FTP uploads work again

Many dotPhoto members — especially newspapers and professional photographers — asked us to fix the FTP upload function, which has been unusable since earlier this year. FTP is working again.  It is a very easy way to get your photos into your dotPhoto account.  Here’s now:

First, you’ll need to an FTP client application on your computer (you may already have one; if not, see below).  In your FTP client, just set the hostname to ftp.dotphoto.com.  The username and password will be the same as you use on dotPhoto.

You can use just about any FTP package.  If you don’t already have one, we recommend the following:

After you have uploaded your files to dotPhoto, you’ll see a new album in your account called “FTP.”  You can rename it as desired, by clicking on the Organize button on the left and then choosing Album Settings.

Father’s Day Gifts

The new Mahogany Desk Organizer is just in time for Father’s Day.  I like the ability to add text on many of the designs — or to choose one of the Father’s Day designs.

Image

For more customization, choose one of the other Design groups and pick a design that enables you to insert text or drag more than one photo over.

OrganizerPreviewAt $19.99, the Mahogany Desktop Organizer is 30% off.  We’ve also put the popular 11 oz white mug on sale at just $4.99!

Under new, old management…

On April 19, 2013, DP Operating Company, Inc. acquired dotPhoto from MyPhotoAlbum, Inc.  Having watched dotPhoto for some time, we thought we could do a much better job of providing value to customers.  We decided to acquire the business and begin the long process of turning it back into a market leader.  So here we are.

Our immediate plans are to fix what’s broken, improve customer service, and gather customer feedback.  After that, we’ll update the design, improve existing services and add new ones.  There are some pretty exciting plans in the works, but we’ll save the details for later!

Founded in 1999, dotPhoto was one of the Internet’s first photo sites.  Glenn was in fact a co-founder.  However, due to several rounds of corporate musical chairs, he hasn’t been involved with the company for some time.  dotPhoto was the first to offer a customizable web site, the first to enable pros to sell photos, and the first to offer a mobile application.  We look forward to returning to dotPhoto’s tradition of innovation.

Got ideas or concerns?

Please send them to Glenn at gpaul (at) dotphoto.com.  If you’d like to talk, please send an email with your phone and the best time to call you.  We actually will call you.

Order processing is back up.

During the ownership transition, credit card processing was down for several days, but is operating now.  We deeply apologize for the delay, and we will rebate shipping on any orders placed with expedited shipping.

Your photos are safe.

Pixels are cheap, but memories are priceless.  As such, we will continue to maintain your photos on dotPhoto. Going forward, we will even maintain archives of abandoned accounts on ancillary storage so that they can be retrieved years later when you come back for them.

We feel privileged to work with dotPhoto’s many loyal members, and we look forward to contributing to a beautiful imaging experience.

Glenn Paul & David Duquette

Speeding up dotPhoto

There are ways to speed up dotPhoto, and there are issues that are systemic on the web. 

We think a lot about speed, and an independent company monitors dotPhoto’s load speed. Among photo companies, which as a group have fairly “heavy” pages because of the graphics, dotPhoto is in the top 5% for speed.  dotPhoto senses your connection speed and sometimes changes the way we serve up data;  for instance, if you have a dial-up connection, we’ll serve smaller images to the dotPhoto Show so that they get there faster. If your broadband connection speed is very slow, you may see the same behavior when watching dotPhoto Shows.

If your overall access seems slow, you might want to test your connection speed, which you can do at the free “Speakeasy” link below.  dotPhoto servers are in Sunnyvale, California, so the San Francisco server is the best choice to test.

http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

Upon completion of the test, you see a screen like this:

On my home cable connection, I’m getting 595 Kbps on download and 347 Kbps on upload to the San Francisco test server.  Verizon’s new fiber optic FIOS service claims up to 10 Mbps download (their web site says 5, but their operator says 10MB) and 2 Mbps for $29.95 per month for the first year, which would be a savings for me, so I may try it out. FIOS is not available everywhere, but you can learn more by clicking here for FIOS link.

Certain times of day are slower for cable users and especially for DSL users.  For instance, right after dinner can be slower because everyone is doing homework, shopping or reading home email. Unforeseen events can also slow down the entire Internet.  I remember being frustrated in my attempt to connect one evening only to discover that much of the world was trying to connect to the Mars Rover.

You can also speed up dotPhoto by changing your album displays to a list display, and by reducing the number of thumbnails that you display in an album.  Since most of us look mainly at our most recent photos, these are easy changes to live with

Changing your album display to a list display

On the album page, click on this icon.  You can change back to thumbnails by clicking the same spot again:

Reducing the number of thumbnails displayed in albums

A congressman recently explained the Internet as “a series of tubes,” which has been a source of amusement for late-night comics. It’s true, though, that the tubes get slower when they have more data to push through — and that’s what happens to an album page when more thumbnails are displayed. You can see as few as 3 photos per row on 3 rows or 9 images per page, and as many as 6 photos per row and 12 rows or 72 images per page. You’ll see 9 photos much faster than 72, which can take a moment or two load. 

To reduce the number of thumbnails displayed, click on “Display Settings” and then set the numbers of images per row and rows per pages that are comfortable for you:

Hefty photo crystals make substantial gifts and awards

dotPhoto recently added laser-engraved photo crystals that make unique gifts and awards.

Photo crystals are as permanent as anything you can you make with a photo.
The crystals are very dense and heavy with the largest weighing easily as much as a brick. If you ever wanted to put a photo in a time capsule, a photo crystal would be the technique because the image is preserved inside the crystal – not etched into the surface.  Unlike paper, sculpture or just about any other image preservation technique I can imagine, photo crystals encase the image inside the medium.

How I tried to break a photo crystal
We don’t recommend this, but, as a test for this blog, I dropped the small photo crystal from successively higher heights onto the thin office carpet that covers our concrete slab. I started by pushing it off my desk – not an unlikely event in the life of a photo crystal.  No marks or breaks.  Then waist height, face height, and holding it over my head.  I tried each of these in several “drop” positions with no damage, and surmise that you would have to hit a photo crystal hard with a hammer to break it, or drop it directly onto a cement floor – both less likely events.

Photo crystals can be used for special occasions and also as customized, memorable awards.
Each crystal is packaged in a luxurious blue box with a magnetic clasp and a royal blue cloth interior.  The weight in your hand makes the item feel, well, weighty.  Somehow, the permanence and heft of photo crystals makes them seem important. 

They’re pure.
Light playing off and through a photo crystal adds another dimension of beauty that has fascinated people throughout history.  These crystals have beveled edges that make them a pleasure to handle and display.  You can set them up with your own lighting, or purchase a battery-powered pedestal (3 AAAs) that bathes your crystal with light from beneath with four light emitting diodes.

Since it’s hard to represent this kind of product online, I put together this little dotPhoto Show with images of crystals captured on my office window sill. 


Click here to watch a dotPhoto Show about photo crystals.

Click here to purchase photo crystals.

Uploading & editing music for dotPhoto Shows

dotPhoto has licensed about 300 songs that are already in the dotPhoto Show, and many of these are quite interesting.  Of course, you choose your own images so you’ll want your own music, too.     

You can find interesting sounds and music on the Internet, edit songs for length, add sounds together and upload the resulting MP3s to your dotPhoto Shows to add colorful, evocative music.  Here’s how… 

Changing music in a dotPhoto Show
If you are the owner of a dotPhoto Show, you can click on “Edit” at the top of the screen, and then choose “Music” from the button bar.  (Guests will not see the Edit option.) You can sample and select music in 22 categories, or upload your own music by clicking on the “Upload Music” button:

Finding MP3 files
Alta
Vista has a good search routine that finds interesting MP3 files.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the breadth of audio files available to add character to your show.

Click here to search for MP3 files at Alta Vista 

Editing and combining sound filesWavePad offers a nice sound editing package that you can download free and use without significant limitations.  The web site notes, “We make WavePad free in the hope you will like it so much you will be tempted to upgrade to WavePad Masters Edition.”  (dotPhoto has no business relationship with WavePad.) 

Click here to download WavePad MP3 Editing Software FREE! 

WavePad is great for picking out the parts of a sound file that you really want to use, and also for combining multiple files to give some variety to a show. Since most dotPhoto Shows are only 30 to 40 photos, it’s a waste to upload an entire song, and it also takes longer to load and play each song.  With WavePad, I was able to cut a four minute song down to 58 seconds – and down from 4.6 MB to 824 K – that the dotPhoto Show automatically loops   

The dotPhoto Show is an Adobe Flash tool that plays MP3s, so, in order to get your sound file to play at the correct speed, you must follow these instructions: 

1.  In WavePad, convert the sample rate of the file to 22050:

 

2. Save your MP3 with these settings:

When you’re ready to upload your music, click on the “Upload Music” button in the dotPhoto Show, find your MP3 file and start the upload.

Back in the dotPhoto Show, hit the “Refresh” button, find your new file, and select it as the music for your dotPhoto Show!