Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Move from iPhoto to Google+ Photos

I continue to rethink my workflow to optimize working on my Chromebook. One of the things that has yet to be recognized by its critics is that if you are going to use a Chromebook, then you are likely going to have to change how you do certain things.

No one ever said moving to a Chromebook would be EXACTLY the same experience as your exisiting OS and computing workflow. Expect to modify your processes. The same would be true if you decided to switch from Windows to Mac, Mac to Linux, or Windows to Ubuntu. When you choose another OS, expect it to function differently.

Two of the things that are still keeping me pinned to my traditional Mac OS is iTunes and iPhoto. I’ll deal with iTunes in a separate, follow up post.

I want to turn my attention to moving my iPhoto library to Goolge+ Photos.

Some immediate observations:

  • I want my digital life to be operated within the Cloud. I want a true multi-screen experience which means the device should be irrelevant to what information I can access. The device should be driven by what is best for the environment in which I want to interact with my data.
  • I am comfortable with housing my photos in Google. I am willing to pay extra for any necessary Cloud storage, so I can house the pictures in original format, quality, and size.
  • There are probably numerous ways to do what I describe below. I did enough research online to make my head spin. I wanted a process that was simple and straight-forward. It’s not perfect, but it works.
  • I am not trying to write a documentation manual. I am giving a brief overview of the steps I took to make the move.

I discovered two options to faciliate the transition. I could move my iPhoto library to Google+ Photos via:

  1. Google Drive (and then Google+ Photos)

Either way is plausible and works. I also want to note that Picasa is now Google+ Photos. Even though Picasa is still live, all the photos and images captured there will be transferred to your Google+ account. If you go to Picasa on the Web—at least at the time of this post—you will be redirected to Google+ Photos but can still go back to Picasa if so desired. This will obviously change over time.

Option A—Moving your iPhoto library to Google+ Photos via Google Drive

  1. Create a folder on your desktop labeled “iPhoto Library [Insert Date].”
  2. Export your iPhoto library to your desktop using the folder you just created. Be sure to choose original file type and highest quality available. Also, be sure to include your videos.
  3. When the export function is complete, drag the folder on your desktop to your Google Drive desktop sync folder.
  4. Wait for the sync process to complete.
  5. When it’s complete, everything is in Drive.

When you are ready to interact with your photos and videos on Google+, you can import directly from Drive within the attachment function available within each Google+ post window.

Option B—Moving your iPhoto library to Google+ Photos via Google Drive

  1. Download Picasa for Mac. (This is now unsupported but still works.)
  2. Choose “Batch Upload” to Picasa. (Remember, this is now Google+ Photos.) Be sure to choose to upload images and videos and allow for the original size, image/video quality, and image type.
  3. Watch the progress bar to know when it’s complete. (My iPhoto library was 26g. It took one full day to complete the upload process on high-speed cable internet.)
  4. When it’s complete, everything is now in Google+ Photos.
  5. Check the share settings in Google+ Photos to make sure the images you want private are only available to you.

You should know that the iPhoto export process and Picasa for Mac may mess up some of your photo organization structure. If that’s a big deal for you, then you might not want to take this step until Google enhances the ease at which you can re-organize your photos within Google+ Photos. For me, I wanted it done. I’ll clean up any organization issues later.

One Final Step

Because I am crazy about not losing data, I took my iPhoto library file and uploaded it to my account. I also copied the file folder in Google Drive with the exported iPhoto images and video and placed it on Box, too.

Between Box and Google Drive desktop sync, I have:

  • A local copy of all my images and video
  • A Cloud-based copy in Google+ Photos or Google Drive
  • An archive copy in Box.

Not a bad way to house, interact, and back up all my images and video in the Cloud.

Now you can rest easy since you are one step closer to living completely in the Cloud where—quite frankly—the likelihood of data loss is less, your ability to share your images and video is easier, and you’ll better optimize your workflow to maximize your Chromebook experience.

Have you made the switch from iPhoto to Google+ Photos? What was your experience like?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

7 Things Our Children Might Say Because of Chromebooks One Day

I wonder what our children will say to us when we try to tell them about the software, operating systems, and hardware we never felt like we could live without.

Perhaps it would go something like this:

  1. "You mean you actually had to install software? There wasn't an app store?"
  2. "How did you ever feel secure if you only had your data stored on one computer in your home?"
  3. "We learned about optical drives in history class today. What an epic fail, huh?"
  4. "Wait. They made a laptop without a touchscreen? Seriously?"
  5. "What's a file folder? Why didn't you just 'search' for it?"
  6. "Hey, Chrome OS just updated to version 157. Have you seen the latest flags?"
  7. "Dad, can I get the Chromebook Pixel 10 for college?"

Every significant change has its champions and its villans. That's what makes the world go round. While some decry the move to pure cloud-based technology, others are moving there—if they aren't already there—faster than anyone might imagine.

Yet very few people are ever willing to go back once they have moved forward.

  • Imagine what a horse and buggy felt like after riding in a car.
  • Imagine what road travel was like after flying through the air.
  • Imagine what a typewriter felt like after using a personal computer.
  • Imagine what dial up felt like after cable internet.

Who knows if Chromebooks will be around in five or 10 years? Who cares? The point is that this little device—praised by some and demonized by others—has become a catalyst for a new computing experience that is cloud-based and multi-screen sensitive. It keeps the user front and center because it's all about a seamless, effortless experience.

Imagine what it would feel like if we had to return to a world where traditional software and operating systems were the only option. Like it or not, skeptic or not, critic or not—it would feel odd, strange, and little lackluster.

"For What's Next" just feels like what technology should always being doing—pointing us forward.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Give a Chromebook to a Child in Need

There are lots of reasons to support Google's Chromebook initiative.

  • Simplicity.
  • Versatility.
  • Ease of use.

The list could go on and on. But one of the reasons that make me proud to be a owner and advocate of Google's Chromebook is because it is helping bridge the gap that exists between those who have access to technology and those that don't due to economic limitations.

Access to Chromebooks will change their future. And ours.

There is no excuse for a classroom to be absent of the technology that makes the world spin today. Yet those at the bottom of the economic scale still struggle with access to even mid-priced equipment and a decent internet connection. For families facing the decision between buying necessary prescriptions and food, there is likely no money to buy little Johnny or Susie a laptop for school?

Too many children are growing up without the tools and skills needed to compete in the job market they will graduate into. This is not a good thing for any of us.

I am privileged. And so are you.

No, I didn't grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I never remember a time when I didn't have access to a computer.

I remember our first home computer. It was a Tandy x086 from Radio Shack. And I was in second grade when my dad came home with it. Every year or so it seemed we would upgrade to the next model. My handwriting is proof that I spent more time perfecting my typing skills than my penmanship.

Chromebooks can overcome the economic hurdles and make technology available to everyone. Now that's a cause I am proud to get behind.

Will you consider making a donation today? I want to encourage you to help change the life of a child by giving to one of these campaigns. You'll be amazed how one Chromebook can change the life of a child forever.

P.S. Below is a video that represents the type of impact you can make when you give a Chromebook to a child in need.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Back Up Your Data on a Chromebook


Before you shoot me. You know exactly why I wrote that headline.

There is someone who will ask this question because it's what we've been trained to ask. We've been groomed to look for a virus, anticipate a hardware failure, and expect—at some point—to lose data.

This is one of the most common arguments I hear against computing exclusively in the Cloud. There is always one guy or gal (I'm staying gender-neutral on this one) who raises their hand in the company meeting and asks, "What happens if the Cloud goes away?"

Yes, it's a fair question. And one that a few [sic] other people have asked and answered before.

Since I live in the Cloud (almost exclusively), the same thought has occurred to me, too. I use two services to help me back up the Cloud in case of the worst-case scenario.

  • CloudHQ—This service helps me recreate the stuff I house in services like Basecamp, Evernote, Dropbox, and Drive onto a separate cloud-based account. CloudHQ can even keep Drive and Dropbox in sync with one another. It never hurts to have a "ghost server" just in case. (Yes, I do know what an AS/400 is.)
  • Backupify—I found these guys nearly four years ago when searching through the Google Apps for Business Marketplace. They've come a long way. This service backs up my entire Google Apps account (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc.) along with some additional stuff like Twitter and Facebook. (I hope they add Google+ soon.)

There is a cost to both of these services just like there is a cost to purchase local servers and related hardware. But I would pay for them even if I didn't own a business. I'm an easy sell on this one because I've decided that living in the Cloud is safer and cheaper in the long run.

Backing up your data is a smart thing to do. Living in the Cloud doesn't change that. But it does change how it's done. (Remember, this is the Cloud. In other words, the goal is a minimalist approach to local, physical hardware, disks, etc.)

When/if I ever need to restore anything, all I have to do is log on to these services, click restore, and I'll be up and running. I guess you could say that the Cloud is self-healing.

That is how you back up your data on a Chromebook—just in case Google disappears.

(Of course, if Google disappears, then the apocalypse is upon us and it doesn't matter anyway.)

What other tips and ideas do you have around backing up data when you store everything (or almost everything) in the Cloud?

Friday, March 8, 2013

10 Reasons Your Wife Should Let You Buy the Chromebook Pixel

I can't wait to get my hands on a Chromebook Pixel.

What am I waiting on?

Yep. Likely the same thing you are. I still need to convince my wife that it's a worthy purchase.

So I've been working up some good "reasons" to sway her to my point of view. I'm hoping the cumulative effect will make her say yes.

Here you go...
  1. "Our family pictures will look absolutely amazing on the highest resolution screen ever available on a laptop or computer...ever!"
  2. "Instead of shopping at the usual places for your favorite shoes and clothes, we can shop together online and get virtually the same experience. Just think about how much time and money we'd save and we'd still get to see every amazing detail...together."
  3. "This Pixel represents the next generation of technology. Isn't that something we should invest in?"
  4. "Think about how much better our kids will be able to experience the world through apps like Google Maps."
  5. "Using the Pixel means we'll never have to worry about losing any data every again."
  6. "We can both use the Pixel through multiple account sign-on. It's like getting two laptops for the price of one. Just think about how much money we'll be saving."
  7. "We can watch your favorite movies when we travel, and they'll look absolutely amazing on that screen."
  8. "I type a lot on a laptop keyboard. Using the touchscreen will help me avoid things like carpel tunnel syndrome."
  9. "You like designer shoes. I like cutting-edge technology. They are pretty much the same thing."
  10. "My eyesight is getting increasingly worse from looking at a variety of low-resolution digital screens. The higher the resolution screen I work on, the more likely it will improve the health of my eyes and prevent me from going blind. Isn't it worth ensuring I will be able to see my grandkids one day?"

What would you add to this list if you were me?

P.S. Stay tuned. I'll let you know if I win her over.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Free eBook Helps People Start Using Chromebooks

I stumbled onto a great site over weekend—Chrome Story.

I noticed a tab at the top dedicated to helping others become familiar with Chromebooks. Even though I've been using a Chromebook off and on for a couple years, there were some things included in the 50 tips section that I wasn't aware (or maybe I just forgot about them.)

This list isn't exhaustive by any means, but it is a good reference tool that I will come back to from time to time to jog my memory.

I also appreciated the free eBook, Getting Started with Your Chromebook. While it's very elementary, I think more information like this should be made available to help the average user make the transition. (I sometimes forget that what appears simple and straightforward to me doesn't always appear that way to others.)

For Chrome OS and Chromebook power users, this site and this free eBook are unlikely to give you anything other than something to pass along to people you encounter who are curious about Chromebooks. But I imagine there are a few people stuck between the paradigm of a traditional OS and Chrome OS experience who might benefit from this simple guide.

Are there other resources out there you recommend to people curious or new to Chrome OS and Chromebooks? Please list them (and related links) in the comments section.