Thursday, May 28, 2015

Finally Google Photos to the rescue!

I was quite amazed when searching for a cloud photo storage solution for Wyeth's baby photos, about how bad they all were. I have accounts for all of them (dropbox, flickr, icloud, instagram, onedrive etc.) and all of them are annoying for one reason or another.

The one that worked best was google plus, except it had the super annoying feature that you couldn't really get your photos out easily, and could only share through the mostly defunct google plus network.

Today that changed. The new google photos app has unlimited free storage (icloud and dropbox still have annoyingly and unreasonably expensive pricing plans), but importantly, edits your photos for you. This has been the last piece of information tedium that I had still not solved. You go on a vacation and take 500 photos. And then they sit there, unlooked at. Totally forgotten. Nobody wants to look at 500 photos. I used to spend hours and hours editing them into something useful. Google now does this automatically. One review called it "so good its creepy."

Google now makes all your photos searchable (I haven't tried it much, but in addition to faces, its example searches will find things  like "beer" or "bars" or "millenium falcon". It will look at your 500 photos and picks out highlights. It will figure out where the photos were taken based on landmarks. Automatically edits large groups of photos into smaller coherent narratives. Makes photo and video montages, and neat animated gifs.  And finally makes all of this shareable to all of your favorite social networks.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sipping from the Firehose

I always had a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it came to reading. So was always a completist. Even since getting a subscription to Highlights, I would read magazines cover to cover (Even the articles meant for babies). (This was true for books too, and growing up I read literally every book I could find by Asimov, Clarke, Feist, Clancy, dozens each. Also true of video games; sandbox games drove me crazy, compelled to find every single easter egg.). For most of my adult life, I read (or at least skimmed) the Economist, the NY Times Sunday edition, and Time magazine from cover to cover (at times, also completing Bon Appetit, Smithsonian, American Photo, Harper's, American Scientist, the magazines for MIT, Stanford, Stanford GSB and Cornell, all at once, all mostly acquired haphazardly). This practice was especially exhausting with journals.

Finally learning to let the FOMO go. I have slowly shed all of my magazine subscriptions except for Time and the NY Times. Facebook signaled the beginning of this, with the infinite scrolling deliberately making it impossible to "finish." And now media has shattered, there is no trusted news aggregator, who curates all the news, instead you get only snippets tweeted or facebooked out from dozens of outlets like Vox that didn't even exist a year ago.

The other part of letting go came from realizing that I have more books on my bookshelf and kindle and movies in my netflix queue than I can ever finish in a lifetime. I suppose its good to let go.