August 2015

Traveling with Tech

Confession: I’m writing this post in the airport. And as I sat here in the terminal brainstorming what to write about, I couldn’t help but think about my upcoming travels and how I was integrating technology into my trip. So while I type this blog post on my phone, which is plugged into a charging station underneath my seat, I can see how much tech has become a part of my travel regimen. And I wonder how other people travel with tech – do you have a list of things that you bring onto the plane to keep you entertained? How about once you reach your destination? Is it just me that brings too much? I’m going to list the tech I’ve brought with me on my trip (I’m going to Disney World with family, for context) and you can comment if you think I’m ridiculous! Or if you agree with the amount of stuff I’ve brought 🙂

Travel tech:

  • iPhone 5S: I go no where without my phone. It’s my camera, my connection to other family members, my music player, and so much more. Pretty standard if you ask me. And since I’m not in charge of the DSLR, I can still snap quality photos without lugging too much.
  • Nook (eReader): I love reading, and planes are great for getting lost in a novel. I have access to my entire ebook library on my Nook, plus a backlit screen for reading on night flights. And it has a few apps too, like sudoku and chess in case I’m extra bored. Carrying a thin eReader in my carry on is much nice than an actual book.
  • Bose Headphones: Ever since I got a pair of noise canceling headphones for Christmas, I can’t travel on planes without them. It is so nice to tune out the sounds of a plane (or even some chatty neighbors), whether while reading or trying to sleep.
  • Nintendo 3DS: I think this piece of tech is specific to my age range, but I really like video games and the 3DS is the perfect portable game player. Mario and Pokemon will definitely keep me engaged on my cross country flight!

Those are my staple tech travel accessories that I generally bring on every flight. I thought about bringing my laptop, but this is an active vacation and I didn’t want to lug it around or let it sit in the hotel room. So that’s what I’m traveling with.  What do you travel with? Has there been one gadget that really impacted your travels? Share in the comments below!

Google Images and How You’re Probably Breaking Copyright Laws

The power of Google’s search engine is impressive, and even more impressive when you look at the results from its image search feature. Millions of images from across the web are available for any user to see at the click of a button. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the right to use these images just because they turned up on a Google search.  Google is NOT a collection of public domain or copyright free images (or anything else, for that matter). Here’s what to consider before you start using images that you find on Google.

Copyright Laws can be complex to understand (as can most other laws set up by the federal government) but it’s important to remember that they only apply to the commercialization of intellectual property. What that means is you can’t use other people’s images to make a profit or for business related uses. If you just want to change your desktop background with an image you found using Google, you are more than welcome to. If you are a student who needs to use a specific image for a school presentation you are more than welcome to. What you cannot do is use that image for your business website, regardless of the type of business (profit, non-profit, church, whatever). Copyright Laws are designed to prevent users from using an image to advertise or sell a product without the original producer of the image giving permission.

The Internet can make existing Copyright Laws a bit trickier than they used to be. With so many uploads and downloads occurring across the web, it can be difficult to monitor who is using specific images that may be copyrighted. Google has an algorithm that they won’t share the details of, but it usually does a pretty good job of removing images or even videos that may have copyright claims against them. If you continue to use images that have been copyrighted, Google may even suspend your Google+ or YouTube accounts. It’s a tough enforcement, but there are too many people that blindly use images from a Google search and think they can use it for whatever purpose they so desire.

Google Images is one of the most frequented sites on the web, and there should be no surprise in that statement. With that power and flexibility comes the reality that many users are going to essentially steal images unknowingly. While most of the time these issues are resolved between the original creator of the image and the user, they can escalate into suspensions of Google accounts or even lawsuits. If you plan on using an image found on Google for commercial purposes, make sure you are following all existing Copyright Laws beforehand. Otherwise that image might be a whole lot more trouble (and money) than it’s worth.

(And check out our blog post on stock photos!)

Do you have any thoughts on Copyright Laws and Google? Leave them in the comments down below!

E-Journaling

Getting to the end of summer, I’ve been scrambling trying to figure the best way to commemorate all my great memories from the past few months. An increase in pictures and videos taken on my phone recently caused me to get a warning that I was almost out of memory… on a 32GB iPhone. That’s a lot of media (about 2,500 files, to be exact). The point is I like capturing memories and emotions, which I often do through photography. However, I also keep a journal that I write in about once a week. Writing is sometimes the best way to get out your emotions, to capture what you feel onto a page. Every time I read what I have written, I remember exactly how I felt, and often where/when I wrote it. However, in the light of the digital era, and being a millennial, I decided to give e-journaling a go. I downloaded a few apps to my phone/computer to see if I could get any to stick. So far, only one has really stuck around long enough, but maybe one or some of these other suggestions will get you hooked!

Nathalia’s list of e-journaling apps and services:

  1. OneNote: Microsoft’s OneNote, part of the Office Suite, has been a longtime friend of mine for taking notes in school. It’s supposed to be like an electronic notebook, with tabs and sections for various topics. You can insert photos, make lists, and even draw in the virtual notebooks if you have a tablet pen. If you have a lot to write, and want to use your computer (although they do have a mobile version), then OneNote may be a great choice for your journaling needs. My only issue with it for a hardcore journaling app is that it’s almost too much functionality and power for capturing my light thoughts on most days.
  2. Momento: Momento is an iPhone app ($1.99) that pulls in content from your social media sites each day, allowing you to capture a snapshot of what your day was like based on news articles, friends’ tweets, or momentous Facebook occasions. You can also add your own snippets to recount your day as you personally experienced it. Great for those who want to have a lot of content in their journals without doing most of the writing themselves.
  3. Day One: An iPhone/Mac app ($1.99/$9.99) that brings beauty and simplicity to daily journaling. Day One records your location and weather each day, but has the most beautiful interface to make writing relaxing. Day One also supports keywords/tagging, which lets you search for posts easily. Calendar views and the ability to import photos are two strong features the app also has. If you want to sync your journal across multiple devices (including Apple Watch!), this may be the suite to go with.
  4. Grid: My favorite app that I’ve tried. Grid is an iPhone app that has a grid of questions for you to answer each day. It’s a great way to get in the habit of reflecting on certain questions each day to sort of build your own journal. Sample questions include: What did I get done today? What are three good things about today? What did I learn today? Did I spend enough time with my family? And so forth. There are a variety of prompts in different categories, or you can write your own. Each day can be seen in a timeline as well as swiped through left to right. There is also a pro version available without ads.

So those are my tried and tested e-journaling apps. I’ve stuck with Grid for a while because I love the prompts that I can quickly answer and reflect on before going to bed. If I don’t have anything major to write out in my hardcopy journal, Grid is a great way for me to keep track of my days, with moments big and small. Do you have any favorite e-journaling apps? Share in the comments below!