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Zooomr Findings

Posted by briandh on August 8, 2006

I thought I would share how I’ve been getting along with Zooomr, it might help get my own thoughts in gear for making better use of it.

My efforts can be seen here: Brian’s Zooomr Account and are best viewed using the “Smartset” feature of Zooomr (more on that later).

Overcoming my shyness

The first hurdle I had to get over was my own private nature. My instinct was to make all my pictures private so only me and mine could view them. I then asked myself why I was thinking this way. The simple answer was that I’ve never done anything of this sort before so was scared of the whole idea. So I compromised – knowing that my family mostly hate getting their photo taken and would kill me if I made any photos of them public I have decided to only put up photos without family or friends in them (except as part of crowd scenes).

I did wonder about putting “my work” into the public domain for anyone to steal and use as they see fit. OK, the site says that the copyright stays with the owner but how on earth am I going to know if one of my images has been used by someone else? Then a little bit of common sense prevailed – “my work” is little more than an occasional hobby with me – I seriously doubt any of my photos are going to win any awards. So, be serious Brian. If anyone else gets pleasure from them that’s great.

Please wait …

Right – so let’s shove the whole lot on en-mass. Hang on – first problem. There is no mass uploader for Zooomr yet. You can only do things 10 images at a time. A little trawling around and I have discovered that a utility called jUploadr is under development – it has been around for a while for the Flickr photo site. I’ll just have to wait until the Zooomr version is ready.

10 at a time it is then – shouldn’t take long, I’ve got Broadband! Well, actually my 2Mb broadband is only 256Kb in the other direction. Luckily my digital camera is only a 3Mb pixel job or I’d be here forever. 10 images takes something like 15 minutes to upload. I could speed this up enormously by resizing all the images down a notch but that misses one of the points of why I want this thing – as a backup.

So, I’ll just write this blog whilst it is busy uploading in the background. This is actually a little tortuous. Both Firefox and Internet Explorer have a habit of gobbling up heaps of memory during this process – reaching >250M. With the system taking up at least the same amount my poor old 512Mb (single threaded) machine struggles just a tad.

Organisation skills

Finally done, I now have a fair number of images on the site I need to organise them somehow.

I can give each of them a title and a description. With a few photos this is reasonably straightforward but with a lot of them it quickly becomes tedious. I could just leave them with their original titles. I’ve already settled on a date/time naming convention that works quite well for me, doesn’t say anything about the content but I can find anything.

Tagging is good – that allows me to categorise things and with a little forethought I can do it during the upload. Giving things lots of tags will also help others find them when they go hunting.

You can geo-tag them too, this marks them at a specific point on a world map (based on Google maps). Geo-tagging is best done with a whole group if they were all taken at the one spot, as it then seems to treat them as a single geo-tag – do them one at a time and you will get loads of tags on almost but not quite the same points.

Oh, so Smart

Then there is the Smartset feature. I can use this to pull in all my photos together using their tags or geo-tags and various other aspects. Wait a minute, what are all these other photos – they are not mine.

Smartsets work across the whole site – so if it matches someone else’s public photos you get them too. So I need to remember to put in the “owner” as well. There also seems to be a 100 photo limit to a Smartset.
The great thing is that each Smartset gets its own nice page with a master image and all you can give the whole set its own description – which, due to the layout of the page, can be nice and long compared to the ones on the main display.

Some final tweaking

Right, everything is uploaded, tagged, geo-tagged, in a Smartset. We’re done. Why are they in reverse order? They’re not actually – it just seems that way. If you have a group of photos you give it the items one at a time from a standard file selector. It is natural just to pick them from the top of the list and work down. Now, since Zooomr will show the photos with the most recently uploaded image at the top – the last image in your group is the first to be seen. So, upload in reverse order.

This brings us back to a passing comment above Smartsets have “a master image”. This image is shown as the thumbnail on your main page and as a large image within the Smartset page. So you want this one to be meaningful but how do you force the image to be the one you want? Easy, it is simply the last image uploaded within the set – so make it a good one.

Having a good comment on the Smartset means that I can now go back and put a “see Smartset comments” type description under each photo including the link to the Smartset and that ties everything up nicely.

Now I just sit back and wait for the adoring fans to flock to my images and post their awe struck messages … about five of them so far, still I have had almost 700 hits so someone is looking and the five comments have all been positive.

Lessons learnt

The above stream of conciousness could do with a little summing up, so here are my pointers for getting the most out of Zooomr:

  • Planning is always a good idea
  • Choose you privacy setting – and don’t just think about your own feelings
  • Uploading can be time consuming but the smaller the image the quicker it is
  • You only get batches of 10, until jUploadr or something similar is ready
  • Use lots of sensible tags – and geo-tags too
  • Smartsets allow a collective comment on a whole group as well as a title
  • Limit a Smartset to your own photos using the “owner” filter
  • Upload a group of photos in reverse order
  • Pick a good final photo to act at the Smartset thumbnail / master image

Was it worth the effort

Yep! Its good fun, you can now remotely bore your friends and families with your photo collection. Mind you, my wife may kill me if I tell her one more time how many views or comments I’ve got.

I’ll finish with my most popular photo to date:

Pretty birdie

Pretty birdie Hosted on Zooomr

4 Responses to “Zooomr Findings”

  1. Brenda said

    Can you tell me, once I’ve uploaded a photo, but marked it ‘private’, how I can change it to ‘public’…. in Zooomr? Because I can’t seem to find any answers in the Help section.

    Thanks, Brenda

  2. briandh said

    Sorry Brenda,

    I haven’t figured this out myself – I don’t think it is currently possible.
    it is very annoying as I have a set of 11 photos that are in the middle of a large set of public photos and I forgot to set them to public. Re-posting them would ruin the order of the photos.


  3. Brenda said

    Thanks Brian

  4. Proxy list information

    Cool information thanks!

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