Reader Comments Wonky

I’ve had reports of Add Reader Comment not working like it should. Most notably it seemingly chooses a random diary to actually do the addition. I’m not totally sure why this is, but I have put some extra tweaks in place to ensure the integrity of the comments system and I hope it’ll kick it into touch.

When adding comments please make sure that the confirmation page says you are adding to a diarist that you expect. If its not, try pressing CTRL-F5 (if you’re using IE) and see if it reverts properly. If it doesn’t do it even then, mail us with as much detail as you possibly can.

Also, you may see a ‘Cookie Eater’ screen when adding a comment for the first time since Friday last week. This is part of what I believe has gone wrong and the cookie eater screen is trying to clean the mess up.

I should say that I believe this is a system failure and not a crack attempt of any kind.

Let me know how you get on, and sorry for the aggro… I really love PHP, its such a class piece of software to write web pages in. NOOOOT!

AtomIC Album Upgrade

I have rapidly upgraded the AtomIC Album to accept and display GIF images. Please note that due to licensing costs, we can do NO manipulation of the image if it is a GIF, so even if you specify the thumbnail option in your Album code, the image will remain full sized. If you wish to be able to display thumbnail links for your pictures, we have to recommend you edit them using PaintShop Pro or similar and save them as JPG…

The same problem will apply to anyone looking through your album if they elect to show the thumbnails – they will get thumbnails for JPG’s and fullsize for GIF, which may look a little ugly.

Its possible I’ll put a dirty hack in place to get round this by making the browser do the resize, but its a dirty hack and I might not 😉


Graphics Not Working?

Its come to light that rather more people than expected were using the /userdata/username/images URL to show pictures in their diaries, judging by the amount of email we’re getting on the subject.

The URL format has never been advertised as the way to show graphics in your diary, as, indeed, its only intended to store background images, show reader comment buttons, hide reader comment buttons, next, previous and index buttons. Or in other words the kinds of graphics you can setup and use directly through the Customizer. Any other use of the private graphics area is not supported and (as has happened now) subject to change and not working.

The restriction is for two reasons; originally a technical one and, after the advent of the Premium Account, a financial one too. The technical reason is that the /userdata/ directory needs a major design change and so the URL’s will all change again soon anyway. Of course, if the images are used through the proper channels then no-one will ever know how we store them on the hard disk – but by directly linking to them through an IMG SRC tag in your entry, it breaks any time we have to change it. If they’re only used properly (as in the case of the album) then we can optimize and change the system underneath, completely transparently to users.

The financial reason is of course that there are over 100 people who are paying to support the bandwidth usage of the site… The others, that are linking directly in the private image area are effectively stealing the bandwidth from those that pay, which didn’t seem particularly fair. And thirdly, as I said originally, it was never intended to be used that way anyway.

The only way to store photos or other kinds of pictures on the AtomIC servers, for viewing anywhere (not just on your diary) is through the AtomIC Album. We were made aware of a couple of instance of abuse through the private graphics area and removed it. Having done so we’re now aware of possibly hundreds of other people who (presumably not knowing any better) were also using it to store pictures for their diary. If you want to put pictures on your diary, you’ll need to use your own personal webspace (most dialup accounts or DSL accounts come with at least 10Megs of web space) or you’ll need to look at the AtomIC Album.