Visit Citebite Deep link provided by Citebite
Close this shade

Working on Getting a New Server

by Thomas Hawk | 30 May 2007 | General | 66 Comments

Thanks to everyone who is hanging in there with Zooomr right now. We got a bit of sleep last night and are scrambling hard this morning to try and arrange some new servers in order to get Mark III back up and running. We are sorry for the outage and for the difficulty that we’ve had in launching Mark III.

It was fun hanging out with so many of you last night and for our brief 10 minutes of live Zooomr Mark III. We are resolved to getting Zooomr back up and running.

We think the controller on our main database server is bad. We went down to our data center week before last in the middle of the night as some of you know when one of our drives went out on our main database server. Our other hard drive went out when our system was hit with a surge in demand at our launch. Rest assured though that we did make a back up of the database just before launch and all of the photos are backed up and replicated on other drives. The photos are safe, Zooomr today (without the database) just doesn’t know where the photos are.

Kristopher will have to put our database on another server and then we will try to launch again. There has been a lot of outreach from so many people in the last 12 hours. Thanks to SilentQ for driving Kristopher down to the data center at 2am last night and thanks to Scoble especially for caring enough to get involved as well. And thanks to all of you who have supported Zooomr in your own way, through the donate now button, through blog posts and kind words and comments. Your support more than anything is what is keeping this alive right now.

There are a lot of great things Zooomr can do with photosharing. Stock photography, worldwide localization, interesting new social features like Zipline and Global Conversations and Discover, and ZooomrTV, where we plan to (and continue to even now) broadcast live and share our plans and visions and direction with you in as transparent way as we possibly can. But ultimately Zooomr is all of you and we are building it for you. A site for photographers who are passionate about photography.

Again, we apologize for this outage. For the delay in getting Mark III out. For our server being down right now. Know that we are trying and committed to doing everything we can to make this dream happen.

Zooomr, The Little Photo Sharing Site That Could…

by Thomas Hawk | 29 May 2007 | Announcements | 65 Comments

[UPDATE @ 2:41am] Hey Friends, I’ve been here for about 2 hours or so now — the database box is completely done-for. Luckily, we do keep database snapshots/backups! We will come out of this stronger than before, together — Zooomr is the world’s photosharing website. — kristopher

When I was 5 years old I climbed Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the Continental US, elevation 14,495. I went with my dad. It was just he and I. It was a pretty incredible and unlikely thing for a 5 year old and his dad to attempt. The night before we made the attempt at the peak we camped out at a lake at the base of something called the 99 switchbacks. When we started out in the morning I was fresh and ready to go. But after about 50 switchbacks I was done. The air was thin and I was tired and it was then and there that I first heard the story about the little engine that could. My dad was a great story teller and somehow he told the story of the little engine that could with enough conviction that it got me to the top.

I think I can, I think can, I think I can… I know I can, I know I can, I know I can…

And so what seemed like certain failure in the end turned out to be success. And my dad and I celebrated at the top of the summit and I got a little patch that I showed to all my friends back in kindergarten when I got home.

And that’s where Zooomr is tonight. We are the little engine that could.

About an hour ago we finally launched Zooomr Mark III. It was a glorious 10 minute stretch of time. People had stayed up all night with us after a week of anticipation and everything was going great. Our first photos were being uploaded. People were writing exciting updates on the Zipline and then our database crashed.

It was a pretty painful moment. And then Kristopher turned to me and said, you know what, we’ll get this thing back up. This will work. We are the little engine that could.

I don'’t have my car (it’s back in the East Bay) but one of our users who stayed up with us online offered to drive Kristopher down to the data center in Sunnyvale. I’m sitting in a BART station right now typing this waiting for the last train of the night to the East Bay.

Kristopher should be able to get our database back up from Sunnyvale but I don’t know how long this might take or what we need to do to make it stable enough that it doesn’t go down again. Zooomr Mark III is done and out, but we just need to make sure our systems can handle the traffic. I’m going to try and hook back in with him in the morning, but regrettably, after a brief 10 minutes of fun with everyone we are back offline.

Thanks to everyone who has continued hanging in here with us. I know it’s frustrating not to be able to have access to your photos. But we’re not giving up yet and we are going to fight like hell to get Zooomr Mark III back up and fully stable.

I’ll update more when I know more.

Zooomr Mark III Status Report

by Thomas Hawk | 27 May 2007 | Announcements | 86 Comments

Thanks to everyone who has stood by and continued with patience for Zooomr Mark III. Obviously our migration has taken much longer than we’d hoped and there were plenty of unforseen problems. Part of what’s been difficult has been getting all of the photos moved over and matched up with all of the appropriate metadata (tags, geotags, peopletags, descriptions, etc.). All of the photos are moved over at this point but getting the metadata in place correctly before launching is mandatory.

I know it’s frustrating for everyone who wants to use the site. It’s frustrating for me as well. I’ve got a bunch of photos to upload and Scoble needs the photos that I’ve uploaded from our last photowalking episode. I think we are looking more like launch on Monday at this point but it all depends on how quickly Kristopher can match things all up.

We appreciate all of the positive support and love that you all, the Zooomr Community, have shown to us during this trying time. Yes, Zooomr is just two guys and only one of which knows how to do the technical things that need to be done. This will not always be the case. As Zooomr grows we will grow too and having more engineers will make things go smoother in the future.

While technically Zooomr is just a 19 year old kid and a somewhat obsessive compulsive photographer who is trying to process 500,000 fine art photos before he dies (that would be me), Zooomr really is something that is much more. It’s really all of us. And it’s been so great getting to know so many in our community over the course of this last week as we’ve been broadcasting live on UStream. One thing that is evident is that we all share so much of a passion and love for photography.

As part of Mark III we will also be launching ZooomrTV. ZooomrTV will be a channel on Zooomr where Kristopher and I will broadcast live as much as we can. We will continue sharing with all of you what’s going on behind the scenes at Zooomr.

Why are we doing this? We’ll first and foremost we think that it allows us to better shape the future direction of Zooomr when we have your input. So many great ideas have been bantered around this week. Using Zooomr to sell fine art prints. Setting up Zooomr galleries in the physical world where we can show and sell your work for you on large screen plasmas (like an Apple Store, but for fine art prints from Zooomr photographers). And so much more. Yes, Zooomr should do a magazine like a JPG. Yes, Zooomr should do fine art books. Yes, there are so many things we can do with photography and the future is bright and it belongs to us all.

But as much as your input is helpful this way, it’s also just a ton of fun. Hanging out Friday night with the Scobleizer and getting to meet his son Patrick’s WOW character and check out what music was on his MacBook. These are little things but they are fun. I think for those of us who have been hanging around talking about photography (yes, the 135 L series prime is my favorite lens), sharing links and pictures and video. It’s just been all great fun. And because something is fun is always one of the best reasons for doing it of all.

We’ll also run videos on ZooomrTV. Kristopher has been running a lot of the photowalking show that Scoble and I do while we’ve been down as well.

Zooomr Mark III will launch. And it will be a fantastic site. We will have bugs that our one man engineering staff will need to fix and we’ll use ZooomrTV with you guys so that we can together find them and fix them. But Zooomr Mark III will launch. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing Zooomr Mark III as it’s been developed and it is awesome. Zipline is awesome. Discover is Awesome. Search is Awesome. Zooomr Mark III is faster, lighter, better designed. It finally has true community tools. Groups for you to build and hang out in. And with ZooomrTV you will daily have direct access to the team building the site.

Please know that as much as you all want Zooomr out right now, we want it 10x that. Kristopher and I have put everything into this. I’ve taken out a second mortgage on my home for this. Both of us have put hundreds and hundreds of hours into this. We are doing this because we believe that in the long run we can build the world’s greatest photo sharing site. We are passionate about photo sharing and photography like so many of you. In order to get there we sometimes will have growing pains. This launch has been a growing pain for us.

Thanks for your understanding and patience through all of this. I’m taking most of today off to spend it with my kids — who got to see very little of me last week. Kristopher will be on UStream in a bit here though and I’ll be on again later tonight.

Another Update on Zooomr Mark III

by Thomas Hawk | 24 May 2007 | Announcements | 78 Comments

Hey folks. Well unfortunately we are still running into some trouble getting everything moved over to the new Zooomr Mark III. We’ve gotten all of the user accounts moved over at this point but Kristopher was running into trouble getting the photos over. The way he was moving them into our new database looked like it was going to take 16 hours. We were timing the importing of the photos. Kristopher thought that he might be able to cut it down to 6 hours by breaking the photos up into five chunks but after about a couple of hours couldn’t figure out how to make threading or something like that work.

Once the photos are completely imported into the new database we still need to move over portals, SmartSets, geotags, tags, etc. But photos are by far the most time intensive records to move over.

So except for a few cap naps here and there Kristopher has been up non-stop since Monday working on this. He’s finished several 2 litter bottles of Coca Cola during this time, mochas, coffees, various power drinks and even some pink vitamin water. But he just crashed. He felt that it was dangerous for him to be working with the database in his condition and needed to get some sleep.

So that’s where we are at. Kristopher is suppose to demo the software tonight at 6pm at SFWIN so we’ll see. I’m going to let him sleep four hours or so and then wake him up and try to get things going again.

Kristopher doesn’t really like me to talk about the technical side of what’s going on with Zooomr. Mostly because I don’t really understand most of it and I’m sure got some of it wrong in the above description of what we’ve been going through. But he’s sleeping now and can’t really address it for himself and so there it is.

Nobody on earth wants this release out more than us. We appreciate all the support that you have given us over the past few days. Hanging out in UStream, chatting, getting to know each other better. The pizza from Flickr. Rev Dan Catt. It’s all been great and we are trying as hard as we can to get this done. As hard as is humanly possible. But sometimes the human body can only be pushed so far and that’s where Kristopher is right now. Hopefully we will have more for you soon. I’m pretty worthless except for talking about cameras and lenses and photowalking and all the great things that we hope to do and the dreams that we have to make the world of photography and photo sharing even more exciting that it is today.

We wish that we had a bigger team building Zooomr, but right now we’re just two guys. A 19 year old kid who can be pushed really really hard but eventually, like anyone, breaks and a photographer who misses his kids a whole heck of a lot right now.

Update: Ok, Kristopher’s back up and kicking ass. We’re both tired but definitely making progress.



by Kristopher Tate | 24 May 2007 | Development, Announcements, System Notices, Video Blog | 14 Comments

Hey Friends, if there’s one thing that’s been proven over the last 72 hours — it’s been how awesome you guys are! :)

Thomas and I are proud to be connected to such an awesome group of people. We’re pretty tired over here, but the message is clear: NEVER QUIT — STAY STRONG.

One of our users made this awesome UStream mash-up so you can watch both Thomas and myself LIVE: Check it out here

Moving forward,


Zooomr Mark III Live Demo Tomorrow at SFWIN

by Kristopher Tate | 23 May 2007 | Development, Announcements, Zooomr Highlights, Adventures, System Notices | 13 Comments

Hey Friends, I’m closing in on this release!!! I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be live at SFWIN tomorrow! (Yes, we’ll be launched by then :) )


Time: 6p
Location: 405 Howard Street, SF - the Orrick Building
Price: $10 with RSVP; $20 without. RSVP Link

Working hard for you guys — really pushing for this!

With love,


HQ Live

I Think Flickr Just Sent us some Pizzas!

Update on Zooomr Mark III

by Thomas Hawk | 23 May 2007 | Announcements | 25 Comments

Kristopher is working. We have no ETA. Hopefully soon. Bear with us. It’s really coming. If we don’t have an ETA it’s dumb to try to guess an ETA and disappoint. We will update people when we do have an ETA. You can check out the UStream feed below in the meantime. Thanks for your support.


The Road to Mark III — Where We’re At

by Kristopher Tate | 22 May 2007 | Announcements, Adventures, System Notices | 27 Comments

Hey Friends, It’s been a productive and satisfying last 24 hours. Many of you have been sticking with us in the UStream.TV Chat that we’re runningthanks for all of your impressive display of support! :)

So, the biggest thing that we’re doing here is working through all of the database translation from one system to the next, not to mention bringing-up satellite systems in remote regions all around the world. The latest issue had to do with some smartsets that weren’t processing correctly.

We will continue to update this post periodically, but please make sure to check-in with our Live 24×7 chat, courtesy of UStream.TV. (Regional coverage is also provided by our community blogs, shown in the header of this blog)

With much love and respect,


Lauching Zooomr Mark III

by Thomas Hawk | 21 May 2007 | Development, Announcements, Adventures, System Notices, Video Blog | 39 Comments

Zooomr is off line right now while we make the transition from Zooomr V2 to Zooomr Mark III. We think it’s probably 12-24 hours until launch. Thanks for all your support! If you want to watch the launch live, you can do it here at UStream.

We’ve also set up a Pay Pal donate thing if people want to donate to help Zooomr.

Thanks all and see you in Mark III.

Zooomr Mark III Launch Demo! from Kristopher on Vimeo

Video: Driving back to the Zooomr HQ @ 5am PDT

by Kristopher Tate | 19 May 2007 | Adventures, Video Blog | 25 Comments

Driving Back to the Zooomr HQ: 5am PDT from Kristopher on Vimeo