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David Mail

David Mail

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Home page: http://www.pixamba.com

Posts by David Mail

Today: moving the web site to a different hosting provider

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Today we are moving the web to a different hosting provider. During the next 24 hours some of PSM services such as keywords suggestion can work sporadically or do not work at all. Hopefully, all the transfer will go smooth and we will be up and running again very soon. The DNS change propagation takes 24-48 hours (less in North America, more for the rest of the word), so maximum in 48 hours all the changes will be adopted by DNS servers worldwide and you will be able to work with the site and with ProStockMaster as usual.

We do this change because we are continuously looking to improve our services and add more web and application features and we need an infrastructure which can support them all.
Sorry for the inconvenience

The Fools Day

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All message received yesterday by customers support department are treated as April 1-st jokes.

Checking out another hosting provider

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As a part of our continuous improvement program, we plan to transfer prostockmaster.com to another hosting provider which should allow us to provide the site visitors with the better service and with the new attractive site features. At the moment we are testing the new hosting, checking out its capabilities and features.

While we will try to transfer the web site as smooth as we can, we still should expect a short down time during the transfer.
My guess is that it will last somewhere between a few hours and 1 day.
At that time the web services which ProStockMaster application uses will become unavailable, and first of all it affects the keywords suggestion service.

We are sorry in advance for any possible service interrupt and we look forward to deliver you even better web with more attractive services and interesting options. When we’ll figure out the exact transfer date, we’ll publish an additional announcement.

iStockphoto.com Security And The Latest Physhing Attack

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I guess most of you already saw this message when logged in to iStockphoto:

kkthompson
March 3, 2009 20:10
This afternoon a phishing attack was conducted in the forums and through sitemail. This attack created a fake istockphoto.com login screen, prompted the user for a username & password, saved them to a malicious server, then redirected the user back to the iStockphoto main page

The iStock forums post by the same author says:

It’s an interesting statement, where the first part is correct, while the second part is very confusing. No financial information to breach, oh yeah, really?

Just a week ago Dreamstime complained in this thread that “we had cases when contributors had their accounts accessed, password changed, payment requested”. Now the iStockphoto guys are brave enough to say us they have “no financial information to breach”?

We all know that iStockphoto, like any other stock photo agency has on file your PayPal / MoneyBookers accounts. They also collect funds that have to be transferred to contributors monthly. Should not this stuff be considered as a valuable financial information stored by iStock? And if it is not enough, add here you personal profile details like your home address, phones and your picture ID. And even your images portfolio is in danger since it can be first completely downloaded and stolen and then, just for fun, completely removed from the agency by a hacker who looks for an entertainment on the hacked site.

What happened to iStock on March 3 is not funny at all. And it is a much more serious issue than just a few hours of iStock down time, even if iStockphoto prefers to present it this way. The site stores financial information and digital goods that can be stolen, so their “no financial info stored” statement is very far from the reality.

Uploading stock photos to Dreamstime microstock switched to FTP

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This releases switches uploading stock photos to Dreamstime to FTP and fixes a small issue which recently stopped Canstockphoto microstock uploads. There is no change in your Canstock workflow, but for the Dreamstime microstock site you have to add your FTP credentials.
In order to do that, please login to Dreamstime web and go to
http://www.dreamstime.com/ftpupload.php
At the right part of the page you will see text similar to this:

Dreamstime FTP upload instructions

When you open Dreamstime credentials dialog in PSM v1.6.1 (“Upload->Stock Agnecies” menu in PSM, click on the checkbutton next to Dreamstime name), the follow window opens:

Dreamstime Web and FTP credentials dialog in ProStockMaster

Note that ProStockMaster already fills in for you the Dreamstime FTP server name and the correct server’ FTP port, as well as takes care of entering Passive FTP mode when connected to Dreamstime FTP server. So the only two FTP parameters that you still have to provide are your FTP user ID from the Dreamstime web (see the image above) and your FTP password.
For Dreamstime, your FTP password is identical to your web password (please verify that your personal FTP details on Dreamstime web confirm that).

All you have to do to activate your FTP uploads to Dreamstime is copying your FTP user ID from Dreamstime web page directly to ProStockMaster GUI (you can use CTRL-C/CTRL-V keyboards sequences for bullet-proof Copy/Paste) and providing PSM with your FTP password (which seems to be the same like your web password).

You will still need to provide your web credentials in the top form of PSM GUI in order to get your Dreamstime stock photos sales statistics through PSM HTTP connection.

Let’s see what else was added in v1.6.1.
This version sports 25 more languages in keywords translations, so together with previously introduced 23 most popular languages PSM is now capable of translating your keywords from 48 different languages.

In addition to the West European and North American languages set, we support now most East European languages (e.g. Hungarian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian) , accomplished by a nice selection of Asian languages like Turkish, Thai and Uzbek. We keep our target in mind: photographers should be able to describe their creations using their own words in their native language. We at ProStockMaster try to help them with this target, taking care of all the rest of the dirty and time consuming images keywording work.

Note, that ProStockMaster inserts your keywords directly into the IPTC segment of your image, thus never touching your pixels. Unfortunately, not all the applications available on the market today behave in the same way.

For instance, if you use such a high-quality and high-performance tool like Adobe Photoshop to edit image’ metadata each time opening your JPEG stock image, modifying keywords and closing the file back you can end up with a stock photograph of significantly lower quality than your original. Each time you use Photoshop to edit anything in your stock photos in JPG format, Photoshop decompress JPG to be represented as bitmap RGB data. When you are done with your modifications and save a JPEG file Photoshop re-compresses the data again and saves it as JPG file. Since JPEG is a lossy compression your stock photos actually lose pixels!

Thus, such a simple and intuitive Photoshop “Open a JPEG -> add-metadata-with-File_Info -> Save JPEG & Close” flow of operations becomes unsafe in terms of the image quality. Doing such modifications frequently on a certain file you can easily end up with visual artifacts and other image quality degradation results. If you want to stick with modifying your images metadata with Photoshop you better switch to the safe RAW-based workflow where no de/re-compression applies.

Alternatively, you can use ProStockMaster microstock software, which combines the convenience of multilingual translations, keywords suggestions and multi-agencies uploads for your stock photos. All that without touching a single pixel in your valued artwork.

Where Are My Uploads On PantherMedia Microstock Site?

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Some customers asked me where to find their files once they are uploaded to PantherMedia web site.
You have to go to “My Panther->My Images->Images (FTP/PSM)” menu located on top of your home page when logged in to PantherMedia web site.

PantherMedia Stock Images Upload Menu

Note that you will see there just one stock image out of all the stock photos that you have uploaded to PantherMedia stock photography agency with ProStockMaster microstock software. Once you submit this stock photo or a stock illustration, the web site will show you the next image from your PSM-PantherMedia upload folder.

Also note that PantherMedia submission process suggests you to insert up to 8 “Main keywords” into your stock photograph. First, I suggest you use at its most, i.e. insert exactly 8 keywords into all your stock photos if you can. Of course, keep the stock photography keywords relevant and descriptive 🙂
Obviously, doing that increases the chances for your stock images to be found by the microstock buying customers, i.e. the chances for a stock photo to be sold.

Next, make your work easier and get better stock imagery sales by the proper use of our microstock software functionality. PSM “Manage Metadata” window allows you to put the keywords in the order of their importance / relevancy directly into IPTC metadata for your stock photo. Use up and down arrows buttons to re-order your keywords in the order of their relevance, putting the most important keywords at the top of the list.Some sites do pay attention on the order of IPTC keywords, expecting that the most important keywords describing a stock photograph will be first in the IPTC section.

Manage IPTC Metadata Window

Manage IPTC Metadata Window

Thus, when you will have to put “Main keywords” in the PantherMedia submission form you can just copy and paste 8 first keywords from the list of IPTC keywords you added to your image with ProStockMaster. And once you put your keywords in the order of their importance with PSM some other agencies will be able to use this information too, thus giving even more exposure to your pictures.

Faster ProStockMaster, the microstock software for a stock photographer

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We have just released a new Windows package with no embedded Java.
It is a much smaller download – just about 6 MB instead of 19 MB, and it works with your pre-installed Java.

You must have an installed Java on your machine in order to run PSM with this installation! If you are not sure if you got any Java, go to Windows “Start” menu, select “Run” and type in “cmd”.
A DOS-style shell window opens. Type in

java -version

on the command prompt. If you get something like this


java version “1.6.0_12”
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_12-b04)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 11.2-b01, mixed mode, sharing)

it means that you have some Java installed. It is highly recommended to upgrade your Java to the latest version using MS Windows Control Panel prior to starting the application. The minimum required JVM version is 1.5.12.

Since modern Java 6 on Windows is faster than the previous JVM version we bundle with PSM, with the new packaging and with the latest JVM ProStockMaster will run faster! Also, many GUI-related issues are fixed in Java 6, so various skins work faster and behave more stable in JVM 6.

The new PSM packaging also fixes some weird but relatively rare problems with Windows Vista 32-bit/64-bit pre-installed JVMs. If PSM refuses to start on your Windows machine with the bundled Java try this ‘unbundled’ installation package.

Note that ProStockMaster version did not change. It is the same v1.6.0 we have released last month.

If you wish to ‘upgrade’ your existing 1.6 installation with the new packaging, taking the advantage of faster PSM with your latest JVM just get the the setup file and install PSM in the same folder where the previous version resides.

Actually, it’s a ‘back to future’ packaging since we have started the distribution this way. Then we switched to bundled JVM to avoid support issues related to improper Java installations and JVM functioning. Now we came back to that, bring you now both the ‘bundled’ and the ‘unbundled’ packages, so you can choose the package that works better for you.

Installation packages: Worldwide | North America

Canon 5D MK II , Nikon D700, Nikon D3, Nikon D3X, Canon 1Ds MK III, Sony Alpha 900 full-framers and the majority of APS-C sized DSLRs – incorrect ISO!

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Do you remember Mason Resnick from Popular Photography? I do. I enjoyed his articles in PopPhoto for years.

Mason is now an Editor for Adorama Learning Center and he has conducted a full-frame DSLRs research taking in the lab all 6 modern DSLRs: Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D3X, Nikon D3, Nikon D700 and Sony Alpha 900. According to his findings, all full framers have inaccurate ISO settings!

In a nutshell, the actual ISO measurements results vs. “official” ISO setting for the full-framers look as follow:

Model Actual ISO ISO values ‘Manufacturer’->’Measured’
Canon 1Ds MK III consistently at around half a stop lower than the indicated speed 100->73, 200->144, 400->285, 800->578, 1600->1171, 3200-2166
Canon 5D MK II 1/4-1/3 less than reported by Canon 100->73, 200->143, 400->285, 800->564 and the highest 25,600->15,110 only!
Nikon D3X I was amazed to learn that ISO 50 in D3X is not a real thing! It seems to be an in camera post processing for ISO 100 (both 50 & 100 were measured as ISO 78)! ISO 200 to 1600: 1/4 less than reported by Nikon; ISO 3200-6400 – 1/3 underexposure 50->78, 100->78, 200-170, 400->337, 800->674, 1600->1369
Nikon D3 consistent 1/3 underexposure 200->161, 400->326, 800->635, 25,600->15,134
Nikon D700 consistent 1/3 underexposure, not including high ISO 200->162, 400->327, 800->651, 1600->1277, 25,000->14,085 only
Sony Alpha 900 consistent 1/3 underexposure, excluding ISO 100->119 – a 1/5 stop overexposure! 200->151, 400->303, etc with 30% less

Want to review ISO measurement results for APS-C sized DSLRs like EOS 50D/40D/30D/20D, Nikon D90/D300/D200 and others?
Read this article by Mason Resnick

Pinhole photography: The Time Machine

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This time I will not talk about making more money selling your stock photography, neither I will talk about software bugs or new features. I’d like to dedicate this post to the ‘art’ part in the artworks we create.

There are so many great images and excellent photographers! There are probably thousands of millions of creative pictures online with Flickr, Multiply, Fotki and others, not counting in the stock photography industry. Nevertheless, or, probably, exactly because of this nearly infinitive quantity and endless variety of good images, I am very excited each time I discover some new and unusual things.

The photograph below was taken by Justin Quinnell, a UK based photographer with his home-made pinhole camera. The “frame” was exposed for 6 months! (no kidding. A single non-stop six months exposure)

And this image becomes the best illustration for the power of pinhole photography. Some of us will say that they capture a moment. Others will say they capture a mood, a unique view or a personal vision. No doubt, all this is great.

But look – with a pinhole camera you really can capture the time.

Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol, UK

Image is reproduced with the permission of the author

In this photo of Clifton Suspension Bridge located in Bristol, UK you can see the suspension system deformations depending on the season. Is not it amazing? It’s pure Physics, drawn with light and captured by a pinhole camera.

And just in case if you want to take 6-months exposures like this one by yourself, Justin has the instructions page on his web, guiding you step by step how to build a pinhole camera for the long time exposures. Try it out and probably you will discover a new way to express your creativity.

Alamy stock photography agency login

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If you can login to Alamy web, but for some reason you can not login with the same user name and password into your Alamy account through ProStockMaster application, take a look at the length of your password.

It seems that in the past this royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency allowed long passwords, but one day their developers decided that they do not want anything longer than 12 letters.  So, instead of asking you to replace your old long password with some shorter characters sequence, Alamy developers just decided to cut off your old long password to fit their new 12-letters standard, simple like that.

Do you think you log into Alamy web site with your old trusted “myAlamyVerySecurePassword”?
Wrong! Actually, you login there with just “myAlamyVeryS” – exactly the first 12 characters, while all the rest of the password is cut off on your login and ignored by Alamy.

That’s why if you try “myAlamyVerySecurePassword” in ProStockMaster you are unable to login into your Alamy account. Instead, you should use just the first 12 characters of your long password. Well, at least until Alamy do anything about that.

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