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Hi folks,

For those that are curious....

Features operating in this beta-1 version of Wildcat Edition:

1. In-box zoom viewer with slideshow. Viewer operates with autosizing and viewer mat of images. No fixed aspect ratio of pictures required, even though this initial listing is using 2:3 aspect ratio pictures. Slideshow is fade-out/in-style for picture changes.

2. tMagic (thumb-Magic), dynamic thumb creation for size and aspect ratio of the thumb based upon number of thumbs needed (picture count) with "crop" of the thumb when necessary to operate uniform thumb presentation.

3. This beta is using all Auctiva thumbs and original stored images.

4. Prowler Guard image protection against click and save or properties link hijack of the image, even when scripting is disabled. All images protected, including the thumbs. No popups as it's a script-free method.

5. Noscript load version for javascript disabled viewers.

6. In-box store viewer.

7. In-box livechat.

8. Parameter passing capabilty from Description editor for dynamic changes to features and elements....not used in this first test.

More to come in beta-2.... and other Editions.

Hi Deb,

Glad you like Wildcat. Hopefully, the beta testing will go well over the next 30-60 days and I'll be able to start sales by early fall.

The zoom is from 400H x 400W to 585H x 780W with 95% set as the picture mat to give it the set-back matted edge.

BTW, I know how you're stuggling with photo cropping and thumbs, so here are two alpha tests of Sophie running in the eBay Sandbox to help test the tMagic feature.

This first link shows an array of test images with tMagic set to 2:3 aspect ratio, i.e. all the thumbs are forced to operate at that aspect ratio and the white space is obvious. Note, these are Auctiva stored 80x80 Thumbs and Original images.

Here's is pretty much the same listing with tMagic operating at the same preset 2:3 aspect ratio for the thumbs, BUT tMagic was set to crop mode.

Note, the reduction in white space to help fill the thumb area. I'm using only the 80x80 with these tests, but will resolve that to using larger in final, so there won't be any white space and thumbs will always fill the thumb boxes with cropped images.

One other important item to observe: tMagic created a row of 6 thumbs at 53Wx80H for each of those alpha tests in the Sandbox. On Deb's active listing, tMagic created a double row for the 12 thumbs at 7 per row and sized them at 50Hx75W. Think big thumbs with fewer pics for best use of the thumb space, and that's also part of tMagic's goals. I'm definitely looking at larger than 80x80 for final product.

Now, imagine you are taking shots and want a wide-angle (landscape) shot of a beltline on a dress to display, but are STUCK with the rigid 2:3 aspect ratio of thumbs and main image. Does this seem to be the way out that problem? Now you'll understand why I've been operating free to help others, so I could better understand their problems and look for solutions.

SophieBox isn't as much a template, as a template add-on "BOX" widget, that operates to improve the look/presentation and under the covers reduces the labor and costs associated with listing. More on that last part coming soon ...


Oh....and tMagic has an auto mode to inspect the images to determine if they all operate at one of its preprogrammed aspect ratios and make thumbs appropriate to your listing's needs. It even supports 16:9 aspect ratio (HD) for a seller that wants to do HD video stills. Big Grin

New movie outtake quote for the day for J.D. lovers....

"His ego is writing checks his stockholders can't cash." - Danno
Last edited by danno
Hi Deb,

As this first set of tests gets completed and I can at least get a stable base codeset, I will consider adding you and others for round 2.

This could take some time and beta testing is usually a "bug hunt" affair. Big Grin

And, the current operating widget does have a few bugs.

Oh....and this recent article at AuctionBytes may mean more changes are coming that might spell the end for templates and this design.

...have you thought of selling your design directly to ebay, and retiring to the island of your choice????

What's funny about that suggestion is the concept that eBay does want their listing pages to look retail, but "their organization" of the page separates the picture(s) from the description WITHOUT a seller methodolgy that's common to retail sites to embed the picture(s) in the "description box". This is why Auctiva and the other 3rd parties have had a compelling leg-up with their automation and template integration technologies (which works against eBay think). I say "had", because it's eBay's intention (IMO) to remove that competition from the venue in deference to their top (Diamond) Power Sellers and mainstream methods. Their excuse for this is "buyer experience" and "security" at the top of their list. Anti-competitive practices are usually couched with security, someone's interest, etc., so where is the surpise in that snakeoil sale. Wink Ask the Aussies if the PayPal down-their-throats attempt wasn't in direct opposition to both the sellers and buyers interests, but cloaked with the "only" secure method for a transaction. I believe MANY buyers have left eBay due to the PayPal ONLY edict. Some folks simply refuse to use credit cards and electronic processing of any kind (much less PayPal). Some of my best buyers (repeats time and time again) used checks and money orders for their purchases.

I'm a retired consultant and long time programmer-analyst and network engineer. I "listened" to what was being said well over a year ago by eBay management and concluded that the path we're walking with the site redesign and policy changes were inevidable. I've likened the operation to bulldozing the New Orleans French Quarter or white washing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Two essential ingrediants that brought buyers to classic eBay are gone (or just about so):

1) Entertainment, the wacky things up for auction and the unmistakable alure of the "event". JD says "flee market". I say, "FLEE CIRCUS".

2) Gambling, the competition to bid and not lose urg to do so, which is a fever and can be FUN! Auctioning isn't dead; it's just burried in BIN and Best Match nonsense to the point of critical disfunction. Do you think Christie's would bring a Rembrant on the floor, announce the bidding would start at $1M, BUT YOU CAN BUY IT NOW FOR $1.5M....I DON'T THINK SO...DAH! Roll Eyes

Whether eBay understood it or not, they "WERE" the Los Vegas of the Internet. The fun, the entertainment, the EXCITEMENT is GONE. Any site that wants to truely compete or replace eBay, need only adopt the "e" and the "g" as mainstream (IMO). The door is now wide open...


BTW....I'm not only an Etsy fan, but I think their Alchemy approach of Buyers seeking bids to fulfill an "order" is a very interesting concept, not unlike my old RFP federal contract days (I sat on both sides of that table for two decades). Automation and some interesting methods to "present" bids would make that model one to consider for any new venue. I don't think eBay will adopt it, as it would relevel the currently unlevel Seller playing field. IOffer is doing it now with Want Ads. Since you're an Etsy seller and do OOAK, you should be looking at the Alchemy ads daily. I have seen a call for vintage designs there.
Last edited by danno
How's the debug going?

Close to putting Beta 1 to codeset-lock and starting Beta 2 changes. The Proof of Concept phase (Beta 1) yielded some interesting findings as well as problems with eBay's current page design, that need consideration for a broader use with Beta 2.

One characteristic of the "box" is it's locked dimensions, e.g. current width is based on an internal 802 pixel width inner core that operates the zoom window. That also dictates the sizes of the left and right inner windows, the mat size for the thumbs, etc. etc. I need to make absolutely sure of that base before I go forward with beta 2 and the other formats (Catwalk and Catalog and more). A common footprint (ur Pawprint Smile ) is essential to keep the integration the same to all the boxes for easy switch-over and operation in the eBay design. Outside the box top banner, upper navigation bar, and left store category rail are essential features to most sellers (especially Powersellers/Stores). The "box" needs to operate in that setting with the limitations of eBay's design as consideration.

Two problems that I know the Auctiva coders and those DIY folks will understand are:

1. eBay is disallowing use of onError in script. That includes onError intercept for images with a preloader. That's for sure happening in the sandbox and has me wondering how many folks with onerror checks are now having code rejects in the main site (if it's there too). Note, onError isn't in the best practices restricted list or anywhere I'm able to find. I could understand their need to block onError use for the document load, but images? Frown That's making an easy check for image load progress or problems a "challenge".

2. eBay's flat page (that's the non-IFRAME, first-visit page) is doing some unusual CSS overrides on the description code, i.e. I'm thinking they created that code with only an IFRAME use in mind and it's now interferring with seller's pagecode. Example: anchored text in the description is mimicking the bottom page links with underscore that only appears with hover. That problem apparently extents to more elements, causing unusual display problems. Checking their stylesheets for interference is taking more time, but necessary.


Oh....and I've discovered and am documenting one annoying IE8 bug.
Last edited by danno
Thank you for the update, Danno. I will check in from time to time.

I like etsy, but traffic and sales have a way to grow...

I've tried the alchemy - it is a fabulous concept, but I did bespoke for years, and it gets a little old to have the customer, who can't sew or design, micromanage the process. I like making it and selling it as is now!

One grin (I mean experience) I answered an alchemy. She wanted one of the costumes Milla Jovovich wore in one of her movies for a cosplay convention. She also wanted the folds that the fabric created in the skirt to be in the exact same place as the static picture that she had saved off the web!

When we got to that little custome detail, I asked to withdraw my bid!
Hi Deborah,

Getting very close to a release codeset. Am running tests with MVL now as well as the Sandbox. She just opened a Store, so its been a busy couple of days. eBay changes/delays and problems between different page-looks has further slowed the effort (and I'm not sure they're done yet). Frown

Some changes were specifically targeted to things I know you'd want/need....

tMagic is updated to allow for larger thumbs (up to 96 x 96) with cropping now doing complete fill of the thumb field (no white space). I've added a centering parameter, i.e. when a single row of thumbs doesn't fill, the remaining thumbs center under the view window.

A new feature that I began experimenting with last Fall and ran into some road-blocks with in June and July is now functional. The feature is called virtual-Source Image Access Management (or vSIAM or just short for the cat or twin). And, that play on the Siam-twin is very close to its function. Buckle your Seatbelt as this one is going to probably get attention .....

vSIAM allows you to (currently) store duplicate named (Auctiva image #) images at Photobucket and vSIAM will detect and automatically roll-over to that service as backup on primary (Auctiva) image failures: 1) outage at the Amazon Cloud S3, 2) routing problem from buyer's computer to the S3 service host (ISP problem), 3) accidental deletion or an at-end-of-listing desired deletion to help right-size storage use and lower storage costs without loss of post-listing needs for Feedback or Search (that last one is an obvious new need). I dreamed this one up when Auctiva had the bad weekend outage on the Sunday over a year ago (S3 DOWN). As far as I know, no one has ever attempted listing-side fault tolerant imaging on eBay.

This listing in the Sandbox is a demo of vSIAM. The images were originally stored at Auctiva and then deleted AND PURGED from Auctiva deleted folder, i.e. those images in the listing are vSIAM doing automatic roll-over recovery to photobucket for the originals and thumbs.

The zoom viewer is revamped with arrows including hold-down fast changer feature in place of the array of boxes/numbers from beta 1.

I've also added code to allow for a standard integration of a banner within the SophieBox and a Navigation (boogie) bar for links.

Am currenlty alternating between testing and writing documentation and style-guide for SophieBox.


Oh...and the monochromatic has gotten a styling assist from some research on use of standard and adaptive (red-shifted) grays to give the box a better look.

One more feature of vSIAM...

vSIAM can operate in either hot or cold standby, i.e. you can instruct SophieBox to operate in vSIAM mode and either load the images to backup immediately (hot standby) or load the images when the need arises (cold standby). Cold definitely gives you a "warm feeling" in knowing an accidental deletion has a solution (other than revise listing which isn't always possible or

Does vSIAM merit a 10 on the WOW meter? hehe Big Grin
Last edited by danno
Hi Again!

It looks fab!! I can't wait! You should do very well with this.

I like the measurement box, but I would left justify the bust, waist, etc. Looks cleaner. Also length under hips and Sleeve length, with shoulder width under that, add hem width and inseam. That order because when one is measuring the garment, that is the order used.

So, let me know when???

Hi Deborah,

Is this kinda what you mean? I've been practicing on real case situations for tests over past week. Does the look seem just a little familiar? Big Grin

Yes, you're on the list for early use and some functions are specific to your needs. Don't fret over colors, etc. now; that's just an exercise to test how quick and functional the box would be for customization (needed more cases to test with real pics and info).

Oh, and that boogie bar IS WORKING (check them except Watch). Note, the thumbs are operating with tMagic set to 4:5 (classic 8x10 portrait ratio) with cropping (top and bottom are cropped) to give a fuller look (demo only as not what you'd probably do) and the tMagic short row centering feature that I announced earlier. Normally, the row could hold four across at that thumb size, so a "short" row can be automatically centered using a simple parameter set during SophieBox install or passed as parameter from Description box code.

Very dilligently writing documentation for a wider release. Yes, it's taking time....but time well spent as the more writing and testing is producing an even better product that's easier to customize in very short time. That sample took about an hour, and most of the time was retro-fitting your Seller Details.

Hopefully, Beta 2 release is coming this week.

How did you get such a great layout?

A creation of ClixTrix Design Studio and Deb at Pink Hill Vintage is one of my Beta testers.

The other Deb at 658 Greene Street is awaiting the next full Beta 2 release.

And thank you for the compliment on SophieBox. Big Grin

Chief Cat Herder at ClixTrix

Just in case you just ain't heard about the cat herding business...

....and I got the scares to prove my full participation in the effort. Big Grin
Last edited by danno
How did you get such a great layout?

How? cuz Danno is a genius! (small suck up, LOL)


Cute video...I've never heard of cat herding!

I about cried when I saw the practicewriter is soooo cool! I luv everything about it...

Note, the thumbs are operating with tMagic set to 4:5 (classic 8x10 portrait ratio) with cropping (top and bottom are cropped) to give a fuller look (demo only as not what you'd probably do)

and referring back to your July 19th post:

The zoom is from 400H x 400W to 585H x 780W with 95% set as the picture mat to give it the set-back matted edge.

BTW, I know how you're stuggling with photo cropping and thumbs, so here are two alpha tests of Sophie running in the eBay Sandbox to help test the tMagic feature.

I finally learned what you meant and how to crop to 2:3, so that pic is 2:3, (easy peasy, duh!) but which size would totally fill the enlargement? I am seeing white on both sides, so you must've size it for some other ratio?

and the tMagic short row centering feature that I announced earlier. Normally, the row could hold four across at that thumb size, so a "short" row can be automatically centered using a simple parameter set during SophieBox install or passed as parameter from Description box code.

I REALLY like the centering parameter...listed some stuff last night, and always seems like I end up with more or less than a row of pics!

Will there be one or two rows of 4 allowed for the pics?

And, the zoom and hold for fast zoom is amazing!!

Hi Deborah,

I'm glad you like the test exercise and thank you too for the compliments.

Here's a little more on how tMagic makes decisions on thumbs.....

1. tMagic decides on aspect ratio of thumbs by either examining them all for a common aspect ratio, e.g. all set at 2:3 as stored, or by parameter selection. The former is an auto mode selection of the same parameter. SophieBox is preprogrammed to operate with 9:16 (HD), 2:3, 5:7, 3:4, 4:5, 1:1, 5:4, 4:3, 7:5, 3:2, 16:9 (HD). Each is programmed as a specific tMagic number, e.g. your 2:3 is tMagic 67 (2 divided by 3 is .67 times 100 is 67).

2. Once an aspect ratio is chosen, tMagic uses a look-up table to determine the size of the thumb to dynamically create based upon the aspect ratio and the number of thumbs to display. This allows the size of the thumb array to maximize available display space and can produce thumbs up to the maximum 96 x 96, e.g. the example of three thumbs at 4:5 aspect ratio created a single row of up to 4 thumbs at 77W x 96H.

3. Because it's a single row and there aren't sufficient thumbs to fill the four available slots, SophieBox by parameter option as set centered the three; otherwise the row would show left shifted as most thumb systems do.

4. The main view picures (yours) are all cropped at 2:3 aspect ratio. However, SophieBox can display thumbs at other than their original aspect ratio by cropping either the width or height of the thumb to fit the thumb at the selected aspect ratio. SophieBox thus cropped the top and bottom of each thumb to fit the 2:3 thumbs in the 4:5 aspect ratio space (no stretching). This feature can also completely free you of having to crop main images to a specific aspect ratio, just because you need to operate a main view window and it's thumbs at specific dimesnions/aspect ratios. Think placing a wide-angle picture of the beltline of an outfit (ornate buckle) with otherwise portrait standing model shots in your current method, and how you'd by necessity need to do a weird 2:3 shot of the beltline instead of the more natural 3:2 wide. This feature completely escapes that trap by allowing any dimesioned photos for main to operate with a perfect set of no-white-space common aspect ratio thumbs.

5. In situations where the standard Auctiva thumb won't fill the thumb space, i.e Auctiva's thumbs are limited to 80 x 80, SophieBox automatically switches to use the main "original" image to resize.

And now you have a little better understanding of the magic. Wink Trust me...I do understand how time consuming cropping of photos and the limitations of use can slow productivity and create poor choices.

Oh....and the tMagic number is set as a parameter in the code when SophieBox is stored as a template in the Auctiva system. HOWEVER, that parameter and many others can be overriden from the description box. In fact that example of yours has template stored at 67 and the tMagic 80 override number for 4:5 was passed from description section code. You can also override things like the color of the background mat for a picture. This frees you from the need to constantly update or store multiple templates for simple options needed to list.

So, in answer to the question of number of thumbs per row, it depends on what you instruct tMagic to do and how many thumbs you have for a listing. For your specific 2:3 primary use, tMagic can give you 5, 6, or 7 thumb cells in a single row with a scale of 1-5 at 64x96, 6 at 60x90, and 7 at 50x75. With 4 or less, you can use the centering feature (like the example).

And that's the SophieBox rendition of "herding cats".... Hum a few bars of Cat Scratch Fever hehe ROFL Big Grin

Last edited by danno
So, in answer to the question of number of thumbs per row, it depends on what you instruct tMagic to do and how many thumbs you have for a listing. For your specific 2:3 primary use, tMagic can give you 5, 6, or 7 thumb cells in a single row with a scale of 1-5 at 64x96, 6 at 60x90, and 7 at 50x75. With 4 or less, you can use the centering feature (like the example).

Hi Deb,

Yes, the ASQ links on the boogie bar are the Seller's, i.e. not mine. Link at the bottom in the legal is to ClixTrix at eBay.

However, I have created a eMail address and Blog that I'll publish shortly for formation of the Beta Group and to stop use of Auctiva's Forum for posts by the group, which I'm sure they would appreciate.

Thanks for you patience and hang in there.

Hi All,

I just wanted to take this time to thank my Dear friend Danno for developing the first ever fault-tolerant imaging in eBay history! I have been privileged to be his Beta tester over the last few months. Due to Auctiva's wonderful technology he was able to use it as a base of operation for development of this fantastic product. Check it out HERE! If you want to know what all this means you will have to contact Danno himself! He will be able to explain it much better. Sellers ~ Once this product is OUT, you are going to love this! It has been a long process, but well worth it! I am so...excited!

Thanks Danno ~ You're the greatest!!!!!

BTW ~ He will soon be looking for more Beta Testers for the next phase of developement. He will only be taking a limited number of people. So keep an eye out for the announcement in the upcoming future!

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