Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thinking ahead to the AQ 2008 Letterboxing Calendar

Some of you folks out there might be wondering about where those photos from the letterboxing calendar comes from. The answer: premium members. One of the secret benefits of premium membership. The calendar project was codenamed Project X for the first year since I wanted to put it together to surprise everyone with it and wanted to allow premium members to mention it without using that word 'calendar' to spoil the surprise.

After that first year, codenames were no longer necessary. Everyone knew about the calendar! But it was still fun calling it Project X since it sounded more cloak and dagger--and as everyone knows, cloak and dagger stuff is fun. Unless you work for the CIA, of course. =)

The project, I must admit, has grown far larger than I ever anticipated, and I've been adding all sorts of features to help me keep track. Last year I added the ability for premium members to upload photos which meant I didn't have to keep track of all the photos in various e-mail accounts which is how I got the photos that first year. This year I created a shopping cart to help keep track of all those calendars that were purchased. Last year I kept track on a pad of paper and it was a total nightmare. As an added benefit, I could add additional items for sale in the shopping cart besides the calendar with almost no extra effort, so I did. =) You can blame the calendar for my creating that feature, though. I just couldn't keep track of everything with a pen and paper like I did last year. I just couldn't.....

Not surprisingly, I guess, there were problems associated with uploading photos that I implemented last year. Not only did I get dozens of e-mails from people wanting to know if I got their photos okay (which I wasn't really keen on having to manually check every time someone uploaded a photo since that feature was supposed to make my life easier), but several photos *didn't* get uploaded properly. Other photos were beautiful but, sadly, not of a high enough resolution to be used for the calendar. Other people uploaded photos then e-mailed me information about the photos, nearby boxes, and even suggested quotes that might go with the photo. But once the information was separated from the photo, it made it awfully hard for me to keep track of which e-mails went with which photo.

So I vowed to improve the ability to upload images. Now people can see what they've uploaded. AQ will check that the resolution is high enough to be used in a calendar and tell you when you try to upload a photo that won't work. You can provide as many additional details with the photo to your heart's content. And hopefully, that will not only make your lives much easier, but mine as well. =)

Where am I going with this story? Now I think it would be fairly easy for me to handle large quantities of submissions. I created some administrative features so I can view small versions of submitted photos and only download the large versions for photos I'd likely use in the calendar. (Bandwidth is a serious consideration for me since I still primarily use dial-up connections.) And, as a result, I've decided to open up calendar photo submissions to everyone! No longer is it just the realm of premium members. For premium members, nothing changes, but those of you without premium memberships will now find a new option under the 'Toolbox' menubar option called Project X. Click on that to read about calendar submissions, what sorts of photos I'm looking for, examples of submitted photos, and so forth.

Because I'm now accepting photo submissions for the 2008 letterboxing calendar! =) Get pictures of those beautiful fall colors! Think about where you might get some nice winter photos. And start submitting your best pictures today! =)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Ryan,

I don't even own a digital camera (yet) but will try to coerce someone who does to get a great shot of the Max Patch environs in hopes it will be good enough to take the April 2008 page.....