Our Final Phanfare Fling

MikeLaurelMikeLaurel Southern CaliforniaPosts: 67Registered Users Big grins

The last few days I've enjoyed some final Phanfare fun...much of which I'll miss.

  • We watched some Phanfare albums on our Roku. I didn't normally do this because I liked the Phanfare slideshows on the computer much better. Roku didn't have the Ken Burns (panning and zooming) effect. Someone has a Roku app for SmugMug, but it doesn't seem to work.
  • We watched several Phanfare album slideshows. These were great slideshows for not much effort on our part. Background music. Ken Burns effect. We loved them. Our friends loved them. We'll really miss this feature. SmugMug's slideshows are bad. There are threads on this SmugMug discussion forum dating back many years asking for improved slideshows on SmugMug (even pointing to Phanfare as the way to do it)...seemingly falling on deaf ears. Zenfolio also offers music with slideshows (but last I tried them, no Ken Burns effect). Maybe SmugMug can inherit Phanfare's stock music for starters. Phanfare's slideshows were done in Flash, so SmugMug probably doesn't want to inherit that code...but if it got us better slideshows quickly on SmugMug, it would be worthwhile.
  • I fired up the Phanfare Mac client. It still worked great. I almost thought it was going to let me upload more photos, but it got started and stopped. I had also used the client app a little bit in my pre-SmugMug migration preparations. I lost the installer for the Windows client somewhere a few years ago when I changed computers, so I couldn't try that. Even after Carbonite killed off the Mac and Windows clients, some of their help instructions still told you to use the client apps. In some cases, that was the only way to accomplish a task.
  • I took screenshots of all of my automatic notification groups for subsites. As near as I can tell, SmugMug doesn't provide such an option. This was another fabulous Phanfare feature (although along the way from original Phanfare, to Social Phanfare, to Final Phanfare, I certainly expressed displeasure to Andrew a few times for constantly changing my workflow...but I really like how it ended up). This was such a great way to quickly share photos with family, friends, church groups, school groups, scouts, and other activities. At least I know who I mailed some things to, but I might have to find another way of notifying them whenever I get things configured on SmugMug.
  • I took a final look at some of my site statistics and album viewership reports.
  • I read a few random Phanfare blog and forum posts...fun memories. I see they're still up today, even though Phanfare is locked out now. I also took a visit to the Facebook page. I kind of figured the Phanfare domain would redirect to SmugMug now.
  • And on the technical side, I also took at look at some of the response headers on Phanfare...still using IIS 6 and ASP.Net 2.0. I remember when Carbonite was telling us nothing new was happening because their engineers were busy "upgrading" things on Phanfare. All they ever did was keep the existing infrastructure in place, take our money, and discontinue almost anything that was going to cost them money to fix (I think they actually did have to fix a video encoding problem at one point...maybe they figured they wouldn't get away with discontinuing video support).

Oh well, here we are in the foreign land of SmugMug now. Thanks to @leftquark and other support people who kept us alive in the process. It's certainly a different land than Phanfare.

Comments

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,343Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    Thanks for the final thoughts Mike. A few notes:

    • We don't have an official Roku app but we do have an official AppleTV app, if you have a 4th generation AppleTV.
    • We've wanted to work on improving slideshows but there's a lot we want to work on and as a small business, we have to make the tough decision to focus on certain items. We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline and hope to get to improving slideshows at some point in the future (unfortunately I can't say when that will be. We've started working on them, then had to pause so we could work on some other really exciting things).
    • We won't be able to re-use music the way Phanfare allowed it, even if we added music to slideshows. Any solution we move forward with would need to ensure proper rights management of the music used in the slideshows. As artists ourselves, we want to make sure that the music artists receive the recognition and compensation that is appropriate. We'd partner with another service to make sure rights management is respected properly.
    • SmugMug recently released macOS and Windows desktop upload applications. You can find them here: https://www.smugmug.com/features/photo-apps#desktop

    Our teams are really excited to work on some of the things that have been occupying our time lately and we look forward to releasing them for you as soon as we can!

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • MikeLaurelMikeLaurel Southern CaliforniaPosts: 67Registered Users Big grins

    Thanks for pointing me to the desktop app. I wasn't aware of it. I just installed it and will give it a try.

    I'm not sure what your agreement is with Carbonite, but you could potentially get your hands on 23 pretty good slideshow tracks that Phanfare either owned or had rights to. That would get you a start for a "basic" feature whenever you add music. I'm sure you've probably aware of what Zenfolio does. Last I looked a few years ago I think you got a few tracks included with the basic membership and could buy an add-on package of others...you could also check a box that you own the rights and they'd let you upload your own music.

    I suppose you have to consider commercial use vs. home use. We're just home users. I've purchased a lot of music over the years because I don't think it's right to copy it and I also didn't feel it was bad to upload some of those tracks for private slideshows for family and friends. I wasn't making money off it--just sharing, and not in a way that the music could easily be copied. I suppose the RIAA lawyers could have a different idea of sharing in that way. You might not be big enough to negotiate some kind of licensing deal like Apple did with iTunes Match. That's been a great solution for my music library that I own and can sync on multiple computers. RIAA gets a cut of that annual fee.

  • KarinaExPhanfareKarinaExPhanfare Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 93Registered Users Big grins

    I too spent a few days "farewelling Phanfare". Taking screenshots when it finally locked me out once and for all.

    I tweeted Andrew to see how he felt about "his baby" - a great product that was treated so poorly when he sold it. He didn't respond so perhaps he was able to farewell it himself some time ago.

    I did manage to complete all of my comparison and re-ordering work before the deadline. Now I am at a bit of a mental standstill while I work out how on earth to replicate the subsites that I used on various websites and were not related to my actual personal photo site. And slowly going through the blogs and turning them into journal view or something as suitable.

    For now I have to set it all aside and return to 3 large personal projects that I basically put on hold since easter and the Phanfare decision and deadline. I let a lot of things slide in my panic to get the migration completed.

    Thanks LeftQuark and crew - you have all been a huge help during this stressful little time for us.

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,343Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee
    edited June 5, 2017

    @KarinaExPhanfare said:
    Thanks LeftQuark and crew - you have all been a huge help during this stressful little time for us.

    You're welcome! As a photographer myself, I can imagine what stress it would cause me if I had to move my photos to a new home, so we wanted to do our best to ease the transition. Let us know if we can help get you settled or more familiar with all that SmugMug has to offer!

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • MikeLaurelMikeLaurel Southern CaliforniaPosts: 67Registered Users Big grins

    @KarinaExPhanfare said:
    I tweeted Andrew to see how he felt about "his baby" - a great product that was treated so poorly when he sold it. He didn't respond so perhaps he was able to farewell it himself some time ago.

    A couple of years ago Andrew told me he was still using his personal Phanfare site, but also had his photos backed up elsewhere. I don't expect Andrew would say much about Phanfare. He might even have a contract with Carbonite to keep his mouth shut. My impression of the whole Carbonite thing is that it wasn't Andrew's intent to sell, but some Phanfare investors wanted their money, so it had to get sold. It seemed to me that David Friend (former CEO at Carbonite) had some idea of what to do with Phanfare, but Andrew left in 2012 and David resigned as CEO in 2014. I tried a few times in some different ways to get Carbonite to wake up about Phanfare. Only once did I get a response from them (after a bit of persistence) that they evaluated Phanfare from time to time. Oh well, that's life. At least I don't get the impression SmugMug is going to go under, so I hope we can help facilitate some improvements here.

  • KarinaExPhanfareKarinaExPhanfare Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 93Registered Users Big grins

    Interesting - I wasnt aware of the David side of the story.

    Personally - I was writing to Carbonite every few months for years - especially once Apple advised that the phone ap was about to be deleted due to no updates in years.

  • MikeLaurelMikeLaurel Southern CaliforniaPosts: 67Registered Users Big grins

    I forget when they closed the Princeton development office. That would be interesting to see on the timeline. After Andrew left, the Princeton development office was still going for a while.

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