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The Classic and Your Own Homepage Photos

Guest Author: allstondave [ email ]
ADH-HH's Tips & Tools editor: ericB

Boston Skyline

"If you are building a webpage with a WebTV Classic, you know how difficult it can be to use your own photographs. You need someone with a scanner and a computer to digitize them and email them to you.

Well, if you are taking pictures for your webpage, I can show you a way to put them in your files so you can use them on your page. (I use Tripod for my pages. If you are using a different host, your transloading procedures may be slightly different.)

Before We Get Started

You will need to sign up for TL/2, Anthony's premium transloader service which will cost $15.00 for three months or $50.00 for one year. You will need TL/2 to unzip files as you will see later. You will want to assign TL/2 to an "F-key."

Next, you will want to SAVE "Hootie's WebTV Jumps" or a similar utility to a different F-key. Hootie's is a great utility that has log-ins to the major web service providers and "jumps" (or linked buttons) to all the image tools we will need.

You will also want to have the Domania Freeloader or similar uploader or a transloader on another F-key.

Getting Started

So, you have shot your photographs and you're ready to get them developed. You will need to take them to a Ritz Camera location. They have stores all over the country. (You can check their site for a location nearest you.) Tell them you want to have your pictures uploaded to their website. It costs about $4.00 for the developing and about $4.00 for the upload of a roll of 24 photos. You don't even need to pay for prints, if you don't need them. Kodak offers a similar service, but they do not offer the ZIP format (mentioned below), & their PhotoNet service takes a bit longer. Besides, Ritz is more cost-effective than Kodak and I believe the photos ZIPped by Ritz have a higher resolution.

In about one day, you can return to the store and pick up your order. You will get an index print of all your pictures and the URL of their site, a User ID and a password. When you get home, start with a clear cache by doing this first thing when you log on or by doing a switch user to clear your cache, and go to their site ( and enter your User ID and password, and click "LOG ON." [Ritz Camera has a sample "RitzPak" on their site so you can try this out for free.] In a few seconds, you'll get a page with your RitzPak in the list. You can change the name of your RitzPak to something easy to remember, if you'll be uploading several of them.

Now comes the first tricky part. It will take about five minutes to load your RitzPak. Don't worry, your box will not time-out. After about five minutes you will either see the index print of all your photos, or you may get a grey screen, and your box may disconnect. Don't panic. Hit reconnect, and in a couple of minutes your photos should come up. Click on one of the photos you want to see, and you'll get a larger view. Use the next and last arrows to look at your other photos because if you try to go back to the index print it might take a long time.

When you are looking at a photo you'd like to use, click "DOWNLOAD" from the right hand menu. You'll get a screen with some choices for computer users. Skip right to the "START DOWNLOAD" button and click on it. In a few seconds you will see a larger view of your photo. Hit your "GO TO" key and select "SHOW LAST." You will see the temporary URL of your photo. Here you will notice the photo URL ends in ".zip" because it's in ZIP format as opposed to a JPG. Select "GO TO PAGE" and you'll see your photo, by itself on a black background.

To unzip your photo, hit your TL/2 F-key and when you get there, click "ENTER." On the next screen, scroll down to the "Progressive HTML Extractor." On the third line you'll see a button that says "Download and then Extract." When you click on it, you'll have three choices. Click on the one that says "Download" and then hit "ENTER." You'll get a transition screen while the transloader does its thing. You'll probably have to "RELOAD" (CMD+R) a couple times but eventually you'll get the full TL/2 screen again.

Scroll down to the "Pool/FTP Manager" and click on "ENTER." On the list in your file pool, you should see the URL of your photo ending in ".zip" with a funny zipper symbol next to it. Click on the zipper symbol. In a few seconds you'll see your pool list again, this time with your photo URL in JPG format. Click on the JPG and you'll see your photo.

Now to simplify the URL of your photo and upload it to your homepage directory, we're going to take it to the Freeloader. I chose to use the Domania Freeloader for three reasons. One: it's much faster; two: it gives you both a link at the bottom of the results page so you can see if it worked and then an easy jump directly to Hooties for further processing (or which ever tool page you use); and three: it lets you rename the photo.

Hit your Freeloader F-key and go through the process as usual, typing in an easy to remember name for your photo on the "Rename" line. If you just want to have the photo, you're DONE! But if you're going to use the photo on a webpage, you're going to need to get the image size (in pixels) and reduce the file size.

Scroll down to the bottom of the Freeloader results page and click on the new URL of your photo, and you should see your picture. Hit your F-key for Hootie's WebTV Jumps and scroll down to the Image section. There you will see a button for "Show Dimensions." Hit the button and you'll see your HEIGHT and WIDTH. Write these down, and hit "OK."

Next go to "Reduce File Size." This will take you to Net Mechanic where you can reduce your file size to make your picture load quicker.

You can also take your photo to "Mogrify" where you can do other things to it like "annotate" to add either a caption or a "1999 by you", or sharpen or many other effects.

When you are all done modifying your photo, go back to the Freeloader and upload it to your directory. You can rename it to the same name you used before and you will overwrite the first image file with your new reduced and improved image.

I know this sounds very complicated, and it may take a half hour the first time. But with practice, you'll be able to do this in about ten minutes per photo.

If you are going to work on several photos, after you get the first one to the file pool at TL/2, look in the "Download and extract" section and you will see a "Select from Recent History" Button. Click on it and look back through the screens you've been on. At about number 7, you should see one that says "Ritzcamera..../thumbs." Click on that and then you should see that address in the box on the next line labeled "Last Visited URL." Go to that box and hit "CMD+A" to highlight it and then "CMD+C" to copy it. Then press your "GO TO" button, delete the "http://" and hit "CND+V" to copy the ".../thumbs" address into your "GO TO" box. Hit "Go To Page" and in a few minutes you should be back at the index print page where you can pick another picture to work on. With that address loaded into your "GO TO" box, you can do this three or four times, if you are quick, and load three or four "'s" into the Pool before Ritz drops the page from its memory. Once that happens, you'll have to clear cache and start over.

I would suggest printing out this page so you can refer to it as you go along. CLICK HERE for a..." non ADH-HH modified "... printable version of this page with no photos.


Here's a picture of the USS Constitution that I took, just to prove it works.


1999 allstondave
All rights reserved"
edited with permission

COMMENTS   I don't really have a lot of additional info to offer this time... more an opinion or comment. Allstondave covered the subject rather well.

I would like to add, this article is very timely. Recently, a while after Dave had submitted this article, photo resolution just happened to be a topic of discussion in our newsgroup. From talking to Dave, I learned that the ZIP files mentioned above usually are around 60k, at least. (This is usually why files are zipped, to conserve disk space.) Considering I have used the Kodak PhotoNet service and my pics averaged 10k, I'd say there was a whole lot more info in the zipped photos. Neither Dave nor I can definitively attest zipped photos are of greater resolution (we haven't yet made a head to head comparison using "identical" prints), but we believe so.

As a short-cut to Dave's method, once at your "RitzPak," I would think if you were to "view" each "downloaded" version of each of your pics on the roll, their URLs would be in your TL/2 "recent history." However, I'm not sure how long Ritz holds these "downloaded" versions at their temporary locations. From Dave's description, it seems like it's not a very long time. In which case it would be best to follow his method.

Although this is addressed to Classic users, the method will also work for Plus users. Due to the different specs of the units, your wait time may be shorter on a Plus & you should be able to do the above with less cache clearing. If you are going to test drive this tip via the sample "RitzPak" mentioned above, be sure you follow the above directions! Do not do as this editor did and click on "Show Current" when the instructions call for "Show Last." It won't work. Ahhhh, well, it's good to know I'm only human. :~)) In a subsequent issue(s) we hope to detail how to use Kodak*s PhotoNet and other similar services. One service may suit your purposes better than another.

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