went into the film, and love to help our industry. We were hopeful that that goodwill would come back to us someday – but even if it didn’t, the chance to be a part of something as momentous as this film from this camera was worth it. And a good chunk of the company busted their butts over the weekend to make this happen. We could have been playing with our kids or out shooting photographs, but instead we spent the weekend setting things up for Vincent’s release.

And instead of appreciating how generous I thought we were being, and appreciating the monster amount of PR they were getting (better PR than any amount of money can buy), it felt like Canon was arbitrarily cutting us off for no good reason. I found myself asking “Well, if they want to host it on their pages, why don’t they just embed the video from SmugMug? Then they get it for free and we still get to be involved. It doesn’t even have to show our logo or anything – just use Quicktime but use a file from SmugMug’s servers. We’d save them money!”. We just wanted to be involved. And no-one at Canon called or emailed us at all – as I’m writing this, I’ve still never talked to anyone at Canon on this “independent from Canon” project.

In the cold light of the next day, though, I can see that I overreacted. It’s a sign of my passion for Canon and their products. No-one overreacts when some bad company does something stupid. But just look at Apple – the instant they make a mis-step (or even perceived mis-step), everyone is up in arms, ready to lynch Steve. Why? Because their products are so dang good, everyone’s super-passionate about them. So I let my passion get the better of me. I still wish Canon had wanted to work together, or at least let us be part of the project, but does it really matter?

I’m still buying a Canon 5D MkII and, I’m sure, lots of Canon goodies to go along with it. So what are you waiting for? Go get your own. 🙂

Amazing Canon 5D MkII HD video footage!!

September 22, 2008 27 comments

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet got his hands on a Canon 5D MkII for a weekend. Rather than shoot some quick stills, he rounded up an entire film crew and put them to work using the amazing 1080p video capture it offers – in helicopters, no less! When SmugMug heard about this, we went bananas and offered to host both the short film itself, Reverie, as well as the behind-the-scenes footage:

See it auto-sized for your screen & browser, view it in Hi-Def, or embedded below. Your choice.

Also, you can see the Behind the Scenes footage (want it in HD?):

Then we went a little more bananas, and ponied up $25K to sponsor a community-created film led by Vincent, with another $25K to follow if other sponsors get on the train. We think this camera is truly a game-changer and we’re thrilled to help visionaries like Vincent prove it to the world.

Now, the astute geeks in the audience will note that Reverie isn’t hosted in 1080p, but instead is at 720p. I wish it weren’t so, and we’re actively trying to get our hands on the 1080p footage right out of Final Cut so we can let everyone take a peek – but it’s not our footage, so I don’t actually have it. I believe Canon may be putting it online themselves, but if they don’t, I’ll do everything I can to put it up – so stay tuned to Vincent’s blog as well as my own.

Man I love this industry! Thanks Canon!

Job Opening: Social Sorcerer

September 16, 2008 18 comments

UPDATE: This particular position has been filled, but we have plenty more open, especially for front-end JavaScript wizards. Contact us!

How would you like to be the 8th Sorcerer here at SmugMug?  (We don’t hire engineers, programmers, or even coders – we only hire Sorcerers.  If you can’t work magic, I’m sure our competitors would love to see your resume…)

At SmugMug, everything we build is a direct result of customer feedback. We do very little, if any, competitive research – our customers keep us plenty busy. As a result, we’ve largely ignored social networking, especially outside of SmugMug. It just hasn’t been something our customers have asked for.

That’s changing. I’ve started getting tweets, blog comments, and forum posts about our “broken Facebook app”. Problem is, we don’t have a Facebook app. 😦

The good news is we listen. So we’re ready to take the plunge. The geek in me has *always* wanted to dive into this stuff (and I’m the one who built and/or pushed us to build the building blocks we already have: an open API, Atom/RSS feeds, OpenID support, OAuth support, etc), so I’m thrilled we finally have the “ok” from my boss – our customers. 🙂

So if you’re high on social networking, particularly sharing photos anywhere and everywhere, we’d love to have you come work your magic. The job is extremely open-ended: You’d create our strategy, build our apps on other platforms, interact with our API developers who’ve already built some, and generally make it even easier for our customers to share their photos outside SmugMug. You’ll have to get your hands dirty – you’ll be writing the software (with the help of the other Sorcerers as needed), so managers and architects who no longer dirty their hands need not apply.

If that sounds like fun, we’re the best company to work for you’ve ever heard of (ok, this list sounds unbelievable, but I swear it’s all true):

  • We’re all super heroes.
  • We’re a privately held, profitable-for-years, fast-growing company (100%+ year-on-year for multiple years)
  • Fun projects. You choose what to work on rather than being assigned some fluff job. (I know, I know, unheard of – but I swear it’s true).
  • Small team. Your projects are your projects, not some multi-layer management effort doomed to fail.
  • Fast paced. Any week where we don’t do at least one software release is rare.
  • Large scale. Top 500 site. 350M+ photos, 800TB+ storage, 300M page views/month. Fun problems to solve 🙂
  • Big impact. Hundreds of thousands of paying customers and 6.5M+ visitors a month will use your work.
  • Family friendly. Full healthcare coverage, kids welcome for company meals and events. (Ex: We’re taking the whole company to Tahoe to ski & relax, including spouses and kids).
  • Distributed. Nearly 75% of our employees aren’t in Silicon Valley – they’re scattered all over the world, from Australia to Europe and a dozen US states.
  • Crazy benefits. We pay better salaries than the giants in Silicon Valley plus “early” stock options, profit sharing bonuses, matching 401k, 100% healthcare coverage for you and your family, gym memberships, iPhone 3G + minutes & data, 3G data cards, cable/DSL at home. Free drinks, free meals while working (new private chef too!). And more.
  • Great office. Walking distance to downtown Mountain View, across the street from train & lightrail, near Highway 85. 7.1 channel home theater, dual 30″ displays + Mac Pro + MacBook Pro/Air, jaw-dropping photography on the walls (and an in-house studio to shoot your own). Healthy cube/office decoration budget. (Ok, this is getting really fun to write 🙂 )

Whew!  (Yes, I think our employees are our most valuable asset.  Can you tell?)

So, do you have what it takes? At the very least, you’ll need:

  • A passion for open data.
  • An understanding of how important privacy controls are.
  • Experience with web services, especially REST. SOAP and XML-RPC fans, this isn’t the place for you (but knowledge of black magic ain’t bad – just don’t practice it here!).
  • Modern scripting language experience (PHP, Python, Ruby). We use PHP (and so will you!).
  • History building apps (big or small) for platforms like Facebook, OpenSocial, etc.
  • Understanding of current and upcoming social networking technologies: OpenID, OAuth, microformats, etc
  • Experience with the SmugMug API a big plus.
If this sounds like your brand of magic, please contact us and let us know you’re our next Sorcerer.   If not, please tell your magic-working friends that the opportunity of a lifetime is right here… 🙂
 
Thanks!

UPDATE: This particular position has been filled, but we have plenty more open, especially for front-end JavaScript wizards. Contact us!

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