Archive for November, 2008

Release 1.7.2

Friday, November 28th, 2008

What’s new in this release:

  • New uploader with much faster image preview. Several folks complained that the preview is very slow on large directories containing high resolution images (say 5 mega-pixel or more).
  • Nicer looking Profile pages. Better looking pages never killed anyone…

We are quite excited about the new uploader and we hope the upload process will be now a bit smoother for everybody.



Release 1.7

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Hi folks,

This is a big release for us, as it brings quite a few changes requested in the last little while. The big items are an upload process that’s a lot more user friendly, and the completion of privacy-related work started some time ago.

What’s new in this release:

  • Picture-level privacy controls: you can now control the privacy setting on each individual picture. More on this below.
  • Totally redesigned upload process: you can now upload directly from the My Trips page without having to first go into a trip.
  • A new upload quality setting: folks that prefer larger, better looking pictures can now use the ‘optimal upload’ setting during the upload. This setting strikes a better balance between speed and quality if you have a fast internet connection.
  • Faster than a greased weasel: we’ve made changes throughout the site to make it even faster to load. In particular the picture details dialog should feel lighter now.
  • The picture tagging, picture upload, and trip join request dialogs have been reworked. They are officially sweet!
  • You can now attach a message when uploading pictures into a trip where you are not a participant. It makes it easier for the recipient to understand what’s going on with the pictures you’ve sent.
  • If you change the trip description several times in a row (e.g. fixing spelling mistakes), it will no longer clutter people’s news feeds with several messages.
  • As always, quite a few of the feedbacks from our users have been addressed, and several rendering problems in IE6 have been fixed.

Picture level privacy

We now have picture-level privacy controls. This brings the privacy on Zipalong to a very good level of granularity that should please most users.

Here is a screenshot of the actual UI:

By default your pictures will have Default visibility, which means that it inherits the trip privacy setting. You can now change this to one of: Participants only, Friends only, Members only, and Public, independent of your trip setting. Marking the picture Public opens it up to be indexed by Google.

Upload quality

It turns out that some people like really fast uploads, others prefer larger, higher quality pictures. Since you can’t have both, you can now choose the one that’s right for you.

That is, you now have a choice between the already existing Fast upload, and the brand new Optimal upload:

The Fast upload gives you Facebook-like upload speed (at a bit better quality!), while the Optimal upload is similar to Flickr in terms of speed/quality balance.

You can of course still upload using Full upload to get your photos online at their original size/quality, but it is not really practical at today’s upload speeds if you have hundreds of photos to upload (e.g if you have a 7 mega-pixel camera it can take a few hours to upload 200 hundred pictures).

We recommend the Optimal upload, as it provides very good quality (in fact, as good as Full upload for online viewing) and fast upload speed.



Release 1.6.6

Friday, November 14th, 2008

What’s new in this release:

  • Trip-level privacy controls: as promised last time, we managed to get this into this release! More on this below.
  • Improved My Friends page with listing of people you may know and ability to import contacts anytime.
  • Redesigned My Trips page, including a nice new page for the case when there are no trips to display.
  • Redesigned all of the request bubbles using larger picture, fonts, and buttons. Much nicer to look at.
  • In picture details we moved the search area to the left-hand side of the screen. This means larger area to display the pictures in, less redrawing when you move between pictures.
  • Smarter listing of pictures, such as when picking your profile picture or the trip cover. We make better use of the available real-estate, and use a more intuitive listing on screen.
  • Fast feedback whenever you invite someone to become your friend.
  • Darker bubbles for better contrast, easier on the eyes.
  • Lots of internal work to make things cleaner, meaner, and faster.
  • And last but not least, we addressed another bunch of feedbacks from our users.

Trip level privacy

As I mentioned in the previous blog entry, we now have trip-level privacy controls. This brings the privacy on Zipalong to a pretty good level of granularity.

Here is the obligatory screenshot of trip the privacy controls:

By default your trip will have Default visibility, which means that it inherits your profile setting with the added twist that participants always have access to the trip.

You can now change this setting to one of: Participants only, Friends only, Members only, and Public, independent of your profile setting. Marking the trip Public opens it up to be indexed by Google.

It is worth noting here that trip participants always get access to the trip even if you mark it Friends only and they are not friends with you.

Eye candy

So before I go, here are a couple of screenshots of the redesigned pages (My Trips and My Friends):

Until next time,


Release 1.6.4

Friday, November 7th, 2008

What’s new in this release:

  • Suggest friends to other Zipalong users (more below).
  • Improved the Find Friends page to clearly separate the users that we find based on the contacts you import from the ones we guess based on other sources.
  • We added a link called How do I look? closed to your picture profile which takes you to your own profile page, as seen by other users. We discovered that a lot of users wanted to get to it, and they had to go through hoops to do it. Now it’s just a click away.
  • User names are now abbreviated a lot nicer when they don’t fit in the alloted space (e.g. Dimi Paun will become Dimi P. or Dimi depending on the available space).
  • More work on improving the load speed, we like snappy sites as much as anybody. We already do quite a bit in terms optimizing the browsing experience, but we always try to do better.
  • Lots of feedbacks from our users where addressed.

Suggest Friends

The new feature this release is the ability to suggest friends to other users. To do so, you just select a few users from your own list of friends and send them to the other user:

How do you get to do so? There are two ways:

  • When you approve a new friend, you will be prompted automatically to suggest new friends if it makes sense. This is a great way to help others to get started and connect with other people on Zipalong.
  • You can just go to someone’s profile page, where you will find a Suggest friends link (on both the main profile page and the profile friends page).

And since we went all out with screenshots, here is a quick shot of the new link to your profile page:


So what’s next? We hope to have trip-level privacy settings and a revamped My Friends page in the next release, scheduled for the week of Nov 10, 2008.

Until next time,