Sunday, March 12, 2006

Thoughts on Blogger Advice re Picture Posting

Yesterday I tackled putting a picture into my profile.

Blogger, on the 'edit profile' page, suggests using the "Hello" utility and provides a direct link to it, with no mention of any alternative procedure. Nor do they advise you the character limit for adding the image URL to your profile is something like 65 characters. My bitch begins here. Skip the rant and scroll down if you just want plain advice in linear form.

After linking to "Hello" and reading their promo bullshit, I wasn't completely sold on the package, but finding no alternative, I downloaded and began. A lurking suspicion that I was going down a path I wanted to avoid started growing when I realized I'd become part of a chat network that's uncomfortably similar to Yahoo Instant Messaging. Nothing against IM for those who enjoy it. I just don't want to expose my computer to the security risks involved. Except for a brief time last year, I outgrew the instant messaging and chatroom fads sometime in the late 50's when we could hear others voices behind Ma Bell's busy tone. Remember dialing your own number to generate a busy signal, and shouting "HELLO...HELLO...WHATS YOUR NAME...WHAT'S YOURS? ...HELLO..." into the receiver until your mom told you to quit playing games on the phone? I don't remember ever getting anything back except another voice echoing my messages, but there was an addictive intrigue to the whole process. We had simpler addictions then. I digress.

After struggling through the promo b.s. and foggy non-instructions, I managed to upload an image to "Hello", and then blundered past the "Bloggerbot" instructions, and managed to put an image into a Random Traverse post, even though I had no intention of doing that. That didn't achieve my objective of adding a picture to my profile, but I discovered on my own that, by hovering my pointer over the posted image, it had its own URL. Wonderful. Now I had something to paste into the cryptic blank on the 'Edit Profile' page at the add your picture step. Pasted and executed. But, not quite Voila!

I got an error message that my URL exceeded the 65 character limit. This was both the first time I'd been advised of the limit, and the first time I realized how ridiculously long the "Hello" uploaded URL was. Since the pic involved was named "linearthinker" and is a bit long for a nic, I thought maybe I could squeeze it in by shortening the image name. After a few minutes of pointless parsing of the URL character string and discovering it was over 90 characters, I uttered a few expletives and returned to Blogger help. Note that I could shorten my image name to one character and it would still fail to load via the "Hello" utility that Blogger was promoting. And keep in mind Blogger is pitching their "Hello" package to the total exclusion of any other workable instructions for posting a picture to a profile. That there may be discussion of this issue in the Blogger help-FAQ-chat pages is irrelevant to me. I'm not going to spend my time researching via chat rooms and FAQs for instructions that should be available for the task at hand by a simple link. Blogger is just flogging a potentially compromising package on an unsuspecting user base.

I returned to Blogger help, a little wiser about the mechanics of uploading images, and finally found instructions that worked using tools available within the Blogger kit in the first place. Grrrrrrr!

Quick summary of procedure outlined in Bogger Help pages:

(1) You first have to create a post containing the image you want to eventually add to your profile.
(2) On the create post page, use the little technicolor landscape picture icon on the create/edit post tool bar for adding an image. It lets you browse your pc for the image file you want. Add this to your post, and publish.
(3) Copy the URL for the image on the post to clipboard (With pointer over image, right click, and select "Copy Shortcut").
(4) Open edit profile, and paste the image URL at the blank for adding image.

Avoid "Hello" and "Picasa". Promo script for "Picasa" tells me with fruity enthusiasm that it's not even slowed down by firewalls. Now, there's a reassuring admission (!).

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