I just received a Your November in Review email from Google Maps summarizing the places I've been. OK, cool, it's nice to know how many miles I walked last month (not enough, got to step it up) and the places I visited (all the usual suspects). If I didn't already know how much Google tracked me I would be shocked at some of the details, but I already know I've sold out to the Google Spy Agency.
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camerasize.com is a nice resource if you're shopping for a new camera or lens. You get visual comparisons with everyday objects and with other cameras or lenses. See how big that new telephoto lens will be on your current DSLR, or see how small that mirrorless camera really is.

Hover over to see exact dimensions and weight.
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Adobe released new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom today

Read this if you want to avoid the plugin hell that you may have experienced with past upgrades of Photoshop.

Before upgrading to the new version of Photoshop, make sure ALL your plugins have been updated to recent versions (within about the last year). Plugins will carry over to the new version of Photoshop only if the creator of the plugin has made code changes to do so. Topaz did this to all their plugins earlier this year, so if you've upgraded your Topaz plugins any time in 2017 they should move over just fine.

Nik, of course, is no longer supported, and won't carry over unless you perform the trick I describe below.

If you want your Nik plugins to move to the new version of Photoshop, perform this procedure before you upgrade Photoshop. I did this at least 6 months ago in anticipation of the next PS release, and all my Nik plugins moved over just fine today.

First, find where the Nik plugins are installed in your current version of PS. It will be something like C:/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CC 2017/Plug-ins/Google. (I'm using Windows paths. If you're on a Mac, substitute appropriately, and since I did this long ago I don't recall the exact path). Move ALL the Nik files from there to C:/Program Files/Common Files/Adobe/Plug-ins/CC/Google. After you do this, launch your current version of Photoshop to ensure the Nik plugins are still recognized. If they are, then when you upgrade Photoshop today and in the future, the Nik plugins should come along without any further effort.

While you're there under the covers, you should see your other plugin files. If they're already in the Common Files structure, they should move just fine. If you find one that's still in the Photoshop structure, you should download the latest version and install it in the old Photoshop before upgrading.

This trick worked for my Nik plugins. I updated all my Topaz plugins throughout the year so they carried over fine. I have one plugin, Auto FX Mystical Effects (or something like that) that didn't completely move over. I might have missed moving a file or two, or that code just might be ultra finicky. But I haven't used that one in over a year so I'm just going to abandon it.

If you ever reinstall Nik in the future, such as when you are installing a new computer, you'll have to repeat this trick.

I expect this trick to work with any other unsupported plugins. But it didn't work for my Auto FX plugin, so maybe not.

As for the Lightroom upgrade, well, let's just say there are some idiots in charge of product naming at Adobe. My newly upgraded and newly renamed "Lightroom Classic CC" seems to be working just fine and it feels a lot faster. So far it looks like a great upgrade. But good luck with any Lightroom CC tutorials from here on out. There are going to be a lot of confused Lightroom users for a very long time.

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If you run a self-hosted WordPress site, don’t forget to include it in your backup plan! Right now my WordPress backups are haphazard. I occasionally make a manual backup, download it to my computer, then let my usual backup process take over to copy the…
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And so it begins. I've settled on Arq Backup as my single backup solution for both local and cloud backups, to replace Crashplan. After several weeks of evaluation, I purchased two licenses for Arq, one for me and one for Michelle.

My local Arq backups have been in place for a few days, backing up every hour. For the time being Crashplan is also backing up locally. Once I get a chance to setup Arq at Michelle's place I'll remove Crashplan from my server and delete the Crashplan backup files.

I spent some time studying the various cloud storage back ends that Arq can use, and decided to go with Backblaze B2 (not to be confused with Backblaze Backup). I signed up with B2 about an hour ago and started the marathon upload of my data to B2. With the amount of data I have to backup and my ~800 Kbps max upload speed, I anticipate it to complete around the beginning of Summer 2018. Crashplan will also be backing up to its cloud during the transition. Once the B2 backup is complete I can eliminate Crashplan for good.

I like the simplicity of using the same software for all my backups, and having backups be completely automatic. That was one of Crashplan's major advantages over its competitors, and was a major reason I went with Arq.
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This is one reason why I don't use HP products any more. Since switching away from HP printers and scanners I've been perfectly happy with my Brother printer and my Canon scanner. Even though I always bought HP ink when I had HP printers, I disagree with forcing customers to buy a single brand of ink.
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PSA: If you're on Windows and thinking of switching from Crashplan to Backblaze for your backups, note that Backblaze does not support backing up of open files. In more technical terms, it does not support the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).

What this means in plain speak for us photographers is that Backblaze cannot backup your Lightroom catalog while Lightroom is running. If you're in the habit of leaving Lightroom running for days at a time, you'd better change that habit if you decide to use Backblaze. You might also run into problems backing up various other files, but Lightroom's catalog is the biggie.

I am in process of switching to Arq Backup. I've been trialing it for a few weeks and just purchased a license today (actually two licenses, one for me and one for Michelle). Arq supports VSS and I've verified it backs up the Lightroom catalog while Lightroom is running. I now have Arq handling my local backups. Once I get it set up on Michelle's computer, I can remove Crashplan from my backup server and free up a couple of terabytes of space.

Now that I've got Arq fully in place for my local backups I'll start to transition my cloud backups to use Arq. The main thing holding me back is deciding on which cloud data service to use. I'm leaning toward either Backblaze B2 or Google Nearline, or possibly even Google Coldline. Still need to wrap my head around the complex pricing schemes.




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Backing Up After the Demise of Crashplan for Home

I used to recommend Crashplan for Home to everyone who needed to back up their files. Crashplan could back up to local drives, other computers, and the cloud. It was free if you didn’t use the cloud. It worked on Windows, Mac and Linux. Their cloud…
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I've been researching and trialing a bunch of local and cloud backup solutions to replace my use of Crashplan for Home.

Every time I see the phrase "Military-grade Encryption" I think "Your data can be accessed only by You and the NSA"
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Do you have a Wordpress web site? Do you use LetsEncrypt for SSL?

I'm looking for first hand experience from anyone using LetsEncrypt and Certbot to implement SSL security on their Wordpress web site. I have several domains built with Wordpress and I would like to secure them with SSL. My current hosting provider does not support LetsEncrypt. My annual contract is up soon so it's time to make a change.

If you use LetsEncrypt with Wordpress, what web host do you use? Are you happy with them? Are you happy with LetsEncrypt? Any gotchas? Is the 90 day recertifaction a big hassle? Any hidden costs?

If I were to stay with my current web host and add SSL to my sites, I would have to pay for static IP addresses for each of my domains, pay for separate certificates for each of them, pay a configuration fee for each domain for them to do the server side magic configuration to make it work, and possibly more that I haven't discovered.

Thanks in advance!
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