So here's how the day's experiment in finding a photo-sharing service is shaping up:
At least half the respondents to my last post use (and recommend) Photobucket, but I decided to put it at the bottom of my list because I personally dislike the interface, and while it's possible that it would be less annoying to me as a user than as a casual browser (Tumblr is definitely that way), I figured I'd try some others first.
- Flickr is, by far, my favorite of the ones I've tried so far. I can log in using my Yahoo email (so I don't need to sign up for a new account), and I really like the clean, simple interface, both for using and for viewing. The really big downside to Flickr is that, for the free account, you can only view the most recent 200 photos, which I expect would become a problem really quickly. (Plus there's a monthly bandwidth cap.) However, I realized after noticing Google's 1 Gb limit on their photo-sharing service that you could actually treat the 200-photo limit in the same way that you would treat hard drive space limitations, that is, by paring down old photos or re-uploading them later. Or you could just upgrade to the pro account, but I really would like to stick with a free service since money is kind of tight. So basically, I like it a lot, but there's a de facto 200 Mb file cap on the free account (since, with the settings I use, my photos tend to be around 1 Mb each).
- Dropbox is ... deeply, DEEPLY arcane to set up. elrhiarhodan
very kindly gave me an invite, so I downloaded and installed it, and launched it, and ... nothing happened? Eventually I figured out that it was running quietly in the background, so quietly that it doesn't even show up in the Dock. The problem is that I have no idea what to do with it now. The thing that annoys me most about Dropbox so far is that the website is geared more towards telling you how AWESOME the product is than to telling you how to use it. I don't want happy little stick figures showing me how much I'm going to like it; I just want a nice list of steps that tell me how to USE it! I had to resort to Google to find the FAQs, and eventually learned that it is supposed to create a Dropbox folder on your hard drive when you first launch it, except that mine didn't. The Dropbox application is completely inaccessible when it's running (you can quit it from Activity Monitor, but that's about it), which means I can't even guess how to make it do what it's supposed to do -- clearly there is SOME setup thing I am supposed to do that I'm not doing, but I can't figure it out. It doesn't seem to be a system incompatibility thing; I'm running Tiger, an older version of the OS, but the Dropbox website claims that Tiger is supported. I've poked around the website interface and it looks like the specific thing I want it for (creating albums and share them with people) is quite possible, so I might just do it through the website and forget about the desktop-application aspect. Seems quite do-able otherwise, and it gives you more free space than either Google or Flickr.
- Picasa is a NIGHTMARE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. The first thing it did when I launched it was scan my entire hard drive for picture files. It doesn't let you opt out of this, or even choose which folders to scan. (Well, it CLAIMS that you can limit the scan to the "Pictures" and "Documents" folders, and I have nothing there anyway, so I clicked that and it scanned my entire hard drive ANYWAY.) This not only took forever (with a status window I couldn't hide) but resulted in an impenetrable morass of 12 years' worth of such things as clip art, downloaded anime pictures from 2002, and every comic page or sketch that I've ever scanned in. And when you try to delete something out of Picasa, it thinks you're trying to delete it from your hard drive. NOT ENOUGH "NO" IN THE WORLD. My thoughts on Picasa can best be summed up, at the moment, as DIE, PICASA, DIE.
- So then I checked to see if there was an online-only version. There is, although you can't find it easily from Picasa's homepage (I had to search), and when you go there, it shunts you into Google+ because of Google's irritating "ALL YOUR STUFF IN ONE PLACE! NO, REALLY, YOU WANT THIS!" policy. So that's a little annoying, but otherwise it looks decent, and there's a 1 Gb storage limit for free accounts (which, as noted above, is about 5 times more than what I'd get with Flickr without paying).
So I'm thinking about starting off with Flickr and, when I inevitably run out of space on Flickr, then using Google and/or Dropbox as backups. (Or paying for Flickr, if I like it enough.) Of course, since this is mostly for sharing photos with family, it also depends on what they like, too.