Easy Photo Storage






Photo storage has never been easier (and free)! If you’re like me, you often get those annoying pop-ups on your iPhone that say your iCloud storage is full and to fix it you need to purchase more storage. Not so!

Google Photos is the answer that provides unlimited photo and video storage (all backed up in the cloud). All you need to do is download the Google Photos app to your device (iOS, Android) log into your Gmail account and let it do the work for you. Note: On your first login, all photos on your phone will be backed up, so this may take some time. Once done, every photo and video  will available online at: https://photos.google.com/. You can then delete everything from your phone and avoid those annoying messages/alerts.

With Google Photos, you can create albums, share them with others (via email, Facebook or Twitter), make a video or keep everything for your own personal viewing pleasure. Whether working from your cell phone, iPad or desktop, all your images will be fully accessible to you anytime, anywhere (and others if you so desire).

This tip has been added to Bri’s Commandments aka Tech 101.

You can also preserve old by photos scanning them (the high tech way) with Photo Scan (watch).


Encrypted Communications

m6BFtJQW_400x400Telegram is the Berlin-based competitor to Facebook’s WhatsApp. Using two layers of encryption, the app claims to be ‘faster and more secure’ than other messaging services. Users can message and send files to friends, create group chats with up to 200 members, or opt for ‘special secret chats’ where messages self-destruct. ISIS terrorists are turning to encrypted underground apps like Telegram to communicate. Laith Alkhouri, director of Research at Flashpoint Global Partners, called it ‘the new hot thing among jihadists.'” (CNN Money)

(See also Encryption 101 by yours truly)

This is the EXACT type of communication that continues to drive the debate about privacy and national security in America. It also puts Silicone Valley (the tech community) against governments around the world, including the US, and continues to come up in the Democratic & Republic Presidential Debates. Here’s what Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said in a recent 60-minutes interview:

I don’t believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security. If the government lays a proper warrant on us today then we will give the specific information that is requested. Because we have to by law. In the case of encrypted communication, we don’t have it to give. And so if like your iMessages are encrypted, we don’t have access to those. There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.

Remember when Carla Dean (Will Smith’s wife in Enemy of the State) said, “Who’s going to monitor the monitors?” That’s exactly the point critics raise with spying on encrypted communications in general. China actually just passed legislation that, “mandate[s] internet companies operating in China provide encryption keys and passwords to the government when requested.” Make no mistake, the US wants to go this way as well. The TED talk below argues against government spying and Rand Paul is one of the few presidential candidates that has consistently argued against NSA spying on Americans – it’s one of the points I DO agree with him on.

The United States of America has THE strongest and most funded military in the world. Surely it can find a way to use all the intelligence information collected legally by the CIA, NSA, and Department of Defense, and pool both their resources and talent to STAY AHEAD of the curve without violating the rights of ordinary americans, no? #tobecontinued!

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The “Cloud”

A lot of times techies use phrases that are like a second language to them but may be foreign to others. Let me explain. It is 2013 and I still see the occasional Facebook post proclaiming “Inbox me your number, I lost ALL my contacts.” Well, one of my commandments is to never store DATA on your phone (i.e. contacts). The solution to adhering to that commandment is one of those terms you may not understand, called “The Cloud”. At the moment, the only thing you may know about The Cloud is that Apple has one. Ironically, called iCloud.

The best way I can describe “The Cloud” is to put it in the context of your bank. If you want to find out your account balance or to see what transactions have posted, what do you do? Do you go to the same bank location every time, like on the movie It’s a Wonderful Life? No, silly! You can go to the bank in your neighborhood (unlikely) or  log into your account on your mobile phone (more likely). What about when you need to get some cash? You can go to an ATM at your bank, another bank’s ATM or withdraw $25 from CVS… and “they” ALL know your balance and what you have available to withdraw. News flash: your bank account information is available everywhere all the time!! How is that possible?? It’s MAGIC. j/k The reason this is possible is because of “The Cloud”.

The Cloud” basically means storing information or data online so you can access it anywhere, anytime, from multiple places/devices. Accessing your data is protected (you must enter a password or pin) and anyone/company can create their own cloud.

So, back to those contacts… you probably already have your Google/Gmail or iCloud account set up on your mobile phone? The easiest thing to do is to go into Settings and turn ON services other than mail for your account: Contacts, Calendar, Photos, Safari (for bookmarks). Go ahead and do that now. Now you can try it out: make a change to one of your contacts on your phone, then check it on your computer or iPad (may take a couple seconds to update). Once you enable these services, all your data is tied to your account. So the next time you lose your phone, all you have to do is add your account on your new device and your data will “magically” appear.

Welcome to “The Cloud”!