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Topic: Server problem on Nov 25 resulted in loss of cover images

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Subject: Server problem on Nov 25 resulted in loss of cover images
Date Posted: 11/28/2015 1:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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As many of us are already aware, the site was down most of Wednesday 11/25 due to a server problem and was back up sometime in the wee hours of 11/26.

It appears that at least some cover images members had uploaded in the several days prior to Wednesday may have been lost, even if they had been approved at that time. If you happened to submit cover images in the past week, I suggest looking on your shelves to see if they are showing up there. If not, you will probably need to resubmit them.

If you see problems with images that you uploaded in the past several days, let me know and I'll look into it. You can reply here or send me a PM. Thanks!



Last Edited on: 12/1/15 1:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 11/28/2015 7:53 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2006
Posts: 2,410
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Unfortunately, it's not just images submitted in the last few days - I have a feeling whatever happened has impacted thousands of images submitted months and years ago.

I just checked a listing that I KNOW had an image several weeks ago and it was missing today. Then I decided to check out my wish list and TBR pile to see their status, knowing that I didn't have any books in either of those lists that were missing images. There are lots of blue cover images (NO COVER AVAILABLE) showing on both older and newer titles.

Just a suggestion but members might want to take a look at their lists: wish, bookshelf, TBR, etc. and see if their titles aren't also missing images for books that they knew had images at one time. It would be good to see if we can get an idea of the scope of the problem.

Chris - I sent you a private PM as well.

 

Subject: No images
Date Posted: 11/28/2015 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2014
Posts: 245
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I just looked at my bookshelf and severral of my books which had images before Wednesday, and they were not ones I had added images to, now do not have images.  What do I do?  I can delete all of these books and then relist them but I think that would take alot of time.  I think I'll check my other lists too.

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2014
Posts: 245
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Just checked my wish list and tbr pile and the same thing - about every sixth or seventh book no image.  I can't do anything about those.  This must be a totally site wide problem.  Has someone reported it?

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 11:28 AM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2013
Posts: 234
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Of the 56 books currently listed on my shelf, 12 have no images.  These are not images that I have uploaded; these are from popular books that all had images prior to the server issues.

Thanks for offering to look into this, Chris!

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,456
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Oh yeah, I see a bunch of books on my TBR pile that used to have images that now don't.  Some on my WL too, books that I put on WL a long time ago.

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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As already pointed out in the above comments, the image problems are more widespread than I initially suspected. Many listings that have had cover images for a long time are now showing blue boxes on search result pages, bookshelf pages, and individual book pages.

Large images appear to be displaying correctly when clicking on the blue boxes on individual book pages, so they are apparently still be in the system image library but not displaying at each of the different image sizes that the site uses (small, medium, large, xlarge). Try clicking on the blue boxes to see if the large cover images display for your books.



Last Edited on: 11/28/15 1:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2015 1:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,658
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Since most images are visible here and on amazon I suspect that this is a temporary thing. With a little more time I think things will get back to normal. whatever normal is. smiley

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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Jean K., the problem has been reported to the PBS Team. They usually have minimal staff on weekends so we may not hear back from them or get the problem(s) fixed until Monday or after. Also, even if cover images are completely gone from books on your shelf, there would be no need to remove the books from your shelf and repost them. But if the images truly are gone they will have to be rsubmitted by someone or perhaps automatically through the book data service that PBS subscribes to.

At this point I suggest a wait and see position for the moment, and checking the forum for updates.



Last Edited on: 11/28/15 11:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2015 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2014
Posts: 245
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Thanks for looking into this, Chris, and for your response to my question.  I'm sure things will get back to normal sometime.

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,235
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I had about 40 books on my shelf where the covers disappeared. I uploaded them today. Some showed that there were images in places, but not on my shelf list. Pat

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 5:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 2,976
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I was wondering about this. Several images I submitted lately aren't there yet. I also noticed, if a blue image is there, there is no "upload" button by the image, requiring you to go into "book edit" mode to upload a cover. Are these related issues?

I'm going to upload a couple of images I recently uploaded to see what happens.



Last Edited on: 11/28/15 8:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/28/2015 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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Thomas is correct about the blue images having no "upload" button by the image. I think I am seeing this only with the problem images and not with images that were blue boxes before the server problems occurred, but it's hard to be certain.

One thing that is certain, however, is that the display of covers for books that have missing or disappearing images is inconsistent. Some do not display in the small sizes on search result pages and bookshelves, but do display on the book page. And some covers are also showing on the book page as blue boxes but display the large image when they are clicked on. I have not found a distinct pattern for which images do, and which images don't, display correctly. It appears that most of these are not missing entirely from the image library, but are simply not displaying in each of the sizes that the site utilizes.

Also, images that I have approved on Thursday and Friday are not yet showing up correctly, so I am going to hold off on image approvals for now until the problems are fixed and images start displaying normally again.

It may be something as simple as the pathnames where images are stored, or a reference pointer to the images, has changed and therefore the images are not being found, but that is pure speculation on my part.



Last Edited on: 11/28/15 7:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/28/2015 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2013
Posts: 234
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Thanks for the info, Chris.

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,456
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I'm getting various results clicking the blue image boxes from my TBR pile.

They all go to the book's page.  One had no image still on the page and no image when I clicked to make it larger.  The next image had the book cover on the book's page and when I clicked to make the image larger.  Another had still no image on the book's page but I could see the image when I clicked to make it larger.

Date Posted: 11/28/2015 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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The image display problems continue to be inconsistent at this time, and I suspect that the PBS Team won't be digging into the issues until Monday. Hopefully they will get the problems resolved and image displays working correctly within a few days.

 



Last Edited on: 11/28/15 11:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 11/29/2015 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,124
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One interesting thing I noticed is that the images are all being served from http://images.paperbackswap.com. In the past they've come from Akamai, using urls like http://a.pbsstatic.com. I'm not sure when that changed, or if it's related to this current issue. If the book image approvers have noticed when updated covers started appearing on the site immediately after approval, then that would be when they stopped using Akamai to cache files.

It does look like they lost a hard drive though. These are the large/medium/small images for the same book. Large and small work fine, but medium is missing.

images.paperbackswap.com/l/48/5548/9780671665548.jpg

images.paperbackswap.com/m/48/5548/9780671665548.jpg

images.paperbackswap.com/s/48/5548/9780671665548.jpg

Date Posted: 11/29/2015 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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I spent a while uploading today.  I usually do it individually, don't know why.  But after a while I decided to use the form of five.  Only one image took, don't know which, and the error message said the others were not jpgs, which they absolutely were.  So, if I try again, I will do it individually.

Date Posted: 11/29/2015 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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In response to Cathy's post, images have been served from http://images.paperbackswap.com for quite some time now, perhaps over a year, so this is not new. Images replacing the blue "no cover available" boxes generally appear on the site almost immediately after being approved, and images replacing covers already on the site are now also been appearing soon after being approved. (It used to be that replacement images took a week or two before they updated, due to the cache storage on internet servers. I think these images started showing up within minutes after approval at least several months ago, but I don't know of a specific date.) 

In addition to the three image sizes noted by Cathy there is also a fourth, extra large or "xl" size.

The image locations are
       http://images.paperbackswap.com/size/last_two/last_four/isbn.jpg
where
      "size" is one of s,m,l,xl  (for small, medium, large, xlarge)
      "last_two" and "last_four" are the last two and last four digits of the book's isbn
      "isbn" is either the full "isbn-13" or the pbs-assigned "short isbn"

Example : http://images.paperbackswap.com/l/50/3050/9780195053050.jpg  for a "large" size image

PBS accepts image files in jpg format only, and the standard display sizes used by the site are
Small - 60 pixels high. These are the tiny images you get when searching the site with "results per page" set at 100.
Medium - 140 pixels high. These are the image sizes you see on your bookshelf and on home page carousels.
Large - 280 pixels high. This is the image size on an individual book page if the system has an image for it at 280 pixels or larger.
XLarge - 475 pixels high. The image size you see when clicking the image on a book page if the system has an image 475 pixels or larger.

If an image is uploaded at, say, 475 pixels high, then the site wil automatically scale the image down to each of the smaller display sizes. But the site will not enlarge smaller images to larger sizes. Enlarging small images would almost invariably result in poorer image quality. Instead, the site will show the smaller image for all standard display sizes that are larger than the image. For example, an image uploaded at 250 pixels high will display at 60 and 140 pixels, respectively for the small and medium sizes, and at 250 pixels for the large and xlarge displays.



Last Edited on: 11/29/15 6:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Lori M. (ripley) - ,
Date Posted: 11/29/2015 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 1,564
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Chris - For what it's worth, the problem is really bad over on the CD site. I would guess that about 75% of images aren't loading at all over there, no blue box, no nothing.

Date Posted: 11/30/2015 12:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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Wow, Lori, thanks for the additional info. I had no idea about this since I am only on PaperBackSwap and don't use the SwapaCD site. Yikes! It sounds even worse there than here. Thanks for the post, and I hope you and/or other members are contacting the Team about this.



Last Edited on: 11/30/15 12:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/1/2015 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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I have heard back from the PBS Team today and they are working on the image problem(s).

Images that I approved on 11/26 and 11/27 after the system came back up are still not showing up on the site. I also approved a small number of images of the weekend and tonight as tests to see if they would take.  Of the images I approved tonight I am seeing mixed results. Some are displaying at the xlarge image size but not at other sizes, and some are not displaying at all in any size.

Because of the problem with images not displaying after approving them, I have decided not to approve additional images until the problems are fixed and images are again displaying correctly. I cannot speak for other image approvers, but I am personally putting approvals on hold for now.

Meanwhile the pending image queue is growing steadily and currently well over 200 images are awaiting approval. So even when the problem is fixed and the system is working normally again, it will take several days to clear out the pending images. So I suggest holding off on uploading images for a few days until the image problems are resolved and are displaying properly. Your patience in this matter is appreciated, and hopefully the problems will be fixed soon.

Again, the PBS Team is well aware of the problem and is working to fix it; and I'll post updates here as I learn more about what is happening.



Last Edited on: 12/1/15 12:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/1/2015 7:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2006
Posts: 2,410
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Chris - I'm going to copy and paste your above post in the Book Image Collectors' Lounge so that the rest of the Image Team can know the latest update just in case they don't come to the "Questions about PaperbackSwap" Forum.

Since a lot of our images come from Team members, they should probably know to hold off on future submissions until the PBS Team can get a handle on fixing the problems we currently have.

Thank you for keeping us up-to-date!

Date Posted: 12/1/2015 7:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2009
Posts: 92
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Thanks for the update Chris!

Date Posted: 12/1/2015 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 2,976
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Chris, thank you for staying on top of this.  Although not a member of the team, I have posted scores of images to the site. I'll hold off on any new additions until we hear from you to do so.

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