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Apps, apps, and more apps!

At YAY we subscribe on a numer of magazine, one of them is Entrepreneur Magazine. This issue they focused on apps for mobile phones: What apps should you have, and what apps should you develop for your business? We are working on a couple of small apps here at YAY for our photographers and customers, and we’ve been trying to figure out what would be a great app for stock photo buyers. It’s a challenging process, as you have to make something good enough to get noticed by the masses. But I’m sure we’ll get there –  there’s a lot of creative thinking at YAY, and we have many creative people around us as well!

Entrepreneur gave a list of great apps for your smart phone. For personal use, my favorite apps are:

Spotify – let you stream music, legal and almost free! Not available in the U.S.
Shazam – I love music, and with Shazam I know what music is playing.
Pzizz – when working long hours power napping and a good night sleep is important. Pzizz is great for calming down a busy mind!
Shopper – a simple solution to a simple problem: organizing the shopping.

Also, I love the map with GPS – I used to get lost all the time, now I don’t :)

It’s always fun with new apps, so if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them!

Linda :)

share-smart-phone-appsPhoto by leaf.

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LiveChat @ Yaymicro.com

Some of you might have noticed the new LiveChat feature on our main site http://yaymicro.com. In the upper right corner you’ll find a link to our Chat-support. Here you can get help with anything YAY-related, big or small. Most of the time it’s the core YAY-team that answers you: Bjorn, Jan and myself, Linda. So if you have any questions about YAY and how to use the site, just ask us!

Linda :)

Now you get live chat support on stock photo site yaymicro.com

Image by: gunnar3000. Now you get live chat support on stock photo site yaymicro.com

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Get a Free Stock Photo Screensaver w/ Season Images

We at stock photo agency YayMicro would like all of you to enjoy our breathtaking images! Therefore we are giving away a free screensaver, with 100 images!

With our screensaver you’ll get new season images automatically! We’ll update the images after the season, so you’ll get Christmas images for Christmas, spring images when it’s spring, summer images when it’s summer, and fall images at autumn! Mostly you’ll get beautiful nature images.

Click here to get a Free Stock Photo Screensaver for Mac and PC!

Get a Free Stock Photo Screensaver for PC and Mac - Season Nature Images

Get a Free Stock Photo Screensaver for PC and Mac - Season Nature Images

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Open Source: How Stock Photo Agency YayMicro.com was Created Using Only Open Source Technology

Bjorn has written a paper on the Open Source use at YayMicro. Please enjoy! Click here to download a PDF-version (106kb).

Open Source Image Agency

Beginning

With little resources, but lot’s of faith, energy and a common belief in how a microstock agency should be made, three entrepreneurs all quit their job at a leading stock agency, and started creating low price photo agency YayMicro from scratch.

They literally had nothing: No founding, no code, no stock photos. Today http://yaymicro.com features more than one million stock photos and is commonly regarded as the easiest to use microstock agency. This is a fairy tale story showing how far the open source community has come, and how you can create something out of nothing if you just believe.

Microstock: Low Price Stock Photos

Microstock

Microstock photography is an offshoot of traditional stock photo agencies. Microstock companies source their images via the Internet from a wide range of photographers, and customers can buy the stock photos at a very low price compared to traditional stock photo agencies. At YayMicro.com anyone can register as a photographer, upload their pictures and, if the photos are approved by YayMicro’s reviewers, sell them to customers around the world. When an image is bought through the website, the photographer receives 50% in commission. In contrast to traditional stock agencies, licensing rights at YayMicro is super simple. YayMicro offers a Royalty Free license that gives the customer permission to use an image on anything the customer want, as many times as he wants, for as long as he wants. The only limitation is on reselling rights, which can also be bought, but at a higher price.

TECHNOLOGY

Since resources were scarce, and software is expensive, the people at YayMicro were pretty much forced to look at free alternatives for anything they did. Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Apple were out the window. Instead, every piece of technology was chosen from the open source community.

Operating System – CentOS200px-CentOS_full_logo.svg

The enterprise-class linux distribution was chosen because it has proven to be one of the most reliable and stable distributions. It’s one of the most popular server distributions, meaning it is easy to find solutions and support online. YayMicro is currently running CentOS release 5.5 (Final) that was released in May this year.
CentOS was an easy choice for Yay, since the developers had experience from RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). The community around CentOS provides the support needed, and the functionality is just as good as RHEL. In fact, CentOS can be regarded as the free edition of the same software that makes Red Hat an enterprise solution. It is incredibly stable, efficient, and secure. It provides the same level of security as other enterprise Linux versions. All updates also coincides with a release of RH, ensuring consistent compatibility.


Postgres-Database-Is-Expected-to-Suffice-the-Needs-of-Different-Administration

Database Management System – PostgresSQL

Obviously, for a microstock agency with millions of images, selecting the right DBMS is crucial. There were two clear alternatives YayMicro had to choose between; mySQL and PostgresSQL. Traditionally mySQL has been assumed to be faster, but less full-featured than PostgresSQL. However, this assumption is to a high extent based on history and old stereotypes, and for the most part outdated. PostgresSQL has become much faster recent years, while mySQL has implemented many functionalities in its last releases.

Both PostgresSQL and mySQL have their own loyal supporters, focusing on advantages in their system while talking mostly about faults and problems with the other. In the end both systems are excellent systems, and both would probably have been good choices for Yay. The choice might have come down to two factors that might or might not have been correct.

First, PostgresSQL have a rumor for scaling better with large amounts of data. This was hard to test initially, but with millions of millions of records, the database is still super responsive, even at high concurrency levels. Secondly it might have factored in that YayMicro felt PostgresSQL was the more “open” of the two open source systems, a belief that was somewhat “confirmed” in 2009 when Oracle bought mySQL.

Search Engine – Apache Solrsolr

One of the most important aspects of a successful stock photo agency is a good search engine. If users can’t find their picture in seconds, they’ll go somewhere else. Technically, searches could be done straight to the PostgresSQL database, but even though it’s super fast, it’s nowhere near what YayMicro needed. Consider this; each image is tagged with 50 keywords, the database holds more than a million images. Each search should take into account the relevancy of search phrase, orientation of images, how many people is in the picture, country of image, explicit images and categories. It should return a ranked list of a search, giving you exactly result from 350 to 400 if that is what you ask for. Consider thousands of people searching the website for images at the same time. Apache Solr is up for it.

Solr was created by CNET Networks in 2004, and donated to Apache in 2006, thereby going open source. Although Solr is still a young project, it has become extremely popular and proved to be a really strong search engine. YayMicro is the only microstock agency that uses this modern search engine, and as a result features the fastest search in the industry. Other users of Solr include NASA, CNET, Yellow Pages, Digg.com and SourceForge. You can try the search here: http://yaymicro.com/search.action

JqueryJavaScript Library – jQuery

JavaScript is what made webpages dynamic, and jQuery is what made JavaScript accessible. That’s a bold statement, and might be an exaggeration, but it is meant to show how important jQuery has been to the development of YayMicro.com. “jQuery: The Write Less, Do More, JavaScript Library” is their slogan, and it’s very fitting. Javascript has never been this easy.

Adding a simple line of code (importing the jQuery Library) does two things. It makes it easy to write javascript code, and it makes it possible to include tons of jQuery compatible plugins. Whenever new functionality like image previews, login boxes, button effects or image galleries have to be implemented, jQuery is there to help. It’s not an exaggeration that implementing the preview function on the page took less than three hours, and most of that time was used browsing for the right plugin. Released just four years ago in 2006, it’s already used by more than 31% of the 10.000 most visited websites. That’s no coincident.

YayMicro uses the latest release, 1.4.2 of jQuery. Updates are done as soon as new versions are proven to be compatible with all used plugins.

Image software – ImageMagickimneeeerdo

An image agency needs a stable and extensive image converter. ImageMagick provides all the needs, and does so with a BSD license. All image conversions and vector graphics are done with ImageMagick and GhostScript. ImageMagick is also easily adjustable to Yay’s server environment.

ImageMagick has support for over 100 formats, tons of functionality and extensive security features, including memory and thread error detection. All the stock photos, more than one million, have in some way been handled with ImageMagick.

logoWeb Application Development Framework – Stripes

Web Application Development with Java has historically been responsible for many headaches for developers who had to spend 80% of their time configuring, and only 20% of the time were spent on actual code writing. When Struts went open source in 2000, it got a little better for developers, but there was still a lot of time spent on configuration. WebWork 2 and Spring-MVC are better, but nothing really compares to how easy it is to develop Java EE applications with Stripes. Auto-discovered ActionBeans, transparent file upload capability and a great Localization system are just some of the things that make Stripes so easy to use.

On the Stripes website, they claim that: “Stripes aims to provide an experience similar to owning Apple hardware, Sony TVs and luxury German cars (without the price premium); things just work, they feel right and every now and again you get that “Oh, it does that too? Awesome!” feeling.” Stripes really does this, and for the diehard Apple fans in Yay, the Apple reference alone is reason enough to use it.


Other technologies

To make YayMicro.com work, there are too many technologies involved to write in-depth about all of them. Here are the nuts and bolts of the open source microstock agency that is YayMicro.com.

• Eclipse The open source toolset Eclipse is used for developing the Java EE applications that are used.
• Apache ActiveMQ Apache ActiveMQ is a message broker that enables applications to talk to each other.
• Bucardo Bucardo is the open source Database Synchronization system built for PostgresSQL
• Bacula Bacula is the backup application that makes everybody at YayMicro sleep well.
• Apache Subversion Subversion is the revision control system used. A more modern version of the all-popular CVS.
• Wordpress blog.yaymicro.com is running on WordPress, (which means YayMicro is also using mySQL)

Click here to download a PDF-version.

-Bjorn Sjogren

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Forum Closed

buy-stock-photo-virus-yaymicroWe decided to close the forum after several severe spam attacks (from web robots). We’ve not decided if we’ll try to improve the forum technology, or if we’ll aim for other ways of communication – such as blog comments, twitter, e-mail, and maybe open a chat room for more casual interaction.  Do you have any suggestions or preferences?

And a Thank You to the users who notified us of the spam attacks!

Cheers, Linda

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Largest Photograph in the World

glass eyeA team of photographers from the company 360systems Ltd from Hungary has recently published the largest photograph ever taken. The panoramic view of Budapest has a resolution of 71 gigapixels! The resolution of the image is 590508 x 120750 and it takes up a whopping 350 GB.

Photographing gigapixel images has become quite popular recently, with new world records set at high intervals. Large companies like Google, Microsoft and Sony have all sponsored teams who are doing gigapixel photography. Google has even worked with NASA in developing a motorized head which can easily be set up to photograph extremely large images.

The technique used for this kind of photography is basically to take a whole lot of images (often several thousand) and use a large computer to stitch the images together. The 71-gigapixel image was stitched together on a Dell Workstation over several days. The team took a total of over 20 000 images over several days to compile the image in the quality they wanted.

The amount of progress in the field of gigapixel photography, has also been noticed by scientists – which are now looking for ways to use the technology in different fields. Among other uses they are looking into the possibility of doing macro gigapixel photography.

Check out the following impressive images:
Budapest 71 Gigapixel
Corcovado 67 Gigapixels
Paris 26 Gigapixels
Prague 18 Gigapixels

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