The iPhoto and .Mac Homepage Blues

This past weekend, I showed my mom how to create photo albums in iPhoto. After we did that, and she mastered rotating, and got all her photo albums looking the way she wanted I said "now to put them on your website click homepage." And this is where the problems began.

The first problem (well I don't think it's a problem since 99.999% of people will put more then 48 photos in a photo album) was her Photo album was 139 photos. When she clicked the publish button after picking a frame, naming the homepage, etc, BOOM the message too many photos came up! Why does Apple limit you to 48 photos? If you create your homepage via the .Mac website, you aren't limited to 48 photos, where as if you create your homepage via iPhoto you are limited to 48 photos.

So we decided to select 48 photos in the Album, and break it up to span multiple pages. Well the next problem cropped up

I tried 6 times on Sunday to upload the photos and each time (after uploading for over 15 minutes per attempt), at the very end this message would popup.

I moseyed on over to the .Mac forums and yes you guessed it a lot of people were having the same problem. One poster said he had e-mailed tech support, and they were aware of the problem, and acknowledged it was on their end and said it wouldn't be fixed until Monday! Excuse me? I am paying you for services and when you find a problem on a service that is supposed to be available 24/7 you won't fix it until Monday? Hello then why are you working on the weekend? Why not leave the server farm un-manned if your not going to fix problems until Monday? Geesh.

I then decided to do it my way, which would also get around this fake 48-photo limit per page (I wonder how many users don't know this limit isn't really a limit at all). I did an export>photo's > scale to 800x600 from the iPhoto export menu (under the file menu). After waiting an hour for the 139-photo export, I logged into the .Mac admin area (I saved directly to my mom's iDisk) and created the photo album successfully without that 48-photo limit iPhoto told me I couldn't go over.

I previewed the page and went to export the next Photo Album – to which I was greeted with "Not enough disk space!" WHATT? When I checked the idisk space, the 139 photo album had taken up 32MB of space! WHOOPS. When I exported from iPhoto as jpeg, iPhoto never compressed the images, so they weighed in at 300KB, not 100KB like I had expected.

Now the next problem. Since iPhoto wasn't going to compress them, I need to make an action in Photoshop that I could use to batch scale the images to 800x600 and then save them as high compressed jpegs (meaning 100KB/image aprox.). I did a test run and found out that I needed to have a separate batch process for portraits, and landscape photos to make them a max site of 800x600. No problem. I make 2 separate droplets and problem solved.

After I had the smaller sized images, I uploaded them to my mom's iDisk and then logged into .Mac and created the photo albums. This process is slower, but the advantage is a cleaner looking iDisk, and the ability to add and remove photos as you please. I now prefer this system cause of the better control over deleting and editing your photo albums via the .Mac website. This also has convinced me there is a long way to go to before iPhoto is ready for the new computer user. 99% of new users won't know how to delete photos from their homepage when they get the iDisk full message, or how to edit their photo album if they forgot a photo or want to delete a photo. Most will just fix the album in iPhoto click homepage thinking that that will change their homepage. They also might think by deleting a photo album in iPhoto that the associated homepage is deleted.