Archive for March, 2012

Rebuilding

March 31st, 2012
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

As hundreds of you are aware, the fotoLibra site suffered a catastrophic failure on Wednesday afternoon. I haven’t been to our server centre, but I have been dreaming of smoking, charred lumps of metal every night.

Damien, our Technical Development Director, is on site and we think he has been sleeping in our data shed in Manchester. He’s been there three days. New servers and hard disks were delivered yesterday,

The site is painstakingly being rebuilt — it was a major crash — and you will be notified when it’s back online.The Heritage Ebooks site has now been restored, and you can buy ebooks to your heart’s content.
The fotoLibra website is also up and running now, but we have to rebuild 600,000 Thumbnail and Preview images from the original assets and as you can image that takes a very long time, even for extremely fast (and brand new) servers. When that is completed, we can allow access to the site again.
All the photographs uploaded to fotoLibra are safe, of course. But we have been unable to trade for four days.
No one is more embarrassed than me, I can assure you.

Down time

March 30th, 2012
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

I hope you can read this blog. It’s balanced precariously on an elderly fotoLibra server, woken from long retirement, to chip in at our time of crisis.

Yes, as hundreds of you have noticed, the fotoLibra site is down.

All systems read Go. Everything tested fine. The servers responded happily. But there was no fotoLibra site to be seen.

Any images uploaded to the site before Wednesday midday are safe and well. Do not worry. If you managed to upload after that time, which is unlikely, the images may have been lost. Have another go later.

After 24 hours attempting to diagnose and rectify the problem without success, I ordered a new server. That arrived this morning, and is being installed as I write.

We do have a contingency plan, and a further part of our yet uncompleted diagnoses is to find out why that didn’t kick in as planned.

Many, many apologies to all of you who have been inconvenienced by this down time. We are reassessing our 999 strategy and we plan to set up LinkedIn and Facebook fotoLibra groups and a fotoLibra Twitter account, as well as my own rather dull Twitter platform. More details next week.

The fotoLibra site should be up and running later this evening. I will post again when it is.

 

 

Our latest analytics tell me that 9,328 unique people visited the fotoLibra Pro Blog in the last month and it had 19,999 pageviews. Damn. Only one to go.

Today I want to tell you about fotoFringe 2012. Now you’re all unique, and you’re all lovely — but I don’t actually know who many of you are. I inform fotoLibra buyers and sellers when I’ve posted a new blog, as well as most people I know. My high-flying niece Shân always obliges with an out-of-office auto-reply — “I am out of the office on business in the US / Switzerland / Australia / Chile / Singapore (insert exotic location here) and will only have limited access to e-mails.”

67.76% of you are from the UK, 9.42% from the USA, 22.82% from elsewhere. What I would have expected. I don’t know if these visiting figures are good or bad, or what to compare them to.

But from the comments that are made, most respondees are photographers.

So this blog posting isn’t for you.

This one is for that rara avis, the professional picture buyer.

Now because we are so cripplingly shy at fotoLibra, we never get out of the office. We seldom dare to speak in the office either, we just email each other. Jacqui never even leaves her eyrie in Snowdonia. So we are terrified of picture buyers and very nervous about meeting them. But we want to and we need to, because the ones that we do meet are all so sweet and kind to us, not frightening at all. It’s just that … well, have you ever tried cold calling? Have you ever received an unwanted telephone call? It is the most disheartening, dispiriting experience for both sides. Even if the caller is offering something the answerer may want, now is almost always not the right time.  Today I’m sitting here in Harlech, baking in sunshine, and the phone has rung three times in the past 30 minutes. I am alone in the office, and because of the vagaries of Welsh telephony the phone is four rooms away from my computer. I can choose to be with one or the other; not both. Three times I have jumped up to answer the phone; three times a bland recorded voice says “Our records show you may be owed thousands from Personal Protection Payments.” There’s not even anyone to shout at. So I rant to a keyboard which dutifully records my raging fingers.

Get to the point, Headley. We do have a chance to meet professional picture buyers, and it’s called fotoFringe. The first event was last year. We gulped, we set up our trestle table (this is not major league stuff) and we were astonished and delighted by the picture editors, researchers and buyers we met and by the number of them! I calculated we made 58 good contacts during the day. It was the best exhibition we’ve ever done.

Until April 26th this year, of course, when fotoFringe 2012 takes place at King’s Place in King’s Cross, London. It’s bigger than last year. We hope it will be even better, although it’s hard to see how it can be bettered.

We will be able to look picture researchers in the eye (we hope), shake their hands, and show them the wondrous imagery our talented members have assembled. We can tell them about Picture Calls. We can tell them about advanceImages. We can show off our extremely user-friendly new website (we keep hoping).

Maybe we’ll make 59 good contacts. So if you are a picture editor, or researcher, or buyer, we hope you’ll find time to come and see us at fotoFringe. If we’re hiding under our table in terror, there are 89 other picture libraries to meet there. Entry is free; all you have to do is register here. The show is only for professional picture users, so photographers aren’t allowed — the fotoFringe organisers, led by the redoubtable and lovely Flora Smith, say:

“This is a privately created and managed networking event for professional picture users and picture libraries, conceived, created and managed by TopFoto as fotofringe London.
“It is not a forum where we are seeking new contributors. This private one day only event is not open to photographers, service providers, nor the general public.”

Sorry about that. But you can email us at fotoLibra at any time, or ideally participate by commenting on the blog. After all, 19,999 pageviews can’t be ignored.

Oh —  but by reading this, YOU must have personally taken it up to 20,000 pageviews. Thank you very, very much!

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

This is getting ridiculous.

Utah, the American state founded by Mormons, is banning the photography of farms and farm animals.

The bill is called HB187, and the Utah Senate passed it on a 24-5 vote. Then the Utah House approved the Senate amendments 62-13. The bill goes to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature of approval today.

No doubt it will pass, and become law, and we’ll have another of those quaint old statutes such as a Welshman caught on the streets in Chester after midnight can be hanged, London cabbies must carry a bale of hay in their boots, and you’re not allowed to photograph Trafalgar Square.

Now every rational human — and quite a few irrational ones — will be scratching their heads and asking, “What is that all about?”

Well, as far as I can ascertain, farmers in Utah are fed up with rogue photographers snapping images of their appalling, brutal, barbarous, inhumane and mediaeval practices. Of course, I could be wrong, but that’s the way it looks from this Atlantic shore. By depriving humans of their rights, the Utah legislature is allowing unscrupulous people to go about depriving animals of their rights.

Talking about mediaeval, those Mormons would have been denounced as heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. And everyone knows what happened to heretics. It was appalling, brutal, barbarous and inhumane. And nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Those Americans, eh? What are they like? They describe their country as the home of the brave and the land of the free. Not in Utah, it isn’t. What jolly japes will they get up to next? In the words of Cerys Matthews, longtime resident of the USA, “Every day, when I wake up, I thank the Lord I’m Welsh.”

And I’m not planning to visit Utah any time soon.

Or Chester, come to think of it.