Archive for the ‘web based services’ Category

Every Day is Veteran’s Day…

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Our family is full of Veteran’s and probably so is yours. Everyone, elected officials, celebrities, it is a hip thing to say how much they mean to us

and the freedom of our country.  Right now, it is the season to lower the flag at half staff and tell them we care.  We do. In the meantime, let me tell you a story about my current active duty National Guard Airman.  She is my niece.  Just came back from the Persian Gulf safely, thank God.

She taught me how to use a very special service called Skype.  Now I have heard lots about it, seen it on interviews on TV, but just didn’t know a lot about it and to be truthful, I am just learning how it works, but I have used it enough to know that it does. And so far it is FREE!

Here are 3 quick reasons why you should use Skype:

  • It works on any high speed internet connection (DSL, Cable)
  • It works whether you have a web cam or not. (audio and video options)
  • To subscribe is FREE and if you call another subscriber it is also FREE!

The military reference comes from the fact that Skype is used often by military personnel to connect with family and friends thru video and audio for free.  And that was exactly how I started using it.  BUT there are many other reasons you may want to use it.  A conference call with a client or to stay connected with your relatives that are far away.  With kids growing so fast, we can Skype grandkids, neices and nephews or anyone else we would like.  Skype helps you see and hear them wherever they are.

Bad weather and cannot make a long distance trip to see a client?  The possibilities are endless!

If you have an older computer you may need a webcam and maybe a microphone.  But for under $100 in hardware,  (you know me I love Best Buy) you can be up and going in no time!   The holidays are coming and not all of us can be together so start using Skype and get your family to do it too, you will love it.  Test it on a friend, remember if you are both subscribers it is FREE.  Just like anything, practice makes perfect – by the holidays you will be an old pro — or better than that, you will be a “COOL” pro!

Photo Sharing, Exchanging, Printing and Storing

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Like you, I have many people in my life that love to send me photos. These photos come in all sizes, shapes and of course quality. But when was the last time someone sent you a snapshot that WASN’T a Christmas Card?

I remember my mom’s Kodak Extralite 110 Camera. When the flash was turned on, you could hear the sound of it coming up to speed. I think there were more pictures taken of us swimming and at camp on this camera with a finger in the viewfinder that anyone wants to count! Lots of photos that came back from the developer that had to be thown out.

There are digital cameras, tons and tons and I am not going to discuss all the types of them out there, there are plenty of websites and information for that.

What I want to talk about is the photos themselves. These are memories and worth much more than the money is costs to protect them. If you have a fire, flood or ex-spouse in your life you come to realize how important they can be. How you store them, how you share them and how you print them, needs to be easy, reliable and safe.

If you don’t have consistency in photo sharing and storage or don’t like how anyone else that you know works, then here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before you look at other options.

  • How many photos do I want to save in one place?
  • How long do I want them to be saved there?
  • How much memory do I have in my computer?
  • Do I consistently “back-up” my computer or will I save them on CD’s?
  • Do I want to use this photo storage area to generate gifts – calendars, mugs, t-shirts to send to my friends?

Keep in mind, some services are free, some services have a fee and some are both.
Some services allow you to save so many (depends on space) and then charge you a fee when you exceed the free space limit.

Photo Storage and Sharing:
Sending a bunch of photos via email is easy but tricky, since most photos are quite large as well as sometimes these messages get refused all together or sent to a SPAM file.

If you have a friend, a child or somebody in your life that uses a certain service, likes it and can help you learn how to use it, then it may not be a bad idea to use the same one they do, you can be part of the same network and you can help each other use all the whiz bang features that are part of the service.

Online Photo Services can be presented a few different ways.

First way, (I would never recommend this one) is a software program to add on to your computer, I don’t recommend it because it means all your memories are trapped in a box that can be struck by lightning, flooded in your basement, invaded by a virus or just slow down everything else you are trying to do on your computer. Your computer has to churn through these photos plugging up your drive. NOT to mention if this is your WORK computer and not your own computer!

If you still want to store them locally, save them off to a hard drive – this is the one I use it is from Best Buy and it hold 500GB!! Photos are big and for $99 bucks it is worth it. You can keep them in one place, but it really isnt perfect for sharing them the way photo services are.

Second way: Is the external software service – or some call it “web-based” and all of them I know of allow for storage, sorting by multiple albums, searchable key words and the ability to invite people to view or to keep your photos private.

You can access your photos with your user name and password from anywhere you have internet access. It does not have to be on your OWN computer.

I started using webshots, which I just realized I have been using it since 2002 and have multiple albums with a bunch of photos and an address book that I can send to people that I want to see my photos. Every time I go to upload more photos, they tell me something new that they are doing. I can make my photos public also though I have not done that yet. It costs $30 a year, which is very reasonable as far as I am concerned, for all the options that I have (most I don’t use, but I could if I wanted to.)

Other photos sharing services people use that I see are: Flickr which alot of my geek friends use, but have no fear it is also very easy to use! Shutterfly was a service I used for Christmas Cards last year, because a friend of mine told me about where he had his made and I was very happy with how they turned out- only to realize that webshots has the same service!!

My brother and sister-in-law as well as a bunch of friends have Kodak Easy Share Cameras and they swear by the Easy Share Service.

Printing Your Photos
I have a home HP photo printer and I must say I find it a pain. More cartridges, more types of paper, now that I have it, I use it. The paper and ink is expensive. I know lots of folks that just save their photos to a memory stick or set up a Walmart or Sams account email the photos and go to the place and pick them up all ready to go. These are secure websites and the quality of the photos I have seen are as good as the ones I have printed at home.

Remember that all these things change and get easier to use, but also don’t let your years worth of photos pile up on a big memory card and find out your new puppy has chewed it up or it is corrupted somehow.

Memories are precious, if you took the time to take the photos, find an easy way to keep them!

*Thank you Best Buy for the MyBook photo and to this website Dial 11o cameras for the kodak photo.