Saturday 5 July 2008

Blog update & Picasa Web Albums

Well, it has been a while since my last post! I have been meaning to write on various things but I have been very busy helping to deliver a project at work and supporting Ruby writing up her PhD. However, I have also been playing about with Blogger and Picasa.

So the first thing you will notice is the new URL for my blog, which you were (most likely) redirected to. When I setup this blog I used Blogger to publish files via FTP to our site at Originally I thought this was good as it was on my own URL. However, there are a couple of disadvantages in doing this. Firstly it took a while to publish to the ftp site and secondly there are a lot of cool features that I could not access (blog roll, dynamic layout features, scheduled posting). In fact, I think the set of features supported for blogs on the Blogger servers and versus those via FTP is only going to increase. So I decided to move over to the Blogger servers.

Moving over was not a simple matter as I had made many customisations to the Blogger template (the rounded corners and the changeable backgrounds for example). But after lots of fiddling and testing I was able to get this working much like the old blog. Using the "new" layout editor is great and it was easy to add things like the Blog Roll and RSS link. Overall, I am happy with the change however, there is still a bit of work to do on the redirects at the old site (not all pages done).

The other thing I have been playing with is Picasa Web Albums. I had previously been using Galerie to create web albums from our iPhoto library and posted these to our website. However, I was not completely happy with the results compared to the effort I had to put in to create them. This is partly the reason why our Cairns photos had up until now never been to our photo pages. After seeing what Alellie and Phil have done with Picasa web albums I decided to give that a look (especially since we have a holiday to Ireland and the USA coming up!).

After a quick look I realised that Picasa was the way to go. It had plenty of storage (1 Gig), a good layout and Google Map integration for geotagging. Google even provided an export plugin for iPhoto and a dedicated app for uploading! Unfortunately, the Google apps and the web upload have a bug which means that either GPS data or the captions are uploaded. Not both! 

In the end I purchased an iPhoto plugin from Ubermind which uploads photos and correctly adds the captions and GPS. It also includes more photo resizing options.  Below are links to the Picasa web albums for our last 3 trips: USA 2006, New Zealand 2007 and Cairns 2007.

As for how I geotag the photos? That is for another blog post...

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