Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flash Drives

As mentioned in an earlier post, these little storage devices that slip into the USB port on your computer are relatively inexpensive and have quite a range in capacity.  And they can be used over and over again.  When you're finished with it just delete the files, right?  Not quite.  While your flash drive is still plugged into your computer, you can highlight the files and drag them to the trash.  That is correct, but, there is quite a bit of information that still resides on the flash drive and the next time you want to export files to it, you may get a notice that there is not enough storage remaining.  It drove me crazy because I knew I should have remaining space.  Not to worry.  This is how you can erase everything on the flash drive.

  • On your dock, open up Finder
  • Click on Applications
  • Near the bottom of the list, click on Utilities
  • Another list will appear.  Look for Disk Utilities and click
  • All of your drives will be listed including a flash drive if connected.  A flash drive will be identified by capacity and name.  Just below it, if you have not named the flash drive, it will likely say, "No Name".  Click on No Name.
  • Scan down to the bottom left side of the page and look for "format".  It will state what format is being used and will most likely say, "MS-DOS (FAT32).  To the right it will tell you the available space.
  • Now, go to the top of the page and click on Erase.  In the middle of the page you will see Format.  It will tell you how the drive is formatted.  Continue to the right..to the highlighted up and down arrows and click on them.  There will be four choices.  On top, click on Mac OS Extended (Journaled)  Below it, where you see "No Name", click on the box and a blue frame will appear.  Now you can rename the Flash Drive anything you want.  Personalize it with your name so that when you loan it out, and someone else inserts it into their computer, it will appear on the desk top...."Tom's Flash" or whatever
  • Drop down and look for erase.  Click on it and your drive will be formatted, ready for its next assignment.
Tom Gottfried

Image Tags is also called Key Words.  Tags vs. folders has been debated for some time and there are pros and cons to each.  Hopefully the following article will help you decide which method is best for you.  And, you can do Folders with Key Words too.  That is what is so wonderful about the whole process.  The experts provide guidance and you choose what will work best for you.  After all, its your photo collection

Tom Gottfried

Image Tags vs. Folders – the great debate

If you have been taking digital pictures for a while you’ve probably been forced to deal with organizing your pictures. You have also probably been asking yourself if the method you’re using is a good method. Currently there are two different approaches to picture organization: using tags and using folders. There are a number of software programs that support either or both methods. Which method should you choose? This article will analyze the tag and folder based methods for picture organization. 

TAG Method description

This method involves assigning one or more tags (or keywords) to each digital picture on the hard drive.  For example: let’s say that I take some pictures of my grandma’s birthday this year in 2007. Let’s also say that I’m taking 100 pictures. I download them to my computer into some folder (the name of the folder is irrelevant at this point) and bring up my organization software (you always need one if you’re using tags). The software imports the folder and I see all my pictures that I have just taken. Then I assign some tags to all of them or a part of them…this is called bulk tagging (this feature is a must for any tagging software). So, I assign the following tags: birthdaygrandma and 2007.
What do you use for organizing your digital pictures: tags or folders?
Keywords versus folders for photo organization.
Next, let’s say that I’m taking some pictures of my daughter Cristina at her own birthday in 2007. So, I go through the same process and I assign the following tags: birthdayCristina and 2007. Now, the key is that the tags represent categories, your own categories. So, if you want pictures to fall within the same category then you have to use the same tag. In this case a tag called birthday is differentthan a tag called birthdays. Software usually allows you to manage your tags and will help you choose the right tags.
keyword-method-descriptionThe main purpose for creating and assigning tags is that you would be able to easily find your pictures. So, let’s say you’re looking for birthdays in 2007. Then you would open up your organization software and do a search on birthday and 2007. This will filter out all the other pictures and will show you only the birthdays in 2007…assuming you have tagged them correctly. If I want to see all of my daughter’s pictures I would search for: Cristina. This would only show pictures that contain the tag Cristina.
The key advantage here is that one picture can belong to many keywords or tags. I can assign as many tags as I want to a picture. So every time I’m searching for one of the tags assigned to a particular picture, that picture would show up in my search.

Applying tags to images

There are two ways (with some variations) in which software programs apply tags (or keywords) to a picture. The most widely used method is to embed these keywords in the image file itself by adding a little bit of text containing the keywords. This way the tags stay with image and they “travel” with the image. There are two main standards used for embedding tags into images: IPTC and XMP, the latter being the newest and most popular standard created by Adobe. There are free software packages that can write tags to your images if you choose to do so (i.e. XnViewer).
Other software packages apply “labels” to pictures and rather than writing to the image files themselves, they create a database with the keywords for each picture. This database is usually a file that is saved and updated on your computer every time you apply one or more labels to your pictures. This “tagging” method will make you dependent on the particular software you’re using and your labels will not “travel” with your pictures.

Folder method description.

What do I mean by folders? I mean simple folders that you create on your computer hard drive. These folders contain groupings of files that you think share something in common. For example: a folder called My Pictures contains all your pictures taken during family trips, with your kids and at various events. In order to further organize your pictures you may choose to create sub-folders within the My Pictures folder. You may create sub-folders like trips and kids and split your pictures accordingly. The whole purpose of creating folders and sub-folders is to divide the quantity of files present on your hard drive. This is a classic application of the divide and conquer principle. One can manage complexity by dividing the quantity of objects into smaller and contained portions. Now, this is pretty simple stuff, and if you know how to use the Internet you should be very familiar with creating folders and sub-folders.
However, even though this is very basic, there is a common problem that most people face. Most people don’t spend much time thinking about the names of their folders. Pretty much what comes to mind first, that’s the name of the folder. While this may work for a short while, in the long run it doesn’t solve the clutter problem. Actually, it may make it worse because we can create multiple folders with similar names and then forget we created them and create a new one.
Therefore, organizing your pictures using folders requires a little thinking and most of all it requires consistency. The thinking behind this method has to do with finding a naming convention for your folders and then sticking to it. This convention has to have a few particulars about it. Below I’m listing some of the characteristics of my folder naming convention:

Folder naming convention example

  • Example: 2011-01-Malibu-Adamson-House-visit
  • Naming convention: YYYY-MM-DD-[Place]-[event description]
  • Folder name includes a date for its content (2011-01 = January 2011). The day is optional but if you know it, add it. The more you know the better!
  • Folder name contain the place of the event.(Malibu)
  • Folder name contains a brief description of the event (3 short words max). (Visit to the Adamson House museum)
  • Choose one separator and stick with it. If you use hyphen fine…stick with it, if you like an underscore then use that. Just don’t mix them. In addition I prefer not to leave blank spaces in the folder names. I know that modern operating systems allow you to do that, but I just don’t do it…no blank spaces.
What this folder naming convention accomplishes is very simple: you’re actually embedding “tags” into the folder names rather than into the pictures themselves.

Side by side method comparison

Tag method analysis:


  • You can assign multiple tags to a single picture. This means that one picture can belong to multiple categories without having to copy the same image to multiple folders. This is the most important pro of the tag method.
  • You don’t have to spend anytime naming the physical folders on your hard drive. You can simply download your pictures into the default folders your camera creates and then just apply tags to the new pictures. (I recommend that you also put some time in creating a consistent folder structure and then apply tags to the images.).


  • You really have to be careful about what software you’re using for applying tags. Some software doesn’t use widely accepted standards (IPTC and XMP) but use their own proprietary way of recording image tags. If you decide to use such software then you are really tied to your software.
  • You can’t really share lots of picture folders with your friends…unless they’re using the same software (or compatible). If they’re not, then they have to figure out what is in the folders you’re sending them (if you haven’t named your folders appropriately).
  • You have to be careful about developing tags (read this article to find out why you need to be careful). You have to make sure you don’t develop duplicate tags like:birthday and birthdays. They will mess up your search capability.
  • It is very time consuming because tags have to be applied to all pictures. It is true that you would never do it one by one, but rather in groups; however, it is very much time consuming.

When should you use the “tag” method?

The only very important reason for using the tag method is if you must be able to assign the same image to multiple categories (tags). If you must be able to search your pictures based on more than one criterion (i.e. events), then you have to use the “tag” method. Remember that even when you choose to use tags a carefully constructed folder structure should be used as the foundation on which you construct your tags. 

Folder method analysis:


  • An organized folder structure is independent of any software used. In fact you don’t need any software…you can simply use only the operating system to create and change the folder structure.
  • Folders are automatically sorted by your operating system according to the date of the event. (NOTE: this is based on the folder naming convention I’m recommending on this site.)
  • Folder structure is completely mobile. You can transfer entire folders to other computers or drives and the order and meaning of folders is maintained independent of operating system and software used.
  • Carefully constructed folder names will help you find your pictures very quickly.
  • You can use the “tag” method on top of the folder structure created using the folder structure. This way you can use both methods to their maximum potential.


  • Each picture is assigned only to one folder. (Unless you want to copy the image in multiple folders. This doesn’t make much sense though). This is the only major drawback to this method…and it is indeed major.
  • It takes some time and effort to develop a consistent naming convention for your folders. However, I believe that it takes a lot less time than creating and assigning tags to pictures. (NOTE: You can use the naming convention suggested on this site…and you don’t have to create your own.)

When should you use the folder method?

You should always create a consistent folder structure for your pictures based on your criterion. Most home users do not need the extra power of the “tag” method. However, if needed, one can easily (depending how much free time you have) build efficient tags on top of a folder structure.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jan. 21, 2015
Mac Users Group
Organizing Your Photos

When importing or downloading your photos from your camera, iPhone, or iPad, by default, iPhoto will put them into events and organized by date.  So, whether you import one photo or a 100, they will be put into their own events and each will have its own thumbnail.  As you download more photos into your computer, the number of events will increase and subsequently may overwhelm your screen, making  your photos more difficult to find and manage.

Therefor, to control the clutter, review those events and cull the pics you do not want.  If some of your events have photos that could or should be grouped together, it is easy to merge them.  Simply drag the entire event on top of the event you want to merge.  If you only want to merge some of the pics from one event to another,
  1. Under Library, click on Events
  2. Select the Event you want pics removed from, and all thumbnails will appear from that event.
  3. Hold down the Command Key and select the pics you want moved.  A yellow frame will surround the pics.
  4. On the left side under Recent, you will find Events listed again along with the names of all your Events.  Drag and drop the highlighted thumbnails to the selected Event.  

Consider the photos in events like they were your negatives.  If you delete them they will go to Trash.  Go to the tool bar found on the top of iPhoto and click on iPhoto.  If there are any photos in the trash, Empty iPhoto Trash will be highlighted.  Click on it.  When you click on empty trash it will ask you if you want to delete them permanently.  If you do, they are gone.  You cannot retrieve them.

Once you’ve organized your events you may want to file them into folders, much like you do in a filing cabinet.  But, you will have to create those folders, and subfolders.  How you organize your photos is purely a personal choice.  I will give you an example of how I organize to give you an idea of how it is done.  I will start with a year….lets say you are organizing some pics you took last year.  And, lets say you took a bunch of pics in Palm Creek of a pickle ball tourney, or softball game.  Or it could be a welcome home party, or of some of your happy hours.  Once again, it depends on your personal preference.  If you don’t have a lot of pics you may want to group them all together in an album called Palm Creek and put the album into a sub folder.  This is how you can to that:
  1. In the menu bar click on File; click on New Folder.  On the left side untitled folder will appear under albums.  The box will should have a light blue color and you should be able to rename it 2015.
  2. Click on Folder again and another untitled folder will appear under 2015.  Rename it Palm Creek.  Then drag it on top of 2015.  It should now be indented and appear as a subfolder for 2015.  
  3. Click on Folder again and rename this one Pickle Ball.  Drag it on top of Palm Creek.  It should be indented and become a sub folder of Palm Creek.  
  4. Now open the event that has your 2014 Pickle Ball pics.  Holding down the Command Key, highlight the pics you want in your Album.  You don’t have to choose all of them, only the ones you want to be in your album.  You can aways add more pics to your Album later simply by highlighting them and dragging to the Album
  5. Let’s say that you want to create more albums for the folder called Palm Creek.  Let’s say that you want an album for softball, golf, or just general pictures of the park.  Create albums for each of them, and drag each of them on top of Palm Creek.  Rename them and then drop and drag the appropriate pics from Events

If you want to remove one or more of your pictures from your album, place your mouse on the photo and hit Command plus Delete.  It will only remove the photo from your album, NOT YOUR EVENT.  So, to remove a photo from your library, you must delete it from an event.  If you are practicing and have a bunch of “stuff” listed under Albums, you can delete it all and it will not remove your pics from your Events.

Remember, this is your library.  Organize it the way you want it.  You’re the one who will be looking for the pics.  

Referring back to the Palm Creek example.  How do I share the pics on my laptop?  You can click on the folder Palm Creek and all the photos in all the albums will appear.  If you just want to show your softball pics, click on that album and only those pics will appear.

Remember, your camera assigns a file number and date to each photo as well as metadata.  On the bottom right corner click Info and a box will appear with the camera used, the file size, the format (JPEG), ISO, lens length if an SLR, Aperture, and shutter speed.  Click on “Add a description” and you can type in what this photo is all about, whose in it etc.  And Info is where you can add Faces and Key Words.

You can also change entire events or select pics by highlighting them.  Go to the menu and click on Photos.  Click on Batch Change, click on the arrows in Set to select Title, Date, or Description.  Click on the next set of up/down arrows to select Empty, Text, Filename, or Date/Time.   

This is one way of managing your photos

Another is to assign Key Words.  This can be done to your photos in Events.  I believe Larry has scheduled another session to show you how this is done.

Pictures are wonderful.  Organized pictures are real Happiness!  

Tom Gottfried


Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 15

Have you ever wondered how to add ¢ to a document?  How about  ` or ∑ or †.  How about the π sign?  At last week's meeting Jack presented a video showing how we can add a variety of symbols, arrows, and other odd characters to our documents.

The video can be found on http://macmost.com  Once you're in this URL scroll to symbols and watch the video.  Remember Danny Most from the old TV show Happy Days.  Yes, that's him!  Try it and see how you do.  If you have any questions or need a review, let's check with Larry and see if we can squeeze it into a future meeting.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This information will be handed out at the Jan 20 iPhoto presentation

Mac Users Group
January 15, 2015
Mac Storage

How do I find out how much storage I have on my Mac?
  • Click on the Apple in the upper left hand corner of your Mac
  • Click on “About the Mac”
  • Click on “More Info”
  • Click on “storage” found on the upper left
  • This box will tell you how much storage you have left on both your hard drive and an external drive if one is connected

How can I find out how much storage my files are using?
  • Click on Finder
  • Most applications will provide program size.  If there are program you never use, consider removing them.
  • While in Finder, click on any folder.  
  • Click on File
  • Click on Get Info and box will appear with the information on how many bytes, KB, MB, or GB of information is in that file

You will have to decide on what is important to keep and what you can discard.  If you want to keep the information but not on your precious “hard drive” consider exporting seldom used files onto CD’s DVD’s, flash drives, or an external hard drive.  And keep in mind that if you have been backing up your hard drive all the information will still be on your back up drive, including the files you have on your external drives, as long as the external drives are attached to your Mac.

This will be a handout at the Jan. 20 iPhoto presentation

Mac Users Group
Jan. 15, 2015
Choosing a Mac

Keep in mind that even though you resize a photo to be sent as an attachment to an e-mail, your photo is still kept in iPhoto in the original size you imported from your camera.  But, lets say that your pictures were all imported as the largest size the camera offered and they averaged 10 MG each.  And, lets say you have 10,000 pictures.  That calculates to 100,000 MG or 100 GB!  

Remember that your applications may use another 20 GB.  And then you still have all the other stuff to store.  Now, lets say that your new laptop’s flash drive is 256 GB.  And, of course, you will be downloading more photos.  And, do you take movies?  They are also a storage hog.  That’s why it is important to plan on how you will be using your Mac when deciding on how large the hard drive (or on the new machines, Flash Drive) should be. Or should you use external drives?

Pricing on new Mac Book Pros as of today’s date.
Basic 13” standard screen 500 GB Hard Drive                $1,099
13” Retina display 128 Flash Drive                          1,299
13” Retina display 256 GB Flash Drive                       1,499
13” Retinal display 512 GB Flash Drive                       1,799
15” Retina display 256 GB Flash Drive                        1,999
15” Retina display 512 GB Flash Drive                        2,499

It’s up to you how much you want to pay for convenience. 

For our Jan 20, 2015 meeting on iPhoto organization, we will be using this information to help us decide how to set up our Macs.  We will also use this as a handout.

Mac Users Group Jan. 14, 2015

File Size

Byte: Smallest piece of information a computer can read 
KB (Kilobyte) = 1,000 bytes
MB (Megabyte) = 1,000 kilobytes
GB (Gigabyte) = 1,000 megabytes
TB (Terabyte) = 1,000 gigabytes

• This document is 40 Kbs
• A 6 megapixel camera set at its largest file setting, pictures will average 2.5 MB
• A 12 megapixel camera set at its largest file setting, pictures will average 4-6 MB
• A 15 megapixel camera set at its largest file setting, pictures will average about 8     MG • A photo library with 15,000 pictures at 8 MG each will be 120,000 MG or 120 GB

A CD ROM disk will hold 750 MB of information. Normally single use 

A DVD+R Disk will hold about 5 GB of information! Normally single use

USB Flash drives vary in size, from 8GB for $7; 64GB for $22; 128GB for $48 or a full TB for $99. The advantage of using a flash drive is that it can be used over and over again. AND, it is very small and convenient.

You can also store your files or photos in iCloud, Google Plus, Drop Box and a host of other available cloud options.

Why take or save photos in the largest format or file size? If you plan to enlarge a photo to more than 8x10 and have it printed you will want a file size as large as possible to give you maximum resolution. Another reason to save in large format is if you do a lot of cropping. Or, if you plan on showing your photos as a slide show on your large screen TV. But, if your photos are only to be shown on your phone, iPad, iPod, or laptop, the smallest format is adequate.

What is a good size to attach to an e-mail? That really depends on on how fast the computer or internet service of the person receiving your photos is. Or, it also depends on what the person receiving the photos plans on doing with them. If all they plan on doing is viewing it on their computer, a small file size will be all they need, in the 50-100KB range. It also depends on how many photos you attach to an e-mail. For example, if you send an album with 20 photos that are in the 5 MB range, it could take several hours for it to download on the other end..once again, depending on the the speed of the person receiving the photos.

So, how do I know the size of the photo? In iPhoto on the bottom right corner you will find a box labeled Info. Click on it and a box will appear in the upper right hand corner with most of the information you will need including the file size.

OK, how do I resize the photo and attach it to my e-mail? In iPhoto while viewing the photo thumbnails, hold down the Command Key while clicking on each photo you want to send. Then, at the bottom right corner, click on Share and then click E-Mail. Give it a few moments and your e-mail will appear with the photos you selected along with the message size of the e-mail shown at the bottom left corner. On the bottom right corner look for the Photo Size and select the size you want. If you re-size, the message size will change. On the right side of the e-mail you will also see a selection of photo layouts. Classic is the most popular, but, be creative.