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Thu, 24 Jul 2008
The Old Switcheroo
Back in May I outlined a number of changes we here at Zoomshare had planned for everybody's photo albums including a new mid-size view of an image, embed codes for sharing the image on the web and more. One feature we've been developing, that I left out of that initial list, was the capturing of photo uploads for promotion on Zoomshare.com.

Well now after a few weeks of development, testing, customer feedback and reprioritizing we've pulled a little switcheroo. The latest feature for Zoomies being the promotion of their smiling faces, pets, group pictures, favorite art and more (naturally, to be considered, the images must be family friendly) while we tweak and adjust, based in part on user feedback, the master list of new album features.

How do you get an image considered for Zoomshare.com? It is as simple as simple can be, just upload one or more photos to a photo album on your website and tune into Zoomshare.com for daily updates.

Why should you care? Well getting an image with a link to your site on Zoomshare.com, which is currently averaging just over 3,000 visitors per day, will help get your site noticed and bring new visitors to you. It also helps spruce up our home page, allowing us to showcase our terrific online community to potential new users.

It's Win - Win, so Join In!


Posted 09:13 
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Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition or The Inquisition, Let's Begin, The Inquisition, Look Out Sin
I know given the last great post its been at little silent on this blog. Well its hard to top something as random as SciFi poetry and frankly its not always fun and games here at Zoomshare. I mean we've been quite busy rolling out a new set of features for our photo album tool and addressing user feedback.

Given that, I want to take a moment to seriously reflect a bit on what's been going on since my last post.

To best reflect I offer samples of two conversations from the past two weeks involving myself and a few others touching a bit on the deeper meanings of life:

sare: back now
pdw: hey I'm back too
peenworm: this is great, everyone's back
pdw: alright!
peenworm: not that i went far, just to the kitchen, and Dexter is inventing traps for ghosts
sare: i am not sure i was ever truly "here" till i joined irc chat.
sare: "do i exist outside of irc channel?", is my existential question of the day...
pdw: Do I exist inside of irc? Or is this some digital bit of a whole me?
pdw: Or, if an IRCbot crashes and no one is around, does it make a sound?
sare: woah. i'm afraid my brain is too mushy to even try to fathom that level of depth.

Or if you’re looking for morality in the physical world instead of souls in the virtual one:

Brandon: Oh okay. I was just wondering. Hey if you were in a 7-11 and there was a fire, do you think it would be a dishonest act to take a slice of pizza and eat it?
Me: depends, am I in the 7-11 on July 11th?
Brandon: Ha! Yes.
Me: well then no, its a sign from the Gods of Kobal, and I'd take the pizza and run
Brandon: That's what I would do. It is going to burn up anyways, yet my parents think it would be stealing when I asked them.

Discuss amongst yourselves…


Posted 10:27 
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Thu, 12 Jun 2008
And Now For Something Completely Different
I have this love/hate relationship with the Sci Fi channel, I love to hate their commercials. Nothing drives me crazy more than watching Battlestar Galatica or Dr. Who - which given its BBC origin isn't even filmed for commercial breaks - to be force to watch the 100th ad in the last hour for the monster movie of the week staring Kevin Sorbo.

In these tough conditions one has to keep their wits about them and find any value - entertainment or otherwise - whenever possible. Luckily for me, I'm not the only one who finds the Sci FI network's commercial breaks so grating. My two partners in crime, my wife Katie and my best friend Brandon have teamed up to create the Sci Fi Poem Project featuring haikus and other stylings using the titles from various monster of the week movies.

Without further ado, I give you the first - of maybe a series:

A lone "Dragon Fighter", From a "Dragon Dynasty" with his "Dragon Sword" in a "Dragon Storm"

Or

This "Man-thing" leader of "Interceptor Force" shall "Encrypt" this "abominable" "absolon" "Aztec Rex"

Or this variation

"They Are Among Us"
this "Deadly Swarm" of "Man with the Screaming Brain"
Shouting "Do or Die"at thy "Fire Serpant", "Infected" with "Harpies"
These "Fallen Ones" believed the "Sabertooth" from "Beyond Loch Ness"
Soon after battle, "Pumpkin head vs. Demonic Toys" in which this "Savage Planet" was changed
A new "Epoch Evolution" begun as "Skeleton Man" and "Painkiller Jane" begat "SS DoomTrooper"
This "Headless Horseman" on "Raptor Island" in peace, no more the "Pumpkinhead: Blood Fued"

Now you know you want to

Posted 17:13 
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Tue, 03 Jun 2008
A Word From Our Sponsor
Worried you don't have enough time to find Dad the perfect gift for Father's Day? Not sure if he needs a new hammer from the near by hardware store or an iPod from the local electronic store?

While Father's Day is Sunday, June 15, less than two weeks away, the fine folks at Amazon wish to remind you that there is still plenty of time to pick up a cool gift for Dad online. Better yet, you can shop their hardware store for the perfect hammer or their electronic store for that iPod, not to mention ties and DVDs, watches, games, and big TVs -- Amazon has what Dad wants (and what he needs).


Posted 07:42 
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Mon, 26 May 2008
Up and Coming Album Upgrade
Deep within the Zoomshare office resides a collection of servers running a duplicate copy of our application for development and testing. Within this damp lab the mad hacker/programmers, including yours truly, slave over every line of code, looking to improve performance and reliability.

About once a week a service bell rings summoning us from our dungeon to "The Meeting Place" where that week's directive is read to all within ear shot. For the past few weeks the directive has repeated, exactly the same, like a drum beat, over and over "Improve Photo Albums, Improve Photo Albums". Then with little warning we are pushed back down the stairs to our lab, deprived of sunlight and all but bread and water, until one day at the Sacred Council of Fogg the Stone of Wine declares "It is done!"

Eh, ok, maybe not quite like that. Yet, we do indeed work everyday on improving Zoomshare and indeed for the past few weeks within our lab environment we have been focusing on enchantments to photo albums and soon those changes will be seeing the light of day. That of course brings us to the big question: What in Photo Albums will be changing?

Album Changes: Navigation
First and foremost the biggest change to Zoomshare sites for visitors will be a new navigation scheme, designed to allow a visitor to easily move between individual images and removal of the awkward "pop-up window".

At first, navigating images within album looks the same; first a list of albums in alphabetical order, followed by a collection of thumbnail images representing the various sorted images within an album.

Thumbnail
Album VIew
Thumbnail View

However, everything changes after the next mouse click. Previously when a visitor clicked on a thumbnail image a pop-up window would open with a full-size view of the image. Within the upcoming change upon mouse click the thumbnail view will disappear and be replaced with a new "mid-size" view of the image.

The new mid-size view has the following enchantments:
  • Mid-size view of image
  • Embed Codes for the image <-- More on this in a bit
  • Previous & Next navigation to view album images at the mid-size "level"
  • If a free site, a new ad space

Mid-size
Album VIew
Mid-size View

To view a full or originally uploaded size, a simple mouse clink on the mid-size image will do the trick. However instead of a pop-up window, which most web browsers restrict these days, a "lightbox" effect is in place in which the image opens in a "modal dialog box". Simply put everything within the browser window is "grayed out" to draw focus to the image "on top of" everything else.

Full-size
Album VIew
Full-size View

Album Changes: Embed Codes
With the addition of the mid-size view to photo albums another element the "Share" or "embed codes" have been added alongside each image to enable sharing of your images among visitors to your site and the web in general. Depending on the size of the image each image will either have a collection of Small & Original or Small, Medium and Large code for embedding the image into a web page or bulletin board.

In addition each image will include a URL to use in instant messages or emails as well as the embed code for the Zoomshare Flipbook Widget containing the whole album in which the individual image is a part of.

Use of these embed codes is similar to other codes found on the web today; the visitor simply uses their ever handy copy and paste abilities to select and copy the embed code they wish to use, then paste that code into the desired location as needed.

Selecting
Embed Codes
Selecting Share Code for Embedding

Album Changes: Console
Don't want your images to be "shareable" by your site visitors? No problem, within console a new album setting allows a Zoomshare user to control which, if any, albums are "shareable". By default all albums are, so if you wish to limit which albums provide share information one simply needs to disable the feature as desired.

Enabling Embed Codes
Console Disable/Enable Share Information

Even if a Zoomshare user wishes to disable Share information for the outside world, within console the embed codes for any image can still be found for use within Zoomshare pages or elsewhere.

To access this new Share information within console two new features have been added to the Add & Sort Photos section of the photo album console. A "Share" link above each new image provides for that image's embed codes when desired. Simply click on the Share link to reveal the necessary information.

In addition to the Share link, the embed codes for each image are also provided in the Info section of each image, just in case.

Selecting Embed Codes within Console
Share Information within Console

Back to the Pit of Despair
As with all change it will take a little bit of time for the dust to settle. If anything seems amiss or if you have a suggestion, comment or feedback, please do send them our way at: customerservice at zoomshare dot com. But with any luck the Shared Wizards of Zoom will declare "It is Good."


Posted 20:21 
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