Jeff Sexton

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Google Photos and Photos in Google

I thought of something today that I'd like to do with a couple photos I have. The photos are in Google Photos in an album created about a year and half ago. I'd also like to add a photo to that album.

Now, I keep local copies of all my camera-taken photos, and always have. But phone-taken photos often end up just uploaded. I don't have time to get them onto a PC from my phone. I take 20-50 photos everyday with my phone, it's just way too much. So I don't have a local copy of this particular Google Photos album.

Remarkably, as near as I can figure, there is no way to do what I wanted to do, using either mobile or desktop Google tools. There is no way to search for an album. Even if you find a photo that is in that album, there is no way to get to the album from there. Even if you find the album in the infinite scrolling list, which would take all afternoon, there is no way to open it and add a photo. Even if you get past all that somehow, you can still only do actions on photos one at a time.

I can find old Google+ posts that have each photo, but I can't get to the album from there either. Nor can I do much with the one photo. Other than download it I guess...

So... Out of luck. I can not create the series of posts I had in mind. It's simply impossible to do the most basic tasks with Google Photos. Not hard. Not inconvenient because of menu arrangements (it has those problems too), but literally impossible.

I'm thinking we all are headed toward a brick wall of sorts. I have many years of photos in Google storage. Most I have local copies that I can use elsewhere as Google renders itself useless. But for others, there is simply going to be no way to access and use them!

So there is no misunderstanding, I do not rely on Google for storing and organizing photo files. I have 5 or 6 copies or my entire archive on multiple media types. I also have photos stashed on three other "cloud" services, in additional to Google Drive.

Google and others have over the years provided tools that made additional things possible. For example, I was servicing watches, and taking photos of them, before Google+ existed. But Google+ allowed me to share more, a lot more, using a convenient mobile phone camera - which I didn't use until Google made it convenient. It is easy to grab my phone and take photos while working, and have these "magically" appear online.

It is ironic that after so many years and so many tools, I am right back were I began. On my own, with locally managed photos, and no practical way to share many. Even as Google backs out of support for photos, I'll keep taking pictures, just not nearly as many, not while I'm working, and I won't have the photos to share online. And as for the ones already out there on Google+, as I say above, those are already rendered useless so the point is moot. As for Google Photos, it is becoming an unordered, unorganized, unsearchable heap in service of day to day shares to Google tools (including blogger), and nothing else.

MySQL Issue Caused by Query That Returns a Large Result

I was getting an odd exception thrown from some EJBs that came, in my code, originally from PreparedStatement.executeQuery().

Caused by: com.mysql.jdbc.exceptions.jdbc4.CommunicationsException: Communications link failure

Exceptions came from trying to free the connection after it had become invalid. The true root of the trouble was running out of memory, then abruptly closing the connection. Even though the exception was handled and closed connection returned to the pool, there was memory not freed someplace; in the JDBC driver it seems. That was the real problem.

The queries were unusual in that the result set would contain a relatively large number of rows. This is not a good practice of course, but I only have a handful of these cases, for good reasons.

One would expect the driver to use a server side cursor. It doesn't. So the solution was to tell the MySQL driver that the results would be scanned forward only, etc. so as to conserve memory.

PreparedStatement stmt;
stmt = conn.prepareStatement("select * from MyLargeTable",
java.sql.ResultSet.TYPE_FORWARD_ONLY, java.sql.ResultSet.CONCUR_READ_ONLY);
ResultSet rs = stmt.executeQuery();

Problem solved.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Google, Google+, and The Numbers

When Google featured my Watch Projects collection, it had about 30-31k followers. This is because I created it with the auto-follow option and at the time that is how many people had me circled. Of course an awful lot of those accounts are fake or inactive, or both, obviously. Also a thousand or so had followed it without circling me, as I recall, at that time. The number in the collection was a bit higher than then number Google says have me in circles.

Since Google featured the Collection, it gains 200-300 followers a day. It's over 70k last time I checked.

A few days ago, as I sometimes do, I posted to the collection a mention of the Vintage Watch community. The community has similar content, in a different form, and it is of course a good place for folks to post about their own watches or ask questions. You would think some of the 70k follower of the collection, or at least some of the 40k that have come along in the past few months, would be interested in the community too, right? The population of the community has hardly changed in a long time, so it should be noticeable.

In 48 hours the Community had gained 3 (three) new members.

I don't trust Google's numbers, at all. There's something really fishy about the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Photos and Google

I have been asked about how I do various things here on Google+ with regard to photos. So, here is the current workflow. It's as simple as I can make it, and doesn't require moving things by sneaker-net. Keep in mind that this is what works today, Google has been regularly pulling the rug out without warning, and will not (ever) tell us how things work. So these steps may not last long... This only works with the "classic" interface. The new Google+ interface can't do most of this.

1) Use the Google Photos mobile app with auto-upload turned on.
2) Take photos while work is in progress.
3) In Google+, classic interface, select post photos. A photos screen appears.
4) Select more than one photo from the recently uploaded. It has to be more than one. This doesn't work if you pick just one. Seriously.
5) This goes to an "organize" screen. Don't do anything on this screen. This doesn't work if you touch anything here. Seriously. Just hit "add" or "done" or whatever it is.
6) Next appears the post dialog. Type in "Did some work today today", and select who to share with, whatever... I select my Watch Projexts Collection, and + select the email address of the watch owner (the new Google+ interface can't do this). There is also an "organize" button. Click that.
7) The same organize screen appears again. It looks the same, but it is not. NOW you can arrange and rotate photos, select a cover photo, etc. Also, drop down the album button at the top left and enter the name of a NEW album to create. I create an album with the watch serial number as the name.
8) Hit done, and the dialog post appears again. Again, here you can enter text, Community, a Collection, people and Circles to share with.
9) Post.

This creates a post with images and a link to the new album. If you don't do it exactly like the above, it turns out differently.
Now to add more photos...

1) Take more photos and wait for them to upload
2) Hit the post photos button.
3) Select one, or more photos. It's OK to select just one this time.
4) The "organize" screen appears. This time you can do whatever you want now, at this point.
5) Hit the album drop down and select the album just created (or any album). This is an un-orderable, unsearchable infinite list so there is no way to do this with older albums. You just can't find them. The list appears to be in order of the latest exif date of images in each album.
6) Done, and post.


I take good photos with a Nikon D70 and upload these full size to +Google Drive. I name the folder with the date and owners name. I send these images home with the watch on a CD.

Later still..........

I go through old Drive folders and each day:

1) Rename one to include the watch serial number (I rename it so I know which ones have been through this part).
2) I search Google+ for the job number, and find a post with the link to the album (as created above).
3) I get into the album. This is the last remaining way to get to the old Google+ Photos interface where there is still some functionality. I select "add photos" (the new interface can't do this).
4) I select to add "from Drive" (Google Photos can't do this).
5) I search for the name of my Drive folder created above and add the photos of that watch to the album.
6) This shares the new photos, so a Google+ post dialog is created. I go ahead and share it to the Vintage Watches Google+ Community, with a link to my online database information for that grade (for Elgins anyway).
7) I then go to Google Blogger. Blogger can search what it calls "Picasa Web Albums" for photos to add to a blog post. I search for the name of the Album I just added to and create a blog post with all the photos, included the formal ones copied over from Drive (note: it can take a couple of minutes for the for ones to be visible to Blogger)
8) Blog post...
9) I add, if I want, the better photos as "extra photos" for that grade (for Elgins) to my serial number database. I add URLs for Drive images. There is an important trick to this.
9a) Make sure the Drive folder permissions are either public or public with link. An easy way to do this is to set that permission on a higher level folder. Every sub-folder you create will have the same permission.
9b) Click the share icon for an image.
9c) Click "advanced"
9d) A URL appears in the next dialog. Copy it.
9e) Paste it where you what the image, for example in an img html tag or in some app (like blogger) that can take a URL to an image. BUT the URL is a link to a Drive viewer. To get to the content itself you have to edit the URL like the following example. Change this:

To this:

The result is a reference to an image itself.

And there it is. I don't know how much longer this will work. Google is taking away functionality at a remarkable pace. Any post could be the last...

Links (where you can see the results of this process):
Example serial number database page:
Sample serial number page with images stored in Drive:
Projects Collection:
Vintage Watches Community:

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Man Who Laughs and Gets Fat

The man who laughs and gets fat is the man that eats at Jeff's!

From The daily morning Astorian, April 10, 1887...

Thursday, February 11, 2016


The trunk CD changer in my Volvo C70 stopped working, so I thought I'd check the fuses. I'd never looked at them before, but it's pretty cool. Not only does it look like something out of Star Trek, but there is a little tool included for pulling them, and several spares.

The fusses were all fine, but I guess re-seating it took care of the problem because the CD changer works now.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

New Instagram Stream

Instagram finally pushed out (to me at least) simple support for multiple accounts on mobile, just this morning. So I took the opportunity to create a second account for other-than-horological content, which is to say generally more personal, mundane and everyday ish. It wasn't completely straight forward to get it working, but it is working now. So, take your pick, both or neither!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Aurora Famous Fighters

Here is a set of images of Aurora Famous Fighters trading cards. The artwork was featured on the packaging of a line of old  Aurora plastic model kits!

See them all here:

Friday, February 05, 2016

That Time Men Walked on The Moon

Edgar Mitchell, the last living member of the Apollo 14 mission, has died.

My father took these photos. It's an earlier mission, but I watched every minute I could of all of them. There was a time when men walked on the Moon...

Pocher Alfa

Everything goes slowly on this thing... I put in ignition wires, and completed a little sub-assembly that holds the two containers that make up a sort trunk. One contains the car's batteries. Also, there is installed the fuel line from the tank to the fuel pump. Routing the pipe from there to the engine will be more of a challenge. And there also is a wire that goes from there to the fuel gauge on the dash yet to do.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Do Not Discard!

I found this in a box while looking for something else. I think I've had it for 20 years.

It probably came from IBM. And it probably originally came in it's own separate box.

Major Assembly

Here's some significant assembly done, finally, on this thing. I managed to get the engine bolted to the frame. This was not easy... Getting the steering gearbox in place was especially tricky. All these components, the frame, engine, floorboards, etc, have to go together sort of all at the same time in order to work at all. 

The good news is that my idea of moving the radiator fill back by altering the part a little worked well. It gives enough room that the engine only had to be moved about 1mm and it all - sort of - fits! The hood will work fine, no gaps.

3D modeling Advertising Air Canada Airline Alfa Romeo Spider Touring Gran Sport Analog signal Android Anomalies and Alternative Science Apache Apollo Astoria Asus Augmented reality Aurora Famous Fighters auto-awesome Automobile Autos Backups Barack Obama Batman Battery Beards Beer Bell System Berkshire Hathaway Bigfoot Bird Food Bird Toys Birds Birthdays Blogger Books Build Management Business and Economy Business Process Execution Language Byte-order mark Canadian Carrot Cats Christmas Civil Defense CNN Cockatiels Collections Crows Dear Jane Debian Diabetes Digital Living Network Alliance Digital television Disney Doll House Dow Jones Industrial Average Duesenburg SJ Roadster Durham University E-mail address ebauche Economics EJB Energy development Enterprise JavaBean ESP Facebook Fedora Filesharing Finance Ford Fossil fuel Garfield James Abram Garfield Minus Garfield Glassfish Global warming Golden Arches Goofy Google Google Buzz Google Docs Google Lively Google Photos Google Reader Google Wave Google+ Greenhouse gas Half-Life 2 Helbros High-definition television History Hybrid electric vehicle IBM Inner city Instagram Insulin Investing Irony J.C. Penny Jane Austen Java Java Architecture for XML Binding JDBC Jeff's! Jim Davis joe the plumber John McCain Karma Kay Thompson Kermit the Frog Kids and Teens LA Auto Show Larry King Laser Logging Lowry Sexton Mark Cuban Market trends McDonald Meier and Frank Microsoft Microsoft Windows Models Monkey monsters Moon MOUNT HOOD Music Music industry Muxtape MySQL NetBeans Netflix Nintendo Nissan Cube Norm Coleman Nuclear fallout Nuclear warfare Office Depot Open ESB Oracle Corporation Pacific Ocean Packard Boattail Pearl District Pearl District Portland Oregon Philip K Dick photography PlayStation 3 Pocher Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Politics Portal Portland Portland Development Commission Presidents Pride and Prejudice Programming Projects Radio Recipes Recording Industry Association of America Renewable energy RIAA Robot Chicken Rock-paper-scissors Sarcasm SATA Science fiction film Serbia Service-oriented architecture Shopping Slide Rule Social Security Social Studies Society6 Spirit of St. Louis SQL Stanford Hospital Star Wars Starbucks Stock market Strip search Sun Microsystems T-Mobile Tablet TechCrunch Technical ThinkGeek Toaster Total Recall Transportation Security Administration Unicode United States United States Department of Homeland Security Universal Plug and Play Unknown Primates USB Vegetable garden Video game Vintage Images Vintage Vintage! Virtual world Volvo C70 Wall Street Warren Buffett watches We Can Remember It for You Wholesale Web service Web Services Description Language Wii Windows 7 Windows Phone 7 Windows Vista Windows XP X-Files X-ray vision XML XML Schema YouTube Yugo Zima