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Showing posts from 2006

The Mother of All Freebies - OpenServing

On December 11, 2006 Wikia Inc launched Openserving.com which gives away free hosting services and much more.

The service allows you to register now but you will have to wait for the customer support to notify you when your account is ready to use.

The six pillars of Wikia’s OpenServing offering are: FREE software, FREE bandwidth, FREE storage, FREE computing power, FREE content over the Internet, and GIVING AWAY 100% of the ad inventory and revenue to bloggers and website owners who partner with Wikia. By tapping Wikia’s OpenServing utility, anyone can set up and maintain their own collaborative content project for news and opinions for free.

The service is like a blog and a forum combined because you can collaborate with others on the topic of your website. This is like a yahoogroup on steroids. and combine that with free storage and you have got a winner in your hands.

There is a similar service on wetpaint.com and I've also checked it out and there seems to be a good community th…

Psiphon - access blocked sites

What is psiphon?

psiphon is a censorship circumvention solution that allows users to access blocked sites in countries where the Internet is censored. psiphon turns a regular home computer into a personal, encrypted server capable of retrieving and displaying web pages anywhere.

psiphon operates through networks of trust. There are psiphon providers who install and administer a psiphon server (psiphonode) in an uncensored country, and psiphon users (psiphonites) who login and access the server from a country that censors the Internet.

How does psiphon work?

psiphon acts as a "web proxy" for authenticated psiphonites, retrieving requested web pages and displaying them in a user's browser. psiphon uses a secure, encrypted connection to receive web requests from the psiphonite to the psiphonode who then transports the results back to the psiphonite. There is no connection between the psiphonite and the requested website, as psiphon transparently proxies the request through the …

finally, PortableApps Suite 1

I have been blabbering about portable apps since last year and the journey has been great. One effect that it had on me is I am now leaning on open source applications to help me 80% of the way in my web development work. It may not be a 100% because the research and development of paid software is really great.

PortableApps Suite is a collection of portable apps including a web browser, email client, office suite, calendar/scheduler, instant messaging client, antivirus, sudoku game, backup utility and integrated menu, all preconfigured to work portably. Just drop it on your portable device and you're ready to go.

Go Check it out! It just might change the way you work. It did, for me.

Media Convert - convert anything online

Media Convert will convert any file to another format that you choose. Media-Convert is 100% free. No software is needed, and you don't have to register. You only need your favorite Internet browser. Your files are ready 7/7 days 24/24 hours.

This is a great service as you dont have to buy, install anything to your computer, just a browser and internet connection.Whatever file format you have, there's a good chance Media-Convert can convert it, including dozens of audio and video formats, a ton of common and obscure image formats, documents from Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, and others, compressed archives, and more.

One particularly neat trick it can do is convert PDF documents to Adobe Flash (SWF) movies. It can also capture web pages as images, convert Microsoft Access databases to Excel spreadsheets, and, in case you're into this sort of thing, convert text documents to morse code. Of course, it's not lightning-fast. You have to upload your file or enter the URL …

The Amazing Google Docs

Amazing. This is what I can say about Google, and that should be an understatement for the rest of us. I'm writing this blog directly from Google docs which is powered by Google writely. I found it on my gmail header, the former spreadsheet link was now docs and spreadsheetlink. I just had to try it out.

Here are some features I found:
You can write documents and save it as text, rtf, html, word, open office and even pdfIt automatically saves at certain periods. (no crashes here)You can edit the html format. for a web designer(like me) that is good :)It produces clean and lean html, and possibly accessible documents
There are drop-down menus to format your documents, good usability techniques
You can publish your documents to your blog and it's easy as a-b-c to set it up, took me 10 seconds though

With this open source tools and the likes of open office and portable apps , who needs microsoft? Not me, definitely





Union Bank, Mozcom set Excellence Awards

Entrepreneurs from top universities in the country invited to join the "First Entrepreneurial E-commerce Excellence" or E3 Award sponsored by the Union Bank of Philippines and Mozcom, an information technology provider.

This e-commerce advocacy campaign is open to all duly enrolled college or post graduate students from reputable schools. Each contestant must submit an e-commerce entry - any business project that would require an online payment or transaction component.

Business concepts developed for the competition may use commercial or open source development tool and platforms. Individuals or groups who wish to join must complete the entry from (http://www.payeasy.ph/e3.asp)together with the product / service write-ups sent to Mozcom, Inc on or before Nov. 15, 2006. A single party may submit more than one entry.

How to Charge a Client

this is a re-post, the original article is here

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

"It's you -- Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist."
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

"It's perfect!" she gushed. "You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?"

"Five thousand dollars," the artist replied.

"B-b-but, what?" the woman sputtered. "How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!"

To which Picasso responded, "Madame, it took me my entire life."
===================================

Even Picasso struggled with the same pricing issues that you face as an IP. He understood that it's the skill, the expertise, the end re…

Just say NO! to Speculative work

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I've posted this in my email group but not on my blog. This is a very important foundation for a creative professional. Read on.

The NO!SPEC campaign: Serves as a vehicle to unite those who support the notion that spec work devalues the potential of design and ultimately does a disservice to the client.

Our mission: To educate the public about speculative, or 'spec' work.

Our target: Those who use creative services, as well as creative professionals (designers, photographers, illustrators, writers and those in marketing, branding and advertising).

What you can do:

1) Place a "NO!SPEC" logo on your site.

2) Sign the NO!SPEC petition.

3) Distribute the "NO!SPEC" posters.

4) Contact us with your thoughts, comments, articles and insights.

Requirements: The only requirement for participation is putting the appropriate value on your profession.

Head on to their website. It is an interesting read, I promise

The Millionaire Mind

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This are excerpts from a the book by Thomas Stanley "The Millionaire Mind". This show shows the insights of how millionaires in the US think and act. This book is a result of a survey of many millionaires and their similarities. Why review this book in a blog that discusses design? Well, I want to be a millionaire, that's why!And principles taught in this book are applicable to all.

Most of the people profiled in this book became economic successes in one generation. They came from economic ground zero. Most inherited no money. They never received the proceeds of an estate or income from a trust account. How did they do it? Because they are of the millionaire mind.

You may never be able to generate the sizable income that many of these millionaires have earned. You may not become a multimillionaire in a few short years. But you can still benefit from understanding how these people maintained an enjoyable lifestyle at the same time they were accumulating wealth. Only a few …

Useful Plug-in for Bloggers (Any blogs)

Performancing for Firefox (or PFF)is a full featured blog editor that sits right within Firefox
Works with all major blog softwareEasy WYSIWYG EditingTrackback, Technorati and Del.icio.us support
Once installed, just hit F8 or click the little
pencil icon at the bottom right of your browser window to bring up the
blog editor and easily post to your Wordpress, MovableType or Blogger
blogs.

A word of caution, just like any blogger tool, you still have to publish your blog post in blogger manually because it has the word verification process. Just like in the youtube video uploader. Enough rant, check it out.

The Benefits of Having A Web Site

Whatever your business it can benefit from having a web site. If your competitors have web sites you need one too to maintain your competitive advantage, but as well as this, your web site can benefit your organization in many other ways.

A brochure - but unlike traditional paper brochures your site is easily updated, always current and cost-effective.

Your web site acts like a company brochure, but unlike a traditional company brochure your web site is always current and can be accessed 24 hours a day.

Your web site is also high quality, full color, up-to-date and interactive.

Your site can be updated quickly and regularly, keeping product offerings and prices accurate without the costs associated with updating traditional printed literature and the delays of printing, publishing and distribution. A more environmentally friendly solution than traditional paper-based literature and without the distribution costs.

Your products, services and company information can be seen worldwide 24 hour…

Are you a Professional Web Designer/ Developer? Prove it!

This is a question that even the best web designers out there may not be able to answer. Why? Because a professional is a member of a registered professional body which has a code of ethics, and stringent conduct requirements - they can be debarred from practicing. Do we have that here? NO. Not even in other countries.

But that should not deter us from creating one and discuss the things that should be done. Molly Holzschlag has discussed this in her website and is a heated topic still. In the Philippines, the situation is the same. But when do we act? if not now, when? If not you, who?

Many professional organizations publish policy and ethics documents relating to how they as individuals treat their clients, each other, how they manage fees, and the kind of treatment their professionalism deserves in kind.

In an effort to mobilize the Web community as professionals, and what it means to be a Web professional, a code of ethics for our profession should arise out of a common group. We owe…

Disabled workers: The untapped work force

This is a news clip from US but the concept is universal and can be adopted anywhere in the world.

Disabled workers: The untapped work force
Abridged: Philadelphia Daily News

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Would you be surprised to learn that the broadcast color analyst for a major league baseball team is blind? Blind since birth, he's never seen a baseball game, but he knows it instinctively. His command of the stats and the players makes him one of the best!And he's not alone.

It's time to discover the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. The limits for people with disabilities are shrinking every day, and yet the need for good workers is growing. As these two facts collide, there is hope that the staggering unemployment rate for people with disabilities will finally begin to fall. The rate hovers between 65-70 percent. It's been that high for a long time, much too long!

This is insanity when you consider unemployment rates overall are near historic lows and the worker short…

ReadSpeaker PodCaster - Easier and Accessible alternative

ReadSpeaker PodCaster is an On-Line service that makes news feeds automatically accessible to more people in a high-quality and cost-effective way.

There are thousands of companies, blogs, government bodies and other organisations trying to make their news and content accessible as a text-based RSS feed. Podcasting and “Pod radio” are technologies where the RSS feed is enriched with a link (called an enclosure) to an mp3 file. This is widely used by radio stations, national and international commercial and non-commercial broadcasting companies, on line news papers, and so on.

Producing a podcast generally requires access to a recording studio and sound technicians. The requirements are similar to what is used in a radio/recording studio. Many organisations do not have the capacity, resources or time to make their information accessible in an audio format.

With ReadSpeaker Podcaster, the process is automated through text-to-speech (TTS) technology. This means that there is no need to reco…

Google Accessible Search

G oogle released a new product called Accessible Search, a “web search for the visually challenged.” Though result pages are somewhat less cluttered compared to normal Google results, the point here is not so much to create accessible results formatting, but to rank accessible results higher.

Google writes:

Google Accessible Search looks at a number of signals by examining the HTML markup found on a web page. It tends to favor pages that degrade gracefully – pages with few visual distractions and pages that are likely to render well with images turned off. Google Accessible Search is built on Google Co-op’s technology, which improves search results based on specialized interests. ...

We take into account several factors, including a given page’s simplicity, how much visual imagery it carries and whether or not it’s (sic) primary purpose is immediately viable with keyboard navigation.

Web accessibility is making your website accessible to all kind of users, disabled or not, regar…

Big Brother is proud!

Last week, I attended my sister's graduation. She ( Desiree Mendoza) just finished her Fashion design course at the prestigious Fashion Institute of the Philippines where Renee Salud is the director. For the uninitiated, Renee Salud is a household name in the Fashion Design business (in the Philippines).

Back to my story, there was a fashion show to showcase all the works of the graduates where they imitated the "Project Runway" reality TV show. Out of 40 aspirants, they were trimmed to 25 finalists. There was the formal wear, corporate wear and the Filipinana wear competition. Winners were announced for each category.

Although she did not win in those categories, She won a special category - Best Fashion Illustrator! When these special category was announced, I immediately knew she was a finalist.She has been a perennial winner in these kind of contest, and they narrowed down the finalist to 5 and she was announced the winner, I jumped to my feet and applauded. My sister …

www.mccid.edu.ph Awarded "3rd Disabled Friendly Website"

I am an advocate for Accessible ICT for PWD's (Persons with Disabilities).

In plain english, that means I try to make my web sites accessible to everyone, disabled or not, even if they are using different browsers (yes, there are other browsers other than Internet Explorer)

These are the kind of people we need to make Philippines a better place to live and having hope for a better future for our kids.

Recently, I mentioned here in my blog about the special award I got for sharing my expertise with CSS and the "impending" Disabled friendly award that DLSU Manila will get. Well, before the DLSU awarding - MCCID has already got that award, thanks to Jojo Esposa and his enviable advocacy for accessibility.

Frankly, Jojo Esposa is commendable in his efforts not only in the technical aspect but also on his dedication to help PWD's as a whole. These are the kind of people we need to make Philippines a better place to live, and having hope for a better future for our kids.
Visi…

Photoshop Seminar at UST

I conducted a basic Photoshop Seminar today at the UST Main building, Data Center. There were about 18 student who are also volunteers in creating different websites for the University. It was only a half day session with a course outline which was designed for a whole day, so you can imagine the fast paced tutorials I made for those students. But they were all fast learners and got the basics right as we have a ratio of one is to one laptop for each student. And they were all very cooperative.

I was tired after the seminar, drained, as usual in my other seminars but it was worth it. I made the feedback form online and after reading the positive remarks, I was energized again.

How to Plan Manpower on a Web Team

This is a re-print. The original article is on AlistApart website. There's also a good discussion of the article in that site. I just wanted a copy in my blog so I can search for it easily when I need it. Yup, sometimes I'm not that good on bookmarks, coz there are billions of articles to read on.

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It can be tricky to identify the right levels of manpower for a web team. Indeed, many organisations badly underestimate the amount of work required to keep their sites operating smoothly—they perhaps imagine that once a website is put live, it magically looks after itself. As a result, only the barest bones of proper staffing are put in place.

Fortunately, the problem of defining the number of people required on a web team is not insurmountable. A useful device for arriving at a good answer is the concept of “website scale.”

Step onto the scales

Website scale is a means of describing a site in terms of three parameters:

* size
* complexity
* …

Plaque of Appreciation from Philippine Government

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Last week, I attended a Post evaluation meeting regarding the recent National Webmasters’ Interface on Accessible ICT for Persons with Disabilities. The Agenda was to have more plans of action for the proposals that was made during that conference and Awarding for some individuals and websites who have complied with accessibility guidelines of the W3C.

I was surprised that the DLSU website (which I previously worked on) was one of the recipients of the Accessibility award. Surprised in the sense that I thought the site needed some more work before it gets the acessibility award. I guess it does deserve this award because we were one of the first to execute our willingness to comply not only on intentions but on actions.

The other accessibility award was given to Jojo Esposa of the MCCID, which recently has been Mr Accessibility Webmaster (at Cebu) and a member of the Guild of Accessible Website Designers, a worldwide association of professional organisations, web designers and develope…

If Microsoft designed the iPod

My first video blog using youtube.com and wanted to test it using a video that contains humor. Hah!I still think it's hilarious not to mention realistic.

I think I will be adding CSS and Photoshop tutorials in the future. I just hope Youtube.com will be as reliable as Google in terms of service or my video blogs will go awry if Youtube goes down the tube :)


A Useful Plug-in and Web Developer Resources

I'm using Mozilla Firefox because of it's extensibility. With plug-ins and/or extensions you have got more than a browser.

Recently I tried using StumbleUpon extension for Firefox and signed up for a free account while making choices on what subjects I want. I got really excited when I tried using it on the subject of Arts. It was really awesome! The quality of websites that it lets you browse are really good. In fact, I had to stop myself browsing the sites it featured because I might spend the whole day using the extension!

The next day I used it for browsing the subject of Web Development so I can use the plugin for searching ways to help me at work. And help it did. So many websites out there that can help me in my work and StumbleUpon had done the dirty work (ok, the contributors did!)

StumbleUpon helps you discover great websites.With a single click, you can find and share cool sites matched to your interests. Download it now!

More on web development, I believe I have ranted…

Worry free living

As I attended the Sunday service at Alabang New Life Ministry last sunday, We were in for a big surprise (and miracle, if I may say so). The guest speaker/pastor was Ray-An Fuentes, the famous singer way back in the 1980's. He has been spreading God's word in Canada and other countries for 18 years.

How is this topic related to design? Well all aspects of your life will improve when you hear him speak, not just your design sense,guaranteed

His topic was "Keys for a worry free living". He quoted the scripture from Matthew 6:19 -34. And explain it, he did. And more. This was the best explanation of those verses I have ever heard, and I have read these verses more than once.
After the service, I approached him and thanked him, and adding that if ever he needs some help in building or maintaining his website, just give me a call or an email. If some of you who are reading this blog needs help in your church's website, email me at reymendoza@gmail.com All my services f…

Keep that video!

Ever liked a video in youtube? Well, most of us do. And we want to keep some of them to show it to our friends (think cool factor).

I have and mp4 player and recently I discovered how to keep those flv video format from you tube and transfer it to my portable video player to watch during my daily commute. Here's how;


Go to youtube.com and search for your video, get the (url)link of that page
Go to http://keepvid.com - read the instructions there and download that video
Download the free encoder (and flv player, if you want)to convert your video in the format that your player can read at rivavx.com


There are other ways to do it, but by far, this is the easiest way for me, no mess, no fuss. Enjoy your video!

Recap - National Webmasters’ Interface on Accessible ICT for Persons with Disabilities

This is the summary of the National Webmasters’ Interface on Accessible ICT for Persons with Disabilities, a conference I attended last May 15-18 at Mango Park Hotel, Cebu City. The recap is written by Ms. Nelia De Jesus, Chief, Technical Cooperation Center of NCWDP or National Council for the welfare of disabled persons.

National Webmasters’ Interface on Accessible ICT for Persons with Disabilities “Empowering Persons with Disabilities through ICT” Mango Park Hotel, Cebu City May 15-18, 2006
The impact of the three Workshops (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) jointly launched by DSWD, NCWDP and CICT greatly inspired participating agencies to come up with “disabled-friendly” websites as a tool to generate IT-related work opportunities with and for persons with disabilities.
The increasing IT-related jobs brought in by western countries’ outsourcing trends have opened up opportunities for many Filipinos, those with disabilities included. Medical transcriptions, call centers, data con…

Web Design Helpers

Yup, you can do web development on a shoe string, but of course not without it's downside, which is of course a little harder to do.

It's a good thing there are some "web design helpers" out there which makes our life a little easier.

Gliffy - Need to draw a diagram or a sitemap? Do you use Visio? Gliffy is a suite of online applications designed to replace expensive and difficult to maintain desktop software. Since Gliffy applications work in any web browser, sharing your work is made simple.

With Gliffy, you can do:

Website layouts/wireframes
Flow Charts
Floor Plan
Class Diagrams
Network Diagrams
Database schemas
Website layouts/wireframes
Workflow documents
Seating Charts
And more... just use your imagination!


Icons, don't you just love them? FamFAmFAm is giving away free icons and for a web designer , this is a welcome development. The icons are very useful. Not to mention very beautiful.

Awakened, Again.

Attending the "National Webmasters Interface on Accessible ICT" rekindled my soft spot for People with Disabilities (PWD's). The first time I attended the Accessible ICT Training on 2004, was an eye opener. This follow up workshop rekindled my ongoing drive to make my web designs accessible to PWD's

This time around, the government and academe webmasters made a plan on how to tackle the problem on the national level. There were 2 teams, one on defining the minimum technical standards and two, a team which will promote the cause on a national level. Team one, which defines the minimum standards, was formed even if there has been a standard set by W3C because based upon the experience of developed countries, the minimum standards is hard to implement, especially on the economic scale. Discussions arised upon why standards should be lowered or not but eventually boiled down to the capacity of the implementing country/region.

I wanted to promote accessibility on the nation…

The CSS Song

In a different approach in promoting CSS and Web Standards, a css song has been made.

Well, it's not an award winning song and the vocals at the start is a little bit hard to comprehend, but reading the lyrics while listening to it made it easy to understand (now, that is usability!)

I'm attending a conference on Accessibilty for PWD's (Person's with Disabilities) tommorrow and maybe we can do something similar. I'm not sure though if the hearing impaired will go with that idea though.

Enough rant, listen to the CSS Song! by the way below is the lyrics just to tease you. The lyrics are also shown in the CSS Song webpage, so you shouldn't have any problem understanding the song.

Complete Lyrics of Hands to Boag

The supervisor rants. He says “This website’s pants! I want my clicks improved by Friday!”

I hit the URL. It’s like the bowels of hell. God give me strength. It’s just not my day.

So raise your hands to Boag and pray that we can fix this website today.

Tonight I …

Photoshop Podcasts

To say that I love photoshop is an understatement. I think I can grow old with this software as it lets me express my ideas in infinite ways.

Well before anyone can begin expressing his or her ideas, you have got to learn how to use it. And in this point of time, there are new ways to learn photoshop.

Enter Video podcasts. These are free video broadcasts from experts that teaches photoshop. What better way to teach photoshop than videos. These are softwares that tackes visual effects so you have to teach them visually.

These are some of the podcasts that are available:


Podcast News - Latest Podcasting News & iTunes Updates

All About Podcasts - Introduction To Podcasting
Photoshop TV - Featuring "The Photoshop Guys"
Photoshop Podcast From Russell Brown
Photoshop Radio - Photoshop Podcast From NAPP
Attention Photoshoppers! - Photoshop Podcast With David Biedny
Media Artists Secrets - Pro Designer Podcast With Franklin McMahon
Inside Mac Radio - Industry News Podcast
Secrets Of Podcas…

Google launches Free 3D modelling tool

Google SketchUp gives you the power to create 3D objects

I have been waiting for months since Google acquired this company. I know that they will be releasing this as a freeware soon. That soon is now, check it out! There are also available video tutorials from the website so you can get going fast. Really easy to use.


Google has released yet another beta software package: SketchUp. SketchUp is an application that allows you to create your own 3D objects, color and texture your designs, use real-time shadowing effects and grab from a large library of pre-configured objects to add to your design. And as is always the case with most of Google's software, it is completely free. There is also a commercial version called SketchUp Pro 5 which has a host of additional features, but you may want to take a stab at the free version first to see if it's suitable for your needs. From Google:
Google SketchUp (free) is an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program whose few simple tools e…

CSS Naked Day

There was a call for designers earlier this month (April) to have their websites stripped of their CSS for a day. This was called the CSS Naked Day on April 5, 2006. The idea behind this event is to promote Web Standards. Plain and simple.

Plain, yes. Simple? Definitely NO. There are certain considerations for the owners of the website that is just too much to ignore to participate in this endeavor. While we Web Designers are all for web standards because of its benefits both to us the designer and to the client, there is a difference between promoting standards and stuffing it down the throat of everybody.

First, what will happen to the users when they get to their site and they have to navigate differently from they have been accustomed to? That's is a big usability issue!Now, you are promoting web standards and yet you are deliberately short handed on the usability issues. That's not really ideal, is it?

Second, will the clients receive business benefits from this? Probably no…

Problem Solving by Kids

Last Friday March 31, was my last day as the Senior Web Designer at DLSU Manila. It was also our Summer outing at the Subic Freeport. We went swimming in the morning and went to see Zoobic (Zoo at Subic) where we watched and interacted with a lot of tigers. Interestingly enough, I am moving today to UST, my alma mater, the home of the Growling Tigers.

My post is about my interaction with a kid when I was swimming. Yan-yan, who is the daughter of my officemate, asked me if I knew the names of the mountain surrounding the Subic Freeport. I told her no, obviously because I do not know, but what struck me was her response "Well, would you know someone who knows the name of those mountains?"

I really never taught about it until the weekend that these kids are somehow are role model for us adults in terms of problem solving. One is persistence. As they say nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more ... world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence…

Lightbox JS v2

Overview

Lightbox JS is a simple, unobtrusive script used to overlay images on the current page. It's a snap to setup and works on all modern browsers. And honestly, this rivals flash presentations as it has its own "cool" transitions. And it's compatible with modern browsers as well as backward compatible. What more can you ask for?

Just yesterday I made a flash album by using Picasa and and exported it into a webpage by using SimpleViewer and it was really a professional way of presenting photos. One caveat though is that many of those who want a copy of the pictures emails me that they cannot save the pictures because it is emmbedded in Flash.

Yeah, I know that it is there in the cache. And the SWF only interacts with the XML to call the JPG pics. (did that make you dizzy?) But not all users are as tech savvy as you. So providing them an album that they can right click and save to their hard drive is much better. That's a usability principle right there. If your …