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      Please help us for July   06/30/2017

      This month we're hoping for a little bit of a boost this month or next, in addition to covering the regular bills, we could benefit from some hardware upgrades. STEX Collector's Set gifts can now be sent to you via digital download as well as regular mail if you wish! Every donation dollar goes toward keeping Simtropolis online and humming along. Your contribution counts! Hardware Upgrades As our website community software improves with more and more features, and as we bolt on additional features such as chat, the increased load to handle all these new toys is taking the server a bit to task. You may have noticed that we'd been forced to temporarily disable the chat as we worked out allocating resources for more optimal performance. Following this, we've applied a number of 'soft' changes such as caching options and experimented with server configurations (nginx as proxy, for example), so the hardware aspect is also an area we'd like to focus on. The last time we upgraded hardware was back in 2012, prior to the release of SC13. Your contribution means a lot! Your donation will go toward helping us to 1.) migrate to a newer server or 2.) at least get some ram/cpu/storage updates and any other infrastructure hardware or services. Donate and Get a Gift or Donate Any Amount Thanks so much! - Dirktator & The Admins
CorinaMarie

The End of an Era (Photobucket Borks the Internet)

144 posts in this topic

11 hours ago, Cyclone Boom said:

For me, it's greed because of the methodology -- what they're doing to obtain it.

 

The contract you sign says: 

"Photobucket has the right to change the limits at any time. "

(if I understand well this extends on webspace and bandwith)

 

As long as you have the freedom to agree or to disagree with the terms of use - doesn't this mean we support greed?

Most of the contracts you sign on the internet are this way. If you sign a contract with google you agree they read your e-mails to send you personalized advertisings.

"Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection."

Do you agree to those terms of use - yes or no? That's the question.

If you do, aren't you guilty the same way as they are - making the internet such a bedraggled place where consumers are taken for fools?

 

The tragedy is - we support the system we hate.

 

nos.17 and huzman like this

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3 hours ago, APSMS said:

.....But $400? That's highway robbery!

I understand the need to make money but that's just ridiculous.....

They certainly could have done a better job  of explaining why they were doing it and what the difference was between having an unlimited linking account or one that gives you 3rd party hosting, but based on what it costs me to run my site each year its not an unreasonable expense given bandwidth costs, etc for 3rd party hosting and they do explain why here

Quote

Examples of bandwidth usage:

-Lets say you have 100 photos that are 1MB in size each, and you are linking every single one of them out to your blog/website. 100 images at 1MB in size means that you are linking out just under 100MBs in data size for all those images. Those photos would need to be viewed 100 times a piece to reach 10GB bandwidth.

-If you only linked out 10 photos that are 1MB in size, those 10 photo would need to be viewed over 10,000 times before you would reach 10GB bandwidth. 

-If you had 10 videos on your blog/website that were 100MBs in size, that would equal out to just under 1GB in file size. If those videos were viewed 100 times total, you would reach 10GB bandwidth.

My site has 3rd party hosting set to disabled simply because of the costs involved with allowing it, but given its mainly me who posts pictures (and a few other people I trust) I switched it back on, but if I had an active user community I would probably have to give serious consideration to switching it off again.

-catty

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Well I don't want anyone thinking this isn't annoying for me too, thankfully though as of writing PB has not pulled the plug on my linked images. Since 9am (about 6 hours now) I've been going through my Dev and BAT threads and everything is moved over to FlickR now, *phew*.

So that's over 6 hours work to move 98 images. Which since that doesn't include anything not on my dev threads, i.e. "show us your..." threads and images used for helping others, much will still be lost. It's simply too much work to dredge through years of posts and update all the broken links however. If anyone finds one and lets me know about it, I'll do my best to restore them as they come up.

One good thing to come out of this however, I've a much more organised set of images, so such a job would be much easier if I ever needed to do it again.

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2 minutes ago, rsc204 said:

So that's over 6 hours work to move 98 images.

That gives me an idea of the magnitude of my task. You've averaged 3.67 minutes per image so my guess of 5 minutes per wasn't too far off.

 

3 minutes ago, rsc204 said:

One good thing to come out of this however, I've a much more organised set of images, ...

That has occurred to me as well. Many of mine could've been better named. A lot of them I just tossed up there with img####.jpg from my screen grabber's consecutive naming convention.

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25 minutes ago, CorinaMarie said:

That has occurred to me as well. Many of mine could've been better named. A lot of them I just tossed up there with img####.jpg from my screen grabber's consecutive naming convention.

I've numbered them all in the order they appear in threads. 5 digit prefixes so I'm good to an optimistic 10,000 images per thread. Other than that, I didn't bother with re-naming them too much.

But they are all in one place now, which half of the time I spent was simply tracking them down on my HDD. PB at least keeps the file name (in the URL), or I'd have been screwed, FlickR does not! Then I've made a crude .txt file listing the links cross-referencing the prefixes as follows:

35648474575_4b7ef95e76_o.jpg

 

But I think Corina, if you just stick to the important stuff like your shoppes and tutorials, you'd find this task is about a days work. But yeah, going full-on updating everything is not a task I think anyone sane would consider.

========================================================================================================================

2 hours ago, catty-cb said:

but based on what it costs me to run my site each year its not an unreasonable expense given bandwidth costs, etc for 3rd party hosting and they do explain why here

Reading the example of bandwidth costs makes me think about compression of images, or the lack thereof...

If you take a few moments to make a copy of your full-res image (my screenshots come out as 6MB BMPs), but using the amazing "Save for Web" feature of PS, I can compress that 1920x1080 image down to around 300kb, with no huge quality loss. I mean, it's not like most people have the screens to see the detail in the 6MB original. Example here is 314kb, using the "High Quality" option:

32816734306_3af1019446_o.jpg

If I used medium, I can get that down to 160kb or so, again without a huge loss of detail. In fact, for most of my images I used the medium setting, it's more than sufficient for most purposes. The other thing I do is mercilessly hack any pixels from the image I don't need (cropping), to make them as efficient as possible. Given the number of PNGs we see around here, I suspect most users simply don't know or care enough to do any of this. But the costs of managing all the data would be massively altered if everyone did. Not to mention speeding up the browsing experience for all.

Silur, catty-cb, nos.17 and 2 others like this

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Well in my latest CJ entry, Neiderbauen, (Shameless self-promotion here ;):P ), I have 36 images on Imgur for that entry. Imgur gives a few stats about each image:

Each image has been viewed around 2600 times, and with an average bandwidth of around 8GB,  that means for all the images in the CJ, a total bandwidth of 218GB was used. Now, I have 45 entries in my CJ, and yes I know this will vary, but this means my CJ could be using something around 9,810GB of bandwidth, or about 9.5TB. It will likely be lower since many entries don't have as many as 36 images in them, but anyway, that gives a rough indication of what we're talking about here. 

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26 minutes ago, _Michael said:

Each image has been viewed around 2600 times, and with an average bandwidth of around 8GB

Which would make the average image somewhere around 3.15MB by my rough calculations, which is seriously large. Not sure how many mosaics you use, but based on my 315kb full HD sample above, you could be 1000x more efficient using compressed images.

To really make anything from those figures, what you need is the bandwidth per year or month. But for sure, 9.5TB bandwidth does not come for free in this world. Surely Imgur is compressing them even if you aren't, because such high bandwidth would be expensive and you'd need a premium plan I think? Most basic hosting for 50GB/month is around £60 a year, so if you are getting anything like 9.5TB without paying, something doesn't add up here.

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7 hours ago, APSMS said:

But $400? That's highway robbery!

I agree 100%. We worry about the WannaCry ramsonware and try to protect ourselves with patches. But PocketBook invented their own ramson virus. After all the complains and even some apologies, I find this outrageous.

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@rsc204 I know my images are large - some mosaics are over 15mb, but hey, I can't do everything. :P 

And as for not adding up, as far as I'm aware, Imgur doesn't offer any paid tier, although I could be wrong.

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10 hours ago, APSMS said:

But $400? That's highway robbery!

The fixed price shows the difficulty in Photobucket's business model (at least for supplying images to 3rd-party web sites): They're charging those who host pictures, but the bandwidth used varies according to decisions made by the viewing public -- people who pay nothing to acquire the pics.

On one hand, they can charge a flat rate (which is what they're doing). That rate will look like a screaming good deal for a few large, media-intensive businesses, and reasonable for a fair number of other businesses, but it's exorbitant for thousands of low-bandwidth hobbyists. The flat fee is somewhat arbitrary and feels unfair.

On the other hand, PB could try to charge by bandwidth. Imagine your surprise when one of your articles (or your preteen child's travelogue) full of mega-pixel photos goes viral and you get a bill for $1633 at the end of the month. I suppose PB could let users set caps (and warn hobbyists to compress pics). I think PB's best solution would have been somewhere in this pay-for-load area, but it still has its pitfalls and sources of bitter complaint. I guess PB just decided that 3rd-party hosting is a business activity and that small-fry aren't worth their trouble.

PS: I still stand by what I posted a few weeks ago about self-hosting: If you've bought bandwidth anywhere, you can host your own, either at home or piggy-backing on a personal web site set up for a separate purpose (e.g. advertising a business / running a blog etc). If you have broadband and are willing to learn a little about system-admin, then you can have virtually unlimited bandwidth from home (more than Simtropolis will ever draw anyway).

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https://petapixel.com/2017/07/01/photobucket-just-broke-billions-photos-embedded-web/

A few site upgrades ago on my site the software company added Amazon S3 support so all pictures, etc would be on Amazon S3 and my site would just access them according to the software company this would save me quite a bit when it came to bandwidth charges, etc, I did actually look into using it, but given the size of my site and the number of pictures involved it seemed overkill so I never implemented it.

https://aws.amazon.com/s3/pricing/

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I seriously doubt MBs of images used here is common case for such services, so I'd not worry much as otherwise they'd shutdown in no time.

And for JPEG optimization, please don't go too far :)

Btw, just for the records, Imgur (and postimg and probably most) allows you to upload files directly from web, therefore no need to upload locally.

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For reference, my 1,373 files I've posted here on ST average 153kb. They are like 99% JPG using 75% quality in my screen grabber and level 8 (which I presume is 80%) in PSE.

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As I said before, Google Pictures or similiar services are best hosting for future image hosting. I don't intend to promotion, though.

Additional info: Imgur also can be used for future image hosting if you don't want Google monopoly.

Also, I recommend you to not use 'Shoppe' name due to similiar with 'Shopee' name. Again, I'm don't promote that. However, your service still 'gratis ongkir' (ongkos kirim) :-).

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9 hours ago, Chief ZDN said:

Also, I recommend you to not use 'Shoppe' name due to similiar with 'Shopee' name.

I use it this way:

noun: shoppe; plural noun: shoppes
  1. a deliberately archaic spelling of shop, used in the hopes of imbuing a store with old-fashioned charm or quaintness.

(From Google.)

*:8)

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Okay, so if one like myself were to undergo the Herculean labor of redoing all the links to their images in their posts, why can't I edit my older posts?  I don't have the option at the bottom of the posts - the only option I have is to quote, not to edit.  Is this because we've seen so  many forum overhauls that users can't edit their older posts?  I have stuff from as far back as 2008 for which I can change the image links, is the forum software going to prevent me from doing so?

EDIT (haha) - it seems that starting sometime in July 2012, the edit option is available on my posts.  Does the forum software give us (what I am assuming is) a five-year window in which to edit posts?  The timing is very post hoc, ergo propter hoc to me.  Is there no way to access/edit one's posts from earlier?

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40 minutes ago, madhatter106 said:

Is there no way to access/edit one's posts from earlier?

Yeah, one of the updates did something like that. Don't panic tho. @Cyclone Boom can reset something or other and then you'll be able to edit them. He did that for someone else a week or so ago. (I made the title change for that member in the meantime since my mod status gives me a bit more leeway with what can and can't be done.)

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13 minutes ago, CorinaMarie said:

Yeah, one of the updates did something like that. Don't panic tho. @Cyclone Boom can reset something or other and then you'll be able to edit them. He did that for someone else a week or so ago. (I made the title change for that member in the meantime since my mod status gives me a bit more leeway with what can and can't be done.)

Good to know.  Should I get in direct touch with @Cyclone Boom about this access, then?  I have the images shuttled over to Imgur now, it's just a matter of coordinating the time to go through everything and update/edit.

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11 minutes ago, madhatter106 said:

Should I get in direct touch with @Cyclone Boom about this access, then?

You can, but he'll see the @ mention of him here and that should be sufficient. *;)

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1 hour ago, madhatter106 said:

Should I get in direct touch with @Cyclone Boom about this access, then?

1 hour ago, CorinaMarie said:

You can, but he'll see the @ mention of him here and that should be sufficient. *;)

Indeed I have. *:yes:

I've just performed a full reset of the member group permissions, so hopefully this has been corrected for you and anyone else. Also as far as I can tell, there are no restrictions applied to when or how many times a post can be edited.

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33 minutes ago, Cyclone Boom said:

Indeed I have. *:yes:

I've just performed a full reset of the member group permissions, so hopefully this has been corrected for you and anyone else. Also as far as I can tell, there are no restrictions applied to when or how many times a post can be edited.

Thanks.  I've been working backwards through my BAT thread, and have managed to do pages 20 through 32.  It hasn't been as arduous as I first suspected, once I was able to bulk upload my images to Imgur. 

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Hi @CorinaMarie

Just saw this thread about Photobucket and all your images/links etc.

Boy that "really sucks":dead:

Well I suppose we could virtually "hold your hand" in sympathy.  Too bad we can't do more.

I'm having my own issues.   Norton won't allow access to Simtropolis and I can't easily navigate through the site, but wanted to respond to your plight.

Take care and don't be too discouraged...

Carol

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2 hours ago, BC Canuck said:

Well I suppose we could virtually "hold your hand" in sympathy.  Too bad we can't do more.

Thanks, Carol. I appreciate it. :wub:

CB has been helping via PM. I've sent him a Dos style listing of all my pics I've posted here (1,373 of them) and he's made a spreadsheet with the old file name and a column for the new file name. Those that are for my guides (starting with the Introduction and Guide to Simtropolis) will be hosted directly to the server here with their own URL and then I'll get that topic and my shoppes and other tutorials fixed up. Then I'll begin working backwards (as madhatter is doing) and try to fix up my replies for which the pictures are an integral part of the answer.

huzman, Cyclone Boom and catty-cb like this

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It seems that I am unaffected by the recent changes too PB.... For the moment.

It is such a shame as to why a ransom of $400.00 US is being applied to keep your account active. I know the cost of the image hosting is steep but $400.00 US... No thanks!

I switched to imgur a while ago and am quite impressed. But as a web host who do we trust?

Since alot of users show images for showing creations in addition too making MD's and telling stories, I am just wondering if something could be done by the community? I do know that Simtropolis and the team have alot too deal with in terms of servicing costs but if things improved maybe there could be a community solution.

I will leave others like Admins to fill in the blanks.

For now I think users should keep backups if possible of important images.

That is my spill for now.

-eggman121

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We should note that imgur's terms of service do not really support embedding images in other websites, despite that being what I imagine most people use it for.

I've run across at least two sites that were blacklisted from imgur for embedding images. One of those sites was able to restore access (somehow), but it took over two years.

relevant part from their ToS.

Quote

Also, don't use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge –*snip*, we will ban you along with the site you're hotlinking from

Just something to keep in mind regarding Imgur's long term hosting potential.

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Despite a recent change that made it impossible to hotlink images directly from the public folder, I still recommend Dropbox. Sure, it doesn't offer much space to free users (2 GB only), but you won't ever lose any files as long as you have Dropbox installed, and (unless they change it) you can hotlink to images by making a small change to the link.
All you have to do is change the www.dropbox.com part of the link to dl.dropboxusercontent.com and it should work.

Like so:
jeepsthetic.png?dl=0

 

I would like to use this last part of my post to let you know that if you find any broken images of mine, PM me a link to the post and I will look into fixing them.

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11 hours ago, APSMS said:

...Just something to keep in mind regarding Imgur's long term hosting potential.

Their ToS in full

Quote

don't use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you're hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on Imgur.com. We mean it.

I imagine most of the image hosting sites are going to go the same way given how its viewed these days

So You Have Decided to Hotlink and Steal Bandwidth

On 2/07/2017 at 0:00 PM, Chief ZDN said:

As I said before, Google Pictures or similiar services are best hosting for future image hosting....

While their terms of service say your files, pictures, etc continue to belong to you, the moment you upload anything to Google you have agreed to

Quote

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

-catty

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4 minutes ago, catty-cb said:

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content... you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works

Right. forget google as much as you can. They are evil, but necessary. Use it to just google, in a different account if you know how. Use Bing and others like it. But I strongly suggest that everybody stays away from Gaggle. Please pass this around.

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Sorry I am so dense, but if sites don't want us to hotlink, why give us the means to do so?  I am looking at a pic of mine loaded up on Imgur - there are six methods of copying the link, from direct to markdown to HTML to BBC, and using said link elsewhere. 

Ultimately, at this stage I am over halfway through my BAT thread fixing this potential problem, but I really don't want to have to shift all these images to another platform down the road in whatever span of time it takes Imgur to go the road of Photobucket with regard to their terms of service.

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The wording of such does suggest hotlinking is prohibited in any form without leeway.

However, based on this answer from an Imgur member of staff, the rule merely prevents their service being used to serve website content:

Quote

I'd be happy to help clarify this for you. Imgur allows hotlinking on forums, but hotlinked images cannot be used as content for a website, including blog posts, avatars, site elements, and advertising. Let me know if I can help further!

[Source]

 

Since image sharing is the purpose behind Imgur, it'd be contradictory to not allow users to embed them on message boards. So basically, they don't want websites to use hosted images to provide static content, used as part of the website itself. But posting on forums is perfectly fine.

For example, say if ST's header pic was uploaded to Imgur instead of being presently locally hosted. That would mean each time a page is visited, the image would be retrieved from Imgur's servers. Understandably this could rack up bandwidth usage fairly quickly on high volume sites, which may get out of control. It seems this is what they're concerned about, and the ToS clause is a legal provision for them to take necessary action to prevent this escalating.

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