End Of The Year Musings – 2017

Here I am sitting in front of my computer on the 3rd rainy afternoon in a row. No complaints about the rain since the river was at an all time low just a week ago.

The following are six major themes in tech and in my life in 2017

  • Voice – Our household now has an Amazon Echo and 3 Dots. The primary use is for music. Other uses include timers and research. For example last night while watching a movie it  was as simple as saying, “Alexa, what is the capitol of North Dakato (BTW, it’s Bismarck)
  • Photo Editing-  I now shoot 100% of my photos on my Nexus 6 and only use 3 editing tools (Google photos, Prisma, Snapseed) Prisma now has HD printing and creates framable art.

  • Food Delivery – Cuenca now has several food apps. The one that is primarily used is Megabite. Its a pleasure when you are tired to go to the app and have your favorite cuisine delivered by motorcycle in 15 minutes.
  • Smartphones – The major flagship phones (i.e. Samsung, Apple) are now $1000 fully loaded. I decided to hold on to my Nexus 6 for another year because it has a great camera and a superb screen.
  • Streaming TV in Cuenca – We still have our older versions of Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV. We mostly watch Netflix and seem to be watching more series on Netflix.
  • The Cloud – My computer is the only Apple Device I have left. I use Google, Amazon and Flickr to back up my photos and other media.
  • Fish Monger- As I am writing this post I can hear my wife on a Skype call with a friend saying the following” Lenny is no longer my 5 letter help word in tech”. All he cares about is selling his fish”. Not totally accurate but pretty darn close.  The fish business has taken off in 2017 and I look forward to supplying Cuenca with the best Salmon in Ecuador.

Happy New Year to all my friends and subscribers who read this blog.

The Best Ways To Manage Your Photos – 2015

Pop Quiz CTL viewers. How many photos will be uploaded to the web this year. Go to the head of the class if you said 1 trillion. That’s a lot of shoeboxes. My guess is that most of the viewers still keep their digital shots on their computer or back up drive. I have been a long time devotee of the Cloud. Personally I have very few photos on my computer or phone. I use 4 cloud services (in order of Popularity)  Flickr, Amazon, Google + and iCloud. All the services back up automaically however I rarely use iCloud since it has a 5 gb limit.

The Verge just published the best article I have seen this year on your Photo Storage Choices. Please take some time and read the post

Which cloud service to you prefer?


Flickr Revisited

Pop Quiz CTL subscribers. Where can you upload 1 TB of photos and videos and find a photo or album in less than a second. Answer: Flickr

The other day a friend asked me about a Moluccan Cockatoo. Not only was I able to provide him with photos and videos of our former bird. I was also able to connect him to discussion groups on Cockatoos. You can use Flickr for photo storage or photo appreciation but for the most cost effective way of finding your photos on any device then Flickr is your Go To Service

There is a free advertised supported version of Flickr. I have been a pro version subscriber since 2004 and I have 9000+ photos and videos stored. My annual subscription is $24. Below are some photos that have more than 500 views over the last 10 years.

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The Cloud Revisited

My wife and I returned from the U.S last week and I was able to travel to Oregon, Idaho and California without a computer thanks to the cloud. I could receive my email via the Google Cloud. I could retrieve my photos via the Yahoo Cloud, I could read my books via the Amazon Cloud and finally hear all of my music via the Apple Cloud.

Two years ago I advised new purchasers of computers, tablets and smartphones to buy as much memory as they could afford. Today, with the advent of free cloud services I tell people to buy the minimum memory configuration.

The following are the free storage available to any user.

  • iCloud (Apple) 5 gb
  • Google Mail And Drive 15 GB
  • Youtube – Virtually unlimted videos uploads
  • Flickr (Yahoo) a whopping 1 TB  (1000 GB ) of photo storage

There are other services like Dropbox, Pogoplub, Box etc that also offer free gigs of storage.

This blog is being stored on the WordPress Cloud.

Bottom line – take advantage of the many free, safe and reliable cloud storage systems to streamline your life.


The Cloud

Everything you ever wanted to know about “The Cloud” will be discussed at this week’s iPad Users Group Meeting . We will also have a guest speaker who is the first Cuenca expat Ipad developer speak about the process..

When: Thurs. Dec. 6th

Time: 11:00 am
Where: Los Alamos y 3 de Noviembre
Cost: $5 which includes coffee and cake
Agenda: Everything You Wanted To Know About The iPad and The Cloud.  Also guest talk by Cuenca’s first expat app developer.
Screenshot 12:3:12 5:46 PM

Cloud Services – Google Drive & Sky Drive

Attention all Geeks!  Ok, you don’t have to be a geek to be interested in The Cloud. Are you old enough to remember the Dustin Hoffman movie “The Graduate”?  Dustin was told the future was “Plastics”. Well I’m telling you in Cuenca, Ecuador on April 30, 2012 that the future is “The Cloud”.

Look at your email address. It’s probably “gmail, yahoo, hotmail or a similar cloud service. My music is in the Icloud, my photos are in the Flickr cloud and my videos are on Skydrive the Microsoft Cloud.  What does this mean?  It means when I travel back to the U.S. I don’t need my computer to send email, work on documents or show my family and friends the latest photos or videos of Cuenca.

How much storage do you need and what does it cost.  The amount of storage depends on how much data you want immediately available.  My estimate is that I have close to 100 gb of totally free storage.

Google Drive and Sky Drive are discussed in the video below:

Cloud Services

According to Wikipedia “Cloud computing provides computation, software, data access, and storage resources without requiring cloud users to know the location and other details of the computing infrastructure.”

All of us use the cloud everyday when we send or read an email using Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail. Cloud services have been around for more than a decade but are now coming into the mainstream because many of us are using Smartphones, IPads and notebooks as our sources of computing and we want to see our files, photos, music, videos on each device with no regard to geographic location.

I am presently living in Cuenca, Ecuador but my gmail may be stored anyplace in the world where Google has their server farms. I recently traveled to Oregon without my computer.  I could read my email, edit my photos and upadate my blog on several of my friend’s computers simply by signing into to my google account and accessing my stored data on the cloud.

I own a MacBook Air and an IPad.  Both of these great devices have limited solid state drives for storage.  I’m limited on the MBA to 256 GB and 32 GB on the IPad. I rely on Cloud Services to store my photos, videos and documents.

Listed below are free Cloud Services. I will review many of them in detail on future posts.

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • ICloud
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • Pogoplug
  • SkyDrive
  • Amazon