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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)

142 posts in this topic

It didn't end up being as arduous as it first seemed, though I sympathize with anyone having a CJ with hundreds of pages and hundred of images; in my case, a little over 4.5 hours to do 32 pages of BAT thread, with approximately 210 images.  The only minor irritation was the times when the old page flip bug meant having to do a post twice, but that wasn't too often.  On the whole, it was a trip down memory lane, as there was some stuff in there that I had forgotten.  I would have hated to have lost the use of the thread, as I do occasionally reference it as my memory is not quite what it was.  Hopefully Imgur will prove to be a more suitable and stable alternative; I did find that it has been vastly quicker than Photobucket has been these past several years.

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So, a teeny, tiny bit of progress. I've updated the pics in my Introduction and Guide to Simtropolis and the Adding new Sim Faces since that's the example I use when showing how to make an image a clickable linky. Then I updated the one image in my About Me in my profile. That leaves a mere 1,340 image updates to go. :boggle:

Edit: Updated my most recent 50 pics in various threads too.

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Posted (edited)

I completely missed this. Although I have been a long time Photobucket user, they annoyed me with their shenanigans already ages ago. I've been mostly using Imgur for years now. Let's hope that at least Imgur doesn't follow suit.

One thing that would really help me personally is if Simtropolis allowed embedding Steam images directly, like other forums I use do. I have most of my images for games like SC4, Cities: Skylines or Banished there anyway. If I don't make any alterations to the image, that's one of the easiest ways to display images.

Direkt links to Steam images look like this:

https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/402306273353158964/9770BE9FC52F3A7A5092C01DD659FFB079528437/


9770BE9FC52F3A7A5092C01DD659FFB079528437


  Edited by Cyclone Boom

Testing via HTML.
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11 hours ago, Turjan said:

One thing that would really help me personally is if Simtropolis allowed embedding Steam images directly, like other forums I use do.

I'd say this is very doable. Given it's possible to insert directly via HTML, as I've edited into your post (admin tool).

Quite simply, the editor needs instructing that the URL format points to an image (from the Steam subdomain). Or maybe some logic checking whether any given link can be turned into one. Because currently it sees no extension and treats it like any old plain text link. It needs to know how to handle it properly.

Adding .jpg manually at the end throws a 404 error when visiting directly. I wonder why Steam decided to not follow the convention of files having an extension? With no guarantees it'll auto-embed without, it's hardly share-friendly and a random string of characters isn't very accessible.

From previous board updates (for instance), IPS did extend embedding support. Also later for Imgur albums, as Haljackey showed on Page 1.

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With the wonderful help of @Cyclone Boom I've now updated all 72 pics in my C.O.R.I.M.A.P.S. - A Tutorial for SimCity 4 topic (which includes my replies there). I expect we are ready to start on my Shoppes threads next.

Spoiler

How we are getting this done:

CB creates a list of all the raw image names in display order and from that I run a batch file to move them to a holding folder and rename them. He takes that new list and the zip file I make of those pics and loads them directly to the ST server then gives me back a list of new linkys. From there I edit each of my posts and do the replacements.

 

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13 hours ago, Cyclone Boom said:

I'd say this is very doable.

I wonder why Steam decided to not follow the convention of files having an extension? With no guarantees it'll auto-embed without, it's hardly share-friendly and a random string of characters isn't very accessible.

Well, automatic embedding works on a few other forums I use (like the Paradox forums for example), so I guess it's not a principal problem. None of those forums seems to use the same software as Simtropolis though (they all still use bbcode for example).

As to why Steam chose this format, I don't know. They may not like being used as image host. They use subtle methods to discourage you from doing this. For example, they always offer the direct upload dialog for your screenshots every time you stop playing a game of which you haven't uploaded many screenshots, but they cease doing so after you uploaded a certain amount for this specific game (you can still do it, but have to jump through a few links).

Reading out the subdomain name (here the "steamuserimages" part), like you suggested, may be the way to go. This may have to be updated once in a while, as Steam likes to change things around.

Edit: I just checked, I have 18.63 GB of storage left there, which should last a while.

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On 2017-7-3 at 10:17 PM, Cyclone Boom said:

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.

Fair enough that that's their answer, but it wouldn't take much effort to clarify in their ToS. As of now, if they so decide that forums are a no-go area for their users, they can just point to their terms.

Seriously -- it takes one sentence in their .htaccess to make it reflect their ToS -- or one sentence in their ToS to reflect their practice.

As for Photobuckets practice... I checked my webhost, and they charge USD 140 a year for 500 GB and lots of other fun things.

On 2017-7-3 at 8:15 PM, catty-cb said:

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

You'll find that that sentence is standard for all services that host content. Without it, some wise guy would plausibly make the case that he'd uploaded content to Google, but never allowed them to show it to anyone else, or create thumbnails, or whatever, out of his content.

---

However ... one idea that I really think we all should take to, is to make PDF versions of things we want stored for posterity. ST has been around long enough to see competitors and partners just vanish into thin air -- along with all their content.  Sure it would be annoying, but if Corina had her work stored away in a PDF that could be freely shared -- or with any other set of restrictions she wishes for -- it could have been a single-file back-up with all the pictures and text preserved. Inferior, you say? Yes, but a lot easier to pass around.

Think about it: Services come and go, 3rd party services come and go, they change their link structure, come up with nasty pricing plans, etc.; all of us change our interests, may see our countries blocking access if they so wish, and in the end, we all die.

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On 2017-7-1 at 6:03 AM, Odainsaker said:

It's ImageShack all over again.

 

Yes but at least Imageshack have affordable options. I pay about $2 a month, that's hardly extortionate and it does cost money to host my images and share them. I also have a Flickr account as part of my broadband provision. 

Nothing in life is free and that's apt when it comes to service provision. Sites need revenue in order to survive, just look at Simtropolis, without the donations the site wouldn't exist or at least it wouldn't in its current format. 

The way Photobucket went about this and the money they want to charge is scandalous but the era of free services is coming to an end as people develop more sophiscated ad blocking software and cut off revenue streams for remaining free services.  

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10 hours ago, krbe said:

... if Corina had her work stored away in a PDF that could be freely shared -- or with any other set of restrictions she wishes for -- it could have been a single-file back-up with all the pictures and text preserved. Inferior, you say? Yes, but a lot easier to pass around.

We'll have my shoppes back up as soon as we can. (CB and I are working on the Rock one first.) If anyone wants to make said PDFs to pass around (without any restrictions other than please give me credit for originally compiling them) then feel free to do so.

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Back up... $400??? I purchased my own webspace with tons of storage, my own domain, and the ability to host my own website for way, way less than that!

And I get to control basically everything.

$400 is an utter rip-off.

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On 06/07/2017 at 1:57 PM, Belfastsocrates said:

The way Photobucket went about this and the money they want to charge is scandalous but the era of free services is coming to an end as people develop more sophiscated ad blocking software and cut off revenue streams for remaining free services.  

It's not adblockers that are the real problem, but a huge decline in advertising revenue. Put simply, the days of running a site/service based on serving ads alone has long since gone. But your general point about the need for a revenue stream is absolutely spot on. Everyone wants this for free, but that's the whole reason these services keep going under. It's a vicious circle frankly.

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For the record, Imgur has already blocked FimFiction, any links to content parts of the site are blocked. Who's to say they won't do the same here?

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5 hours ago, Wiimeiser said:

For the record, Imgur has already blocked FimFiction, any links to content parts of the site are blocked. Who's to say they won't do the same here?

With Photobucket prolly going bankrupt that's going to put a lot of pressure on the other image hosting sites. I suspect those others are going to get overwhelmed and simply have to make a similar policy decision. :O

 

In other news, with @Cyclone Boom's invaluable help, I've updated 286 more picture linkys. The following topics show all their images again:

*:)

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Technically, based on what the Imgur staff member said (that CB quoted), we should be fine. We are only using the images for forum posts and the like. The Simtropolis site itself isn't linking to imgur images for official ST things...

I'm not too worried about Imgur for the time being. It's more than an image hosting site. It seems like it has a pretty large reddit-esque community that comments on public images on the site, and has upvotes and all that other stuff. It has ads on the site, so I'm guessing with the large amount of traffic they get there they probably get a decent amount of ad revenue.

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On 3/7/2017 at 7:14 PM, madhatter106 said:

It didn't end up being as arduous as it first seemed, though I sympathize with anyone having a CJ with hundreds of pages and hundred of images; in my case, a little over 4.5 hours to do 32 pages of BAT thread, with approximately 210 images.  The only minor irritation was the times when the old page flip bug meant having to do a post twice, but that wasn't too often.  On the whole, it was a trip down memory lane, as there was some stuff in there that I had forgotten.  I would have hated to have lost the use of the thread, as I do occasionally reference it as my memory is not quite what it was.  Hopefully Imgur will prove to be a more suitable and stable alternative; I did find that it has been vastly quicker than Photobucket has been these past several years.

i noticed that the effing "Update" square did not appear on my older CJs yesterday but has begun creeping in. It really IS a blackmail scheme : retrieving pieces of your loved one and sending them to you until you pay. I WILL not pay 40$ a month for the 3rd party hosting. Had they warned me explicity in advance, and had it been in the basic package, I might have. My companion, even livider than I :-) is deleting all his albums from the bucket. I might do that as well. If enough people do it, perhaps it will send a message ? I have all mine backed up and I will repost them after transiting to another image site. Hopefully those other sites won't go phbckt on us too soon. Or they'll do it reasonably. Treating your customers like dumb cash cows cannot be paying, in the end ? (Although my faith in humanity has become quite low in the recent year). Here's to Photobucket kicking the bucket.

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8 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

The following topics show all their images again:

Great job! The only thing missing is the 'Tree shoppe'. But then again, the one I have has the pix alright so I'm copacetic. Congrats CorinaMarie and Cyclone Boom.

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2 hours ago, huzman said:

The only thing missing is the 'Tree shoppe'.

That one is @Jolteon's creation and it's out of my hands. (The name Cori's Tree Shoppe is an authorized play on the name of the ones I created.)

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4 minutes ago, CorinaMarie said:

That one is @Jolteon's creation and it's out of my hands.

That much I gathered. The point is that Jolteon's file is viable or not.And thanks for a prompt answer.

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22 hours ago, huzman said:

The point is that Jolteon's file is viable or not.

I checked his thread and all the pics show for me. *:)

 

For my picture linky updating, I've now fixed all the pics in the threads I've linked to in my About Me page of my profile. Which includes, but is not limited to:

As well as I've updated the pics in every topic I've started.

So, 814 images updated and 559 still to go. These latter ones will be in reply posts and in various private messages. I'll get the posts ones done as I have time, but for the Messages I'll only do those if someone replies in them asking for an update. (I do have all the pics, it's just that the PM stuff was mostly temporary things whilst discussing an issue or fleshing out an idea.)

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On Friday, 7 July 2017 at 7:59 AM, Akallan said:

This is a free website hosting that I use for two years, never problems:  http://www.casimages.com/

One of the Banished sites I belong to have been using FreeForums unknown to anyone on the site, FreeForums have joined up with Tapatalk and in the weekend we logged in to find the site had been turned into a Tapatalk Group website it was a bit of shock for everyone including the web administrator who hadn't been told it was happening ... turns out there is some info on the FreeForums about it but speaking as a web admin I don't tend to visit my hosting company unless its to report a problem or pay a bill as I assumed if it was something major they would contact me.

And Tapatalk has quite an extensive "Forum Publisher Licence Agreement" which includes things like

Quote

In order to help users find your forum(s) when using the Tapatalk mobile application ("Application"), you grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide license to: (i) access, index, and cache any part of the publicly available portions your forum(s), by any means, including web spiders and/or crawlers, and (ii) use, copy, adapt, reformat, and recompile any part of our index or cache of your forum(s) for public performance, public display, and distribution through the Application.

and also

Quote

In consideration for Tapatalk granting you access to and use of the Service, you agree that Tapatalk and its third party providers and partners may (i) place such advertising and affiliate links on the Service, and (ii) access your email database solely in connection with Tapatalk's invite a friend feature which allows users to invite friends to join your forum, and trending email service which sends emails to forum users letting them know of top conversations in the forum.

The full license agreement is here

https://www.tapatalk.com/forum-owner-license-agreement.php

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On 09/07/2017 at 10:49 PM, catty-cb said:

access your email database

This is frightening! Now we have to keep our mailbox empty.

 

On 09/07/2017 at 10:31 PM, CorinaMarie said:

For my picture linky updating,

That's Great. One positive side about this mess is that I'm finding links to threads that didn't know about. Great work miss Cori!

 

On 06/07/2017 at 10:43 PM, CorinaMarie said:

If anyone wants to make said PDFs...

That's right up my alley. So I tried to create a Word doc with the "Beach Shoppe" as I've done before. Unluckily the pix are too big, and the result is a lot, a really lot of empty space and 90% of the pix are cut on the right of them. Shame.

 

On 09/07/2017 at 10:31 PM, CorinaMarie said:

I checked his thread and all the pics show for me.

That's the case for me too. Good.

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4 hours ago, huzman said:

Unluckily the pix are too big, ...

I presume you are referring to their original dimensions of 1280x1024? It seems they could simply be re-sized either within Word or via GIMP or any other good image editing program. What size do you need them to be? I could re-size them to whatever works and send you a zip file which includes @Cyclone Boom's new naming format. (Each one now has a prefix number so I wouldn't goof up doing the replacements in the thread.)

Spoiler

01 00 Beach.jpg
02 01a Beach.jpg
03 01b Beach.jpg
04 02 Beach.jpg
05 03 Beach.jpg
06 04 Beach.jpg
07 05 Beach.jpg
08 06a Beach.jpg
09 06b Beach.jpg
10 06c Beach.jpg
11 06d Beach.jpg
12 06e Beach.jpg
13 06f Beach.jpg
14 06g Beach.jpg
15 07 Beach.jpg
16 08 Beach.jpg
17 09a Beach.jpg
18 09b Beach.jpg
19 09c Beach.jpg
20 09d Beach.jpg
21 10 Beach.jpg
22 11 Beach.jpg
23 12 Beach.jpg
24 01 Vanilla Beach Lot.jpg
25 02 Grey Sand Beach Lot.jpg
26 13a Beach.jpg
27 13b Beach.jpg
28 13c Beach.jpg
29 13d Beach.jpg
30 13e Beach.jpg
31 13f Beach.jpg
32 13g Beach.jpg
33 13h Beach.jpg
34 13i Beach.jpg
35 14 Beach.jpg
36 15 Beach.jpg
37 16 Beach.jpg
38 17 Beach.jpg
39 18 Beach.jpg
40 20 Beach.jpg

 

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3 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

It seems they could simply be re-sized

Indeed they could. The thing is that I'm trying to find which is the best paper format for printing a PDF file. I use the standard A4 format ,since most if not all printers accept this. And once one resizes one pic, resizing the rest of them is tedious but quick. I am not complaining. In fact, I was a little rushed when I posted my above post. So hang on... I won't add to your overloaded work. I sure I can find a solution. And merci.

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1 hour ago, huzman said:

Indeed they could. The thing is that I'm trying to find which is the best paper format for printing a PDF file. I use the standard A4 format ,since most if not all printers accept this. And once one resizes one pic, resizing the rest of them is tedious but quick. I am not complaining. In fact, I was a little rushed when I posted my above post. So hang on... I won't add to your overloaded work. I sure I can find a solution. And merci.

Making the PDF versions would be so much easier if there was a print button or at least view single post link... However, if you're making them from scratch instead I'd think PowerPoint or a similar app would be your best bet, as it would also allow you to print full page pictures in 16:9 format from the start. If you use Word, making A4 landscape  documents is probably an option too.

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An aside in this infuriating Fhukobucket issue : can they delete images retroactively ?  Images legally used under the previous conditions ???  That is what seems to be happening to my CJs. Thille Parks was intact yesterday. Today there is only one picture left.

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7 hours ago, tariely said:

can they delete images retroactively ?  Images legally used under the previous conditions ???

I imagine they can do whatever they want. The original agreement prolly says they can change the rules at any time...

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Tis tedious and all, but I feel I'm making good progress. 954 updated, 419 to go. I just finished 80 pics in the Show Us Your Farm Land thread. (My better pics start here, if anyone's curious.)

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1 hour ago, CorinaMarie said:

My better pics start here

I have been looking for this thread for a good while, knowing that it be just great. Turns out to be better than that.
I think that's the right approach to city simulation: lots of playing incorporating real life situations (and characters) plus a good dose of humor and there's a formula for a long time playing without getting bored.

And an AoE player too boot. Whew!!!

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