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Vox Populi, Vox Dei - Vol 2, Issue 16 (#42) - Aug 26, 1999

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The Classic & 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. I chose to use 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 view your uploaded photo & see if it worked) and thus an easy jump directly to Hooties for further processing; and three: it lets you rename the photo.

[ note: In order to get the link at the bottom of the results page mentioned above, be sure you enter your homepage "base URL" in the text box provided (for example: http://members.tripod.com/~yourname )]

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 called PhotoNet, 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 (www.ritzcamera.com) 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. It's located under the "Big Print Net" in their sidebar.] 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." The URL of your zipped photo should already be filled-in in the Source URL text box there. Below that text box 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.

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 "CMD+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 "photo.zip'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

NOTE: Somehow this article (as written here) was not the version published. For whatever reason, & as such, the "Additional Info" that was to follow was instead used in next issue's column. Our apologies for any confusion.

ADDITIONAL INFO   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" button when the instructions call for "Show Last." It won't work. Ahhhh, well, it's good to know I'm only human. :~))

ADDITIONAL INFO 2   For us Plus users &/or those who would like to stay within TL/2 to do the above, here are a few short-cuts.

You can save up to 12 zipped photos at "one-time" into your TL/2 Pool. This requires a little creative use of your "Recent" key. From within the Ritz site, when you have "downloaded" your first photo and viewed it on a page by itself (gotten it's temporary Ritz URL), do not hit the "Back" key to select your next photo to "download." Instead, hit your "Recent" key. You'll see the thumbnail of the RitzPak selection page (the one that has all your RitzPaks displayed). Click on that thumbnail. Go thru the process to view each selected zipped photo (suggest up to 10 views but you can do 12 views).

Right after viewing your 12th zipped photo & before you go to TL/2, click on the "Recent" key. You will find that the various screens between your RitzPak selection page & the temporary URL view of just your zipped photo are not shown. I'm not sure but I think this is because these steps are done within a frame.

Whatever the reason, each photo that you viewed will however be displayed. Go thru & re-view each one in sequence by clicking on it's thumbnail, then use the "Recent" key to get back to view the next one. After you have re-viewed each photo, then go to TL/2. At the Progressive HTML Extractor select "from your recent history" & you will notice the temporary URL of each of the zipped photos you just viewed, listed right after each other. Select each photo & one by one download them into your TL/2 Pool. You can now go back to the Ritz site, select your RitzPak & repeat the process to get all of your selected zipped photos into your TL/2 Pool.

There are a few things to remember.

  • Although the interim screens between the RitzPak selection screen & the view of the zipped photo are not saved in your "Recent" memory, they are saved in your URL History. Therefore, in the Ritz site there are three URLs saved in your URL History for each process of select-photo then "download" then view-photo. Before going to TL/2, if you do not go thru & re-view the photos from your "Recent" memory as mentioned in this section, you will only be able to access about four of your photos from TL/2's URL History.

  • The files in your TL/2 Pool only remain there for three days. If you're not going to be able to actually unzip all of them at this time, be sure to transload the "zipped" files to your website directory. You can later re-enter into your directory thru TL/2's Pool / FTP Manager, download them back into your Pool and unzip them at that time.

  • The TL/2 URL History has the most recent URL listed first. Each new URL visited pushes the oldest URL off the bottom of the list. Each select/download in TL/2 takes up two URL listings in your URL History (Pool / FTP Manager page's URL & transition page's URL). It's advisable not to begin with the first listed photo URL (the last one viewed) but to scroll down the history list to the first viewed photo's URL, download it into your Pool, then go to the second photo's URL, download it, etc.

BTW, using the "Back" key in effect erases the "current" URL from your URL History. That is the reason once you have viewed your zipped photo in the Ritz site you do not want to use the "Back" key or you will erase the temporary URL of the zipped photo from your URL History. Like most sites that allow you to temporarily store results on their site, the temporary URLs on the Ritz site may only remain for an hour (maybe less). However, that is more than enough time to select and download into your TL/2 Pool.

From talking to Dave & trying this out, I learned even the unZIPped files mentioned above can be from 30k-60k, at least. Considering I have used the Kodak PhotoNet service and my JPG pics averaged 10k-20k, 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.

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.

About Alt.Discuss.Homepage-Homepage Helpers

The alt.discuss.homepage newsgroup is a great source of help if you are just beginning or run into a snag when creating your home page. Each issue, we will focus on one or more tips that will help your home page design. You can visit our home page at http://members.tripod.com/adhhh/ & request more one-on-one assistance. Our Help Teams (which can be directly contacted via our new Help Desk) include: Tutor Team; Construction Crew [if you have a particularly complex design problem]; & Image Researchers. Also check out the collection of various home page building resources in our Resource Center.

Have a tip, idea, tool, or shortcut you'd like to share & see featured in the next or subsequent article? Submit your tip to our ADH-HH Tips & Tools Committee.