I love Picasa, a free photo management tool, and Flickr, a great (also free) online photo sharing/storage service. Picasa, now owned by Google, does have its own photo sharing service and it is quite good. However, I give Flickr the nod because it has more professional features that I use and seems more mature in it’s development. So, if you’re like me, you want a way to integrate the capabilities of Picasa on your computer (it runs on Mac and PC) with your online Flickr account, there’s a solution. It’s a Picasa plugin called picasa2flickr.
If you watch the video above, you’ll see how to install and use it, but essentially it gives you another button allowing you to perform the uploading action on a given photo or photos. You will need to also have the free Flickr tool Flickr Uploader. Once Picasa and Flickr Uploader are installed, you can click on the picasa2flickr link and it will add it to the Picasa button along the bottom of the program’s screen. Now uploading photos to your Flickr account is as easy as finding them in Picasa and pushing a button.Tweet
A combination of the online photo sharing site Flickr, and computer photo management software is all you need to get your digital photos in order.
Photo by dsevilla
Is there anyone out there not using digital cameras and managing their photos with their computer? If you still believe only in 35mm film, then you are a true die-hard. If you have not already realized the flexibility and the cost savings from digital photography, you probably never will. If you haven’t taken the plunge because of cost, anywhere from 7 to 10 more rolls of film should be all it takes to convince you that a digital camera will pay for itself by saving on film and development costs.
With that out of the way, we can now move forward and assume that you transfer your digital photos to your computer for viewing (if you don’t know how, here are some basic instructions). So how do you manage all those growing number of photos on your computer? Why, with photo management software of course. How much will it cost (you may be asking)? Well, as always, we try to find you solutions for free. We have two separate solutions for Macs and PCs. First the Mac. Can you guess what it is? Well of course, it’s iPhoto. It hardly gets any easier than iPhoto. Start up the program, connect your camera, and your photos are ready to get organized. iPhoto allows you to organize photos in many ways such as by date, assigned ratings (you give your photos up to 5 stars), and even assigned tags, which is a powerful way to categorize your photo collection. You can also create photo “albums” to create different views of your pictures.
So how about a program for the PC that’s as easy as iPhoto? Well some might argue that there isn’t anything, but several at least come close. We highly recommend Google’s Picasa (also available for the Mac) which is similar to iPhoto, offers similar functionality, and is free to download. For Windows there is also Microsoft’s Live Photo Gallery. It is different from the version that comes pre-installed on Windows Vista and it will also run on Windows XP. Live Photo Gallery is free to download and it shares many of the same features as iPhoto. We think it is worthy of being compared to iPhoto because it has a good amount of image editing capabilities and has a plugin architecture that allows additional functionality.
What about sharing your photos with others? We strongly recommend a site/service called Flickr. Owned by Yahoo since 2005, Flickr has grown to host billions of images. The obvious advantage of storing your photos on Flickr is that you can retrieve them wherever you have an Internet connection. Free accounts limit the amount of photos you can upload to 100MB per month, so you may want to consider a “Pro” account for $24.95 per year to store unlimited amounts of photos. Flickr’s advantage is its programming capabilities that have been made available to allow all kinds of tools for using Flickr images. Blogging software like WordPress allows easy use of Flickr photos in your blog posts, and Windows Live Writer has a built in Flickr plugin. Many other devices such as Apple TV and even the iPhone have programs to connect to your Flickr photos as well. Flickr also will point to services that will create books, calendars, posters, and even coffee mugs. Digital photography opens up almost limitless ways of publishing and sharing your photos.
I thought about several ways to begin this post, and I was hoping the title wouldn’t scare people off thinking that I was going to vent. No, it’s not that kind of air. It’s actually Adobe’s AIR, or Adobe Integrated Runtime (yes, I’ll just use AIR from now on). AIR has actually been around for well over a year now. I first used it at the 2007 Faculty Academy here at UMW for a program called Twittercamp, which is a program that would aggregate “tweets” from Twitter and display them on a screen (preferably a large flat panel screen). Alan Levine and I have been using it for the conferences we’ve been involved in the past two years, including this year’s Faculty Academy and the NMC event in Princeton. AIR programs function like Flash programs do on the web, only you download them to your computer. You first need the Adobe AIR “runtime” program, then you can install and use all of the AIR apps you want, even use them simultaneously. There’s no need to open a web browser to use these programs.
The question for a while now has been is it worth downloading the AIR “player” and then installing the individual programs? Is there anything compelling out there to use? I can now say that it’s a definitive YES! The point of these programs is that they are small, and quickly installed. To use the programs, they require that you have a live connection to the Internet, but they function on the idea of working “in the cloud“. So after you get Adobe AIR installed on your computer, go install the following programs:
TweetDeck - I’m getting the feeling that this is going to be the next “must have” program, next to using Twitter of course. TweetDeck is one of the many (thousands?) Twitter intermediaries that pull in Twitter posts (tweets) and display them in a unique way. It’s still in early beta (0.151b as of this writing), but it already has some uniquely great features. It allows you to get a handle on how tweets get viewed. TweetDeck sets up as many columns as you need to view your tweets how you want to. The first column is usually the “all tweets” column, but you can move the columns around. You can set up groups by picking individuals that you follow and giving that group a name. Then you see their tweets in another column. You can create another column that is a search term. I used the term “edupunk” and now I get a column that updates automatically with tweets that have the word edupunk in them. You can have still more columns with replies to you, or direct messages. A recent new feature is the ability to collapse the view to a single column. I expect great things from this program.
Adobe Media Player - Now you might be saying, “who needs another media player?”, and you’re right. However, this is well done, and if you use Adobe software on a regular basis, there is enough Adobe content to make it worth it. Add to that clips from TV shows and some “HiDef” content, and it makes for a worthwhile download.
Destroy Flickr - OK, I don’t get why there’s the hostile name because DF is all about a pretty interface for viewing Flickr photos. Photos just look better on a dark neutral grey background, as opposed to Flickr’s all too white web page. Again, it’s a quick install of an Adobe AIR program and you have the many viewing options, called canvases. It remembers where you have been and saves those views in a history, called workspaces. You also have control of uploading and downloading photos to and from your Flickr account.
If you want to check out other AIR applications go to freshAIRapps and see just what the potential for the AIR platform is. Note: Because of a current negotiation with Adobe of the use of AIR in their website’s domain, another location for the FreshAIRApps may be at Refreshingapps.com.