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Help save the forum from future cost increases


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#1 Bob Hudson

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:48 PM

The costs of having this forum hosted on the internet are based upon two main considerations: how much storage space we use and how much bandwidth we use.

Storage space is the "hard drive space" and indicates how much space we have on our host server in which still all of the forum's file including your posts and uploaded photographs.

Bandwidth measures how many files are downloaded by forum users every month. When you look at a web page, your computer has to download all text and images on that page to its hard drive, so every time someone looks at a page on the forum, it uses up some of the bandwidth were are allocated by the hosting company. If we exceed that allocation, we will be charged more money.

Right now we have not exceeded that, but the forum's growth is such that we are using far more than we had anticipated and we need to ask your help to slow the growth in the use of bandwidth. We can do this without cutting down on our use of the forum.

The main use of bandwidth is for photographs: if 10 users look at a web page that has one megabyte of photos on it, then we use up 10 megabytes of bandwidth.

The problem is that way too many photos are not being cropped and resized before being attached to posts. Thus we have many, many photos with file sizes often ten times larger than they should be! That wastes storage space and bandwidth and makes it harder for forum users with slower internet connections to use the forum.

When the forum first started we posted some basic instructions on how to prepare your photos by cropping out unnecessary parts (you've probably seen the many photos on the forum showing something like a medal surrounded by a large border of carpet or table top - we don't really need to see all that carpet :) ). Photos should also be resized. Most digital cameras take photos at sizes such as 1400 X 900 pixels or larger: photos for the forum should - in most cases - be no larger than perhaps 600 pixels in any dimension.

The basic instructions for cropping and re-sizing photos can be found at http://www.usmilitar...php?showtopic=7 and every piece of software that downloads and/or handles digital photos should have tools for cropping and re-sizing.

Thanks for your cooperation on this. If we can get photos properly prepared before they are attached to posts we may be able to avoid some price increases when our host contract comes up for renewal in early 2008 and, again, make the forum much more enjoyable for users who do not have high speed connections.

Bob Hudson
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#2 Greg Robinson

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 01:29 AM

My SONY digital camera is getting a bit out of date but one feature I've always liked is the ability to set it for resolution. I keep mine set at the lowest resolution which typically makes a pic file well under 100KB, suitable for emailing and perfectly good enough to posting on a forum.

Another suggestion I'd like to add to what Bob said is to limit the number of pics. Most of the time a forum posting only needs no more than two or three pics. There are exceptions to this, reference forum postings for example, but I'm talking about the typical forum posting basically showing what you found at a flea market with supporting pics.

Greg

#3 General Apathy

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 02:38 AM

Hi Forum Support and Greg, good information thanks, personally I find that pixels set at 500 height are more than adequate for displaying on the forum, especially after cropping out all the unwanted background.
I don't think forum members are really interested in the surrounding carpet, cluttered office desk or even the cooking hob around an item that's posted.

A suggestion I would like to make is when using a quote from a previous post, please only copy the text and not the photographs as well. In some instances when someone has posted an item other people posting a response have copied the same photo again and again.

Otherwise great forum, and good postings, enjoy it all.

Cheers ( Lewis )

#4 Jim Baker

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 04:04 AM

That 500-600 number is just right for the frames on the forum. I hate when the posted pics require you to scroll across the screen. Very annoying.

#5 Bob Hudson

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 07:51 AM

My SONY digital camera is getting a bit out of date but one feature I've always liked is the ability to set it for resolution. I keep mine set at the lowest resolution which typically makes a pic file well under 100KB, suitable for emailing and perfectly good enough to posting on a forum.


Believe it or not a 100KB photo is a large one. Probably 90% of the photos on the forum would look just as good at a size of 20 to 50KB.

As an example of how small file sizes can be, here's a 16Kb photo:

hm0521b.jpg

Images with lots of solid color can be compressed a lot more than ones with lots of varied color, texture and/pattern

Here's an example of a large image: it has a busy pattern and is 700 pixels wide. This is a 52KB file:

iraqhat1.jpg

(Has anyone noticed that I am wasting bandwidth showing the examples?) :)

One more just to show what compression can do. On the left is a 116KB image and on the right is the same image compressed to 20KB, just 17 percent the size of the original (or to put it another way: the original is almost six times larger than the more compressed version):

k1001.jpg k1001small.jpg

#6 Karl_B

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 11:40 AM

Hi

Is there not a function within the forum code or operations manual http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/w00t.gif that can allow the staff to set the exact size and weight of each image uploaded?

Cheers

Karl

#7 Tenboremag

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 11:55 AM

Another thing. For those of us still in the Dark Ages (dial up), it takes forever for those extra large photos to load.

#8 Guest_cannonmn_*

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 04:16 AM

Suggest adding a help topic detailing how to post pix properly and with acceptable size. Maybe it is there somewhere but I could not find it, am new to forum and not familiar with the layout yet.

#9 disneydave

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 05:50 AM

Lewis beat me to it - when responding to a post just respond with your own comments - for the most part there is no need to use the photo in your reply. That would probably save some room as I notice many responders quote the original post complete with the image.

#10 Greg Sebring

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 06:40 AM

Do you think it would do any good to re-size existing photos within a post? Maybe the section moderators could politely ask "oversized" photo posters to re-size their entries if it would be of any value.

Just a thought...

Greg

#11 Bob Hudson

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 02:04 PM

Do you think it would do any good to re-size existing photos within a post? Maybe the section moderators could politely ask "oversized" photo posters to re-size their entries if it would be of any value.

Just a thought...

Greg



Once a photo is posted the person who made the post cannot edit the photo if the photo was attached to the post. In some cases people do use photos that are stored on another server and they could edit those: that will make life easier for dial-up users who have to wait for large photos to download, but photos stored on other servers do not impact our bandwidth usage.

Also, if you quote someone's post and their photos are include in the post it does not affect bandwidth usage or even download times: your web browser sees that as one photo being used multiple times so it only needs to download it once.

#12 Bob Hudson

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 02:05 PM

Suggest adding a help topic detailing how to post pix properly and with acceptable size. Maybe it is there somewhere but I could not find it, am new to forum and not familiar with the layout yet.



Here is the topic you're looking for:

"UPLOADING AND MODIFYING IMAGES, How to crop, resize, save and upload photographs" http://www.usmilitar...php?showtopic=7

#13 Nailbender

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 12:36 PM

I have WinPaint. I take a photo after I crop, resize etc. and edit it and then stretch/skew to 99%. That will knock that baby down so many kb's and you cannot tell you did anything with it.

#14 Ogstad

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 07:52 PM

or we could host our own photos and post them as links only?

#15 Bob Hudson

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 08:01 PM

or we could host our own photos and post them as links only?


Yes, I often do that myself, but even then it's still a good idea to be mindful of the image size because, even though it does not impact our server load, it does impact the time it takes a webpage to load on each person's computer.

I will say that ideally for long term purposes it is best that if you have a post that might become part of our research section that you attach the photos to your post: that way there is less chance that sometime in the future those photos will not be available. Often people will upload their photos to one of those websites that offer photo hosting - but then at some point they cancel their account and the photos no longer show up in their posts of the forum.

#16 Greg Robinson

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 02:54 AM

Believe it or not a 100KB photo is a large one. Probably 90% of the photos on the forum would look just as good at a size of 20 to 50KB.


That's why I said UNDER 100KB. :) I generally try to keep it at or around 50KB for emailing and forum posting. I also use dial up and nothing more irritating then spending an hour downloading pics. I remember a few years ago waiting two hours to download an email only to discover it was five .JPG image files each over 1MB. Some guy I'd sent an email to months before had taken five views of his new sports car and apparently sent them to everybody in his address book which evidently included everybody he'd ever received an email from :( Granted, it was a cool car....BUT........ http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbdown.gif

Greg

#17 superc53

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 07:33 AM

Well it can be hard. My apologies in advance to those who know not what I speak of. Those into photography will. I prefer to take 6 or higher meg pictures and that is what the camera is (just about always) pre set for. I use a waterproof, pocket digital Pentax. Often there is some proof mark or some other feature in an image I may later want to blow up and examine. Too many of my photographs are shot with limited time available or involve dynamic changing (as in movement) scenes. High pixel resolution allows expansion of the imagery later and really has been found to be a good substitute for the 35mm with a 80x zoom lens. When I start seeing affordable, 22 to 40 meg waterproof, digital pocket cameras, then I will get one as a replacement for the medium format 120 6x6. Reducing file size means reducing pixels and that means degradation of the image.

I have a lovely shot of a house taken with the Pentax at 2 megs and in it one can see the design of curtains in the windows. A 5 meg photo. Reduced down to 80K and the curtains themselves aren't even there any more, much less the design. They become just a blob. The original has a border size of about 36 x 26 inches. The 80k variant has a border size of about 7x5 inches. Still too big for here. If I shrank it to 20K, one probably wouldn't even be able to tell it was a house.

I do have, and use software that shrinks the overall file size and resolution, however it does very little at all to control the border dimensions (beyond the incidental effect noted above). I also crop my photos so as to discard carpet and other stuff not worth viewing. My problem is a lack of software to change the size of the displayed image. Often even after doing everything possible to comply with instructions I am still left with either a fuzzy picture not worth sending, or a good/acceptable picture of 60-80K but with dimensions greater than the available forum border. I read the available link, but found no real help there beyond change the format settings in the camera. That would be wonderful if every image stored was intended primarily for Internet usage. However many are/were not. I find it a very rare occasion when I take a photo with the intention of sending it to a forum. On those occasions, certainly I will change the settings in advance of the shot. Here is my question, how does one reduce the border size of an image already taken at a high resolution?

Edited by superc53, 03 August 2007 - 07:48 AM.


#18 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 09:34 AM

superc53, I know exactly were your coming from on this matter. I shoot everything @ 8meg and cannot wait to get another camera and go higher. You did not mention if you have macro on the camera. For shots like these its a must.

Have done the compression thing see these on the link. I'm not happy with it either, but it needs to been done, for benefit of forum. And we can't keep big ones in reference or the forum server forever. Personally it bugs me when a see these mammoth things posted and 50% of the image is nothing but useless space.....
http://www.usmilitar...?showtopic=6883

I have an MS Picture viewer on my PC, cannot remember if it came w/ machine or when MS office was installed. Either way I am very satisfied. It does just what your looking for "cropping"... there is a little resolution loss but barely perceptible to the untrained eye.

Hope this helps...

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#19 Bob Hudson

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 02:39 PM

I have a lovely shot of a house taken with the Pentax at 2 megs and in it one can see the design of curtains in the windows. A 5 meg photo. Reduced down to 80K and the curtains themselves aren't even there any more, much less the design. They become just a blob. The original has a border size of about 36 x 26 inches. The 80k variant has a border size of about 7x5 inches. Still too big for here. If I shrank it to 20K, one probably wouldn't even be able to tell it was a house.


I think I cover this in the photo cropping link reference above: the key to shrinking photo size but retaining detail is to SHARPEN before shrinking. My usual routine is to SHARPEN, reduce 50% and if I need to make the image even smaller, I will continue to SHARPEN then reduce 50%. You can play around with the percentages, but generally that gives the best results.

I found out about this while doing photos for my main client's website. He shoots this at multi-megapixels and sends them to me to clean up and shrink to size for the website. The problem was maintaining the wood grain and other detail, and the sharnen/reduce process worked great. Here's a photo that starte as five or six megapixels and is now 12 kilobytes!

Posted Image

#20 gecko NZ

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:22 PM

how about if there was an option to thumbnail pictures, then if the image doesnt interest you you dont have to look at the bigger copy.

example:
going into the recent finds section and the thread says "just picked up today, look what i got, this mornings finds" will this could be a new thread or an old one someone has just posted a comment in (a date or sumthing in the heading would be nice, cause what you found today, wont mean you found it today, tomorrow lol)

and you see its just a medal (ducks from all the medal guys)....... that you saw the other day, will im not really into medals, so a thumbnail of the picture would be ok, then if i wanted to look at it in more detail i could click on it, would also help anyone whos stuck in the past lol..... i mean dialup.

#21 Brig

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 05:29 PM

I recently started using PhotoBucket to upload all pics here, except for images I add to the EGA Discussion and Reference. It works wonders, and I don't have to post multiple replies to myself to display a bunch of images, can just put the URL links all in one. Saves room http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#22 Jeeper704

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 10:55 PM

I am using Photobucket too and would suggest it to others wanting to post photos here.

Erwin

#23 DesertRatTom

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:54 AM

Hello all, Here's a site that may be of help to those hat have older cameras, are using iPhones, etc to edit and upload photos.  Chaeck out Basic photo editing by jessyratfink . Basic photo editing. Retrieved May 13, 2014, from Web site:

http://Basic photo e...iting/?ALLSTEPS

 

Also those that want to help keep Forum costs down, let Admin know if you can help chase down various threads for dead links, off-site hosting etc.

 

Tom




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