November 27, 2010

Photo blues.

Oh dear...


You know what that is? It's the first digital photograph I ever took. I'm uploading it to Flickr tonight along with 2,000+ other photographs from 2004 to 2005. These were all pictures I originally uploaded to, before I started using Flickr. I just discovered that when Apple started, all the photographs on stopped displaying. I can still download them, but then I need to re-upload them, and they will have different code at that point, which means every blog post that originally displayed those photographs will need to be redone.

I have to go through all the old posts to find the ones that had photographs, open them up for editing, and enter the new code for the old photographs. Part of the process will be figuring out which photos belong in the post, which will not be easy. Maybe you think it doesn't matter what's in the archive 5 or 6 years ago, but it matters to me. A lot.

I'm so annoyed at Apple for doing this. I've paid every year to have a account, mainly only to preserve those old photo displays. I have sometimes thought of putting the pictures on Flickr so I can stop making those annual payments. At least now I can stop paying, but I'm disgusted that after making all those payments to Apple, it saw fit to wreck all that work of mine.


By the way, thanks for using my links — my Black Friday gift selections — to buy things on Amazon. I'm saying this here in case you're wondering what that book on the table is. It's "Strong Opinions" — and you can buy it at that link.


Almost Ali said...

I have sometimes thought of putting the pictures on Flickr so I can stop making those annual payments.

I believe Flickr also charges, once you go beyond 200 photos.

Almost Ali said...

...unless you have a grandfather clause(?).

Ann Althouse said...

"I believe Flickr also charges, once you go beyond 200 photos."

You pay extra, like $25 a year, if you want to upload a lot, but I do pay that. On Flickr, once your stuff is up, you don't pay to keep it up. That's a huge difference. I want the blog to remain on the web and displaying properly for as long as possible, even after I die. That's why I stay on Blogger, and Flickr works the same way.

Almost Ali said...

That's why I stay on Blogger, and Flickr works the same way.

Me, too. I've had accounts on Blogger and Flickr since the beginning. I think they now call it cloud computing.

Of course, there are a number of ways to cloud compute, and/or save key files. I submitted the following, for example, under my favorite alter-ego...

Ann Althouse said...

The Apple service is over $100 a year and you have a limited amount of space. Once you have a lot of photos up, you need to buy more space, that is, pay a higher per year fee, and keep paying that every year or you lose the storage space. That's really awful for blogging.

edutcher said...

That's a Herculean task, Madame. You truly have my sympathies.

If you can (don't know if there's some deadline involved), stop at some point and get some sleep. Something like that makes you punchy (and stiff and sore) after a while.

Palladian said...

And if anyone cares to support long-time Althouse commenter Palladian, currently enduring a personal and economic apocalypse of enormous proportions, consider purchasing a lovely print or original drawing or work on paper.

Almost Ali said...

Since the beginning, my approach was to only utilize free services (i.e. Blogger, etc.) - despite the inevitability of future fees, that is, absent retroactive penaltie$. And as things turned out, pay or no - Blogger and Flickr remain the best.

My original reasoning was not the money, but the lessened security involved in the financial exchanges (i.e., MC/VISA). Not to mention maintaining anonymity - particularly when this medium was riskier than the real wild west. Which it still is to a certain extent.

Palladian said...

Here's my first digital photograph, taken in late 1999 with a Sony Mavica camera that recorded images on a 3.5" floppy disk.

Chip Ahoy said...

I did not know that about Flickr. Do the photos stay up on Photobucket too even if you die and stop making yearly payments?

Beth said...

Althouse, this is on Apple's .mac to MobileMe FAQ: (

"What about my Web Gallery?
Web Gallery is now MobileMe Gallery. If you have already created a Gallery, all your photos and movies are still there at the same URL. In addition your Gallery also has a new URL at For example, also exists at so that whether your friends have the old URL or the new one, they can find your photos."

Is that no longer the case?

Chip Ahoy said...

I cannot find the answer to my burning question on Photobucket so I asked their support.

Prompted by a supportive email, I just now learned some neato-mosquito Photoshop applications. They are sort of basic, but they are new to me: adjustment levels, curves, and masks. I also learned about 'content aware' function. And I also learned that CS5 can now handle Nikon NEF (RAW) files. These things together are like a whole new plateau. I find Photoshop is like a language. No matter how much you know you still have to keep learning stuff.

Penny said...

Sorry you have the blues, Althouse. Would it help if I told you that this post is totally fascinating to me from beginning to what was "the end" when I stopped reading comments and began to comment myself?

Starting with the Nabokov book...Read some of those reviews.
Go figure, he liked the Marx brothers and Laurel and Hardy. He claimed that his recounting of last night's dream to his wife was "merely a first draft". Another says, "Genius or madman? I would say both, the 'divine madness' of the greatest of artists. Highly recommended for a peek inside the artistically fertile mind, and the tensions that need to be maintained to produce it."

Ooooooooo TENSION and MADNESS and STRONG OPINIONS! Bet he'd love blogging...if he weren't dead...

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Professor Althouse,

I understand that you're annoyed. I understand why you're annoyed. But annoyance like that plus a mountain of work can lead to a vicious feedback of exhaustion and annoyance.

If you don't mind some unsolicited advice, here's what I would do...

1. Stop. Breathe. You need to think to try to minimize the effort here, and being annoyed makes thinking more difficult.

2. Consider what Beth discovered. I know you're annoyed at Apple. You may not trust them in the future. You may not want to "reward" them for this behavior. You may find their fees excessive. But in terms of least effort, Beth may have found an important key there: your URLs can simply be changed via search and replace.

3. Consider whether this effort -- whether its a change from to, or whether you decide that moving to flickr is the best answer -- can be automated. Anything this repetitive is automatable in theory. You'd need someone with some API experience in blogger (and Flickr, if you go with that approach).

For someone with the right skills, this is a small task. I've done similar sorts of blog ports (with other tools) over a weekend. You may have someone in your readership who knows these tools, or you may know someone in the CompSci department at the University who could help.

Rough numbers: if you have 1,000 photos per year (your average for 2004 and 2005), and you can upload one photo and revise one URL per minute, you have over 100 hours of work ahead. My bet is that those numbers are low: I'll bet your photos per year have gone up over time, and I think that 1 revision per minute is an impossible pace to hit, much less maintain. So I'm betting it's more like 200 to 500 hours of work. At that point, automation makes a lot more sense.

Penny said...

Which brings up my first question. Why does it matter to you to be in a space called "Althouse" after you are dead?

And for how long after you are dead would you like to be here?

Is it merely a matter of "leaving your mark", not that I discount leaving a mark. It's often an unconscious survival technique for humans and animals, in particular. Perhaps the big "T" technology won't have the same weakness, or... is that the same strength?... but I digress...

And Nabokov! He's still dead. And Christopher Hitchens? He's going to be dead soon, so he's leaving us LOTS of "marks". If Hitch were my dog, I would need to scold him for that! Right before I give him a hug he might not forget..assuming our paths crossed which isn't likely since he is so busy "making his mark".

It's all so confusing to me.

This need to "mark" is in need of further discussion for sure.

Penny said...

My next round of questions was going to be more technical, *at least for me*, but if you don't mind, now that I read the big "S" shoemaker's comment? Thinking those kind of questions can be left over there <<<< while I continue to contemplate what it is about MARKING that makes us all have way too many "drafts" between the synapses in our brains.

Would a "Brain Blanket" ease the chill?

If only...

Jennifer said...

I'm certainly impressed by your dedication. I can barely manage to even post semi-regularly for anything more than short stretches.

I also highly regret doing almost all of our Christmas shopping in one big chunk, on, before I saw your post yesterday.

Jim Gust said...

The Althouse photos were posted before Apple created the "web galleries," whether or The urls of those early photo uploads don't begin with "gallery". So new uploading is required, as is relinking, even if one wants to stick with Apple.

I know this because it has happened to me, too.

Fred4Pres said...

Apple sucks.

There. I said it.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Ah! I think I misunderstood something. Is it only the 2004-2005 pictures that are on If so, then I overestimated the workload by a factor of 3 or more. In that case, the argument for automation is weaker.

If it were my blog, I would still automate it, simply because writing code is more fun than doing the work. But I'm a programmer, we have strange ideas of fun. The Programmer's Answer to Everything (PATE): Write some code!

Bob Ellison said...

It is Apple's nature to make orphans of everyone and everything: applications, services, users, partners, suppliers, etc.

Conserve Liberty said...

@Fred4Pres: Apple sucks. There. I said it again.

Apple is as exploitative of its customers as is the U.S. Government of its taxpayers.

Once they've bullied us into some corner into which we've invested so much time and money that change is uneconomic, they charge us just to stay in the corner.

Wait for the "Excess Accumulation Tax" on your 401k or IRA Rollover.

shoutingthomas said...

Which brings up my first question. Why does it matter to you to be in a space called "Althouse" after you are dead?

The desire for immortality has been a feature of humans since... I don't know... the beginning of human existence.

It might not make sense to you, but it's always been there. Everything is not necessarily supposed to make sense to you.

The desire for immortality is part of the religious impulse. In fact, it may be the most basic element of the religious impulse. It exists because it serves some very important function, even if we have a very difficult time saying what that function might be. It exists in us, and therefore, has a reason for being.

The religious impulse evolved into the artistic consciousness, which evolved into scientific exploration. This is how humans evolved, and I think we evolved that way for a reason.

There is a God. What He is is difficult to know or to explain.

Even as secular a woman as Althouse experiences the tug of the religious impulse. Well, she's got the feminist religion, too.

mariner said...

Or you could make a table matching the old picture codes with their new ones. Then enlist the help of a database-savvy friend to search the posts field of the database, replacing the old codes with the new.

But maybe there is some benefit to going through all those old posts. "Building character" or somesuch.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder if an email to would help here. Maybe they have a "quick" solution.

Belkys said...

Another point for the evil empire. Thats the problem with bring part of a expensive cult.
Ada? Lolita? Laughter in the dark? Invitation to a beheading? Pnin? Pale fire? speak memory?

HDHouse said...

My daughter and my step daughter take too many photos as well.

I suggest that they may be able to remember a scene better than be reminded of it.

Ralph L said...

Better get contracts with Flickr and Blogger.

chickelit said...

Penny wrote:
This need to "mark" is in need of further discussion for sure.

Althouse is an artist. Her worries about the permanence and access to her work is completely human and understandable.

rhhardin said...

I keep the original photos on HD (but I trim them down to 1280x960 or smaller first), and then upload to flickr pro.

From that and the dates on the files, a programmer can easily present a possible set for each blog post, to choose from. Anyway that's what I'm figuring.

I don't think you can absolutely rely on blogger or flickr not to delete your account, however. They'll delete it if the business model doesn't work; or (as happened to me once) if your account for one reason or another is interfering with resolving some internal screwup that they're working on. They'll delete it and move on, at least for a free account.

Sometimes the restore-my-account procedure will work.

rhhardin said...

What a serious programmer would do is download the archive say every month, along with any pictures linked to, and put it on DVD or something.

Say using wget.

Then take a DVD and see if you can reconstruct the site somewhere else, just to make sure it works.

A procedure that you can start and come back later when it's done is the gold standard.

Graphical user interfaces are a tool of the devil - they make you work for the computer, instead of the reverse.

You do have to work out the shell scripts of course. If you're a programmer that may be interesting to you, so not drudgery.

Penny said...

"Penny wrote:
This need to "mark" is in need of further discussion for sure.

Althouse is an artist. Her worries about the permanence and access to her work is completely human and understandable."

So, chicklit, do you suppose that the "artist" or "understandable human" marks have any similarity at all with the "allahu akbar" marks?

You know by now that my favorite expression is, "All points of intersection are valid".

Not judging here, merely asking questions for contemplation about what appears to be a strong desire for many to "leave their mark", and most particularly... to leave a mark... beyond their death?

Whatever happened to leaving a few footprints in the sand? *no metaphor implied*