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Archived posts. Archived posts. Archived posts. Archived posts.

Past Ecard Features

Here is where you can find all the E-card Features once they move off the main page. This way you never lose information about sending e-cards.

AllPosters.com featured search. Adolph Gottlieb is among my favorite artists, and his images are available through Allposters.com Just search for Adolph Gottlieb or just Gottlieb and you'll see a choice of classic minimalist abstracts that look like red sun's hanging on the horizon.

posted by ZOIDRubashov  # 9:55 PM on Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Rolling My Own I have been working on my own Allyours.com postcard mill. I found out as I did this that much to my chagrin, I had to deal with a rather interesting opt-in by deceit that occurs AFTER the card is sent. I put up a large disclaimer and added nine of my own images. I'll be adding more with time. My PSP8 skills have been expanding and my postcard mill is a great way to show them off. I am one of the lucky ones who can remotely serve images.

posted by ZOIDRubashov  # 9:41 PM on

Very Sad News for Responsible E-Card Users. On January 29th, Corbis will be closing the doors of the site that has e-cards. At least one artist, Lois Ellen Frank, has already pulled her works from Corbis.

I delayed writing about this because I don't really know how to write about a problem that lacks an adequate solution. There are several solutions, but none of them are great.

Solution number one is to induct Allposters.com into the Hall of Honor Yes, despite their prechecked box, they are the closest thing to Corbis out there. Their induction is temporary and please make sure you uncheck that box when sending Allposters e-cards. Solution number two is the subject of its own article. (Please see below.)

I do not know why Corbis is putting an end to its e-card service. I suspect its personal use image business was not that great. With the web awash in images one can download for free (whether legally or not and sometimes it is legal use) why pay for the images at Corbis. Also there may be a problem on the supply side with the artists.

I suspect Corbis will die the death of a thousand cuts with images slowly disappearing throughout the month. I won't pull them from the Hall of Honor for a week or two yet.

Rolling Your Own -- Are you ready? One solution proposed by expert users when the topic of e-cards comes up is mounting your own script. Yes, cgi, PERL, php, asp, and the rest of the alphabet soup. For a lot of people that is not the most practical suggestion, but if you have some html or tech savvy AND paid web space, some of the roll-your-own solutions might be for you.

First, techies always suggest mounting your own script. This means finding a CGI or similar script from a resource site like the CGI Resource Index. It means tweaking the script. Good scripts come with instructions for this. It also means setting the permissions in your web space and on the script so that others can use the script but not trash it. One uploads scripts via FTP (not a browser based upload) and yes, you need some technical knowledge to mount them. I can do straight html and occasionally mount simple scripts. Mounting anything complicated fast outstrips my abilities.

If you are not up to mounting a script, don't despair. There are at least two remotely loaded solutions. This means that the cgi lives on someone else's web site. Remotely loaded goodies often have ads in them, but again, how much advertising is too much is up to you. The amount of advertising with an All Yours postcard mill is fairly minimal. I happen to own one. Another fairly reputable source for remotely loaded postcard sending through your own site is Mypostcards.com. I have used them in the past and found them a bit clunky, but you may like them better.

A third and obvious solution is to put images on your server and then code them into your email via html. This can make ordinary letters very postcard like indeed. The remote loading and coding allows you to have email that looks as if it is done with stationary and gives you a lot of control over look and feel. Most web based email as well as Outlook permit this. Unfortnately,t here are other problems.

Remotely loaded post card mills and postcard scripts hardly come with adequate images. This means you will need to remotely load images from your web space, and if you are adding images from your web space to email via html, you will also need to remotely serve images from your web space. For most folks, with paid web space this is fine. Bandwidth is not an issue. Most of it goes unused, and you pay for the bandwidth anyway. Remotely loading is the same thing as putting a pressie in a guestbook. Unfortunately, most free web space prohibits remote loading, and for that matter the uploading of scripts. That means to roll your own postcards and well laid out image laden email requires paid web space and at least a minimual knowledge of html. Also no remotely loaded personal postcard mill is ever the equal of the commercial operations out there. Paid web space usually runs about a hundred dollars a year, though some people say the cheaper sites are good. Sadly there is no free lunch.

All of that said, I will probably be setting up some image galleries for public use here at this site and since I do have a postcard mill I'll be happy to let all of you use it. It's not a very good substitute for Corbis, but you can at least see how rolling your own feels and decide if it is for you.

posted by ZOIDRubashov  # 5:02 PM on Sunday, February 01, 2004

Mailbits (TAFMaster) Pick Up Letter Incldes an Ad for Malware I didn't think I'd be updating this site so soon but sometimes it just happens that way. I sent myself some sample cards from all the sources in the Hall of Shame and everything looked pretty much as it had on the sixteenth, except the pickup letter from the Mailbits (TAFMaster) source contained this:

an ad for malware/spyware

Cursor Mania is free software which like much that is free comes with strings attached. A click on the software's acceptible use policy showed that in addition to cute cursors you get the My Way Speedbar which sends your browser to a portal potty (a fake search engine filled with sites that pay to be there) every time you misspell anything in your locator bar. In addition, the My Way Speedbar logs your misspelled URL though it uses the informaiton only in aggregate and only so it can pay off the advertised sites for exposures. That is what they say anyway. Like most spyware/malware, the My Way Speedbar makes its home in your registry files. You can read a brief description of all this here. Do you really want to expose friends and loved ones to ads for spyware/malware because you want to send an e-card? Remember there are many e-card sources with benign pick up letters. I guess there is one more reason to keep Mailbits (TAFMaster) in the Hall of Shame.

Neither Shame nor Fame Two prominent and fairly good(?) e-card sites make it neither into the Hall of Shame nor into the Hall of Honor. These are Care2 Ecards and All Posters.

I receive a fair number of cards from Care2. They offer newsletters from nonprofits, and host an Ecosuperstore on their site which presumably sells environmentally friendly products. They also donate five percent of their advertising revenue to environmental causes. This way sending Care2 e-cards helps the environment.

The downside of Care2 is their sign up and send forms both have a large series of check boxes connecting you with environmental causes, political causes, and a series of newsletters. Most of the boxes are unchecked, and yes, you can uncheck them all. And yes, nonprofits are a bit different from advertisers of goods and services. Also Care2's pickup letter is benign. Their service requires registration, and all their cards are free. If you like what you see and are willing to uncheck boxes or deal with unwanted nonprofit/political email, Care2 might be a card provider worth considering.

Allposters.com is another e-card provider caught in the twilight zone between fame and shame. I adore this card provider, in spite of the fact that a link to its newsletter is already checked off in the send form which does NOT resemble a tellafriend. This is unfortunately an active newsletter and it is easy to forget to opt out.

On the positive side, Allposters.com offers a huge selection of images, including those by many modern artists which is why I enjoy using them despite the fact that their email turns up in my inbox. The unwanted newsletter is the reason I have to withhold my recommendation.

get a look at the frozen Big Apple Corbis Search Idea: The December holidays are nearly over, but the winter will linger on for quite some time. What could be better than winter city scenes from the capital of the world and from the Empire State. Over a hundred of these are yours if you type in the search winter New York on Corbis, and no the search does not have to be case sensitive. The results include woodcuts, color images of snowy trees, urban scenes all covered in snow, and lots of black and white photography. There are even some "winter leaves" tucked about six pages inside the search results. I am not sure that all these images are available as postcards, but many should be.

posted by ZOIDRubashov  # 4:08 PM on Sunday, January 04, 2004

Guess what! We now have a FORUM where you can leave messages, feedback, good ideas, and constructive criiticism.

Holy cultural insensitivity As I was playing around with the cards tonight (12/16/03), I found out that Flowgo has no Hanukkah cards. Click on this link if you don't believe me and see for yourself. I realize Jews are less than three percent of the United States population but we still have a holiday and are customers.

Mughal miniature Featured Corbis Search: Five hundred years ago a tolerant dynasty of Moslem rulers reigned in what is today India. They left behind them an artistic tradition of miniature paintings. Some of these paintinsg are available for sending as e-cards through Corbis. Just type mughal painting and search. You will get over ninty images to choose from. Mughal painting is different from most Moslem art in that it includes the human form and animals as well. It is interesting to see what happens when cultures come together. Is it fusion or synergy, and is this artwork good enough not to need animation or Flash? You decide.

amaryllis Looking for a fresh holiday card idea: Think amaryllis. Over a hundred amaryllis images await at Bulbmeister. There are red ones, white ones, pink, salmon, orange, creamy yellow, and even one green one. Be sure to check out the Breeding Program. Amaryllis kits are a favorite holiday gift, so send an amaryllis card to the gardener on your list.

posted by ZOIDRubashov  # 9:01 PM on Thursday, December 25, 2003

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