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Hi, Google Photos!

Google Photos logo

After leaving Flickr, it took few weeks to have all photos organised in Google Photos as my primary photo storage (and sharing!) service.

What’s the difference?

Using Google Photos, I upload more photos. I think, this is because of some key factors:

  1. It’s easy to upload photos. I almost always upload my photos directly from my Android phone.
  2. It feels fast to upload. Besides photos, I also upload some videos.
  3. It’s addictive. Because it’s not only about having all photos stored in the cloud, but also how Google handles my uploaded photos. The “Assistant” which helps me to create animation, collages, and also movies makes me feel more engaged with what I have uploaded. And, let’s not forget also its face recognition and face grouping feature.

Secondly, it’s nice to share memories with others. Even I have lots of private photos, I also have thousand of photos I took in my daily with friends at the office, church during Saturday services, and other occasions.

So, it’s not only about me, not only about my family, but it’s also about friends, coworkers, relatives, and those who we care about. I create hundreds of albums to keep all photos organised. I label those faces, and created shared albums so that my friends can also see their photos.

I already have around 28K photos uploaded for free to Google Photos. Let’s see how many photos I have at the end of the year. 20K? We’ll see.

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Thank You, Flickr! Hello Google Photos!

When Flickr was acquired by Smugmug, I was happy. Rather than comparing between the two services, they finally under one team, even Flickr and Smugmug are still two separated services. I believe that Smugmug will work hard and listen to Flickr community to bring Flickr back with better features.

But, I decided to leave Flickr for Google Photos. Thank you, Flickr!

Flickr and I

Before Instagram era, or mobile-first photo sharing becomes so popular, Flickr was on the top service if it’s referring to photos/photography. Especially when there was Yahoo behind it.

I created my personal Flickr account back in 2004 — it’s 15 years ago — and I started uploading and sharing photos. When I was having close discussion with Public Communication Center of Ministry of Health and they asked me what kind of platform to choose to share photos, I recommended Flickr. The best part is they’re still using it until now!

Thomas Arie presenting flickr #ytownhall
Me sharing about Flickr during Yahoo Community Townhall event in May 2011 in Jakarta. I even still have the presentation slides with me. Thank you, Della and Gage!

Dear Flickr,

Probably, it’s just me. But, I wish you offer better experiences in — in my opinion — some of the key features.

First, help me to organise my thousand of photos. For me, it’s not that easy to put multiple photos into multiple albums. I am not sure about how you handle exactly-the-same photos, or…. duplicate photos. As far as I remember, it will be treated as different photos.

I wish you can also help me to organise my uploaded photos… automagically. There are lots of faces in my photos. Help me to organise them by faces so that I can easily and quickly find photos of my wife, my sister, and also my friends.

I know that sometimes it’s not about you. But, I feel that it’s slow to send my photos to you. I know, it’s also because you can also secure my photos in their original sizes.

I will stop talking now. I don’t hate you at all. I need something that works for me better now.

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Find and Remove Duplicate Photos on Flickr

I’m organising my Flickr photos and want to find the easy way to remove duplicate photos that are already in or outside albums. Flickr does not offer the simple tool to work on this task. After searching for a while, there is Flickr Dup Finder 2. It’s a simple tool to search for duplicates and remove them. It’s utilising Flickr’s API and it works really good. At least for now, I already found more than 1,600 duplicate photos.

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Lifehacker Faceoff: Google Photos vs. Flickr

Last month, both Google and Yahoo introduced big changes to their photo storage services, Google Photos and Flickr (4.0), respectively. Both offer identical, useful features: automatic photo backups, intelligent organization, online editing tools, and sharing capabilities. So which one should you use? (Source: Lifehacker Faceoff: Google Photos vs. Flickr)

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Let's talk about the (new) Yahoo's email service




Recently, Yahoo redesigned its mail service again. I’ve talked about Yahoo Mail last August. I hoped for an improvements. Recently, on its 16th birthday, Yahoo gives a new look for its mail service. Quoting from a release published at Yahoo’s blog:

We redesigned Yahoo Mail to be more efficient, too. Things you do all of the time like search, starring, and deleting are now one-click actions that appear when you hover over an email. We also wanted to give you more breathing room in your inbox, so you can collapse the left-hand toolbar to be more productive.

I’m not a big fan of Yahoo email service actually, I’m sold to Google Mail. I use Gmail web-based interface on my daily basis. So, what Yahoo offered on this redesign this time?

1 TB of storage to handle email and attachments.

Yes, that’s huge! Currently, Google ‘only’ offers 15 GB of free storage (shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos) with some detailed conditions. The 1 TB storage is tempting for marketing purpose and by number. Do I really need 1TB? I can live with 15 GB Google offers. By having 1 TB of storage, it can handles more than 54 million of emails.
Previously, if you’re a Flickr user, Yahoo also offers 1 TB of storage to store more than 500,000 photos in original quality. This one is really a good deal!

Themes

I’m not a fan of themes for email service. I left my Gmail in the standard look, without fancy themes. Yahoo — since it also owns Flickr — brings some selected photos from Flickr to choose as the background theme. Here how it looks.
Yahoo mail themes
For the web interface, I choose the of of the clean theme styles.

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Photo Sizes on Flickr

I’m not sure when Flickr started to generate more sizes for uploaded photos. If you upload a photo, it will be uploaded to Flickr, and will be processed to generate multiple image sizes. Here are the sizes for reference — based on a photo taken using iPhone 5:

  • Square 75 (75 x 75)
  • Square 150 (150 x 150)
  • Thumbnail (100 x 75)
  • Small 240 (240 x 180)
  • Small 320 (320 x 240)
  • Medium 500 (500 x 375)
  • Medium 640 (640 x 480)
  • Medium 800 (800 x 600)
  • Large 1024 (1024 x 768)
  • Large 1600 (1600 x 1200)
  • Large 2048 (2048 x 1536)
  • Original (3264 x 2448)
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Merry Flickr: Free Flickr Pro for 3 months (current Pro users included)



Screen Shot 2012-12-22 at 1.22.54 PM
Flickr — Yahoo-owned photo-sharing service — offers 3 months free account for its users. Currently, Flickr has two types of accounts: free and Pro ($24.95/year). I’ve been using Filckr Pro for years, and happy with it. Especially, when Flickr released its new version of Flickr for iOS. For the reminder, by having a Flickr Pro account you can get these advanced features:

  • Unlimited photo uploads (50MB per photo)
  • Unlimited video uploads (90 seconds max, 500MB per video)
  • The ability to show HD Video
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Archiving of high-resolution original images
  • The ability to replace a photo
  • Post any of your photos or videos in up to 60 group pools
  • View count and referrer statistics
  • Limitation of maximum image size available to others
  • Ad-free browsing and sharing

To get Flickr’s Holiday Gift, you only need to visit flickr.com/holidaygift and get your account upgraded. For existing Flickr Pro customers, your accounts will be extended — additional 3 months will be added to your account. For example, my Flickr account previously will be expired on March 16, 2014. Now, it had been extended until June 16th, 2014.
Screen Shot 2012-12-22 at 1.18.47 PM

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Readmill: Another reading experience



One of the reasons I bought an iPad this year was that about books. I have to admit that my reading habit has changed in the last few months. I read more books and magazines on my iPad. But, it does not mean that I don’t read real books. It’s easy to mentioned two last books I bought: Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and Listomania.
But, I bought more digital books. I subscribed to National Geographics Magazine for iPad, and purchased some other books directly from iBook Store. I have some editions from A Book Apart and Smashing Magazines, too. My reading experience has been shifted.
Readmill
Recently, I moved some of my books to Readmill. iBooks and Readmill share the similar reading experience. But, after using it for few days, I think I’m falling in love with Readmill. I like the idea that it’s not only about reading. I like its social features, and I love the way the site is designed.

Readmill is a curious community of readers, highlighting and sharing the books they love.
We believe reading should be an open and easily shareable experience. We built Readmill to help fix the somewhat broken world of ebooks, and create the best reading experience imaginable. (source)

In short, it happens like this:

  • Buy some books, and you usually you will get them in some formats like PDF or ePub.
  • You can easily open them using iBook app (on your iOS devices). If you’re using Readmill, you upload them to your Readmill’s Library.
  • Start reading.

While you’re reading, you can take notes, highlights. Readmill has a nice approach about the reading behaviours. Readers can interact each others by sharing highlights. Try to visit a book profile called “Designing for Emotion” by Aaron Walter.

But, what about the reading experience itself? On my iPad, I have a pleasant reading experience. Readmill app offers a simple and key features readers really need: adding highlights, bookmarks, etc. And, not to forget its social features, they’re just great.

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Snapjoy: Backup and organize your photos




As a person who loves to photography, I think Snapjoy is an answer to some problems. What is Snapjoy? It’s a service that will help you organize your photos. The word ‘organize’ here is about putting photos you’ve uploaded to multiple services in one place, and organize them. Anyway, I like its name: ‘snap’ and ‘joy’.
There are a lot of tools and services that deals with photos. There are many ways to take photos (digital cameras and mobile devies), and to share photos (you can name services that put photos as their primary contents). But, there are problems:

  • It takes time to have them organised in one place. I like having my photos uploaded to Flickr. I like sharing photos using Instagram. Some of you might also live to have your photos stored to Google Picasa. Some photos go to one service, and the others go to another services. They’re all might be distributed.
  • Not all services are integrated one another. If I upload a my photo to Instagram, I can directly upload it to Flickr for example. But, I don’t this for some reasons.
  • Backup, and backup. Photos are memories. I want to keep it safe. Having them stored in a hardrive is great, but if you have lots of photos, it takes more effort to have them organised and backed up. Yes, there is a service like Backupify that will help you backup your photos from Flickr to storage service. It’s an option.

Having valuable contents backed up and distributed in multiple locations is a good scenario. But, having all of them organised is another thing to think about.

Snapjoy answers some of these problems. By having an account at Snapjoy — it’s free –, you will be able to import (well, I think it can be defined as “backup” too) all you photos from multiple services. Currently, you can import  your Instagram, Flickr, and Google Picasa photos. The process is easy. Connect your Snapjoy to those services, and hit the import button.
I tried to import my Instagram photos and it took less than 5 minutes to have around 500 Instagram photos transfered to Snapjoy. And, a new “Instagram” album is created automatically. All your photos will be stored by Snapjoy (and it utilises Amazon Simple Storage Service). So, you have the copy of all photos somewhere else.
The good thing is that Snapjoy will also help you organize them. I personally like the way Snapjoy display the photo archive. There are few things that can be done to have it better like keeping the photo information (It seems that photo tags are not imported).
After you have your photos managed by Snapjoy, you can enjoy some other features offered. I like the its “Remember When…”. Basically, it’s just shuffling photos in the collection. It might be easy to recognise photos taken last week, or last month. But, if you want to challenge your memory, try to recognise photo taken three or four years ago.
All imported photos are stored privately by default. You can later share them with friends. Interesting to see its upcoming social features.
It’s a free service now, and I think it will not be free forever. There are some technical costs that have to paid. But, as long as it offers people who love to keep their valuable memories something that they really need, I think people will be. Well, I don’t mind paying for a good service/product. I know that Snapjoy will improve its service. I personally would like to have these features:

  • Options to export all photos to other backup service. If it’s a paid feature, I don’t mind. So, Snapjoy will be the “bridge” between service. It’s already a bridge, but making connection to another service is also cool.
  • Keep the photo information during the import.
  • Keep the original photo size. I’m not sure which photos imported when it has multiple sizes. Having the original photos imported should be great.

Anyway, this service is not only about importing. You can also upload your photos directly there. You can upload from the web, or using and desktop uploader called “Shoebox“. My Flickr photo import is still processing. Let’s see the results later.

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Twitter's New Office Photos in SF

New Twitter HQ, 1355 Market Street, San Francisco.
Common Space
Conference Room
More photos at Flickr.

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BlackBerry Torch 9860 Sample Photos




I have been using this BlackBerry Torch 9860 (also known as Monza) for about 2 months. So far, I’m enjoying it even I don’t use all BlackBerry features. Well, I only use features like BlackBerry Messenger, email, internet browser, social networking applications, and of course… camera!
I will not write the whole technical specifications. You can go to GSM Arena, and read the details. About the camera, it’s equipped with 5 MP. I have to say that the photo quality is not bad at all. When I look at photos taken using BlackBerry, I usually didn’t expect much on the quality. On this Monza, I’m really impressed. It’s really good.
Here are some photos taken using BlackBerry Torch 9860. All photos are directly uploaded to Flickr without any extra editing processes.
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Will Soekarno-Hatta (CGK) be on the top 10 busiest airports?




It might be.


Got the tweet from Daniel Giovanni (@qronoz), and I spent my time exploring the statistics at Wikipedia about World’s busiest airports by passenger traffic. Some interesting numbers there. According to the statistics in 2011, Soekarno-Hatta was ranked as the 12th busiest airport (by passanger traffic) in the world after Hong Kong International Airport and Denver International Airport. It’s bussier than John F. Kennedy International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport.
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Still according to Wikipedia, “a passenger” is described as:

“someone who arrives in, departs from, or transfers through the airport on a given day”.

Seeing from the figure, I think Soekarno-Hatta might be on the top 10 list in 2012. Or, probably in 2013. Of course, there are some other factors involved, but let’s look closer on some facts about Soekarno-Hatta airport:

  • Soekarno-Hatta began to operate in 1985. The current operator is PT Angkasa Pura II, anyway.
  • Currently, there are 3 terminals (Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3). According to the plan, Terminal 4 will be build in 2013. In total, there are 45 gates.
  • By passenger traffic, here are some statistics:
    • In 2008, it was ranked number 36
    • In 2009, it was ranked number 22
    • In 2010, it was ranked number 16
    • In 2011, it was ranked number 12 (19.3% change from the previous year, with the total passengers of 52,446,618). Compared to the other 29 airports on the list, Soekarno-Hatta had the biggest growth followed by Atatürk International Airport of Turkey (16.3%)

So, what do you think about the statistics in 2012?

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How To: Install Opera Mobile on Nokia N9

Nokia N9 already has a built-in internet browser. It’s not the best, but it works. I like having some browsers for my Nokia N9, and currently I have Firefox Mobile and Opera Mobile installed. Both browsers (Firefox Mobile and Opera Mobile) are not available from Ovi Store. If you’re using Symbian for your Nokia, you can download Opera Mini. Firefox is not yet supported.
I’m not considering the installation process as something difficult. Yes, it’s not like the regular installation procedures. It’s my first-time experience too. So far, everything works without any issue at the moment. For Opera Mobile installation, I just follow the installation tutorial from Nokia N9 Fans Club. It’s an unofficial site, not maintained by Nokia.

Now, let me share a bit about how I installed Opera Mobile. Anyway, my N9 is running MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan with software version PR1.1 (20.2011.40-2_PR_005). And, if you’re not familiar with command line, you can continue reading.

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Nokia N9 Sample Photos




I love photography.
After using some different cameras (DSLR and phone camera), I think  this year I spend more time using mobile phone, not the DSLR. Sometime, I almost forgot that I still have Canon 450D. After having Nokia N9 in my hands, I wanted to test its camera features, just like what I did with my previous Nokia N8.

Nokia N9 does not have the best camera specifications compared to other mobile phone products (with camera). But, for a mobile photography, the photo quality is pretty good. Let’s look at Nokia N9 camera specifications:

  • 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics
  • Wide-angle lens, true 16:9 imaging
  • Large lens aperture F2.2 for better and faster photos in low light conditions
  • Dual LED flash
  • Digital shutter, continuous autofocus, touch-to-focus and exposure lock
  • Focal length: 3.77mm / 28mm, F number/Aperture: F2.2
  • Still images file format: JPEG/EXIF/XMP
  • Digital zoom up to 4x for still images and video

Now, let’s see how some photos taken using Nokia N9. These photos are not edited at all. Nokia N9 has also a simple photo editor to crop, rotate, brightness, and contrast, etc. I only captured some photos, and send to Flickr directly from the phone using built-in upload to Flickr feature.

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Solved: Nokia N9 can't connect to Twitter

After I had my Nokia N9 early this month, I setup my Twitter account first — after some basic phone settings, of course. Everything worked. The application is probably not the best, but it works.
Is it problem-free app? I thought so, until I got a problem: I can’t connect to Twitter using this app. I was not sure when the problem occurred for the first time. I did played with my phone (installing apps, downloading musics, adjusting settings, and including working from the command line). When an update was available, I also upgraded.
Added later: I was not sure what caused this problem. When I signed-in for the first time, everything worked without any issues. I deleted my Twitter account from the app, and tried to add it again. I forgot when I did this for sure, before or after installing the firmware update. It  was optional, but I decided to upgrade.
2011-11-13 01-49-48At first, I was not sure about the problem. Is it my phone, or the internet connection I was using. I switched to some different connections, but it didn’t solve my problem. When I tapped the “Sign In” button, it said: “Can’t connect to Twitter”.
So, I searched for a solution. And, I got one. It’s probably something too technical, but the instruction is easy to understand. According to the forum thread, here are some steps to fix the problem — I’m using Software Version: PR1.1 (20.2011.40-2_PR_005):

  • Activate “Developer mode” by going to: Settings > Security > Developer mode. It’s OFF by default. Turn it ON.
  • After having it activated, you will find a “Terminal” app button under application menu.
  • Open it and you need to execute these commands (one command per line):
    • gconftool --recursive-unset /system/http_proxy
    • gconftool --recursive-unset /system/proxy
    • gconftool --recursive-unset /system/osso

You may close your Terminal.
Those commands will wipe your active connection settings (bluetooth and internet data). But, it’s not a problem as I can add/manage connection settings easily. Problem fixed. Great.