Save all your Photos in One Place

Photos Google Photos (2)It’s likely that you have a camera with you every where you go, as a feature of your phone or smart phone. It’s a good idea to save your photos from your device to a cloud service. There are several motivations for you to do this:

  • to be able to delete the photos that you uploaded from your device to free up space on it;
  • to be able to access your photos from any device;
  • to share photos with friends and/or family;
  • to back up photos from your device so that that they are saved if your device is broken, lost or stolen.

I save my photos to my laptop, backup my iPhone to iCloud, and save photos in Google Photos. Google Photos is my iCloud solution that works on my Windows laptop, my Macbook and my iPhone. I use it for sharing photos with friends and family, as well as a backup of my photos. To use Google photos, you need a Google account, which you have if you have a gmail address. Then install Google Photos  on your Android or iOS device, or on your Mac or Windows machine, or access Google Photos on the web. Once you have the app installed, you can setup Backup and Sync for Google Photos on your device.  You can decide whether or not to backup photos only when you’re on WIFI, or also when you’re using cellular data. You have to be connected to the Internet to upload to or download from Google Photos, but you can browse your existing photos in Google Photos even if you’re not connected to the Internet.

Note that if you set the quality of your photos to high in Google Photos, your uploads do not count towards your available storage limits. This means that you can save an unlimited number of high quality images (up to 16 mega-pixel) and videos (up to 1080p), which is of high enough quality for people who access multimedia in digital formats, or who print regular sized images.

7 Steps to Secure your Device

Secure your Device poster

Many of us use our devices as an extension of our brains. We keep personal information such as our banking details, passwords, addresses, social media accounts, contacts, etc. on our devices. This could be catastrophic in the wrong hands. In the best case, we would simply lose all of our data, but they would be backed up elsewhere. In the worse case, an unscrupulous individual could steal private information from our device or use this information to defraud us or our friends and family. Whether you have an iOS, Android, or other device, it is important to secure it.

Follow these 7 tips to secure your device:

  1. Set up a passcode of 6 or more digits on your device.
  2. Use Touch ID or an unlock pattern for added security of your device.
  3. Sign into iCloud/Google sync so that your device is backed up.
  4. Turn on Find My iPhone (iOS) or Find My Device (Android). On iOS, make sure that you also turn on Send Last Location.
  5. Enable two factor authentication for all accounts that you use on your device. This makes the next two steps very important if you lose your phone or if it’s stolen. This setting will prevent unauthorized access of your accounts, but may also keep you if you don’t have any other devices that are logged into the accounts.
  6. Add multiples verified emails or phone numbers. Use the alternate phone number of a partner or trusted friend, so that you can get the verification code from them if you need to access your accounts on a new device.
  7. Memorize your Gmail/iCloud password. This may encourage you to create a password that is easy to remember. Remember that even if the password is easy for you to remember, it should be hard for other people to guess. Make sure that your password has a combination of types of characters, and is at least 8 characters. The longer and more random the password, the harder it is for criminals to crack it.

For additional tips, and instructions to help you access the various settings on iOS or Android, see this PC World article.

How to Use Google Search Effectively

Searching

We don’t need to memorize facts because we can search and find them online. We need to know how to access information that we want or need, how to evaluate the information that we find, use it as desired, and communicate it in ways that are useful and/or appropriate. This post is about step 1: finding information.

Creating a Google Search Query

I teach students about identifying keywords, because I think it’s useful for searching in directories and databases. Search engines tend to be a bit smarter, and are good at answering factual questions. So while it’s still important for children to be able to identify the keyword related to their question, it’s just as useful for them to phrase questions in such a way that the search algorithm returns useful results.

When starting a Google search, it’s as good a beginning as any to simply type in your question. Based on the results, you can refine your search using search operators.

Making Sense of Results

search results screen
1. Search Query
2. Featured Snippet
3. Search results
4. Knowledge Graph

You may notice featured snippets on some of your results pages. A featured snipped is a potential answer to your question, along with source information. There has been problems with the accuracy of featured snippets so it’s important to be a critical researcher, and not just trust the result in the box. Notice the feedback link at the bottom of the answer box; users can let Google know about their experience with the featured snippets.

Another element of Google Search results is the Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph a sidebar at the right side of the page which presents “information about objects in the real world” (Google). The Knowledge Graph is great for jump starting research, for learning more about a topic, and for finding new wonders/curiosities that you may not have known to ask.

Examples of Searches

Here are some of the searches that you can do with answers in an answer box. I’ve put the ones that I use the most frequently first. Try out the queries that interest you:

  • picture of public domain whale or picture of whale CC0 (or other animal)
  • thank you in finnish (try other words in other languages) or type translate to get a translation widget
  • weather in prague (or other location)
  • time in Ottawa (can also phrase as a question)
  • timer, 2 minutes timer or stopwatch
  • calories in an egg (replace for other food)
  • 3 euros in czk or 1 ft in cm (replace the number and the units; can also phrase as a question)
  • calculator (or enter in a calculation)
  • define data visualization
  • population of prague (or other public data)
  • BA853 (or other flight number)
  • PRG to YOW (or other airport codes)
  • prague to vienna
  • sunrise prague or sunset prague (or other location or zip code)
  • sweet potato nutrition or sweet potato facts (or other food)
  • where was einstein born (or other quick facts)
  • easter (or other public holiday)
  • how to bake beets
  • flip a coin
  • roll a die
  • attractions prague (or other location)
  • goog (or other stock symbol)
  • asthma (or other medical condition, works better at http://google.com rather than http://google.cz – try both)
  • fox origin (or other word)
  • my events or my reservations or my flights
  • show me my photos in march 2016 (if you use Google photos)
  • area of a circle (or other shape)
  • volume of a cube (or other solid)
  • y=x^2 (or other formula)
  • what does a cat say (works for 10 animals; no fox :()
  • metronome

And now for the fun queries:

  • askew
  • do a barrel roll
  • zerg rush
  • google in 1998
  • atari breakout (image search)

Note that I usually type my search query to be as short as possible.

search queries

Sources: