Trouble with Photos

ACK Mary's picture
Thu, 2011-07-07 14:37 by ACK Mary · Forum/category:

For some reason I am having trouble loading photos into my blogs... I am going to post a few stories just to avoid getting too far behind on things. But I will try to get back to posting more photos soon. It does not seem to be an issue with my safaricom modem, because even at the internet cafe with good wireless internet a photo takes a really long time in thinking, then gives me an error message and freezes my computer. I hope to get a solution soon. The joys of technology!

Hans's picture

Poor Internet connections

Fri, 2011-07-08 08:10 by Hans

Even Internet cafés do not always have good Internet connections. They are not only too slow, but also suffer from packet loss.

How large is a typical image file? How long does it take you to upload it? To give a comparison, a 5 MB photo file takes 5 s to upload in my admittedly fast home DSL connection in Germany (10 Mbit/s upload, 50 Mbit/s download). Of course, a good Internet café should have a faster connection than a home DSL connection.

Connections in Africa are often slower. And Internet cafés tend to compete on price, so they skimp on their Internet connections. The same is true for the mobile phone operators. That is most likely your problem. A good mobile phone data connection should be in the range of 1 Mbit/s, ideally uploading a 5 MB photo file in about a minute, but again I have seen much worse connections with lots of interruptions, which make uploading larger image files almost impossible.

One trick is to reduce the file size before uploading, to make the image file much smaller. This web site here reduces images such that the longer side is 800 pixels long, but it can only do it after the file is already uploaded. If you reduce the size to a maximum of 800 pixels before uploading, then the upload is much smaller and faster without losing any quality. Use medium to strong JPEG compression. On a Windows computer a good photo handling program that can do this is IrfanView, but there are many others. Unfortunately this is extra work that would normally be done automatically by our server, but if there is no other choice, this may be the only way.

Another, mostly unrelated, problem is special characters in image file names. Our Linux server does not like them much, so it is better to avoid characters like the apostrophe ('), the ampersand (&), the space ( ) and some other, similar characters. Files with such characters in their file names may or may not upload OK, but can then cause problems for viewers.

I just spotted examples here, where some apostrophes slipped in. The photos did upload without problems, but they can now not be enlarged by clicking on them, and the page spews Javascript errors. It would be best to delete, rename, and re-upload them.

[This comment should be deleted after the problems are fixed.]

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