My New Phone Is Not Magical

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous phone. I had to replace my much-loved Galaxy Note 4 because it was shutting off unexpectedly, even when the battery still had a charge, even when it was plugged in overnight. A factory reset was no help.

So for reasons, I got a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. And it’s bigger yet slimmer, faster, and much more expensive.

My wife inconceivably actually wanted me to get a new phone .

The camera is great, though not a DSLR. It has a stylus which I’ve gotten accustomed to in my last few phones, for those times when you just want to be able to write a note, or draw, or tap on the screen with more precision. There are some cool tricks, but for me, it lets the phone input be more organic. I love it.*

And there are features missing. To make it waterproof it’s now sealed, so I can’t replace the battery when it goes bad. My last phone had infrared in a way I could use as a remote control. I didn’t use it but it was there.

This phone has infrared on the front facing camera so I can use dumb live stickers. Well, the face recognition and iris scanning is cool….

And the camera is fine improvement with two rear lenses and image stabilization, even a 2X optical zoom. But features I like were easier to get to on the old phone, as they were less buried.

So I have mixed feelings. And I plan to have this phone for a long time and I will love it to death, but like always when I replace it: I miss my old phone.

Animated messages are neat but you have to limit how many lines you draw.

But it’s not magical. It’s a great tool, but that’s what I expected. And my potential disappointment in “dazzle points” is well-tempered by the fact that instead I can focus and use the features that help me communicate and schedule and live better, without being a gushing fanboy who needs to play with all of the shiny new toy apps instead of using the phone for what I bought it for.

—–David

P.S. And I know that the Note 9 is weeks away from being released, but I don’t know that it is going to be a magical improvement, and it will certainly cost more than what I paid to upgrade now on a discount, and saving money is a feature I will always appreciate.

* My favorite thing about the stylus is that you can pull it out of the phone and just write immediately on the screen even with the phone locked (screen off memo), which is amazing in the middle of the night when you have a song idea or annoying thought in your head that you want to leave for a reminder in the morning, because you can make a note just like you have done for years without even turning on a light.

Okay, that’s a little magical, even though my last phone did it.

My New Phone Is Not Magical was originally published on Creative Uploads

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Hello, Snacking Shelled Fellow

I was having dinner with friends and they have turtles in the backyard. No, they have tortoises, because turtles tend to water and tortoises are land dwellers.

Apparently they like snacking on hibiscus flowers, so my daughter laid a path to draw them out of their nest area.

Being the photographer always looking for angles, I used two skills to grab a quick video.

  • Anticipate where your subject will likely go
  • Get on the same level as your subject

These are great tips when photographing children, and tortoises, it turns out. Both are more adorable if you can see their faces and eyes, so don’t film their backs or the top of their heads if there’s a better angle. And if they are on the move, set up in a spot where they are heading. Here I went for a likely snack.

If photographing your kids, draw them in with a toy or snack, wait at the bottom of a slide, or get a camera in front of them while playing or showing them something new and fun.

But remember to enjoy time with them too. If if they are sometimes animals.

—–David

P.S. This was shot with the stock Android app and edited with the Video Editor on my old Samsung Note 4 so I could replace the audio craziness with simple stock music, which was available right in the app, and since it’s royalty free I can post it anywhere without out being taken down. And since I could do this on my phone I didn’t have to wait to post it, or transfer video to a computer first.
Unfortunately my phone is misbehaving so that was an impediment, but a new phone is on the way and I got to be nostalgic with my classic Note.

P.P.S. Two tortoises cozy in their housetwo tortoises cozy in their house creative uploads

Hello, Snacking Shelled Fellow was originally published on Creative Uploads

Video Revisit: The Best Camera Should Maybe Be With You?

Some considerations on whether you should leave your cameraphone in your pocket and just set up a real camera or camcorder when filming your kid or an event — maybe even for family gatherings? And especially for sports, you know, in case you want to actually be able to see the ball on your screen later.

 

—–David

P.S. Original post here: http://creativeuploads.com/2016/05/the-best-camera-should-be-with-you/

Video Revisit: The Best Camera Should Maybe Be With You? was originally published on Creative Uploads

Love Makes The World Go Round

AKA Round things I saw while walking around.

 

 

yellow circles in circles creative uploads

It’s the wife’s birthday, which circles back every year. This week we were making loops around the Phoenix Art Museum and a mall at the Biltmore.

And it occurs to me how much human beings like round things like Mickey Mouse’s ears and scoops of ice cream and shiny pennies. Well, maybe now the idea of Bitcoin, but be careful because it’s made up and what goes around comes around. It’s only valuable because it’s rare? Yet it has no intrinsic purpose and wastes energy…. so anyway, I took some pictures.

Yeah, there’s the self-reflective longer pointing the mirror at himself (ironic self-aware reference to the previous paragraph).

And there’s the astonished oil and vinegar emoticon from dinner that was our starter, also round!

—–David

P.S. Obscure trivia: today’s post title is a song from the musical “Carnival” which I performed in while in high school, and I did a solo of this song on vocals and button accordion. It was and perhaps still is the only song I ever learned on button accordion, although I now own a small one and that could change it anytime.

P.P.S. Sometimes I hate WordPress, or my host, or both (they are partners in crime to steal my time.) This should have been a simple fun post, but my phone refused to upload two photos and they showed up as several corrupt icons after repeated attempts, wouldn’t copy over easily from a Google Photos sideload on the iPad instead, and resulted in a post published just to get the pictures into the WordPress media library for use in the existing draft (it was a clever trick, I created the post from inside Google Photos on the iPad by attaching the two photos and launching inside WordPress, but then there was only a Publish button and not a save as draft option. What kind of coding crap is that?)

And Then! WordPress refused to crop the self-portrait image after several attempts and methods — If I have to edit a photo offline, don’t pretend I can edit it inside WordPress when I had to work so hard to get it in there in the first place! Now suddenly wondering if this is because I turned a cache plugin on, though I sometimes have to turn it off because it brings the site down during other site edits….

Ah, the circle of life.

P.P.P.S! AND THEN! It didn’t crosspost the pictures from the main site to this one! So I copied the html references to my actual main hosted location to this one so you might have a visual. Ridiculous.

Love Makes The World Go Round was originally published on Creative Uploads

Best Burger I Ever Had

Okay, I’m going to sidetrack the blog and actually write about food — oh crap, I’m sorry, I didn’t ever mean to do that.

Oh well. The other day I was looking through my extensive digital photo collection and came across a picture I wanted to share, yes, of the best burger ever. Now I’m going to be honest, I have enjoyed other burgers, and may have had some that tasted better or were more “foodie” friendly, or this or that, but pound for pound and just for the story on the side, this one tops them all.

Perhaps a dozen years ago I had the honor of going to Brookings, Oregon, for a memorial service for a very kind man named Dave, who was my wife’s stepfather. Dave had a favorite place to eat, so of course we all made a pilgrimage afterwards, and well, it is an experience not to be duplicated.

You can come close, because I just checked Google and apparently they are still in business, though they have moved, and location was part of it.

All I knew was that we were going to a little burger place on the harbor near the beach. And we traveled up the beach on foot, most of our party of about dozen. Sounds quaint, right?

What it really was was “Fely’s Café and Laundromat,” which when we arrived looked like an oversized shed with and add-on in the middle of the harbor parking lot, surrounded by cars and RVs and boat trailers. There was a picnic table or two outside, and maybe three small tables inside in front of the long counter. I’m sad to say I didn’t take a peek at the laundry machines.

We all had to order burgers, since that was what Dave liked. The place was run by an old couple, and Fely, the woman in charge, was one of those ageless Asian archetypes. She thought my child was adorable and just had to come out and give her a huge hug. It was helpful since it gave me extra time with my burger.

Oregon Trip – Best burgers ever, at Fely’s in Brookings, Oregon. Go. Those are regular size paper plates, and oversized buns. They were HUGE! And delicious.

And the burgers? I will let the picture speak for itself, though please note that those are normal size paper plate that the burgers are covering. Formed with little care to shape out of what I am certain was an entire pack of ground beef, and cooked in the historic greasy memory of every burger ever made on the grill, they were delicious. Too big to eat in one sitting; too delicious to stop.

My wife alone was clever enough to cut her burger in half before starting and created leftovers, which nearly led to a knife fight between Dave’s two surviving elder brothers. Okay, maybe they were just trying to divide it in half again, given that what would now be a quarter of the original was still a good size burger, but there was a waving of knives, somewhat raised voices and a very faint desire to share the prize equally, if at all.

My one disappointment is that we were leaving that next day, and I didn’t have a chance to eat there a second time. Or probably room in my stomach. But in my heart, the memory lives on, right next to a warm place for Dave.

—–David

P.S. Fely’s Cafe is on Shopping Center Avenue in Harbor, Oregon, basically in Brookings, just north of the California-Oregon. Don’t go for the service, go for the calories and maybe your own story. Tell them Dave sent you, indirectly.

P.P.S. I think the fact that these are the most accidentally creative burgers ever, and that you need to eat to have the energy to be creative gives this post a fair place in this blog.

Best Burger I Ever Had was originally published on Creative Uploads

So Many Apps: Microsoft Hyperlapse

Part one of who knows how many:

I thought I would test one of the many camera apps on my phone that I have most forgotten about, waiting for another soccer game to start (which I was filming for a Florida company with a pretty cool setup I may discuss later.)

This was done on my Android-based Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in Microsoft’s Hyperlapse app, which I rather like because it lets you film something and then choose the speed of playback afterward, 1x to 32x. It defaults to 4x. You can choose front or rear selfie camera, turn on your flashlight, and there is an option to import a video.

Microsoft Hyperlapse initial screen controls

It opened in a forced wide format (turn your phone sideways!), unlike Instagram’s app with the same name, which appeared to be in square format with vertical controls. (Strangely Instagram’s then saved a tall video on my device, which led me to try turning it sideways, which lets you film wide. The interface occasionally showed a black area under the record control regardless of which direction I had turned it leading me to frame it incorrectly. In the end it correctly saved a wide or tall video based on the orientation of the device, either wide or tall. )

What I don’t like on both is you apparently have to complete one video at a time, because I did not see a selection for the three videos I was shooting to test and the phone crashed – probably not the app’s fault – and then I found these in my Google Photos later so they weren’t deleted but they were not easily available in the app for further editing.

When you process your video you see icons to share it (on my Note you can pretty much pick any app), create another version at a new speed, or start a new video. You can also press the (grayed out) play button which shows the processed video on your default video app, leaving Hyperlapse open. This means you can preview your work before deciding that you want to share or edit the speed by returning to the app.

But the caution is to save the video in the app through the share button otherwise you may lose it. Preview your work, but don’t forget to share and save it before exiting the app or choosing a new playback speed. I can see reasons that they did that: they don’t have to develop an integrated media player, and they don’t force you to save a file for every test version at different speeds. Now saying that, I couldn’t easily find my first experiments on my phone, but Google Photos found and uploaded something to the Internet so it may not be totally gone…. (UPDATE: on my Android device they were stored in a “Movies” folder on the device, not the “Hyperlapse” album I created and saved others to.)

Instagram’s app lets you choose 1x to 80x and lets you save to the camera roll or direct to Facebook or Instagram.

Hyperlapse strips the audio but of course you can bring it into another editor and add in what you want, though that does fight the immediacy of creating something and posting it quickly.

—–David

P.S. I have so many apps on my devices (yes, hundreds) because I think they are going to help me be creative or productive or entertained, and it’s probably a bad habit. But at least most of them were free. If only I had more free time.

p

So Many Apps: Microsoft Hyperlapse was originally published on Creative Uploads

Creativity Rains Down

Or to quote the movie “Arthur”, “Sometimes I just think funny things.”

Got this one on camera and memed it for you.

Really that joy of discovery is the thing that gets you through the day, even if you only do it for an audience of yourself.

—–David

P.S. She claims she thought it was funny but she just didn’t want her picture taken, what do you think?

Creativity Rains Down was originally published on Creative Uploads

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours?

Creative uploads photo talent practice

Sometimes you just take a picture. It’s a snap. It takes a second and maybe you doubt even give out a lot of thought when you do it.

But does it reflect things you’ve learned and forgotten from the thousands of pictures you’ve taken before, whether loved or ignored? Is it an innate skill grown from casual talent?

Yes.

Can you be good without being born with “talent”?

Yes.

Because people that are good at something may have had so-called talent, but really that means they had a drive and curiosity and interest that led them to dedicate time toward playing with and learning and understanding  what they wanted to do.

So take a picture, it will last longer than you think. Even if you never look at it again.

—–David

P.S. So for everybody that takes selfies and that’s it, you will get really good at selfies, perhaps accidentally. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make a career out of them because although they are portraits, the self-portrait market doesn’t pay a lot.

Unless you have a sponsor.

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours? was originally published on Creative Uploads

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments

I’ve been writing about how I use a free one terabyte limited account on Flickr.com as a handy offsite backup for every digital photo I have taken or scanned in the past twenty years, using a free tool called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/

It’s old but it works. (Check below for links to the previous articles)

My old Flickr.com account is public but disused, but since it’s free I set up a second one a few years ago to backup my digital photos in the cloud as yet another copy just in case.

If you haven’t been reading along: Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. So you can share them online. But that’s not required: You can leave some or all of the folders or individual photos private.

Here’s some things about that process I have discovered or had to test out so I could feel comfortable with its behavior.

TIP: YOU CAN EDIT THE FOLDER NAME IN the upload tool BEFORE you upload instead of after. Then you don’t have to go online to annotate right away, and presumably the tool will remember this setting for future additions to the same folder. (Strangely I do this the other way round because that’s how I started, but also because it forces me to review the upload (for accuracy etc.) and organize it immediately while it’s still fresh.)

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Yes, you can rename folders inside Flickr after you upload and it seems to track that it was started with a differently named folder. This is useful in a case like this: I only wanted to upload a subfolder of say “2016_12 EVENT” called “EDITED”, and it displays as a folder tree in the app, but it uploaded as “EDITED” which I expected. The sync tool (and Flickr, really) doesn’t care about any folder hierarchy, just the folder it’s doing. So then I added the date and event value in Flickr for easier recognition and sorting. It did not pop back up in FlickrSync after this since the photos didn’t change.

CAVEAT: Now that I have renamed the folder, the sync tool wants to see it as a NEW folder and add the photos in it as new uploads. Because you can put copies of photos or files with the same name in Flickr, it’s clearly looking at the folder name first then the files in each folder.

Anyway, to complicate things I recently moved to a Network Attached Storage device (think a monitor-less computer that is generally giant hard drive storage with some service apps) which I have mapped to a different drive letter on my computer. It recognized the photos and folders when I started syncing from it, though I tried to do a clean changeover, that is I didn’t combine selections from both drives.

Future uploads, previously from assorted computers, can now be done from the same universal storage location thanks to my giant storage NAS. But really that’s not a backup. It’s a convenient media dump. If it crashed I would lose so many things, if there weren’t copies strewn around. Make copies!

So if I synced a folder in the same location on the folder tree and named the same on my local computer, and then select it with the sync tool from the mapped NAS drive, it is under a couple extra folder names . For example, if
DriveLetterA:\1pix\2016\2016-06\ is originally mapped to
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\2016-06
but the sync tool still recognizes there is nothing to do.

What if there is a folder with the same name in a different place?
DriveLetterA:\1photos\mine\2015\flashy
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\flashy

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Well, if the photos are named the same in this same-named folder, the app says “Nothing to do.” If you have changed the name of the photos, OR if the folder is a duplicate name but the photos are not (say in a different number range) it will want to sync it.

If the photo SHARES a name but it in fact a different photo (probably based on size) IT WILL STILL WANT TO SYNC IT! Which is great news if your photo ID number loops around or you like to reset it on shoots.

(I tested this by copying a photo over and renaming it with one of the existing photo names in a name-duplicate folder — mind you this a fresh folder that hasn’t been uploaded. You want to find out if you rename a copied over photo to the same name as one you have already uploaded in the same folder, well, you go figure that out. Clearly you are curious. Give in!)

—– David

P.S. Check out my other blogs in this series here:

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize
Flickr Backup Part Three. Sync Experiments (this one)

P.P.S. Click here to get Lastpass for free (or the paid version, I don’t care) and start thinking about more secure passwords without losing the convenience of knowing what they are! Or check out a podcast like TekThing and see what other ones they have experimented with.

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments was originally published on Creative Uploads

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize

On the last episode of Creative Uploads

To backup my photos online in an efficient way I use an app called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/

Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. And this then makes it easy to share your photos online.

As I said, I set the upload tool defaults to set all uploaded albums and photos to private. After they are up there, I could change settings for them by folder or by photo, but I don’t feel the need to advertise the address so I haven’t yet. Someday I will leverage the rating system so find forgotten gems I forgot to share or need to use in something.

creative uploads minimize maximize flickr photo backup online storage

In the upper right on windows (left on Mac) of any window are icons to minimize, maximize and close that window

The program likes to run full screen: I toggle the size to a window using the controls in the upper left. The icons on the right are the folders available, and if you double-click them it opens that very folder ON FLICKR! So you can see what’s up there already.

Once you have selected your folders, you click the Sync menu item, then “View and Sync All” and it opens up a preview window with the files it wants to upload. In my case I usually see NEW or REPLACE (sometimes I edit inline — this can be just because I changed the rotation on a photo locally.) under the thumbnails.

Confirm the choices by clicking sync and it will do it, or Cancel to edit them.

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

It will sync and while it takes a while, there is a progress bar on the bottom and thumbnails get checked off as you go. You don’t have to babysit it. it will get back to you when done with messages that it is successful or not. If not, you can run the sync again — all your selections are still selected, this is very handy if you just had a network issue.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out how to manage the files once on Flickr, I sort by date so I lead with the year and month and maybe location as I take them. In Flickr I then create COLLECTIONS by year and add the relevant ALBUMS (created by the sync) to them. (There are Galleries as well but they only hold about 50 photos.)

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Collections do not have this limit. You can also customize a Mosaic icon for collections with 12 images, making it pretty easy to find things visually. Oh, that’s the year we went there; saw that….

I do have Flickr installed on my Android phone and iPad, so those photos are also uploaded automatically, even before I copy them to my computer (for editing easier browsing and to keep them all together (before copying to my main local storage for convenient access and viewing). If you do that you can probably skip syncing that folder in the steps above, but I like to manage that part on Flickr.

Apparently I have 116,044 photos online now, using 52.5% of my free terabyte of storage. Now that Verizon is buying Yahoo, I don’t know if that will change, but since they are all about getting you to use data (to upload and download and share) I am not worried. In any case, it’s free for now and my photos are safer because I have a backup. Will worry about changes when they happen.

Their home page is here: Flickr.com. One terabyte, safe in the cloud and password-protected.* Free.

This exploration will be continued in my next post, where we test the system and experiment to make sure it uploads what we expect and lesaves no photograph behind. Please bookmark, subscribe or follow me to tag along! Thanks!

—– David

P.S. Check out my other blogs on this here: (full links to come after the posts do)

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize
 (this one)
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments (coming soon!)

* Yes, Yahoo had a massive data breach a few years ago they didn’t reveal for a while. So have some other sites that still haven’t , you can be sure. We don’t actually know if the hackers shared the data, just that it wasn’t secure. Best practice for us means use a strong password and change it often.

Keep ahead of that by using a password manager. I finally got comfortable with Lastpass which is free (not a trial) and can be had by clicking here. A few handy but not critical premium features can be had for a buck a month. I’m cheap and even I pay for them (like, you can share a folder of selected logins to other users –even free accounts.) My post on Lastpass is here if you want a simple overview.

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize was originally published on Creative Uploads