It looks like Picturelife to Smugmug is working…

August 25, 2016 Leave a comment

So, I clicked the link from Smugmug, created an account, and it imported my Picturelife photos to it. At first glance, at least.

2016-08-25 21_34_25-Clipboard

Could it be… all my photos?!?

Now, I’ve not done any quantitative assessment of this yet, but first impressions are encouraging:

  • The organisational structure is by year/month, just as for the Picturelife exports.
    If you had gone to the Picturelife export page, you would have seen the chance to create zips for each month. This looks like the same organisation. It should make it straightforward to understand which photos you have, and which you don’t – say, if you used Picturelife exclusively between cetain dates.
  • The metadata appears to be preserved. Photos have metadata dates that match when I remember taking them. I saw a few have captions that I added in Picturelife. That’s good. [Edit: the help page notes titles/captions have copied, but comments have not].
  • The process works on self-hosted S3 buckets too. I have a self-hosted bucket, not Picturelife-provided. Smugmug imported all (?) the photos OK. And I can log into my bucket and see my photos still there.
  • You can download a zip of your photos by album, one album at a time. It’s a bit slower than doing the whole lot at once, but perfectly fair – it’s exactly how Picturelife permitted it, and each zip could be hundreds of MB or GBs as it is. It even does the zipping in the background and mails you a link, like Picturelife did.
  • The errors seem to have been copied across too. I found some problems, such as a movie thumbnail that showed one image, but the movie that played was completely different. Or Picturelife failed to find the movie at all. I had found that in Picturelife, and I’m finding the same in Smugmug. I’m not sure if they’re exactly the same errors, but I would presume they are. I’m not sure if these errors crept in when originally being uploaded, or during some ‘glitch’ when Picturelife was on the ropes. Either way, it looks like those movies are gone. I should be able to check if they’re really gone in the original S3 bucket.

Generally, it seems at first glance a very clean migration. The organisation is much as was in Picturelife. The download process is as in Picturelife. I presume the downloads will include XMP metadata. This is probably the best possible outcome, if all your photos are there.


And how about the 14-day Smugmug free trial? Am I going to stay with them?

Well… we’ll see. The service seems very similar to Picturelife, albeit targeted at photographers selling their photos, rather than family sharing. Having said that, they seem to cover that too, as they other users, comments, link and album sharing, sharing by tags, etc.

However, it does lack some of the tools of Picturelife. They have all the usual transforms, crops, rotates, and a more detailed editor – PicMonkey, rather than Aviary- but it’s slightly harder to access, and slower. The iOS app appears less functional – it’s beautiful, allowing viewing and link sharing, but no editing. Both are missing the calendar, the map view, face tagging, and (in iOS) the search function, which are big lossses.

I think most ex-Picturelife users will be happy with Smugmug, and continue to use them. I’ve moved my process to Mylio now, so I’ll be a little more cautious, but heck, I may just continue paying Smugmug while I make up my mind.


EDIT: Note the Smugmug, FAQ for the migration here, including some ‘hidden pages’ to access things like RAW files. The more I read, the more I am impressed.

Categories: Uncategorized

Photolife migration to Smugmug starts

August 24, 2016 Leave a comment

Today, within a couple of days of the Picturelife, I received my Smugmug invitation as promised.

Let’s see how this goes

Categories: Uncategorized

Picturelife migration to Smugmug

August 22, 2016 Leave a comment

So Picturelife is finally, definitely, conclusively shutting down. I just received this email. 

TL;DR: they’ve migrated all customer photos to SmugMug, and agreed a free customer export package with them so customers can use SmugMug as a front end to export their photos (or subscribe to SmugMug going forward).

Dear Picturelife Community,

After four years in business, we’re saddened to announce the end of Picturelife. We’ve spent the last few months trying to find a solution to keep the service alive but we’ve had to face a challenging economic environment and a decreasing quality of service.

Fortunately, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with the team at SmugMug, a highly regarded company in the photography industry. A few weeks ago, we reached an agreement with SmugMug to provide you with a way to recover your photo and video memories. For those of you who don’t know SmugMug, it is a profitable family-owned, 14-year-old business that helps photographers at all levels safely store and share their photos. Although their service is not free, they have graciously agreed to offer all members of the Picturelife community access to their photos and videos for absolutely no cost or obligation. You will have the opportunity to download your photos and videos for free, and then decide if continuing with SmugMug is right for you.

As of today, your memories are now safely stored on and accessible through Smugmug, while and Picturelife’s apps and support are all being discontinued effective immediately. Our goal has always been to provide a safe place for you to preserve your photos and videos and through this agreement we are making sure they’re still available to you.

Look for an introductory email from SmugMug in the next few days that will contain all the information you’ll need to easily access your photos and videos. In the meantime, please visit for more information on their services.

We’re honored that you’ve trusted us with your memories, and your enthusiasm towards the community was a source of constant motivation for the whole Picturelife team.

Thank you again for using Picturelife, and for all the love and feedback along the way. And more than that, thank you for letting us be part of your life for some time.

Jonathan Benassaya

At the same time, I’ve just had a comment from a fellow PictureLife ‘victim’, who said they recovered 50% of their photos using this script.

So which to use? Well, I’ll probably try both, then download them all to home server and check for which is the most complete.

  • I already have a PictureLife zip download (the best previous method) for some photos, but I’m missing around a year.
  • I also have a full export/dump of the files as stored on S3, since I hosted them on my own bucket, but while the images are there, the metadata ain’t. That’s a long slog of re-tagging still to be performed, with many issues such as incorrect original EXIF dates.

So – I might use the other two methods, and then at least I have a copy of all my photos in some form.

The trick will then be finding enough rainy afternoons to analyse and deduplicate them all.

Whichever you use, just remember to learn from your PictureLife experience:

  1. Use a service that permits full, regular exporting of your photos
  2. Remember to actually export them
  3. Remember to back up your export somewhere else

Adidas MiCoach Fit Smart review

July 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Well, this is a very short and specific review.

They’re great – until the strap snaps. Since you try hard to get it tight to your wrist, that’s going to happen at some point – after 30 wearings in my case.

Then, because it’s moulded onto the body, you pretty much have to throw the whole thing away.

I’m currently looking at how to repair it – maybe some high tensile cloth superglued across the gap…

Categories: Uncategorized

Fake Xiaomi Power Banks and ‘Licensed manufacturers’

July 20, 2016 1 comment

I recently received a few Xiaomi power banks I bought on eBay here. Like an idiot, I bought the line about the ‘appearance differing slightly’ because of the manufacturer being ‘Xiaomi licensed’, but not Xiaomi original.

On the listing, they say:

Important notice: this product has two variations: one is originally Xiaomi factory made, and another is made by Xiaomi licensed factory.This listing represents Xiaomi Licensed product.It may look slightly different from the original factory made, and no Series bar but it is 100% legal and authorized by Xiaomi. Please review the license certificate attached.

Yeah, right. It just so happens that the fake described this site perfectly matches the ones I received.

Of course, if the manufacturer was licensed by Xiaomi, they would have given them genuine product verification stickers, so that when I checked the serial number on my scratch-off sticker’s, it would have been the first time anyone had checked it, rather than the 38,764’th.


So – I have three dodgy power banks that I bought for around half price. One arrived dead with a broken button, while the other two seem to work (although they may have half the capacity).

I’ve asked for a refund for the broken one. Once I receive that, I’ll threaten negative feedback, raising a paypal dispute, etc. and hopefully get a full refund. And then post the feedback anyway.

Categories: Uncategorized

Oxford Aquatex cover on my Blackbird

July 13, 2016 Leave a comment

Having given up on RJays, I’m now trying a cheaper option – Oxford Aquatex.

Arrived and put on today – let’s see how it handles Sydney weather. The “large with top box”size fits the Blackbird with a small top box perfectly. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Why do mind maps hide connections by default?

July 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Something that seems to be a consistent theme in mind mapping software, which is in conflict with one of their core purposes, is to hide relationships between nodes when they are un-expanded. In doing so, they limit the clarity for which many of us turn to them in the first place.


Hiding Relationships

This is the real killer. Many mind map apps allow you to have a ‘dotted line’ relationship between two nodes that aren’t in the same branch. For example, you may have an org chart, and want to show that a certain person is linked to three projects, so that you know where their influence and interest is. Another example might be linking a company to some clients they work with, or products they sell.

However, every mind mapping app I’ve seen, will hide the relationship if either one of the nodes are hidden. That is to say, if you’re viewing the person, but don’t have all the projects they might be related to at the same time, then there is no clue that there’s a relationship drawn between them. Why is this?!? Surely I need the app to at least hint at me that this person has relationships, and ideally navigate or hyperlink to them, otherwise it’s hiding that fact from me, and I lack visibility.

XMind is a good example of this: now you don’t see it:


But if I expand the Collateral node, now you suddenly do:



If I hadn’t deliberately expanded the Collateral node, I would have missed that vital link.




Hiding Filtered nodes

Another thing that Xmind specifically does, is not show you tasks unless you specifically display them. It has a filter to show tasks that are priority 1,2,3, etc… but if you’re not viewing those nodes specifically, you’d never be aware they existed. Again – why?


Let’s look at the P1 and P2 tasks I have, by applying a filter to highlight them


Phew. There’s only one of each, that’s easy.


Oh… hang on… what where those ones doing hiding under Retail??


It was because it was unexpanded.


You see the problem. You’re using a tool that’s intended to help improve your awareness and see the big picture, but yet it doesn’t show you that; it only shows you the picture that you specifically view. And that’s a problem.

There are solutions… I believe Mindjet Mind Manager will create a task list for you as a separate view, and TheBrain Personal Brain treats all relationships equally, and permits different types, allowing more of a ‘mesh’ of relationships than the traditional branch-and-leaf structure. But these tools grow because the other mind managers fall short – and I can’t understand why.

Categories: Uncategorized

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