Have you felt the pain before, when you lost important images cause your phone is broken? There is a reason why more portion of our life is going digital. For one, the convenience and efficiency of getting things done is a huge help to our ever growing to do list. From buying a movie ticket, dating a stranger with similar hobby, till managing wedding gifts could be done with an app or website these days. However, there's one aspect of life many people left out - managing their memories.
Do you remember, that terrible cooking accident you encountered few years ago that almost cost you a finger? You've taken the bloody finger picture + the knife + the movie you were watching as background with your phone, confident that it will remind you to be more cautious in the future. But after several months, you took more pictures with the phone and this particular memory buried deeper. It's even more so when this phone were lost during your vacation to Paris - it got buried for good.
How about your first experience with a laser disc that is now obsolete? Cassette tape, Walkman, or even a Gramophone and the black vinyl records? If you are almost forgetting about these things, have you wondered how to save memories?
There are two great ways we can preserve our memories better, by fully utilizing the digital part of our life to help us remember & reflect what we did this lifetime.
First one, write a digital diary with picture. My sister writes diary with a book and a pen almost every single day. I think I've seen her doing it since a decade ago. So she got married, moved some stuff to the new house at a different state. One shocking thing she said not long ago was, she's going to throw away 5 years worth of diaries cause there isn't a suitable place to store them. I AM STUNNED! I told her she's crazy, at least take a picture of every page of the diary only throw them away. Imagine the growing up process and the thoughts of your younger self. That alone is priceless.
It got me thinking, why would she gives up on them just like that, writing them daily is already a lot of effort. Is it because she will hardly read them back, or is it because it's very tedious to get them out? Is it because they are likely to just sit there, grow mushroom and collect dusts? Or is it because looking for a particular memory just felt impossible with a written diary? My girlfriend thought that a written diary is more meaningful than a digital one. She would see her own hand writing, looking at the paper aged, something personal that grows together with you.
She has a valid point but seeing the overwhelming life we are living now with unlimited distractions and limited time... To me, digital diary is the way to go cause I have poor handwriting and I travel a lot. The memories and the ease of retrieving/storing them just mattered more. I found three digital diaries that can add picture. They have nice design - clean, simple, fits the purpose I need. You might want to explore them as a start if you haven't before.
1) DayOne. It was my favorite in the past because of the nice design. At this point of writing, this is for Apple's fan only cause you can't add your entries from any other non-Apple devices. I gave up on this app cause the only Apple thing I own is iPad, which doesn't travel with me all the time to make this particularly useful.
2) Journey. For people who is happy with using Chrome browser and Android device to write your digital diary.
3) Diaro. What I have migrated to, just weeks ago. I don't think I would stick to only one platform for devices I use. Even I did, having the choice to choose between browser + Android + iOS is always welcomed, we wouldn't know what will happen in the future. I also prefer the freedom of purchasing a new device without the need to worry about whether apps I used in the past could follow me or not.
Anyhow, I believe many modern app developers would do something to make their apps available in the most used platform like Android and iOS, Windows and Mac.
Diaro is thoughtful, they let you import your stuff from DayOne, Catch or Evernote - which is why it stood out from the pack when I first see it. Migration from Dayone to Diaro was so easy and hassle free.
Obviously, not all happenings in life go into the diary. Which leads to the next one, how many of you were in this situation: You take pictures with your phone, your camera, your tablet. Some were synced with iTunes, some you didn't do anything about them yet. Some by happy accident uploaded to a cloud service you happened to download by chance. This situation sits there daily with gradual increasing number of pictures. Till one day, one of your device is gone or dead and suddenly you feel the pain about the lost of your precious pictures of your pet when it's baby - the only copy you had, gone.
Or, you're an avid pro about managing your digital photos. You backup in cloud and you put everything in the hard disk. You make duplicate copies too from time to time so you know your memories will not have any chance to be lost. You migrate these pool of photos from one hard disk to another, then to another after the older hard disk met it's life span and so forth.. But then, how often or do you even sort your pictures like what it is about, the date and where you have taken them etc? Worse, do you even look back at them again?
Early this month, Google launched Google Photo. It has been wildly raved about since it's launch and I am totally loving it. Google has managed to think through the process of managing personal pictures from our point of view, and they have totally nailed it. In short, you dump all photos you took to Google Photos, they sort it for you nicely and automatically. The bonus? You can upload unlimited amount of photos with a small catch.
If you've ever tried backing up photos to cloud, it's a great effort. Because cloud providers like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive, they have their own measures making sure your stuff will always be there. One of the very useful feature I like about Google Photo is that the app lets you tell it which folders you want the app to backup for you, photos or video. On the contrary, cloud providers I mentioned earlier will need you to move all your stuff into their software instead, be it your computer or the app in your mobile devices that has limited space(that is free). Remember the idea about migrating your pictures from one place to another without you sorting them into something meaningful or even having a look again?
There is a search box when you are seeing what you have uploaded. This is what happened when I type in 'bridge'.
Looking for pictures I took in 'june' throughout my gallery.
Or places I've been, like 'singapore'. I could almost ditch a proper camera over a modern smart phone that could geo-tag your pictures for personal memories.
The term you can use for search is simple at the moment but very useful. Best of all, these sorting is automagically done by Google after your photos are uploaded! Imagine this, from now onwards, Google Photos is the only place you'll need to manage all casual pictures you have ever taken. Looking back for a specific photo couldn't be faster or more simpler than this. When you delete photos or videos from here, they will be removed too even your photo was uploaded by another device you don't have physical access to. Changed new phone? Be it iOS or Android, you'll still be looking at the same 'photo gallery'. I'm really digging the idea of this instead of having to relearn using a new gallery app. Which are usually not operating the way I liked.
Back to the catch for the unlimited upload, you can have the photo sized at maximum of 16MP while videos at 1080HD resolution. Else, Google will downsize for you. Apart from that, it will be compressed by Google's algorithm too. To me as a photographer, the difference is hardly noticeable to the bare eyes, let alone what I uploaded were phone snapshots. The convenience of accessing these memories effortlessly outweigh the compression. You can have a look here for the difference between original vs compressed images. Google said uploaded photos are private unless you decide to share them to someone, so it's pretty safe to most people.
&.b.t.w. - Making memories alone may not be enough, the better way is to be able to find them back easily too. You have the freedom to use what you like with the countless apps available in the market. Ask yourself this, are you taking a lot of pictures but never see them again or never even bothered to sort them? If that's the case, why take them at the first place? If you treasure them, keeping one copy in the hard disk alone is not enough. When the life span of hard disk is due, all your memories would go down together with it. Consider having an online backup.
&.&.b.t.w. - I've been sorting out thousands of photos every month, for other people that is. But when it comes to my personal photos, I think I need to cancel vacation time yearly to really sort them out to the extent that it's easy for me to retrieve that particular photo from a specific event etc. It's really not easy and I am intrigued with the introduction of Google Photos. I'll just need to focus on deleting duplicates I don't want from past pictures from now onwards.
&.&.&.b.t.w. -I wish I get paid writing this introducing the services. But apparently I'm just sharing with the intent to remind people who left their digital memories untouched. Hope you find this useful. I get lots of fulfillment reading back my diary and happy to learn the progress I have made implicitly.