Category Archives: photography
After the WordPress.com dust-up with Picapp in November last year about the change in Picapp’s shortcode implementation, WordPress.com and Picapp separately announced that the Picapp shortcode would no longer be supported by either party on new posts. Previously embeded Picapp images would be available for as long as Picapp will allow them, announced Ryan Markel, WordPress.com Happiness Engineer, in the Support forums. Picapp’s CEO and co-founder, Eyal Gura, said in an email sent to registered Picapp users that they “intend to keep supporting the delivery of the already-published images to the publishers that meet our TOS, and by doing so to provide as much continuity as possible.”
You might remember when the Picapp hit the fan, a certain prominent blogger discovered that Picapp had taken over every image on the front page of her self-hosted WordPress blog and linked them to Picapp’s lightbox galleries, even though neither she nor her webmaster had installed Picapp’s widget on her site. This behavior prevented her from crediting the source of her images. Picapp quickly backpeddled and apparently adjusted something on their side to end this behavior. At that time, this behavior was not evident on WordPress.com blogs.
To my complete astonishment, while recently browsing through my archives here at WordPress.com, I discovered that Picapp’s lightbox image gallery has since taken over images on any archive or category page where both full posts appear and Picapp embeds and non-Picapp images share the same page. (This behavior does not occur on single posts viewed individually nor on themes where archive/category posts are excerpted or truncated.)
Where I could, I resized my own images to below the 250 pixel width that triggers this lightbox behavior. However, I couldn’t do the same for images linked to their original source. Needless to say, this behavior is still not acceptable. As raincoaster pointed out, it interferes with crediting image source and could lead to a ToS breach on some sites, such as flickr.
As a last effort I tried to log in to my Picapp account to see if I could adjust my site settings, but discovered that my account no longer existed. After registering again, my activation email arrived and included two links: one to turn all my images into Picapp galleries and one to turn only previous Picapp embeds into their lightbox galleries. Obviously, I picked the second link. In spite of that, it took some additional tinkering of my site settings in my Picapp dashboard before I was finally able to turn off the Picapp lightbox behavior on non-Picapp images on my site. As was pointed out in my previous post on Picapp, the default behavior should be to limit the lightbox gallery behavior to only Picapp embeds. WordPress.com users should not have to register and log in on Picapp in order to control image behavior on their WordPress.com site. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case.
Picapp continues to have an odd blind spot when it comes to understanding bloggers’ rights to control how their content is used and seems to be almost clueless as to how their default “takeover” of non-Picapp images irritates their potential user base. This is doubly true for those WordPress.com bloggers (
16 17 million and growing) who already have or may have self-hosted blogs in the future and are looking to monetize their sites. The only thing these users will remember is their previous Picapp experience.
(Editor’s note: If you have not previously used Picapp image embeds on your WordPress.com site, the above does not apply to you.)
Better Image Resizing!
Who doesn’t like visuals served up next to their written text? It adds spice to even the most well-written blog post and in the case of blogs serving up photos as the main course, images provide the entire meal. I’m not going to dish out the whole discussion around how images should be handled in WordPress, because that scope is huge and depends much on what is decided for the stand-alone version of WordPress. So, for the purposes of discussion here I’m limiting my wish to image resizing.
One of the many features of WordPress.com that I love is the ability to change themes easily to one of the over 100 available themes. While written words generally have no trouble transitioning to a new theme (unless you’ve used special fonts, colors, etc. extensively in your posts/pages), images in your blog posts can really suffer due to the automated image resizing that takes place to accommodate your new theme’s posting width. There are two aspects in play here: the image size/weight in kilobytes to speed up page load time and the size of the image in pixel dimensions (which is the main focus being addressed here).
Image Resampling: Looking at the WordPress.com Support Doc on Image Optimization, you can clearly see the difference in the quality of the two photos shown there. Even though they are the same pixel dimensions, the resampled photo at the bottom of that page (78kb) has severely lost both sharpness and color. For purposes of comparison, compare that image with this one resampled from the original by Yahoo’s “Smush.it” and weighing in at 67.8Kb:
Image Resizing: Looking at this photo on my photoblog, click through to the originally uploaded photo (1024×768 pixels) linked at the top of that page. The photo in the attachment page has been automatically resized to fit the theme’s attachment page width, but the image quality has suffered as a result.
If you are a new blogger or one with just a few posts with images, manually resizing existing images to fit your new theme while still maintaining image quality may be an annoying inconvenience. However, if your blog has been around for a while or you post frequently or your blog is photo-centric, you may not readily consider switching to a new theme, or at least not without some trepidation. Knowing that WordPress.com has a better image resizing engine, one that would maintain your image quality, would make this a non-issue.
(For what it’s worth, the whole discussion surrounding the trade-off between image size/weight and page loading time is so important that not surprisingly Google is also getting more heavily in the act. )
A major change in the way the PicApp service works has left WordPress.com users wondering how much longer the PicApp images they’ve already embedded in their blogs over the past year will be available for viewing. WordPress.com’s Raanan Bar Cohen announced the collaboration with PicApp almost a year ago in near glowing terms.
We all love adding great images to our blog posts, and today we’ve enabled a new WordPress.com Shortcode that adds millions of available premium images to the mix, all for free.
The announcement goes on to explain that,
The related-images strip you see embedded at the bottom of each photo links to pages on PicApp.com that help support the photographers and agencies involved with these images.
When they say “History is underfoot”, they must have Israel in mind. You can’t dig more than a few feet anywhere in this country without turning up antiquities of some sort. In this case, we’re talking about the recently opened section of the Beit She’arim (House of Gates) catacombs, nicknamed “The Menorah Caves”,which we visited on an atypically cool, cloudy and occasionally rainy Saturday morning.
Each of the catacombs varies in size and number of burial places, the largest being the “Horseman’s Cave” with about 380 burial niches at various levels in 16 corridors. The original “residents” of these catacombs came from as far away as Yemen in order to be buried alongside some of Judaism’s greatest scholars. (Celebrity Catacombs?) Like the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, the most impressive catacomb on site, many of the entryways still have their original stone door, which swings on a stone hinge, has a “deadbolt” and is made to look like a wood door reinforced with iron plates and studs.
Originally explored in the 1930′s and 40′s, funding to develop this area of the catacombs for visitors was only received within the last few years and opened to the public late 2009. Visits are presently limited to about 2 dozen people per tour, so if you love squeezing through really small doorways to check out burial caves, make sure to sign up in advance with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and bring your flashlight.