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Patricius Maximus

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  1. Show Us Your Interchanges - The Sequel

    Haljackey, I have to love that traffic. Great job. Hordes of Nebula, we all had to start somewhere - even me . I think it's fine for an early effort - the important thing is not so much equaling others but refining your technique over time with a focus on what works best for you. It's much like handwriting, if that analogy helps you; the more you practice the better you'll get. As for moving too fast, in my book there's no such thing as moving too fast, but on the other hand I do a mixture of eyeballing city planning (which I have a talent for) and winging it. If you want to plan your cities more leisurely and with more precision there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
  2. Show Us Your Interchanges

    At the risk of not being much help, it looks to me like you've done a great job fulfilling your objective going into building the thing.
  3. The End of an Era (Photobucket Borks the Internet)

    Hmm...so I should pay people money for them not to treat me like dirt? Even after they've offered a free service and treated me well for over a decade? That's an interesting view of human relations you've got there. People who practice such a view aren't people I'm interested in having any relationship with whatsoever, including in business, especially since I can get decent treatment elsewhere for free. I am certainly aware that contractually they owe me nothing, but I'd like to point out to you that you seem to be under the impression we owe them something, such as a respectful and deferential attitude. We do not. Besides, even people with pay accounts who did not "get something for nothing" had their hotlinks locked up unless they paid the $400, so even we accept the idea that we should pay money for the privilege of not being treated like garbage then these people were certainly ripped off and deserved better treatment than this. Besides, if I should have to pay for Photobucket to not treat me like dirt then why should Photobucket not have to pay me for me to not treat them like dirt? They've certainly never paid me a cent in exchange for me owing them anything. So now one has the moral low ground if you use a service on the terms that it's offered for over a decade without notice of any upcoming changes? Again, you do not seem to be respecting my right to call out Photobucket for their treacherous, inconsiderate behavior and lack of business ethics, which I reserved just as surely as Photobucket reserved the right to do this to us. Additionally, I can easily take my business to another image hosting service that offers their service free of charge as I have already done. If protecting their interests gives Photobucket moral standing, I fail to see why me protecting my interests does not give me equal or better moral standing here. After all, both of us are just trying to keep as much cash in our wallets as possible, but I would never have done to them (or anyone else I transact with) what they did to me. As others including yourself have said, there were much more progressive options they could have explored and they could easily have gone about what they did much better. Morally speaking, it's a level playing field at best. As for web hosting, who said anything about unlimited bandwidth? I've never even particularly wanted unlimited bandwidth; honestly if they'd imposed a bandwidth limit on the free tier or lowered an existing limit I wouldn't even care (although many of the online retail businesses you mentioned as culprits in bleeding cash would). I've said this multiple times. As for the prices, I only used Amazon as an example because of their "pay for what you use" pricing, which provides a much better idea of how much it costs them than some others' pricing does. In any case if Photobucket wants to exclusively be in the high-tier web hosting business now I don't see how they can be a viable business if their price isn't competitive and they don't have better service or ethics, or some sort of positive differentiation to make up for the price premium. Anyway, as you pointed out previously, premium customers have much better options available as things stand now - this is why I contend that their move to anger the entire Internet and not improve their decidedly mediocre offerings makes the most sense as a going-out-of-business move. If your service won't be around for much longer anyway, then any reaction we have wouldn't make a difference over the long term. It's just a possibility I'm throwing out there of course, and I suppose we'll find out either way soon enough. In any event today I'll be backing up everything I uploaded to them just in case and exploring other (including not-for-profit hobbyist-run) image hosting service and web hosting options, so anyone that wants to engage in a flame war over Internet business ethics (which is where this is going) can do so without me. My advice to everyone here is to agree to disagree over this dispute and get through this blow to all of our work as a united community. After all, as non-monetary small-time hobbyist users we have much more in common with each other than we do with any of the companies we're discussing. If we stand together, we can do this, and come out stronger and more vibrant then ever before. I intend to lead by example in this effort.
  4. The latest update's images have been re-uploaded to Cubeupload, so you viewers should be seeing it in its full glory once again. I'm still demurring over what to do with the rest of it, so it may be some time before everything is restored.
  5. The End of an Era (Photobucket Borks the Internet)

    I agree totally. The fact that the freemium model worked well for so long proves that the status quo (i.e. what we've enjoyed in the past several years) was viable, hence my suggestion of grandfathering in hotlinking for existing images. Additionally, I presume they could have lowered storage or bandwidth limits and introduced a new pricing tier, if that was their problem; I strongly suspect the minor bandwidth needs of legions of hobbyists wasn't what was dragging them down, especially since their total usage intensity of their site hasn't exactly exploded compared to previous years. I'll also reiterate what we've been saying: no matter what the circumstances acting without ample warning was irresponsible and a breach of the trust they had built up over the years with their user community. The only real explanation is that people like us have been caught between the big fish and they couldn't care less; one might even suspect they have some sort of antipathy toward users like myself. Simtropolis introducing its own subscription-based image hosting is an intriguing idea. Its feasibility should be explored, whatever the verdict on the question ends up being. I'd like to point out that introducing or changing bandwidth limits for free accounts can't possibly be that hard, if that was their problem. Although I respect your experience in this sort of business, I suspect that the "small businesses abusing our service" is an excuse to treat customers like dirt to a much greater degree than it is a genuine problem. If I were a premium customer I'd be wary of doing business with an image hosting service with inferior features that can't be trusted not to hold my hotlinks for ransom without any notice. Anyone with any sense in business should know that, which is why I find the rumors that they'll be going belly-up soon credible. If that's the case then this would represent a cash-grab of some sort.
  6. The End of an Era (Photobucket Borks the Internet)

    Well, at the quoted rate of 7.5 cents per GB for the bandwidth that is costing them, one would have to be using 5300 GB worth of bandwidth per year for it to cost $400, which I'm very certain is far more than what I and virtually all of the other small-time uploaders are using when it comes to hotlinking. Either Photobucket is really desperate and is trying to extort cash out of their customers before they go out of business (which given their recent financial troubles is possible) or they don't want small-timers like us to use their site anymore. Assuming the figures for bandwidth that I've seen there and elsewhere are correct it's not even clear to me why a "freemium" model for keeping an image-hosting website afloat wouldn't work . This sector of the internet seems well-suited to it, but as I said before I'm no expert on the subject. Aside from that I looked into Amazon's rate structure (for their web services) and plugging in my numbers for my image library (assuming they're correct) I got a figure of $5 a year. Considerably more than 20 cents, of course, but hypothetically if Photobucket sent me a notice in January saying that starting July I'd have to pay 40 cents a month to continue hotlinking based on my small-time usage tier or some such it's very likely they'd have my money in hand today. With what they did in real life they will receive none of my business or web traffic or positive reviews/reputation in the future. Their loss of course, and entirely preventable.
  7. The End of an Era (Photobucket Borks the Internet)

    Well, I figured that you have to adjust for the fact that since the average view consists of someone viewing one page and thus one page's worth of images, only a small fraction of my total library is being loaded per view (with the number of views being the amount of times the images have been loaded). That's why I divided it by the number of pages. The 0.2 cents I used as a base figure is for the entire library, not one image. I'm happy to admit that I may be totally and completely wrong, but that was my reasoning behind the figures.
  8. The End of an Era (Photobucket Borks the Internet)

    I've done a bit of research and a lot of back-of-the-envelope calculating, and in any case it's an absurdity to expect me to pay $400 per year to hotlink half a gigabyte worth of images. In the first place, I'm pretty certain the server storage itself costs next to nothing (certainly nowhere near $800 per gigabyte), considering that the raw cost of hard disk storage was 3 cents per GB. So a back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals that my storage over the course of nine years costs maybe 0.2 cents per year. As for hotlinking, Franklin County (my primary city journal so its figure is not too far off from my total usage) has received 108000 views over the course of its life and runs around 100 pages, so that averages to 120 views per year per page. Assuming this calculation is correct that comes out to 24 cents per year .
  9. The End of an Era (Photobucket Borks the Internet)

    Part of the issue is that these sites are commercial, and the endeavors of us and the people like us are inherently non-commercial. With regards to "monetizing" these sites, such a program doesn't mix with what we nor many other users want out of an image hosting service (or probably much of what we do online in general). Imagine if our very own Dirktatorship tried to monetize Simtropolis - it simply wouldn't work nearly as well as it does today1. Many of the moves of these "businesses" make sense in the context of commercial image hosting, but it leaves us not-for-profit hobbyists out in the cold. Personally I doubt if all of the users who image-host along the lines of the average Simtropolis user put together are costing them that much, but what do I know? 1Now, Simtropolis does have to cover its costs from donations and the like but monetization is quite different from this. There are multitudes of human endeavors that do not need to be commercial in order to provide value. Indeed, most such endeavors actually provide less value to people's lives if made commercial. Seeing as the prevailing ethos of the image-hosting industry and our community don't seem to mix very well, I agree with those who have said over the years that the optimum solution would be for us to have our own image-hosting service. Short of that the best option would be for each of us to host images from our own websites - from what I've heard getting a personal website isn't too hard, so in light of how many times we've been burned I think more of us should consider this choice. Although I won't take advantage of your offer, I'd like to thank you for your generosity. Ditto - thank you for your generosity in this matter. Indeed. If the growth of third-party hotlinking was going to cause them problems in the future the least they could do was grandfather in the hotlinks that already existed, if they saw such a problem coming at any point in time for their outfit. At the very least they could have given us advance notice so that small-time users like us wouldn't have their work disrupted. Trust, goodwill, and respect for the artistic integrity of the individual user are all essential to cultivating a loyal userbase for your service willing to promote it to others and pay for your offerings. By throwing all that in the garbage can and additionally daring to use hostage-taking tactics against us they have also thrown away the chance that I will have any more dealings with them whatsoever as long as I live. If that's what happened there's an excellent chance I would have taken up such an offer - at least I would have seriously considered it. And these bureaucrats and accountants et alia need to be thrown to the wolves. EDIT: That's quite funny considering that I'm a "Clerk of Red Tape" according to Simtropolis . Yes, they have the right to change their terms at any time - I, one of their customers, also reserve the right to give them exactly what they deserve when they act like douchebags to me. They have the right but not the duty to treat me with courtesy and respect, and I have the right but not the duty to treat them with courtesy and respect. If they act like dogs I retain the right to call them out on it. That's how at-will and similar arrangements work - it is symmetric, not one-sided. In other words, just because you can doesn't mean you should, and if people reserve the right to call them out on treating them like dirt they should exercise that right.
  10. Show us your Bridges

    I love the sight of beautiful bridges in the morning...
  11. I heard about those "recent changes" this morning. The bunch that runs that place must indeed be a bunch of traitorous dogs to do that to users like me. Oh well, fortunately I can re-upload pretty much every single image that I've posted here - it'll just consume a lot of time, time that I don't have today. I'll get to work on this page's updates immediately, though. By the way, this also illustrates why I'm averse to the idea of storing much of anything "in the cloud" - if I stored that information somewhere else and that somewhere else did the same thing to my information that Photobucket did to my hotlinking, I'd be in a far worse condition than if I stored it somewhere under my complete control. Now, everything I've uploaded to Photobucket is still on there, but I simply don't trust these sort of people (whereas I know I can trust myself). I might be sounding overly paranoid here, but my experiences make doing the image hosting myself a tempting possibility. But I think I'll give it one more go before I do anything that drastic. Oh well, off to work....
  12. Simtropolis 9.0.x - Bugs & Issues Report Thread

    Yes, I can now edit my CJ and my older posts. Thanks.
  13. Simtropolis 9.0.x - Bugs & Issues Report Thread

    Thanks .
  14. Simtropolis 9.0.x - Bugs & Issues Report Thread

    That's right.