Photo Software

It looks like I have about 8 gigabytes of photos over >6,000 photos.  Like everything else, I’ve tried several software packages for working with the photos.  I don’t use most of the editing features, other than crop and red-eye removal (when I remember.)  I do frequently need to adjust the photo date, as many of my old pictures didn’t capture it correctly (my old camera would lose the date/time everytime the battery got changed, so lots of my photos say 1/1/1998.)

I’ve been using Google’s Picasa for the past few years.  It has the above mentioned features, and a pretty good facial recognition system for tagging.  As I add pictures, it scans them and identifies faces and who they might be, then I confirm or change that.  This has been really good for requests like this one from Bethany:  “I need a baby picture for next year’s yearbook by tomorrow.”  She was able to easily look through all of the photos where her face is tagged and pick one in minutes.

Picasa lets you upload pictures to the web, and has the ability to import from iPhoto, although it doesn’t do a very good job.  It loses the iPhoto events, albums, faces, etc., and shows them in a mostly meaningless folder structure by date.  Plus, most (all?) of the stuff in iPhoto I’ve already brought in to Picasa, so there are lots of apparent duplicates.  I want to get down to one authoritative collection, get it tagged right, post if online and back it up.

Picasa uploads to Google Drive, and you see it through G+ Photos.  15GB of storage space.

I’ve tried Windows Live Photo in the past.  It has most of the same functions, is also free, and works seamlessly with MS Skydrive.  Since they give 25GB of space, that’s pretty appealing. Of course, it’s easy to get multiple accounts in either service, or you can pay for additional storage.  I don’t think this product works on the Mac, which was a plus for Picasa.

I use an Apple MacBook Air as my notebook machine now, so have moved all of my personal photos here.  I’ve tried iPhoto, which is pretty cool, but locks me into the Apple world.  Still, since I also use iPhone and iPad, and have an Apple TV, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Still, I’ve done all of my tagging in Picasa, and would likely need to redo that if I moved the photos over to iPhoto.  I haven’t looked at Aperture yet.

Now Flickr is giving us 1 terabyte of storage, with most of the functional limits removed.  I’ve only started to look at that system and what it can do.

I’m sure you have a system that you use and love – please let me know in a comment here!

-JFS

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Becoming more social

Having always been the computer geek in my crowd (albiet a small crowd), I’ve accumulated accounts with nearly every social networking system out there.  I lurk on most of the services, and try to understand what their value is relative to the others.  Truth be told, many times I’m somewhat reluctant to post what I think, because I hate getting flamed by people who disagree with me, don’t want to offend people, and don’t want to create ghosts that come back to haunt me later in my professional life.

I do believe in the value of social media, and am intrigued by the massive pricetags of properties like Instagram and Tumblr as they’ve gotten bought up by the giants of the industry.  I’m going to try to step up my usage of these systems, posting whatever insights I come upon along the way.  To that end, I’ve linked many of my accounts together so that when I post on one, the others get a reference.  This blog is hosted on WordPress; I’ve linked it to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr.  I think that means that a “wall” post of some sort will appear on each.  Since my Twitter is already linked to Facebook (Tweets get posted to Facebook), it will be interesting to see with this post if I get doubles on Facebook. [Follow-up: I got a post via Twitter with a t.co link back to this post, and a post via WordPress with a john.jfschroeder.com link.  The words included were the same – most of the first paragraph here.]

In part I’m doing this out of jealousy.  A close friend from high school, Peter, posts frequently to his LimeGuy50.com blog.  He decided when he turned 50 to write something everyday, did so every day for more than a year, and continues.  He has inspired me to try to share more.  I’ve learned so much about him and his family, and get to participate in his life from several states away.

Here’s what I think so far:

  • Facebook – the big dog in the social networking game.  Some days I love it, and other days hate it.  I don’t play any games (like Farmville or whatever the current rage is), although I did try once – I hated having my crops die if I left it alone for a few days!  I have tons of “friends” there, including many people from high school, churches I’ve attended, and singing groups I’ve belonged to; I also have acquantances there, people who found me and connected for one reason or another.  Sometimes I get irritated because my newsfeed has gotten very politically polarized, and I’ve become a little too liberal to let some of the “conservative” stuff roll off my back.  Facebook doesn’t make it easy enough to filter that stuff out, particularly from the mobile versions (I use iPhone and iPad.)  So far this is where I’ll share from first.  I am reluctant to include people I work for here, and don’t currently follow my boss.  I do follow the college CIO, but I don’t think he uses his account much.
  • Twitter – My son Alex loves this, and it’s hard to get him to disengage from his Droid long enough to maintain a conversation.  I find Twitter to be the best place for up-to-the-minute news and reactions.  The web version has gotten much better as a way to read the feed.  I follow lots of computer industry types, as well as a number of local media people.  It’s not my go-to place for sharing, unless I think it might be interesting for anyone (not just my friends.)  The feed moves fast, so it’s a bit hard to follow.
  • LinkedIn – This is designed for professional connections.  It had the best interface for collecting my online resume and sharing.  I find work connections generally are willing to connect here, even if they refuse to use Facebook.  I rarely post here, although with this WordPress publishing connection that may change.  I don’t generally want to put personal stuff on this account.  I did realize early on that it could reflect my singing career in addition to my computer career, so I’ve made connections that way.  They have a group feature which sends me daily summaries of messages posted in the group.
  • Tumblr – With the recent buyout plan by Yahoo, I’m reconsidering what it is about.   It has a very different blogging paradigm: very simple, visually oriented.  I thought it was just a place to post pictures/animated GIFs with comments.  They don’t seem to filter postings as much as the other big services, so allow nudity and NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content – and as something of a dirty-old-man, I can confirm that some of that content is first rate.  However, this is one of the places that really scares me for posting and following.  I’m only human, and my wife prefers that I look at pictures with nudity along with her (as opposed to by myself); I’m really afraid that anything I look at or like there could hurt me professionally or otherwise.  As such, I’ve stopped following any of that (find it yourself) and tried to reform how I look at this product.  Not many of the people I know have accounts here (based on Facebook and Contacts searches for accounts), and few of those actually post anything.  One of those happens to be my beautiful daughter, Bethany.  I’ve read recently that young people are fleeing from Facebook because they don’t like that their elders are all there now.  That’s too bad, but I do see a major difference in the kind of postings each group makes.
  • Google Plus – the latest effort by Google to compete in the social world.  I have an account, follow some people, but don’t really use it yet.  Hangouts are supposed to be a great feature, allowing multi-person video chats.  It’s on most of my devices, and my family email is hosted on Google Apps, so who knows for the future?  The link I provide here may not be very good – it’s not the simple form that I have for most other accounts.  G+ integrates Picasa photo sharing, which I’ve been using for quite a long time, even if I haven’t publicly posted that much.

Photo sharing sites are subject of another post.  Since I’m writing this during a quiet time at work, I should probably wrap up.

Till next time …

-JFS