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Picasa web album embed preview not working
July 10, 2015
3:11 pm
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Carol Vyrostek
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I uploaded about 20 slide slows into my new blog.  Then all of a sudden, when I try to embed another slide show, the preview window is blank, and the embedded slide show in the blog post is just a black square.  I experimented with a slide show that was previously successfully embedded, and the preview window for that one was also blank.  So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the picture because all the pictures show up properly in Google Pictures collections.  I cleared the Chrome history, rebooted the computer, tried again today, and the preview window is still blank.  I suspect there might be something wrong on the Google server end because of a few things I read from others that were similar but not exactly the same.  Do you have any suggestions?  I just tried it on my husband’s laptop, and the same thing happened.  Also, I tried it with my other blog, and the same thing happens – blank preview screen on embed function.  So I believe the problem is not on my end.  How can we get Google to fix this?

July 10, 2015
6:20 pm
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MrsGeek
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Hmmm, interesting. I heard of this problem a few years ago and they updated the Picasa Web Album software to fix it.

The reason that the embedded slideshow is not available in Google+ or Google Photos is that it used older technology. My understanding is that it will eventually not work period and I don’t expect that to be fixed. It’s just old. 

One thing to try is to use Internet Explorer or Firefox and not Chrome. Let me know if that makes a difference.

The new way to have a slide show is to make a movie. With the new google photos it’s very easy … and it can include short video clips.

Here’s an example: https://goo.gl/photos/sPCS4REgeETB1S2N7

July 11, 2015
7:13 pm
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Carol Vyrostek
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I neglected to say that the slide shows that I uploaded were from Picasa Web Albums, and Picasa Web Albums is where I attempted to upload them from again when the problem occurred.  I will try your suggestions and let you know.

July 11, 2015
7:58 pm
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Carol Vyrostek
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I had the same problem with all browsers.  So I went to Picasa Web Albums in IE and got a statement inside the preview window that I needed an updated Adobe Flash Player 8.  I followed the technical instructions the best I could (the steps cover up the instructions and I don’t remember them all) – so going back and forth, I had to make sure Shockwave was enabled, and that ActiveX was disabled.  Now, the preview window works in IE, and the slide show embeds into Blogger correctly.  I think now maybe the same is true for Chrome and Firefox, that it has something to do with Adobe Flash Player, and if I can’t get them set right (enabled-disabled), then I’ll go finish up with IE for now as I have 10 more slideshows to catch up on the blog.  I guess Google changed something while I was in the middle of my project, and with no warning I was lost.  I was hoping to turn this blog over to someone else after a year or so, and hoped I wouldn’t have to find a techy person to take it over in my RV group.  Should be easier for the lay person consumer to operate.  Thanks for your help, Chris, you gave me a clue to go on.

July 12, 2015
12:14 pm
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MrsGeek
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Aha!   Good job.

I would still caution you against continuing to use the embedded slideshow feature. I stopped using it when I started making books of my blog. A slide show doesn’t work on paper! It’s really not that bad to have a lot of individual pictures in a post. 

And/or, check out the Movie feature of Google Photos. We’ll be showing it in our What Does This Button Do show today. Episode #44.

July 12, 2015
1:13 pm
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Carol Vyrostek
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I do use individual pictures on my own blog.  But for the blog I am building for the RV club, I loaded all previous pictures by way of slide shows starting with 2012.  I still need to go back and clean it up for consistent sizes, captions, spacing, etc.  It’s not “live” yet for the group.  There won’t be a book made for this RV club blog as the web site is to be made available for the members to view at any time.  I can send you an email with a link to take a look.  Remember you helped me set up pages earlier this year when you were in Arizona, and that sent me on my way to get this far.

 Do you believe Picasa Web Albums will go away some day?  I’ve backed up the template and the content of the blog, and have all the pictures saved on disk.  We may have to go to Wordpress someday, or another format from our host GoDaddy.  I was just trying to save the club money by using Blogger.  But the constant updating of browsers, plugins, and who knows what else, it’s too much for the amateur user, like me, to keep up with, let along pass along to the other amateurs on the group when it’s time to turn it over.  

July 12, 2015
10:45 pm
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MrsGeek
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Yes, Carol – I remember getting together in Arizona and working on your blog. You have a good handle on it! I’d like to take a look at what you’ve done now, if you send me a link.

As for Picasa Web Albums, yes I believe the interface will go away someday, but not the storehouse of pictures. All the .jpg pictures are stored in the associated Google account. There are many interfaces to view them – Picasa web Albums, Google Plus Photos, and now Google Photos, but just one ‘bucket’ of photos. So, I have no worries about the photos being available to Blogger, but the special objects – like the slideshow, will die someday. I believe that requires Flash, and flash is slowly disappearing.

I think Blogger is a great choice for club websites. Fast, simple, and free.

July 14, 2015
1:48 pm
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Carol Vyrostek
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Because it’s not yet live, I made it private with invitations, and added your email address to the settings.  ramblingsunsrvgroup.blogspot.com   There is more work to do, adding photo captions and more descriptions to the posts.

I’m beginning to have doubts about using this blog format because of the potential loss of slide shows.  I hoped that the blog would live on for many years to be a digital scrapbook for the members.  I thought the slideshow would be perfect because there are sometimes 60 photos or more in a single post.  We were planning to make the switch closer to the end of the year, when the original website expires with GoDaddy.  ramblingsunsrvgroup.com  That old format will no longer be supported, and it costs about $450/year (or 3 years) to maintain even with their newer format.  We will keep the domain name, and point the blog directly at that time.  

I should have another alternative to think about at this point.

July 14, 2015
5:20 pm
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MrsGeek
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I took a look at your blog and I see the slideshows just fine. And, now I understand … you’re using the slideshow feature on every post. Did you realize that they don’t work on mobile devices? That’s because the slideshow feature uses Flash and most mobile devices (Android and Apple) don’t support Flash.

Yes, I think you need to look at options, but it’s not really a platform issue – it’s the slideshow technology that is the problem. You could use the “Embed Album” feature which is just above the Embed a slideshow option on Picasa Web Albums. That does not use flash, so it should be good for the foreseeable future. It’s not as nice as the slideshow in that it is a link that takes the viewer to another page to view the pictures, then they have to click Back to go back to the blog.

Here is an example I just created on my test site. I’ll keep looking for other options.

July 14, 2015
7:14 pm
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Carol Vyrostek
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I looked at your test site, and I see the album link goes to the Picasa Web Album site.  Not as desirable as going to a group of pictures that would take the viewer back to the main site, as you said.  Another alternative would be Google Pictures, but I don’t know how to invite viewers to the Google Pictures collections, but perhaps that’s on one of your videos or What Does That Button Do.  In the meantime, I have backed up pictures to a disk (without captions), backed up the blog template and blog content.  Hopefully the website can be reconstructed if (when) Google decides to pull the rug out from under us.  BTW, we joined the Elks group in October of 2013, so all the previous work was downloaded/copied from another person’s work and then reloaded into Picasa.  In the blog, were you able to enter the Members Only area?

July 15, 2015
8:38 am
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MrsGeek
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Carol,

I was able to get into the Members Only page of your Blogger blog just fine after you invited me. Your .pdf page member directory is very nice! You ask if people need a gmail address in order to use that feature. Yes, and no. They need a google account. And you need to invite them using the email of their google account. If they are logged into their google account, they will have access to your members only blog. If they’re not logged in, they will get a login screen. 

I’m impressed with what you’ve done with Blogger – and I still like Blogger as the easiest way to go. But, you might want to take a look at the Wordpress platform as there are a couple of things it does better. I’m talking about the free platform … wordpress.com … it works just like Blogger in that you don’t need a web hosting company, there are no fees, there are no updates to be done. It is more complex, but it does have a pretty nice built-in photo gallery/slideshow feature. Here’s an example on a test page of mine. You can also password protect a page, with one password on Wordpress.com. If people know that one password, they can view the page.

I keep looking, but I just don’t find anything quite like that Picasa web album embedded slideshow. There are 3d party alternatives, like smilebox.com, but they require pictures to be uploaded to their service. Even the wordpress.com one requires pictures that are uploaded to them.

No simple answer. If you wanted to stay with Blogger and the Google Photos … you could make movies of the groups of pictures and then people could see the movie rather than a slideshow. It’s very easy, but it won’t change if you add/delete pictures from the album. It will work fine on mobile devices too. Do you have any mobile devices? Or, if you’re ok with your current slideshows not working on mobile devices, you could just wait and hope that Google Photos adds a slideshow feature – one that doesn’t use Flash.

I did tell you about groupspaces.com didn’t I? I love that website for managing membership groups. It has a private and a public section. If you are a member, you can see all the other members’ info. You can add/edit your own info. There’s a photo section, and even a forum for members. And, it’s piece of cake to send out a newsletter, or a bill for membership dues. There’s a calendar of club events and people can RSVP and even pay an event fee. Here’s the group that I set up for a club called Women’s Executive Club in Fort Lauderdale.

July 15, 2015
8:42 am
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MrsGeek
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I just noticed the separate “Photos” tab on your blog. Did you know that you can have that directed to open the Picasa Web Albums (aka Google Photos Albums) page? Notice on my blog … geeksontour.blogspot.com there is a Our Photos page that does just that. Yes, yours is more attractive, but mine is a lot easier! I just maintain the albums and I’m done. No work on the Blog.

July 16, 2015
10:03 pm
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Carol Vyrostek
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Wow, there’s a lot to digest there.  And as I write this, I’m supposed to be packing the motor home to leave Saturday for our next trip.  It takes me a while to grasp the concept of the website design, and then after that it takes me a while to get started on how to build it.  I seem to like the slide show concept rather than a movie, but can’t give an explanation of why right now.  In Wordpress, where does the slide show come from?  I gather it would not look over to Picasa Web Albums for the pictures, but would be stored on their site ??  I’ll have a bunch of questions, no matter where I look.  

By the way, on my blog I just renamed “home” to “pictures” because that seemed to be the only place I could logically post the pictures.  And I noticed in Blogger that there was mention of Dynamic views.  I don’t even know if this would apply to what I want to do (many posts with multiple pictures in each post).  

July 17, 2015
10:42 am
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MrsGeek
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Carol,

Hmmmm, if you’re referring to the Blog posts as pictures – I’m even more convinced you should just link to the Web Albums for pictures – then there is no more work on your end, and your readers get to see whatever pictures they want at whatever size they want.

The blog posts then are reserved for when you have stories to tell or announcements to make. I’m talking about making it like my Blog that has a menu item for Our Photos that takes you to our web albums.

Just for review – here are 2 videos that show how to do it.

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