Author Topic: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out  (Read 8751 times)

Offline Pam

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Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« on: January 03, 2014, 09:57:59 AM »
I'm sorry to announce that the decision has been made to start phasing out Carl's Sims 3 Gallery.  The Gallery has become large and expensive for Carl to allow it to continue growing at the current pace.  Effective immediately, there will be no new accounts approved for the Gallery.  Those of you who already have accounts will be fine for now, but it will be a good idea to start looking for a different online host for your images (such as Photobucket) and begin making the transition from using the Gallery to using your new host.  The existing images on the Gallery will remain online for as long as we have a good readership here on the Forum, which we expect to be for at least two or three years as the popularity of Sims 3 fades now that all of the expansions have been released.  I'll make further announcements over these next months as we continue to phase out the Gallery.  However, for now the only real change is not allowing new accounts.

Some of you have uploaded a lot of images (in the thousands) that are probably only being stored on the Gallery, which was not the purpose of the Gallery.  It was to be used only for images that are posted here on the Forum.  Therefore, I would like to ask everyone to please try to remove images that have not been used in stories or other posts.  I understand that it could be difficult to know for sure which ones can go and that's ok, but please just try to reduce the number as much as you can.

Edit by Carl

To save many files Browse your album and find in the top left of the image Show/Hide File information. This will show info on the file beneath the image. There you can click add to favorites. Browse your gallery and continue adding files to favorites. When you've added all files you'd like to back up, head to Album List > My Favorites at the top within the navigation bar. You will see Download as Zip in the top right. The system will zip and send the files to your home PC. Hope this helps streamline the process, but for some it would still be too time consuming:

If you need to save hundreds or thousands of pictures and want to save them to your computer: PM me and I'll set up a Zip for you on the server so that you can download your entire collection. This will take some effort on my part, but not nearly the amount it would take a person to backup 100s to over a thousand files, so I'll be happy to help you. Please reserve this for extreme cases.

Otherwise, your files are fine for now and you may not even want them permanently backed up. Leave them on the server for people viewing stories, so that they will still work for your readers.

Alternatives

Read posts below where members have kindly bolded their recommendations and some of the features of those sites. Ultimately, it will be up to you to choose an alternative that fits your needs.

We also have a new topic by MrsFlynn with some alternative sites for image storing.

Update on March 11, 2014:

Effective April 1, 2014, we will move to the next step in phasing out the Gallery.  On that date, Carl will change the settings on the Gallery so that nobody will be able to upload any more images.  If you haven't done so already, please find a new way to host your Sims 3 images for the Forum and begin using it right away.
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Offline saltpastillen

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 10:14:17 AM »
I understand that the gallery has become huge and expensive, but I really like that I will have time to move my photos to another site.



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Offline Pam

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 10:44:52 AM »
Be careful if you decide to move all of your pictures.  I suggest that you use a copy function because the ones that have been used in a Forum post will disappear from the post if you delete them in the Gallery.  That would create a huge mess.  All of your images in posts here will stay where they are as long as we have readers.  But if you want to get copies of all of them, that's a good idea so that you won't ever lose anything of your own.
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Offline saltpastillen

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 11:05:10 AM »
Be careful if you decide to move all of your pictures.  I suggest that you use a copy function because the ones that have been used in a Forum post will disappear from the post if you delete them in the Gallery.  That would create a huge mess.  All of your images in posts here will stay where they are as long as we have readers.  But if you want to get copies of all of them, that's a good idea so that you won't ever lose anything of your own.

Good point Pam, it's nice to know I can keep the pictures that are for stories :)

Offline bubbles

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 04:22:29 PM »
So what would you recommend doing? Leaving all the current photos on the gallery that have been used, deleting ones that haven't and adding all future images to something like photobucket, and then gradually copying things over? I understand that the gallery is getting expensive and full. I have quite a few things on there, mostly stories and houses but a few other things but it shouldn't take too long to sort out.
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Offline Janna

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 05:55:57 PM »
I've not tried the Photobucket, signed up for it, but didn't go any further.

As for having backups, I don't know if this will work, but when I take my screenshots they are saved on my hard drive under documents.  I go there and sort out what I want and what I don't, send them to recycle and then dump them.

The ones I keep are mainly for the Random Town Jump.  I have folders that has the town, such as Dragon Valley Lombardi titled.  One folder has titled photos and another folder is marked same but has untitled in it.  The titled ones are then copied into a folder on my desktop that I can put on the gallery. 

When you are taking photos and end up with six hundred, or even more for just one town, you learn quick to get rid of the excess ones. 

I don't have a lot, but I will delete those folders of town jumps that I have stopped working on.  I am going to do so with another one this week. 

@Pam,
I want to be sure, but when I delete a project story all of the photos that I had put there for the story are removed when I delete them from the gallery.   Basically, a story that has been moved to the archives (or wherever) and I had deleted the photos, they are no longer there to show up. 


Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2014, 07:31:28 PM »
So just to clarify, for existing and currently running stories, are we allowed to continue uploading?



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Offline chetanhaobijam

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014, 09:55:46 PM »
I also want to ask the same question. I have currently 2 stories on the misc board. Can I still upload pics for the stories on the gallery or do I have to upload them on Photobucket. Since I have slow-medium speed internet, Photobucket takes much time before loading on my browser and our gallery loads in an instant. The uploading speed in the gallery is also fast. It is sad that our forum's gallery is phasing out. And I only upload pics which will be used in the forum.
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Offline Pam

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2014, 03:19:55 AM »
So what would you recommend doing? Leaving all the current photos on the gallery that have been used, deleting ones that haven't and adding all future images to something like photobucket, and then gradually copying things over? I understand that the gallery is getting expensive and full. I have quite a few things on there, mostly stories and houses but a few other things but it shouldn't take too long to sort out.

What you describe here is probably the best way to handle it.  If you have images on the Forum that are hosted on the Gallery, just leave them there and start using something like Photobucket in the future.  If you want to keep copies of your images that are being hosted on the Gallery, then I suggest you start making copies of them.

@Pam,
I want to be sure, but when I delete a project story all of the photos that I had put there for the story are removed when I delete them from the gallery.   Basically, a story that has been moved to the archives (or wherever) and I had deleted the photos, they are no longer there to show up. 

If you delete images from the Gallery, those images will no longer show up here on the Forum.  We don't want that to happen, so I want everyone to be sure to only delete Gallery images that are not being used on the Forum.  Even if a story has been moved to the Stories Graveyard, we want the Gallery images to stay in place.

So just to clarify, for existing and currently running stories, are we allowed to continue uploading?

You may continue to upload for now, but there will come a time when that will change.  I suggest that you only keep using the Gallery until you can get something set up with another hosting service.  It won't be right away, but eventually the Gallery will not accept any uploads and will only store the existing images because they are used on the Forum.

I also want to ask the same question. I have currently 2 stories on the misc board. Can I still upload pics for the stories on the gallery or do I have to upload them on Photobucket. Since I have slow-medium speed internet, Photobucket takes much time before loading on my browser and our gallery loads in an instant. The uploading speed in the gallery is also fast. It is sad that our forum's gallery is phasing out. And I only upload pics which will be used in the forum.

Same answer as I gave RaiaDraconis above.  You may continue using the Gallery for now, but you'll need to eventually find another hosting service.  There are others besides Photobucket that may work better for you.  It would be a good idea to use this transition time to test some of them to see which one works best for you.

Carl and I both regret that the Gallery has to be phased out.  It's just that it is becoming a serious drain on resources because of the massive number of files that have been uploaded.  Carl is willing to carry this expense for awhile, but we have to make sure that it doesn't get even bigger over the long haul.  I've also asked Carl to stop by this thread and verify my answers to your questions and to perhaps explain it a little better than I have.
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Offline Carl

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2014, 06:43:02 PM »
Thanks for fielding those questions Pam, your answers were spot on. People should use it as they have been until they can find an alternative. The big trouble with the gallery is its sheer size, something that was not a problem when we were a tiny forum, but it's grown exponentially the past couple of years and to the point that it is a massive backup I'd be unable to restore through my own internet. Continuing with it into The Sims 4 era would be unrealistic when we know that membership is going to increase at that time thanks to the popularity of the current site. It was a feature unique to our forum, but that is for a reason. I wish you all the best in finding an alternative. Some people used the gallery heavily and may find that they will need an image host with a paid option to prevent their account from going over set bandwidth or storage space limits.

At an undetermined point in the future I will disable the system and keep all images in their current folders. This will make the gallery inaccessible but keep the files in their current locations so that any pictures that are referenced here will continue to work, so I'll be pulling this data around for a year or two at the minimum. If anyone finds a really great, new image sharing service then do please share it with other members here. I am hesitant to recommend anything other than photobucket, because I have no experience with any other site and know these types of sites come and go. Photobucket has been around for a very long time and has proven its resilience. I never tried to earn money with image hosting, but don't envy their positions in having to pay bandwidth while turning a profit.

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2014, 08:04:32 PM »
Carl, Pam, thank you for your replies. I can't even imagine the size of the archive or how much it costs to keep it up and running and understand why it is such a financial burden for the site.

That being said, is there any way perhaps that we could set up some sort of donation pool to help defray the cost? I for one would be more than willing to contribute to help keep the service available for my fellow writers on the forum.

Offline Carl

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2014, 01:38:00 AM »
I appreciate the offer, but it's more a technical problem than cost (though there is a cost, it's not so big it's breaking my bank). I need to be able to move the site around myself, on my own internet connection and have the best available in my area. Internet providers give us fast download speeds, but cap uploads - that is a practice not very friendly to webmasters, but does stop people from being able to upload massive amounts of data quickly, particularly to prevent piracy. The gallery is so large it would take several days to upload at this point, and it's impossible to go much further. I do have other methods of backup/restore, but cannot let this continue to grow if we are to have much more interest in the site in the future.

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 02:47:25 AM »
Thanks Carl. That does make a lot of sense.

I've been doing a bit of research over the last day or so and have found a few image hosting possibilities. It is important to note that image storage itself is less of an issue than bandwidth limitations. Most free image hosting sites have a monthly limit to how much bandwidth you can use, and if you exceed that limit the embedded images are no longer viewable.

For the forum members who do not embed a lot of pictures in their posts, bandwidth should not be an issue. Those who share their stories and projects on the forum, however, will likely have more of a challenge.

Example: Say you are posting an update to your dynasty story with the max of 25 pics per post. 800x600 pixel JPEGs typically run anywhere from 200KB to 400KB depending upon image quality. Using 300MB as an average, 25 pics will run about 7.5 MB, which means for one person to view the one update, it will take up 7.5 MB of your bandwidth. This may not seem like much...until you take into account that a story has many chapters and there will be multiple people reading them. For a popular story like Pam's Dreamweaver Decadynasty, you can imagine that bandwidth adds up very, very quickly.

That all being said, here is what I've been able to find out so far:

Photobucket – This site has been around for a while and is one of the better known and trusted hosting sites. The free hosting option allows for 2 GB of total storage—more than enough for any sort of forum posting—but is limited to 10GB of bandwidth per month. Depending on what you are using the pics for, this may or may not be enough. There are paid options with their Plus accounts that allow for more storage and unmetered bandwidth, the cheapest being $2.99 per month for 2 GB storage and unlimited bandwidth.

PicasaWeb – Powered by Google. The free hosting allows for 1 GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth (or so it is touted). This may seem small, but only images larger than 800 pixels are counted toward the 1 GB total, so if you stick with the standard 800x600 you will never go over the limit.

There is also the option of downloading and installing the Picasa app to upload your files (it's free) but it's not essential.

Linking to a Blog – There are a few writers here, one example being judewright, who host their stories on an outside blog and link to them here in the forum. Most blog sites have their own image hosting, and since there is no hotlinking involved the bandwidth issue is eliminated entirely. For those who write a lot of stories this may be the best option. Wordpress and Blogspot are two of the more popular blog hosting services, and both have free options.

I know that there are more places out there and this is far from a comprehensive list. Search for “free image hosting unlimited bandwidth” in your favorite search engine and other sites will come up, however I'm not about to vouch for any site that I'm not familiar with.

I hope this helps a bit!

Offline Luna

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 04:37:20 AM »
Sorry to hear that.  I never use the gallery, but it’s nice information to share Raia :)

I use Photobucket and Shutterfly myself when uploading my story, I don’t know about the rest but I do notice there is some people who use their blog as well, like tumblr, worpress, blogspot and direct link the image here.
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Offline chetanhaobijam

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Re: Carl's Sims 3 Gallery to be Phased Out
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 10:51:51 PM »
I will like to suggest the Imageshack image hosting website. I am currently using this. And, I can also upload photos from my mobile.
And I don't know, it is because of my slow internet or others, but when I upload photos in photobucket, it creates another copy of the same photo, which I don't like. The upload speed is also slow in comparison to Imageshack.
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