Goodbye, Yahoo! (& instructions on how to export/backup your photos from Flickr)

Since reading the news that Yahoo! have hired PayPal's president, I no longer want anything to do with them.

The only things I had left on my 12-year-old Yahoo! account were a few contacts from the days I used Messenger and email and the photos on my Flickr account. I exported the former easily and I'm in the process of backing up the photos and their metadata from Flickr now.

Once the backups are complete, I'll be deleting my Yahoo! account.

Dead URLs break the web

Unfortunately, this does mean that those URLs are going to die (and it's made me realise how valuable URLs are–they're part of your data and you should own them, not the web apps you use. All web apps should give you the ability to provide your own URLs as canonical URLs for your own data.)

How to backup your Flickr photos

Anyway, in case you want to backup your photos from Flickr, here's the way I'm doing it. Follow these instructions to get going:

  1. Download the latest flickrdownload
  2. Unzip the downloaded file somewhere and then navigate to that folder in Terminal (Open up Terminal, type cd and then drag the unzipped folder into terminal to get its path, and press return to change to that folder).
  3. Enter the following line, substituting your own Flickr username and the path to the folder you want the photos backed up to, in Terminal:

    java -Xmx2048m -jar FlickrDownload.jar --photosDir /PATH/TO/THE/FOLDER/YOU/WANT/THE/PHOTOS/BACKED/UP/TO/ --downloadExifData --authUsername YOUR_FLICKR_USERNAME

The first time you run this, it will give you a URL that you need to copy into your web browser to visit Flickr and authorise the script. Once you've done that, press return in the terminal and the script should Just Work™ (it didn't for me and I had to run the command again for it to work.)

That's it! Hope it helps.

Flickr to WP

I'm also using the Flickr to WP plugin to import all my photos into this blog so I can share them here.

Update #1

flickrdownload downloaded all my images properly but died when trying to write the archive.html file with the following error: Invalid byte 2 of 2-byte UTF-8 sequence.

It did write the XML metadata files correctly, though, and so I'm going ahead and shutting my account (I can always regenerate the HTML file by fixing the code).

Also, I saw that some of the images were Flickr's "image not available" placeholders but it doesn't seem to have affected the originals (just the derived medium and small versions, which are not crucial).

Update #2

I've now backed up the Flickr photos both offline and on this blog, cancelled my Flickr Pro subscription, and shut down both my Flickr account as well as my main 12-year-old Yahoo! account.

Goodbye, Yahoo!