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Old April 2nd   #1
mailman
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Can we have photos for our avatars?

Hey Samir, don't you think it would be neat if we could just upload a photo off of our computer for our avatar? Is there any way this site's software can enable us to upload our own photos instead of sending them directly to you?That way we could have a personal photo album with our cars in it for visitors and friends to look at.
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Old April 2nd   #2
HOSS429
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we could have avatars / signitures / and private messageing and all that stuff as soon as the site is self sufficient .. cant outgrow the wallet again ..
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Old April 3rd   #3
Samir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post
Hey Samir, don't you think it would be neat if we could just upload a photo off of our computer for our avatar? Is there any way this site's software can enable us to upload our own photos instead of sending them directly to you?That way we could have a personal photo album with our cars in it for visitors and friends to look at.
I've been wanting to make an announcement on avatars for a while now. It's a feature in the works, but there's a few things that need to be established, mainly some rules.

Because Huntsville Car Scene is a community that sees each other regular in real life, the purpose of an avatar will be to make identifying someone in real life easier. Therefore, the rule on avatars will be that it has to be personably identifyable--a recent picture of you, your car, bike, etc. There is a thumbnail or tiny size of any image in a Huntsville Car Scene gallery that is really great for this purpose. There will also be a selection of default avatars you can choose temporarily if you don't have one yet that meets the criteria.

Now, the problem is implementation. Not that it's overly complicated, but the testing of all scenerios with this feature enabled is not something I have time to do right now. I'm literally thousands of photos behind on event coverage processing, some even from 2010, and that is well over 100hrs of work that needs to be done by the end of this month. Oh, and add to that all the event coverage from the season that we're in the middle of right now, which is about 10-12hrs each week. Plus 1hr a day for email. Plus time for all the other little fires that come up and for other projects. So if I want to try to finish this all in the next three weeks, that's 100+36+21=157hrs of work. Divide that by three that that's over 50hrs a week of work without the fires and other projects. I'm lucky if I have enough time to sleep and eat right now. I'm going to be frank and say there's a good chance that this won't be implemented until the end of the season.

Now, there is one thing that you can do that will speed up this process. I'll post about that later when I can present all that information.

And now to address your other request for picture albums. This is another feature that is native to our platform, but comes with two issues that need evaluation. One is that of return on investment. These albums will increase the size of the database well over 10x or more, resulting in a slow down of the site and a use of the one of our limited resources--storage space on the server. There will have to be some serious justification to this massive use of resources. I have some ideas here, but nothing solid enough yet. The other issue is that of testing. I'm not sure this feature has even be put into the development roadmap, which makes the testing process still at stage zero. There was actually much more demand for this feature a few years ago when photobucket was just starting out. But with them as large as they are now, I wonder how much use the feature would truly get.
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Originally Posted by MOONW1 View Post
we could have avatars / signitures / and private messageing and all that stuff as soon as the site is self sufficient .. cant outgrow the wallet again ..
You're dead on. This is very expensive for someone with no job. There's over $500/mo out of my savings that's going into this, and that doesn't include any compensation for a minute of the 60hrs+ a week I spend.

Revenue creation is a very high priority, but it is very hard to work on this and everything else at the same time.

I really appreciate the feedback, and welcome more. It's a lot easier to know what you're thinking when I don't have to guess.
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Old April 4th   #4
Munchie
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Samir...what is your process for post process and uploading event coverage? I know when I leave an event with a substantial amount of photos I go home. Pop my card out or tether my camera, depending on what camera, upload to my computer, backup to ext hard drive, then start my post processing. Nothing really is done to any event coverage other than watermarking. Which depending on the amout of pictures is usually around 20-90 minutes for that program to run. Then I upload them to my Photo Sharing site. This is all tops of about 90 min to 2.5 hours tops as long as no extensive post processing is required.

I know you said your really far behind on event coverage and I understand getting busy, but what is it that takes the longest for you to do in order to post up event coverage?
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Old April 4th   #5
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Also, as I am sure you have, have you looked into what some of the larger forum based sites have as far as layouts, moderaters, etc...? I know places like VWvortex, Streetsource, etc...are able to have all the features the original poster asked about, but not sure what entales a site of that stature in order to run smoothly like it does.
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Old April 4th   #6
Samir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchie View Post
Samir...what is your process for post process and uploading event coverage? I know when I leave an event with a substantial amount of photos I go home. Pop my card out or tether my camera, depending on what camera, upload to my computer, backup to ext hard drive, then start my post processing. Nothing really is done to any event coverage other than watermarking. Which depending on the amout of pictures is usually around 20-90 minutes for that program to run. Then I upload them to my Photo Sharing site. This is all tops of about 90 min to 2.5 hours tops as long as no extensive post processing is required.

I know you said your really far behind on event coverage and I understand getting busy, but what is it that takes the longest for you to do in order to post up event coverage?
Thank you for sharing your post process Munchie. I've always wondered how you did it.

Here's my post process in detail:
  • Copy cards to images drive 1 and compare to original cards.
  • Move files on card to offloded dir on card.
  • Begin SM upload to a single event gallery while simultaneously copying to images drive 2.
  • Put batteries in charge, clean lenses, etc.
  • Compare copied images between drive 1 and 2.
  • Copy notes from phone/voice recorder and start writeups
  • Verify that images made it correctly to single SM gallery
  • Move images to all the appropriate event galleries
  • Rotate images
  • Hide bad images
  • Complete writeup and publish coverage
  • Upload all images for the day to an archive gallery
  • Download all images from the archive gallery
  • Compare downloaded images with cards
  • Move files on card to verified dir on card
  • Copy non-jpg files to video drive and compare
  • Compare non-jpg files on video drive and images drive to cards
  • Move non-jpg files on cards to verified dir on card
  • Prep cameras day before an event, deleting all verified images and putting everything back into the 'box'
A lot on this list happens in parallel, and the target turnaround time up to the published stage is less than 24hrs, usually a single 12-14hr day.
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Old April 4th   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchie View Post
Also, as I am sure you have, have you looked into what some of the larger forum based sites have as far as layouts, moderaters, etc...? I know places like VWvortex, Streetsource, etc...are able to have all the features the original poster asked about, but not sure what entales a site of that stature in order to run smoothly like it does.
Not only have I looked at these, but I've actually met and talked to them face-to-face. I met the founder of vwvortex.com as well avsforums.com, destinationwedding.com, luxury4play.com, and many more. I have weekly conference calls with the company that operates all the autoguide.com sites. And what I've learned is that I have a real instinctive talent for making the right decisions for a community, avoid making the mistakes a lot of these big sites have made over the years.

The thing these sites have in common is that while they started out as pure forums, which are easy to maintain since you basically have no control over the content and only control the platform, their real content is produced by an editorial staff similar to a newspaper. They have SERIOUS money for this too, whereas I just have to work really hard.

It's easy to build a community that has no rules and basically just feeds off itself. When I co-founded hsvracing.com, this was the focus there, if there even was one at the time. Even now, the community just 'exists' after 7 years of operatation. And I wanted more than that. It's why I left that project. Even after HCS being gone for 3yrs and only being online again for 2yrs, the traffic here is 2x+ that of hsvracing:


Huntsville Car Scene is a concept that has not been proven by anyone, yet. There's a good chance that I will be the first because I've been at this longer than anyone now, and have learned what makes it work.

But because this is a new concept, a lot of the traditional management systems don't work. There is no need for moderators because the rules here are pretty straightforward and written to avoid 'forum drama' that requires a 'referree' like a moderator. What is needed is staff that helps maintain the editorial content like maintaining the calendar, but that still primarily falls on my shoulders. There are systems that I need to find time to implement that will make this workload less such as feeds, and virtual assistant outsourcing, but I didn't have enough time in the downtime this year to work on everything.

Money solves a lot of these problems, but money is the problem for everyone right now, and I'm no exception.

The current site plan is to finish what key development pieces are needed for the growth this year, and to get back to publishing event coverage. Then once everything slows back down in October, I'll focus back on development again 100% until the 2012 season starts.
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Old April 4th   #8
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In no way being a hater but HSV does have 100x more post per day............granted it's a lot of BS but still. I think people use the sites differently. Personally I know a lot of people us this site to look up events. Where hsv is more like a normal local forum with a lot of trash talk ect.....
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Old April 4th   #9
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...but HSV does have 100x more post per day............granted it's a lot of BS.
And I hope so for being online the better part of a decade. I believe in quality and quantity, and I realize that Rome wasn't built in a day. It will take time, but HCS will become what it was in the past--the intersection of everything going on and with more traffic and interaction than all the local sites combined.
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I think people use the sites differently. Personally I know a lot of people us this site to look up events. Where hsv is more like a normal local forum with a lot of trash talk ect.....
I agree with you. They're two different products targeting two different segments of the enthusiast community. And it allows people like yourself to enjoy both aspects of the overall scene.
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Old April 5th   #10
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Of course shen I say "I" what I mean is we, as in Jessica (wife) and myself. I don't have a lot of patients for the post processing aspect of our photography.lol She is the sole person behind our editing. I just help to snap the pictures and advise on the technical aspects of our equipment!lol A lot of the stuff you listed, our computer or program does automatically. Such as rotating images, watermarking mass quantities, etc...for all of our edited images, they get a watermark that isn't like our generic watermark for our mass uploaded items. We also don't have to go through some of your steps because we don't actually do the show coverage as much as someone like yourself or Jay or any of the others. However after a shoot or a wedding it usually takes days and days for Jess to go through and sift out all the crub from the treasures and do the post processing.

Trying to juggle that, coaching my daughter Tee Ball, working here in the OR, being on call, building my vehicles as well as others for other people and trying to have a home life gets pretty hectic!lol We make it work, but its tough! So I understand your struggles as far as time crunches and getting backed up goes!
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Old April 5th   #11
Munchie
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One thing that does seem to take forever, and I am not real sure why, is converting all of our images from Raw to Jpeg. We shoot everything in Raw and control all of our settings through manual modes on the cameras. For some reason our computer, which is a peice of doodoo compaired to others, has a tough time converting all of our images over to Jpeg. We use Lightroom as our converter, but not real sure why it takes so long!
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Old April 5th   #12
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Originally Posted by Munchie View Post
Of course shen I say "I" what I mean is we, as in Jessica (wife) and myself. I don't have a lot of patients for the post processing aspect of our photography.lol She is the sole person behind our editing. I just help to snap the pictures and advise on the technical aspects of our equipment!lol A lot of the stuff you listed, our computer or program does automatically. Such as rotating images, watermarking mass quantities, etc...for all of our edited images, they get a watermark that isn't like our generic watermark for our mass uploaded items. We also don't have to go through some of your steps because we don't actually do the show coverage as much as someone like yourself or Jay or any of the others. However after a shoot or a wedding it usually takes days and days for Jess to go through and sift out all the crub from the treasures and do the post processing.
Rotations are really the only manual thing I have to do. Watermarking is automatic upon upload, which is nice.
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Trying to juggle that, coaching my daughter Tee Ball, working here in the OR, being on call, building my vehicles as well as others for other people and trying to have a home life gets pretty hectic!lol We make it work, but its tough! So I understand your struggles as far as time crunches and getting backed up goes!
My brother says it best--life is about balance, or in our case juggling.

And it's why I've put a lot of other things in my life on hold to take care of HCS. It bothered me so much that at the 50th Anniversary of the Heard of Dixie Porsche club last weekend there were both an RS60 Boxster and Specials Edition Boxster side-by-side with a black Boxster or Cayman in between them--my Boxster with the RS60 front lip spoliers belonged there. But it was driven last May and before that it sat for 6 months. I have a $48k car that has sat now for almost a year and half. I bought the car to relieve my stress on bad days, and I haven't been able to enjoy it.

And that doesn't include the other thousands of dollars of cars I haven't been able to enjoy, or the other things in life that I've put on hold. There's a real sacrifice and commitment to this site that most people don't see or understand, but I think you may have a real idea of what it may be like.
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Old April 5th   #13
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One thing that does seem to take forever, and I am not real sure why, is converting all of our images from Raw to Jpeg. We shoot everything in Raw and control all of our settings through manual modes on the cameras. For some reason our computer, which is a peice of doodoo compaired to others, has a tough time converting all of our images over to Jpeg. We use Lightroom as our converter, but not real sure why it takes so long!
This is just the processing that's required. I don't shoot in raw, or have a post process, so I don't even know what the time must be like. But I do know that cutting edge computing hardware is essential for any post work to be rapid. It's one of the reasons I can't even think about having a post process. I'm replying using a p3-500 running 98se and opera9. I'm underpowered just for web browsing!
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Old May 10th   #14
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Help pick the default avatars!
http://www.huntsvillecarscene.com/showthread.php?t=4058
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