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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Save those Photos and other things from Fire

In Austin, Texas this week we are dealing with fires that are out of control. I read somewhere this morning that over 800 houses have burned down. That makes me sad and thoughtful. Two weeks ago my son's apartment in Chicago burned down ( page set up by his brother has links to news articles about the fire). When Dan's apartment burned I did not think about it much. I was concerned more about him and did not apply it to myself. Now that much of Bastrop right outside of Austin is burning I am starting to think about me, especially since it is so smokey outside. What have I done to think about dealing with fire?

There are lots of websites that offer help with what to do in general -, but this post is about how technology can help you.

As I write I am backing up my computer. I have a small hard drive that plugs into my computer and keeps a copy of everything I have on it. I think I may start carrying that in my purse. It is very small and has so much information on it. Even if I lose my computer I would still be able to get a new one and put back on it the things that I have stored. Even better much of what I have is actually saved on servers somewhere else. Any time I need to go to a website and log in I am usually saving things on "the cloud" (or actually some computer somewhere). Even if my house burns down and I lose my computer and my hard drive I can still get to those things.

That brings to mind two programs which are extremely helpful:  Flickr and Picasa. I will talk about Flickr today and Picasa tomorrow. Both of them are Photo saving websites where you can upload your photos for FREE. If there is a disaster you can still get your pictures back using any other computer. 
Flickr allows you to upload 300 mb each week for free. When you have gotten to that limit you must wait until the next week to upload or you can pay $25 annually for a pro account. When you upload a picture here the program automatically resizes the file to several different sizes so that it is not too large for the web.

One of the first things you want to do is to set up your privacy settings. After you have logged in you can find this by clicking on your name in the right top corner. You can choose to share your pictures or to make them private. If you make them private they will not show up when someone does a search. There are also very detailed settings in your account where you can allow some photos to show and others not, or maybe allow them to show, but not be copied or printed.

When you open up Flickr you see a greeting in a different language each time! The program starts out on the Home page where you can either go to your Photostream to see all of your pictures or to Upload Pictures or Video where you can do the uploading.

There is a lot you can do with your photos in Flickr which I could talk about on a different post. You can organize them into galleries and sets and you can mark them with lots of information like locations, names of people and tags.

Since the focus of this post is on saving important things in a fire the main thing is this: If you upload your pictures to a site like Flickr can be retrieved.

If something happened with all of your photos they will still be on Flickr. You may want to download another back up copy of all of them. This is not easy to do in the size of the original, but it is possible. If something like that would happen you may need to use a third party piece of software to do the whole download. If you want just a picture at a time it is not a problem.

Tomorrow I will look into Picasa and compare the two. There are other Photo saving and sharing sites so if you know about one that should be mentioned please comment.


  1. Speaking of photos, I usually upload them on social media sites such as Facebook, as to serve two purposes; showcasing and storing! Anyway, I usually back up my files on the “cloud”. I see to it that they’re kept safe on an external drive with an exact duplicate stashed away on the virtual space.

  2. Thanks Ruby,

    Those are good suggestions.