Posts Tagged Windows Live

Using myPicturetown to store blog images

Nikon myPicturetown is a photo sharing site that offers a convenient way of storing images and obtaining their URLs for sourcing to blogs and websites. What gives this service additional appeal is the ability to share a photo album without the viewer being provided access to your other albums on the site. Although aimed at users of Nikon cameras, anyone can register a free account with 2 GB of storage. Setting up an account is straight-forward: Just go to myPicturetown and click “New Registration (Free)”.

Sign-up has the usual onerous “Terms and Conditions” but does not ask for much besides name and email address. You do need Adobe Flash Player installed to use the site and Adobe AIR is required for the upload tool, a desktop app.

Uploading images to myPicturetown

The upload process is simple but a bit unusual. Double-clicking the desktop shortcut brings up the Japanese language version of the upload window then quickly launches your browser and goes to your MyPicturetown account. If you selected to stay signed in on your prior visit you will not need to sign in. The account home page shows a collage of some of your photos – nice – and a small Nikon ad which can be closed – a small price to pay for the service.

Click Upload (lower left of collage) and the desktop app opens – this time for me in English. This is a drag and drop procedure and works very smoothly. The album to upload to can be selected or a new one created. Click Upload and the process starts. For each file there is a progress bar showing the portion already uploaded. Even during this upload process additional images can be added to the window and will be uploaded.

Note of caution: Not all file types are accepted. You can upload JPG files but not PNG files.

Note of caution: You can upload photos in their original size, however, you cannot use or link to the full size images if they are larger than 1024 pixels horizontally, for vertical images the max size is even smaller. This is similar to the way Flickr works. However, the full size images are available to you for downloading. 

Getting the image URL

Once your images are stored in an album on your myPicturetown site, getting URLs to the images is a very simple matter. If your uploaded images are larger than 1024 pixels (max horizontal dimension) only down-sized images will be available as links. Navigate to your MyPicturetown album and click the thumbnail of interest. Click the “i”, , in the tool bar to open an information pane on the left. Scroll down to see a section labeled Blog Links: – see Nikon provided for your needs. For most images three sizes are offered and the pixel dimensions are shown. For images larger than 1024 px scaled down images are offered. For very small images only one or two sizes might be shown. For example, for the “i” image here only the actual 42×44 pixels size is offered.

The illustration on the right shows what I am talking about.

Click the size you want, the URL is shown in the Link URL: box. Click it to select it then press Ctrl+C to copy the address to your clip board.

Using the image URL

In Live Writer click the Picture command (in the Insert group on the Home ribbon, or in the Media group on the Insert ribbon).

Select From the web …, in the Insert Web Image dialog paste (Ctrl+V) the address into the Picture web address: field. The main area will show a thumbnail of the image. Note my clever illustration here of the dialog window showing a screen clip of the insert operation.

All the images in this article are sourced from my myPicturetown site. In fact, I kept the upload app open as I prepared this post and uploaded the illustrations as I needed them. One of the illustrations links to a larger image, move the pointer over the images to see the one (all right, it is the one showing the blog links). 

Getting a link to a slide show is more complicated, you need to “share” the album (click the icon in the tool bar). Sharing is done by sending an email which contains the link, a very long URL. See this illustrated in my Café Ludwig post Sharing Photos with myPicturetown

Nikon myPicturetown is a very blog friendly site. You will likely be as impressed with as I am.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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Using SkyDrive Photos in Your Blog Post

UPDATE 10 December 2011: SkyDrive has been updated, URLs are again easily accessible. See Sourcing photos from SkyDrive is now easy.

Windows Live SkyDrive offers a good amount of storage – 25 Gigabytes – and has nice photo albums. Unfortunately, at present there is not an easy way to determine the web address, URL, of images in SkyDrive. One work-around is explained over at This ‘n That: Getting the real URL of a Photo on SkyDrive. If you need to get the URLs of several photos this becomes a real pain. There is an interesting way to get the web address of all the photos in a root level SkyDrive album that has sixteen or fewer images.  Still not easy or straightforward, but it works.

Getting the URLs for up to 16 photos in a SkyDrive album

imageWindows Live Writer has a neat tool for including a SkyDrive album. On the Insert tab in the Media group click on Photo album and select Add online album… This opens a dialog that allows you to log into your SkyDrive and then shows icons of your albums. imageNote that you cannot reach an album inside an album, this works only for root level albums. Click the album you want and then click Insert. Windows Live Writer downloads the photos from the album. Only sixteen will be downloaded if the album is larger than that.

The default album presentation shows a large thumbnail and a group of smaller ones. You can leave that nice grouping as part of your post, but for this discussion we are after the URLs of the photos. Click the Source tab (lower left) to view the HTML code of the post. For the album Live Writer will have generated a large block of code that includes the actual web addresses, URLs, of the photos in the thumbnails.



The Live Writer Find command does not allow copying the found text with the search box showing, so it is not of much use for this task. imageI copy the block of code and paste it into Notepad. Searching for the the URLs and copying them is much easier there. There are a number of URLs that are not of interest (the “VIEW SLIDE SHOW” and “DOWNLOAD ALL” links) so I like to search for “livefilestore”. Be sure to copy the address from “https:” all the way to the next quote mark. imageActually the last part after the image file name is not needed, the text “?psid=1” can be safely removed from the address. Copy those URLs and save them in a document so you will not need to go through this exercise again. Also make sure that the addresses work. I always paste the first one into my browser address field and take a look. The address should take you to the image all by itself. The image on the right links to the full size photo on SkyDrive, click on it to view it large.

Using the SkyDrive Photo URLs

Once you have the URLs to your photos you can use those addresses to link to the SkyDrive image. Of course, the primary use will be to show the photos in blog posts. imageThere is some bad news I have to share. If the photos are large, Live Writer cannot handle them. Let me explain. To insert a photo you select From the web… on the insert Picture command (on the Home or Insert tab). The URL is entered in the Insert Web Image dialog. If Live Writer is unhappy with the image you get an error message “Preview is currently unavailable.” imageYou can click OK and then Insert. This may or may not succeed.

For photos in posts the image size need not be screen-filling, and Live Writer handles smaller images just as you would expect. The photo below is just 640 pixels in the larger dimension. This also has the advantage that it loads quite rapidly.

The photo below comes from the album collection inserted farther down, but it links to a larger photo in another album.

When you include the album feature, a viewer has access to your public albums (and documents!). Using the URLs by themselves provides no such exposure, and allows you to lay out your post just the way you want.

One other downside: Microsoft is constantly “improving” SkyDrive and Windows Live applications. The procedures given here worked as described in October 2011. They might not work by the time you read this.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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