Saturday, July 6, 2013

My webpage - photo-sharing - blogging experience - My PictureTrail site is up!

Some recent discussions about photo-sharing and trying to replace my pages (photos) posted on webshots sparked my brain.  I decided it might be cathartic to retrace my steps to this point. 

Early computer use
In the late 1990's my husband and I got our first home computer.  It was second hand but it got on the web - using dial-up but still on the web.  By 2000, we got another one - still second hand and this one got us Front Page - a web page editor.  In between the two computers, I joined a miniature group via yahoo groups - that sparked a desire to share my photos online.

Free web space and using Front Page 
Using Front Page, web space provided free via my ISP and my desire to share my photos - I learned just enough in order that I could create webpages to post them.  I didn't learn how to write html, just edit it enough to accomplish what I wanted.

Become a web designer?
Making my own webpages made me want to become a web designer.  Computers and the programs for them have come a long way from what I knew in my prior education.  In high school, I had a computer class that required us to write the code for a program line by line.  In college in the late 80's, I took a class in cobalt - again - still writing code.  That all seems to tedious to me.  Having experienced something like Front Page where one could use forms to add certain things I thought I could do the legwork as well.  I did go back to college in 2001 (during a lay off), but soon discovered web publishing/design wasn't for me.  It was still to tedious for my taste.  Instead I decided to stick with what I had being doing.  It accomplished what I wanted.
What I wanted was to share my photos.  I did that and more.  I even made pages that allowed me to sell some things.  Ok, that was basically the same thing - I shared photos of what I wanted to sell and interested persons could email me their order.  It worked.

Photo sharing sites
As other people shared their photos using various services, I did some comparison shopping.  One I liked was webshots.  I opened my own webshots account and started adding my photos.  As webshots improved their services, it got so easy to deal with them, I stopped adding anything to my webpages.  I did of course link to the webshots for the latest stuff.  I kept both of these going until in 2009 when I switched ISP's.  I upgraded from dial up to cable internet.  Wow that was a big change.  And the change also affected my free webpages hosted by my prior ISP.  They offered to continue hosting the pages for a small monthly fee, but I decided I would just move everything to webshots.  In hindsight maybe I should have kept the webpages, but I wasn't to know that until later.

Now I'm going to blog as well
In 2008, I started a blog - this blog.  I started it because it was a way to share my photos in the way I had done on my webpages.  I wanted to be able to talk about them.  Webshots allowed me to include a description, but it wasn't so obvious the description is of equal importance (to me) as the photos.  The blog allowed me illustrate how I made something which is one thing I really enjoy sharing.  It also allows me to share who made something that I am using in my project.  I have done a large number of swaps and I love using those swaps.  It is important to me to give credit to those swappers who swapped with me.  I don't always accomplish that as I wasn't as good to record who made what.  However I did solve that problem.  Well at least as long as I do the process.  I talk about it in a prior blog post.
After I started blogging, I continued to post my photos to webshots but with the how-to's on the blog and keeping webshots as the photo album. 

Say it isn't so - webshots to become smile, I'm not smiling
In 2012 - webshots became something else and stopped offering free space for sharing photos.  I was thankful for the space all those years even when their ads became annoying.   This new company was going to require both me and my viewer to have an account in order to view the photos.  Oh and it isn't free.  Really - well that really is too bad as I am not going to stay.  I don't think they wanted me as a free user to stay anyway.  I really felt bad for those who had upgraded their accounts to pay and now they want to move. 

What do I do now? Add more photos to my blog?
As much as I love blogging - I haven't been using the blog all along to share my photos.  I have many projects that pre-date my blog as my blog started in 2008 and I have projects from the 1990's although have been a miniaturist from before that.  Blogs being what they are - I don't want to just start adding random projects to my blog in order to get them out there. It was easy to add older projects to webshots - it gave me the means to arrange the projects the way I want.  I'm not saying I can't make the blog work for sharing photos, even older ones, just a different format than a photo sharing site.
Now that webshots is gone, I am back to the decison - the one previously resolved of where to move my photos.  It was relatively easy to make that decision - free space to free space.  I liked the way the webshots was organized or at least the way I was able to organize it.

So looking for a replacement - I have all these options to consider.
A website - mmm - well there are free ones - but they are limited on space.  One issue is the url that has more text in it - liveable.  Free websites can also be upgraded to add space for a fee.
A different photo-sharing site - gosh there are so many.  Some are free and some are not.  So the decision here is what do the paid ones offer that the free ones don't.  Do they provide the type of organizing I want. 
Use my blog...

My own website... maybe
So I would really like my own website with my own url- but I feel that for the purpose of sharing photos as my primary reason to do so - well that is not cost effective.  The fees per month seem small until I add up a year. 
That puts me back to a photo sharing site...
I tried flickr which is free - and they do allow folders but it didn't seem to organize them that way by default.  Instead they want to do a photo stream.  I don't really get this obsession with the now.  If I am interested in someone's projects I don't care if they are the latest.  I don't see photos as news.  I will keep looking at something if I am interested whether or not it was old or new.  I really want to organize my photos by scale as I know I prefer to look at a particular scale, but will wander into other scales.  I am not saying I couldn't make flickr work, just that maybe something else will give what I want easier.  Oh and I did try using Windows Photo Gallery to upload to flickr as WPG allows you to connect to them directly.  Only problem - the descriptions that I painstakingly copied from webshots to WPG don't get loaded when the photos are loaded to flickr - ok that is annoying.
I tried pisca - photos on blogspot go there.  They focus on the photo stream.  Again, I could probably get it to work, but what else. 
I checked out Winkflash which is what I use to print my photos that go in scrapbooks.  I like their album set up, but no something didn't work the way I wanted.
I thought about Facebook, but I rejected that as some people hate them and also why would I want to increase traffic to them. I also have like/hate relationship with fb.
Free webspace via my ISP?
I also checked my isp.  Yes, I had signed up for their webhosting, but their photo-sharing option was also focused on the latest upload.  Maybe with more work, I could have made it work, but then I have the possibility of moving again if I ever change isp.  There is no guarantee that they will offer to continue hosting for a fee.  They have taken the webpages option away if not already signed up for it.

I had tried picturetrail before.  I know several miniaturist use them to share photos.  So I explore this further.  Ok, well here is a problem.  My pictures are eating up space. More space can be purchased, but is there a way to avoid that.  I really like the freedom of albums they have. 
So I started working with picture trail, I upgraded my account to allow a certain amount of space and then I discovered their picture trail software download.  It is a means to do batch resizing, batch uploading, both of which are very helpful tools.  Using the batch resizing I was able to reduce the space I am using in half.  I now have plenty of space. 
I worked on this site for many hours getting it the way I wanted.  I am a perfectionist and I like to have descriptions, who made what and love sharing funny stories whenever I can. All that takes time.  Well I do have time, but it also takes the attitude to work on it.
 I am sure that if I looked at some of the albums there will be tweaks I would want to make, but  finally, I am ready to share. 
Here it is:

I told my husband as I was working on this in the last few hours, that if PictureTrail goes away, I don't know what I will do.  I really don't want to do this again.  However I will say that I learned from this experience.  Using the batch resize might make having my own webpages realistic again.

1 comment:

Em said...

I use all things Google that way everything 'talks' to each other - so Blog on Blogger, use Picasa web albums for ... web albums! finally there is a bit of a break away as I do use Dropbox to share pictures back and forth with 'selected' folk. Like you I dread changes and wish they would leave well alone.

Photo albums: