[0:12] This is the last live show recording before we head off to Antarctica. The next live show will be on February 5th.
I'm going to remind you again at the end of the show, but I'm betting most of you have never even heard the end of the show, right?
So remember, no live show for the next two weeks.
[0:32] Anyway, we're super excited and we're mostly packed, but it's an interesting packing exercise because we'll be four days in 85 degree Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls in Argentina, but then
we'll also be in Antarctica for nine days where it's currently one degree. So we're packing bathing suits, flip-flops, shorts, t-shirts, long underwear, three pairs of gloves,
snow pants, goggles, and ski hats. And remember that one degree weather is summer in Antarctica.
But anyway, enough about our wild adventure. I'm sure I'm going to bore you about it enough when we get back. I want to thank Stephen Getz, Bruce from Tennessee, and Joe from the
North Woods for the tremendous content they sent in that will help Alistair and Bart's jobs for the next two weeks be much easier. Alistair's also done something fun. He created
a three-part series, the first of which I get to play for you today. Bart will be playing part two, and then Alistair will play part three. It makes me so happy that these wonderful
folks have come through for us so Steve and I can go on vacation without worry. Now when When I get back, I'll have three days to get the next show out, and two of those days we'll be down at Lindsay's house to pick up our dog Tesla from them.
[1:39] With the grandkids, getting any writing done there is pretty much not happening. So if you had a great idea and you just didn't get around to sending it in, I'd love to play up for the audience when I get back.
Luckily, the awesome Bodhi Grimm of the Killawatt Podcast got to go to CES this year, and I can't believe that we missed when he was there.
But anyway, he sent in three great interviews for the show.
I'll be playing those when I get back.
All right, enough faffing about. Let's get started with the show.
Tiny Tip — How To Force Mail To Use The Right Address On List (Group) Emails
[2:16] While I was chatting with Helma from the Netherlands about the travelogue I write during our world travels, it's all the rage with over 100 people opting in to receive this amazing document.
The travelogue is low on facts, high on humor, and includes photos that show the fun of our adventures.
I've done them for places like India, Iceland, and New Zealand, and I'm doing one for our Antarctica trip.
Helma even asked to be on distribution, and I swear I did not twist her arm into asking.
Anyway, I use Apple contacts to add people to a list called vacation emails, and then I use Apple Mail to send to that list.
I should mention that Apple used to call these groups, not lists, and that information will become useful in a moment. She asked me if I could make sure that the emails go to her Gmail address, not her Apple Mail address, because it's been acting up lately.
I explained that there is no way for me to control that. doesn't let you designate a main address or even reorder the addresses in hopes that maybe it picks the one at the top. I would have to delete or other address so Gmail was the only option it could choose.
Helma explained that you actually can tell a contacts list which email address to use for a specific person. And this tiny tip was born.
[3:31] In Contacts, go to the Edit menu and choose Edit Distribution List. Now, there's a chance it will be grayed out. And this is a bug that's been happening in context that I didn't know
about until it happened to Lindsay and then it happened to me when I was trying to set this up. But anyway, if it's grayed out, just quit and go right back in and it won't be
grayed out. So edit, edit distribution list. When the window opens to edit distribution list, highlight the list you want to edit in the left sidebar. Now note that the sidebar is entitled group instead of list. So I guess they didn't update this interface when they they made the name change.
I think it's a bad change and group was a better name, but they didn't ask me.
[4:10] Anywho, if you select the list slash group you need to fix, you'll see each person in the list with their email showing in another column.
One of their email addresses will be bold.
Now back at the bottom of the window, Apple explains bold highlighting indicates the email, phone or address that will be used for a group member.
Simply click once on the address you'd prefer to be used, and it will change to bold, indicating the change has been made.
Tap OK, and the change will be saved.
Now, Helma and I ran a controlled experiment where I created a group list with just her in it with her two addresses.
I emboldened one and sent an email to the list, and then I emboldened the second one and sent another email to the same list.
Mail.app correctly sent the emails to the emboldened address.
I can't tell you how long this has been a problem for me, but I can tell you that I am delighted to know this tiny tip now.
Many thanks to Helma for giving it to us.
Tiny Tip — Rid Yourself Of Google Sign-In Popup
[5:15] That means we have a second tiny tip and this is a very quick one but it is another fan favorite.
Have you noticed that a whole lot of websites have suddenly started having an annoying pop-up from Google asking, do you want to sign in to the site with Google?
If you haven't seen it, go to reddit.com without signing in and you'll see it there.
It's giant. And it says, quote, use your Google account to sign into Reddit. No more passwords to remember.
In is fast, simple, and secure." So overlooking their lack of an Oxford comma in the popup, it's super irritating to have to keep dismissing these popups.
They're all over the place right now.
Now the good news is that if you have a Google account, there's a setting to opt out of these annoying popups.
Now I think if you're not logged into a Google account, you don't see these popups, at least in my tests I didn't. So I'm hoping those without Google accounts don't get them because they'd have no way to opt out.
I want to thank Ricky Mandello on Hackyderm.io for posting the solution to this annoyance on Mastodon.
Here's the steps that Ricky Mandello explained in his toot. First go to any Google service and log in using your avatar in the upper right.
[6:31] Click on your avatar in the upper right and click manage your Google account. At this point you could hunt around in the plethora of settings Google offer or you could use the search box to jump right to the section we need. I suggest starting a search for simply,
sign because we're looking for the sign in nonsense. And if you do do a search for sign, you'll see one option, signing in with Google. Select that. And on this page, you'll find a
section on signing in with Google as promised. And then I want you to look for Google account sign in prompts and just shut off that toggle. Now, I suppose it's possible you wanted to be be notified of the option to sign in with Google, but it's not something I want and,
knowing how to toggle it off puts me in the power seat instead of Google.
I'm not judging anybody else's decision on this, but I remember wondering whether sign in with Facebook was a good idea.
I've been off the platform for over a year now, so where would I be if I'd connected some of my accounts to my Facebook account? I hope toggling this feature off makes you as happy as it does me. And I did put feature in air quotes.
Well, one final tidbit of interest. I didn't know who Ricky Mandela was, but I clicked on his profile and mastered it on I thought, hey, maybe somebody interesting to follow.
[7:43] It turns out he works at Apple, and he's the software engineering manager of Authentication Experience Team.
His resume lists a very interesting line item. It says, led cross-functional project to create passkeys and easy to use and more secure replacement for passwords.
[8:04] He even included a link to the video where he explained Paskis to us during the WWDC platform State of the Union.
So I guess he has thoughts on authentication. One last bit of irony, I couldn't get the video of him talking at WWDC to play in Safari on my Mac, but Firefox played it just fine.
Stream Deck — Down The Rabbit Hole, Part 1
[8:25] Alright, it's time to hear from Alistair Jenks. As is so often the case, I wish to blame Alison for what I'm about to tell you.
I've had a project on the boil for a while now which had me seriously considering buying an Elgato Stream Deck. It is entirely Alison's fault however that I actually bought one.
[8:45] I bought the Stream Deck MK2 which is the second version of the 15 key device. It is exactly the same size and in its stand sits at the same angle as my Elgato Wave XLR microphone interface.
[9:00] That is also Alison's fault, though she may like to pass blame on that to Marty Sobo for that first review.
[9:07] I've titled this story, in fact, series of stories, Stream Deck, Down the Rabbit Hole, because that's pretty much what happened once it landed on my desk.
I've spent some time working on that project I mentioned, and it will do a great job for that, but I've also been experimenting with what else I can do, and learning a few tricks along the way.
It's this process I'd like to share.
[9:30] The first task I thought I would tackle was home automation. I've not got very far into this area of technology yet, however my study is well appointed with four Nanoleaf Essentials colour
smart bulbs and ceiling fittings, and a set of Nanoleaf Canvas light panels on the wall above my monitor, as well as a stereo pair of HomePod minis. I'd been using either the Home app on my
phone or talking to S-Lady on the HomePods to control the lights. But S-Lady requires a level of concentration to say the right thing without any awkward pauses, lest she stop listening.
[10:08] Not to mention the awkward pauses S-Lady herself sometimes has, nor her sometimes inexplicable inability to perform simple actions she has done many times before. So I got to wondering, could the,
Stream Deck offer me a more direct option for controlling my lights. The short answer was yes.
[10:28] I looked for HomeKit integration in the long list of plugins available for the Stream Deck software. I was disappointed however as none exists. My next idea was to see whether I could trigger Apple shortcuts. This proved more fruitful with a plugin available to do just that.
I headed into the macOS shortcuts app to see what I could set up, But shortcut support for HomeKit isn't what I'd hoped for. You cannot for instance toggle the
state of a light. The shortcut must either turn the light on or turn it off. Neither can you raise or lower the brightness. You have to set an explicit level. I managed to address toggling
by fetching the current status and using an if-else block, but the number of bugs I encountered while working out even these simple automations put me right off using shortcuts. Even if the shortcuts were simple and reliable, I'd need a whole bunch of them to do all the commands I want.
[11:22] I decided to do an internet search and see if anyone else had managed to link up Stream Deck with HomeKit lights. The results weren't encouraging. Without a whole separate integration tool like HomeBridge, a route I did not fancy going down at all. On a whim, I searched for,
Stream Deck Nanoleaf and was surprised to discover that there was a Nanoleaf specific plugin.
[11:44] On searching the Stream Deck plugin directory, I discovered there were in fact two.
[11:50] The Nanoleaf tiles plugin offered control of any of Nanoleaf's light panel products, and included actions for brightness up and down, as well as an absolute brightness, the basic setting of colour or scene, and an on-off toggle.
The Nanoleaf controller plugin appeared to offer less with only a single brightness action, however that action can take absolute or incremental values.
In the end I preferred Nanoleaf controller due to its easier setup process.
[12:20] Both of these plugins communicate directly with the light panel controller, skipping any need for HomeKit. I now had buttons set up to toggle the canvas panels off and on, to raise and lower the brightness in 10% increments,
and to select my three favourite patterns.
But neither of these plugins would work for my Nanoleaf bulbs, and I have specific needs for those, which necessitates a brief diversion.
[12:45] My study is an odd little space. space, it is made out of the remaining half of a small bedroom when the other half was taken to provide an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe in the next bedroom.
[12:57] This not only makes the study quite small, it also makes the door invisible from the working space.
Couple this with only a small window which looks out onto a bank which is covered in trees and backed by a fence, and it will become apparent that not much natural light makes it into this room.
[13:14] We moved into the house I've had strong daylight white bulbs on the ceiling. For a long time I had three CFL and later LED bulbs of 120 watt equivalent,
brightness which bathed the room in bright light no matter how much natural light there was. I wavered for a long time on getting smart bulbs because I
was used to 1,400 lumens of light per bulb and all of the smart bulbs I could find were well below this, most quoting only 800 lumens. The Nanoleaf Essentials
bulbs quote 1000 lumens which is just enough. The reason for smart bulbs in this tiny room may not be apparent given I need as much light as I can get. I do,
like to warm the color a little in the evenings but the real reason for them is the weeks I am on call for my job. Being woken by a phone call at 2 a.m. is an exercise in waking up enough to understand and deal with the problem but,
not so much as to risk not getting back to sleep. Walking into a brightly lit room while still waking up is a recipe for never getting back to sleep, no matter how quickly I solve the issue, and also for a headache.
[14:21] For this part of my life I had a scene that set all four bulbs to a red colour at 10% brightness.
This is enough to see my way into the room considering my eyes are adjusted to full darkness when I am awoken.
[14:33] Each night I was on call, I'd log in a couple of necessary applications on my Mac, dim the screens, then ask S-Lady to set my on-call scene to dim the lights as I walked out of the room.
Could I get the Stream Deck to do this?
[14:48] I needed to be able to control the essentials bulbs from my Mac. Another internet search finally led me to an article by Jason Snell, where he explained a similar search had led him to a Mac app called Home Control.
This provides a menu bar icon with a drop down menu of controls for all the devices and scenes known to HomeKit. This is pretty nifty in itself, but the functionality which makes it valuable for automation is every action it can perform can also be triggered via the app's URL scheme.
Stream Deck has a built-in action to open a URL, so simply copying the Home Control URL into Stream Deck's action makes the magic happen. With the buttons now successfully setting my ceiling lights according to my preset scenes,
I was still left with the manual task of dimming my screens.
I got to wondering if that could also be automated. Spoiler alert, it can.
I found a small app called Brightness which did just what I needed. It is available via Homebrew which I was already using so I went ahead and installed it.
It didn't work.
I found the GitHub repo and read through the issues where I discovered the Homebrew version had not been updated for Apple Silicon, and several users had hit the same errors as me.
The solution, it was explained, was to install it by compiling from source. This sounds a little daunting, but it was very simple following the instructions on GitHub.
[16:13] I could now simply run a command from the terminal to set the brightness of my MacBook Pro display or my studio display or both. All I needed to do was add the command as an action,
except it wasn't that simple. The Stream Deck software doesn't contain an action to run a command. It does contain an action to open an application. Some more internet searching told
me I could simply put the name of my script, wait script? It was easy enough to put my brightness command in a script, though it seemed like a needless extra step. But it solved another problem. The Stream Deck action to open will not let you supply any parameters. So now,
I had three scripts in my home folder which set the brightness on both of my screens to a high, medium and low setting. In fact, 80%, 65% and 10% respectively. I added these onto my Stream Deck buttons by using the multi-action action.
But wait, there's more. When testing my new buttons, I realised the stream deck itself was still at full brightness, which was now quite obvious in the dimly lit room.
I checked the available actions and there was one to set the stream deck's own brightness.
[17:22] It's a little limited with only 5 settings, one of which is completely off, but it did a good enough job.
[17:28] Now just one button would have my room lights, my monitors and my stream deck all adjust accordingly.
[17:35] Some time later I realised there was one button I had not thought of. When I'm not on call and I want to leave the room, I just want to turn all the lights off.
[17:45] This one was easy with the scene to turn off all the lights, but needed one extra feature. If all the lights go out the moment I press that button, I still have some light from the screens, but I'm risking my neck getting out of the room.
So I added another standard Stream Deck action to the button, a delay for 10 seconds. Now I had 10 seconds to leave the room.
[18:07] My journey down the rabbit hole does not end here, as you will note from my extensive use of the past tense.
Things have since moved on, but that is for part 2 and part 3. Well I can't wait to hear how the rest of this turns out. Now I know, now he's blaming for me for the Stream Deck and for the Elgato Wave XLR.
Well I'm going to blame him for reminding me that Jason Snell says that home control is the best thing ever because I bought that because of listening to what he said. So I'm hoping to up my game when I get back from my trip and spend some more time in that.
Support The Show
[18:40] Even though we'll be gone for a couple of weeks and Bart and Alistair are doing all of the work, the bills do go on for keeping the Podfeed Podcast going.
If you find value in the shows and you want to help keep things running even while we're gone, please head over to podfeed.com slash Patreon and consider becoming one of the lovely people who are patrons of the Podfeed Podcast.
Synology Offsite Backup Using Rsync Over Tailscale
[19:02] Back in November, I wrote an article entitled The Great Synology Migration of 2022. It was the story of how I bought a second Synology to replace the finally end-of-life Drobo 5N2.
In the article, I explained how I used the tried-and-true R-Sync protocol to create a backup of each shared folder from my primary Synology to my backup Synology. One of the things I could never do before with the Synology backing up to a Drobo was have the Drobo off-site. They,
They both had to be on my home network because there was no way to do any backups between the two and have it be offsite.
[19:37] But remember me telling you about the magical technology tail scale? That's the tool that allows me to put multiple devices, including my Synologies, onto a virtual private network while also living on the local network.
This means that in theory, I should be able to move the backup Synology to my buddy Ron's house and continue to run R-Sync to do the backups.
Or so I thought. The reason I haven't told you how I accomplished this right after setting up tail scale was that I couldn't get it to work until now.
For a quick review, in the Synology Disk Station Manager or DSM operating system, it includes R-Sync.
It's pretty simple and straightforward to set up.
In Control Panel, File Services, there's a tab for R-Sync. You enable R-Sync on the destination Synology first, so it's ready to accept the syncing to come to it.
Then on the source Synology, you create the rsync tasks, which was one for, I did one for each shared folder I wanted to sync. So you say things like, this is the folder, I wanna sync it this often, and here's the destination where I want it to sync to.
[20:45] So for each sync task, you do need to point to the destination Synology by IP address.
The problem was that if I typed in the tail scale IP of the remote Synology, I'd get an error when I tried to test the connection in R-Sync.
The field kept reverting back to the local IP address that it used to have, and it's not on my local network anymore, it's at my buddy Ron's house.
I verified that both Synologies were on tail scale, and I could access the remote Synology via the tail scale IP address from my house, but I simply could not convince R-Sync that it was a reachable IP address.
I reached out to Dave Hamilton, who is the one who taught me about tail skill in the first place, through the MacGeekGab. I used his awesome Discord community to post my question.
He offered a few ideas, but nothing panned out.
I searched the inner webs until I nearly wore my little fingers down to the nubs.
Then I posted the question on Twitter and on Mastodon. I didn't get any traction on Twitter.
But Shannon Kay, also known as ShannonKay at Bookstodon.com, she's great to talk to about books. suggested the Synology subreddit.
It was a great idea because I found several people asking fairly similar questions, But sadly, they didn't find the answer they wanted either.
[22:01] But Shannon's idea prompted me to ask the question in two more places. The Synology Forum and the Talescale Forum.
I got an answer pretty quickly in the Synology community from a gentleman named Harold Scar, and it was 90% of the solution, but I didn't understand exactly how to implement the solution he suggested.
He was right, but I didn't understand him.
In the Talescale Forum, Jonas108 started comparing settings with me because he did have it working. After a few times going back and forth, he hit on the problem.
He sent me a link to the tailscale documentation that explained exactly what was going on. The support article is entitled, Access Synology NAS from Anywhere, Tailscale, which is exactly what I needed.
The opening paragraph of this report says, I should say this support article says, Synology Synology DSM-7, that's the Disk Station Manager operating system, DSM-7 introduced tighter,
restrictions on what packages are allowed to do.
If you're running DSM-6, Tailscale runs as root with full permissions and these steps are not required.
By default, Tailscale on Synology with DSM-7 only allows inbound connections to your Synology device, but outbound Tailscale access from other apps running on your Synology is not enabled.
The reason for this is that the tailscale package does not have permission to create a ton device.
I don't know what a ton device is.
[23:30] In the instructions of that support article, in eight extremely simple steps, the support article walks you through how to run a user-defined script that Tailscale gives you on installation,
and it tells you how to make sure it's run as root on every single boot up of your Synology.
[23:47] As soon as I walked through these steps, when I pointed my rsync task at my remote Synology's Tailscale IP, the test connection worked, and my rsync task worked without a hitch.
[23:58] Circling back to Errol from the Synology Form's answer, he told me essentially the same thing. He said there was a permissions problem and he pointed to the same script, but he runs these
commands himself manually. He did even tell me I could do it through the same task scheduler that the tail scale instructions provided, but I didn't know where the task scheduler was in
the Synology interface. Turns out it's a control panel. I needed the spoon feeding of the tail scale instructions. If I have one complaint about people who help each other on Synology is they don't say where stuff is, like the first starting point, like open control panel.
They don't say that part. They jump right into the middle of things. And it must be that I'm just not good enough at it yet, but I've been doing it for a couple of years.
And I still often don't know where people are talking about starting. Like what button do I push first before I can see what you're talking about?
The other thing is, it's a curiosity to me that in all of my searching of the Internets, including the Tailscale documentation itself, I was never able to find these instructions.
I mean, I'm really pretty good at searching the Internet and I could not find this on my own.
In any case, the community came through for me from Mastodon to the Synology forms to the Tailscale forms and I am thrilled that I finally have offsite backups running daily of my precious Synology data.
And I thank Ron for his bandwidth.
Photo Calendars With Mimeo Photos Web App
[25:23] Every year I make a calendar for my family that includes the very best photos of us for the year. I've been doing it every year since my own kids were little.
Everyone loves it, including me.
When I started doing it, it was only Steve and me and the two kids. But now our family has grown to 10.
I used to do one big photo for each month, but as the family expanded, each page is now a collage of 20 thumbnails of photos per month.
Now I used to use the built-in tools in iPhoto to make my calendar, but in 2019, Apple decided to stop providing this capability.
They developed an API that allowed third parties to help you create projects like photo books and calendars and more.
One of the companies that developed a plugin for photos is called Mimeo Photos.
It's actually the company Apple used to use to print their calendars and the quality of them is fantastic.
I wrote all this about Mimeo Photos back in 2019 and I sang its many virtues. At the time I said I was in love with it, but I think over the years it's mellowed And I'm kind of in like with it, I would say.
[26:28] It does definitely let me create beautiful calendars that warm our hearts and that's the most important thing.
It does let me have a lot more flexibility with the layouts than Apple's tools ever did.
[26:38] The calendars are simply gorgeous when printed. They're expensive at $35 each after tax and shipping, but again, gorgeous and my family loves them so the price is okay with me.
This year I ran into some significant challenges making my calendar, but in the end I think it showed a better path to success. I have some improvement suggestions for Mimeo Photos,
but we'll get to that in a bit. Now, my family embraces the calendar, so we start a shared album every year, and the kids pour funny and awesome photos into this album throughout the year. This year, I had over 460 photos in the shared calendar album to choose from.
So that's a good thing and a bad thing, right? Apple Photos completely failed me though in in making the calendar.
And I'm not entirely sure why. Let's walk through how you create a calendar or other project inside Apple Photos.
On the Mac only, not the iPad, if you scroll down on the left sidebar, past the stock things like library, favorites, memories, go past albums, shared albums, and my albums, you'll finally find projects at the bottom.
[27:45] If you hover over the words my projects, you'll see a plus button. If you click the plus button next to my projects, You can see options to create a book, a calendar, a card, wall decor, prints, slideshow or other. In my case, I chose calendar.
If you don't have any extensions installed, you'll have the option to go to the app store where you can download different extensions.
I have Mimeo Photos installed along with a direct competitor called Motif.
[28:10] Once you tell Photos you want a calendar, you'll be walked through some options by Mimeo Photos or Motif, like what month would you like the calendar start and for how many months would you like it?
I'm going to give you a pro tip if you want to do this. Start it in February and have it be 12 months long so the last month is January.
I used to try to get it done in December and that was the wrong time to try to cram in a major project.
Getting it done in January is much less stressful and more fun.
[28:38] Alright, after making a few decisions on the design of your calendar and MIMIO photos, you're ready to start adding photos to the calendar.
And this is where Apple Photos makes it really hard. Remember all of those things we had to scroll past to get to projects at the bottom?
You have to scroll all the way back up and grab the album icon for the shared album and drag it into the calendar's photos section.
[29:00] But this year, photos wouldn't let me add my images to the calendar project in Mimeo Photos. When I tried dragging and dropping, photos would become non-responsive. Didn't even give me the courtesy of a spinning pizza wheel of death.
I had to force quit it to get it to respond. After deleting the calendar project and recreating it three times, I abandoned that whole path and decided to give the other calendar option, Motif, a try.
I never really got a chance to kick the tires because after creating the project, I couldn't add photos to that calendar either.
That got me to thinking it wasn't the extensions that were the problem, but it was photos itself that was messed up.
Now, by the way, I did leave it running for quite a long time waiting to see if it was just the problem was it was too many photos.
After force quitting photos a half dozen times, I was desperate for a solution. Started poking around online and I was reminded of the fact that you can rebuild your photo's library.
I hadn't done that in a while and I thought, that's probably a good idea.
I know, I hear it too, that impending doom music, right? Well first of all, it took better part of a day for it to rebuild my library.
With 95,000 photos, I suppose I should have expected that, but it was still torture.
[30:14] But even worse, when it came back to life, everything was working except shared albums. Remember that's the one thing I need to work for this project. Instead of images in my shared albums, I just had little rectangles with clouds on them.
[30:29] Now I keep originals downloaded to my laptop, so this did not make any sense. I kept checking back, hour after hour after hour, hoping they would have magically arrived, but this went on for days.
I was bereft.
But then I remembered that iCloud.com should have my originals. This ended up being the first key to my success.
Luckily, and surprisingly, iCloud.com does have shared albums. iCloud.com doesn't have a lot of other things that you have locally.
So I was able to download all of the originals into a folder on my Mac.
It's days like this that I'm glad I coughed up the money for a huge SSD. So I now have two copies of these 460 photos.
And by the way, I know I'm calling them originals. They're actually slightly smaller. They're not as big as you would hope.
[31:12] And they're better, they work for this since I'm doing these little thumbnails. So this was gonna be great.
[31:18] So now I've got all the photos on my drive, that didn't solve the problem of how to get them into the Mimeo Photos extension.
I went to the Mimeo Photos website to try to figure out a way around my problem and guess what?
They have a web version and it's pretty close to identical to the Photos extension.
When I say pretty close, the way it differs is that it's way faster to use than the one embedded inside photos and you're not crammed into a partial window inside photos.
With the extension, I always feel like I'm in the center seat of a five person row on an airplane with my elbows pushed together trying to eat my dinner with a spork, right?
[31:55] Anyway, I mentioned that with our growing family, I started putting 20 images on each page. Mimio Photos has a layout that gives me a five by four grid of squares into which I can drop my photos.
Using the Mimio Photos web app, I can put the window in full screen on my external display and really see how these 20 images look.
[32:14] Now I have to mark Mimeo Photos down a notch though for not taking advantage of that glorious web-based screen real estate when they show you the photos that you imported from which you get to choose.
In the extension for photos and in the web app, they give you a narrow column on the right where you can see all of the photos you've imported for the project.
But you can only see two photos on each row.
On the extension, there's a button that allows you to widen that column which makes the images easier to view. But on the web app, there's no option to widen the column.
To be honest, with this giant album of 460 photos, what I really want is to be able to widen the column and have, say, four photos across rather than the two that they allow you to view.
230 rows of photos to be constantly scrolling up and down through is a real chore.
Now, Mimeo Photos allows you to choose to view all photos, used photos, or unused photos. Now, in theory, this is great.
If I keep it showing me only unused photos, every month I do should cut down how many photos I have to scroll through by 20.
I say in theory, because we don't have the most robust process for uploading photos to the shared album, so some photos definitely got uploaded more than once, so unused was a matter of opinion.
I'm gonna circle back to that thing in a bit.
[33:30] I have another pro tip for you. If you're using a lot of photos, don't try to theme your calendar pages, It is way too much stress.
I used to try to make sure only costume photos were in October and make sure I featured a specific person on their birth month.
Instead, I go with totally random right from the start. If you restrict yourself to themes, you might end up using a costume photo that's not really all that great when a hilarious one of your granddaughters smashing your face up against a glass window doesn't make the cut.
[34:01] I do have to make sure in the end that I have close to the same number of photos from each family, but I might be the only one who actually pays attention to that.
I created a number spreadsheet when I was close to done so I could make sure to be fair to both of my kids' families.
I mentioned that the page layout is squares, which means a fair number of photos can never be used. Without manually adding black bars, a wide group photo never makes the calendar unless it's worthy of being the cover photo.
That limitation actually helped me narrow down the hundreds of images. Now in Mimeo Photos you can add an image to the calendar in a lot of different ways.
If you first select one of the placeholders in the grid, and then you scroll endlessly till you find a photo that looks like it might be a good fit, you can just tap on it in the scrolling sidebar and it will pop to the preselected location.
Alternatively you can find a photo first and then drag and drop it into one of the placeholders. Sometimes you end up with photos on the right page but you'd like to rearrange them. Easy peasy!
Drag one onto another and they'll swap position.
I mentioned in my original Mimeo Photos review that Apple doesn't allow extension developers to have access to Undo inside photos.
But in the web app for Mimeo Photos, there's no restriction. So Undo is there to save you.
[35:14] Now remember I said I was keeping account month to month to make sure I was fairly representing the families?
After I had the calendar mostly done, I realized it favored my son's family dramatically in the first half of the year and my daughter's family dramatically in the second half of the year.
Now, if you're thinking I was able to easily fix this, you're a dreamer.
The only way to fix it would be to select a photo, remove it with a trash can, scroll to a different month,
remove the image that was in that month, then find the first photo amongst the hundreds in the scrolly window because it's now popped back in there and you don't know where it is, and then drop it back in.
Then I'd have to find the second photo I removed in that giant scrolly window of doom and then flip pages to the first month that's now missing a photo and drop it in.
Now I know that sounds complicated, but I assure you, it's way worse than hearing it described. It's close to impossible to do this well.
Now one of the reasons it's worse than hearing it as described is that as soon as you remove an image, the scrolly list pops right back to the top.
It doesn't leave you where you were.
Now Kyle's family photos ended up mostly in the top half, Lindsay's were mostly in the bottom half. So every time I needed to find one of her family right after deleting one, I had to scroll back down through the hundreds of photos yet again.
[36:31] Luckily, all my kids agreed that if it was overall fairly distributed, they were good to go. Smart kids.
Alright, getting my initial layout complete took about three days of off and on work, but this is the super fun part. I get to laugh at the ridiculous photos my kids put in the album, and I enjoy all 460 of them as I work on the calendar.
Once I had my first draft done, it was time for inspection by the family. In recent versions of the plugin for Apple Photos, Mimeo Photos had an option to print a proof version to PDF.
Sadly, the web version has no proofing option.
[37:06] My solution was to flip through the pages and take 14 screenshots, one for each month and the front and back covers.
I'm rather pleased with the black cover, by the way. We have a family video call with Steve's mom and dad and all the kids once a month.
I take screenshots from time to time, especially if things get silly.
I took excerpts from the different screenshots and created a hilarious collage of 20 photos included in the show notes for your entertainment. I zipped up the 14 screenshots and I dropped the zip file into Dropbox and I asked the family to review the calendar.
Now the inspection rules were, one, make sure I didn't have any duplicates and two, if there was a particular photo that they simply loved that didn't make the cut, they could identify a photo of their own family to make a swap.
I told Kyle he couldn't replace a picture of Lindsey's kids with one of his own.
You know how he is. All right, Kyle and Nikki wrote back with a bunch of fun comments about how much they loved the calendar after reviewing it and they found nothing wrong.
They called out a specific page or two and showed real excitement about it. Steve had seen me working on this over the last week, but he still dutifully went through the whole thing and he found nothing he thought needed to be changed.
[38:16] And now we come to Lindsay's review. I should mention that Lindsay is a senior manager of Quality Assurance before telling her her results.
He found four sets of duplicates and one photo that was triplicated. I didn't notice any of them, but I'd been looking at the same photos on and off for days, but Kyle, Nikki, and Steve didn't catch any of them either.
Isn't that hilarious?
I told her to tell the story at work because it simply proves that she's in the right line of work.
[38:44] Now something Lindsay doesn't know… Oh wait a minute, Lindsay is correcting me live in the live show. She says there were eight sets of duplicates. No!
Well anyway, that's what she says, but guess what? When the final print came out, there's still a duplicate in it.
I'll let you find that one, Lindsay.
Alright, I'm not sure our process is completely to blame for the duplicates and the triplicate. Remember I said that Mimeo Photos allows you to view the Columa photos by unused?
When I was fixing one of the duplicates, I noticed that the same photo was still in the unused view even though it was already in the calendar twice.
Who knows? And you know, I haven't given Lindsay a chance to look back at the photo that I said is still duplicated in the final calendar, it's quite possible it's one she told me about and I just messed up and didn't give it, so I don't want to besmirch her quality assurance name.
[39:38] Here. But I think she missed it.
Anyway, once I had the duplicates and triplicates fixed, it was time to make my orders. I sent out five calendars to five different addresses.
I dread this part of the project every year because in order to send five calendars to to five different addresses, the Mimeo Photos plugin for photos,
makes me upload the entire calendar with all of those images embedded five separate times.
It takes forever.
[40:07] But guess what? If you use Mimeo Photos via the web, the data's already up there. I didn't have to upload it even once.
No more uploading over and over and over again.
I did buy all five separately, so I did have to go through and put the addresses in pay separately, but they take Apple Pay so it wasn't nearly as painful.
I have to say, that delighted me.
The bottom line is that I am in serious like with Mimeo Photos. I will change that back to love if they make it easier to navigate and track a vast set of photos in the future.
Until then, they give 4 stars for me. I do give a big thumbs up to the web interface for Mimeo Photos over the plugin to Photos.
The only downside to the web version is that you can't print a proof of your project, but But the good news is that the web app is so much more responsive.
Flipping between pages is so much faster than it is inside the Photos extension.
And the huge upside to the web app is not having to upload my project five separate times to send it to five different people.
And finally, I love my family. This calendar is filled with the silliest and most precious captures. I also realized that my family sticks their tongues out a lot.
I have no idea where they get that.
[41:17] All right, well, that's going to wind us up for this week. Did you know you can email me at allison at pod feed.com anytime you like.
From what we are led to believe, we think we will have internet access throughout this trip. We've got an eSIM for Argentina, see how that works.
Probably be a review on whether that worked or not.
And we have a wifi in the hotels and there's actually satellite wifi on the ship.
But I probably won't be downloading big files or uploading big files or anything like that. but if you do want to chat, I should be available online when I get a chance to play on my computer and I'm not outside playing with penguins.
Anyway, if you have a question or suggestion, you could just send it on over, but don't send me any reviews until later because I can't do anything with them. So you can follow me on Twitter. Well, wait a minute, can you follow me on Twitter?
It's a little hard to tell these days. If you use a third party client, you can't follow me on Twitter and I'm not doing much there.
To be honest, I'm doing most of the fun stuff over on Mastodon and I'm at podfeed at chaos.social.
If you want to join the fun in the conversation, you can join our Slack community at podfeed.com slash Slack, where you can talk to me and all of the other lovely Nocilla Castaways, even Bart and Alistair.
Remember, everything good starts with podfeed.com and you can support the show at podfeed.com slash Patreon, or with a one-time donation at podfeed.com slash PayPal.
[42:34] Remember, there will be no live show for the next two weeks, but on February 4th, if you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeed.com slash live at 5pm Pacific time and join the friendly and enthusiastic Osila Castaway.