Google Photos: A New Contender in the Photo Management Race


As expected, Google has announced Google Photos, a free-standing photo storage and management service, free from entanglement with Google+.

Google Photos gives you a single, private place to keep a lifetime of memories, and access them from any device. They’re automatically backed up and synced, so you can have peace of mind that your photos are safe, available across all your devices.

Best of all, storage is unlimited, with resolutions up to 16MP for photos, and 1080p high-definition for videos.  The service promises easy, intelligent organization, powerful search, and robust sharing features.

Even as an Apple devotee, I am open to other ways to organize, store and manage photos.  I’m interested to see how Google incorporates its search expertise into its photos experience.  When the service becomes available later today, I’ll surely take a look.

Here’s a video in the meantime.

The New Photos App is an Incomplete Work in Progress


Apple released the OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 update today, which includes the new Photos app, which will replace my beloved iPhoto as well as Aperture, for photo management on the Mac.  There’s a lot of coverage on the new app, so I’m not going to do a full review- just the conclusion.  I’ve been using the developer preview (on a secondary machine) for a while, and I think it’s a good app and a suitable replacement for photo management on the Mac.

Except for one inexplicable, deal-killing omission.  There is no longer an easy way to edit photos in an external editor.

In iPhoto, it was so, so simple to open photos in an external editor- in my case, the wonderful Pixelmator– edit them, and immediately save them back to iPhoto.  Just a few keyboard clicks, and the edited photo was back in its proper place in your iPhoto album.

The process for doing this in the new Photos app, well, doesn’t exist.  You have to manually export the photo, open it in the external editor, edit it, save it and re-import it into the Photos app.  This is simply unworkable.

In prior instances, Apple has added missing features to new or redesigned apps via updates.  They will need to add back the ability to easily edit in an external editor before the Photos app will be a candidate to manage my photo workflow.


We spent last weekend in Galveston, celebrating Cassidy’s birthday.  It rained a lot, but we still had fun.  Several of Cassidy’s friends came down and we spent Sunday at the Schlitterbahn.


Cassidy and Remy handhelding


Delaney playing Light Bike on the iPhone

Luke made the best of the bad weather.

Photos: Tents in Town

Raina was the chair of a fundraising event this weekend to raise money for our local parks.  At “Tents in Town” families bought campsites at one of our local parks and camped out.  There was food, music, friends and tents.  It was cold- perfect camping weather.  Everyone had a great time, and I took some pictures.

Cassidy and Evie chatting at the campsite

Evie, Cassidy, Rachael and Delaney

Cassidy on top of the fort at the nearby playground

Hanging by an iPhone

beach0309 We spent the weekend and today down in Galveston, celebrating the first weekend of the kids’ spring break.  It was my first trip to Galveston since the hurricane, and things looked about like I expected.  There is a lot of damage yet to be fixed, and quite a bit of damage that doesn’t look likely to ever get fixed.  For example, there’s one house nearby that has an entire exterior wall missing.  You can literally see entire rooms, with furniture and all.  It looks like a dollhouse someone left out in the rain.  On the other hand, most of the obvious parts of the city are open and appear to be engaging in business as usual.  Casey’s had a big crowd tonight, and though there was a long wait, there were unused tables in our room.  Maybe this was a Monday night staffing issue, or maybe it was because the people at a nearby table came absurdly close to getting into a fistfight with a waiter.  I was like a little slice of the blogosphere, island style.

Because I was only there for a couple of days and because the local unsecured wi-fi quotient is painfully low post-Ike, I decided to leave my laptop at home and rely on my iPhone to keep me connected to the office and the internet in general.  It worked reasonably well, but a few things were very apparent to me.

One, email, including corporate email, is a lot better via the iPhone that on a Blackberry.  Blackberry lovers will freak out over this, but it’s true.  Email is easier to read and write, and the handling of attachments is better than it was a year ago (when I last had a Blackberry) and at least as good as on a Blackberry today.  I carried Blackberries for years, and the simple fact is that the iPhone is a far superior device, even for business stuff.

But, there is room for improvement.

When I tried to write this post from the island, it again became clear to me that there is no decent blogging software for the iPhone.  I again beach0309a tried to use iBlogger and again I gave up in frustration.  I wish Microsoft would release a Live Writer iPhone app, but I’m not holding my breath.  In the absence of that unlikely event, the space is wide open.  If someone released a reasonably full featured blogging app- that would support photos and maybe a Photobucket integration, they could own the space from day one.  The fact that there is not a single decent blogging application for the Mac, however, does not bode well for the iPhone.  It also became painfully obvious to me that the iPhone really needs the tethering feature, so you can use it as a wireless modem to connect your laptop to the internet.  That was, by far, the most useful feature of my last Blackberry- and a feature I miss dearly.

Some iPhone apps work great and almost circumvent the need for a laptop, but sans wi-fi some of them are pretty spotty.  Tweetie worked the most consistently, though my partially self-imposed Twitter exile did not allow me to take advantage of it (unlike the hand picked music I used to manually post there via, Live Writer automatically Tweets my new blog posts, so for the time being I’ll just use it as a billboard, like everybody else).  On the other hand, neither of my RSS readers (Feeds and Byline) worked worth a crap over the telephone network (about half and half between 3G and Edge in the Beachside area of Galveston).  I got so frustrated trying to read my feeds, I thought about giving up the internet altogether and subscribing to a newspaper for the first time in a decade.  We can huff and puff all we want, but until those who aren’t in the heart of a big, big city can access online content reliably, online content will continue to be a luxury and not a necessity.  Dropbox, which despite being my online storage service of choice, still inexplicably lacks an iPhone app, worked pretty well via Safari.  I was able to access data over both the 3G and Edge network.

The camera, with a little help from Darkroom, also worked reasonably well, though the iPhone desperately needs a flash.

Make no mistake- the iPhone rocks.  But take it or any other mobile device to the edge of the grid, and things get a little dicey.