At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: flickr

A Free Terabyte from Flickr

Whenever you receive an email about a ‘change of service,’ smiling is usually not your first reaction. That said, your friends from Flickr seem intent on giving you a tickle. The hard part is deciding how your left brain should respond.

Whenever you receive an email about a ‘change of service,’ smiling is usually not your first reaction. That said, your friends from Flickr seem intent on giving you a tickle. The hard part is deciding how your left brain should respond.

I got an email from Flickr last week.
It said, “Smile. The Flickr You Love Just Got Better.”

Oh?

Yahoo’s Flickr has just significantly upgraded its free account plan.
Before, they gave you a paltry storage limit of only 200 photos.
That’ll last you about fourteen minutes.

Now, the limit is a whopping 1 terabyte.

A free terabyte?!
Yahoo says that will get you over 500,000 photos.

I was a little dazed.
Didn’t know whether to smile or not.

Wasting $25 for Flicker Pro?
Before, it was a no brainer…
The old 200 photo limit clearly wasn’t enough.
So I’ve been shelling out $25/year for a Flickr Pro account, which gave me unlimited storage.
Problem solved, right?

But now… there’s the cool new ‘Free’ plan that makes the old Pro plan seems like an expensive downgrade.
A sudden dinosaur doomed for extinction.

(That said, dinosaurs aren’t so bad. My three-year-old ‘Indiana Jones’ has been teaching me how cool dinosaurs can be with his new T-Rex puzzle!)

This sounds like a SmackDown in the making between ‘Free’ and ‘Pro.’
How exciting!

Free is Hard to Beat
Unlimited is nice, but a terabyte is plenty of storage for all the photos you’d ever want to share.
Believe me, nobody wants to look at half a million of your photos online!
(yes, even mine)

But wait, there’s more!
Yahoo has juiced their free Flickr plan even further:

  • Before they gave you an upload limit of 300MB/month.
    Now, that’s unlimited!
  • Before, the maximum size per photo was 30 MB.
    Now, it’s 200MB.
    (But who really creates photos that large anyway?)
  • Before, you didn’t have full-resolution photo access.
    Now you do.
  • They’ve also expanded their video uploading and storage limits.
    (Though I’m not using Flickr for videos right now. I’ve got Vimeo for that.)

Legacy Flickr Pro
The Pro plan is no longer offered to new Flickr subscribers, but if you’re currently a Pro user, you can retain your legacy Pro account and get the following:

  • You’ll continue to have the same unlimited storage for your photos and videos
  • You’ll still get your detailed stats
  • You’ll be upgraded to the same photo and video size limits as the new free accounts.
  • And you’ll continue to have an ad-free experience

Deal or No Deal?
If you don’t think you need your Pro account anymore, Flickr is happy to switch you to a free account before August 20 and give you a prorated rebate.
(They’re so nice.)

So what do you really get for your $25 to stick with Pro?

For me, it comes down to the unlimited storage and the ban on ads.
And again, who really needs unlimited storage for sharing photos?

So, it’s the advertising.

Hmmmmm….

Selling Your Soul for $25?
Look, I get that Yahoo needs to make a buck, and putting ads on your photo galleries is one way to do that.

I’m not angry with Yahoo for wanting to commercialize my photo pages.
I’m just not that happy about it.

So when Yahoo gives you an advertising out for $25/year…
I say, “Take it!!”

Yes!! I’ll pay $25 to have my photos and galleries remain ‘ad-free!’

Freedom Comes with a Price
If you also want an ad-free experience like me, but you aren’t currently a Pro subscriber, it’s going to cost you more:

$49.99/year

Yup.

See, you should have gone Pro when you had the chance.
It stinks to have to pay twice as much, but it’s still worth it.

Doublr
Flickr also offers a new ‘Doublr’ account ,which gives you twice the storage of the new free account.

So that’s 2 terabytes for
$499.99/year

What??!!
Yes, it’s not a typo.
Not sure I understand the math here.

I’m paying $25 for unlimited storage, and some new guy is supposed to pay $500 for 2 terabytes, while his friend is getting 1 terabyte for free?

That’s just nutty.

Hey, how about 2 free Flickr accounts?!
That’ll do the trick.

What’s a Terabyte?
As a quick aside, I must mention that Flickr has a paragraph on its Accounts FAQ page titled, “What’s a Terabyte?”

I can’t tell you how happy I am that Yahoo feels the need to explain this.
Why, you ask?

The fact that Yahoo wants to share with you that a terabyte is a trillion bytes,
(duh!!)
helps me feel like I’m not shooting too low in my knowledge-transfer goals on my blog.

That said, I feel compelled to share with you this additional data, which I learned from a cool Cisco report.
(Time to put on your nerd glasses!)

  • 1000 terabytes – 1 petabyte
  • 1000 petabytes = 1 exabyte
  • 1000 exabytes = 1 zettabyte

(See… a terabyte is already so yesterday!)

Maybe one day, Yahoo will offer up a zettabyte of storage for free with their new Virtual Reality Flickr accounts… perfect for your newly installed holodeck!

The Dinosaur Plan is Better
Let’s recap:

Once upon a time, I used to happily pay $99/year for MobileMe, which included Apple’s wonderful photo and video galleries.
(R.I.P.)
Now in hindsight, 20 gigs of storage seem downright stingy.

A terabyte of free Flickr storage is just silly good!
Period.

But there are still the annoying ads.
$50/year is easily worth it to scrub those pesky ads off your galleries.

And $25 for unlimited storage (ongoing Pro subscribers only) is a downright bargain!

Yes, I’ve been designated a dinosaur by Flickr, but I feel they’ve actually handed me the deal of the year!

And if you were wondering…
Flickr has pledged to maintain the legacy Pro plan for existing users.
(Hee Hee Hee!)

Just be sure you’ve got a recurring Pro subscription…

Am I smiling, Flickr?
You betcha!

Parental Omniscience for only $24.95

This is Doggie, my son’s favorite lovey. Doggie is with my old Canon Elph 960 (yes that’s scotch tape holding it together) and its Eye-Fi card, which wirelessly uploads photos of my son to my iPhone. Recently, my boy’s photo stream stopped flowing. Doggie was sad. He asked Dada for help.

I know what it feels like to be Thor and cast out.
I had everything just the way I liked it, and I was happily ruling my own universe.

By that I mean I’d been using the magic of the Eye-Fi wireless memory card for the past two years to open up a personal portal into my son’s daily adventures.  While I was away at work.

Allow me to explain.

Eye-Fi Magic
The Eye-Fi card is a wireless memory card you put in your camera, just like any other card. The difference is Eye-Fi also has Wi-Fi built into it.
(That makes it twice as expensive.)

But for the price, you get the power of the Cloud. After you take a picture, your camera doesn’t need to be tethered to your computer to upload. Instead, Eye-Fi immediately sends your photos to your computer’s hard drive and the Web wirelessly and effortlessly.

So after a fun photo session of my son sucking down applesauce, my camera’s battery provides the 4 gig Eye-Fi card the power to chat with my MobileMe online photo gallery I created with iPhoto. Apple also has a great app called Gallery, which perfectly displays all of my son’s photos on my iPhone.

I could see all…
It was a beautiful thing.

And the piece de resistance?
My Eye-Fi account would then email or text me whenever new photos had been uploaded.

Say I was away at a boring meeting, wondering what my little boy was up to.
I’d hear the text ping go off, whip out my iPhone, and show my colleagues photos of my son’s latest milestone taken minutes earlier. Pretty cool!

This trick did wear out its public welcome, but it has been invaluable for me.
It seemed like magic two years ago, but with everything going Cloud based these days, it’s just another mortal tool to make your digital life a little easier.

Dark Clouds
But one day, a storm approached.
And I was cast out. I looked up, and I saw iCloud everywhere.
I would need to learn the ways of mere mortals.

We know MobileMe’s days are numbered.
But I think Apple has already begun pulling the plug.
A couple of months back, my Gallery app started crashing.
And then it never opened again.

Coincidence? I think not.
I needed to find a replacement and fast!

Join the Party
I have to admit; I’m a little phobic about putting unfiltered photos up on giant social websites like Facebook. (even if they are posted as private)
I’ve enjoyed the cozy feeling of presumed privacy with my obscure MobileMe photo albums. Being a part of the huge digital social universe feels a wee visible for my boy’s little photo stream.

This is not to be confused with Apple’s Photo Stream service. I’ll soon press the button to join with iCloud, but I’m not sure Apple’s Photo Stream will be a total replacement for the distribution of my son’s pics either. Remember I’ve got a very targeted way I want these particular photos organized and remotely served up to me and my wife.

You know, I don’t think I’ve really got a choice.
Either I play in the pond with the millions of other online photo sharers.
Or I will just see my son the old fashion way… in person.

So I decided it was time to join the party and hope that only my wife and I would show up.

I did some research and of course there are a crushing number of online photo sharing options. After some fact crunching, I came up with two leading contenders: SmugMug and Flickr.

SmugMug?
I know SmugMug has a loyal fan base, and this service been around for a while.
(I’m always happy to let someone else kick the tires.)
The annual membership is $40.
And there’s the Smugview iPhone app for $2.99. All good.
I was 30 seconds away from pulling the trigger, but then I remembered I already had my toe in the digital water with Flickr.

D’uh! Flickr!!
You might feel this is the obvious choice. And I guess it is. I just needed to go through the exercise. I already have my Flickr account replacing my former MobileMe photo-sharing activity with family and friends. And I’ve upgraded to the annual $24.95 Flickr Pro subscription to better handle photos above the 200-picture limit in their basic (free) account.

Flickr also has its free iPhone app. And I know I can create private Flickr albums.
Let’s do it!
So I got to work.

  • On my iMac, I directed Eye-Fi to upload to Flickr with my normal user login info.
  • Downloaded the Flickr iPhone app. Signed in the exact same way.
  • Tweaked the settings to uber private.
  • Took a test picture of my wife reading Goodnight Moon to our son.
  • Opened up the Flickr app on my iPhone a minute later.

BAM! There it was!
And the email announcing the upload showed up a few minutes after that.

Q.E.D.
(Quite easily done)

The uploaded photos are organized into new Flickr albums (sets) each day.
Eye-Fi also simultaneously sends the pics to iPhoto for archiving.
(The only complaint I have is Eye-Fi doesn’t connect directly to Aperture, my preferred photo management/editing program.)

Back in Business
So there you have it. I’m omniscient again, knowing the business of my lad’s daily adventures while I’m off storming the castle during the week.

Flickr has done the job. Yahoo!

That said, if any of you have other solutions you’d like to share, I’m all ears.
I’m only $25 in. I could be convinced to try the next best thing…

It Got Cloudy

I had everything just the way I liked it.
But the clock is ticking down to June.
I could sync between devices.  I shared my photos.  I could post my videos.  I could create a little website.  And it was elegant and easy.
I had it all.  MobileMe was great.  I paid for it.  A win-win for everyone.
I thought.

OK.  I know.  So MobileMe is dead and the coffin closes officially in June.  That’s yesterday’s news.

iCloud is up and running, and I know I have no choice but to switch in the next few months.  But I haven’t yet, because I’m trying to figure out how to put all the pieces of my little online media gallery back together.

So I went to the new Apple store in Grand Central Terminal a month ago and asked a bunch of the Apple Geniuses.  I’ve always found it useful to poll different geniuses on my tech questions, because there is rarely just one answer to a tech riddle.  In this one circumstance, I actually had a problem pushing past ‘the PR talk,’ but I quickly found the guy who was willing to give it me straight.

He told me if you want to share your photos online, use a service like Flickr.  If you want to share your videos, use YouTube or Vimeo.  If you want to share files, then go with Dropbox.  Want someone to host your simple website?  There are lots of choices out there like Go Daddy.   Yes, iWeb still works as a web-building tool… for now.  (I get the hint.)

And that’s it.   Apple is focusing on other stuff.  (and being wildly successful at it)

I’m suddenly feeling very Borg-like.  I will comply.

So far, I’ve got the Flickr account activated.  Looks like I’ll need their Pro account.  ($24.95/yr or $44.95/2 years) Yes, putting this all back together is going to cost something.  But the Genius added it would be less than MobileMe did.    So what’s there to complain about?

I need to get my head in the iCloud.
Let’s check back on this in May…

%d bloggers like this: