Oh no! Deleting iPhone Photos

OK I’m an idiot, when you delete photos with your iPhone, they live for 40 days or so in your deleted folder which is great. But when I just took an old iPhone out and it started to sync again, it left 1,000 duplicated in there. So I started deleting things on my Mac iCloud Photo Library. But I accidentally put some photos I actually needed there. And two click later, I had irrevocably deleted them. Yuck!

So what’s a person to do?

  1. First immediately cut off internet access to your Mac and your iPhones. This can save the delete instructions from going all the way down the pike. In my case, it was too late, when I looked at iCloud.com, the photos were gone already.
  2. But my iPhone still had 1,000 or so photos left, so something had been saved. Recover those photos by moving them into the “Restore” category, then dock it to your Mac and use Mac Photos to copy those files out with import and then for safety also export them somewhere in case the sync eats them later.

But I still had some photos I had lost. So what to do, going through the internet, there are host of products that report that they will save you:

  1. iCloud Backups used to also backup photos, but if you are using iCloud Photo Library, backups no longer contain photos, so when I used Syncios Recovery it showed no photos there at all.
  2. As an aside, Syncios does not get along with two factor authentication, so you have to turn that off first. Remember to turn that back on when all is done
  3. However, you can use it to get into your iPhone and it turns out that it will try to recover photos that you’ve deleted. Now in my case, this didn’t actually work. It didn’t seem to find any new photos.


Windows 10 and Firewire IEEE 1394 if you haven’t updated in the last two years

OK, I’m sure this is a common problem and I’m no Windows 10 expert, but some notes on making a computer work that is trying to use an older camcorder with Firewire:

  • Make sure you have taken the updates. Windows 10 has lots of them. I can’t actually remember where I found the automatic Windows update screen, but you want to turn it on.
  • Go to Control Panel/Security and Maintenance and turn on Network Firewall, Virus Protection, Spyware and unwanted software protection,
  • Make sure you take the nVidia updates.
  • Older computers back then didn’t have Wifi, so just get a USB Wifi adapter
  • Run Windows Update Advisor. This seems to do the major version updates. And it is where I ran into problems.

Windows Update Problems

  • Error Oxc1900208. Wow, I have not used Windows in a while, but to get a huge hexadecimal number on something like the Windows 10 Creator Update. That’s quite a strange thing in the 21st century. The translation by the way is that some application is incompatible. No one seems to know how to figure out which application it is on the entire Internet. But there is some who think you can find it at c:/windows/panther and look for xml files. These files seem to work last year, but not in 2017. Basically, the advice is just remove antivirus if you have it and pray
  • Confusion between Windows Update and the Windows Update Advisor. Apparently, there are two update mechanisms, if you go to Window menu on the lower left and right click, you can eventually find the Windows Update manager (man does Windows have lots of ways to do the same thing).
  • Right now Windows Update is working but not the Windows Upgrade Advisor. Argh! It did try to run the installer once and complained about an application that is not actually installed (called DeepFreeze), so ugh, what’s a person to do.

The second issue is that Windows 10 does not really support Firewire/1394 anymore. According to Studio Productions, the fix is to install the Windows 8.x legacy driver on Windows 10. (Boy does that sound scary!):

  • Down the .msi file and right click and install it.
  • At least on Windows 10, the information (designed for Windows 8.x) is wrong, the .inf file lives in c:\program files (x86)\1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller (Legacy)\x74_driver and you right click on Legacy1394 labeled as Setup Information.
  • Then Right click on the Windows Icon, choose Device Manager and to to IEEE 1394 Bus host controllers and right click select install/find the drivers/look for myself and then select IEEE 1394 Bus host controller (legacy) The default is a driver that doesn’t work properly. So this can get reset.


Photo albums

A few years ago, we use AdoramaPix to do two photo albums. They were stunning, color matched and hand done, the software was a little clunky in terms of layout.

This year looking through the reviews, trying Mixbook. I don’t know how this will come out, but they are supposed to do a decent lay-flat book with good quality paper.

Tom’s Guide and so did Photo Book Girl liked them for instance. Also you can find 15% off rebates via cashbackmonitor.com and Photo Book Girl is providing 50% off

Photo Workflow 2017

Well I haven’t been doing much camera work in 2017 and I’m probably 80% iPhone (thank you X!) and 20% Canon 5D Mark II (yes I know I need to upgrade but with the iPhone being such a big part of it all, I’m confused as to whether to move all the way to medium format and just stop at the Sony A7RIII, talk about first world problems!).

Anyway, the big changes in workflow are:

  1. Move to using Apple iCloud storage. Since they switched to $15/month for an entire family to share 2TB, it is much easier to have (finally!) a photo backup for all our picture takers than to worry about uploading to a Mac every two years or so. This has had a big change in workflow because I now longer need to constantly sync from the iPhone and in many ways, it is easier to sync things into iPhoto.
  2. The Canon 5D Mark II of course has neither location nor accurate time, so I have to correct those and I’m shooting in RAW so it has to happen early in the process.
  3. Lightroom now had HDR and Panoramic modes, but I rarely shoot those anymore since most of the HDR and Panoramas are much more easily done with the iPhone. I don’t really bring the tripod for panoramas at 25MP, so that’s gone.
  4. 99% of the photo consumption is now via phone for the family, so the workflow is optimized for this.

So here is the latest workflow:

  1. Make sure that iCloud Photo Storage is turned on for all the iPhones.
  2. Because iCloud Sharing limits the size of pictures to 4MP, if I need photos from other cameras, I have to Airdrop them. This is actually really fast thanks to Wifi Direct and it incorporates all the photos directly into my Photos timeline which is super convenient.
  3. If I have taken any Canon photos, I now need to integrate them into the timeline, so I pull the RAW and edit them in DxO (now called DxO Photo Lab), I still like the automatic corrections is applies way more than Lightroom. I use these to discards baed shots so I end up with a directory of RAW photos. Now generate JPGs for regular viewing. I normally turn up the JPEG conversion pretty high to 97/100 because disk is basically free.
  4. Now I crank up Lightroom and open it up. I need to do this because I need to make sure the dates and times are correct. Since most of these photos are taken overseas, I’m always forgetting to set the date and time correctly. You fix this in the Library mode choosing Metadata/Capture Time
  5. Now go to the Maps tab and put the photos in the right places in the world.
  6. Finally write the time changes with Metadata/Save Metadata to File

The biggest change then is in organizing things. I haven’t yet committed to iCloud for all photo storage mainly because 2TB isn’t actually enough storage for all my photos and I’ve had crashes in the past with 50K+ photos, so at least for this year I’m still maintaining a disk store. What I will probably do is run this in parallel for a year because I still want the RAW files maintained. So from here it gets a little clunky, but the goal is to publish nice shots to iPhone users with iCloud Photo Sharing.

I don’t have good solution for Android users right now because by default Google Photos doesn’t seem to be installed or enabled on those devices, so right now it is mainly sending them WhatsApp message (which seems to be the most common messaging platform for my friends and family on Android):

  1. Export the iCloud Library photos and the Canon photos put them into a file store using focused jpg/year/year-month/year-month-date hierarchy. I put the raws in a parallel system in raw
  2. Now create a photo album on the hard disk in album/year/year-month-event label. This is work but it means that everything else is an export from here.
  3. For really beautiful photos that are not specific or personal, create a scenes/year directory
  4. These are then manually copied onto the Synology NAS (running right now with RAID10) and then there is GoodSync backup to another Synology NAS running SHR2 (RAID6). Finally there is an offsite backup that runs nightly to Google Drive via the Synology to Google Drive tool. I also manual backup the photos every so often to the tongfamily.com hosting as a final cloud backup.

Now to export into iCloud,

  1. Import the Canon photos into Photos. Then create a shared album and stick them all in there. Someday, if I trust Photos enough, I might just drop the file based storage, but that’s the experiment for 2018.
  2. WhatsApp the other photos to android users.
  3. Take the scenes and publish them on Instagram (which seems to be the photographers medium of choice now). I also usually cross post on Facebook because what the heck might as well give it all to them.

iTunes I’m glad I don’t use it much…

Wow this latest version of iTunes reminds me how much it is an anachronism.  Before iPhones went total direct, you had to dock to get your music. And now with streaming music services, who ever needs a real MP3 anyway.

Plus the interface has gotten hard to figure out. For instance, I still have some old MP3s and I just wanted to sort the most recently added. Apparently, the upper left icon just shows the album view, you can’t change it.

If you want to see your songs listed with all the fields, then the trick is to go down to the Playlist section on the right (and not the upper left stuff). Then to actually get to that view, this means you have to click on the lower recently added and then in the menu bar choose View/View As/Songs which will get you back to the tabular view.


Airbnb discounts for Christmas 2017

Covered elsewhere but you no longer get 5x points on Ink Plus/Cash on eBay using Paypal Digital Gifts. Also does  not work with giftcardmall.com anymore, although giftcardmart.com still works. But most reliable way is to:

  1. Right now on chase, there is a 4x bonus for using chase mall to get to staples.com but only for physical goods not for gift cards.
  2. Buy Gift card through the office supply portals. So for instance, they have Airbnb gift cards.
  3. Then click through the deltaairbnb.com site to get 1 Delta point per dollar (was three points last month but that promotion seems to be over).
  4. Then book with Airbnb using the gift card.

There are also occasional promotions via Amerideals for 5% off on Airbnb as well. The net discount is:

  1. 5x 2.2 = 11% from Ink Cash/Plus converted into Chase Rewards assuming you have a Chase Sapphire card.
  2. 1.4% for the Delta point

Net, net, you get about a 20% discount if you buy anything real with Staples and 11% if you buy a gift card.

Corporate Mileage Programs for Airlines

Even as airlines relentlessly devalue their points (United alone has gone from 2.4 cents/mile to 1.4 in the last five years), there is one thing to try. As all airlines are trying to recruit companies, if you have a small business (or a large one), you should sign up for their corporate programs:

  1. United Perks Plus. These points are worth half the regular Mileage Plus points. You need to spend at least $25K per year with United (so this works for businesses that are traveling a bunch). But in the first year, you can generate some points. And as of March 2017, they allow you to convert two Perks Plus Points into a single Mileage Plus mile. The good news is that administration is easy, just get a list of frequent flyer miles for you employees and away you go. The best redemption is actually 60K Perks Plus points for a United Club membership. So that is a 0.8 cent redemption and isn’t bad.
  2. Alaska Airlines Easybiz. This takes more energy to manage, you basically set up an account and then when you book you need to go to https://easybiz.alaskaair.com. The trick here is that you have to do all your bookings through this portal site for the miles to count.

American and Delta have similar programs but I haven’t had a chance to try them yet.

Tesla Tips

Ok the many oddities of a complex car, but here are some simple things I didn’t figure out until I RFMed:

  1. The Tesla X trunk memorizes a particular open position. This is so if you are short the tail gate will be in reach. It also uses the center beam sensor to determine if there is an obstruction. If you set the trunk too low, then the manual says that you open the trunk, then push it to the right height for you and then press the trunk close button on the trunk itself for two seconds until it beeps.
  2. The center screen will definitely crash and then what do you do. Not intuitive, but you hold down the two scroll buttons on the steering wheel and the brake for 10 seconds and it will reboot.
  3. When you back up, the Tesla X is (at least to me!) huge and even with the rear view camera it is not clear where things are, turns out that you can put the car into reverse and then adjust the mirrors down. This will get saved in your profile.

Here are some things to learn from reading:

  1. Instrument cluster reboot by pushing and holding the two buttons above the scroll wheel.

Changing from Grid to List View on Apple Watch and Time Travel…

OK this has to be the most undiscoverable thing ever. When will someone say that every option needs a visible menu item. Anyway, if you hate the complex “grid” view on your watch, then in Apple Watch, you hard press on the grid view and you can change.

And another strange thing is getting into “Time Travel mode“, if you spin dial then suddenly the time starts to change and I end up in a panic. I think this feature is so that you can see upcoming appointments, but until Alex told me, I did realize another press would bring you back to the real time. It works when you see say the weather or your appointments and is an easy way to scroll forward one day. But man is it confusing!

iPhone and iPad charging demystified

I can’t believe how hard it is to figure out how iPhone and iPad charging work.

The mysterious parts are what cables and what chargers work where…

Here’s a quick summary

  1. The original USB standard was 5V and 500mA. This is why when u plug a phone into old computers it charges so slowly. That’s 2.5W.

  2. Out of the box an iPhone X comes with a glacially slow small adapter which is 5V x 1A or 5W

  3. When the iPad came out with a bulkier adapter that did 12W. How did they do this they used a “non standard” charge of 2.4A at 5V. This is why third party chargers will label Apple ports as 2.4A

  4. At the same time QUALCOMM was playing the same tricks and came up with QuickCharge that was also varying the amperages up go 3A but this is not compatible with Apple. So that’s what an Android port is on no-name chargers.

  5. When the iPad Pro came out the batteries got even bigger but still shipped with a 12W charger. A major bummer.

  6. However when the Macbook shipped with a USB C 29W charger, people discovered the iPad Pro was future proofed. With Apple proprietary USB C to Lightening adapter, USB Power Delivery is turned on using some spare pins. In this case they get to 29 watts by delivering 14.8V x 2A. This is because it is easier to increase voltage rather than the amperage in a small charger. Apple devices like many others charge at full rate until about 90% then slow to a trickle, so this is a big improvement.

  7. For the new iPhone 8/X, it appears to have the same technology so that if you get a USB to lightening cable that supports PD you should be able to do the same. From Apple this is $40 charger and $25 usb c charger. While this works with any USB C Charger with Power Delivery, currently only the Apple cable supports USB C with PD to lightening so stay tuned as third party cables come out.

  8. The iPhone 8/X also supports Qi charging at 5W. With iOS 11.2 this will increase to 7.5w. Third party chargers can support 10W. Note that some people are putting a metal disk into a case so they can Qi charge and don’t need a holder. Make sure this disk is far from the “coil” that is the charging area. Others ally our charger will do is turn the metal into a handwarmer.

  9. Wireless chargers can have multiple coils. A single coil charger needs careful placement. But you can get double or even triple coils. The more coils the easier to place the phone. The upcoming Apple AirPower appears to be a mouse pad sized that has multiple coils.