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Technically speaking

Good Thursday to all.  Today's entry is a product of a slow week at work--no outside meetings, only a handful of mind-numbing conference calls to endure.  So I've had some time to myself, which has been nice for a change.

I read with some interest about Google Photos, a service from the online search giant that was apparently a part of their Google Plus social network program (which by all accounts was not that successful) but is now a standalone.  Per the items I've read from trustworthy sources, this service will allow users to upload all of their collected photos to an online storage repository, and view them from any device, as well as add additional photos easily and seamlessly.  There's already a Google Photos app available for the iPhone and iPad, and I'm sure there is also one for Android devices, too.  

Since my library is somewhat more limited than either my son's or son-in-law's, I decided to see how it worked and yesterday afternoon I began uploading my collection of around 2200 photos.  It finished the process somewhere around 2:00 this morning.  To my untrained eye, the photos look fine, but that appears to be the catch--Google will grant you unlimited space for online storage but only if you agree to upload in "high quality" mode.  If you routinely edit your photos and make other enhancements, they probably won't go into the program without making you pay for storage, since they'll exceed a pre-set per-photo size limitation.  Next step will be to add the app to my portable devices.  I can see this being a good thing in a general sense, but, as my son correctly noted to me last night, there's always the possibility that Google will have every right to do something with your photos that you might not intend.  Stay tuned.

I also want to mention that Apple is apparently hard at work developing a TV app that would allow subscribers to stream a number of cable channels for a fee.  A smaller number of channels, mind you, than you have through your cable subscription (which is OK by me, since we watch fewer than 1/4 of the channels available to us).  Apple's wrinkle is going to be to offer broadcast network and local programming, and that apparently takes longer to iron out.  This product will compete with SlingTV, which my daughter's family already has to supplement broadcast TV.  More to come on that, too.

Timely to see this, as we continue to have difficulty with Time Warner Cable.  Tomorrow will be the third service call that they've made to our home in hopes of fixing our access to on-demand programming.  We've been through three cable boxes in the past month as they attempt to return access, which, of course, will work for a few minutes while the tech is present but then fails when we attempt to use the service a few hours later.  My patience with them is wearing pretty thin, but since it's so difficult to engineer the mixture of programming we prefer without either cable or satellite, I imagine they have me where they want me.

My wife and I went out for lunch and a couple of errands yesterday and found ourselves at the Apple Store.  I am simply astounded by the new Macbook, still, and typed on one yesterday.  To deliver something that compact with a Retina-quality display and pretty-much all-day battery life is quite an achievement.  Hard to contain myself until I remember that I have a Macbook Pro with Retina Display that will do virtually everything that the new device will do.  My theory is that somewhere along the line my iPad will be rendered redundant by either a lighter laptop or a larger phone that I'll keep handy when hanging out here at home, and will serve much the same purpose as the iPad does.  I'm on my third different iPad, by the way, as I have the iPad Air 2.  Luckily I have sold each of the previous items for about 70% of their original purchase price, so I find that to be an acceptable tradeoff.

I'm also still intrigued by the Apple Watch, although I am just not sure I would find this item all that useful, what with everything else I use and tote around with me.  The last fellow from Time Warner who visited the house was wearing what appeared to be a smart watch, and when I asked him what it was, he said it was a Pebble, but that he had an Apple Watch at home and found it to be the best tech device he'd ever owned.  Strong stuff for something that just came out.

I could go on (and on and on) but won't.  I would be interested to know your tech experiences and preferences, too, so feel free to share in the comments section.

Until next time.....


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