TL;DR uploading a large number (several hundred) of high quality photos to Facebook is problematic. I would recommend against it but like most people most of my friends are on Facebook so this is the most convenient platform for them to view and comment.

I have recently been uploading our wedding photos to Facebook and it is a horrible experience so am documenting this for future me, and anyone else who might face the same issues.

Firstly, note that I could not find a way to actually upload full resolution photos to Facebook on desktop. The process described below is just a way to get the photos onto Facebook with minimal effort. The web based Facebook uploader does not upload the original files, it seems to resize the photos in-browser prior to upload.

This post is applicable if:

  1. You have a large number of photos to upload into an album; and/or
  2. Your photos are high quality (10-20MB photos); and/or
  3. You intend to upload using a desktop browser, on Windows; and/or
  4. Ordering of the photos is important to you


  1. If your photos do not have correct date/time taken you probably want to name your photos so they're in the right order when sorted by filename.
  2. Using a separate Explorer window, split your photos into <1GB batches

On point 1, this is a particular problem with wedding photos as your photographers are likely using multiple cameras and in my experience the camera times are often out of sync.

Point 2 is extremely important. Anecdotally, if you try to upload a batch of photos >1GB in size, Chrome will likely crash, and Firefox will prepare the upload but the Post button will be disabled.

This tends to be a problem with high quality photos such as wedding photos where it's common to have 10-20MB photos.

I think what is happening behind the scenes is that Facebook is resizing the photos in Javascript, in-browser, and hits some bug/browser issue when the batch size is too large. I wasted many hours trying to figure out why Chrome kept crashing and only through a process of trial and error found that <1GB works. This is on a Windows 10 system with 32GB of RAM so no RAM pressure, hence it's likely a JS/browser issue.

If order of the photos is important to you:

  1. Adding Contributors will result in the uploaded photos sorting by date taken. You can not change this, despite what the dropdown says. You will have to re-order the photos manually after the upload is complete. This is extremely tedious with a large album due to the limited drag & drop interface provided.
  2. If you don't add Contributors, the default is "drag and drop" order which is the order you see in the upload screen.

Upload process:

  1. Create an album as normal
  2. When choosing photos to upload, use the "Upload Photos or Videos" button, don't drag and drop photos into the Facebook tab. In the Explorer window that appears, select the LAST photo first, then Shift-Click the FIRST photo.
    This results in Explorer feeding the photos to Facebook in the right order. If you try to naively select First -> Last, you will find that the Last photo gets chucked first into the queue, followed by photos 1 to (Last-1).

Bonus bug: the Android app will not let you comment or tag photos #128 and beyond within an album if you tap straight into the photo from the album view. However if you enter on photo 128 and swipe to get to photo 129 and above, you will have those options. This was reported to Facebook on 16 November but so far no resolution.

TL;DR Aussie Broadband GOOD, Telstra BAD. Treat departing customers just as well as (or ideally better than) you would current and prospective customers.

Recently I've gone through the experience of cancelling broadband services with two providers.

The first was Aussie Broadband. This was amazingly straightforward.

I called, spoke to a friendly fellow who asked why I was cancelling -- I'm on HFC NBN which is notoriously flaky so thought I'd give Vodafone NBN a try as they offer a free 3G/4G backup -- and he was very sympathetic, acknowledging the aforementioned HFC flakiness. The exchange came across very much as a "we're just asking to make sure you're making a sensible decision for your situation" which is appreciated.

The call took all of 3 minutes (including no wait time) and there was nothing further to do. He informed me that my service was paid up until and so I had another week or so to maximise my fees already paid as they don't pro-rate refunds. I was happy to waive that.

Contrast this to Telstra.

I cancelled my HFC service of almost 8 years on 26 April. I was told I'd receive a final bill on 28 May which was odd. I also received a bill on 28 April for the period 26 April to 23 May which I queried. I was told that's just how their system operates (pay in advance... even if it was a service they knew they'd never deliver to me!), and I would receive the final bill on 28 May refunding those fees. Okay...

28 May rolls around and my account is now in credit as expected. I go on Telstra Live Chat hoping it will be a simple request to get the credit refunded to the credit card they already have on file and am told it can only be done via phone.

"Just call 132200 and say Billing" he says.

I ask why he can't process my request electronically as I hate phone conversations as they make things difficult to follow up when something goes wrong.

He says they need to get my details securely so they can arrange the refund.

I ask why he can't just refund to the same credit card they've had on file for over 2 years and he says he doesn't have access to the systems required.

Hello Telstra! Why are your internal demarcation issues visible to the customer? You're a $45 billion dollar business.

I give in and call 132200 and say "billing". I don't want a payment extension. I don't want a copy of my bill. I don't need someone to explain my bill to me. I get bounced through 3 levels of IVR, none of which offer me the option of requesting a refund.

Silence turns out to be the best option as the system eventually gives up and puts me through to a queue with an 8 minute wait. The final rep is very helpful, and indeed refunds my money to the same credit card already on file. "We don't need any more details", she says. What a revelation.

Why is this a problem?

Contrast the outcome of the two experiences.

I would (and likely will) become an Aussie Broadband customer in future because I now know that it's so easy to leave. I know that when they offer month to month services with no lock-in they really mean it -- no painful exit processes to discourage you from leaving.

But I will almost never become a Telstra customer again given how painful it is to leave. This was their final chance to leave a good impression and this is the best they could come up with.

Games, gambling, and kids

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This post was motivated by the following article: Counter-Strike skins gambling: Australian teens risking thousands through video game.

It raises an issue that I have been pondering for several years, without conclusion.

Background: Valve Corporation is the company that created CS:GO and Team Fortress 2. Valve also runs a platform called Steam which you can think of as being similar to Apple's App Store or Google's Play Store, but for PC games. Virtual items can also be traded within Steam, i.e. players can buy items from other players for dollar denominations.

Besides what this article reports, there's a more fundamental gambling related issue in CS:GO, and another Valve title, Team Fortress 2.

When you play these games you are randomly given "weapon cases" (CS:GO) and "crates" (TF2). These are virtual gift boxes that you need a key to open. The keys cost US$2.50.

Inside these boxes are a predefined list of possible items. These items have varying appeal to gamers which is what ultimately affects their price. Items can be resold both on Valve's Steam platform, and via 3rd party sites -- this is worth noting since without tradability the value of the unboxed items would be limited and the appeal of opening cases/crates would be significantly diminished.

Essentially the design of this system is no different to that of a lottery. You pay US$2.50 for each lottery ticket which grants you a chance to win any of a predefined* list of prizes.

*- There is one difference to regulated lotteries: the payout ratio is undefined. Probabilities of the prizes are not stated and have only been empirically estimated from community collated data (i.e. players report what they got, and how many boxes they opened).

My issue with the system is that players (read: children and teenagers) are regularly encouraged to participate in this lottery system. Players are frequently given cases/crates, acting as a constant reminder of the prizes that await them should they wish to spend US$2.50.

Furthermore, despite the article's mention of parents' credit cards, that is not actually a barrier to participation.

Steam gift cards are readily available for cash purchase in major retailers like Coles, Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi, EB Games, and service stations. For readers outside Australia, these are our major supermarkets, electronics and games retailers.

The question in my mind: if we don't allow kids to buy lottery tickets, why do we allow them to gamble online?

This is no different to a kid walking into a newsagent and asking for an Instant Scratch-It. Actually, it's even worse. It's like a kid going into a newsagent and having the proprietor say "hey kiddo, wanna win $25k?".

Now to argue against myself because, on further consideration, resolution is not straightforward.

As a kid I bought basketball cards. Other kids bought footy cards.

If you think about it, those are no different to the virtual cases/crates of CS:GO and TF2 -- you paid a few bucks in the hope that the pack you opened would contain that rare card of your favourite player, or maybe some other rare card that you could trade.

And it's not just sports cards -- card games like Magic: The Gathering are built on the same system.

That makes it really tricky to draw the line.

I do believe there is value in kids learning to trade, and learning within a context that they care about. People learn best when they practice in a context that they enjoy.

Perhaps then the goal should be to keep as much of those positive aspects whilst avoiding mechanisms that are known to be addictive, especially for games aimed at kids, or that we know kids will be drawn to.

In the specific case of CS:GO and TF2, I'd argue that their case/crate systems serve no purpose except to hook players into an addiction based system that has no core gameplay purpose (the items in CS:GO and TF2 are all cosmetic or stat-tracking, i.e. you killed X with this gun).

I understand why Valve chose this model as it is extremely profitable for them. But surely there is some responsibility then to limit participation by minors.

At this stage my thinking is not for regulation, primarily because it's unclear to me how we could clearly define what's acceptable and what's not.

However, it is interesting to note that for CS:GO neither the Australian classification (MA 15+) nor the ESRB (M 17+) mention anything about gambling.

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