- Public Can Download Your Photos Easily May 10, 2016 Dana Richardson
Because we are discontinuing brochure and flyer printing, a new website has been created to allow anyone to download your photos. The page asks for the first few letters of the street name then displays all the properties beginning with those letters. Selecting the correct address will display the front of the house, then ask for their name and email address. An access code is then sent to their email inbox. Inputting that code will allow access to all the photos taken of the property. Included are options for 3 different resolutions and zip files for downloading all photos.
The name and email address will be recorded to prevent unauthorized use of your photos. The website is http://download.firstsoldphoto.com.
- Brochure Printing to be Discontinued August 1, 2016 April 11, 2016 Dana Richardson
After many years of losing money on brochure printing, the loss has now grown to an amount we cannot justify. We hope those of you who use this service will find an acceptable alternative. By this date we will have made new pages for brochure contractors to download your photos easily.
If you know of any brochure services, please reply to this post with their contact information.
- Bad Day for Suddenlink August 9, 2015 Dana Richardson
Our ISP, lost network connection for cable, phone and Internet for 7 hours. Sorry folks, but where we operate, this will happen. Lake Conroe is the “sticks” when considered for reliability. This time the whole state went south.
- Standard Photography Package Discontinued April 2, 2015 Dana Richardson
All our photographers have dropped the $110 photo package due to not being able to make a profit at that price. With appointment scheduling, travel time, cancellations, etc. the cost of doing business makes the margin too low to provide the quality service they provide.
- Secure Socket Layer Encryption Security Obtained August 11, 2014 Dana Richardson
In order to protect the identities of our agents and their listing clients, we have teamed with GoDaddy to provide secure encryption for most data being transferred through our Real Estate Agent Network. The certificate issued is also utilized by our administrative backend. No personal data, lock box codes, alarm codes, or anything input into our system can be read by anyone other than the intended recipient.
Not all pages need this security and are excluded from SSL for performance reasons. You will not see the “https://” in the address bar as you should. This is because our forms are hosted on another server using the domain name agent.firstsoldphoto.com. The forms are embedded into pages as frames. You can “right click” the form and view the “frame info” and will see the form is preceded by “https://”.
We have always had secure credit card entry form through a third party provider. This new certificate applies to most of our forms.
- CPU Resources Maxed Out August 7, 2014 Dana Richardson
Our server today has been running hot for some reason. The sites are very slow, but still functional. According to Microsoft, the issue will resolve itself in time. What a lousy answer.
- Suddenlink Network Failure July 8, 2014 Dana Richardson
Suddenlink experiencing a system wide failure and was down for 4 and a half hours. Phones, TV and Internet were all down. I went boating instead of waiting.
- Server Crach 4-22 to 5-20-14 May 20, 2014 Dana Richardson
Below is a simple description of what happened.
5/16/14 – Took possession of new Super Server on Weds. This was a week later than I thought. Anyway, progress is moving better than expected. I don’t want to open website access to anything until 95% functioning. More soon.
5/2/14 – Any photos taken between 5/1/13 thru 4/22/14 are now online. The slideshows are operating as well. To access photos, use the link: http://media.firstsoldphoto.com/dlphotos.cfm?mlnum=mlsnumber (where mlsnumber is the actual mls number). This is just a quick fix until full site comes back online.
4/27/14 – The suggested remedies for a quick fix to these problems are no longer an option. All of them say “There is a good chance you will lose the data on you hard drive if this fix fails”. We have backups from the day before we went down, but without being able to view that data and configurations, Dana would have to remember what he did 6 years ago. He needs to see what he did on the old server to build the new one to specs. Therefore we are waiting on a couple new 2014 servers and associated software to get back to what we were. In the meantime, use the form above to get the best real estate photography in the area.
4/24/14 – I know what happened to the server now. I had been trialing some network backup strategies(in case of something like this). I removed the trial program as instructed, then re-booted. That’s when I got the blue screen of death. Searched the error codes and they said the master boot record was corrupt. Using the windows install disk, I repaired the bad record and the computer booted. Everything worked except the web service. The file permissions for anyone but the administrator seemed to be wrong on both hard drives. That’s about 2 million files. So I re-did boot drive with a backup from friday and monday. The file permissions were what they were supposed to be. Drive D looked ok too. That’s the drive with all the photos and website programming. But the web service still had permission issues. Fearing to re-boot as I should after a restore, I researched the problems all night and found that there were 2 hidden files in the master boot record registered to the so called “best backup software in the world”. Not only that, thousand of cases of this problem were reported in IT blogs, all had installed the same software. I removed the files and cleaned all reference to them from the registry and went to bed.
At about 6 this morning, I went to office and re-booted the server. As Windows was starting up, it said it needed to run chkdsk on D drive. I think this is good news. From what I read as it was repairing the drive, the permissions were corrupt. It is now restoring permissions to defaults. Being a 1 terabyte drive, this will take a long time. I’ll probably have to manually restore the needed permissions when the chkdsk is finished. That will take a long time too. Could still be down a couple days.
The good news is I am confident I will get this back online since I know what caused this. Never use any product from Acronis!!!
- Seller Asks When Will Taken Photos Be Ready April 21, 2014 Dana Richardson
Whenever a seller asks when the photos will be ready, best answer is “I don’t know, there are many steps to optimizing the photos they took. We have to be patient about this in order to get the best exposure we can.” Don’t let them put pressure on you or us to meet their timelines. The photos will be available when the editing and optimization of each photo has been optimized for both Internet and printing.
- Why Music is Not an Option Anymore January 27, 2014 Dana RichardsonWe quit doing music last year. Music is a distraction. What is the first thing you do when you hear music on a webpage; look for the mute button right? There is not any recorded music that eveybody likes. Of the tours with music over the last several years, the mute button was clicked every session. That means, not one person wanted to hear the music.
- Suddenlink Network Failure July 11, 2013 Dana Richardson
We switched ISPs this past month. Today, our new provider had a fiber optic line cut. As I was told our new service would have a loop setup that would provide redundancy in this kind of event. Looks like I’ve been fooled again. Our previous provider was down no more than an hour a year. I sure hope this kind of outage does not occur often.
- New Slideshow Tour Hit Counter App January 1, 2013 Dana Richardson
We have always counted the number of hits to media presentations. The new counter will record the referring website(if allowed), record date, visitor status and more. With this new Counter application we will be able to provide timeline statistics about the activity on each of your finished tours. The counter is listed as “Tour Statistics” under “Your Account” heading. Login is required.
- QR Code Link on Right Hand Menu Wrong December 18, 2012 Dana Richardson
I just fixed the link to the QR Code Generator for our mobile application for displaying your listings on mobile devices. It was being directed to a non-existant page. Careless error by me.
- QR Codes Connect Mobile Devices to Your Listings November 16, 2012 Dana Richardson
Over the past 15 years, we have seen many “must use” technologies that never reach the promise of “must use”. We think the simple and easy QR Code technology that scans information into mobile devices and initiates quick results is a winner. These codes work only if the result is what the mobile user is needing. We have developed 2 mobile applications your customers want, a list of your properties and a resulting photographic and detailed display of your listed property.
Visit our QR Code page at: http://www.firstsoldphoto.com/qr-codes-for-your-mobile-listings/ to see examples and how you can start utilizing this technology in your advertising campaigns.
Of course, there is more to come…..
- Photo Download Naming Change September 10, 2012 Dana Richardson
We changed our downloaded zip files of photos to rename the photos in chronological order as they display in the slideshow. Prior to this, they used the naming convention we use, but when placed into a directory, would not display chronologically.
- Staging for Photography May 21, 2012 Dana Richardson
We have included on our website an online pdf file about homeowners preparing their homes for photography. We highly recommend forwarding a copy of this document to your homeowner before photography gets scheduled. View and download the PDF at http://www.firstsoldphoto.com/Staging-for-Photography.pdf
- Verizon Network Failure March 9, 2012 Dana RichardsonWe experienced a system wide failure in the Verizon area of North Montgomery County. All service to this area, including telephones was down until early this morning. Although they do not provide Internet access to us, they do provide our connection to Consolidated Communications in Conroe. Not coincidentally, Entergy Power had a failure during this time also. Must have been some of the solar storm effect we were warned about.
- Slideshow Bug Reported March 7, 2012 Dana Richardson
A customer reported today that some slideshows were not working when accessing them through www.HAR.com. We determined the problem to be with updated Internet Explorer browsers and repaired the code causing the access problems.
- Mobile Ready App for First Sold Photo Agents February 12, 2012 Dana Richardson
We have completed our mobile app for smartphones and other devices allowing for easy scheduling of photography from most mobile devices. Our email system can determine whether you are using a PC or mobile device, thus links in emails from us will navigate to a mobile ready app if touched when using a cellphone. In fact, navigating to www.firstsoldphoto.com from a mobile device will detect your device and open a simple login form to access your listings when away from a PC.
Included with the App is a list of your active listings that can be used with QR Codes to display a mobile ready property website of each listing. To view how your listings show on a mobile device, click below and login with your MLS Public ID and password you use when accessing our system.
Selecting Photos for HAR Uploads – because we understand that time can be of essence, you can “pass off” the initial photo selection to our office and later change what was uploaded when you are at a PC. The photo selection routines will not work with mobile devices.
- Presentations for Homes on Lake Conroe Featured on LakeConroe.com February 4, 2012 Dana Richardson
When First Sold Photo photographs your listing in a Lake Conroe subdivision, it will be advertised as a “Featured Home For Sale” and plotted on their Google Map as well. When visitors click the property, they will be directed to the property website created for your listing.
This feature became available because of a new design and focus the developer of http://www.lakeconroe.com/ started at the beginning of 2012.
View how they present your property at http://realestate.lakeconroe.com/Lake-Conroe-Featured-Homes-For-Sale/lakeconroe_rss_active.cfm