Monday, October 23, 2017

Farewell Photobucket

This past Summer, I got a bug in me to start writing on my old, sparsely used, blog, again. I had a couple of posts I wanted to write. But, when I got to my blog, I found that my title image had been replaced, as shown above. Also, the green pipe logo which I used to have to the left of every blog post title, had been replaced by a translucent rectangle which covered the title, as shown below.

Of course, since each day of my life consists of an infinite amount of time, it was no problem to figure out how to fix this, and then proceed to writing the intended blog posts...  oh, wait, that's not how it worked.

So, I decided I would figure out how to fix my blog, and then I would go about writing up those blog posts which I had in mind. My title image, and the green pipe image, had been hosted by Photobucket for over a decade. Apparently, what happened was, Photobucket had decided to only allow image hosting to people who were willing to pay 400 dollars per year for a premium account. I went to access my CSS code, in Blogger, so that I could remove the broken links, which were taking up space on my blog, but couldn't find the code with the embedded images, anywhere. Over the years, since I originally designed my blog, Blogger has made some changes to its design interface. There is now more of a non-coder friendly design tool. But, it seems, I no longer have access to edit the full code, in which I had embedded those Photobucket images.

One person recommended deleting my Photobucket account. I was more than happy to delete an account that had become progressively less user friendly, and was now taking up my time to figure out how to fix my blog. But then, I realized that there was nostalgia in my "Bucket". In fact, my Photobucket account parallels the history of J-Dubb's Theatre. I began my account in late 2005, so that I could post images on a forum in which I had begun to spend a lot of time. There are inside jokes galore, from years past in my "Bucket". It was on this forum, that I revived my old Air Force nickname, "J-Dubb", and began using it as a handle around the Internet. Maybe a month or so, after becoming involved in this forum, I started my blog, which I named "J-Dubb's Blog", and shortly after changed to "J-Dubb's Theatre".

In 2006, I used my Photobucket account to host the original J-Dubb's Theatre banner image at the top of my blog. I then used it to host the little pipe icon, which replaced the arrow icon that originally precluded the title of each blog post. Sometimes images, for whatever reason, wouldn't load into a blog post through Blogger, so I'd host them on Photobucket. Eventually, I changed to my current title banner image, hosting that on Photobucket, as well.

In 2008, I began taking pictures of a certain tree once a month. I uploaded these pictures to Photobucket, and used a slideshow tool to show the month by month progression of this scene.

Also, in 2008, I used Photobucket to post images on another forum, whose sole purpose was to be "anti" the previous forum. In 2010, I began using Photobucket to upload pictures taken by my friends and myself, of a little plastic alien. In the smartphone era, I downloaded the Photobucket app. In the beginning, Photobucket was the easiest way to transfer an image from my computer on to my phone.

By this Summer, however, I no longer really had a use for Photobucket. I haven't used forums for a long time. Photobucket had removed the slideshow feature, which I used to make slideshows of the monthly tree picture, and I had been using Sony Vegas for this for the past several years. Pictures had been gradually disappearing from my albums. It got to a point where the website was so laggy from all the advertising, it was virtually unusable. And I no longer needed it to transfer images to my phone, as I could now download them from email.

So, I decided to transfer my "Bucket" to Google Photos, and delete my Photobucket account. This turned out to be a tedious process. I had to download my pictures one at a time, as Photobucket's bulk downloader doesn't work. Upon uploading my images to Google Photos, I decided to change the date of each one to the date in which I had uploaded it to Photobucket, and saved them in an album titled, "My Bucket". I then went to "my account" to delete my Photobucket account and see if it would fix my blog...   buuuuut, of course it wasn't that simple. Instead of immediately deleting my account, there was a three day wait with an "undo" option, which I would have to wait through to see if my blog had been fixed. All I wanted was to simply write up a blog post while taking a quick break from the things I needed to do, and had found a several days project thrust upon me.

After the fourth day of my three day wait, my account finally made its way into oblivion. But, of course, this didn't fix my blog. My Photobucket account had been deleted, but the broken image links were still in the code, and still showed up as image placeholders on my blog. I was able to replace my title image using Blogger's current layout design function, but could not access the code to remove the broken images. Of course, the next step would have been to contact Blogger, but... who got time for this? I had already wasted too much time, and had other things to do. So I left it aside. I'm just now getting around to writing about this, even though my blog isn't completely fixed yet.

Years worth of blogs, forums, and websites are now littered with broken Photobucket images. Photobucket has been accused of extortion, and even blackmail. Now, there's a point where Photobucket is probably between a rock and a hard place: on the one hand, as they become less relevant, they need to find new ways to increase their revenue. On the other hand, being less relevant, people are more likely to dump them, than pay for their services...  let alone, 400 dollars a year!!

And so, it's time, after all these years, to say "audios" to Photobucket.

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