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This page explains the impetus and technology behind the ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM Web site; it also includes tips on navigation and feature usage throughout the site. Help page content is organized as follows:


ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM was created to promote appreciation of diversity and awareness of our global community. The target audience is global, though much is written with my own America in mind. While the purpose of the site has remained constant since conception, the vision and scope driving content continually evolve. At present, the site is primarily a venue for expressing what I see in the world around me, yet I've tacked on the ability for visitors to submit feedback and comments throughout. Longer term, I envision more of this - the interaction aspect of the site growing in significance over time. I'm considering incorporating guest photographers and essay contributors, although I'm unsure how large I want this project to become. I still don't know exactly how the site will evolve. Eventually I will need to earn an income again, something that will change how many hours and brain cells are expended here.

Focus of the site shifts a bit from section to section and page to page. At times, I have written with photography enthusiasts in mind (e.g., I mention things like shutter speeds and other details documenting how an image was captured). I'm not a professional photographer and don't figure many in my audience will be. Still, digital technology has made many of us photography "enthusiasts." When I see photos I appreciate, I'm curious to learn about technical details. So I've provided those in places for the serious amateurs in my audience. A number of my "fellow travelers" are serious amateurs. In other places, emphasis is placed on ideas and text - and not on images as art. The "Favorite Expressions" slideshow is an example. While there are photographs included in the show, I was more interested in stimulating thought via the words of political and religious leaders, writers, scholars, and Michael Moore. Photography is a vehicle that allows me to express ideas and stimulate thought. I love the artistic nature of the site - but it isn't an artistic endeavor alone. The "Book of the Month" section has nothing to do with photography and everything to do with encouraging and enabling my audience to explore and impact the world in a positive way.

Structure and Navigation Overview

The basic structure of the ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM site involves a primary browser window and a secondary popup window. The primary window hosts a Macromedia Flash-based viewer into which site content is loaded and presented to visitors. A menu across the bottom enables navigation to each of the primary sections of the site. Large-format images, maps, and "print-friendly" content views are loaded into a secondary popup window. It's best to keep this window open for the duration of a visit, as load time decreases and altered window positioning is retained. In various places, this secondary window is referred to as the Image Viewer, though it is used for more than image display.[Slideshow Viewer Control Panel Snapshot]

Launching the Image Viewer

There are several ways the Image Viewer is launched. Primary among them are the [Large Image Launch] and [Map] buttons accessed within the Slideshow Viewer control panel (items #2 and #7, respectively, in the diagram at right). The [Print-Friendly View] button (#8 at right), accessible from a number of places throughout the site, also uses the Image Viewer popup for content display. Text-based links referring to pages within the ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM domain launch content in the popup window. The only exceptions are the help page you're currently viewing (launched in its own window) and previews generated via the [Send via Email] button (item #10 at right). The [Send via Email] previews are launched in a separate window as a result of an Internet Explorer bug.

Enabling the Image Viewer Menu

When launching the Image Viewer for the first time, a popup window is opened with menu and toolbar functionality disabled. This is done to maximize available screen real estate for large image and text display. If you wish to launch the Image Viewer with menu functionality enabled, press the [Ctrl] key (or [Apple] key on Mac systems) as you select any of the buttons described above. Note: if an existing Image Viewer window is open at the time you perform this function, no menu will be displayed. The default behavior of site links is such that subsequent maps, large images, and print-friendly views are opened in the existing window. If for whatever reason you wish to open large images in separate windows instead, press the [Shift] key when selecting a link or viewer button. If your browser's Javascript functionality has been disabled, the [Shift] key must be pressed whenever following a link. Given the nature of the content and usage of Macromedia Flash, I don't anticipate many non-Javascript visitors. As a result I have not taken the time to incorporate Javascript capability checks, thus forcing anyone in the non-Javascript camp to press the [Shift] key when launching links.

About the Technology Involved

This site was developed using Macromedia Flash, XML, and Microsoft Active Server Pages. A minimal amount of Javascript code is downloaded and executed on client machines. As a photograph- and graphic-heavy site, Flash usage was automatic. I very much wanted complete control of graphic display, image transitions, etc. (Having experimented with Flash for just a few hours during my previous life as a consultant, my decision to use the technology meant learning the whole thing from scratch!) Incorporation of XML was not nearly as "automatic" at the time of site design but has since proven to be an essential element of the overall structure. XML enables great flexibility and works well given the nature of the site. Nearly every page rendered here involves XML behind the scenes. In some cases, XML is downloaded to client machines and "consumed" by the Flash player. At other times, XML is loaded via Active Server Pages to dynamically generate content. Though I'm probably opening myself up to hackers by declaring as much (there's nothing much to hack), a single code file is used to generate every print-friendly view of content available on the site.

The site has been tested (as well as a one-person testing team can do on the road) on several versions of Internet Explorer, Opera, and Firefox. I have tested extensively an Apple iMacs and find them to be the best systems for viewing the site. I haven't even begun to think about looking at things on Linux-based machines.

About the Photographs

The vast majority of photographs used throughout the site were taken using a Canon EOS D60. (That's a digital camera for those who wouldn't already know.) The primary exceptions are photographs incorporated in the "Favorite Expressions" slideshow, which includes a number of photographs taken in Europe, South America, and Turkey. These images are scans of prints made long before photography became a serious hobby. Photographs generally exist in three forms: a 50x50-pixel thumbnail, a 300x450-pixel "small image" format, and a large 600x900-pixel format. I have kept image quality high (and JPG compression ratio low) at the expense of download time for those with slow connections; given the nature of the site, I deemed quality of the images more important than file size and included download status indicators throughout. Images are resized and sharpened in Adobe Photoshop. Among the regrets I have about site design/development is the fact that all images have - without exception - been edited using my road-friendly Tablet PC. Resolution on my tiny machine, I've found after testing and viewing the site on a variety of other systems, leaves a bit to be desired. Though they appear just as I'd like them to on my Tablet, a number of the photographs look over-saturated and/or over-sharpened on some machines. Down the road, I may adjust my editing techniques - but for now, the present system will have to do. As mentioned above, I found while testing the site that Apple iMacs (with the right fonts installed) render the site almost exactly as I've designed and envisioned it. For whatever reason, the photographs best approximate what I see on my Tablet PC (a COMPAQ TC1000). In fact, the fixed displays and great resolution make the iMac the system of choice for viewing the ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM site.

Where digital manipulation is involved, I have noted alterations in accompanying slide text. (I do not consider cropping, sharpening in conjunction with size adjustment, or standard brightness refinement to be "manipulation.") I have been a stickler about distortion. For whatever reason, I have refused to stretch one dimension more than another to better crop an image within the 2:3 aspect ratio native to my camera and used throughout the site. The only exceptions are a few architectural shots, where I've chosen to distort perspective slightly to produce parallel walls and more life-like images. Where this is done, notes are included in the text. In general, I don't like how much image alteration can be done using digital technology. Yes, I've done a bit of alteration in places here for artistic reasons (but I tell you as much when I do). The camera of the past better approximated "truth." Digital technology renders the truth-telling capability of the camera a thing of the past. I discuss this in more detail in the text accompanying a composite image of sunrise in Bagan, Myanmar, so I'll save that for you to discover later (if you haven't already).

Wherever I go, capturing beauty has been my primary goal. You might call this my photographic philosophy: to see (and help others to see) the beauty of people across the globe. I have questioned whether this distorts the perspective visitors might have of another country or region after visiting the site. Not all is beautiful and good in the countries represented here. That said, I'm not a documentary photographer (nor really a photographer at all - just a guy putting a camera and technology to use to share what he sees). I am intentionally emphasizing the beautiful and good. In addition, I've found that I have certain ethical misgivings when I set out to capture things like poverty or people in hospitals. In general, it just doesn't seem right to me to traipse in and start photographing the homeless in Kolkata. I believe there are legitimate reasons to do so, but I generally feel that relationships and trust must be established prior to snapping photographs in such cases. I experienced this in a hospital in Phnom Penh. Photographing people with cleft lips and acid burns proved problematic, as my subjects didn't know me from any other person wandering through the hospital and had no idea what my photographs might be used for. (Incidentally, I didn't just walk into the hospital and start photographing patients. I was working with a charitable organization at the time and had permission to use the camera.) At any rate, I am generally sensitive about invading a subject's privacy or personal space. Somehow, when it's beauty I'm capturing and celebrating, there is no ethical tension. But if it's poverty or terrible living conditions, I hesitate.

Tokens: What and Why?

In allowing visitors to comment about the images and text present on the site, I wanted to enable comment modification without incorporating user names and passwords. I hoped to avoid the responsibility of securing passwords and felt it unreasonable to ask visitors to maintain user credentials for my site (which isn't Google after all)! At the same time, I wanted to prevent visitors from modifying or deleting comments they didn't author. As a result, I came up with the notion of tokens. Here's how they work:

  1. You, a visitor to ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM, disagree with something I've stated on the site and decide to submit a comment. An email address is provided as part of your submission. (NOTE: You may choose to submit comments without specifying an email address, but in so doing you lose the ability to change or delete the comment at a later time.) No other identifying information is required. Your email address is encrypted and associated with the comment.
  2. Later deciding your words were too harsh, you go to change or delete the comment. After selecting the [Edit] or [Delete] link associated with the comment, the modification window is displayed. A [Token] is required before modification is allowed. If it's your first time attempting to modify a comment on the site, you select the [Generate Token] button. A token is generated, associated with the encrypted email address provided at the time of comment submission, and sent via email to that address.
  3. You check your email and receive a token from ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM. It looks something like this: {78K20Q08-3KES-3SDF-PH06-DW2J4NQZ6EDO}
  4. You then cut and paste your token into the appropriate field in the comment modification window. Comment modifications are completed and submitted. At this point, the server verifies that your email address, token, and the original comment are all properly associated. If so, your changes are accepted. If not, modification to the original comment is disallowed.
  5. When you submit changes, you have the option (the corresponding checkbox is selected by default) of saving the token as a "cookie" on your local machine. From that point on, your token will be automatically retrieved from the cookie when you attempt to modify comments. As long as future comments are submitted with the same email address, you won't have to mess with token generation or retrieval.

The process is quite simple, although I've provided enough detail there to prove I was once a tech consultant. Of course, if you're still reading this you're either a technologist yourself or my father. (Hi, Dad.) Here's what tokens accomplish:

  • Comment modification is enabled; only the original author is able to modify or delete the comment.
  • I don't have to secure anything, beyond encrypting your email address so it isn't accessible on my Web server.
  • I rely upon your machine and email account to secure the token. What's more, even if somebody grabbed your token, it is worthless as an access credential anywhere else in the world. The last thing I wanted was somebody's Bank of America password sitting on my server. (How many of us use the same three or four passwords for every Web site requiring access credentials? By the way, I don't bank at Bank of America!)
  • Provided you don't disallow cookies on your machine, you need never remember or retrieve the token again.
  • If you lose your token (i.e., you delete the cookie) or work from another machine and don't have access to the original, you can generate another token. Generating a new token does not invalidate the old one. I forget how many tokens I allow to be associated with one email address, but it's a number high enough that only a hacker would ever hit the limit.

If all of this isn't overkill for a personal Web site, I don't know what is. Still, it took about as long to write this text as it did to implement. There's no new technology involved, just a different spin on how the pieces work together.

Launching Slideshows

There's very little that requires explanation here and no tips of note. The directory of permanent site shows includes a brief description and "selectable" thumbnail for launching an individual show. About the only thing worth noting is the set of links at bottom right of the [Slideshows] screen, enabling navigation to additional shows.

Viewing Slideshows

The Slideshow Viewer was actually the first site component implemented. I returned from my first trip to Southeast Asia in 2003 and built the viewer in order to share photographs with family and friends. My scope mushroomed, but the Slideshow Viewer is still the core element of the site. It includes several rather obscure features, most of which will be used by me alone. Still, I thought I'd document them here. (I document things all the time for my own purposes, so at least I'll make use of this list when I forget how things work here.)

Most of the buttons in the control panel require little explanation. In case you missed it earlier, there are several tips about launching the popup viewer (e.g., enabling popup menu functionality or launching a separate viewer) in the site structure and navigation overview. Here are a few additional tips:

  • Bubbles: If you see a bubble floating by, use your mouse to "pop" it. You'll know why when you do.
  • Jump Around a Show: If for whatever reason you want to jump to slide #135 in a show, you can do so without repeatedly pressing control panel navigation buttons. Place your cursor in the [Slide Counter] field at top right of the viewer (highlighting the 5 in "Slide 5 of 200"). Type in the number of the slide you wish to view, in this case 135. Press the [Enter] key. You're whisked away to the specified slide. Note: Make sure you preserve the spaces between the counter and the words "Slide" and "of."
  • Navigate Using [Enter] and [Backspace]: If you're a keyboard person and just want to cycle through images without using a mouse, the [Enter] and [Backspace] keys can be used to move forward or back one slide. The viewer must have "focus" however. If you hit [Enter] and nothing happens, use your mouse to "click" the currently displayed photograph. Once done, [Enter] and [Backspace] should work.
  • Use the Permalink Button: If you want to bookmark a particular slide among your browser favorites, use the [Direct Link] (or "Permalink") button. A small arrow within the main control panel (item #9 in the control panel diagram above), this button allows you to bookmark a particular slide within a show. Normally, adding a "favorite" while viewing any slide will create a pointer to the introductory page of the show. The only way to jump directly to slide #135 is to use the [Direct Link] button.
  • Printing: Don't try printing from within the Slideshow Viewer, particularly if text scrolls out of view. Instead, use the [Print-Friendly View] button in the control panel (item #8 in the control panel diagram). Once the print-friendly view has been generated, use your browser's built-in printing features.
  • Enlarge Fonts: If a particular slide includes a massive text entry (which does happen on occasion) or you simply cannot view the small fonts used, launch a print-friendly view of the page. The page displayed includes a link for enlarging fonts at top right of the page. (You can see it at the top of this help page as well.)

Viewing Composite Images

"Composites" are, for my purposes here, photo essays. There's little to explain, beyond the fact that composites/essays are accessed by selecting from among the items in the dropdown box atop the page. The other buttons (Print-Friendly View, Email, and "Permalink" buttons) behave as they do throughout the site. Some composites incorporate audio, a feature I hope to use more in the future. When audio is enabled, a basic set of audio controls will be visible at right of the ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM logo. Volume can be altered and the clip started and stopped via this set of controls.

Book of the Month Notes and Features

At present, I make book selections and write summaries myself. Featured books typically involve travel, culture, politics, or social issues. This section of the site does something very important for me: It forces me to read several books a month. I'm uncertain how well I'll be able to keep up with this and may choose to have others select books and write summaries in the future.

The [Print-Friendly View], [Direct Link], and [Share via Email] buttons work in this section as they do elsewhere on the site. There is a special button linking directly to pages on Amazon.com describing each respective book. Its presence and usage are obvious.

How to Help Section Notes

Button functionality is standard. The image fade-in technique is something I threw in to jazz things up a bit, keeping with the artistic nature of the site.

Web Log (BLOG) Notes

No text has been incorporated describing this feature.


No text has been incorporated describing this feature.

Mailing List Signup and Removal

I anticipate sending a ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM site update to all five of my raving fans two or three times a year. The email will describe new slideshows, highlight new essays and images, and perhaps call out recent log entries worthy of attention. I may also provide brief summaries describing where I and my traveling cohorts are and what we're up to, although that would generally come via the BLOG itself. There's no way I'll have time to send more than two, at most three of these things over the course of a year, so you needn't worry about being inundated with messages. This is not a commercial site. If you choose to signup, your name and email will remain with me. Marketers generally want lists with more than five names listed, anyway, so you have very little to fear.

Signup and removal from the mailing list works as follows:

  • Mailing List Signup: In the bottom right-hand corner of the ONEWORLDIMAGES.COM site, select the [Mailing List Signup] button. Provide your name and email address in the resulting popup.
  • Mailing List Removal: Send a blank message to unsubscribe@oneworldimages.com. Note that you'll need to send the email from the account you want removed from the list.