Thursday, July 02, 2015

A bandwidth comparison as the photo upload race continues …

Data usage on my mobileIts no secret that I am disappointed with google photos and particularly in the crippling of picasa’s wonderful sharing capabilities. However I am trying to be fair in the comparison and thus want to try and follow as much detail of the race between google photos and flickr apps on my phone as I can. So here is a comparison of (mobile) data use for last month including the period I was travelling (the light blue area of the usage graph on the right).

In theory the same photos have been uploaded to both services (in practise there are differences BUT more photos have been uploaded to flickr!). So the observation that google photos has used almost three time as much of my bandwidth for essentially the same task, is another stumble for google photos. The better news is both have used only a fraction of the space taken up by the actual photos, so they are obviously doing good things in terms of compression and effective image size/quality trade off.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Google Photo falters at the line … …

I doubt the race is over yet but the google photos, google+, picasa team failed to deliver while I was travelling in two aspects. First the uploading of images from my phone was very erratic (I suspect an automatic upldate to the google photos app didn't load correctly and was queued on my phone for a few days). Second from about Wednesday last week till this morning I have not been able to reconnect into my google account from my laptop. This came about because I was continually getting an error message when trying to upload an album from picasa (the progressive album of my travels for my family) So I The unfortunate webpage not available messagelog out from picasa and when I tried to load back in I always got a blank pop up screen. Gmail was logged in so I tried logging out and back in …same problem!

I was still seeing google notification of new items in assistant (aka annoy-ant) and could usually click on the link and see those items, but alas trying to look around google photos from there usually resulted in the dinasaur screen (webpage not available). I suspect my lack of access was a google problem.

Thus I abandoned using and of the google team to preview,cull & share and went over to aftershot, perfect photo suite and  lightroom (painfully slower than picasa) and uploaded where necessary to flickr. The flickr app on my phone was slowly keeping pace with phone photos. A somewhat confusing emailsThe tortoise is well ahead now.

Once I got home I was able to, after a few tries (getting the same blank pop up screen) to eventually log via picasa. Then after a few more tries upload some photos in a picasa album to google photo’s collection. Then several on my previous retries showed up and it was clear I was attempting to upload the same thing several times. It took a while to abort everything and start again, then I notice I had a strange email (shown on the right). Whilst I do still have windows explorer on my laptop, I always used google chrome? I can only assume this was picasa (using a microsoft’s internet explorer pop up window). I’m not seeing a very consistent approach here to photo management from google. It appears more like the rabbit is chasing its tail.

Clearly the competition to gobble up all my photos is far from over, Now that I’m back home I found the desktop apps for google’s auto backup and Flickr’s Uploadr had both decided to pop up and ask me (yet again) to start uploading everything. Perhaps that are just letting me know they have been updated. Perhaps that is were the real race is. Needless to say I declined.
google's auto backup dialogue .vs. flickr's Uploadr dialogue

Sunday, June 28, 2015

not so fast now

Neither of the two runners are drawing away, in the smartphone photo upload to the cloud race, while I am in low connection - infrequent WiFi land. Not that that worries me, I’m used to uploading photos from my phone regularly. A few images are getting through to the separate clouds, but interestingly they are not the same photos and appear at different times. I haven’t counted exactly but google is probably ahead

Old reliable picasa to the rescue (creating a new Web Album)The biggest issue I am having is trying to group the one’s I want not those chosen by the google photo assistant (aka annoy-ant). Put simply I don’t like google photo not allowing me to use those new potentially good tools and wasting my time with photo I’d rather overlook. Changing the name from autoawesome to assistant doesn't help, it just annoys me now. Also there is the confusion of terminology now that collections are being used instead of album in some places but not in others, For example if you click on a photo on-line it says add to album but the default view is via collections (aka albums). I also ran into a catch 22 when trying to create a new album from a selected photo when I click on add to album it just showed a dialogue of selected album thumbnails to click on, I could not find anywhere to create a new album of collection on the web version of google photos, BUT it appears you need to be on-line to do it. I had to resort to using the old reliable picasa to create a new album. I can add a collection on the phone and it becomes an album! Its all a bit messy and to be honest I just still prefer to do my organizing in picasa on my laptop

imageThe second issue is how to share the images privately with just nominated family and friends. I have for a long time used picasa web albums (and later google+ albums) to share a progressive updates to an album dedicated to my travels. However some time last year this facility was changes so that the photo could only shared with those that had a google account (which annoyed a lot of people to the point where they would bother looking). Has google photos fixed this? It claims it has. You can get a link you can share and it seems to work. However it is not clear if the collection/album remain private. This combined with the restrictions on staying organized if I’m not spending a lot of time on-line, himageas made it a bit to difficult to set up my normal progressive album/slideshow just for family. I am still preparing an album in picasa of my travels at the moment but…,. I’m frustrated by try to understand what’s going on with the sharing

imageThis is where flickr is streaking ahead, it is really clear what is private and what is public (via a sharing icon watermark) and when you share private photos you get a link and it clearly states that the photo can only be seen by those that receive the link. If you email this link to a family member only they can see the photo (which is the way it should be) Once again you need to be on-line (ie connected via 3/4G data or WiFi) before you can do any organizing of your uploaded photos in the flickr app. However the phone app and web features are much closer to each other, so you get an integrated feel and they do the job simply and well. I’m actually changing over to using flickr for my progressive trip album to share with family & friends

Saturday, June 27, 2015

PhotoFriday :: Soft as a Koala

Koala's are supposed to be soft & cuddly.
Sleepy & grumpy more likely.

For PhotoFriday‘s topic Soft

Photographed at Rainforest Habitat Port Douglas

Remember that Spare Battery

Battery life can be a real spoiler for a lot of digital cameras, specifically for those without a separate optical view finder, such as most compact cameras or the newer mirrorless cameras. The problem is you need a fair bit of power to light up the LCD screen on the back. Especially to get it bright enough to read in ambient light. A few mirrorless cameras offer a view finder with a tiny LCD screen. My experience was these has been mixed, the earlier versions of such systems where very “laggy” and not so clear but the technology has improved a lot and perhaps also the power consumption. However with one of these cameras it is pretty likely you battery will run out at a crucial stage. The solution is a spare battery in your camera case

I always take a photo of the discharged battery when changing batteries

Owners of the traditional DSLR, with the mirror that has to flip up, generally get much better battery life. I changed the battery today after 83 days and 2643 photos taken (but I have taken only a few flash photos). I always take a photo of the discharged battery when changing batteries as a easy way to keep track of my battery rotation (and likelihood of being low on stored energy). I must admit I probably only consult the LCD screen on the camera occasionally, usually on the first few shots in a new location/lighting. Evidently moving the mirror must take a lot less energy that lighting the screen.

It doesn’t matter which sort of camera you have

Buy yourself a second battery for your camera and keep it fully charged and in you camera bag.

Monday, June 22, 2015

PhotoProject :: a joiner collage, stitched pano, sketch & HDR

Phone photos made into a joiner collage using picasa



My first day in FNQ (Far North Queensland)

was nice and warm and I had a great coffee with a very late lunch at a wonderful cafe with a great view, so much so I have recorded it in 4 ways,



Multi panel pano bprepared in autostitchMy Watercolour SketchHDR prepared in Aftershot finished in perfect effects

Mostly Harmless :: The race continues

I gave up trying to stop the new apps on my phone uploading all my photos, well I really just decided to let flickr & google photos tough it out and see which did a better job. Well my findings so far is both are essentially harmless, they don’t seem to interfere with me at all. Google photos has turned itself on from my computer, which is annoying as I try to figure out how to turn it off, and flickr keeps adverting its Flickr Uploadr (just another image vacuum cleaner).

What about difference in the systems otherwise, well there are many similarities. The best way to view the images is clearly as time lines (flickr calls this the camera roll). Both systems attempt to auto classify the images (via adding tags or allowing search by common themes) and flickr seems to be a slightly more accurate here, but neither is really reliable yet. Flickr now has a small filter above any display that lets you select between private and the various public views. I have not found an equivalent in google photos (yet!). Flickr displays everything uploaded in view all mode, but I found google photos often slips into “highlights” mode (where it selects the “best” photos to view). Once again I am going to have to search to find out how to avoid this.

Shared from Flickr via HTML code

It seems that sharing is the area where the two system differ most. flickr share dialogueFlickr is miles ahead here, well in my view, following much the same way it has always shared (including direct and simple links to facebook & twitter). For sharing into blog posts (or web pages) I like the snippet of html code approach (see photo link on the left and share dialogue on the right) this approach is tried and reliable. The google photo share option still doesn’t have a link to the actual imagegoogle photo share dialogue, the get shareable link goes to a webpage that then connects to the image so the common methods of linking to am image within embedded HTML won’t work. You have got links back into google plus, facebook and twitter not that I have tried these. So there is no photo directly shared from google photo here (despite blogger being a google product!). So I definitely prefer the turtle here, not that the race is over yet.

My biggest disappointment with google photos is actually to do with the total lack of information about the licencing and sharing of photos when you view your photos. This is really unforgivable since this information can already be associated with each image, and really only needs small icon to be displayed either as watermarks on an image or beside the photo. As I suspected all auto backed up photos are private, to find out I used the special link to view the photos in Picasa Web Album view, and there are the little padlock icons, to indicate the auto backedup photos are private!

A picasa web album view of my photos