Ingress Portal Submissions

Portal Submissions TinyI recently found an “Ingress” subfolder on my phone in the “Pictures” folder.  It contains every portal submission I’ve ever made, so I thought I’d post them here, in full resolution, just for others to enjoy.  Some of them were rejected, however, but they’re still here.  I am currently at 97 portals accepted, and climbing.  If you’re not in the game yet, please sign up for the Resistance and join the fight!  You no longer need an invitation from another player to join, and the game will soon be available for iPhone users too!  And, if you join the Resistance, I’ll be glad to help you out with gear, tips, and assistance with leveling up!

Moved to Google Photos

I have recently moved all of my 29,000+ public photos from Flickr to Google Photos.  Google has been making a lot of progress with their photo services recently, including integrating Picasa into Google Photos.  With everything they now offer, and how easy everything just is to use, compared to Flickr and the difficulties I have had trying to stick with them, I decided to move everything.

I made the final decision a couple weeks ago, when I found this site: http://www.flickrtoplus.com/.  It allows you to simply login to Flickr, then to G+, and it lists your albums and you just choose the ones you want to migrate from Flickr to Plus.  It couldn’t have been easier.  I tried a few albums at first, wondering how they can afford to devote all the processing required to to this for everyone for absolutely nothing–no ads on the site, nothing, it simply works.  After a few albums came through just fine, I did a dozen more, then queued up dozens more after that, then the hundreds more after that.  Within a week everything was done!

It uses your “Google Drive” space for storage and allows you to keep your photos at their original size & quality–a huge factor in my decision.  I recently realized that Google will scale down large photos you upload to G+, so that was disappointing, but after looking into it, using Picasa I can upload photos at their original resolution without it re-sizing them, and the flickrtoplus site also gives me the option to migrate them in original size or “large” size, which is smaller.  I chose “original” for everything I migrated, and I always upload my photos full-size.

With how simple Google’s search features work, it’s just so easy to find any photo or album I need now.  And Google Photos even looks simpler than Flickr’s interface, even though there are many more features you don’t see, that Flickr isn’t capable of at all.  There is one thing missing from Google Photos, however, that I liked in Flickr–and that’s “Collections”.  Flickr called its photo albums “Sets” and “Collections” were groups of Sets you could group together, like “Birthdays”, “Vacations”, etc. to keep things more organized.   Google Photos doesn’t offer an option for this, so all of my albums (402 of them right now, to be exact) are shown on one page.  I thought this would make things difficult to locate, but since Google’s search is so fast–and page searching is also so fast (using CTRL-F) I can find anything I need in my albums very quickly.

As far as price and space, it does cost a little more to go with Google than Flickr.  I was paying a flat $24.99 a year for unlimited space on Flickr, which is a really good price, especially for unlimited photos at full-size.  On Google, there’s a limit depending on the plan you choose: $4.99/month for 100GB, $9.99 for 200GB, $19.99 for 400GB, etc.  But–and this is a BIG BUT for me–this space is combined with Gmail, Google Drive, and Photos.  Right now I’m using just over 60GB for everything with all of my 29,000+ photos and everything else, so I could get by with the $4.99 a month, but I’m on the 200GB plan instead, just to have some breathing room for future photos and all of my documents, which are backed up on Google Drive, and my e-mail.  So, for me, that’s $120 per year now, instead of $24.99, but it’s more than just my photos, and I just trust Google more that Flickr.

So that’s that.  I’ve changed the “Photos” link on my site to go to my Google Photos Albums now instead of Flickr, and some time in December my Flickr account will downgrade to a free account.  This will make only 200 of my latest photos available there, the rest will be hidden.  I’ll probably delete my Flickr account at that time anyway, just to avoid people adding comments to the 200 latest photos they can see.

Socks’ Sacs

Last Sunday night Socks started getting very ill.  He left two large pools of vomit on our new carpet overnight, and I was the lucky one to discover them in the early morning when I got up for work.  Socks looked ok at that time, just lying in a ball in his bed like he always does.  But a little later when I was at work, Sandy called and said “Socks is pretty sick.”  He could barely walk or move at all, and screamed when she tried to lift or move him.  He would take any food or water, not even a treat.  He was clearly in pain, but nothing was visible.  I told Sandy and call the vet and see if we can get him in.

She got an appointment for Monday afternoon.  Sandy and Rick took him to the vet and they ran his bloodwork and checked him out.  No fleas and he looks otherwise healthy, the doc said.  Suspecting it may be impacted anal sacs (all dogs have anal sacs, as I quickly learned), the vet cleaned out Socks’ rear end.  I can imagine this was quite painful, but it turns out this may have been his only problem.  I guess the vet took out quite a bit of matter that Socks probably couldn’t pass on his own.  They gave him some meds and gave Sandy some supplemental medicine to mix with his food for the next several days.  Socks came home feeling much the same as he did when he went in, but the next day he started perking up.  We were pretty worried about him, but today he seems to be back to normal.  Last night we walked around the block (about 0.4 miles) and today we did a full mile walk and he seems to be back to his old (77-dog-years-old) self again.

All things geek

No apologies this time. If it seems like I haven’t been posting much, it’s only because I’ve been posting elsewhere. There are also many things that I post, that I simply CAN’T post here, because it’s too public. I frequently play Ingress with a group of Resistance members in this area, and a lot of what we discuss is considered “intel”, which helps us in our battle against the area “Enlightened”, which is our opposing team. The game is currently played on Android devices and uses Google Maps and your GPS. It is played worldwide, and is becoming quite popular. Next month its coming out of “beta” status, and will be open to everyone, no longer requiring an invitation from other players. Anyone can download the app and become an agent for The Resistance (blue–aka “smurfs”) or The Resistance (green–aka frogs or toads) and join in the fight to control the world. If you should get the urge, I strongly suggest you join the Resistance. We could really use your help. If you do “go blue”, I can help. Seek me out. Training, gear, advice, whatever you need–even the occasional “ride-along” if you’re local to the Kenosha area, we can group-attack the slimy toads and keep the Kenosha-area’s skies shining bright and blue, instead of smog-filled green.

Sorry, I tend to get carried away once I start talking Ingress. Back to my posts: Most of the time, I post on G+. I’m not a big Facebook fan these days, so I use G+ instead, whenever I want to post something public. I know it doesn’t reach as many people, but it’s still public nonetheless. I’m not actively seeking to extend my readership at this time, so I figure what the heck. There are some valid reasons I like G+ over Facebook, and some day soon the tides are going to change in G+’s favor, so I’m just getting a jump on it.

Christmas is rapidly approaching, as well as Thanksgiving! At least we managed to get Kevin off wanting a X-Box One or PS4 for this year… Wow, those new consoles are a bit pricey, but that’s normal for something brand new I guess. I think we’ll wait and see how things shake out, the prices drop once or twice, and see who’s system turns out becoming the most popular and has the best titles and innovation. It’s going to be a cool battle to watch. They certainly aren’t going to get my $60-per-game any time soon unless they start offering “combo” games that run on their new system as well as their old system! This is probably a good idea too… If old-console users then start accumulating titles that contain both versions of their games, they’re probably going to think harder about the need to buy the new version.

Kevin and I went to Sam’s Club yesterday to pick up a few things, and we found that they had a couple very cool “retro” gaming consoles! For about $50 you can get an Atari Flashback 4, which is a slimmed down, tiny version of the Atari 2600, with 75 of it’s best games built in. Or for about the same price you can get a Sega Genesis Classic Console which has 80 games built-in. Or even a “Genesis Portable” for a little more, which gives you the same games, but in a hand-held portable format. Today’s kids probably wouldn’t stick to either of these things for more than a few minutes per game, I’m guessing, before getting bored. These are probably geared more toward “old schoolers” or “old farts” who grew up with them, and want to relive their youth in their second childhood. Which is probably why I got so excited when I saw them. Think it through, Jim, think it through: I would probably play my favorites first, maybe burn a few hours working into them, come back a few more times, then get bored myself and there it sits. I’d occasionally come back when I longed for some flashbacks to “the good old days”, but mostly it’d sit, probably in the living room attached to the TV, collecting dust, just like I do most of the time, when I’m not working or playing Ingress. Geez, just saying the word “Ingress” is like the dog in the movie “Up” when he sees a “SQUIRREL!” Nothing else matters at that moment, and focus is instantly switched. I almost did it again.