Syncing iPhoto Library to Google+ Photos

I have been running OS X for quite some time now and have had just about every version of iPhone that is out there.  After switching to a Samsung Galaxy S4, one of the things that really frustrated me was the lack of an easy way to sync my pictures taken pre-Android into my Google+ Photo Library.  A while back, Google announced that photos stored in Drive can now show up in Google+ Photos.  The question then became, how to synchronize them into Drive?

I found a process that requires a few steps, but ultimately lets you sync your photos and keep the events and data associated with them.  It’s not an overly complicated process, but you will need to play with it a bit.

Download PhoShare from https://code.google.com/p/phoshare/, and the required Exiftool from http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool. Install them both. (Mountain Lion users, you mat need to change your security settings to enable unsigned apps, just follow the instructions at http://goo.gl/0SR625)

Open PhoShare. It should find your iPhoto library.  Don’t change any settings on the “Library” tab.  The “.” under Events will tell PhoShare to export all your events.  You can get fancy and write some options to limit what is exported if you want to.

Change to the “Files” tab and select your export folder.  Since I already had the Google Drive Sync tool installed, I created a folder called iPhotoExports and pointed PhoShare to back up there.

Change to the “Metadata” tab.  Select “export metadata”, “export GPS data” and “Copy faces into metadata”.  (if you want these options selected)

Click Export. This will take some time, which will vary depending on your computer, Internet connection and the size of your library.

Once they’re all exported, you’re ready to go.  If you already had the Google Drive Sync tool installed, and pointed the export to a folder in your Google Drive folder, then the photos should already be syncing.  If not, you’ll need to install the tool and then copy the export folder over to your Google Drive folder.

Just leave it going in the background. Your photos will soon show up in Google+ Photos, with hopefully a whole host of new AutoAwesome shots for you to share with the world.

A brief warning…

These photos could very quickly use up all your storage space. So go to your Google+ settings and make sure the “Upload my photos at full size” option isn’t checked.

 

 

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Google Calendars and iPad

When I originaly wrote my article on Google Calendars on iPad, I didn’t think about shared calendars.  My wife and I share our calendars but have never really taken advantage of that option.  We’ve recently decided that more organization is better.  As a result, I went to my iPad to update my calendar… and realized that shared calendars were not visible.

After doing some investigation using my favorite search engine, I found many articles outlining a process of setting up the iPad to use Exchange to connect to GMail, then going to m.google.com/sync and selecting your device/calendars.  All of them pointed to Google’s own instructions, which seemed like the right way to go.

After several attempts I realized the instructions were flawed/wrong or something had changed.

  • On my iPad, going to m.google.com/sync told me I needed to backup my iPad.  After following that process, I still could go no further.
  • Following a process of setting Safari into developer mode and activating sync on it, had the same result.
  • In both cases, I should have been prompted to log into m.google.com/sync but no option was there.

After quite a bit more digging, I found a forum post that discussed the same problem.  Basically, it sounds like Google changed something and did not update their docs.  Fortunately, some intrepid user figured out the fix and shared it, just as I am going to do here.  (The more that know… the better)

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A Tablet For Business Users

In a previous post, I discussed my experience setting my iPad up for use at work.  As a result of that experience, I concluded that the iPad is not something many businesses would be able to set up  and save money.  I do believe that there is a need within business for mobile employees to have a tool that is more portable than a laptop.  Something running Windows would certainly integrate into my workday much more easily.  But sadly, the Microsoft camp has been very slow to produce anything with the portability and power that comes even close to the iPad.  Maybe that’s about to change.  There is much talk from Dell, HP and other vendors that they are releasing various tablet platforms, but they have been very slow to release a viable product.  When they do, each and every one is being compared to the iPad and falling very short.

I recently learned of a new “tablet” running Windows 7 called the nPad made by Nexocial.  It is the first Tablet PC, that I have seen, that truly is designed to have the touch screen be the primary source of interaction.  Based on the technical specs, the speed and performance are roughly similar to a normal desktop computer.  I found a demonstration video YouTube that shows the capabilities and performance of the nPad.

As you can see, the performance and responsiveness of the interface appears to be very solid.  Let’s dig into the technical specs.

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What Does an iPad Really Cost?

My personal opinion on the iPad is that it is not something you buy out of necessity.  Unlike and iPod or iPhone, I don’t think that anyone can sit back and justify the purchase.  The combined features make it compelling, but at a starting price of $499 it is a very expensive eBook reader.  I have been trying to find ways that I could integrate my iPad into my daily work and been marginally successful.  However the integration necessitated the purchase of several additional programs.  I work in IT, so I understand that I may not be the norm, but here is a list of what I needed.

Tool App Price
Email Mail Built In
Calendar – Exchange Calendar Built In
Calendar – Google Calendar Built In
Contacts Contacts Built In
Cisco VPN VPN Built In
Microsoft Word Pages 9.99
Microsoft Excel Numbers 9.99
Microsoft PowerPoint Keynote 9.99
SSH Client iSSH 9.99
Windows Remote WinAdmin 8.99
LogMeIn LogMeIn Ignition 29.99
VNC Mocha VNC Lite Free
FTP FTPOnTheGo 9.99
Printing Print n Share 6.99
PDF Reader GoodReader 0.99
Tasks TaskTask HD 4.99
 

If I count Accessories (Capacitive Pen, Dock, Case), I have spend over $200 trying to make my iPad be more useful at work.  There are plenty of other accessories, like a bluetooth keyboard and TV/VGA adapters on the market.  On the app side it’s just the apps I use;  I’ve been pretty discerning, but there have been a few failures.  Many do not have trial versions, you are entirely dependent on customer feedback and have no options for refunds should the app not work the way you need it to.  I have friends who have spent much more than I have finding the tools that were right for them.

Many of these apps have special requirements like ActiveSync on your mail server or require a level of technical expertise to configure. It’s fair to say that even with all of these additions, I still mostly use my iPad for email and quick fixes when I don’t want to boot my laptop up.

If I were to be asked today if the iPad was something the company I worked for could easily use and was worth the purchase price, I would have to answer with a resounding no.  The iPad is certainly marketed for consumers, not businesses.  While there is an undercurrent of Business Productivity apps on the market, the ability to integrate the iPad into an existing business infrastructure is not easily or inexpensively achieved.

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Pictures & Screenshots on the iPad

There are quite a few photography applications for the iPad in the App Store already.  At first, I wondered why you would want to transfer photos to your computer then sync your iPad to edit them.  If you are at your computer already, why not use the tools you have there.  I was at the Apple Store this weekend wishing I could buy it all and found a really cool accessory for the iPad.  Behold, The Camera Connection Kit; now it all makes sense…

This handy little device lets you connect your camera’s USB cable to the iPad or plug in your SD Card and transfer the pictures to your iPad.  If you take a lot of pictures and want to sort, edit and share while you are away from your computer, this is a necessity (along with a really good editing app on your iPad).

I am not heavily into photography, but being in IT I do take screenshots from time to time to help write up documentation or capture something interesting.  To take a screenshot on an iPad, iPod or iPhone you simply press the power button and while holding it down press the home button.

Once I did this, the question that came to mind:  “How do I get the pictures and screenshots off the iPad?”

Syncing my iPad with iTunes did not do the trick.   I had taken the screenshots while my docking cable was connected and, as a result, the answer did not immediately hit me.  Once I disconnected my iPad and reconnected it (in Windows), the Scanner and Camera Wizard launched, which then downloads the pictures.  You can also open the Wizard by going to Start->Programs->Accessories.

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