Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Chp 670. The Images are Back!


As I have mentioned in my previous post, image hosting site Photobucket really did a number on me by disabling my 2000+ images across 650+ blog posts that I have been tediously updating for the past 13 years, unless I pay a ransom amount of $399 (INR 25,580).

Even though I was super pissed and overwhelmed with a gut wrenching emotion, I finally decided to pay, until others pointed out that even with this ridiculously high premium membership fee, they were still going to limit bandwidth usage, for which they were probably going to ask for even more cash, so I finally said enough is enough.

I am not blogging to make any money, my adsense revenue is peanuts. I'm just a typical middle-class struggling game designer, and in my spare time, I write. I write because I enjoy writing, and in a way, it is a therapeutic remedy for me to escape this maddening corporate world. And sometimes people find some of my posts useful in terms of getting to know about new culture or information about important causes etc., which brings a smile upon my face as I lay to bed after a stressful and hectic day at work.

So yesterday, my friends from work helped me set up my own AWS server. I am not going to rely on any third-party image hosting sites anymore. Alternate image hosting sites like imgur, flickr etc may be free for now, but they can go the Photobucket way any day. Once bitten, twice shy, it's time to have my own space.

It took me a few minutes to activate my account using my credit card, and finally, I was registered.

Amazon Web Service (AWS) is a trusted name, and I've been fiddling with the S3 console and infrastructure since yesterday and I really love it! It took me some time to get used to the dashboard navigation, but all I can say is, wow! Their cloud service is impeccable, and creating and arranging folders and uploading files are pretty easy and smooth too. The bandwidth and data usage plan seem to be quite affordable as well, with a plethora of other useful add-on services available.

This is a trial post to see if my embedded images are being displayed properly or not. Let me know if the images are loading quickly or if you face any problem viewing them.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, there are a lot of things I want to blog about, starting with our family and friends gettogether for a beautiful Goan wedding…



…and of course about food! My love for food has grown multifold…



…to a ravishing wedding reception at Bangalore and Mysore…



…and MOAR food, those of you who have my number will know about my daily ritual of posting photos of scrumptious meals on my WhatsApp story :)



…I want to blog about the amazing weekend getaway I went to with my office colleagues at an idyllic private hill resort…



…and back to food again, about experimenting with different home-cooked veg dishes…



…to hanging out with friends and bidding farewell to old ones…



…and making delicious home-cooked non-veg dishes and momo parties…



…to this "WTF was I doing" moment during our crazy trips to the serene Lavasa tourist spot…



…to an even crazier time at a combined birthday party at a private bungalow in Lonavala…



…and finally back to food again about the different dishes and pickles I've ordered recently guaranteed to make your mouth water…



And that's just a few of them. There are many other topics I want to write about and once I am more comfortable with my AWS server, I will be more enthusiastic to publish more content.

Uploading images to AWS S3 is very simple, and my friends recommend I use an FTP to make that process even easier. Copying and pasting links from my console to my blog is also easy as pie, though the only thing I wish it has is the option to view images in thumbnail mode (maybe there is and I haven't figured it out yet).

Looking forward to a brighter blogging future now.

I will slowly be editing my old posts too one by one too, and hopefully by the end of this year, all my 650+ blog posts will have images on them again. Once I cross my allocated monthly bandwidth limit, it will be a bit expensive to keep hosting the images, but my friends and I calculated and realized it will still be cheaper than Photobucket's $399 cost. And this is Amazon we're talking about. A brand everybody trusts.

Cheers for now mes amis!





Thursday, August 03, 2017

Chp 669. The Blog Dilemma


I have so many topics to blog about right now, ranging from the socio-politico issues back home to the places I've been to recently or the food I recently had, but somehow… I just don't feel like blogging anymore.

All thanks to Photobucket.

For those of you who are unaware, Photobucket is an image hosting website where you can upload your photos and embed them on your blogs and websites. It is used to be a free service. Until last month when Photobucket with no prior warning disabled all third-party hosting to most of their existing user base! Billions of images were affected.



I get it, sometimes, you can't just keep giving freebies to everyone, you too need to bring home the bacon. But here's the thing. I've always been a premium member of Photobucket! I was on their $9.99/month plan, paying around 650 rupees every month. Why? Because I have more than 2000+ images embedded across more than 650+ blog posts over the past 13 years. So, even though I had used up only 2 GB of my 10 GB storage allocation, I exceeded the monthly bandwidth limit frequently, especially when there's a popular new post many people were sharing. And that was why I became a premium member many years ago.

So in spite of me being a premium member, why are all the images across my 650+ blog posts still disabled?

Because, apparently, I need to be on a higher tier of their premium membership now!

Yeah that's right. A $9.99/month member is still not eligible to have a third-party image hosting facility! Only the $39.99/month member can avail of this special feature, according to the new rule. That's… around 2500 rupees per month! Daymmm that's cold.

And here's the kicker. If you're thinking, "Hey Kima, if I were in your shoes, you know, I'll probably pay, after all you've been blogging for 13 years now and even though your writings may be mediocre, at least you have the passion to write and it is important to keep such passion burning, so just pay them the damn ransom fee of 2500 bucks!" then you're wrong!

Photobucket had added another new clause in their recent shake up - Premium payment is now billed annually and not monthly, so I now have to make a payment of $399 in one shot to avail of this plan. That's 25,580 rupees!

Yup, this is not just an extortion. It is an exhorbi-tortion.

I mean, come on, I am not even blogging to make money. Back in the days when I was really blogging hard, adsense revenue paid off a little bit. But all that changed once I started becoming more serious on my job and had less time to blog.

Well, why don't you just move all your images to another service provider? Easier said than done. Moving them means I will have to move 2000+ images, PLUS editing 650+ blog posts, line by line, every single "a href" HTML link to the new hyperlink, which will take me weeks if not months to do.

And here's what I have to say about Photobucket. I don't trust it anymore.

$399 may be quite high, but I can afford that, considering the situation I am in right now. But I have lost faith in the brand. Lost complete trust because of the following reasons -

First of all, suddenly announcing this policy change with no prior warning is nothing but total douchebaggery. A little heads-up would have really helped. Sure, there would be a lot of disappointed people, but a vast majority would have understood, or at least be prepared for the upcoming winter.

Secondly, setting the "third party hosting" feature to only the top-most tier of their premium membership package seems truly unfair, but what is even more unfair is about changing the billing cycle from monthly to annually. In a way, one can't help but get the feeling that the stakeholders are trying to make a quick exit, leaving us high and dry.

The third point is, as a loyal and regular user of Photobucket for 13 years, I know for a fact that there is one bug that had never been solved in all these years, and that is the folder management system. I like being organized (maybe a bit OCD'ish). I like to put all the images I am embedding on specific posts neatly arranged in separate folders, but many a times, when I try to "create a new folder", the server would deny me that. I had to retry like 10-20 times, even retrying at different times of the day. And yeah, I learnt that that is a very common issue, and I sucked it up and dealt with it, because I was paying just 650 rupees per month anyway. What assurance do I have that that will not happen again once I pay 25,580 rupees?

And the last point, the fourth point is that, even if I was to pay 25,580 rupees per annum, why is there still a bandwidth allocation limit clause on their new policy? Why is that asterisk there? We all hate privacy policies and terms & conditions, but seeing that asterisk kinda makes me think I will still have to pay extra for bandwidth even after paying the exuberant annual fee of 25,580 rupees. That is not cool bro, not cool at all.

See, how can you trust a brand again after all that?

Right now I am still sitting on the fence about whether to migrate or not. Nobody likes to be held at ransom. At the same time, editing 650+ blog posts is going to be a Herculean task. I hate Photobucket so much right now, I think I'm going to implode. It had completely drained me of all energy and passion to continue blogging. Aaaaarggghhh I wanna wake up from this nightmare!

Angry Mizohican out.