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Image Ordering Update

August 14th, 2007

Hello there!

Hopefully you have been watching the Improvement List and all the updates we have been making. This is thanks to a lot of your great input.

One update I wanted to call particular attention to was the change in ordering of images on DropShots. Now all images are arranged chronologically (proper calendar and time ordering) for all "By Date" navigation (before it was all most recent date and time at top, the down to oldest).

Now only the User Home is ordered by most recent date (then proper time sequence within that day). This is so you and your visitors are not seeing the same 1998 photos everytime the go to your site. Having the most recent date on the User Home page brings up the most recent photos to the top. Once clicked into the "By Date" navigation it will be in normal calendar and time chronology.

The Large View also is now ordered by oldest (or first within a day) downward. As you have said, this makes more sense in telling the story of a day, vacation or any other event.

Hope you like how it works now. Let us know!

Problem solving for video uploading or viewing issues:

August 8th, 2007

 

PC/Windows

There is a new Windows DropBox update (release date - Aug. 19th, 2007)

Latest release fixes the black screen, red text video problem:

1) Be absolutely sure you have the latest DropBox: Go here to Download
(be sure you properly login to the DropBox after downloading so it knows your account)

2) Be sure you have the latest Windows Media Player 10 or 11: Click to Download

3) Be sure you have an updated version of Flash: Click to Download

4) For .MOV files be sure you have the latest Quick Time Player: Click to Download

MAC

There is a new Mac DropBox update (release date –  Aug. 19th, 2007)

1) Be absolutely sure you have the latest DropBox: Go here to Download
(be sure you properly login to the DropBox after downloading so it knows your account)

2) For .MOV files be sure you have the latest Quick Time Player: Click to Download

 Please try these steps, delete any faulty videos and re-upload them after you have done the above.

Viewing Issues

1) The site is best viewable at a minimum resolution of 1024X768. To adjust go to Start > Control Panel > Display > Advanced > adjust the resolution.

2) Make sure you have javascript and cookies on:

The javascript setting is under Tools>Options>Content
The cookie setting is under Tools>Options>Privacy

 

 

4) If you are still having troubles, you might want to disable your firewall and security settings temporarily to see if that is the cause of the problem.

Just in case… Updating your Firmware:

DropShots has been tested with the latest software operating systems and browsers.  Please make sure your system is running the latest software if you are having any problems with DropShots.  It is possible that there is a bug or problem with an older operating system that has since be remedied by the latest software.

For Mac:
Click on the apple logo on the top-left bar; then click on about this Mac; then click on Software Update.

Alternatively you can go to:
To check your current software/firmware version you can go to the apple logo on the top-left bar; then click on about this Mac; then click on more info.
 
For PC:
Run Windows Update: http://www.windowsupdate.com and follow the on screen instructions.

If you still experience an upload, viewing or audio problem we want to know. Please contact us through "Help" on your site.

P.S. – be sure to watch this post for updates to the improvement list.

 

3) Update your browser:

Internet Explorer 7: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie/getitnow.mspx
Firefox 2: www.mozilla.com
Safari 3: http://www.apple.com/safari/download/

Improvement List and Updates

August 7th, 2007

Ahh, things do get better on Tuesdays! 

Our  CTO (Ryan Sit) has asked that I not do this, but I wanted you to know what IS on our list of improvements so you know that we know – you know? 

My disclaimer: When we start attacking some of these items we might figure a better way than originally disclosed or we might find out it is not possible or sacrifices a higher priority. Please don’t beat me up if some of these items don’t happen or happen fast enough. That is why Ryan doesn’t want me to give you this list. As long as you and I have that understanding, we won’t listen to Ryan - 

Here is a partial list of features and functions are considering and/or working on. We will be constantly adding and reprioritizing our list but this as it sits at this moment -

Assessment/Improvement list:

> Titles purpose and functionality added back in. Everyone’s old titles will be added back into your site with this feature.

> Old uploaded videos will play at the previous size so it doesn’t appear so pixilated – done!

> Captioning function more intuitive

> Have user site load even if they don’t put in the ”www.” before dropshots.com/username – done!

> Play button too intrusive on thumbnail. Maybe make more transparent or a small indicator/play button in right corner if video – done!

More intuitive “By Date” or Calendaring navigation

> Order of thumbnails when click a year or month as in order of proper calendar – Jan-Dec and 1-31 – done!

> Add week and/or day view – done!

Changes to Large View

> Order of thumbnails on Large View – newest to oldest going downward – done!

> Horizontal lines to separate time on Large View

> Transparency on Large View is not intuitive. Need to change to or add other editing functionality for Email, Blog, Print or Order. 

> Able to change the date – done! If you are not sure how, go here

Blog Functions

> Links back from blog/website to DropShots user page – done!

> Size of photos and videos embedded into blogs – smaller, more appropriate – done! The one-click post to blog is a pretty cool feature. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl – very nice!

> Forum/Bulletin board html code added - done!!

> Blog html – only available by user through login

> Able to post all photos by day, film strip, slide show, multiple video player, etc.

> Don’t load videos all at once when embedded into blog.

Albums

> Email an entire album

> Able to change order of albums on navigation

> Album thumbnails auto ordered by date, until rearranged by drag-n-drop

Miscellaneous

> Foreign language characters being able to be used in comments and captions – done!

> Emailing function to be able to send photos to friends – done!

> After upload confirmation window improved – done!

> Able to delete comments

> Add smilies and rich editing back to comments

> Caption included on/with the Recent Comments

> Show users total photo/video count

> Keep logged in/save password – visitors too.

> "Order" instead of "Print" for the store tool tip – done!

> Identification of premium users (Star) versus basic

 > Upload and Settings always at top regardless of logged in - done!

I am sure this list will shrink and grow hour by hour, but at least you know that we know about many of these functions and that we are working feverishly to improve everything.

While many of these items were on list already, many of you helped bring attention to a lot of these issues – WE ARE LISTENING!  And we appreciate your enthusiasm and support.

By the way, this is only the Phase I improvement list. We have some really amazing features we will be adding to this new platform that is going to blow away any other photo and video sharing service there is! Can’t say anymore or Ryan will definitely have me hunted down.

Have a wonderful day!

Updates for 8-6-07

August 6th, 2007

You can definitely tell it is Monday  

The tech team has been working like crazy people on the server and database architecture all day. If you experienced any glitches today it was likely caused by them hammering away on the system – not to worry.

Instead of continuing to have you live and breathe our every change and tweak that many times hiccups the system, we might take the site off-line intermittingly over the next 24-72 hours so we can really go to town on executing on our improvement list.

Many of you have been amazing and very helpful during this process. We really appreciate it. 

We have also had many people who were naysayers in the beginning become ardent fans after using the new layout and system. By the way, all the new subscribers LOVE It! We have polled them individually. For the rest of us "old-timers", it will be take a little time to get familiar – that is understandable.

“First off, LOVE the new format. Took a while to get used to and I will admit, I didn’t like it at first but now I see how much better it really is. Thank you!!”

“I have to admit that after initially reacting with a strong negative, I think I’m coming around to liking the new interface. I also truly appreciate the blog. It really makes us feel as if Dropshots does indeed care and is listening. Thanks! ”

“You know I really didn’t like the “busy” look of all my pictures on my home page at first. But after showing some of my family members they saw and started commenting on pictures they never saw before, even though they were there for over a year! There really is some wisdom  to this new design. I am a convert!”

Thanks for your continued patience.

We have two goals: 
1) to be the fastest, most fun and easiest to use photo and video sharing service in the world and 
2) to be your most important resource for sharing memories and staying in touch with family and friends. 
We will do this and we are glad you are with us along the way!

Updates for 8-5-07

August 5th, 2007

Good Sunday to everyone! 

Admittedly, there have been some kinks to work out with the DropBox. I know this has made many of you… and me

A new DropBox update is now released. 
It fixes the video encoding problems with .mov, .mp4 (Quicktime movies). Some people got a black video with some red text.  This fixes it.

To be sure you have the latest release (automatically uninstalls old version and installs new):
1) Go to your DropShots user page
2) Login
3) Click on Upload (upper right in header)
4) Click on download

The page will automatically recognize if you are on a PC or a Mac and download the appropriate version.

Your DropShots URLWWW.dropshots.com/username
Right now you have to put in the "www." before dropshots.com/username to get your site to load. If you just put in dropshots.com/username. This will be changed later, but for now be sure to add the "www."

DropShots Store
Store still exists. On any photo, roll your cursor over the image and on the transparency you will see this icon:

When you click it you can order prints or a product with that image:

Blogging
We have heard you about the size of the embedded video and picture. We will be adjusting to better fit standard blog sizes.

Comments on this Blog
Wouldn’t you know it, but that was having hiccups too. Just know we get and read them all.

Thanks for working with us on all this. Your input is helping shape the evolution of DropShots – thank you.

Darren Hardy
CEO, DropShots

P.S. Please browse below to see if any other bug-a-boo you might be experiencing has been address previously.

Updates for 8-3-07

August 3rd, 2007

Hey, hey it’s Friday! 

Not that it matters to our hard working development team as they will be working right through it to continue to optimize and improve the new system.

I want to reiterate that we are getting all your blog comments, survey responses and Help system inquiries. Every single one of them is being considered and added to the optimization list.

On that note, Monday they will be putting out a new release that will have many of the buggy issues cleaned-up. They will continue to deploy new releases each week for a short period during this initial release phase.

Some of the little bug-a-boo issues most recently fixed are:

> Delete was not fully delete files, this is now fixed and files fully deleted

> The above problem caused problems with duplicate photos when they delete, then re-upload, this is fixed so that the duplicate error only shows if you can see the photo in your DropShots site. 

> Changing dates should work now. Old files can be fixed by deleting the moved red X thumbnails. Then re-uploading. 

Old videos in the new player – because your older videos are now playing in a larger player size the pixels are more noticeable as we talked about before. We are looking into be able to have your older videos play at the old player size so they will look as they did. We are getting to that as soon as possible, but not sure exactly when.

Some have commented that they would like to see the calendar function (on the left navigation) drill down to not only year and month, but also to the week and day. Day won’t be necessary as you will be able to do that with the search feature when released, but the week, or at least week 1, 2, 3, 4, is a good idea and on our list.

Blog functions – yes, we will be adding the ability to post a day’s worth (or more) of photos into your blog with an html embed code. Give us some time to incorporate that into our One-Click Post to Blog utility.

Smily icons in comments – yes, will be added back shortly 

Keep checking back to this blog as it is our way to keep you informed on all progress. As always the Help system is the best way to commuicate a problem so we have your contact info, user address and ticket tracking.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Darren Hardy
CEO, DropShots

Updates for 8-2-07

August 2nd, 2007

Hello today!

Thank you for continuing to send in your comments – on the blog and through our feedback survey. We are reading every response. Even if we cannot respond to you individually know that every issue is going on a task list to fix or improve and/or letting us know what we need to explain here on the blog. For any specific issue the best way to get help is through our Help System so we can track issues and communicate back and forth.

DropBox and Video and Photo Uploading

The new DropBox that was release when the new site went live had some upload issues that we discussed yesterday. Those were fixed so now you can re-download the DropBox and it will now upload new photos and videos in the larger and higher quality version that fits the new DropShots service level and design. Download New DropBox Here

Calendar View

We have had several people comment that they preferred the calendar organization and viewing of the old site. Yes, we know that one of the unique features of DropShots is you can just drag in a file folder of photos and videos (even dozens of years worth) and it will automatically organize every photo and video according to the date the image was originally taken. Then you can view it in that order on DropShots. That still exists, now it is a much more dynamic and easier to navigate format.

When you first go to your user page you see ALL your recently uploaded photos and videos according to date (latest on top) and your most recent comments. On the left you will see a tab called "By Date".

Click that tab and it will open up the calendar.

Now click on any year and you will see the months open up.

Click on the month you want to see and walla!

You can also just click on the year to see all that year’s photos and videos.

Additionally, we are finishing up the Search feature. That will enable you to find photos according to just photos or videos, Tags/keywords or rating.

Blog Links

If you uploaded a photo or video to DropShots then you embedded it into a blog or external website all those photos and videos are showing and working fine. One known bug is that if you click on that photo or video, it should take the viewer to your DropShots page. Right now it is not. This has been added to the list to fix. You do not have to do anything, once we have fixed it the links will work again.

Thanks again for your comments and feedback, that is how we are making this better and better! Our development team is being fed RedBull, coffee or green tea (sometimes all 3 at once!) intraveneously and working around the clock to optimize everything. We appreciate your patience and continued support!

Darren Hardy
CEO, DropShots

Updates for 8-1-07

August 1st, 2007

Hello and thank you for the overwhelming enthusiasm for the new DropShots 2.0 site!

With every new technology release there are always wrinkles to get ironed out. During this process I am going to personally update this blog to inform you of updates.

Also keep in mind, for some people, change or something new and different can take some getting used to. I know when Microsoft updated to Office 2007 I didn’t like it at first and wanted to go back to the older version. Not being able to (didn’t have copy of the old program), I got used to it and now MUCH prefer it over the old version. The new DropShots platform IS very different and a BIG leap forward technologically. Please give it some time. As you continue to play with it and show your friends and family I think you too will come to absolutely love it!

The New DropBox release and Uploading Video
This is the biggest snafu we found. For some odd reason the new DropBox release experienced an encoding bug so it was not uploading videos correctly. The bug is being worked on right now and should be completed within the next 24-48 hours. This is only a problem for those that downloaded the new DropBox over the past 48 hours (that is when the new version was available). In the meantime the old version is available for download. The only downside is it will only upload video in the quality and size of the old site. This will be A-OK very soon! If you need to re-download the DropBox, click here

Web Uploader
Working great, just informing you that it will no longer upload video (use DropBox for video). You probably weren’t using it for video anyhow because it took too long. With the new video size and quality it takes way too long to really be a viable option. The DropBox on the other hand will upload high quality video in lightening speed by comparison.

Knowledge Base/ Help System
During the transfer of our database system yesterday if you tried to access our Knowledge Base or send a support ticket you got an error. This is fixed now and working great.

Titles
Titles was a function that was needed and unique to the old style of DropShots. Before you only saw the first 3 photos of all that days activities. Many users used the Title section to explain the events and point out that there are other pictures (not visible in the first 3) about other activities and subjects. Now that you can see ALL the photos and videos on one infinitely scrollable page, titling a "Day" is no longer applicable. 
Now you can use the Caption to describe that specific photo.

To bring the past into the future we WILL be bringing all your old titles into your library so you have that information accumulated from the past. This will happen over the next week or two so please stay tuned. Going forward, the better way to identify and share information about your memories is on the Caption function of each photo and/or video.

Making Captions
Making captions is easy to do, but admittedly it is not as obvious or intuitive as it needs to be – we are working on that. Here is how you add a caption to a photo or video:

From your User Home page click on the photo or video thumbnail you want to caption. Roll over the area below the date and it will become blue:
 
Click and it will become an input box where you can add your caption. Hit enter and your done!

Deleting/Editing Comments
We know you cannot edit or delete existing comments now, but will be adding that functionality soon.

Video Quality
Some of the videos you uploaded in the past might look a little more pixilated now. All that is happening is your video is being shown larger so the pixels are more noticeable. Any videos you upload with the new DropBox (when we re-release it in 24-48 hrs from now) will be uploaded as a larger and higher quality video.

Downloading Videos
To stream video online effectively the format you upload video in is encoded, transcoded and converted to Flash – most all video sharing services stream video in Flash otherwise it would not be possible to stream and view over the internet. The new higher quality Flash version we are using to give you the higher quality experience does not convert back to WMV or MPG4 efficiently. The solution is to download it in FLV format then you can download a Flash (FLV) player to watch it on your computer. Here is a link to download a free FLV player: Windows –
http://www.dropshots.com/binaries/FLVPlayerSetup.exe Mac – http://www.dropshots.com/binaries/Perian_1.0.dmg

Feedback Survey
For some reason the survey was not activated until recently. It looked like it was receiving your survey inputs but it wasn’t being captured. It has since been properly activated and is working. If you gave us feedback before it is likely we didn’t get it.

Keep checking this blog for continued updates and thanks again for all your enthusiastic support! 

Darren Hardy
CEO, DropShots

Tutorial of DropShots 2.0 new features

July 31st, 2007

 

See video tutorials too! HERE

First be sure to download the New DropBox. There are several new features to it including the settings that allow you to upload much larger and higher quality photos and videos.

Navigation

You can navigate your entire experience of DropShots on the left navigation.

By Date – This is one of the fantastic features of DropShots. DropShots automatically identifies the date and time you originally took the photo or video and automatically arranges them accordingly. On this tab you can drill down to find any photo or video in your entire library by date taken.

When you click on the tab it opens up to show you all the years you have uploaded files. Click on the "+" sign and it will open up all the months as well.

 

Albums – You can now organize your photos and videos on DropShots into albums! Just click on the Albums tab, then click on "Create a New Album" and give it a name:

Now just drag-n-drop the photo and/or video thumbnails into the album you just created. You can select multiple thumbnails at a time by using the Cntrl or Shft keys:

Trash - You can delete albums, friends and photos and videos by just dragging-n-dropping into the trash. You can select multiple thumbnails at at time by using the Ctrl or Shft button.

Search - coming soon! You will be able to search by tag (any word from a title, caption or comment) and rating for either photos, videos or both.

 Infinite Scroll - On every section of the new DropShots site you can scroll infinitely without ever needing to refresh or click to another page.

On the User Home page:

And the thumbnails on the Large View can be scrolled infinitely:


To Post your photo or video to a blog:

1) Go to a photo or video you would like to post on your blog. Click the Blog icon on the transparency of your photo or video.
 

2) Click on the appropriate icon for where you want to post it – done!

or…

1) Select the HTML code by clicking once on the code in the box. 
2) Copy the HTML code by right-clicking the code and selecting ‘Copy’. 
3) Open up a second browser window and log in to your blog account
4) Select create new blog entry. 
5) Select HTML or Source option.
6) Paste in your HTML code
7) Click the View Source checkbox again to uncheck it and return to rich-edit mode.
8) Now you will see your photo or video and can continue to edit your blog entry as normal.


To password protect your account
(now available to both Premium and Basic membership!):

WARNING: Now everyone will have to remember the URL to your DropShots page as well as this password. DropShots does not allow search engines to index your photos and videos so only someone who knows your URL will ever have access to your site anyway. Password protection is just another layer of security if you feel you want it.

1) Click on the "Settings" link at the top of any Dropshots page.
2) Click on the "User Settings" tab at the left.
4) Where it says "Password Protection" enter your own personal password.
5) Click on "Save".


To email your photos and videos to friends:

1) Go to your user page after you have uploaded some photos or videos. 
2) Double click on a photo to get to the "Large View" 
3) Click the Email icon on the transparency of the photo or video

 

4) Select the email client you use to send email.

5) Enter your family and friends’ email addresses. You may enter multiple email addresses at once. 
6) Enter your personal message. Click Send.

See video tutorials too! HERE

Message from the Founder of DropShots

July 30th, 2007

Hello everyone, welcome to the brand new DropShots! We have been working hard all year rebuilding DropShots from the ground up to be fastest and most valuable place to share your personal photos and video. 

I started working on DropShots about 5 years ago as a university research project to make sharing photos online more effortless and rewarding. Today many things have changed: I’ve long since graduated, DropShots turned into a company, I got married, and just a few days ago my baby boy, Lucas, was born. 

 

Along with the birth of my baby boy is the birth of the new DropShots. With the new DropShots I can now drag and drop thumbnails to create albums for “Lucas’ birthday” or “Lucas playing”. 4x larger video allows me to capture more detail of Lucas’ many facial expressions.   As a busy father, the new speed of DropShots allows me to quickly view and share photos. The new thumbnail view lets me see entire screen full of thumbnails of Lucas.  But this is just the birth with a whole new platform to grow on. We will be building on this new platform with many new features and functions that I think will continue to transform the way families can share personal memories and life experiences. 

We have all worked hard, and are happy to release the new DropShots. I hope you find all the new features as valuable as I do. Thank you very much for using DropShots to share your most valuable memories, it means a lot of all of us here.

Ryan Sit
Founder and CTO

See a tutorial of our new features