Saturday, August 6, 2011

Photo Upload Update

I mentioned last week my fuzzy photo problem with Blogger lately. Since then, I've learned it has to do with the way Blogger scales our pictures down (essentially showing a large thumbnail instead of the full-sized photo), and I've also learned that Flickr doesn't look too kindly upon bloggers using their site as a photo host. (Which is odd, since they make it so easy to blog directly from Flickr. However, I'm assured by my friends at Neatorama that this is the case, and that Flickr will shut off your account if you do so.) I figured I should let you all know, in case any of you were thinking of using Flickr as an image host like I was.

However, thanks to reader Sammy, I now have an easier solution than Flickr that works just as well: use the direct image link from Picasa (where Blogger hosts your photos anyway) to get your full-sized, unscaled photo placed directly in your blog post.

Here's how:

- Upload your photo as you normally would to Blogger.

- Once it's in your post, right-click your image and open it in a new tab.

- Copy the URL in that tab

- Return to your upload screen, and paste that URL in this spot:

- Hit "upload image", and you'll have your full-sized photo uploaded to the post. Which means it's gonna be HUGE. So, next:

- Resize your honkin' photo by either dragging the corner or popping into the html and correcting the height and width there.

To keep the proportions correct, I've been inputting the same dimensions as the first photo I uploaded in the html, and then switching to the compose screen to drag the corner and make the photo as large as I want there.

Because it's your original photo, and not a scaled version or thumbnail, you can upsize it this way without losing detail.

Obviously this is still an extra step and a pain, but the difference in clarity for those of us who want to show off a pretty photo from time to time is amazing. It will also allow you to make your photos as large as you want without losing detail, and there's no added expense of a separate photo host, since your pictures are already on Picasa anyway.

I hope this helps some of you fellow bloggers! And thanks to everyone who offered tips and advice along the way!

Friday, August 5, 2011

How Geeks Keep Calm

I'm sure you've all seen the British war poster Keep Calm and Carry On many times. (Oh so many, many times.) And while I think we can all agree it's been done to death by now, I still get a kick out of a good geek parody. Here are some of my favorites:

found by Clare L., £9.99 at Getting Shirty (ships world-wide)

And two more from the same site:

Moss from The IT Crowd

(If you don't get this one, go watch the IT Crowd on Netflix Streaming, stat.)

$20.40 from Impossible Alice

I'm surprised I couldn't find a better Potter parody. Why isn't there a "Keep Calm and Snitch On" with a flying snitch over the text? (There *is* a "Keep Calm and Catch the Snitch", but that sounds dumb to me.)

I found lots of versions of this one:

$14 from Flippin' Sweet Gear
($24 for women's sizes, though - ouch!)

You can also get it with a game controller instead of a mushroom, and in any color.

Love the electrical tape on the glasses here:

$19.95 from 604Republic (men's sizes only - curses!)

I've posted this one before, but it's still one of my favs:

Only $10 at Busted Tees , although it looks like they only have men's sizes left. (Or maybe that's all they ever had, since it looks like the model's wearing a men's cut. What the heck, geek tee makers?!)

Not a t-shirt, but a great poster:

Starting at $6.88 from artist SevenHundred

Haven't found this one on a shirt yet, either:

Found via this Tumblr blog, no credit given. (Anyone know?)

For my fellow craft geeks:

Found via NotCot, appears to be discontinued (Nooo!)

Check out the crown made of wrenches! I love it.

This is different enough to perhaps not count as a parody, but I like it anyway:

From Teefury, a shirt-a-day site, so it's no longer available. (Curses! Foiled again!)

As a fan of wordplay AND Trek, I especially like this one:

$25.99 from Cool Tees
(where it's also available on everything from magnets to iPod cases)

Heh. Aheh. Heh.

("There's Klingons on the starboard bow! Scrape 'em off, Jim!")

I also couldn't find a great Firefly version; just a "Keep Flying and Stay Shiny." Meh. Not great.

And since I couldn't find the Disney one I'd like to see, I went to the Keep Calm-O-Matic site and made it myself:

My star looks icky and should be smaller, but a graphic designer I am not.

So tell me, geeks, what would *your* parody say?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Procrastination Station 8/3/11

Do that stuff later. This is more fun!

- If by some freak tragedy you haven't read about the Bloggess' giant metal chicken yet, prepare to thank me. It remains one of the funniest blog posts I've ever read, and I promise you'll never open your front door the same way again.

- It's one gorgeous urban decay photo after another in this collection of 75 Pictures of Abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans.
(thx to @banagade for the link!)

- This explained how I can be a hardcore introvert and still do a funny presentation for a room of 500: Caring for Your Introvert. (In a nutshell: we're good one-on-one or performing for crowds, but not much in-between. This lines up with my experiences - how 'bout you guys?)

- And another good read on the subject, found via SuperPunch: 10 Myths About Introverts.

- Fellow Disney fans, did you know that the Haunted Mansion was originally going to be the Museum of the Weird?

See more creepy concept art like this and learn some fascinating history over at Long-Forgotten. (Also found via SuperPunch. Can you tell it's my favorite blog?)

- And finally, here's a random Netflix recommendation for you: Downton Abbey. I've never been in to period films ala Pride and Prejudice before, but this one set in the early 1900s caught my eye, and I was immediately hooked. And then I watched all seven hour-long episodes in two days. :D

It's light on romance and heavy on fabulous characters - and fellow Potter fans will enjoy seeing Professor McGonagall as the straight-backed comic relief. The series was just made last year, though, so the only bad news is we have to wait 'til 2012 for the next season. :(

Oh, and you can watch it on Netflix streaming, so no need to wait for the actual DVDs. Woot!

So tell me, guys, what's wasting your time this week?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Song John Won't Stop Singing


And the weirdest part?

No, not the faceless chubby dancer. Not the Barbie doll and banana hair clip. Not the stream of eyeball vomit, or the giant femur floating through the window, or even this new facial tic.


No, it's that I think that was a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese commercial.


Thanks, Dave B.

I think.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blogger's Fuzzy Photo Problem

I've spent most of my afternoon today trying to figure out why my uploaded photos on Blogger have been looking so awful lately. If you have a Blogger blog, you may have noticed the same issue: increased pixelation, blurriness, etc. The maddening part is that if you click to enlarge the photo, it looks fine. However, the scaled version in the blog itself? Crapsville.

John and I did some digging, and discovered we're not the only ones to notice this issue, but so far we've seen no official comment or explanation from Blogger. From what we've read, the problem began within the past month or two, so it's possible a lot of bloggers simply haven't noticed yet.

Just to show you how bad it is, take a look at this photo I uploaded today:

Now look at the exact same photo, in the same size, only hosted on Flickr:


It's like seeing through a new pair of glasses, huh?

Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a growing pile of problems with Blogger of late, and I'm sad to say I can no longer recommend the platform in good conscience. It's been one frustration after another here the past several months, and we've been working hard to find a long term solution (news on that coming soon, I hope).

In the meantime, I'll probably be hosting all of my Epbot photos on Flickr from now on. It's an additional step and a real pain (I just spent two hours re-uploading an entire photo post - arrrgg), but when you've worked so hard at making your pictures look pretty, dang it, you want it to show!

Now I can only hope that you all can see Flickr photos, since I know some workplaces have those servers blocked. Let me know in the comments if you can't see the second photo, won't you?

[UPDATE] - Sarah in the comments just offered an excellent suggestion: if you convert all of your photos to .pngs before uploading them, the loss in quality is reduced. We just tested it out ourselves, and did see an improvement - although nothing nearly as impressive as the Flickr-hosted photo. Still, it's a good option for anyone still wanting to use Blogger's hosting. Thanks, Sarah!