I'm glad to announce that AstroBin is providing a small Raw Data subscription for free! It's only 512 MB, so it's not really suitable for backup purposes, but we couldn't realistically offer a larger one for free.

However, you can use it to share your FIT files, or raw files coming from your DSLR, with other AstroBin users!

In addition to the gift of a free Raw Data subscription, from now on all Private Shared Folders are available to AstroBin users who are not subscribers to the Raw Data platform. That means that if you have a larger Raw Data plan, and want to share a large folder, you can do it with anybody with an AstroBin account!

So, if you haven't already, go check out the Raw Data platform and activate your free plan!

Of course, if you want to get a larger plan to support AstroBin, please do! We accept payments via PayPal.

Thanks!
Salvatore

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Discussions : 2 comments

AstroBin is now open source

Written by on July 22, 2014 .

Dear all,
I'm really happy to announce that after careful consideration, I have decided to open source AstroBin.

The source code available at the following BitBucket repository: https://bitbucket.org/siovene/astrobin/src/.

The code is licensed under the Affero General Public License.

I will personally coordinate the efforts of the people willing to contribute. I came to realize that the list of things that need to be done is much larger than what I can do by myself, so it's for the best to put it all in the hands of the community.

The issue list is vast, as it's visible on BitBucket.

Please get in touch if you wish to contribute, and together we can make AstroBin better and better!

Salvatore.

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Discussions : 4 comments

Changes to the "Image of the Day"

Written by on May 29, 2014 .

Dear all,
many of you have recently brought a little problem to my attention, and I have received a lot of e-mails and feedback with pretty much the same complaint: lately, the "Image of the Day" on AstroBin is not anymore about which image is the best, but it's about who has the most friends and followers.

I agree with your sentiment. I understand that "Likes" are given freely, but too often a mediocre image has been selected as "Image of the Day" when far greater images could have, just because the author of that image probably spends more time networking and making friends than others.

I have decided to improve the situation by giving up on a totally automated algorithm to select the "Image of the Day".

From tomorrow on, a semi-automated approach will be used. Every day, an algorithm will present me (or other individuals whose judgement I trust deeply) with a list of candidates for the "Image of the Day." The one that's deemed the best will be selected manually.

I understand that this takes away a little of the previously entirely democratic approach, but, as a benevolent dictator, my interest is to allow great images to be rewarded with the recognition they deserve.

I hope this decision finds your approval!

Salvatore.

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Discussions : 45 comments

As many of you have heard, OpenSSL was recently found vulnerable to a pretty serious exploit, called Heartbleed.

AstroBin was affected by the problem, and has been patched, so it's safe now.

However, we'd like to advise you change your password, just to be on the safe side.

Here's the direct link to the form: change your password now.

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Discussions : 1 comment

AstroBin accepting donations

Written by on Jan. 28, 2014 .

Dear all,
many of you have asked to be able to donate to AstroBin.

We've tried to keep the website ad-free for the longest possible time, but AstroBin's growth has exceeded our wildest dreams, and maintaining it's getting more expensive every month.

A couple of months ago we have started publishing ads on AstroBin, and that's helping a little, but not enough, for the time being.

No need to panic, but it would be great if you could contribute with a small recurring donation to help us keep the servers running!

We have added a small button next to your user's menu, in the top-right corner.

Thank you!
Salvatore

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Discussions : 6 comments

AstroBin starting to serve ads

Written by on Dec. 6, 2013 .

AstroBin would like to announce that in the next few days it will start serving ads. After over two years running ad free, unfortunately paying for the servers and bandwidth is becoming more and more difficult, as the website gains popularity.

Many of you know that we have tried alternative ways to fund AstroBin so it would cover its own costs. They are the "AstroBin Affiliation Platform" (you can see that as the "Affiliates" products on the front page and some products highlighted on image pages) and the Raw Data Platform for the storage and organization of FIT and DSLR raw files.

Unfortunately these strategies have not proven fruitful enough, so we have to integrate a more traditional form of advertising.

Please rest assured that ads on AstroBin will be astronomy related, unoffensive, hand-picked and approved, and unintrusive.

Thank you for your support and understanding!

Salvatore.

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Discussions : 14 comments

Latest additions and improvements

Written by on Aug. 25, 2013 .

Let me update you with some of the things that have been updated on AstroBin in the last few weeks:

 

# If you want, you can now use your real name on AstroBin. It's in your basic information, in the settings page.

# The Image of the day is now selected amongst the images upload during the previous 7 days. This will give a many good images a better chance to be selected, even when they would have otherwise trumped by much more interesting images.

# There is also room for two daily runners-up for the title of Image of the day. They are the second and third most interesting images selected on a particular day (still by looking at all the images uploaded in the previous 7 days.)

# You can display all AstroBin images as a data list view. This works on personal albums, The Wall, and search pages. Just click on the icon placed at the right on the orange menu bar on top of the images, to toggle the display more.

# You can now browse an Archive of 'Image of the day' winners. It's in the Explore menu.

# As you have undoubtly noticed, the ratings are now displayed in a breakdown view that shows how many times a vote was cast (how many 5*, how many 4*, and so on.)

# The full size images now default to being 1824 pixels wide at the most. This is because many people upload huge images from their Canon cameras, and viewing them in full resolution results in slow download times. You can still see the real resolution using the View menu.

# The pages Popular objects and Night by night have been removed, due to low interest.

# The Request critique button has been removed, due to low interest.

 

I hope you all enjoy this update! I'm always open to your suggestions and ideas, and always working to improve AstroBin.

 

Salvatore.

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Discussions : 10 comments

Dear AstroBin users,

many of you, many times, have rightly reported that there are problems with the rating of the images. I've listened, and over time I brought some incremential improvements to the whole subsystem.

Most notably, I introduced a sigma-clipping cut-off of odd votes and a way to make the number of votes weigh as well, back in October 2012.

However, that was not enough. Many people, you know who you are, have continued to game the system.

They have created dummy account to give 5 stars to their own pictures, and they have systematically assign votes of 1 star only to great pictures just because they were competing, or didn't like that astronomer.

This is not only a great offense towards those who are honest and contribute to build this great community, but also a serious slight to me. I've worked really hard to give AstroBin to you all, and it's costed me many hundreds of hours, and some money too, over the past 3 years.

Some of you, and again, you know who you are, have wasted my time by forcing me to take actions to countermeasure your dishonesty. Still, I will protect your privacy by not disclosing your names to anyone.

On the bright side, after a quick sweep of the data, it looks like there's only a few handfuls of people who have been misbehaving. They have been suspended from further voting, and all of their past votes have been disabled. This has restored the leaderboard and the sorting by best images to saner outputs.

The best astrophotographers on AstroBin will surely notice how they are back on the high spots, after they had been shoved down by a fistful of 1-star votes that were definitely not deserved.

I will keep monitoring the images daily, and continue suspending voting for accounts whose owners behave dishonestly.

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Discussions : Comments are closed.

New features to the rating system

Written by on July 31, 2013 .

Since today, there is a new settings in your site's preferences: "Opt-out from the rating system". This will hide all of your images' past votes, prevent new votes, and remove you from the leaderboard. Also, when searching images and sorting by rating, your images will appear among the last results, with a score of N/A.

 

Additionally, if you have images for which you have disallowed rating, they will no more be counted for the leaderboard, their current rating will be hidden, and they will not be eligible to be selected as Image of the Day.

 

Finally, the leaderboard now only shows 100 users.

 

PS: please remember, if you opt-out from the rating sistem, it may take up to 24 hours to see yourself removed from the leaderboard, while the change to your image pages will be instantaneous.

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Discussions : 14 comments

Some minor changes

Written by on July 25, 2013 .

Yesterday and today some minor improvements have been pushed to the website.

 
The UI framework has been upgraded to the latest version of Bootstrap. This means that IE10 is fully supported.


Some small graphics improvements in the top navigation bar.


The comments section has been improved so that it's less likely that new users are confused between replying to an existing comment and posting a new top-level comments.


The comment reported times now take time zones into account correctly.


The annoying "<br/>" tag in the image thumbnails tooltip has been removed.


When selecting the Image Of The Day, the algorithm now looks at images posted between 48 and 24 hours ago (instead of 24 to 0 hours ago). This will give images posted right before midnight some times to receive votes too, and have a chance. (Thanks Gabriel for the suggestion!) This change will be effective starting tomorrow.

 

If you're finding any strange graphical problems as a consequence of this upgrade, please report it!

That's it for now. Clear skies to all of you!

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Discussions : 2 comments