Tag Archives: Gmail

Google+ – The First Week

Earthly Storm Nebula - 110305 Clouds UHES 157 tm
Earthly Storm Nebula

Earlier in the week, I started my adventure with Google+…

After playing with it since Tuesday, July 12th, I offer up a few comments, thoughts and observations in this following Post.

I by no means have all the answers, and I may not have found what I am looking for yet, but I hope to!

If you have anything to add, please let me know!

“Invite Only”

First, it required that one gets an invitation to this new service, which I received from an old high school friend, who became my first Circle member.

Somewhere on the web, I read that “Invite Only” appears to be an old marketing ‘thing’ that makes the person feel special once they get one, and in the case of Google+, this seems to be the same idea.

Remember Buzz? they did the same over there.

But at the same time, Google+ is still in “Beta”… (Haven’t we see this before?)

Quick Update – Some early reports/posts to suggest there are sections/features that maybe a little rough…

Sign-On

Second, and if you have a Gmail account, this is a ‘no brain-er’, but after you sign on, it is suggested that you take a few moments, and review what has been transferred.

In my case, I added a new description, which was blank; updated some of my links; as well as my profile picture, which had been originally created in a lower size, so when G+ showed it, the image was very pixelated.

This time, I made a 1024×1024 at 72dpi image, uploaded and it looks very nice!

Third, start poking around the interface.

“Wall” (Stream)

On the surface, it looks much like Facebook, which starts with your “Wall” (Stream) – your snap-shot of your “life”.

If you happen to have a very active “Wall” on Facebook, the same thing should happen as you connect with more and more folks on Google+.

A nice ‘new’ feature on Google+ (G+), is the “filters” on the left navigation area, that are based on your “Circles” (Friends/Groups), and simply clicking on one, you can focus your Stream.

This is also available in Facebook, but for some reason, at least for me, this feature seems to have taken a higher preference in Google+.

The Post

As with Facebook, Google+ also presents you with an area at the top of your Stream, where you begin your basic thought communication.

You click on the man box, and just start typing your content.

From there you can easily add a Picture, Video or Link, just like Facebook.

A new addition to this feature bar, is the Location button, which really seems geared toward the mobile phone user.

Add a Photographic Image

Recently, I joined another photographic website, JPGmag, and was forced to upload a single image at a time to my portfolio.

With Facebook or Flickr, I could do the same thing, or I had the option of using Adobe Lightroom for uploads.

A cool new feature with Google+, for me at least, especially since there does not appear to be a Lightroom plug-in, is the ability of doing a ‘drag-and-drop’ a group of image files directly from the desktop (Windows XP)!

One of the things that I do like about JPGmag’s image upload requirements, is 1000 pixels or above, which when viewed on-screen, does render much more nicely and Google+ also can take advantage of!

Photo Management

At this point, I have uploaded about 30 images, and out of habit, I have checked what information is associated with a given image.

The Photo Management area which is provided by Picasa, and is very similar to the management area on Flickr, and is very welcomed when dealing with one or a group of images.

Geo-tagging

One of my peeves about Flickr’s geo-tagging function, is that it can or has been difficult, or at least it use to be, but when compared to Picasa/Google+, it is a breeze because: 1) GPS info seems to carry over from Lightroom/Jeffrey’s “GPS-Support” plug-in; 2) one can use the Google Map interface, which has a search function, unlike JPGmag.com!

General Tips & Suggestions

Terms of Service (TOS)

In an earlier post this week, I initially express concern about several reports on Google+ “Terms of Service” as it related to posting photography.

I have finally decided that, in this day and age, it is more important to just get my images out there and in front of as many eyeballs as possible, and seems to be worth the risk.

Copyright-Watermarks

Years ago, when I was working as a Freelance Assistant, there were may days that I sat in front of stacks of slides from a recent photo shoot, and used a rubber stamp to copyright each slide.

Needless to say, that was rather time-consuming, and is far easier today, but today, the Copyright-Watermark now can actually appears on the image itself, or be changed on the fly!

On Flickr, I have seen some very creative Copyright-Watermark, and have worked on my own, but in doing some reading via a several Google+ threads, there seems to be an open debate.

A well followed Photographer, Thomas Hawk, actually suggests not to include a Copyright-Watermark, because it can distract the viewer. (See Point #4 in “Top 10 Tips on Google+ for Photographers“)

Then there are others, like myself, who can not conceive of not including a Copyright-Watermark, but maybe not as predominately across the image.

Of the folks that are for a visible Copyright-Watermark, the debate has also gotten to the level of:

© 2011 Andrew Seymour
vs.
© 2011 Andrew Seymour – www.aseymour.com

Your particular point-of-view (POV) on this is going to be a personal choice, and the debate is going to continue.

Addition Copyright-Watermark conversations

Eric Leslie via Google+

Viewing – Screen Real Estate

I spend a great deal of time on my old IBM T-23 laptop, which has a small LCD screen.

Google+ has a much more open feel to your environment, and is wonderful on a large monitor screen, but when viewed on my laptop, I have to move up and down far more frequently.

Facebook on the other hand, is more compact, and one can get more info per screen.

Early Observations

I do want to emphasis that these are EARLY observations, and with all things Google, things will change.

Converts

At the moment, I see this as the single biggest issue for Google.

Google definitely has the advantage in terms of daily eyeballs, but how many people are willing to spend the time to convert their existing social network to another platform.

I have also heard from my contacts on Facebook, that they do not want to learn another social media environment.

Cross Pollination – (Google+ > Other Social Networks?)

One of those terms that is first introduced in a Biology class, but makes abundant sense when used in the context of Social Media.

I am still new to Google+, and I may not have found to yet, but how does one Post in one environment and have the Post pollinate other Social Media accounts?

Like many others, I have a Facebook page, that is Linked to Twitter, and vice-versa, Twitter to Facebook… I also have my Flickr Photostream pollinating Facebook and Twitter… Toss in my WordPress blog…

I’m hoping that someone can help me, and I will continue to search for an answer, but…

If Google could Link everything in a Post-Once-Cross-Pollinate-Others environment, that would be a “Killer Application”!

I can already hear folks saying the Google already has too much info on “you”, but who doesn’t? Have you looked hard enough?

Visual Orientation

Google+ has a much cleaner and open design, and with large image thumbnails, and even better Album thumbnails, I have to go with G+, especially if you are doing something visual, such as Photographers.

Google Life – Welcome to the Cloud

I must say, that it is very nice to have the Google tool-chest in front of my in one spot!

Gmail, Calender, Documents, G+, etc. all in once place, and ready to go, and the best part is that it is Free! (well, but that is another post to be done…)

One can log-on from anywhere, and get stuff done!

Very cool and I do see this as the Future!

But…

Do I use all the Tools? No…

Why?

If I post something… My original thought… My artwork….

Once I post it to another machine, Who owns it?

From my point-of-view, it is my series of thoughts and ideas that created the file, but to the machine that it now “lives” on, it is a bunch of 1s and 0s, and I do not own that machine.

This issue needs to be discussed more, and a common practice needs to be identified and implemented before there is wider adaptation by people.

Finally…

I do NOT have the answers to many of these questions and issues that I have outlined above, and I am sure, that I will find many answers in the coming days and weeks, so I am hoping to get some great feedback!

I also hope that this latest experiment from Google does not go the way of Wave…

Please let me know your thoughts!

– Andrew
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Backupify.com – First Look

One of my readers pointed this out to me last week. (Thanks Steve!)

Backupify, which uses Amazon “cloud” as the backup medium, so everything is done online, and quickly!

What makes this service unique, as compared to services like iBackup, is that Backupify only backs up your online life.

As of this blog entry, Backupify supports the following services:

  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Zoho
  • Google Docs
  • Photobucket
  • WordPress

and is in Beta for:

  • Basecamp
  • Gmail
  • Facebook
  • FriendFeed
  • Blogger
  • Hotmail

with the following “soon to come“:

  • Youtube
  • Xmarks
  • RssFeed
  • Tumblr

Now until February 15th, Backupify is offering a “Free Account Giveaway”.

Setup

Sign up is quick, and does not require much more then a Name, eMail address and a Password, and your in, but you will need to Verify your email address.

From there, you are presented with a “Dashboard” of services to configure.

Setting up a Flickr was a simple as using the wizard to connect, basically UserName and Password (going through your Yahoo account). Done.

With WordPress, I had to download a zipped (.zip) plug-in, and up-zipped it.

There is no “Read Me” file, or simple what to do next.

I opened the enclosed “wp-backupify.php” file, and in reading, it appears at first glance that this type of backup is if you host your own WordPress environment.

It would have been nice if Backupify had said something along these lines. (Will investigate later… maybe…)

Gmail is another enter UserName and Password, with a “Please read this before setting up your Gmail account”, that when followed, only states that “Gmail Backup Temporarily Disabled” which was posted December 23, 2009. (Merry Christmas!)

When I checked my email later, I did get notification that: “Gmail backup has been throttled back to once every 3 days until we finish implementing new changes to support the high volume of Gmail backups

Facebook is the standard “Connect to your Facebook account”, asks for permissions, and then allows you to choose what you want to backup: Photos, Friends, Statuses, Links, Notes and Events. You also have the ability to add another Facebook account.

Since I do not have any other accounts offered, I went down to “Backup Settings”, which is very primitive.

You only get a frequency: Weekly vs. Daily, and a Notification email settings: Every time, Daily, Weekly or Do Not, then you click “Save”. My settings are the Default: Daily & Daily.

From the main Dashboard, you can select the “Archive” tab and which service to look at.

I found that my Flickr images have already been backed up!

When I check Facebook, it only appears that my images have been backed up, even though, I had selected the Default settings of everything (see above), upon further review, there are other files, namely XML files.

The Dashboard “History” tab says everything was successful.

Restore

On the surface, it looks like that information is available, but trying to Restore your online life is going to take some time.

Images are readily available from Flickr and Facebook backups, but your content from Facebook is saved as a XML file (.xml), but as of this writing, I am not sure how one would integrate this back into a Facebook account.

Conclusion

The Backupify does do what it says. It backs up your files. Period.

The question that I have, and you should also, how does one do a Restore?

The Testimonials only talk about Backing up, but that is only half of the issue.

Having been a Enterprise Backup Administrator for several years, I would like to see some more controls, and some more documentation.

To be fair, I have not spent allot of time trying to find this info at the Backupify site, but at the same time, the info is not right in front of you, and trust me, when you are facing potential data lose, you do NOT want to be running around trying to figure out what to do.

Another thing that is not easily apparent, is the cost of the Service.

I did find one link that suggested I could find Costs, but it made me sign up, and I still can not easily find an answer.

In searching the FAQ, the word “Cost” only appears once, and if you carefully read the FAQ, it does hint at some of my concerns with a Restoration.

To me, there is also a feeling of scare tactics, but this might be the way that I personally handle my data.

My Facebook data is disposable. I have a backup of my images in my local environment, and if there is something important, I deal with it locally.

In regards to the backup from Images services (Flickr, etc.), at least in my work-flow, I have everything Local, then I post, so I already have a backup so to speak.

I maybe missing something here, but at this point, I am not sure how long I will keep my Free Backupify account.

Please let me know your thoughts.

– Andrew
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