Tag Archives: Apple iCloud

iCloud and Photo Stream from your iPhone/iPad to Your Computer

imageIt took a generation or two for film cameras to give way to digital.  It’s only taking a year or two for cameras to give way to cellphones and tablets as our primary way of taking pictures!  We just recorded a video for our members on how to use Dropbox to get pictures from any phone or tablet to your computer.  And then, we get emails asking specifically about how to use iCloud to get photos from phones and tablets to your computer.

Since I have been taking pictures with my iPad, I have actually figured out how it works, so here goes!

What is iCloud?

iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage and synchronizing software.  If you’ve ever attended our Cloud Computing seminar , you learned that iCloud is Apple’s competitor to Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Google Drive.  Of these four, we like Dropbox the best, primarily because it is NOT one of the big three: Microsoft, Google or Apple.  That means it works with everything, and it works well!  But, I digress, this article is supposed to be about iCloud.

Since it’s Apple, you must have an AppleID to use it.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, you already know your AppleID right?  OK, on your iPad/iPhone, check your iCloud settings.  Every possible set of data that can be synchronized will show up there.  We’re focusing on photos, so make sure the Photo Stream setting is set to ON.

icloud-settings

Install iCloud on your Computer

Now that the iCloud Photo Stream setting is ON for the device where you’re taking the photos, next you need to have iCloud set up on the computer where you want to receive the photos.  So, on your Windows PC, you need to go to Apple’s iCloud setup website and click on ‘For PC.’  This will download the iCloud software, aka the Control Panel, to your computer.  A very important setting on this Control Panel is the options for Photo Stream.  If you specify a Photo Stream location that is a folder under your Pictures folder, that means it will automatically be in Picasa’s view!

icloud-folder

End Result

When I take a picture with my iPad, that picture will be viewable in Picasa!  That is, IF both the iPad and my computer both have a decent Internet connection.  Pretty cool.

One thing that doesn’t quite make sense to me though is that, if I log into my iCloud.com account, I don’t see my pictures there.  I’m accustomed to ‘Cloud Storage and Synchronizing’ meaning that my stuff is in at least 3 places: 1. the originating device (e.g. iPad) 2. the destination device (e.g. PC) AND 3. the Cloud account (e.g. www.cloud.com)  But, when I visit www.cloud.com and login with my AppleID and password, I don’t see any place to view photos.

If anyone has  different experience, please leave a comment ok?

For more info, see Apple’s FAQ on iCloud Photo Stream.

Why Travelers should be Excited by Cloud Computing

About a year ago, someone in our audience asked us to explain the TV ads for Microsoft where the people kept murmuring something about ‘To the Cloud.’  We explained that ‘The Cloud’ was just a new marketing term for the Internet – that’s true, but it has come to mean something more personal than that.  The nebulous entity that is created by many computers being connected together has always been represented in diagrams by a cloud.

network-cloud

In one of Geeks on Tour’s earliest videos (basc11.Intro to Web Browsing), we analogized the Internet to a ‘parallel universe’ above the earth … in the clouds.  We found this to be very helpful with concepts like UPload and DOWNload, for example.

Your Data in the Cloud = Device Independence

iStock_000016827851XSmallThe Web, as it becomes more pervasive, is being used to accomplish more tasks.  It started out as a place where only web-savvy programmers could create content.  Webmasters created websites and the rest of us accessed the content in those sites.  Now it is a place where you can put your own stuff in a password protected area – your own ‘Cloud’ –  so you can access your stuff with any device.  Email was probably the first example.  If you use web-based email – like gmail, you could look at your email on your computer, or on someone else’s computer. Now you can use your smartphone or tablet to access the same email.  All you have to do is log in.  It doesn’t matter what device you use, because your email isn’t stored on any of your devices.  It’s stored on the Web, in the Cloud, and you access it with whatever device is most convenient.

With faster internet connections, and cheaper storage, we have the ability to put a lot more of our stuff on the web. If you use software like Carbonite or Mozy to back up your computer’s file to the Internet, a year ago you might have said, “I back up my files to the web.” Now you probably say, “I back up my files to the Cloud.”  If you have an account with Google, Apple, Microsoft, or Amazon, you have a password-protected place to store your stuff.  With Google it’s called Google Docs, Microsoft is SkyDrive, Apple is iCloud, and Amazon is Amazon Cloud Drive.  Most any file that you store in any of these locations will be accessible by any computing device you have.  This means no more worries when you leave home about what computer to take with you and what it has on it.

Software in the Cloud – It’s more than Just Storage

Every year, around March, I used to buy a box from the computer store for the TurboTax software for that year.  When they started making the software available on the web, I jumped on it. I had no desire to own the TurboTax software for every year, I just wanted to rent it to do my taxes each year.  And, since I use the online system, it keeps my data from year to year.  I only need to update the numbers.  I used to say, “I do my taxes online.” Now I guess I could say I do my taxes in the Cloud.

Google Docs and SkyDrive, mentioned above are also more than just online storage areas, software is included.  If you have a Microsoft account and use SkyDrive, you can create documents with the online equivalent of Word.

skydrive

You can also create spreadsheets with the online equivalent of Excel, or presentations with the online equivalent of PowerPoint.  Now we’re talking Cloud Computing.  Your only need for a computing device is to be able to connect to the Internet and run the applications on your Cloud.  All your computing work is done in the Cloud!

googledocsGoogle Docs can also read and write to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, but you’ll use the Google equivalent while working in the Cloud.  Google Docs takes spreadsheets one step further and allows you to create Forms.  These forms can be embedded in websites and used as surveys or other data collection devices.  Any user who sees the form can fill it out and, when they click Save – their data gets collected in the Google Docs Spreadsheet.  What used to take hours of technical web programming is now just a few clicks in Google Docs.  For example, this survey of your Cloud Computing usage was created with a Google Docs Form.  Go ahead, take the survey – it’s just a few questions!  You’ll be able to see the results after taking the survey.

Take a guess what SkyDrive with its apps, or Google Docs and apps cost?  Hint: I’ll bet you can afford it!

They are both free.  What a boon for travelers!  You don’t need to take your main computer with you on the road.  You don’t even need to copy important files from your main computer to your travel laptop.  Just use Cloud Computing services and it doesn’t matter what computer you have.  Your smartphone or iPad can even do most of your work for you.  You’re free!  Free to get away without losing any of your connections to family, friends or work.  Your Cloud is always there, as long as you can find a good Internet connection.

So, get a Google account and play with Google Docs, or get a SkyDrive account and play with the free Office Apps.  This is how most computing will be done as we go forward.

Better yet, register for our Techno-Geek Learning Rally April 22-28 in Bushnell, Florida.  You’re guaranteed to learn lots about the Cloud!