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.)
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.
While certainly not a dedicated Eurovision fan like Laurie (make sure to check out her Eurovision page), I enjoy watching the contest not only for the talent, but also for the cheese. This year again had plenty of both.
Israel was expected to do well this year, but ended up in 14th place, still better than some icons of the Eurovision Song Contest who ended up in last place. After surviving two tortuous hours, my two picks were Germany and Belgium and at least I was right on one account.
But even before the contest final itself, the Eurovision entries are judged for the Marcel Bezençon Awards which include three categories: the journalists’, the composers’ and the commentators’ award. In the eight years that these awards have been running, this year was the first time that a single entry took all three prizes, and that was Israel.
In hindsight, had the date of the ESC or the Bezençon Awards been delayed by a day or two, I have my doubts that the voting would have gone this way no matter how talented the Israeli delegation was. But that is something best left for a post of its own.
Image credit: aktivioslo
Even though I’ve lived in Israel since 1980, I’m still pretty much an Anglophone. Give me a book in Hebrew and maybe it will be finished sometime this year. Give me a book in English, most likely it will be done by the weekend.
The same thing happens to me when listening to audio. Having grown up in the American Midwest, where speech is slow and deliberate, speaking and listening to Hebrew is something of an uphill struggle in 1st gear. While still at uni back in the 70′s, my Hebrew professor warned us that Hebrew is spoken quickly, but in our classroom environment he never duplicated experiencing a conversation between native Hebrew speakers. Whenever I’m around native Hebrew speakers, I know they’re slowing down their conversation so the non-native speakers can keep up.
But I digress.
Somewhere around 2006 (which is, not coincidentally, when I bought my Rio Carbon 5G) I discovered BBC’s podcasts, which covered a huge breadth of topics, from history to comedy to interviews to documentaries, in addition to the World Service news programs. Granted in 2006 the weekly roundup of available programs for listening was only huge. Jump to 2009-2010 and “huge” has become “gargantuan”. The number of available podcasts, which range between 7 minutes to 50 plus minutes, now number somewhere around 260 and are not only in English, but there are also special programs for speakers of Gaelic, Russian, Persian, Arabic, Chinese and other languages. There are programs covering environmental issues, online life, medicine, the arts, sports, religion, fishing, farming, food, philosophy, women’s issues, Bollywood, music, etc., etc., etc. (Due to licensing restrictions, many music programs are limited to UK listeners only.) With an average of 30 minutes per program, that’s about 5 and a half days’ worth of podcasts one can download and listen to each week! Additionally, most of these podcasts also have their own webpage on the BCC site, so if you want more information about the program you’re listening to, you can look them up on the web. Going even further, some podcasts even have entire Open University courses based on them.
And among all this, bless them, BBC4 worries that they’re not doing enough to promote podcasts. (Though you might want to click and read the caption on that photo.)
The podcast that has captured my imagination, along with about 3 million other people, is “A History of the World in 100 Objects“, or AHOW for short, which is a marvelous marriage of history, archaeology, art, sociology and museum-hopping, some of my favorite subjects. Besides the podcast, which the BBC has said will be available forever, there’s a highly informative website that accompanies and fills out the listening experience. The second series of 30 object starts next week, so if you haven’t listened or experienced this program yet, you can catch up with it this weekend.
Most of BBC’s podcasts are available for listening and download only for a week following their original broadcast. Besides AHOW the other exception to that policy is BBC World Service’s Documentaries, of which there are now over 500 episodes. The range of topics covered is again enormous and, given my love of language and the subject matter, the two below I found especially wonderful.
(Disclaimer: please note that the BBC Documentary website allows embedding of these two podcasts in your website under these terms and conditions, however, the script they use is not compatible with WordPress.com. © All Rights Reserved BBC)
If you have a special podcast that you’d like to recommend, please leave a link in the comments.