Nerd grandma nixes 4-x-6s

It began innocently enough. I was seated on the patio of Nordstrom's Cafe in Old Orchard, when my friend Ruth suggested I show her daughter-in-law Mimi a photo of my newest grandchild. The weather was perfect, warm for this time of year, bright with sunshine.

"Sure," I said. Nerd that I am, I didn't reach for my wallet to find photos. Instead, I withdrew my iPhone from my jeans and clicked on the Photos application. I gasped when I saw that the 217 pictures normally stored there were gone. Gone. Despite the garden setting, the dear companionship, the cloudless sky, my mood dropped as swiftly as if Sarah Palin had entered the garden.

"My pictures seem to be gone," I stammered. I was embarrassed because I frequently gushed about the device's wonders. "Gone?" Ruth asked. "What happened?" I detected a smirk. Ruth is a holdout, she's managed to ignore my entreaties and remains wedded to her traditional cell.

"It's okay," I said. I was trying to appear nonchalant. "I've got them on the computer. I'll just hook my phone up when I get home and the pictures will be back where they belong." I prayed this was true.

It was. Somehow, on my last iPhone-to-iTunes maneuver, the check marks for the desired photo albums had come undone. iTunes failed to sync them into the phone. It took a second to re-check the boxes, move the albums back where they belonged, and restore my allegiance to Apple.

This episode got me thinking. While I was grateful all of the pictures were indeed safely stored on my computer, I realized they could be gone in a flash if anything happened to the appliance. Yes, I've got CDs with photos, but as I've noted before on this blog, a meteor landing on my house, or something equally ghastly, could destroy those external storage sites, too.

Enter Picasa, a free online photo storage site hosted by Google. I already have a Picasa page with 11 separate albums tucked away there, but after the patio incident, I decided I'd best be more vigilant and upload recent photos I had neglected to move to safety.

There are several free online storage sites you could use to protect your photos. Along with Google's Picasa, another popular site is Flickr, which is Yahoo's baby. My friend, and talented photographer, Marshall Rosenthal uses Flickr and you can check out his photo page to see his beautiful work. I'm omitting Photobucket because it's allied with the Fox Broadcasting Company, and well, you know.

Here's what I like about Picasa:
-Uploading is easy. There's an application that attaches to iPhoto, so I can zoom photos directly from that program to my Picasa site. No export to desktop needed. And, I can email photos to Picasa from my iPhone.

-Photos from my three blogs, which are published on Google's blogspot, go directly to Picasa. A directive from me is unnecessary.

-I can organize photos into albums and decide which are private and which can be viewed by the public.

-There's oodles of free storage space. According to the measurement on my site, I've used up only 8.36% of the 1GB capacity. (Please don't ask about gigabytes. This is Tech 101.)

-New features appear frequently; i.e. Picasa recognizes faces and sorts photos for me.

-I suppose if I were a more traditional grandma and preferred 4-x-6 snapshots, I could designate photos to be sent to one of the seven print providers allied with Picasa. But along with my nerd image, I've already got wicker baskets stuffed with photos waiting to be stuck onto the black pages of old fashioned albums.

Oh, if you're curious about the photo I was trying to show off at lunch, here 'tis. Worth the wait, right?