November 29, 2012

Decision on photo hosting platform

I've just finished one of my postponed small projects and when I began preparing the posting of the results here I hit the issue that I'm not sure how to share photos into this blog.

In the past my solution was to upload all my photos I wanted to share to Flickr and cross-link the images in this blog. But the times have changed and I'm nowadays much more integrated with Google's services which also includes a photo hosting service. Furthermore also Flickr has changed its policies on photo reuse so that reusing images from that platform is not as easy anymore as it had been in the past. But that's also not really much easier with Google Photos as it involves some non-intuitive access to the images for sharing. But it would greatly ease up the uploading and processing stage for images and also allow much easier download of the collections in case I wanted to transfer it again to another platform.

Another point to consider is that up until now I have (more or less) successfully been able to seperate this "anonymous" blog from my real names and more personal social media interactions. Looking up my real name wouldn't reveal contents from this blog and vice versa. Using images from Google's platform would require to include a link back to my Google+ profile, making it easier for others (advertisers, stalkers, search engines?) to connect this blog to my real world presence. I'm not really sure if I'm ready to take this dent in the freedom of this blog or add the influence of the information contained in this blog to my professional life. But that's another issue I've been tinkering for some time already...

Well, for now I think there is no clear conclusion for me yet. I'll think a bit more on that and also the privacy-issue mentioned above. Maybe I'll post an update for the project in the meantime using Flickr even if I'm undecided but no guarantees on that.

November 17, 2012

No more Skype-control through Internet Explorer

For quite some time now the Skype-control pages I created in the past (Skype Rich Mood editor and Skype Contacts Overview) have been broken for recent versions of Internet Explorer and Skype. But because of my occupation for University until now I had no time to have a deeper look into that issue. Today I decided to change that and fix the functionality again.

Sadly I had to come to the conclusion, that access to Skype from within the web browser is permanently impossible and most probably won't change in the future. The main reason behind this is because Skype changed the application so that its Skype API does not communicate with Internet Explorer anymore.

Since the Skype4COM interface refuses to connect to the Internet Explorer only one possible workaround would be to write a custom application or ActiveX object which is able to communicate with Skype and load this one into the Internet Explorer instead. In fact, that's probably the way how kiwik.im works, as you have to install a desktop application to make the homepage be able to work with your Skype client.

Nevertheless I refrain from following that same path as I personally don't want people to have to install some black-box application from someone they don't know (and trust) and grant it access to probably very sensitive data. Furthermore it would be a waste of time as there are already applications available which provide that functionality and more in a more convenient way.

Maybe sometime in the future I will have another take at it and try to find a more convenient workaround (maybe something possible with another technique available in IE like Java, VB, ...) but for now my browser Skype projects are not in working state and just kept for historical reference.

Sorry folks.