Remove Flickr Comment Image Invites

On Flickr, a common thing to do is invite or award images you like to groups you belong to. Some people don’t like these images cluttering up their photo’s comments. I don’t particularly like lots of image invites and awards either, but if you don’t submit your photos to the aggressive award/invite groups you don’t get flooded with images. A few small images aren’t that bad, its when they get huge and blinking that is annoying.

I read someone who didn’t like these tried to hide them with Adblock but it wasn’t working well. It wasn’t the first time someone has found this problem. I had an idea. There is another Firefox extension that with the right rules can hide any image posted in comments. It is called RIP or Remove it Permanently.

Once you install the extension, here are three rules to import depending on where you want to remove image comments from. If you plan to delete them on your own photos I suggest only hiding them on the Comments You’ve Made page so you don’t miss deleting any.

Firefox’s Tools menu should now have a RIP Options choice. Select that and at the bottom left of the next screen there will be a button for Import Rip. Import the file you just downloaded and three new RIPs should show up that are named as Flickr {page name} Invite Image. Try them out and disable the ones you don’t need.

If you have problems using these I won’t be able to help much. I plan to remove RIP since I am not that worried about removing the images and I don’t like having unused extensions. I just wanted to see if it was possible.

Download Flickr RIP Comment Images

Update June 19: Its been several days and I haven’t removed it from on of my computers and I hardly even notice it. It is kind of refreshing not to see all the image comments. Mostly I only notice something odd when I use my laptop and all the image comments are still there.

Firefox Tip: Paste Multiple Lines in Input Box

If you’ve ever tried copying and pasting more than one line at a time into a text input box on a website you probably noticed it is a pain. You have to copy it one line at a time because only the first line gets pasted. I kept thinking it would be so simple just for Firefox to remove the line endings and insert the whole thing as a single line. Well, it seems I am not the only one who realized this was an incredibly good idea. Lifehacker just blogged the simple Firefox tweak that will solve the problem, you just have to enable change editor.singleLine.pasteNewlines. Check out their page for details.

Flickr Hosting Email Image Spams

flickrspam

I found a Flickr user’s photostream full of those odd text images that have been popular in spam lately. At first I thought it was some project to collect the images for some antispam purpose. Then I thought it must be a spammer hosting his images on Flickr. Then I realized what had happened.

Flickr allows you to setup a special email address to mail images to that are automatically posted. That is a very useful feature. That allows you to post directly from your camera phone or Google’s Picasa. For security they choose pretty good random unique email addresses (similar to hyper91bat at photos.flickr.com) to prevent spam or people posting to unauthorized accounts.

But there are ways spammers might get these secret addresses. Random luck is unlikely but could happen. They could also get them from compromised computers. Anyway, it seems to me that Flickr is posting images from spam emails being sent to this secret address. If you check out the oldest page you will see this guy hasn’t been active on Flickr since October 2006 and the spam started in February 2007 so he probably has no idea this is happening. Currently he has 92 photos, of those only 11 are not spam.

These photos contain the text and subjects from the spam so I did some more searching to see if I could find any other signs of this, but it was futile. Image spam is designed to get around spam filters by including random or stolen text that is not full of the usual spammy words. Those go in the image. So having nothing to search for means there is no way of knowing how wide spread this problem is.

If this happens to you, go to your Uploading by email settings page under Your Account, Email and hit the Reset button. This will give you a new unique address and should stop the spam. I would also be sure to check your computer for spyware and viruses since the spammers had to have found your address somehow.

Update May 22: By searching spam and flickr I was able to find two more users who have experienced this problem. Spygirl got hit by this, though only two image spams were posted before she stopped it. And thegentlemanfarmer got several of them. Both changed their upload address and don’t seem to be getting surprises in their photostream anymore.

Update June 7: It took a while, but the spam on baxter.1002’s photostream is all gone. I wonder if Flickr cleaned it up or if baxter came back. Either way, I am glad it is gone now.

Canon PowerShot SD800

In addition to my Canon S2 IS, I have been using the Canon PowerShot SD800 since October. Carrying around a pocket sized camera is so much more convenient. I never thought I would buy a camera with less than 6x zoom, the SD800 has 3.8x. It also starts at 28mm instead of the usual so it gives me a nice wide angle but means that 3.8x zoom gets even less up up close. Even though I give up the huge 12x zoom when using it, I don’t miss it too often. I usually know when I will need the good zoom. And in those cases I usually carry both cameras.

There are several reasons for still using this camera when I carry the S2. It is wider angle, can shoot in lower light, and seems to have better colors. The colors thing may be in my head, but I think for at least the wide angle shots the colors are much nicer out of this camera. Zoomed in you loose some of that and a bit more sharpness than I like.

Reading some user settings recommendations from similar SD models on Flickr, they say to turn AI Auto Focus option off. That is partially for speed but also gives you control over what is in focus. I turned it off because then it matches my S2 and I like choosing what I focus on. I turn multi point focus off in any camera I use including a couple of film SLRs. I rather focus in the center and reframe. That way I know what is in focus and don’t have to worry about the camera cycling through the focus points while I loose the shot. Maybe I just haven’t used the right camera, but so far I don’t like AI Auto Focus.

Compared to my Canon S2 IS this camera produces slightly softer images. But I think that is just due to the much smaller lens and squeezing an extra two megapixels out of the same size sensor. Looking at some other shots in the pool, it certainly isn’t only my camera. DCResource has a really thorough review and says, “Sharpness was where I prefer it: not too sharp, not too soft.” I would like it to be a bit sharper, but its not bad. I am very happy with this camera.

I shoot a lot of macros of bugs and anything else small I can find. Mostly I use the S2, but the SD800 does a good job too. It can’t get nearly as close as the S2’s super macro, but does produce nice macros from a few inches away.

I always thought I wouldn’t like such a small camera since working the controls and just holding it would be awkward with my long fingers. But that hasn’t been a problem at all. When I bought it, I had no idea I would like it so much.

Last week my SD800 took a dive onto a hard floor and didn’t survive. I got a Lens Error message and grinding noise when trying to turn the camera off and the lens is stuck in the extended position. So I sent it in for repair. It is still under warranty, but drops aren’t covered and they were able to tell from the internal damage to the lens that it was dropped so it is costing me $115 for non-warranty repair. Not bad since a new one would cost $300. Hopefully it will be back soon. I miss it.

Free Christmas Gifts for Kids

If you haven’t got around to shopping for gifts for kids at this point you are probably in trouble. Most of the good stuff is probably gone. But there is still some free stuff online that you might be able to get away with. I guess it would be hard to wrap, but face it, your choices are limited at this point.

LEGO Digital Designer is free official LEGO software that lets you design models, find out how much they would cost to build, and even order the pieces to make it. Obviously that last part is why it makes sense to offer a free Digital Designer, but up till then its just fun.

ArtRage 2 Free Edition is really fun for playing around with making art. The interface is pretty unusual, but kids should adapt easy. Making art on the computer is a lot less messy than in real life and kids can get some exposure to the different types of brushes and other art supplies they probably would not get otherwise.

Paint.NET is pretty good too for those a bit older who want to mess around with photos or drawing or those who just want to make squiggles and scribbles. I didn’t go into it very deep, but it looks pretty good. I used to use paint programs with about that level of features when I was in middle school.

Sebran’s ABC wasn’t my favorite of what I found, but I am not really the target audience. It doesn’t seem as polished as the others but is more educational and aimed at younger kids.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory looks great if you aren’t worried about top of the line graphics and stuff. I tried it a few years ago and didn’t like it much, but I have never been much of a gamer. I want something that is easy and fun rather than something where I get killed over and over again.

Rockstar Games has three classic games updated to run on modern PCs available if you give them your email address including the first two Grand Theft Autos.

Scorched 3D is based on the classic DOS game Scorched Earth that we played in computer class almost daily in high school. I have not tried this update, but it looks a whole lot nicer.

If you are really geeky, you might setup Tyrian 2000, and official remake of the original Tyrian which I loved years ago. It was released by the author as freeware. The site says it might require DOSBox. Without any effort it ran for me in Windows XP, but it was choppy and had no sound.

And finally, Railroad Tycoon. I have never played it, but it seems to have lots of fans. It looks a lot like the first SimCity.

Mark Twain Offers Blogging Tips

He has been dead for nearly a century, but Mark Twain knew what it takes to be a good blogger. The Mark Twain Guide to Better Blogging. Surely this article was written mostly as link bait, but that doesn’t mean its any less interesting. Not only is it funny to be getting advice from an old dead guy on technology he couldn’t have dreamed of, he is right. He knew what his audience wanted and he gave it to them. As the article says, Twain would have really loved blogging.

Here is another Twain quote I found relevant to blogging:

“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.”

A Game of Cat and Mouse

cat catching mouse

You might notice I have added a flickr badge in the header of my blog (which wasn’t easy). I just got into using flickr yesterday and I am proud to announce I already have a photo that has been viewed over 1000 times and favorited fifteen times and its not even noon yet. This is that photo.

Certainly adding it to the wallpaper pool that just got dugg helped, but it was over 140 views before I did that this morning. The four other photos I added to that pool have not seen nearly this response.

As for how I got the shot. Part luck and part carrying my camera around frequently. I just got home and saw Dash playing with something so turned on my camera and nine shots later captured this one. Some others in the series can be found in my Action Cat set.