Wednesday, July 23, 2008


SmugMug doesn't have a free account, but it does have a 14 day trial.

As soon as you try and upload some photos, you are forced to categorise them in a gallery. I find this frustrating and instead prefer how flickr works - upload photos and organise using tags and/or sets (similar to galleries) afterwards. So as a workaround I created a 'Default' gallery, which contains all photos I don't explicitly put in other galleries.

As mentioned in my flickr post, I found viewing photos in a gallery more efficient than in a flickr set due to the thumbnails being present. There is also the flexibility to choose from a number of different layouts for each gallery. On the downside, a long description for a gallery takes up a lot of screen real estate at the top, pushing all the photos down. The navigation for some photo actions seemed a little inefficient as it requires clicking on the Photo Tools drop down box and then selecting the action to take.

The first step in improving privacy for family photo sharing is to create a SmugIsland. I set 'Hello world!' to 'No' and 'Hello smuggers!' to 'No - make me an island'. You can set a site-wide viewing password. However, this disables showing a map on your homepage. Google Maps is used and apparently Google requires that all usage of Maps be done without requiring a password. I was also confused by the privacy settings in a gallery. Even though I had setup a SmugIsland, a gallery privacy settings seemed to show that it was public. Supposedly this is correct and the gallery will inherit my SmugIsland settings.

To use maps requires getting a Google Maps key, which is very simple. From there on though, I had very little success with maps. It looks like you can only set the location of photos individually. Once configured I could see a map of my photos that I had set a location for, but a non-logged in user (e.g. family) just sees an empty box where the map should be. When I was logged in and clicked on a pin on the map, it zoomed in, but then showed no photos. This feature just does not seem to work with SmugIslands.

At this point I stopped further investigation as the negatives outweigh the positives. Looks like I will be using flickr.

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