It’s our dirty little secret.  So secret, in fact, that none of us want to admit to having it.  Well guess what, Shackers, I’m outing all of us!  We are turning our beloved Shack Forum into a slug.  You can’t deny it.  It’s slow, unbearably so!

On a recent test of our Voy forum, on average:

It took 45 seconds to load.

It’s download size was 1.8 megabytes.

It held 20 YouTube videos on a single page.

If you’re a frequent Shack visitor, like myself, you’re wasting your life away for nothing!  Think about it—if you visit the Shack Forum 10 times per day, you’ve waited for 450 seconds (7 minutes 30 seconds), downloaded 18 megabytes of, mostly, non-cacheable, non-refundable bandwidth and waited for 200 videos to load.  You may gasp now.

In a single month, you’ve waited almost four hours, wasted 558 megabytes of bandwidth and waited for 6200 videos to load… Should I get into the whole year?!  Because it’s possible you’ve wasted 46 hours—almost two days!!!—, wasted 6678 megabytes of bandwidth and waited for 74, 400 YouTube videos to load.

It has gotten to the point where I dread replying to someone’s message.  I mean, really?!  You want me to reply and have to wait for the forum to load AGAIN?!  I might do it once, or even twice, but after that, I’m waited out.  I can’t be alone on this, am I?

That’s it, folks.  That’s why I’m here today.  I’m proposing a new way to share our videos, and, despite the fact that it takes you 30 extra seconds to prepare, it will save you tons and tons of time in the future.  Here’s how:

 

Step 1:  Download a screen shot program.  I recommend Jing because it has the ability to detect embedded videos and capture a shot of the video in a single click.  Check it out: https://www.techsmith.com/jing.html

 

Step 2:  Find your video on YouTube, Vimeo, or whatever other video host you know and love.  This works for all of them!

jingball

Step 3: Grab the embed link to the video and bring it over to the Voy forum.  Go to “Post a new message” and paste your embed link.  Now, press “Preview”.  The embedded video will appear!

Hover-over-video

Step 4: Hover your mouse over the “Jing” ball and click on the plus sign.  Now hover the big, bright, yellow cross over the video.  It found it!  Click your mouse button and name your image, save it.  You’re ready to go!

 

OPTIONAL STEP: Run on over to the website Kraken.io, which is an image optimization application.  Switch the option to “Lossy” and drag your Jing image into the browser over at the Kraken website.  It will upload and optimize the image.  All you have to do is re-download it!  You can reduce, on average, 60% of the file size without destroying your image quality!  It’s terrific!

kraken

Step 5:  Upload your image to your favourite image host.  I like IMGUR.com because it’s quick and easy and dependable.

 

Step 6: Grab the youtu.be link for your video.  Not the embed link! >=[]

 

Step 7: Run back to Voy and delete the embed code.  Type the following:

 

<a href=”https://youtu.be/YoUrVidEO” target=”_blank”><img src=”https://i.imgur.com/yOurImagE” /></a>

 

Now all you have to do is paste your YouTube link between the quotations of the href code and your image link between the src quotations.

That’s it!  You’re done.  You’ve saved time, bandwidth and made everyone else happy in the process.  In the code above, the target=”_blank” will open the link in a new tab.  This is useful because whoever clicks the link won’t lose their place over on Voy and have to wait for forum to reload, which could also screw up your chances of getting a reply from that person.  You may gasp now, too!

 

 

Advanced Method:

(and slightly more awesome!)

For those of you who hate the idea of sending people to YouTube with every video click, there is another way!  However, it’s a tiny bit more complicated and will either require you to memorize an awkward string of code or keep a text document snippet handy.  With this option, you will still be posting an image instead of a video.  The difference is that when someone clicks on the image to watch the video, the image disappears and is replaced by the YouTube video, which is all done without sending people into a new tab.  Here’s what you do:

After you have your video’s image ready and uploaded to an image host, paste the following code into your Voy message:

<div onclick=”this.nextSibling.style.display=’block’; this.style.display=’none'”><img src=”PASTE_IMAGE_URL_HERE” style=”cursor:pointer” /></div><div style=”display:none”>
<!– Embed code here –>

REPLACE_THIS_TEXT_WITH_YOUR_VIDEO’S_EMBED_CODE

<!– End Embed code –>

</div>

Between the two “<!– Embed code here –><!– End Embed code –>” paste your video embed code, just like you would have done before trying to speed up Voy.  Above that, where it says “PASTE_IMAGE_URL_HERE”, you simply paste the link to the image you uploaded, making sure not to delete the quotation marks!  Those are extremely important.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go!  Hit the preview button to make sure everything’s working correctly, and it’s always a good idea to leave a direct link to the video as well.  Some people have already resorted to blocking embedded videos, while others have disabled javascript.  In both cases, they won’t be able to access the video.  Leaving a link remedies this, regardless of what method you choose to share your video with.

Experiment with both options to see which one suits you best.  If you’re having problems, I’ve thrown together a video to illustrate how everything is done.  The video may be six minutes long, but the actual process of doing this yourself will only take about 30 seconds, just as long as you give yourself a chance to learn and remember it:

https://youtu.be/3YJmZRGq53I

More importantly, if you have another idea, better or not, or questions or comments, please, please, please engage me!  I like it.  So give it a shot and witness the awesomeness of a better, faster forum.

 

If you’re certain you’ll lose the code snippet on your computer, or you’d rather have quick access to it online, the code can be found at:

 

https://imagine-magazine.org/media/voy.txt

 

From there, all you have to do is copy and paste!

Published November 1, 2012

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