Friday Tech Roundup: New Parent Tech

So my tech roundup  is a bit late due to my adventures in new parenthood. As you can imagine, I’ve been pretty much out of the tech news stream (and I also think it’s been a slow week due to the July 4th holiday), but I’ve made a lot of tech discoveries being the first time parent of a newborn.

When I haven’t been holding m new daughter or catching up on sleep, I’ve committed some thought towards how we want to capture and share our special moments.  I’m not sure if Facebook is the best vehicle for this, in large part that I’m not quite sure if I have a true awareness – let alone control of – who would see all of the content.  I use Facebook as a social media public face, and am extremely sensitive to Facebook over-posting.  Given this stance, splashing multiple pictures and videos per day is the last thing I want to do.

However, I do recognize that there is a segment of people in our lives (namely our families and friends who live further away), who wouldn’t mind an avalanche of pictures.  So with that I have prepared two vehicles for social media sharing:

  • Clara’s Tumblr Page – I think Tumblr provides the perfect vehicle for the two of us to submit these bit-sized chunks that Clara-admirers can scroll to their hearts content. The app is a joy to use, and I love that the both of us have an easy way to publish.
  • Flickr – Given that Picasa is all but dead, folded into Google+, and that I currently use Google+ as a de-facto backup for my phone’s pictures, I’ve decided to use Flickr.  I love Google+ in concept, but the reality is that their notification system is too overreaching. I’d like to think I’m a reasonably smart guy when it comes to technology, but I still can’t figure out how to post things to my circles without them receiving a notification (be it in email or on Google+). I’d like to simply push content out and if people see it: that’s great – don’t notify them.  Anyway, so I’m back with Flickr, and do think their re-design is pretty compelling. The only problem I have is that Flickr has become a virtual ghost town, I’m not sure if people are viewing these images or not.  Oh well. I’ll keep pushing my higher quality images to Clara’s Flickr Set.

Speaking of pictures, I can’t rave enough about the Nikon D7000 that we bought for the baby.  My hope was that we’d have a camera that could take some high quality images, but not be too difficult to use. For the most part I’ve been keeping the camera in “Manual” and have produced some images that have made us pretty happy. I’m excited to learn more about the camera and start playing with some other lenses.

Processed_Clara's Birth 2013-06-30 295

Processed_Clara's Birth 2013-07-01 117

Processed Clara's First Week 2013-07-06 061

Processed Clara's First Week 2013-07-04 125

On the email front, I borrowed the “Dear Sophie” idea in the Google Commercial only to find that I had to lie about Clara’s age in order to create an account. I understand there are terms of service, but I found it a little surprising that Google advertised a method of using Gmail that requires you to break their terms of service.  So yes, Clara now has an email address that I’m hoping to periodically contribute to.

Mobility speaking, there have been two apps that have been pretty helpful during Clara’s first week of life: iBaby and White Noise Lite.  We’ve been using iBaby to track all of the feedings and diaper changes, and the only major complaint I have is its (or any similar apps) inability to share this data across the cloud in some way.  I’d love for both Bethany and I to be able to contribute to the same data set through each of our devices. I’m majorly tempted to go back to using a Google Spreadsheet.  As for White Noise, for new parents that are using the Happiest Baby methods, this has made all the difference.  We have this app on each of our phones (as well as a docked phone we’re using as a music player in the nursery), and I love that I can press a single button and have white noise blaring through the speakers.

Done with Flickr [What I Use]

Well I’m trying to come back from the blogging hiatus that I’ve been on.  It seems that throughout my week all of these “That would be a great blog post” ideas pops into my head. I usually commit that idea to Twitter of simply let it evaporate – I’m trying to make an effort to get these back in the blog.  Thanks for bearing with me.

I got an email the other day telling me that my Flickr Pro account is about to expire and that I need to pay the $25 to renew it yet again.  I’ve been a Flickr Pro user for 4 years, and $100 later I have decided to throw in the towel and push my chips toward Google.

When I became a pro member in 2006, Flickr was one of the hottest sites around. Everyone was posting to Flickr, making it an awesome repository for photos. They released some pretty cool features to keep things interesting (I particularly loved their geo-tagging feature), but over the last couple of years Flickr has been pretty stagnant.  It’s funny because one of my RSS feeds I track is “Flickr News”, and my feed reader was telling me it was a “dinosaur feed” since it hasn’t been updated in so long. 

Along came Picasa. When they released their latest version that enabled the Person-tagging and facial recognition, I was hooked. I migrated my personal collection for 40,000 photos and spent hours tagging faces.  In some ways it became an addictive game: see who Picasa thinks is who, see who has been tagged the most (me with 3,161), see how big your list of faces grows (263 people).  Picasa (Google) was really smart because now I’m seriously invested into their program. Sure I can take my pictures and move onto the next shiny object, but then I would lose all the work I put into getting these faces tagged.

With Google enabling the people tagging into the web albums, the next logical step is to put my photos there. When you look at the storage options and see that 80GB of storage is $5 cheaper than a Flickr Pro account, the choice becomes clearer.

So goodbye Flickr. It has definitely been fun, but I think it’s time to move on.  I’m going to keep my pictures on Flickr and will see about updating what I can with a free account, but I’m putting another one of my eggs into the Google basket. Scary and lemming-like? Yes, but can you blame me?

Below I’ve embedded the first album I’ve uploaded to Picasa, our Valentine’s Day trip to Vegas.  It’s funny because I remember when Flickr wouldn’t allow embedding of slideshows for the longest time.