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Messages - icekin [ switch to compact view ]

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Another thumbs up for Drupal here. It is all I use for making my sites after I made the switch from Mambo/Joomla in 2003. I agree it has a learning curve, but there are plenty of books on Drupal now, so head down to your local library or bookstore for a copy if you need help. I also train people in using Drupal and I have managed to teach a complete layman on how to use Drupal in less than 3 days.

Here are some good Video tutorials on Drupal:

I am currently looking for a very specific online web based photo management solution. I have tried several systems, but I am unable to find one with the following specific features. Can someone suggest a possible solution (paid, free or open source)? If paid, I'd prefer a outright purchase of the program rather than a hosted solution that I have to pay annually for (e.g. Flickr, Shutterfly etc.)

1. PHP & mySQL Based, runs on Apache Web Server.

2. Supports importing of multiple folders of images in the database. The images might have been uploaded earlier by FTP, for example.

3. Supports automatic resizing of images into 2 different smaller sizes for web display. One will be a thumbnail image, while the other will be slightly bigger image, but still much smaller than the original image.

4. Access to the large image if the visitor wishes to download it. Preferrably, the large image should not be opened within the browser by default. Rather, when the visitor clicks "Download large version" a pop up should automatically prompt downloading to the user's hard drive.

*** Download cart system for users ***

Explanation - Consider the below scenario:

A user see an album page containing 50 thumbnails of the photos tagged with that album name. He is able to select a checkbox next to each thumbnail. There are 2 checkboxes under each thumbnail - one stating "Full Size Image" and the other "Web Optimized Image"

Then, he adds those images to a download cart by clicking on another button located at the bottom of the page.

In a similar fashion, he browses through several more albums on the site and select the images he wishes to download and then add them to the same download cart. Finally, he does a checkout of his download cart and is shown a page with links to zip files. Each zip file contains all the images that he wished to download from one particular album or tag name.

He can then probably use a download manager like DownloadThemAll to queue all the zip files for download.

6. Supports user accounts and album privacy based on type of user

7. Supports free tagging. Hence, each album is essentially a tag and each photo can belong to multiple albums or tags at once.

8. Photo Caption support - A short description of the photo can be entered by the administrator under each photo.

9. Video Support - Support for uploading videos. Videos don't need to be resized or processed, but should also support the Download Cart System.

Other less important features (not essential)

10. Commenting Support

11. Support for Themes

12. Support for adding geolocation tags to each image, for example through Google Maps.

In my current search, the closest solution I've found is ZenPhoto, but it does not seem to have support for features 5 and 9. In fact, none of the systems I've come across seem to support feature 5.

I normally use Drupal for building my normal web sites. Drupal has excellent support for tags and even has image annotation support, similar to Flickr and Facebook, whereby you can draw squares on certain areas of an image and type a specific caption. But, it has no way to import images from the FTP server as nodes automatically. It also has no support for feature 5 - Download Cart.

I am planning to try using Gallery next, but I've had limited past exposure to using it. Any suggestions?

General Software Discussion / Re: Why Windows must go open source
« on: March 05, 2009, 06:12 PM »
I'd be happy even to an older version such as Win 98 go Open Source. Not going to happen unless some legal requirement comes into place encouraging or enforcing that all software be open. Meanwhile, there's ReactOS.

General Software Discussion / Re: What's your mouse of choice?
« on: February 22, 2009, 08:41 PM »
Microsoft Sidewinder X5. I got it for cheap with a cashback offer, otherwise I probably wouldn't have bought it. Also having a Sidewinder X6 Keyboard to go along with it.

As far as comfort goes, its quite decent. Its feels large initially, but once you get used to it, its alright.

No issues with itself, but I never received my DC Member's kit, tried requesting twice. I want a cody sticker.

Thought it would be a good time to review how things went.

0. Stop drinking
Well, I've stopped completely over the last 8 months or so. Never felt healthier and I don't feel the need to drink, even for social reasons anymore. Also helped me with item 4 below.

1. Graduate
Done, but no spectacular ceremony.

2. Work with my new start-up company
Tried, but ended up with a full time job somewhere else. Its hard to be a worker and operate a business at once. Might try again after leaving my current job next month.

3. Code better
Definitely gotten better, but not as good as I'd like to be. Work in progress.

4. Run a marathon
Fractured a bone and out of action for 5 months, which made me miss out on training. But, after recovery, I've at least managed to train back to the level I was prior to injury. Can do a half marathon comfortably now, plan to hit full distance by March or so.

5. Find the answer to life, universe and everything...
Still seeking, but I've become a lot better at communicating and working in different kinds of teams, including ones with very odd and different people.

I have not done dual booting in ages. I find it safer to use VMWare or get a separate desktop for each OS I want to install. I have one desktop for Windows XP and one for Ubuntu Linux.

2. Eats Disk Space! Once I installed Rollback, I started to notice that my C drive starting to shrink. No, I don't mean more used space, I mean the whole drive shrank. I was supposed to have a 60 GB HDD, yet Explorer and even Space Monger only showed it as 34GB.

This is indeed odd. It's never happened to me. Have you talked to them about it?

Its a known issue and has been talked about on their own forums. The problem is actually related to point no. 3 I mentioned above, so in their opinion, its a feature, not a problem. And clearly, for some users, like yourself; this is what you require. I just think that they should explain it clearly so that people are aware before wondering what's eating up their hard drive space. In my case, I move large files, in excess of several gigabytes daily on and off my hard disk, so its undesirable for me and I couldn't find a way to turn it off.

Living Room / Re: Gmail launches themes
« on: November 23, 2008, 05:44 AM »
Well, hunger is solvable, but not economic downturn because its a cycle that repeats, especially in free market economies like ours. Anyway, that's an off-topic subject which I should probably start on another thread.

Living Room / Re: Gmail launches themes
« on: November 22, 2008, 08:45 PM »
That is just the world needed right now, this should solve the hunger and economic downturn for next 200 years.  Good move Google



Living Room / Gmail launches themes
« on: November 20, 2008, 11:33 PM »
The news has been out for about 48 hours now. Gmail has finally added themes support. Themes can be accessed by going here. I've decided to go with terminal as it loads faster than any other theme. The retro feel is also nice. :)

Hopefully, there will soon be a way for users to contribute themes. Globex Designs has been adding themes support through the use of a Firefox Extension and Stylish, but the inbuilt themes support means that user's won't have to tweak around to get the desired look and feel.

Earlier this year, themes were launched for iGoogle. Hoping to see themes support for calendars, web search and reader soon.

I've used Rollback Rx and while it was a good backup tool but had 2 serious limitations:

1. Unable to defragment with any other defragmenter besides Rollback's own defragmenter.

2. Eats Disk Space! Once I installed Rollback, I started to notice that my C drive starting to shrink. No, I don't mean more used space, I mean the whole drive shrank. I was supposed to have a 60 GB HDD, yet Explorer and even Space Monger only showed it as 34GB. I then learnt that Rollback backs up differentially meaning it allows every change and file you have deleted to be restored if necessary. Thus, if you downloaded a 10GB file and deleted it, it would be deleted from your working system, but Rollback would still have it in its backup partition. I found that characteristic of Rollback to be undesirable.

I now use Acronis 8 (still works great) to snapshot every week and Karen's Replicator to regularly backup folders to an external drive.

Living Room / Re: Thumb trackball wanted
« on: November 19, 2008, 06:46 AM »
I had the Microsoft Optical 1.0 Trackball. Sadly, I sold it along with the rest of my computer. Worst decision I ever made. Best pointing device I had ever owned. Due to a very small number of people using them, I doubt we will ever see further innovation and development with the trackball (e.g. a Laser Trackball)

Pricewatch used to have links to sites that still stocked the Optical 1.0 Trackball, but I think its all gone now. Meanwhile, I've become a mouse convert :(

I read about it on The actual promotion is likely to be on the ZoneAlarm site here.

Skrommel's Software / Re: Don't close Google Chrome
« on: November 16, 2008, 02:20 AM »
Use Pitaschio and either disable the close button altogether or make it send to tray when pressing close. But that would work globally on all apps, not just the ones you want.

I haven't visited this in a while and have yet to find what I was looking for, but I did find a site called ListDump which contains large numbers of community generated lists. While not the same thing, its one step closer. Unfortunately, as with everything on the internet, quality of content is always the issue and there is no way of verifying the content of the lists, except to look at the article's points and comments.

MS has released a Small Basic Compiler and IDE for those looking to get started with programming. I have yet to try it and while it might not compare to C++ just yet, it has the lowest barrier to entry of any programming language I've seen so far with only 15 keywords.

From the Small Basic Website:
Small Basic is a project that's aimed at bringing "fun" back to programming. By providing a small and easy to learn programming language in a friendly and inviting development environment, Small Basic makes programming a breeze. Ideal for kids and adults alike, Small Basic helps beginners take the first step into the wonderful world of programming.
  • Small Basic derives its inspiration from the original BASIC programming language, and is based on the Microsoft .Net platform. It is really small with just 15 keywords and uses minimal concepts to keep the barrier to entry as low as possible.
  • The Small Basic development environment is simple, yet provides powerful modern environment features like Intellisenseā„¢ and instant context sensitive help.
  • Small Basic allows third-party libraries to be plugged in with ease, making it possible for the community to extend the experience in fun and interesting ways.

Please post some feedback if you have taken it for a spin.

Living Room / Protecting Data from Future Loss - PhysOrg Article
« on: November 01, 2008, 08:45 PM »

Reading the above article and the associated comments got me thinking about my own data backup system. I have recently been moving my documents to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, which has a limit of 5000 documents. An added advantage of this is that I don't have to worry about different versions of the documents on my desktop and laptop and synchronizing between them.

I do regular backups of important data onto my external drive and laptop, so I always have at least 2 sets of data besides the one on my main machine. I monitor the S.M.A.R.T status of all my drives using Speedfan and defragment them often. I don't know how reliable the S.M.A.R.T measure is. Finally, I buy a new hard disk once every 2 to 3 years and copy all my existing data to that. Since hard disks at least double in capacity every 2 to 3 years, it is usually large enough to accomodate all my existing data build up across all the current drives.

What strategies do others here on DC employ to protect against future or accidental data loss?

Ah, Social Networking, the new bane of human productivity...LinkedIn seems to be an exception though.

I am part of a industry organization that holds engineering related talks, events and seminars where we give people paper survey (feedback) forms. Till now, we have been manually entering the data into spreadsheets for tallying results. This is time consuming. The problem with asking people to do the survey online is that the feedback will not be as fresh and the response numbers are also lower.

I am looking at the possibility of using OMR (Optical Marker Recognition) to make it easier for data tallying. This means we simply scan the result sheets using a standard scanner and the results are automatically "read" and recorded to a spreadsheet. I am currently looking for a good OMR solution. Free or FOSS preferred, but I can shell out for a decent commercial package is needed.

So far, I've found the following: QueXF - FOSS, but seems hard to set up and use.

Living Room / Re: 007 James Bond
« on: October 27, 2008, 06:06 AM »
I still think the disadvantages of DST (namely people forgetting to turn their clocks back or forward) outweigh the advantages. It would be interesting to see if anyone has done a survey of how many work hours are lost per year due to DST related accidents.

General Software Discussion / Re: which Linux version for my laptop
« on: October 27, 2008, 06:03 AM »
Hey, try asking this question on slashdot and see how many different answers you get... :P
But yeah, I'd recommend Ubuntu or Xubuntu as well. If you like KDE over Gnome, there's Kubuntu and if you need something even faster than Xubuntu, there is fluxbuntu, but its not as polished as Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu.

Living Room / Re: 007 James Bond
« on: October 26, 2008, 05:07 AM »
What is the purpose of DST in this day and age? We have fluorescent light now, and any apparent benefits of DST to certain business and industrial activities is far from being established as a fact.

Living Room / Re: What Sports Do You Participate In?
« on: October 24, 2008, 10:52 PM »
I lack the technique required to play most sports, so I the only thing I do is run very long distances till I get tired or bored or both.

Living Room / Re: One answered question before you died
« on: October 24, 2008, 10:49 PM »
If someone came to me and offered to answer any question before I died, I would first question his/her ability to give the right answer and how would I know if that answer is even right or simply another plausible theory? The fact that it is based on existing assumptions may make it more acceptable, but it still wouldn't be absolutely correct, because we will never know if several of our existing assumptions are absolutely correct unless someone challenges them. And it is always possible that someone may challenge them in the future based on upcoming experimental evidence that we have yet to be aware of.

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