Free & Unlimited Photo Storage From Google

Do you take lots of photos, but have no idea how to organize and back them up? I had the same problem. I have an Android phone and my wife had an iPhone, plus we had a Samsung Android tablet and and iPad. Not to mention the years of photos we had taken and scanned- terabytes of photos- that were scattered on desktops, laptops and external hard drives. There was no easy way for us to backup and access all the photos from all our various devices. And the thought of possibly losing them someday due to a broken hard drive or a natural disaster was terrifying.

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Google has a complete photo management system that solved the problem for us. It’s easy to use and free. It also offers an unlimited amount of storage, although the file size and is slightly reduced (about 40% or so). The reduction in size does reduce the quality of the photos, but if this is only a backup and not your only copy of the photos it won’t matter much.

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For smartphone users, the Google Photos app is very easy to install, and works equally well for both Android and iPhone. Install the app, and associate it with a Gmail account (or open a new one for free).  If you’re an iPhone user, Google will automatically back up all the photos in your Camera Roll, and all the new photos you take whenever you are in wifi range. Android users will also be able to select any number or all of their folders containing photos.

pcoverhaul.com google photos

With the desktop app, your Desktop, My Pictures, My Documents and My Videos folders (and subfolders) are selected by default. You can add as many additional folders as you’d like. In this example I have added two folders from my mapped P drive that has all my photos on it.

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2015-11-30_20-31-32If you have a large number of photos on your computer, the desktop loader may take days or even weeks to get them all uploaded.

The Google Photos Desktop App will continue to run in the background until it catches up, and then it will automatically add new photos as you save them.

In my case, I selected some very large folders and have over 46,000 pending, so it’s bound to take a while.

By logging in to the same account on the app on all your devices- Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Android tablets, Mac computers, Windows computers- the photos and videos from all those devices are all in one place.

For example, I created a new google account just for my family, installed the app on both my wife’s phone and mine, and then installed the desktop app. She can now log in from work and see photos I have taken while I am home with the kids during the day. And we can both access all those years of old photos that we took with our various digital cameras, as well as all the photos and documents I’ve scanned. Everything backed up in one place, for free.

While it certainly isn’t a full-featured editing app, the editor features a basic set of tools for enhancing your photos. Perfect for a quick correction before you post something online.

Using the autofix feature, I did a quick edit of this underexposed picture of my house.

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Before (left) and after (right) using the autofix feature in the Google Photos editor.

Changes you make when editing are applied to the version of the image that’s stored on Google Photos in the cloud, while the original on your device remains untouched.

pcoverhaul google photos multiple file select
Select multiple files by dragging your finger across the screen
pcoverhaul google photos sharing
Share your photos in dozens of ways. Copy the file link for pasting into a message, or share directly into email, app or upload to social media.

Sharing the files is simple and easy.

Just select the file or files you want to share, click on the share icon, and choose how you want to share it. If you want to select a bunch in a row, you don’t have to do them one at a time. Choose the first one, then drag your finger to the last one and Google Photos selects them all.

The Assistant feature in Google Photos is truly amazing. The app chooses certain photos and works some magic with them. In some cases, it may stylize them (think Instagram filter), or add a frame. If photos are similar, the assistant may group them together into a collage. Panoramas will be created by stitching together individual shots if they line up correctly. And if you have pictures taken close enough together in time, the Assistant will throw them all together into an animated GIF file. You can save any of these creations right to your account, or delete them with a swipe of your finger.

Search by a persons face, a pace where photos were taken, or search for "things" found in photos.
Search by a persons face, a pace where photos were taken, or search for “things” found in photos.

The search feature gives you several options to find your photos and videos.

If your photos have names, or are in folders with names, those names are searchable.  But Google Photos goes further by using an algorithm to identify things in your pictures even if they aren’t named. A search for “cat” brought up hundreds of photos of both our current cat and our two previous cats.

Google Photos also gives you the option of searching by category. Here you can see it has displayed faces of some people it found in my photos. Clicking on a face shows all the other matching faces, and you can easily assign a name to any face you choose.

The places category is based on location data in the photos themselves. If you don’t have location data turned on, Google will still try to figure out where a photo is taken and put it in your places file. Somewhere like Cinderella’s Castle at DisneyWorld is going to be easy for the system to identify, for example.

The “things” category is a sort of hodgepodge, and isn’t totally accurate, but can be helpful if you only want photos with the Christmas ornaments, for example, and don’t want to sort through every picture you’ve ever taken at Christmas to find them.

At the bottom you can search your videos, as well as recently added photos, your Google Drive, and any of the creations you have saved with the Assistant feature.

Search by a persons face, a pace where photos were taken, or search for "things" found in photos.
Search by a persons face, a place where photos were taken, or search for “things” found in photos.

I’m very familiar with the delete feature, because I often take photos in burst mode and end up putting the phone back in my pocket before the lock goes on my phone, resulting in dozens of dark blue and black photos.

Deleted photos can be recovered for 30 days, then they are gone forever. You can also go into your trash and permanently delete them whenever you’d like.

Google Photos does all of that and more, and will probably continue to add more features over time.  If you only need to back up photos and videos, this may be the solution for you.

 

How to prevent mobile malware in 3 easy steps | PCWorld

Mobile malware tends to loiter in a few “bad neighborhoods” online that you should stay out of anyway.

Source: How to prevent mobile malware in 3 easy steps | PCWorld

 

Can Mac’s Get Viruses?

I’m sure you’ve probably heard that Apple products like MAC computers, iPhone’s and iPad’s can’t get viruses. If you work in computer repair, you hear about this all the time. Many of my customers tell me they will get a MacBook when they replace their computer because they are tired of getting infected all the time on their Windows based computers. A virus is just a program running on an Operating System, like all other programs. So is the Mac Operating System so secure that you really can’t get infected on a Mac?

First, a virus maker is likely to choose the platform that gives them access to the most potential victims. As this chart from NetMarketShare.com shows, over 85% of computers are still running some form of Windows.


Also, probably due to the fact that there are so many more computers running Windows than OSX, most programmers learn to code for Windows computers. And most of the tools and scripts that virus makers use in constructing malware are designed to target Windows.  These may be some of the reasons why Windows has been targeted far more than Apple’s Operating Systems.

The Mac Operating Systems, starting with OSX 10.0 (Cheetah) are based on UNIX. The UNIX permission structure prevents unauthorized execution of software, which makes it harder for viruses to infect your Mac. Windows will try to run a program any way it can, even if it’s being redirected by a virus, but UNIX will stop a virus in its tracks if it detects an unauthorized redirection. As great as this is, it doesn’t make your Mac computer immune. To infect a Mac, the viruses just need to be written well enough to get around the UNIX code. Not as easy as coding a virus for Windows, but do-able.

 

Starting with OSX 10.8 (Mountain Lion), Macs have a host of built in protection from malware, including  Gatekeeper. These additional measures make your Mac more secure than a computer running Windows.

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It would be easy to become over confident in all this security if you own a Mac, but that’s a mistake. There have been several major Mac  virus outbreaks in recent years, and with more and more people using Apple products like the iPhone and iPad, there will surely be more to come.

There was also the recent hacking of Apple’s iCloud. There’s some concern that malware could be copied to your computer using your iCloud account or Apple ID.

As computerhope points out:

Although the Apple OS is more secure than many versions of Windows, any software, plug-ins, or other add-ons that are installed onto the computer and connect to the Internet can introduce their own security vulnerabilities. The most common ways to attack a Mac computer is through a third-party browser and browser plugins like Adobe Reader, Flash, and Java. Today, most Mac users have these plugins installed and enabled on the computer, and, in doing so, compromise the overall security of the system.

 

Avast_1_-_Avast_is_free_to_download_and_has_a_talent_at_spotting_Mac_malware

So even though you may have a Mac, please make sure you have an antivirus product installed. If you’re not sure what to use, here’s a review from Macworld UK.

 

 

How to Back Up Your iPhone

Having a current backup of the files on your iPhone is always a good idea, in case it’;s lost, stolen, or damaged. Most iPhone users don’t know how to run a local backup and end up relying on the iCloud for their backups.  iCloud can be a great option for small numbers of files, but the free account is limited to 5GB of files.

Backing up your phone to your computer is a better option because your computer’s hard drive is huge, so you can keep multiple backups of your files.

You can back up your iPhone using iTunes. In my case, I have a PC, but it works the same way on a Mac. Apple creates and encoded copy of your files and settings and puts them into a temporary folder. If you need to restore from the backup later, iTunes can copy all your information back to your phone, or to a new phone if you are upgrading or lost or damaged your phone.

 

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iTunes will back up  all of your Camera Roll Photos, SMS messages (texts), settings, contacts, and your app data. It will not backup any synced music, videos, or podcasts.

iTunes performs this backup automatically anytime you sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with your computer, but it’s a good idea to do it once in a while for backup purposes.

If for some reason iTunes won’t cooperate, or you prefer an interface where you can choose which files are backed up, I suggest taking a look at Appandora.

 

 

Sign Documents easily on any IOS Device

If you have an iPhone or Ipad you can use the Sign Easy app to sign documents digitally. No more scanning and faxing signatures!

Sign Easy

 

You can get Sign Easy from the App Store here:

 

thingCHARGER

Let’s face it, all of us are using more and more technology on a daily basis. And I’m a sucker for really useful gadgets. So any new gadget that makes using all that technology easier is right up my alley.

Think about all the chargers you have for your mobile devices. My wife and I each have a smartphone – I have a Galaxy S4 from Samsung and she has an iPhone 5, so we can’t share a charger. Our iPad uses the older iPhone 4 charger so we have a few of those around. And we kept our old smartphones and use them off the data plan for the kids to play educational games on. That’s even more chargers. We keep multiple chargers in various places around the house so we don’t have to keep unplugging them and moving them.

This gadget makes all of that clutter and all those chargers go away. thingCharger is a simple enough concept. It plugs in to any existing outlet,  and adds a charging port on the top of the outlet. In the back of the thingCharger are tips for the common mobile device types (Apple Lightning tips for the i{hone 5 are $9 extra).

The charging tips and the back of the thingCharger where they are stored.
The charging tips and the back of the thingCharger where they are stored.

This let’s you mount your phone or tablet ontop of the outlet without any adapter or cable. It adds 2 USB ports on the bottom and you can still access the 2 power outlets. As if that wasn’t enough, they are stackable! You can plug several in ontop of one another and have multiple devices charging from one outlet.

Several thingCharger's stacked together with devices charging ontop.
Several thingCharger’s stacked together with devices charging ontop.

The project is still in the manufacturing phase but you can buy them now. And if you buy several you can get some for free. Buy 3, get 2 free, buy 4 get 3 free, buy 5 and get 5 free.

You can watch the full video and read more about thingCharger on their website.