Web Photo Access
HP has changed the MSS' web photo sharing and viewing features. But there are now two ways to view stored photos via a web browser, which can be confusing.
The first method is via the Photo player in the web Media Streamer (Figure 16). Like the Music player, you get folder and date views that include photos uploaded to the server either with the collection tool or manually copied to the MSS' Photo folder. With multiple systems supplying content to the MSS, however, the Folder view is less useful than the date view. The player controls, shown in the right panel of Figure 16, let you shuffle the order and play the images full screen in your browser.
Figure 16: Web Media Streamer photos by date
The second web photo viewing method is via the HP Photo Viewer that is also found on the Remote Access landing page. This application allows web based viewing of photo albums that you have "published" using the HP Photo Publisher (more shortly) on your MediaSmart Server.
With the Photo Viewer, however, all albums published are public and cannot be password-protected. You also can't prevent downloading of images. Figure 17 shows the Photo Viewer landing page showing the available albums, while Figures 18 and 19 show the filmstrip and slideshow views respectively.
Figure 17: HP Photo Viewer available albums
The Photo Viewer doesn't allow associating music with a slide show, and the slide show doesn't play full screen.
Figure 18: HP Photo Viewer Filmstrip view
Figure 19: HP Photo Viewer Slideshow view
The Photo Publisher (Figure 20) is a significant improvement over the publisher found in the first-generation product. In addition to "publishing" photos on your MSS, the new publisher also can publish to Snapfish, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, or Facebook. Of course, in order to publish, you need an account on the target web sites, as well as user account on the MSS.
Figure 20: Photo Publisher Interface
Publishing is quite simple. You click on the site (select HP Photo Viewer to publish on the MSS) for publication and provide your login information. You then select either an existing album, or create a new album and then select images from the folder view on the MSS. As shown in Figure 21, photo selection using Firefox on a Mac works well. (I also tested it using Firefox on a PC with the same results.)
Figure 21: Photo publisher photo selection
I should note that viewing photos on the MSS is quite different than on the Linksys Media Hub. On the Media Hub, the Linksys import tool collects data from clients and photo albums are automatically created. Viewing photos either on LAN-based machines or remotely is done using a single web interface.
On the MSS, the media is also copied from clients with the WHS connector installed. But photo albums are not automatically generated. Clicking on the Photo icon in the MSS Control Center merely opens the Photo share where the files are aggregated. The lack of album auto-generation was a competitive weakness of the first-generation MSS and it looks like it continues into the second.