Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pretty picture: Phragmipedium besseae var. flavum

As of this post, I have something new to be mad at Google about. Yay.

Some of the photos I've uploaded have been looking "wrong" for several months, but I wasn't sure whether I was just seeing them differently, on the colored background, or if Google was actually changing them as I uploaded. Turns out they're changing them. The first time I tried, this is what I intended to upload:

And this is what actually got:

My pictures are already bad enough without Google going out of its way to make them worse.

Investigation (which I suppose I should note was via Google) led me to this thread in the Google Help Forums maze, where a lot of other people were reporting the same thing. The problem appears to be that at some point, Google set up default Google Plus profiles for everybody who was using Blogger, whether they actually signed up for Google Plus or not. When this happened, this created an "auto enhance" setting for photo uploads, which is switched on by default. It is possible to turn it off, but -- only if you make your Google Plus account official. There is apparently no other way to change the auto enhance setting.

I don't want to join Google Plus. I especially don't want to join Google Plus if they're going to deliberately shittify their products every time they want to push me to do something. I've been regularly frustrated with Google ever since they took over Blogger, and I keep thinking well maybe I should just move to a different blogging platform, then, but I don't do it because I eventually either get used to whatever changed, or I find ways of working around it.

In this case, there's a way to work around it: Google apparently leaves .png files alone -- only .jpgs get "enhanced." So, now I have an extra step to go through when I post a photo: changing the .jpg to .png. More work for me, to work around a stupid feature I didn't want in the first place, but I suppose I can do that. One of these days, though, they're going to do something that's impossible to ignore or work around, and that will be when the blog migrates elsewhere, or ends, or something.

Paphiopedilum besseae previously (D'Alessandro, not flavum): 2010


Unknown said...

This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that seems to be rife in all kinds of computer software and interfaces. The most glaring example I can currently think of is the removal of the "Start" button in Windows 8. There seems to be a persistent ethos in all software products to change that which is not broken!

I am completely sick of this sort of thing. Because I have Asperger's, I am particularly sensitized to changes in the "look and feel" of the software I use. I find it especially irritating when, as in your case, something just "changes" for no apparent reason and then you have to spend an unacceptable amount of your own time sorting out the situation.

At least this time you have found a work around. I wish I could think of a way to make this a more prominent issue in the minds of software designers. Part of the problem, I think, is that general users of computers are now thought of merely as consumers of pre-packaged product.

When I was learning about computers and software (in the 1980s) it was all about using these things for the production of your own product - even if you began with a program that only printed "Hello World" on the screen! It seems to me that there is a deliberate attempt to dumb us down to the point that whatever WE, (as computer users) produce, will be banal and superficial (cue Twitter and Instagram) rather than possessing any real value or intellectual depth. So sad when the initial rise of the internet seemed to offer so much promise in terms of allowing genuine collaboration and progress.

We are being actually encouraged to revert to the role of passive consumer rather than active participant. Well, I for one refuse to go quietly. I am sick of feeling like I am being treated like a mushroom!

I would hope that you would want to continue to blog, even if you eventually find it necessary to change platforms, as you have a wonderfully unique voice, and I, for one, would miss it greatly.

Ciao, KK.

Liza said...

Wow, that's a big difference in the photos. How maddening! I had no idea that was going on.

Byunjae said...

Google should also let you insert photos through Drive, though that's also an extra step. The photos need to be uploaded into drive and shared publicly--just another option.

Eshalon Anthony said...

Don't ever stop. You are my hero and I would feel so lost without you. Your voice unique and must not be squashed by opposing forces of evil, like the google.

Kenneth Moore said...

Do your camera settings give you the option to have the photo files saved as .png when you take the photo?

Lately, I've been just using Flickr--I upload everything to Flickr and nab the embed code. Still extra steps and such, but then I don't store photos on my computer or on the memory card.

mr_subjunctive said...

Kenneth Moore:

No, the camera doesn't give me the option to save in a different file format. Or if it does, it's not clear that that's the option being offered; there is a "FORMAT" option that can either be YES or NO.

It's not that big of a deal to change formats in Irfanview; it takes maybe three seconds. I just think it's kind of ridiculous that I have to.

Paris Marco said...

They shouldn't impose a service. I know it's a business, but people should have the freedom to opt out of anything especially since that auto-enhance feature doesn't really enhance anything. There is a huge difference in those 2 photos and I'm sure I prefer the first one. It really is maddening especially for gardening blogs as posting pictures of our beautiful plants and flowers showing their bright colors is made impossible by this feature.

Melody said...

Why not try making your Google+ account "official", then delete your profile entirely?

Then you wouldn't have the default one at all and the photo issue should resolve. If, Google allows for you to not even have a default one. Or, will it just set up yet another default profile? Not sure, but maybe worth a shot.

mr_subjunctive said...


Google owns Blogger, so I expect that formalizing and deleting a Google Plus account would leave me unable to post to the blog anymore. And that's assuming that they'd let me delete the account in the first place -- Facebook has historically made this very difficult to do, and Google Plus seems, if anything, much more desperate to retain anybody it manages to snag.