Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

June 2015
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This year is just rushing by - I can't believe it's June already!  With graduation season here and summer vacations coming up, it's a good time to revisit dealing with digital photos. Fortunately, Google has just released a well-reviewed new approach that I feel is a real game changer, so I've tested it a bit and written an article about it below.

Microsoft made a major announcement this week as well. Windows 10 will be unleashed to the world on July 29th! Continue reading for more about this exciting development.

Hope you all have a lovely month!

Julie Marto 

508-333-8176 (cell)

P.S. If you are a recent addition to this newsletter be sure to check out my archive of back issues!
Finally an Easy Solution - Google Photos

One of the biggest technological changes in the last 15 years has been the switch from film photography to digital photography. The good news is that people take many more pictures, with all sorts of devices - digital cameras, smart phones, and tablets are all being used to record every sort of life event. The bad news is that there is really no easy or standard way to store, sort, and preserve all of these precious memories. I'm often asked to make recommendations and help people handle all of their digital photos. Last week's announcement from Google is a real game changer, so let me tell you all about it.

Google announced a new service called Google Photos, tied to your Google account. If you use Gmail, or have an Android phone, you already have a Google account and you can use that to set up the Photos app. If you don't, it's a simple matter to create a free account. If you have a ton of pictures and no strategy in place to store, organize, and back them up, this is currently the best way to go.

This blog post describes the service in more detail, but here are some highlights so you can better understand my excitement.
  • Google Photos offers you unlimited free high resolution storage for your photos and videos -  it doesn't matter how large your photo library becomes, you will not run out of space.
  • The Google Photos app combines all of your photos from all of your platforms into one consolidated on-line library. Once you install the app on your PC, your Mac, your iPhone or your Android phone it will automatically upload all of the current photos on your device to your Google Photos page. New photos will be automatically added as you take them. Deleting photos on your Google Photos page will delete them from your device - it's a two way synch.
  • Google Photos automatically sorts photos by date taken, people, places and things. You can search for photos based on a place like Paris or Disneyland, or a word like "wedding" or "beach".  Or, if you click on a picture of a person, you can find all the pictures of that person. No need to tag photos, it's all done with image recognition
  • As Google Photos is tied to your Gmail account it's a private storage space. Only you have access to these photos, unless you choose to share them with others. Your photos are as secure and private as your Gmail account.

I spent the last few days setting up and trying out the Google Photos system, and I have to say I am impressed. It took about 24 unattended hours to upload over 15,000 photos and videos from my computer to my Google Photos page, and I have been playing with the sort and search functions, along with some fun editing tools. If you want or need any help getting something like this set up for yourself please give me a call! 

Windows 10 is around the corner!

If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8 you might have noticed a new little icon in the lower right hand corner of your screen. If you click on this icon you will be given the opportunity to reserve your free upgrade to Windows 10, which is due to roll out on July 29th. So - what does this all mean?

Most people are aware that Windows 8 has been a disaster for Microsoft, and a lot of people have stayed with Windows 7. Microsoft really wants to get everybody onto the same operating system, so they are offering a free upgrade to Windows 10 to everybody with Windows 7 or 8.1. The offer is supposed to last for a year from the release date.

There are hundreds of millions of computers eligible for this upgrade - upgrading them all will be a tremendous project.  I am sure the download servers will be jammed the first few weeks - so, don't feel like you have to rush into the upgrade.

I have, of course, registered for the upgrade, and will download it as soon as it's available. As a matter of fact I'm planning to download a preview version onto an unused laptop in the next few weeks so I can start familiarizing myself with the new system. As soon as I am upgraded I'll let you all know about the experience - how difficult it is, what the pitfalls are, etc. We're in this one together!