Nov 18, 2015

Google Photos Now Give You Back The Storage - What You Need To Know

As of today you can now compress all your photos with the High Quality settings of Google Photos even for photos you have uploaded to Picasa and Google+.

That's freeing up your storage greatly. I've got back 10,7GB of storage.
Don't be afraid, the algorithm of Google Photos High Quality setting is extraordinary good. I've tested it before, and in almost any case, there is no visible difference. It's magic.
You'll can find that settings by visiting on the web, go to settings, and right where you can select between HQ and Original, there is a button below "Recover Storage". It can take some time. After that, enjoy your free storage to use with Gmail or Drive.

Here are some important answers:
  • Does this compress my photos, I uploaded to Google Drive? No, it doesn't. Only Picasa and Google+ photos will be compressed. Everything that counts toward your Photo-Storage, even pictures.
  • Can I go back? No, this is a one way street. But it's really High Quality.
  • But, but, it's not original size Yes it is. Up to 16 Megapixels without changing the size. What they do is compressing your photo with a superior algorithm. Almost no visible change. See for yourself
  • After that, everything I uploaded will be compressed? You can choose that within the settings. If you set to High-Quality all new photos uplaoded with Google Photos will be stored without counting towards your storage. Unlimited. It's not clear at the moment if this applies to pictures uploaded through blogger etc. too.
  • Does this change the photos on my mobile device? No, it doesn't affect the photos you stored on your smartphone e.g. You do a local backup of your photos on your phone regularly, right? RIGHT?
  • What about my videos? They also getting a special treatment. Videos up to FullHD (1080p) are no longer using your storage either.
  • Update: If  I upload new photos to my blog, or with Picasa are they now compressed? Nope. I assume that is intentional, but very irritating. All new photos uplaoded with Picasa or your image dialog will count towards your storage. However you can hit that recover button again to recover your storage for those newly uploaded photos, too.
Still questions? Let me know, I'll add it here.

Nov 15, 2015

Board Game Day 2015 / Spieletag

Yes, there are still old fashioned board games around. And they make as much fun as ever. Of course even board games have support for smartphones now and then, but the games at the Spieletag 2015 in Speyer were the real deal.

Opened from 14:00 to 22:00 it was clear that not only kids was coming to play. Just like us:) Laguna.sam and myself were there and had a lot of fun. So many great games.
It was full of people having fun all the way. Not only this big hall was completely filled, the tables outside where you get food and drinks, were occupied by the players of every age.

So we started at 14:30 and played some games like "Crosswise", "Camel (C)up" and "The Game". Especially the simple "The Game" card game did appeal to us. Same with "Hanabi", where you need to make fireworks. Use your imagination and pile up 5 stones in the right order to virtually ignite it :).
"Feuerdrache" was another great game.

"The Game" and "Camel Cup"

At the end it's almost ironic. We played Kakerlakak, which has a little roboter bug running around the board. And it was so much fun :). You see, even board games evolve. I love it. And the pocket version of "Hanabi", which is a sure buy, as well as "The Game".

It was a fantastic day, and the time flew by. It felt like 2 hours but we were playing almost the whole day. Ha, that's what I call excitement. We didn't regret the drive there. Thanks to the organisation for holding this event. Absolutely great and we hope that there will be another game day in 2016! 

Nov 5, 2015

Amazon Prime Music now finally available in Germany

As of today, Amazon offered its Prime Music service to subscribers in Germany.
Everyone that has a prime account, now also get millions of curated songs for free with their subscription.

Unlike Spotify and Google Play Music, this is not a real music flatrate in the same sense. But of you looking for an ad-free radio service with some tuning options and varieties of genres, this might come handy.
Prime Music is usable via the web interface or the app available for smartphones.

Well, too bad there is no Chromecast button, so it might not get used very much, but FireTV has integrated it very well, so enjoy.

Oct 31, 2015

Chromecast and Chromecast Audio Setup for your House

It's very easy to set up the Chromecast together with the Chromecast Audio to have best of both world. The good thing is, if you have a Chromecast hooked on the TV or even better through a surround system with HDMI input, you don't need another Chromecast Audio in that room.
If you have a TV with a feature to turn off the screen, it won't use unnecessary power. Most TVs with that feature reduces the power consumption to a minimum like the Samsung 6470 H-series and many more models. On that model just go to the tools menu with a touch of a button on your remote and select "Screen off". That transforms your TV virtually a smart speaker. Many other manufacturers have similar features.

In the rooms where you have no TV, you can now easily use an Chromecast Audio for $35 and have sound. Sure you can buy an active speaker. But you can also use any speaker together with a small nifty amplifier like the Lepai 808. It's good enough for having decent sound in your kitchen or bathroom (mind the moisture).

Connect a power adapter to your Lepai amplifier, connect the tiny Chromecast Audio with the 3,5mm plug and connect the speakers via the clamps. Here we go. You can also check out what you can do with this little amp to make a boombox. Now think about to add a Chromecast Audio to it and have a mobile boombox for your house where you need it. Just for your inspiration.

However if you want to connect a mono speaker, which is not so bad if you have only little space left, you'll need to get a female stereo to male mono 3,5mm adapter. Do not connect left and right speaker output to one speaker. It will likely kill your amplifier in no time. This little adapter makes sure you hear output from both channels on both channels mixed. As far as I know. it's safe with the Lepai to use only one speaker connected.

Now later on the Chromecast Audio will be updated with multi-room functionality, which means you have a pretty nice and very inexpensive setup in your house. That even guests without access to your WiFi can use.

Oct 29, 2015

Social Networks & Blogs - Interesting Little Article Series

If you can read German, you should take a look at the article series on The old master came back to write about the past, the present and the future of blogs.

However, one thing was a little distracting on the first part from Robert Basic.
Where are Google+ and other strong networks in Germany?

No mentions? Well okay, I'm really not very neutral on this, but most statistics say something different. Like
Statistic: Frequency of social media usage in Germany in February 2015, by social media site | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

And you could even say that social media in Germany are already dying or have peaked out. I can't fully confirm this, but there is some kind of slowing. People seem to get away with being public, doing a lot of more stuff privately or not at all.

Well, maybe the experience may vary, but one thing is for sure, there are changes in everything. Fast. But it feels like ages. When reading this first article, I was wondering, was it really in the 2000th? Wow. Yes it was. I had my blog running at the very beginning. And I'm prove that "being me, myself and I" isn't a guarantee for success :). So it never was about putting out a blog and have the whole world visiting your blog.
So it is with the current social networks. Not all can be a top influence person, or whatever the current target for the users is.

I'm excited for the next posting and I hope that the legal situation will be addressed, too. It has been greatly ignored by the blogging sphere and even by the privacy advocates. Maybe that also did help social networks where you can do much, much more than in your blog without getting into legal problems.

Let's go... I need a time machine :)

Oct 4, 2015

How to get the Disaster Warning Feed on your Pebble

There is a nice way to add the feed of the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) to your Pebble.

You need to install Pebblets (not in the store because Pebble didn't allow that name in the store). After installing this, head to the settings for this in the Pebble app. There go to the feed section and enter a Name and the URL for the feed:
Don't forget to submit your changes to the app.

And here we go.
Besides your normal weather info for several days that comes with Pebblets, you now can see the latest disaster events.

In addition, you can also set up more feeds like news, more weather details etc. to get even more information.