Sunday, July 2, 2017

No photo thread today

Last weekend, I finally watched my DVD of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and was going to do a post on it this weekend. I was planning on taking the time because it's a movie that really needs to have a bunch of screencaps taken to accompany the post and show just how absurd the movie is.

Anyhow, Saturday morning, I discovered that my old posts had an error message from Photobucket. Instead of the photos I've been using to illustrate some of my blog posts, I was told that my account was in violation for engaging in third-party embedding. But, I could rectify that problem by signing up for a "Plus 500" account. So I clicked over to Photobucket and found... that a Plus 500 account can be had for the low low price of $399.99 a year!

Now, Photobucket is welcome to do with its website what it wants; after all it's their private property. And if they need to sell stuff -- be it services involving putting photos on swag or making paid accounts -- to pay for the bandwidth, I can certainly understand that. But $400 a year is frankly ridiculous. I looked up the various web-hosting giants of the sort that you see TV ads for, and I could set up a WordPress blog on one or another of them for a quarter of that price if not less (I think they were all in the $6-7/month range).

And Photobucket did this without any warning. Oh, I got sent an email that wound up in Gmail's spam folder, but it wasn't a warning. It was an announcement that the account was third-party linking and that this was no longer permitted. Which is nonsense because Photobucket had always had a bunch of tag options accompanying individual photos for what to post if you wanted to use a photo in a bulletin board (the sort of board that uses the square brackets instead of HTML); if you needed to use HTML; or if you just wanted to send a link in email. So obviously they were expecting and encouraging when you signed up ages ago that you were going to be embedding images elsewhere! If they had sent a message, say, on June 1 saying that as of July 1 third-party embedding would no longer be allowed, that would still suck but at least it would have given people time to figure out what to do. But they didn't seem to do that at all from what I've read elsewhere on the web. And it's not as if they grandfathered old images in. Lots of people all over the internet just had things broken for them one day.

Now, Blogger has a native system for allowing embedding of images in blog posts, with the images winding up on Google's servers. I never used it mostly out of inertia. I had had a bunch of photos up on Photobucket, and knew how to use it to embed images, so when I started the blog it was easy to just keep using Photobucket. Lots of people have such online inertia, I think. And it's not as if this low-traffic blog was anywhere near a bandwidth violation. Nine years and I think I'm at about 2% of storage capacity. I had even created a template to make the various alignment of photos in threads easier. I should still be able to use the templates; it's just that the URLs for any photos I post are going to change from something with a photobucket domain to something with a blogspot (I think) domain. (The Thursday Movie Picks posts are hotlinking to Wandering Through the Shelves' image which is already on Blogspot which is why those still show up. I figure since we're both on Blogger/Blogspot that hotlinking shouldn't be an issue.)

It's more that it's going to take some time to figure out how to do everything efficiently for me. And then there's the issue of unbreaking all those old posts that have photos in them. I don't know if that's ever going to happen. Ironically, just yesterday I got around to listening to a months-old interview on Radio New Zealand titled Losing our digital memory about issues like this. The MP3 file which is about 22MB and 22min, is here. It's not movie related, but it is related to this.

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