iPhone Live Photos

iPhone Live Photos

I’ve had my new iPhone for only 4 days now.. but I can tell you that I am quite impressed with the Live Photos feature.   Initially when I saw it, I was sure it was going to feel gimmicky.   Like many people, I can tell you that the emotional connection you get with a live photo is much more than a still.

In order to take a live photo with your iPhone, you use the little yellow icon at the top of the screen to toggle them on/off.  I am not going to go into the HOW these work.  There are plenty of sites doing that.  I just wanted to share my experience with them, albeit limited.

Live Photos Icon
Live Photos Icon

When you take a photo, yes, you can go back and hold the screen down with 3D touch and see the animation.  That is just a portion of the “magic” that you get with a Live Photo. Where I really start to see the value is in the integration with the rest of the ecosystem.  When you are scrolling through the images in your camera roll, each image has a slight bit of life to them.  This is subtle, but it helps me remember the moment just a touch more than before.   Then, the kicker for me is the integration with the watch.   When you create a photo face from a live photo, every time you pull up the watch to see the time, you get a live photo animation.

I really think Apple is on to something here.  Yes, they are not the first to do this, but they have the power to make it real.   I hope they open this up for everyone to create and play these photos.   Still photos are an artifact based on a medium.   Most of us don’t print out photos anymore, why not make them have more life.  I say bring it on.  I love them.

Giving up on Photos and iCloud for my photo needs

Giving up on Photos and iCloud for my photo needs

It’s been a rough time trying to figure out if iCloud and the Photos app was going to be the solution for me.  TL;DR – No, it is not for me.

I started out on the beta of the photos app.  The idea of using iCloud for storage and Photos on my phone was a great concept.  The ability to look up any photo at any time was exciting.  In practicality, it just didn’t work.  I will say the Photos application on my Mac did a remarkable job when processing that many photos. The challenge came when  trying to use it on my phone. My phone just became incredibly slow and trying to scroll through that many photos. The worst part was that I would take a photo, it would take 15 to 30 seconds for a photo to show up in my library. This was just not usable.

What I realized is that I use my camera less than ever before. I finally deleted the photos out of the application in an effort to see if it was a corrupted file or something causing the slowness. Then when I reuploaded photos I ended up with multiple duplications.I am now on my third iteration trying to get the photos application to work. This weekend I just decided to declare Photos bankruptcy and give up. I’m going to delete all of the photos that were in iCloud.
I have turned off photo storage on my devices until I can get the 30 days RECENTLY DELETED gone.  I am not sure why there is no easy way to purge the trash. At this point, there are 90k photos in there.  Once I can get all of the photos removed, and all of the photos out of the backed up deleted files, I will re-enable this feature and just keep the photos syncing across devices. I will then just continue to use my old process of filing photos by year and by event; editing and sifting through them by hand as normal.
I really had high hopes for iCloud photo storage to work. It turns out the main issue was really the ability for the phone to write quickly to the database when I had over 50,000 photos.  It made my phone crippling slow. I hope they can get this figured out in the future but in the meantime I’m going to be using my old process to manage photos.
UPDATE:  Monday, September 28, 2015.   I have read a bunch recently about the improvements since launch.  I have gone back and re-uploaded my photos to see how things worked.   Seems like things are much improved and I am going to stick with it for a while.  Hopefully this keeps on working. 
Annual Photo Backup Reminder Program

Annual Photo Backup Reminder Program

OK.. it’s the end of the year.  When was the last time you backed up your photos?

I know many of you have a process for backing up of your files.  I also know that many of you (despite knowing better) have yet to put the time and effort into doing this important task.   Yes, you should back up your documents and other files as well, but lets stay focused on pictures here.  This is where I get the most panicked phone calls; missing and lost photos.

Double Backup – two locations

The general rule I have is to always maintain at least 2 backups.  One on-site and one off site.  Why?  What happens when your house burns down?  If you didn’t have a copy somewhere else, you have lost all your precious memories.  I know what you are thinking, my house won’t burn down.  Well, it happened to my sister.  She DID have backups at home, but they were lost in the fire.  Seriously, Even if you just backup to a USB drive and take it to work or a friends house, do it. If you do this task once a year, the worst case is you lost a years worth of pics.  Not everything.

I personally use a combination of locations.  I may go overboard, but I am very protective of our pictures and memories.  Here is my setup:

  • My main location for files is in my pictures folder on my Mac.
  • I have a backup stored on a network drive (Drobo) that I manually copy
  • I have a time machine backup running to my Drobo as well
  • My remote copy is stored on Dropbox.
  • EDIT: I have since moved my Offsite Backup to Crashplan
    • Many people have so wisely pointed out that Dropbox is not a good backup solution, it is a sync solution.

Notice, I have 2 local backups, and one remote (off site) backup

I happen to store my photos in a nested folder structure that is by year/event.   This enables me to easily find and share photos as needed.

  • 2013
    • Michelles Birthday
    • Easter
    • Camping
  • 2014
    • Vacation to mars
    • Work event

Some online resources you can also use include:

Crashplan – automatic backup

Backblaze – another automatic backup solution

Flickr – you get 1 TB of storage now.. for free

Google Drive – yes, you can upload them to your drive account

 

Smartphone Backup

If you are anything like the rest of the world you are taking more photos on your smartphone and less on a regular camera.    Don’t forget to back these up.   I suggest at the end of the year  to take a snapshot of your phone pics and copy them to your YEAR/PhoneBackup folder.  I have one of these for each of the past 5 years.  I know I lost some photos prior to that, but I am pretty diligent now.

The method of retrieval depends on Mac/PC and the type of phone you have.   (iPhone/Android/other).  A little research and you can easily find ways to copy all the files at once to your computer.

Another thing I do is run backups from my phone to online services.  I use iCloud Drive for photos backup on my iPhone.  I also run Carousel (from Dropbox) to maintain a backup of photos from my device to the cloud.  I am an Amazon Prime member, so I am considering trying out their free photo backup solution as well. (it is free for prime members)  I don’t really need it, but that nagging in my head about backing up is telling me to add another online service to protect these photos.  (maybe I have an issue with OCD here)

 Anyway…

Just take the time to do it.  Back things up.  Get them off your computer drive and on to some external source.  Get a copy out of your house.  By making sure  you are redundant with these you can protect against corruption of files, fires, theft, etc.  Trust me, you will be happy you skipped that episode of Nashville to take care of this.

iCloud Photo Beta update – big miss

iCloud Photo Beta update – big miss

I was excited today to hear that iCloud Photo beta was allowing you to upload photos from the web.  We all have to wait until next year when the new app comes out, so this was my only way to get old photos back on my phone.   (without turning it off and going the sync route)

Here is the big fail: If you upload old photos, it puts them in as if they were taken today! Seriously Apple?  The meta data is there on a photo.  Did that not come across as a single test case for someone?   Even Amazon got it right.  I was testing the Amazon Prime photo backup solution.  I uploaded the same old files to Amazon and they got it right!  Apple.. come on now, letting Amazon beat you on a user experience?

I hope Apple isn’t losing it’s edge.