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Have you Backed Up Your Photos?

Many of the photographs that you take are non-replaceable. Whether they are snapshots of family, birthday, anniversary, reunion or other events, most likely they are important possessions that you do not want to lose.

In the days before digital photography, many of us stuffed negatives, slides and snapshots in the proverbial shoebox for safekeeping. But with the advent of digital cameras photography became easier and less expensive resulting in a steep increase of the number of pictures and videos that we took. And of the number has literally exploded with the addition of our always handy cellphone camera.

The question is – are we taking the steps to backup and/or organize all of our photos and videos? Nowadays there are a myriad ways to store images. The one you choose is based on the amount of effort you have to expend to backup and organize your stash and the cost for storing them.

Here’s a few of the ways that I backup and organize my photos and videos. From here on in when I refer to images this is to be both photographs and videos.

Cellphones fall into either the Apple iOS category or the Android category. And since your cellphone doubles as cameras, it’s a good idea to backup the images regularly.

While I’m insistent on safeguarding the images on my cellphone, I’m also interested in doing so as easily and inexpensively as possible. So I’ve chosen several ways to do this that are simple and automated.

My cell is an iPhone so I don’t have a lot of experience with Android models. Android owners can use both the Google and Amazon services for backup up their images.

Apple Photos app

My iPhone can automatically upload all of my photos to the Apple cloud for safekeeping.

  1. Go to the Settings menu:
  2. Beneath your name choose Apple ID, iCloud+, Media & Purchases.
  3. Choose iCloud
  4. Choose Photos
  5. Next to Sync this iPhone turn the button on

Apple iCloud users are entitled to 5GB of storage with their account. This amount of storage is enough for about 2500 photos of average size. For larger photo collections, you can purchase 50GB additional storage for $.99 (99 cents) a month. I have 8,000 photos and 1,300 videos in my current collection. If you have a huge collection you can purchase 2TB of storage for $9.99 a month.

Google Photos app

I also have Google Photos app installed on my iPhone. Google Photos copies the photos on my iPhone to my Google Library in the cloud. I purchased 100 GB of storage which cost $1.99 per month. Currently I have more than 30,000 images but using only 36 GB of the allocated storage. There are other options to purchase additional storage on the Google cloud. For Android users the Google Photos app has an option to backup the photos on your cell phone to your Google Library in the cloud.

Google Photos has features to edit, add descriptions and comments, identify faces, organize images into albums and share images.

Google Photos users are entitled to 15GB of storage with their account. This amount of storage is enough for about 7500 photos of average size. For larger photo collections, you can purchase 100GB additional storage for $1.99 a month.

Amazon Photos app

The Amazon Photos app is also installed on my iPhone. Amazon Prime members receive unlimited free storage for photos and 5 GB for videos. You can use either their iOS (iPhone/iPad) or Android app to automatically backup your images. Non-Prime members can purchase 100 GB of storage on the Amazon cloud for $19.99 per year ($1.66/month). Currently, I have about 9,000 photos and 2000 videos stored on the Amazon’s cloud using 82 GB of storage.

Amazon Photos has features to edit, apply filters, add text and organize images into albums or groups and share images.

As you can see, I have safeguarded my cellphone photos in three different places. Maybe it’s “overkill” to have three different backups but the process is automatic. Since I have more images than the allotted free space for the various services I don’t mind the few dollars a month since it saves me the worry that I might otherwise loose an important event.

It’s easy and either free or inexpensive so please don’t forget to protect your photos and videos.

Written by: Arnie Lee

A Walk around CES – Part 2

14th February 2012

More “goodies” at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

This article is a followup to Part 1 in which I describe a few of the photographic items that attracted my attention as I was scouring the venues of the Consumer Electronics Show. In this Part 2 article, I’ll show you some of the other items that I found interesting at this year’s record breaking CES.
I’m a geek at heart. And since I like touching, feeling and learning about devices and gadgets that perform some kind of magic, the miles of aisles taking up some 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space -are a playground for me. Apparently there are a few others that feel the same way; attendance at the show was north of 150,000.
My reporting covers both technology and photography. This year the Photographic Marketing Association chose to co-locate their annual convention at the Consumer Electronics Show. Since most of the major photo equipment manufacturers already exhibit at CES, it makes sense for the PMA to join forces. Having CES and PMA exhibitors at a single event makes it very convenient for reporters such as myself.

The CES management makes it easy for its exhibitors to get global press coverage by inviting hundreds of media reps to the show. As you can see here, the Press Room was teeming with throngs of reporters filing their articles.


OK, here goes Part 2 of the time spent at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Intel, the premier maker of microprocessors, is revving up the market for its ultrabook push. Intel supplies the chips that many computer manufacturers use to build their hardware.
When asked to define an ultrabook, one of the Intel reps described one as a thin and lightweight notebook with a long battery life which starts up (boots) very quickly. To save weight and conserve battery life, most of the ultrabooks have smaller screens (13″ to 15″) and use solid state had drives but without an optical (CD, DVD or BlueRay) drive. All of the new ultrabooks use Intel 2nd generation “Sandy Bridge” core processors.

a new Samsung ultrabook

a Toshiba ultrabook
To those of you familiar with Apple’s offering, the ultrabook most likely took its cue from the MacBook Air. In all, there were eight different manufacturers showing their own variations of the ultrabook at CES. Go here to find more information about Intel-based ultrabooks.

Another feature that will soon start appearing is dubbed WiDi – for wireless display. This new technology couples a computer to a monitor through a high speed wireless connection. At the Intel stand, a notebook computer was sending its display to a huge 52″ Samsung HD television with builit-in WiDi with no apparent delay. I found this to be pretty slick.

I was really intrigued by the Replicator. It sounds like it might be a creature from a monster movie, but it is in fact a 3D printer. A what? What’s a 3D printer?

The Replicator is a printer that spits out a plastic substance according to a pattern to create 3D objects.

Here’s a model car made by the Replicator. Note the intricate detail.

Michael Curry is holding one of the spools of plastic which are fed into the Replicator.

Here’s another very sophisticated model that was manufactured by the Replicator.
MakerBot Industries makes the Replicator. They have hundreds of free templates for making all sorts of models. Price is about $1800. O’Reilly Media features the MakerBot in a recent issue of Make Magazine in which it shows you how to make your own MakerBot.

For more information contact MakerBot Industries.

The AR.Drone 2.0 is another neat gizmo. Designed in France by Parrot, it’s a high tech hovering aircraft.

AR.Drone 2.0 is a slick remote controlled, battery powered helicopter-like aircraft. You control the AR.Drone with an iPhone. What’s unique about this craft is that it can take 720 HD, gyroscopically-damped videos. BTW, it’s fully repairable – parts are available online.

Here, representative Vanessa Loury is showing me a video taken above Paris with the AR.Drone 2.0. The price about $300.
To see some of the sample videos and more information, go to

One of our companies has been involved with flight simulation for many years, so I made it over to Microsoft to see a demo of their soon to be released Flight product.

Flight starts you on the Big Island of Hawaii flying the Stearman biplane and ICON 5 sportplane. Here’s a virtual pilot approaching the airport for a landing.

The starter set will be free. Shortly, thereafter Microsoft will release reasonably priced aircraft, scenery and adventures to make Flight even more challenging.
Microsoft Flight will be available February 29 at Microsoft Games.

Another phrase that we’ve been hearing a lot about is “the cloud“. Basically, the cloud is a generic name for a secure, remote storage and data backup facility that gives you access to any of the data using various devices (e.g. computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.).

Microsoft’s entry for the cloud is called SkyDrive. Sign up for SkyDrive and you’ll receive FREE, a generous 25GB of storage.

You can backup or store files, documents and photos on SkyDrive. You can choose to share these items with others or keep them private.

Microsoft Office users can work collaboratively with SkyDrive. OneNote users can access files remotely with various mobile and desktop devices.

One limitation is that any file must be less than 100MB in size which rules out many videos.

To sign up for a free SkyDrive account from Microsoft, please go to SkyDrive.

As you can tell from both Part 1 and Part 2 of my walk around CES, I enjoyed peeking at a bunch of the new electronic gadgets that are lining up to meet the marketplace.
As far as the CES in concerned these many years, I’ve adhered to the James Taylor song “Never grow old and never die young”. I hope to report on it again in 2013.


Written by Arnie Lee