Friday, 10 April 2009

Moving to Flickr

Image representing Flickr as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

All the voucher pictures in our NSG database take up to 2.5GB in hard disk space, which is quite a lot for 3300 pictures only.

This is indeed a problem if we decide to move the database into a private, commercial server because buying 2.5 GB of space can be quite expensive.

Then Flickr might be able to help. By having a PRO account, users are allowed to upload unlimited number of photos and even retaining the original sizes of high resolution photos, for only 25 USD per year. Quite a bargain indeed.

Since moving more than 3000 pictures can be tiresome, I used used Flickr's API interface and grabbed an API key.

Then I found the PHP class libraries of Phlickr very useful as a layer on top of Flickr's API.

I used Phlickr to harvest information from the NSG database and included it as Title, description and Tags of the photos to be uploaded to Flickr.

Almost everything worked as a charm. However, I found that Phlickr got problems in getting the image URL, by constructing the link using the wrong id of the photo. I had to fix it by hacking the Photo.php class -> function buildImgUrl()

The database then will link to the photo on Flickr:

Now people can comment on every picture and point out whenever we misidentify the vouchers. The possibility of adding notes on top of the photo might of some use.

NSG's photostream in Flickr:

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Started using Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

I always wanted to have a cross-database plugin that would list some "recent news" of new vouchers and records uploaded to our voucher and reference databases. I tried to do it myself some years ago but it was too complicated to achieve.

But, it seems that Twitter might do the job.

from Wikipedia:
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
So now every time I update the databases a script will create a tweet including a shortened url address to the respective voucher and record pages.

Since the tweets have to be up to 140 characters in length, I have to shorten the URLs. For this, I found the TinyURL service, but it was sluggish a couple of times so I switched over to which has a very simple API.

And this is my twitter address

Here a video explaining in a better way what Twitter might be all about: "The ultimate tool for exhibitionism"

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