Monthly Archives: February 2014

Getting to Know . . . Photocrati!

Since I am just beginning to use the Photocrati Themes For Photographers, I am not really in a position to do an in-depth review of the themes or, really, to discuss their ease-of-use. Instead, this short piece will simply talk about first impressions. I think that is fair. When I have gone much deeper into the use of the theme, I will be able to say much more about it, give meaningful criticism – good or bad, as the case may be – and, ideally, make recommendations regarding the product.

First, in case anyone reading this page would like to see the product, the company, their glowing words, and the fine work they turn out, their URL is Photocrati – Themes For Photographers!.

I have to say, the theme and the different combinations of design that can be accomplished is really quite staggering. Using the one theme which the company provides allows well over (or at least) 60 different looks/styles of design. This, along with the many customizable features (which are easily selectable from the interface) or which can be custom coded if you are so inclined, gives what might be an infinite number of different sites that one could create.

But, is it simple? Well, I have to say, it depends!

If you are an absolute neophyte at web building, then it is not simple in the least. If you know a little bit, you can get by, particularly if you are a fast learner and don’t mind experimenting and doing things over-and-over until you get it right. The latter is my style. I did look at the instructions for the Quick Set Up and tried to get them going but found that there is some assumption of knowing more than I do. Eventually, I got the Quick Set Up site building instructions to work up a fairly good looking basic site. I also did some viewing of video tutorials and reading which has been only just a little helpful, really. These limitations are strictly my own, your milage may vary, as the saying goes!

If you have pretty fair knowledge of web-building techniques using WYSIWYG or template driven design products, you’ll cruise! If you are an all-out whizz at writing HTML and designing web-sites, then you probably don’t want or need this product except to save a great deal of time!

Depending on when you are reading this piece, you might be looking at the very early starts that I’ve made. I suspect that, as I become more able to use the product, my site will evolve and, I hope, it will be a good-looking and easy one to use. Speaking of my getting more able to use the product, I have found that it gets easier and easier to do the things that I want, once I have figured out the basics of the WordPress system and the Photocrati themes. For my skill level, however, this figuring-out the basics has been a pretty steep climb. But, as I remember from perusing the I-Ching back in the 60’s, “Perseverence Pays!”

I will say that anyone who is looking for a really flexible template/theme product which can (in the right hands) produce a truly beautiful and useful site, should take a good look at the Photocrati product. It is relatively inexpensive at $79.00 with full support and all updates for 1 year from the purchase date.

That last does not mean that, when the year is up, you can’t continue to use the product because you can! And, you can use it for an unlimited number of sites either personal or for others (as far as I know.) If you want to be sure of more support, it is $39.00 for an additional year.

Furthermore, you don’t have to show their logo or any reference to their product in the completed site! I think the company is pretty liberal in their terms considering that the new business model calls for renting out software. If you don’t pay up at the conclusion of your term, you are summarily cut off! More and more companies (from editing software, to virus protection and more,) are moving in that direction, so it is refreshing to find one that still gives a person a fair deal.

OK. So, till I get more inspiration to review this product further, and depending on how great a site I manage to develop using it, I’ll leave it at that and say “Goodnight All!” KDR

On MySQL

Getting the site up, which means installing wordpress, has not been easy so far. There is a great deal more to know that I had to learn at my old site. I have had to use the MySQL database sytem and it is like no database that I have used before.

I used to be a programmer and applications developer in a corporation that I established and ran. I primarily wrote such business programs as Inventory Control, Accounting Software, Human Resources, Back-End Systems for an Automotive Customer Retention system,  Video Rental Systems, and Chiropractic Office Management Programs.

I used fourth-generation programs and their database products – which were,  at first,  dBase, then FoxBase and FoxBase Pro.   I also utilitzed Clarion which was a fully compilable program environment while the others had to utilize a run-time module and only became compilable in the last versions that I saw before retiring from that business.

Those databases were very straight-forward in their commands and the syntax of their language was easily readable and understandable. It was almost English with a lot of punctuation thrown in.

The same cannot be said of MySQL! Not by a long shot. It is dense with syntax and will require a great deal of study on my part if I am to utilize its power in even a very small way.   I cannot say that the Host Site has provided sufficient tools to make the job easier (but I have not fully investigated the matter.)   What I have seen is that it seems to have a very steep learning curve – and this is to accomplish even the simplest tasks.

I spent at least 1 1/2 hours in online chat with a support staff person last evening trying to log into the database, establish new passwords, and make an administrator record.

Granted,  I had to wait around 10 or so minutes for each question to be answered, and then it was answered as if each word cost the host service money,  which made things all the more difficult but I did accomplish my tasks.

The next job is to install the template system that I have decided upon and purchased. I couldn’t see the benefit of using any of the hosts’ freely provided templates which are primarily blogging site software templates – such as the one that I am using right now (at the time of writing this piece). By the time you might be reading it, I will probably have my Gallery site up and running.  I have in mind a complete gallery system with online sales capabilities,  slide-shows and multiple portfolios. That, obviously, will be my next project – building the web site.

I have purchased a product from a company which makes Photographer Specific templates that are customizable in over 60 different ways.  I’ll be working with it over the next weeks and hope that it provides everything that I need or want. It promises to do so and is backed with a 30 day money back gaurantee. It is also supported and upgraded for a period of 1 year from purchase.

It comes from Photocrati (I’ll publish the URL in future blogs but first, I want to get started with it so that I can also review it here.)

Stay tuned in (if anyone is watching, that is) and I’ll have more to say and more to show in the near future.

On Installing WordPress

This is the first use of  WordPress®  for me. I have determined that the Flickr gallery/sharing system is no longer an ideal solution for showing my photography since their interface has been undergoing so very many changes recently.

Because of this, I have decided that I need my own site and it must be more accessable than the site I’ve been using,   This Beautiful World  which uses the Flickr content and the  Fluid-R Gallery®  (a very beautiful and rich, third-party theme).

But,  Flickr®  has instituted so many changes that most third-party software programmers cannot keep abreast of them all and, consequently, their software cannot keep up.

These changes have made it very unwieldy, almost impossible to navigate with the justified page view (which was instituted, I assume, in order to make the system more enjoyable for those using tablets and smart phones.)

The company (Yahoo) has decided that they would do away with the Pro account and offer everyone unlimited storage, and unlimited loads but would put advertisements into their pages. Pro accounts will continue until they are timed-out, and then revert to these advertising-driven-free-accounts.

The current iteration of the program is unwieldy, and very prone to errors (bugs) which the company is aware of and which it attemtpts to fix.  But the company is not responsive either to the needs of the administers of the groups, which are the heart and soul of Flickr and which have made it what it was (before these massive changes occured,) or to its exhibitors.

Of course, companies are driven to produce the most profit possible and Yahoo is no exception. But, in their haste to make Flickr profitable (above the subscription prices of the many thousands if not millions, of Pro account holders) they are losing some of the very best photographers who were the reason that most people used and viewed their system.

I have determined that I must publish my own gallery and sales site. The site will be under construction for an indeterminate time but this first blog post is its introduction and I hope that the site will quickly follow.

I intend to purchase a template system and institute my site using the WordPress software. I hope that the learning curve is not too steep and that my gallery/site will be up soon.

Please check back in a week or two and see if I have made progress and please contact me about any problems/design errors or compliments if you have any. I will put up contact information shortly. In the meantime, you can write of any problems, or just let me know how you like/dislike the new site, in the comment box below! Thanks for your interest and your visit.

Thanks for visiting, Kevin Renz