Opinion: Instagram Changing Feeds

So by now we all probably know that Instagram is changing it’s feed to something more like how Facebook does their feed.  Which is something I personally hate.  I miss out on a lot of things on FB simply because FB decided that I may not care about it.  Yet I show interest on one thing by mistake one time and it seems to forever think I love it.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to stop using Instagram because of this, not at all, but it is very annoying.  What’s even more annoying is the fact that whenever you complain about something like this, there are always some people that swear it is their job to protect all their favorite companies online, so instantly they are out there yelling “Hey!  It’s free! If you don’t like it, don’t use it!”.

On one hand, yes, it is free and indeed if you don’t like it, don’t  use it.  On the other hand, it’s not that simple, if someone wanted to make a program just like Instagram, it wouldn’t go very well for them.  Instagram may be free, but they have tons of money, specially since Facebook bought them.  So it’s not exactly fair to say “it’s free, if you don’t like it don’t use it”.  The closest thing to instagram that I’ve personally seen is probably the FLICKR app and it kind of sucks.

What really bothers me however is the whole “It’s free” part.  Why?  Because I’d be happy to pay for certain things I want.  For example, I’d gladly pay a monthly or yearly fee to keep my instagram feed in chronological order and to not have to see all the ads, but that’s just not an option.  I’m not saying charge for Instagram, I’m saying charge for certain options, I think they’d be surprised how many people would sign up for something like that.

Please let me know your thoughts on the issue.

Thanks!

STUFF

App: Google Photos

Ok so I want to try and do this thing where every now and then I recommend an app or service to people that I feel may help them out.  Today I want to take a look at photos, not so much editing them but storing and organizing them.

There are a few times that I see happening a lot with people and their pictures.

  1. Forgot to switch them to the new phone before getting rid of the old phone.
  2. They keep them in their phones taking up memory.
  3. They go through hell trying to move all their pictures from one phone to the other.
  4. Sometimes they just somehow lose all their pictures.
  5. They have a picture but they are not really sure how to share.
  6. They share the picture over MMS or some other service that makes the picture smaller and not nearly as good.

Here are some of the reasons why I chose Google Photos as the best way to deal with Pictures on our phones.

1. Automatic uploads

Now, some people may think of Automatic Uploads and start thinking about Privacy.  Honestly I’m not so much afraid of privacy, I’ve never had any issues, all the pictures get uploaded to a folder only I can see.  The only thing that could be an issue with Automatic Uploads is battery and data caps.  If you are uploading a lot of pictures using your normal cell phone plan, you could be using a lot of data.  Uploading is also going to use up your battery so you could be draining your battery pretty bad.  Luckily Google photos does allow you to set it up so that it auto uploads when you are on WiFi and also upload only if your phone is plugged in.  Personally I just have my phone upload no matter what, I don’t take hundreds of pictures a day.

2. Free Storage

Services like Flickr may offer you 1 free Terabyte of storage but Google offers you Unlimited storage of your pictures for free.  There is a catch, pictures have to be 16 megapixels or less.  If your photo is higher than 16MP then it will allow you to upload it but it’ll convert the image into a smaller 16MP image.  Don’t be too afraid of this, most cameras on phones don’t have 16MP cameras anyway.  Even the new Galaxy S7 is only 12MP.

They do give you the option to upload your pictures at full resolution, as in if your pictures were higher than 16MP, but then those pictures would use up space from your Google Drive limits.

3. View from just about anywhere

I can view Google Photos on my phone, but I can also view them on my web browser.  So in my case since I have mine uploading at all times, when I take a picture outside, by the time I go inside I can already see it on my web browser and share it.   If I go to work, i can still go into it from there, if I go anywhere as long as I can connect to my google account, I can view all my pictures.

Not only can I view my pictures on my computer, I  can also upload pictures from my computer.  There is a Google Photos uploader where you can sync a folder with Google Photos so that any photo you put there will be uploaded.  You can also drag and drop pictures from your computer straight into the Google Photos web interface and it’ll upload.

4. Sharing

With Google Photos I can easily share my pictures directly into Facebook, Google + or Twitter straight from the website.  If I just want 1 person to see my picture, I can create a link that I can then share with that person, so anyone with that link will be able to see the picture even if they don’t have google photos.  On my Android phone I can share to just about everything.  On the iPhone…. well…. that has never been the iPhone’s strength.

5. Organizing

I went to a birthday party and took a bunch of pictures, maybe 50 or so.  I get home, I log into my web browser and already the pictures are there.  However only about 15 of those 50 were any good.  I can easily select those 15, add them to a new Album, give it a name and share that 1 album on Facebook, Google +, Twitter or again I can create a link so that only people with that link can go in and view those 15 pictures.

6. Face Detection

This one is a little scary, but it’s also very neat.  Google Photos gives you a list of the faces that it sees the most in your pictures.  You click on that face and it’s scary how many pictures it finds with that persons face on it.  Not only that, but I’m 37, it finds pictures I have of me when I was 5! It’s not perfect, I’ll admit, it gets specially confused with all my cosplay pictures, but I would still say it’s amazingly accurate.

7. Search

It’s no secret that Google’s computers are looking at your pictures here, how else would that face recognition thing work?  They are most probably looking at all my pictures looking for everything I like so that they know what to offer me, but I don’t mind.  Faces is not all it looks for, it recognizes a LOT of information.

The other day I wanted to remember when a specific event happened.  I couldn’t remember at all, I did however remember that I took pictures and that we had set up some fake windows so some people could learn how to measure them.  So I did a search for “Windows”.  Photos returned all the pictures it found with windows in it.  I took a few scrolls and there they were, the pictures from the event, I was able to see when exactly the event took place.  Then I did a search for that date and I was able to find all the pictures I took that day.

This isn’t a one time thing though, I’ve been able to find a lot of things like this.  For example, if I’m looking for a picture with a bunch of family members together, I would search for “Family”  and it’ll look for any picture with a bunch of people together like a family would be.  That picture where you were wearing a green dress?  Try “Green dress”.  Picture of a car you saw a few weeks ago?  Search for “Car”.  You can search for so many things, search for “Dogs” to see all your pictures with dogs, a few cats may get in there but mostly it’ll be dogs.

8. Helps me Remember!

This one really should be part of “Search” but it’s so important to me that I put it as a separate thing.  I am very forgetful, I can not tell you how many times I’ve needed to remember what I was doing on a specific day and I just couldn’t.  Specially at work when I am going over the days I took off and I can’t remember why.  So I just go into my Google Photos, search for the date and since I tend to take pictures just about daily I can see what I was up to that day.

9. Video!!

Did I forget to mention it not only does all this with your photos but it also does it with your videos?  It stores your videos (up to 1080P) for free as well! You can share your videos the same way also.  The search doesn’t quite work the same in video but that’s to be expected.

10. Auto Awesome

Ok so this is one of my favorite parts of Google Photos (aside from search features).  It has a bunch of edits that it can do with your pictures that it calls “Auto Awesome”.  If your photo meets certain requirements, it’ll take it and make an edit to it that it thinks would look nice and saves it as a new picture, it then presents it to  you and if you like it, you can keep it.

For example, if you take a bunch of pictures in a row of someone moving, it may take all of those and create an animated gif of it.

It may also take a normal picture

And turn it into something different

If you take many pictures of a landscape, it’ll stitch them together and create a new image

One of my personal favorites is the Auto Awesome movies.  I could go to a birthday party and take some pictures and some video.  once it uploads them it’ll grab pieces of videos and different pictures and create a 30 to 45 second video with background music and all.  I usually do some minor edits to those videos and then share them because no one really wants to watch all the videos I took.

Because of the GPS on your phone, if you happen to go on a trip, when you come back it’ll even take a bunch of those pictures and create a story board for you to share with your friends.

I could go on and on about why I love Google Photos, and trust me, they do not sponsor me lol, no one does sadly, I just really like the service and I think people should know about it.  I hope this post has been useful to you, if so let us know in the comments, if you use Google photos and there is something I didn’t mention, let us know of that also, or if you just plain hate it let us know why as well.

Thank You for reading!

STUFF

Opinion: Apple vs FBI

Anyone that doesn’t really know me all that well, knows that I’m not a big fan of Apple or the iPhone.  Anyone that knows me better knows that I’m actually just a big fan of technology and I always love to try out new things.  I don’t hate on a company just because of it’s name and I don’t hate on new technology just because of who made it.  I had an iPhone when it was new, then I switched to Android because I liked it more.  I tend to be harsh on Apple sometimes but only because I feel they could do better. If this is supposed to be my opinion of Apple vs FBI, why am I even telling you all this?  Because I want you to understand that I love technology and I want to see it move forward, not be held back.

I have a lot of issues with this case and I figured I’d talk about some of them.

Why is Apple having to pay for what these people did? 

Look, I’m not going to say “poor apple”  they have plenty of money, but I try and put myself in their shoes, and I would absolutely hate it if something someone I don’t know did came to affect my company.  Apple had absolutely nothing to do with the shootings yet all of a sudden they are being ordered to help the FBI unlock a phone.  I would be like “WTF?  What does this have to do with me?”

Encryption is a good thing!

Right now, if the average joe steals your phone and your phone was encrypted, your information is safe, hell even trying to get that phone working again can be a big pain, which I would guess keeps most people from even wanting to take it. If Apple was to create what the FBI wants them to create, something that wasn’t out there before will now exist.  Sure, the chances of it getting out into the public are low, but it could happen.  So all of a sudden your lost phone with all the safely encrypted information could now be accessed and all the information could be taken out.  If you think that losing 1 credit card is a pain, imagine if someone had access to EVERYTHING you have in your phone?

The FBI could do this without Apple

They keep talking about how the FBI needs Apple for this, but really they just need apple in order to make this fast.  There ARE ways that the FBI could get into that phone if they really wanted to,  but they would take a LOT of trial and error and it could take a very long time.  Nothing is 100% secure when dealing with digital information.

This is just an opportunity

The Government has been trying to get more and more backdoors made into everything we use and just like always they use the words “Terrorism” and “Child abduction” as examples of why we should allow them to have access to our personal information.  Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they already have the info they want for this phone and they just want to use this case as an example as to why they need to have full access to people’s phones.

Would be nice

A lot of bad things happen every day and I’m sure that for just about every case the FBI investigates, there are many things that would be amazing to have.  Maybe they find a hard drive that’s been zapped and they can’t get any info from it, or they find a person with information but they can’t get them to share that info. To me this phone is just that, a “would be nice”  would be REAL nice,  but if they can’t get the info from it then they should just move on.

I don’t blame the FBI for wanting the info from the phone, on the contrary I think it would be a horrible job if they were to not try.   I believe they should try as much as they can, with THEY being the key word.  Asking Apple to create something that has any chance of weakening the security of every iPhone out there, is not the way.

If the FBI is able to force a company to make something for them even though that company really had nothing to do with the crime, where does it stop?  I mean, think about the kind of power we are giving them here.  Maybe in the future the FBI will demand all MY personal records because I used to play online with a guy who went nuts and killed a bunch of people and they think that maybe he told me something.  Or maybe the company that I work for will have to hand over all their information because they think that guy may have emailed me something at some point.

This case to me is about a lot more than 1 phone, although more agencies have already come out saying “hey we have a phone too”  and now that program that they want Apple to make for this 1 phone is really more for over 100 phones, this to me is more about how much power do we really want to give the FBI.  Apple had absolutely nothing to do with the crimes.  All they did was make a phone  that many of us enjoy, well ok, it’s an iPhone 5c which no one really liked but it’s part of the iPhone 5 family that people loved.  I myself have an iPhone 5S as my backup phone.

The sad part is that we are hearing about this because Apple is big enough to say “WTF?”.  Who knows how many companies are forced to do things they shouldn’t have to every year just because they wouldn’t dare take on the Government.

Technology is changing faster than our Government

In my opinion Technology is changing faster than our Government.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m a fan of technology and I want to see it go as far as it can as fast as it can.  However I keep seeing the Government get in the way of innovation.  I keep seeing things that make no sense to me either, like if you want a drone you have to register it but at the same time we are trying to make it easier for parents to buy guns for their kids.

 

Whenever I go to a store and I am going to pay with Samsung Pay I get a little  nervous because clerks tend to look at me weird because they’ve heard about how with newer terminals you can pay with your phone but they know they don’t have those newer terminals, so they always look at me thinking I’m dumb for trying to pay with my phone at an old terminal that doesn’t support NFC, and then they look at me like I hacked their terminal somehow with my phone when it tells them my transaction was approved.  This is how I see this case.  I am Apple, I know what my phone can do , so I go to pay with it, the clerk is the FBI, unaware of how technology has changed, thinking I’m just hacking their terminal, probably thinking I’m just trying to show off, not understanding that I like to pay with my phone because it’s more secure since it doesn’t transfer my actual credit card number.

I’m gonna go ahead and shut up now, this has been a lot longer than I expected it to be.  I do hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and that maybe it has made you think of something you hadn’t before. Thank you for reading!

STUFF

C2E2 2015 Pictures

Hello!  Just wanted to share some of my Pictures from C2E2 (Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) in 2015.  I will be attending C2E2 the following weekend so expect those pictures soon :)

I will be adding more to my C2E2 2015 Album during the week, you can find the album HERE.  Enjoy!
STUFFHD_WEB-1 STUFFHD_WEB-00896 STUFFHD_WEB-00903 STUFFHD_WEB-00927

Part of the team

Great projects always start small.  My name is Guillermo also known as Tynvar. I will be helping Javier/STUFF out with this site.  My interests are retro gaming, books, and other things geeks enjoy.

Even though nostalgia keeps my gaming going, I still enjoy newer games.  My favorite genres are RPGs and action adventure, although I will play FPS and sports games once in a great while.  You can expect some retro reviews and photos of geek toys.

Thanks for reading.

Tynvar

Geek Arcade Room is now Open!!

Hello everyone!  My name is Javier, better known as STUFF.  I’ve been wanting to start this site for a while now and it’s finally time to just get it started!

So what is the Geek Arcade Room?  Well, it’s about geeky stuff and gaming stuff, which falls under geeky stuff anyway.  What I’m trying to build here is a community where along with some friends we are able to educate and entertain people.

In the past I’ve tried doing this type of stuff on my own and that never works out because I tend to get so much into one thing that I start neglecting other things.  This is why this time I am working on getting some of my friends on board so that they too can add content to the site in order to make this place much better.  They will each introduce themselves as they start posting on here.

From me, I can tell you that you can expect to find some of my STUFF HD videos on here along with some of my cosplay pictures (love going to events to take pictures), also you’ll find me writing articles where I give my opinion on different things.

STUFF