Fixing Facebook Photos

tl;dr: If you want to have a better photo quality on Facbeook, install this Chrome Extension.

Facebook compresses the uploaded images extremely in order to have a small filesize. In this way the platform saves a huge amount of storage, but time changes and so Facebook had to change too.

That's why Facebook announced the HD-Upload feature in 2010. Photos can now be uploaded and shared in a very good resolution and with no visible loss of quality.

This was nearly 3 years ago, but you can still see this low quality photos on Facebook. How can this be?

On the StartupWeekend Klagenfurt Nicolas and I worked on the Facebook upload for Saloon and discovered something strange while we tested our code. The Photos we uploaded looked much better on Nicolas' screen. Then we compared the images: I got the scaled version and Nicolas got the full version - strange.

We tried some things to find out the reason. We discovered that Nicolas got the lower version as well if he resized his browser window and reloaded the page. We were curios, why is there a difference?

I dug in deeper and found out that it depends on the browser size. Nicolas has a higher resolution on his MacBook but if he resizes the browser and reloads the page, he gets the lower version too.

I instantly started to write a small Chrome Plugin that fixes this. Today I'm happy to announce the open-source SSFP (Stop Shitty Facebook Photos). It's available on GitHub and the official Chrome Web Store. It's written in only a few lines of code as you can see here.

SSFP only checks if there is a full-version of the image available and if so, it changes the source of the images. It works well - here is the same image compared:

Without SSFP: Without SSFP

With SSFP: With SSFP (Click the images to compare in full size)

Want to learn more about optimizing image quality on different platforms and get out the maximum? Subscribe at Saloon.

Startup Weekend Klagenfurt

Startup Weekend Klagenfurt

tl;dr: If you ever have the chance to attend a Startup Weekend, do it! The 54 hours of this event can revolutionize your idea. It helps you to form and evolve it and you get tons of interesting feedback. You will meet awesome and inspiring people, find your first customers, develop a prototype and have a lot of fun.

Day 1, pitchfire.

Coming from a small town in Austria, finding inspiring people has always been a difficult task. But at Startup Weekend everything is different. Even before the event actually started, we met local people and started discussions about our idea.

With the first pitch coming closer, Nicolas had nothing else in his head but our pitch. We'd thought about it for 2 weeks and we couldn't wait to get the review. Here is our original pitch:

Howdy, I'm Nicolas and I'm working with Philipp on saloon.io. We are going to revolutionize the workflow of photographers.

Photographers share their photos on different platforms like Facbeook, Flickr or 500px. They have to upload their photos again and again and again on all these platforms. We optimize this process and help photographers to share their photos at the best time.

Additionally, we help them to send the photos to their clients. Most photographers use Dropbox, but this is again another platform to upload your photos and you can't set up a custom domain or a custom design. Photographers should be able to present their photos quickly, on every device, everywhere and offer a download in different resolutions without any effort.

Saloon is awesome. If you want to help us, join our team!

We need marketing people and designers.

Visit us at saloon.io

Thank you

After the pitch, the others had time to vote for the best ideas. Thank god we knew a few people there who gave us votes. We made it to the top 10 ideas and were able to work on Saloon.

The voting process

Now the team finding phase began. The phase was nearly over when we realized that nobody was interested in helping photographers - we tried every trick. We had this weird cowboy-hats to get some attention and wanted to give them to the people who wanted to work with us. But I guess the people weren't into our hats. The final minute came closer. We already thought about joining another idea, but in the very last minute we found Gregor, a business guru and ex-head of the Junge Wirtschaft Carinthia. It was amazing to have you in the team, thank you!

Day 2, working and input.

We knew that we needed a good photographer, an insider, to advertise our product. We only knew one man who came into question - Martin Steinthaler. He is one of the best photographers in Carinthia. So our first task was to invite him. Here is the cool thing on a StartupWeekend - there is always someone who knows someone who knows someone. Big thanks to Ildi who gave him a call and a few hours later he came by. So awesome! We always thought that Saloon is quite a good idea, but Nicolas was also a little bit pessimistic about whether photographers need it. We told Martin our whole concept and he was really enthusiastic about it.

At this day, we also met all the amazing coaches. We talked to nearly all of them and they gave us so many good advices. One of the coaches, a social media pro and photographer, even came back to us and told us: "Don't forget to contact me, when you're ready!". Some of them said - "I don't understand why nobody had this idea before". That was the moment, when we knew - Saloon is really awesome!

But all this talking had some very negative impact. We had no time to work on our MVP (Minimal Viable Product). So at 6pm, when all the coaches were gone, we started to deeply go into the "zone" (A phase when you're completely focused on programming, read Zach Holman's Hours are Bullshit).

Hackathon

With the help of Club-Mate, we gave our best to get a few of our thoughts implemented. At the end of the day, we had a product that was working somehow and could do the following: Sign in with Facebook or 500px, Upload a photo, Press a button to share it on Facebook. It wasn't that much, but it worked and we were happy with it.

Day 3, the final countdown.

The start of the third day was very hard. I tried to focus but I was much too tired. At 10am I listened to a talk about how to pitch. It was interesting, but not that informative.

From then on, we were working on the final pitch. A pitch in front of a few investors from Austria, Germany and Slovenia. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to complete everything. We had to hold a long story short, and this was were we made a huge mistake: We forgot about one of the core parts of our product and therefore the people didn't understand the extent of our idea.

Final Ptich

After all the presentations of the ideas, the jury voted for the winners. Sadly, we didn't win the competition. But that's okay, because that wasn't our target. We wanted our idea to be approved, to socialize and have fun - that's the true reason why you should attend a StartupWeekend.