Archive for November, 2013

→ Clemson could still end up in the BCS

Of course, Clemson is going to have to take care of their business if they want any chance of this happening.

→ Top recruits Watson, Kitt, Scott sign ‘financial-aid agreements’ with Tigers

The explanation of the new “financial aid agreement” is pretty interesting:

Last month, the NCAA ruled that a prospect who is on track to graduate early from high school may choose to sign a financial-aid agreement with his or her school of choice, provided that the college confirms that the prospect is enrolled in all courses necessary to graduate from high school at the end of the fall semester.

A financial-aid agreement differs from a national letter-of-intent, which binds a recruit to a college after signing. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the financial-aid agreement “locks the university into providing a scholarship but does nothing to commit the prospect to the university.”

While the prospect would still be fair game to competing recruiters until the NLI is signed, the school would have unrestricted communication access to the prospect during the time between the signing of the two documents.

Also, the ruling permits “publicity” of a recruit by a college – meaning that the school may announce the prospect who signs a financial-aid agreement as a future signee.

A, shockingly, reasonable move from the NCAA.

→ Touring Plans Explores The Other Side of MagicBands

Daisy Lauren tells a story of what can happen when Magicbands do not work correctly:

At Guest Relations it took nearly an hour to pull apart what had happened. When my family sent me an invitation and I accepted it, the system added me to the party of four in their rooms. Since the system didn’t understand I was an additional guest, it decided to replace my Mom and add all of my account information to her MagicBand. Apparently, this was a completely new situation to the Guest Relations cast at the Studios because it took nearly another hour to figure out how to get her a new MagicBand and then set them up with FastPass+ options for that evening.

I really debated staying on property to get Magicbands for an upcoming trip. Since I have not yet bought my tickets, however, I decided to stick with the paper Fastpass one last time. Stories like Daisy’s make me think I made the right call.

→ Red Sox GM Ben Cherington named Sporting News Executive of the Year

A “worst-to-World Series title” turnaround will do that for you.

→ All of Rush the Court’s 2013-14 Season Preview Materials

In case you want to brush up on anything before tonight’s epic match-ups.

→ Disney Unveils the First Poster for Maleficent Movie

Woah. It looks really, really good.

Trailer for the movie coming tomorrow.

→ Clemson Announces James Clements as President

I approve of them picking a guy with a computer science degree.

→ Pat Forde breaks down college basketball’s most intriguing nonconference games

You might want to take a few minutes and just add all of these to your calendar. The action starts tonight with an amazing double header: Kansas v. Duke and Kentucky v. Michigan State.

Choosing an Everpix Alternative

The shutdown of Everpix has left some people scrambling to find an alternative photo backup service. It appears Apple may have solved part of the problem by removing the limit on the amount of photos you can store in Photostream. As Shawn Blanc points out , howver, it is unclear what this KB and new FAQ page actually means, and, regardless, it does nothing to address the photo re-discovery problem. Furthermore, this solution would only work for iOS photos and the photos that you upload to your photostream from iPhoto or Aperture.1 Consequently, there is still a need for a photo backup solution that both

  1. easily backs up your photos; and
  2. helps you re-discover the photos that you have previously taken.2

Examined Alternatives


I believe I first heard about Loom via a tweet or post from M.G. Siegler, and I am pretty sure that said discovery occurred within the last month. Consequently, I think of Loom as the “new kid on the block,” even if that is not actually the case.

Loom has both an iOS application and a Mac uploader. The iOS application is nicely designed and allows for easy uploading of all the pictures you take on your iOS device. The Mac uploader allows you to specify locations that wish to backup and, as of October 4th, 2013, allows for the uploading of RAW files.3

Loom does not have any direct backup support with any of the photography centric social networks like Facebook or Instagram.

Loom provides a “Timeline” view of your photographs, but does not provide any way to easily see photos from “1 year ago today” or similar such “re-discovery features.”

Pricing for Loom comes in three tiers:

  • Up to 5GB – Free
  • Up to 50 GB – $3.99 per month
  • Up to 250 GB – $9.99

Picture Life

Picture Life is a service I had heard about here and there, but, because I was so happy with Everpix, I never really looked into it.. Obviously, that situation has now changed.

Picture Life has an iOS app4 and a Mac uploader. The iOS app is functional, though it lacks the UI polish of Loom.5 Like Loom, however, Picture Life does automatically upload all of your iOS photos from directly within the iOS app. As with Loom, the Mac uploader allows for the selection of locations from which you wish to backup your photos. It also supports the upload of a ton of RAW photo formats.

Unlike Loom, Picture Life does include direct connection to your various social networks. It includes backup from a number of services, including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and Tumblr. This is especially nice for seeding your Picture Life account with your most important photos without taxing your personal upload bandwidth.

Picture Life has a “Memories” feature, which is very similar to Everpix’s “Flashback” functionality, and allows you to see photos taken from today’s date in previous years. At this point, however, I am unable to determine if Picture Life is as good at picking out the “best” photos from given date as Everpix was. Instead, it seems like Picture Life just displays all photos from a given day in straight chronological order.

Pricing for Picture Life comes in three tiers:

  • Up to 1,700 Photos or 5GB – Free
  • Up to 34,000 Photos or 100GB – $7
  • Up to 100,000 Photos or 300GB – $15


Mosaic take a different approach to photo backup: it backs up photos by reading your Lightroom catalog. This means, of course, that if you are not a Lightroom user, then Mosaic is not the solution for you.

Because Mosaic is based on backing up photos from Lightroom, there is no direct backup of photos from your iOS devices.6 Instead, all backup to Mosaic occurs on the Mac.7 Though there are obvious disadvantages to only being able to backup photos from your Mac, however, Mosaic leverages the Lightroom catalog to provide some advantages as well. For example, Mosaic allows you to do selective backup based on Lightroom ratings, flags, and collections. This can be especially useful for photographers with extremely large photography libraries and for those who do not care if every shot of his or her palm between HDR sets is backed up to the cloud. Also, since the uploader is based on Lightroom, any file format, RAW or otherwise, that can be processed by Lightroom can be uploaded.

As you would probably expect from my description of Mosaic so far, Mosiac does not feature any direct connection to social networks. Mosaic also does not feature any re-discovery features to help you remember you old photos.

Pricing for Mosaic comes in a number of tiers, including:8

  • 2000 JPG Previews in the IOS app, but no backup of original photos – Free
  • Unlimited JPG Previews in the iOS app, but no backup of original photos – $7
  • Unlimited JPG previews in the iOS app, and 400GB of original photo backups – $12

NOTE: In an earlier version of this post, I incorrectly stated that the free tier allowed 200 JPG Previews instead of the 2000 it actually provides.

What I Am Doing

Though I prefer the iOS experience in Loom and feel that its $9.99 for 250 GB of storage is the quite reasonable, Loom’s lack of any photo “re-discovery” features keeps me from making it my Everpix replacement of choice. Instead, I have already started uploading my pictures to Picture Life and anticipate that I will soon be using the $15 a month for 300GB tier. Also, between the photos I have uploaded and the photos Picture Life has sucked in from my social networks, I am already starting to see some good results in Picture Life’s “Memories” feature.

I do really like what Mosaic is trying to do with the Lightroom integration, but, at this point, it does not really have any compelling functionality that makes me want to invest in the service. If a new version of the iOS application comes out with two-way sync I definitely give it a shot. Of course, by that point, Adobe might have released Lightroom for iOS and knocked Mosaic completely out of the game.

The loss of Everpix was disappointing. I really enjoyed the service, and its price was unbeatable. Of course, it appears the price was unbeatable because it was too low for what it offered. My hope is that paying the slightly more a month fee to Picture Life will help keep that service alive significantly longer.

  1. This upload process has always been a little clunky, and, more importantly, does not support the upload of the RAW versions of the photos. 

  2. Though this article focuses on photo-specific backup services, that does not mean a general backup service cannot also be used to backup photos. For example, my entire photo library is backed up both to various external disks and to the Crashplan cloud. NOTE: That Crashplan link is one of their “20% of friends and family offers. I don’t think it actually gets me anything, but it is somehow tied to my accounts. 

  3. Well, the release said that during my first revision of this article, but the new version of the release notes seems to have pulled it. 

  4. The iOS Icon is terrible. I bury it in a folder just to avoid having to look it. 

  5. The app was just updated today, however, and does work a little bit better. 

  6. There is an iOS application, but, at the moment, it is just used for viewing photos that are currently backed up. Mosaic has announced plans for some level of two-way sync between the iOS app and Lightroom, but that has not be released yet. Also not released yet is Adobe’s Lightroom for iOS, which was previewed earlier this year. Lightroom for iOS is especially interesting since it would, most likely, leverage Lightroom’s Smart Previews feature and allow for on-the-go editing of photos without having to transfer the large amount of data associated with the original RAW files. UPDATE – 11/11/13 – Mosaic has contacted me and informed me that it intends to submit the iOS App update with 2-way Lightroom sync this week. 

  7. Of course, if you are so inclined, you could setup a workflow to automatically import your iOS Photostream into Lightroom

  8. There are extremely large plans for professional photographers and studios. Those plans are beyond the scope of this review. 

→ Girls’ Adam Driver Likely To Play Nightwing In The Batman-Superman Movie

This only makes sense if he can act completely different from how he acts on Girls.

→ NFL’s Tom Brady and Bill Belichick marvel at size of Red Sox players: ‘They’re so little!’

Awww…look at the little Red Sox players. Aren’t they so cute with their little beards and their championship trophies?

→ Kevin Gemmell’s Instant analysis of Stanford’s Win over Oregon

This is probably the biggest news from the game:

Reports started circulating just before kickoff that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota had a sprained medial collateral ligament. He was handing off on pretty much every zone read and ran only when pressured or on undesigned scrambles. He took a hit early in the third quarter that left him hobbling — and his lack of mobility was noticeable.

I wish these two teams could have played when they both were at 100%.

→ David Ortiz finished third in Boston’s recent mayoral election

Well done, Boston. Well done.

→ Vertigo’s iZombie To Become TV Show From Veronica Mars Team‏

Chris Roberson’s story and Rob Thomas’ television skills? Sounds like a pretty awesome combination.

→ Star Wars: Episode VII to Open December 18, 2015

Let me clear…


→ As the NC Comicon ramps up its ambitions, a challenger appears on the horizon

Brian Howe has an interesting story in The Indy about the feud between two North Carolina comic book stores:

The organizers of NC Comicon felt threatened by what they saw as CBCC’s deliberate effort to undermine their attendance [by scheduling their convention so close to NC Comicon]. Meanwhile, the organizers of CBCC felt threatened by the noncompete clauses NC Comicon issued to their guests and vendors after hearing about the new convention.

It is disappointing to see two of the premiere stores in the state in the early stages of something could erupt into a feud. The comics industry should be large enough to support stores and conventions that are located over an hour apart.

Ultimately, neither side comes out looking particularly good in this story.1

  1. Full disclosure: I am a long time customer of Ultimate Comics and consider its owner, Alan Gill, to be a friend. 

→ Sitck Kingdom as ‘Frozen’ Soundtrack is Disney’s Best Since ‘Beauty and the Beast’

I hope the movie itself is as good as the soundtrack apparently is.

→ Tar Heel Blog Profile on Marcus Paige

Chris Strohsahl writes:

ESPN has already named Paige as one of the top “breakout candidates” (subscription required) for the 2014 season, noting that, “Paige could wind up being the Tar Heels’ top player this season, and also one of the elite point guards in the nation.” While that may be a lot to ask, anything close to that will have the Tar Heels in a very good place come March.

I am most interested to see how much Paige has improved his jump shot. That could be a major factor in opening up the offense this year.

→ Joe McNally with the Story Behind the SI World Series Cover

An excellent story by an excellent photographer. Sports Illustrated definitely picked the right guy to capture these shots.

→ Walt Disney World Theme Park Park Hours for May 2014

Just in case you have any reason to be down there at that time.