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Public Dropbox links no longer work as of March 15


stantastic
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I've got a few cache descriptions that have links to MY personal Public Dropbox folder, including .jpg (images), .mp4 (music), and .mov (movie files). As of March 15, public Dropbox links are no longer public and must be "shared." I've solved the images problem -- used Admin Tools > Upload Images... to upload them to gc.com and create new links to those .jpegs. But how do I link to the two other formats in my Dropbox folder? I tried doing a "copy link" and pasting it into the HTML code, but that didn't solve anything. They're still broken.

 

Can anybody suggest the correct HTML code or how to get it to work now that Dropbox requires "shared links" to outside sources? Or do I have to find another place to store those files for public access?

 

Thanks...

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I tried doing a "copy link" and pasting it into the HTML code, but that didn't solve anything. They're still broken.

Can you define what you mean by "still broken"? I just tried it myself by right-clicking on a file in my Dropbox folder in Windows and selecting "Copy Dropbox link", and this is the resulting URL:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/56a9leop1dzgyvs/test.txt?dl=0

When I try to access this address from my work computer, I can access it just fine. I just went to the Dropbox website to see how you would do things there, and I just had to click "Share" and then "Copy link", and it gave me the same URL.

 

Can you give an example of a URL you're trying to use and how you're getting that URL?

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I tried doing a "copy link" and pasting it into the HTML code, but that didn't solve anything. They're still broken.

Can you define what you mean by "still broken"? I just tried it myself by right-clicking on a file in my Dropbox folder in Windows and selecting "Copy Dropbox link", and this is the resulting URL:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/56a9leop1dzgyvs/test.txt?dl=0

When I try to access this address from my work computer, I can access it just fine. I just went to the Dropbox website to see how you would do things there, and I just had to click "Share" and then "Copy link", and it gave me the same URL.

 

Can you give an example of a URL you're trying to use and how you're getting that URL?

 

By "still broken" I mean on the cache page there is a rectangle with a question mark in the middle of it -- so that's what I'm referring to as a broken link. I did EXACTLY what you described as well -- right-clicked on a file, selected "Copy Link", and then tried pasting the resulting URL into the cache page description. After saving the page, the image would not display. Even tried to remove the "dl=0" at the end of the URL. That didn't work either.

 

What I DID discover within the last hour was going to Admin Tools > Upload Image, which uploaded the image to gc.com, then opening THAT upload, copying the URL, and pasting it into the description. That DID WORK!! So, images are solved, although now not being called from MY Dropbox folder. But I'm still having problems with music and movie links to my Dropbox. Tried doing the same thing -- select the file, copy the link, go to the cache description, then paste the link. It comes up with a "File Not Found" error. Check out my cache "Black is Black" (GC48G09) https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC48G09_black-is-black?guid=d0478f7b-cadb-4a37-a7ed-8f10df2b042a. Try clicking on either of the two links in the description.

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Post the movies on Youtube. Heck, make a video with a still image and the mp3 mp4 file and Youtube can host that, too.

 

Thanks, I'll look into that as a last resort -- not exactly what I was hoping for as a work-around. And it still doesn't answer the question as to HOW to get external links to Dropbox files (n particular) to work within cache page descriptions.

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By "still broken" I mean on the cache page there is a rectangle with a question mark in the middle of it -- so that's what I'm referring to as a broken link. I did EXACTLY what you described as well -- right-clicked on a file, selected "Copy Link", and then tried pasting the resulting URL into the cache page description. After saving the page, the image would not display. Even tried to remove the "dl=0" at the end of the URL. That didn't work either.

 

What I DID discover within the last hour was going to Admin Tools > Upload Image, which uploaded the image to gc.com, then opening THAT upload, copying the URL, and pasting it into the description. That DID WORK!! So, images are solved, although now not being called from MY Dropbox folder. But I'm still having problems with music and movie links to my Dropbox. Tried doing the same thing -- select the file, copy the link, go to the cache description, then paste the link. It comes up with a "File Not Found" error. Check out my cache "Black is Black" (GC48G09) https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC48G09_black-is-black?guid=d0478f7b-cadb-4a37-a7ed-8f10df2b042a. Try clicking on either of the two links in the description.

Yep, neither link works for me. It just says "File not found".

 

One thing I noticed is that your URLs look different than the ones I get. For example, yours start with the following and then have the file name after that:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/43917939/

...whereas mine look like this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x5kbu0zzjwm2spq/

The question then is, why are you getting seemingly-incorrect URLs?

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By "still broken" I mean on the cache page there is a rectangle with a question mark in the middle of it -- so that's what I'm referring to as a broken link. I did EXACTLY what you described as well -- right-clicked on a file, selected "Copy Link", and then tried pasting the resulting URL into the cache page description. After saving the page, the image would not display. Even tried to remove the "dl=0" at the end of the URL. That didn't work either.

 

What I DID discover within the last hour was going to Admin Tools > Upload Image, which uploaded the image to gc.com, then opening THAT upload, copying the URL, and pasting it into the description. That DID WORK!! So, images are solved, although now not being called from MY Dropbox folder. But I'm still having problems with music and movie links to my Dropbox. Tried doing the same thing -- select the file, copy the link, go to the cache description, then paste the link. It comes up with a "File Not Found" error. Check out my cache "Black is Black" (GC48G09) https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC48G09_black-is-black?guid=d0478f7b-cadb-4a37-a7ed-8f10df2b042a. Try clicking on either of the two links in the description.

Yep, neither link works for me. It just says "File not found".

 

One thing I noticed is that your URLs look different than the ones I get. For example, yours start with the following and then have the file name after that:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/43917939/

...whereas mine look like this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x5kbu0zzjwm2spq/

The question then is, why are you getting seemingly-incorrect URLs?

 

Thanks for the point out of the "...//dl" versus the "...//www." difference. I don't know WHY it did that. Instead of accessing my Dropbox files from my Mac's drop-down menu, I went directly to my Dropbox.com website and tried it from there. It worked on one file. Yeah. Then I went BACK to my dropdown menu and tried it again on the same file, and THIS TIME I got the "www" link. Pasted THAT into the cache page, and it worked. What I'm now upset with is that when the files are accessed via the cache page, it takes people INTO my "Public" folder first (and displays everything in it), and THEN calls up the file in question. Unfortunately, it's got all that "dropbox-y" stuff in the window rather than JUST the file in question -- which is how it worked on March 14, but not on March 15. But, hey, it's working. Guess I could create a SEPARATE folder specific to each puzzle cache I have media for, since now ALL folders in Dropbox are treated the same.

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Here is what I do. I upload a picture to the cache page.

Then open that picture and copy the web address. Close that picture.

then in note pad I paste this code.

 

<center><img src="code goes here "></center>

 

In the section that says code goes here. I paste that web address.

Copy that whole thing then click on edit on the web page.

In the box that will accept 500 characters I paste the new line of code.

No worries about a web site with problems then. I have even used GIFF with this.

works great.

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Here is what I do. I upload a picture to the cache page.

Then open that picture and copy the web address. Close that picture.

then in note pad I paste this code.

 

<center><img src="code goes here "></center>

 

In the section that says code goes here. I paste that web address.

Copy that whole thing then click on edit on the web page.

In the box that will accept 500 characters I paste the new line of code.

No worries about a web site with problems then. I have even used GIFF with this.

works great.

 

Thanks -- yeah, I follow. If I remember correctly, many moons ago the only image you could upload to the cache page was the background image and nothing else. You could use images on the page, but you had to link them from within the HTML code -- there was no where on gc.com to save them. And my caches are old. Somewhere along the line they allowed the uploading of images to THEIR servers, which is where we are now. To fix my missing images, I did exactly that -- uploaded them thru the Admin Tools > Upload Image... option, created the link from that, and they work. My moves and music files though are NOT accepted in that format, so I've reworked the Dropbox link and now they show up as well, except for the user to see what used to be JUST the file in question, now there's the Dropbox site showing up along with my files. I guess I can live with that...

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Here is what I do. I upload a picture to the cache page.

Then open that picture and copy the web address. Close that picture.

then in note pad I paste this code.

 

<center><img src="code goes here "></center>

 

In the section that says code goes here. I paste that web address.

Copy that whole thing then click on edit on the web page.

In the box that will accept 500 characters I paste the new line of code.

No worries about a web site with problems then. I have even used GIFF with this.

works great.

 

Thanks -- yeah, I follow. If I remember correctly, many moons ago the only image you could upload to the cache page was the background image and nothing else. You could use images on the page, but you had to link them from within the HTML code -- there was no where on gc.com to save them. And my caches are old. Somewhere along the line they allowed the uploading of images to THEIR servers, which is where we are now. To fix my missing images, I did exactly that -- uploaded them thru the Admin Tools > Upload Image... option, created the link from that, and they work. My moves and music files though are NOT accepted in that format, so I've reworked the Dropbox link and now they show up as well, except for the user to see what used to be JUST the file in question, now there's the Dropbox site showing up along with my files. I guess I can live with that...

 

You may remember incorrectly. I have been using the technique described by Mn-Trekker since 2002. But your caches might be older still...

 

Please do not store images (especially images that are important for finding the cache) on a server that does not belong to GC.com or over which you do not have control. It makes me very unhappy when I click to download an image for a puzzle cache and it takes me somewhere like Photobucket. That mostly indicates to me that the CO can't be bothered to do the puzzle right.

 

I wish GC would allow for music files, etc., but unfortunately they do not.

Edited by fizzymagic
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Please do not store images (especially images that are important for finding the cache) on a server that does not belong to GC.com or over which you do not have control. It makes me very unhappy when I click to download an image for a puzzle cache and it takes me somewhere like Photobucket. That mostly indicates to me that the CO can't be bothered to do the puzzle right.

 

Or it could just be that they are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have :)

 

Not EVERYONE is perfect.

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I have a few puzzles that require the actual original image to be available to the use, not the post-processed image that you can upload to GC.com (in reference to the CO "not bothering to do it right"). I have them embedded in my cache page and since March 15, the links did not work. Today I managed to find the solution which is what I think the original questioner was asking.

 

The new Dropbox Links are in the format: https://www.dropbox.com/s/b75b...fvd1/Loon1b.bmp?dl=0'>https://www.dropbox.com/s/b75b...fvd1/Loon1b.bmp?dl=0

 

Simply change it to: https://www.dropbox.com/s/b75b...fvd1/Loon1b.bmp?raw=1

 

...and the image can be embedded the old fashioned way on the cache page. The viewer can then save the image to their computer and do whatever they need to to solve the puzzle.

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Post the movies on Youtube. Heck, make a video with a still image and the mp3 mp4 file and Youtube can host that, too.

I've been working on some "audio clue" cache ideas, and would like to upload a still image video, which cachers would then watch (listen to) on YouTube. Do you know how to prevent it from starting with a video ad? YouTube includes ads, which would ruin an "audio clue" cache idea.

 

I know the policy does change, but currently, if the video is not "monetized", is that suitable to prevent an ad? Or do ads start up at a certain number of views? Or do I just accept that there will be video ads, and in the cache description, tell everyone that the clue is not in any startup ad?

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You may remember incorrectly. I have been using the technique described by Mn-Trekker since 2002. But your caches might be older still...

 

Please do not store images (especially images that are important for finding the cache) on a server that does not belong to GC.com or over which you do not have control. It makes me very unhappy when I click to download an image for a puzzle cache and it takes me somewhere like Photobucket. That mostly indicates to me that the CO can't be bothered to do the puzzle right.

Geocaching.com changes the way the site handles images, without much info on what happened. And for a short while, the changes seemed to remove the EXIF file from a photo (and now it doesn't, so keep track of that if it may be an issue). But most of the time I upload images to one of my archived caches, and accept whatever "adjustment" occurs. Today, photos that are 1200x900 pixels or smaller seem to arrive fine, and most of the time, that works OK. Just some FYI, I hope is useful to the thread. :anicute:

 

It still re-sizes images in surprising ways. I have a printable form that I hoped to keep on a cache page (for ease of doing a multi-cache), and eventually gave up and hosted it on my web site. It kept being resized too small to print.

 

A basic "Web Host" subscription is not super expensive. I have one that is about the cost of an email forwarding service, which the web host includes. That lets email to one address get forwarded to one or more others as desired. And I have tons of room to save images, videos, and music for various projects including cache pages. I don't actually use the public "web site" itself for anything.

Edited by kunarion
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I have a few puzzles that require the actual original image to be available to the use, not the post-processed image that you can upload to GC.com (in reference to the CO "not bothering to do it right").

The problem you had underscores why it's not a good idea to post pictures somewhere other than geocaching.com. I'm glad you found the solution, and I really appreciate you posting it for others. Sure, you have a good reason for doing something more complicated, but I'm perfectly happy with fizzymagic painting with a brush that's a little too broad in order to discourage anyone that's not as sophisticated as you from posting pictures off site. This kind of functional failure is just the tip of the iceberg of reasons being forced to some other site can be annoying when it's not necessary.

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Geocaching.com changes the way the site handles images, without much info on what happened.

Any site can change the way the site handles images. That's why we're having this conversation. Using geocaching.com avoids some of the big things that can change, such as a website going away, an account lapsing, or the site adding a login requirement to view images, all of which I've encountered on links from cache descriptions. Using geocaching.com also avoids forcing me to interact with some other site that I might have no interest in trusting.

 

But I'm also wondering about the geocaching.com problem you mentioned. I thought the only change geocaching.com did was change what happened when an image was uploaded. So, if I'm right about that, an existing puzzle wouldn't break from the changes GS made to image handling. But perhaps I didn't understand whether the EXIF information, for example, was being stripped on upload or download back when it was being stripped.

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I have a few puzzles that require the actual original image to be available to the use, not the post-processed image that you can upload to GC.com (in reference to the CO "not bothering to do it right").

The problem you had underscores why it's not a good idea to post pictures somewhere other than geocaching.com. I'm glad you found the solution, and I really appreciate you posting it for others. Sure, you have a good reason for doing something more complicated, but I'm perfectly happy with fizzymagic painting with a brush that's a little too broad in order to discourage anyone that's not as sophisticated as you from posting pictures off site. This kind of functional failure is just the tip of the iceberg of reasons being forced to some other site can be annoying when it's not necessary.

Whether hosting on or off-site, be attentive with your cache pages if the files are important cache information. Not just "images" but web links, which may all change suddenly. I see many cache pages with a nice big picture in the center of the page that's basically a blank picture which says "Image Removed" :anicute:. In that case those were off-site.

Edited by kunarion
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But I'm also wondering about the geocaching.com problem you mentioned. I thought the only change geocaching.com did was change what happened when an image was uploaded. So, if I'm right about that, an existing puzzle wouldn't break from the changes GS made to image handling. But perhaps I didn't understand whether the EXIF information, for example, was being stripped on upload or download back when it was being stripped.

A couple of times since I started, entire serverfuls of images have moved to new servers, and the links all changed. Usually the new web address was automatically changed, but it created a few minor issues on a couple of my pages. Now photos that are rather large are allowed, so that's fine for almost any cache purpose. But if you also need a lot of music and video, you have to find another host, so it makes sense to host the images there, too. I only have one "MP3" file on a cache page, and it's not critical to the find, so that one is on my web host.

 

I think the EXIF removal thing was happening upon upload, when the image got processed. I saw it due to the Forum posts at the time, and (incorrectly) decided that was the new policy. But it was merely a temporary "feature" of the server, as things got changed around at the time. As far as I can tell, besides the URL, files stay the same after upload, EXIF intact. That subject is in other threads, suggestions about possibly automatically removing EXIF (to avoid spoiling cache locations), and I guess existing images may be part of that discussion.

 

If the site will retain or remove EXIF (or resize above a certain size, or whatever), at least it's nice to know which it is (yeah, and it's handy to know the point where something changes). Sometimes I want to get tricky and need an EXIF in my photo, for a puzzle cache. Well I don't, but many puzzle caches use it. :anicute:

 

Anyway, I have only a passing interest in the exact history of how Geocaching.com servers have treated images over the years. I kept no record at all. But I know that if I upload a file to my own server (and I guess to Dropbox in the case of the OP), and now a cacher opens the link to it, that at least the file itself will be exactly the same thing I started with, viewable as I intended. With Geocaching.com servers, who knows.

Edited by kunarion
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I was the OP on this thread, and I appreciate all the feedback -- especially ALL of the ones that got posted today. I can only guess I was having some link creation problems once Dropbox changed their policy on the PUBLIC folder on March 15. Turns out on one of my puzzle caches that linked to TWO separate .mp4 files in my Dropbox folder, even though I created NEW "shared" links, ONE of them was working and the other was not. I only found out when a friend of mine informed me that one link was actually connecting him to his OWN Dropbox account, and not mine! Sheesh!! I handled both the same, but one worked, the other didn't. It worked for me at home when I first did it, but it was sending me to my OWN folder, and of course as far as I could tell, it "looked" like it was working. In any case, although I don't know how that happened in the beginning, I re-worked the links and NOW things seem to be fine.

 

As for static images, I decided to upload them to the gc.com servers using the Admin Tools function for cache owners. They seemed to work. The puzzles are NOT dependent on EXIF data, nor necessarily on physical size on the cache page, but they DID turn out looking like they were supposed to.

 

I'm still (or was) having a problem with a .mov file. Since gc.com won't accept those, I left it in my Dropbox folder. When I first created the puzzle, it was both "viewable" directly from within my Dropbox folder (using QuickTime) AND also downloadable -- both using the same link. When viewed, it showed up on screen, by itself, in a QT window, and played as expected. BUT -- NOW that the DB Public folder has changed, the movie cannot be viewed without distortion during playback, ruining the entire effect. Instead of the movie showing in its own QT window, it shows up as an object in the center of a Dropbox folder screen, with all kinds of DB stuff along the top (path names, pull down menus, etc). The movie is enlarged and plays with a stuttering and flattening effect. So, I had to change the cache page to specifically say "YOU MUST DOWNLOAD THIS MOVIE TO YOUR HARD DRIVE IN ORDER TO VIEW IT CORRECTLY" -- which kinda spoiled my intended goal. It now works, assuming the puzzle solver downloads the file -- otherwise, they're going to get confused.

 

It was suggested to load movies and such to YouTube instead, but I haven't tried that yet (and now that I have it working, I'm in no hurry to try). With so many clever types of puzzles out there that gc.com allows, it would seem to make sense that they allow NOT ONLY static .jpg images, but also .mov, .mpg, and even .wav files (basically, the most common types of media files).

Edited by stantastic
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My Youtube suggestion was just that, a suggestion. I have not been creative enough to put a puzzle cache together with anything other than images or links, so my needs as a CO are simple. That said, I enjoy creative puzzle hides, including those with audio or video.

 

As far as how to avoid ads on Youtube, I haven't the foggiest.

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