Free Stock Photos: Many Resources

2014-02-08_10-09-19Thanks to a thread over on Reddit, I have discovered a world of free, use-for-anything stock photography resources. They range from websites where you can sign up for free photos to be delivered via email to those where you can search and browse, and they all tend to not be very crappy!

While I’m not a fan of smiling faces on websites because of the impersonal feeling, and the fact that Google might soon penalize you for using stock photography, I do like the idea of having free resources available which can be used for compiling visuals that help narrate a story on your website. The following links are full of such images, and much more.

Disclaimer: Always read the fine print, just in case, to make sure you are allowed to use the image you are downloading without attribution or payment! Whenever possible, it’s still a good gesture to give credit where credit is due, even if you don’t have to legally.

Google Image Search for Commercial Reuse

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot search Google Images and simply use any photo you find in your project. This specially crafted search, however, produces images that are OK for commercial use and modification:
Google commercial reuse image search

Note: It is possible for images found here to have been reposted by someone who copied it from the original source. Just because you find it on Google Image search for commercial use doesn’t mean it’s absolutely OK to use without proper credit/compensation. 

Flickr

Similar to the above Google Images search, you can browse Flickr using a similar technique:
Flickr Creative Commons license photo search

IM Free

This site lets you search a collection of curated photos for commercial use:
http://imcreator.com/free

Gratis Photography

While not easily searchable, there are some great photos on this website.
http://www.gratisography.com/

Photo Pin

Here you can search for “free photos for bloggers and creatives”. Enough said.
http://photopin.com/

Creative Commons Search

“Find content that you can share, use and remix.” Just make sure you leave checked the checkboxes for ‘commercial purposes’ and ‘modify, adapt…’
http://search.creativecommons.org/

New Old Stock

Some amazing photos from times gone by, this site pulls from the public archives.
http://nos.twnsnd.co/

Pic Jumbo

Another site with free photos for you use.
http://picjumbo.com/

SplitShire

This fellow asks for attribution or a donation for coffee via his website if you want to use the photos he offers. He has some great images that would be well worth it.
http://splitshire.com/

Pixabay

A repository for free public domain images.
http://pixabay.com/

Little Visuals

You can sign up via email to get 7 free images delivered to your inbox so that you can start building your own library of stock photography.
http://littlevisuals.co/

Unsplash

Similar to Little Visuals, except that this site sends you 10 photos a day. They all tend to be on the awesome side of great.
http://unsplash.com/

Fin

Speaking of free coffee, if you enjoyed this blog post and would like to see more like it, send me a little donation!




Adios, Feedly

rss_iconReading RSS feeds from multiple websites in a central, organized location that lets me quickly save items of interest without bothering me about posting to Facebook or telling what my friends are doing is a very important piece of my life. A good, clean RSS reader lets me quickly devour the day’s news, the latest trends, things my friends and family have written, and whatever else may be of interest to me.

I was an avid user of Google Reader until they shut it down earlier this year. Along with many other people, I sought an alternative home for my collection of important RSS feeds. I quickly found Feedly, and move everything over there. They seemed pretty hip, and while the interface and options took a little getting used to, it managed to satisfy my RSS needs (along with the mobile app) for a while.

Feedly started deploying a paid subscription model to get extra features, which seemed like a logical part of being a business, and I was OK with that. They didn’t take away anything I was used to in my free account. But they started making some boneheaded decisions, and the doubt started to percolate in the back of my mind.

2013-12-08_11-12-58

I am digging the options in InoReader so far

After perusing Reddit this morning, the last straw was drawn when I discovered this thread and this blog post dicussing Feedly’s new approach to hijacking shared links, thus cutting out the original content publishers (something they apparently backpedaled on pretty quickly). Not being someone who tries to make money from his blog, this was mildly concerning, but not that upsetting to me.

What did it for me was the CEO of Feedly making some off-putting comments on that blog post and generally being a jerk about it rather than listening to concerns and doing PR the right way. I decided to take my feeds and head over to InoReader. It was an easy import/export process, and InoReader feels much more comfortable to me so far. Their Android app looks decent as well.

Feedly's "support" page

Feedly’s “support” page

The funny thing is, I went to try and cancel my Feedly account, but I could not find a way to do so anywhere in the settings. I clicked on the “Support” link, and was taken to a page that advertised their services. There were no support options to be found anywhere.

If I figure out how to completely cancel my Feedly account, I will let you all know.

I will hopefully be happy in my new RSS house, but if not, there are still plenty of good looking alternatives out there.

Are you still an RSS user? What is your favorite reader?

Hey Microsoft, I Heard You Need a New CEO

Dear Microsoft,

It’s been all over the news this week that Steve Ballmer has decided to step down as CEO. At first this seemed like a decision he had come to by himself, perhaps having felt as if his work here was done. Some started speculating that he was forced out by the board. Whatever the case, it has become clear that you will be seeking out a new CEO over the coming 12 months.

You need to choose me, and here is why:

1. I will work for half the money. It was reported that Ballmer made $1.3 million in 2012. I will step into his job for half the money.

2. I know what is wrong with your products, and I know how to fix them. I am someone who is intimately familiar with your apps and operating systems, and I am even more intimately familiar with fixing them. From disinfecting them, hardening them, cleaning them up, making them usable, and working around their aggravating inconsistencies, I know what is wrong with your shit. And I know how to fix it.

3. I know your competition. I got so fed up with you around the time Windows ME came out, I wrote you off completely, wiped all my machines, and became a Linux die-hard. I only used you when I had to. Eventually I ended up becoming a Mac user as I matured into adulthood and could actually (almost) afford the damn things. I know what it’s like to hate on Microsoft, I know why people do it, and I know what you can do to turn that around. I know what makes a Mac so much more appealing in the eyes of those customers you are so quickly losing.

My experience is based in reality. The reality of day-to-day usage and frustration with your products. When is the last time Ballmer sat down and tried to wipe a hard drive and reinstall Windows XP for someone? When is the last time anyone on your board, for that matter, had to disinfect a Windows 7 box riddled with malware and explain to their mother-in-law how her computer completely stopped functioning and why she now needs to change her online banking passwords?

Sure, there are thousands of consumers such as myself who are equally as familiar with your problems, and each have their own opinions on what you need to fix about yourself, but I bring to the table the experience of seeing you fail in many environments: colleges, non-profits, corporations, and federal government. I have worked across all of these sectors over the years, and I have witnessed each one seek out alternative solutions to the problems you consistently present.

Microsoft, you are out of touch, and that is why you are quickly becoming irrelevant. As you seek a new CEO, I hope that you strongly consider someone who is in touch, and I hope you even more strongly consider that person to be me.

Link

GeoGuessr – Hours of Fun

http://geoguessr.com/

A fun game based on Google Maps. It plops you somewhere in the world, restricts what you can do with the typical map controls, and encourages you to explore, find clues, and determine exactly where in the world you are.

The closer you guess, the more points you get. The better your Google-fu (in a separate browser tab, admittedly), the better your score too.

The first time I played, I scored 22,905 points. Can you beat it?

Tips, Tricks, Enhancements

I love the things that make my job easier, make a task simpler, or help protect me in the event of a problem. I collect lists of these things so that I can share them with you, my dear blog readers. Enjoy!

Lazarus
A web browser add-on that auto-saves any web form you are filling out. Never again will you lose that perfect Facebook political argument reply you’d been working on for an hour until your browser crashed. It be free. It be cool.

Feedly
This is what has replaced my Google Reader account now that Google has announced it will be shutting down Reader this summer. It’s simple, though it takes a little getting used to, and it will import all your feeds from Google Reader automatically.

Mailplane
My favorite way to use GMail and Google Calendar on my Mac(s). It lets me keep multiple accounts open at once in a tabbed interface, seamlessly switching back and forth to get things done. It also works with Google tasks.

Leaving Evernote

Leaving EvernoteYesterday I got the email that millions of other people got in regards to Evernote resetting my password due to someone hacking into their user data system.

The investigation has shown… that the individual(s) responsible were able to gain access to Evernote user information, which includes usernames, email addresses associated with Evernote accounts, and encrypted passwords. Even though this information was accessed, the passwords stored by Evernote are protected by one-way encryption. (In technical terms, they are hashed and salted.)

After following the very geeky discussion about it in /r/netsec I was left wondering if I was placing too much faith in Evernote to protect all the brain dumps, notes, files, and private information I like to store in it.

Cloudy with a chance of security breach

After stumbling across this blog post entitled “Evernote doesn’t really care about security” I became convinced that it was time to leave Evernote. The security breach was actually the last straw in a number of things that have been bugging me more often than not — frequent crashes being the chief one.

Sometime around when Evernote added Skitch, the whole shebang started crashing on me frequently. I’m a premium Evernote user, and dealing with the app crashing multiple times a day quickly became aggravating. It has been almost unusable at times. That does not bode well for something you need to access frequently throughout a given day.

Then there were the issues where my notes were not synching between my laptop and my desktop, which I don’t really need to go into. You’ve probably had them too, if you are an Evernote user on more than one computer.

Lastly, I mentioned I was a paid Evernote user, but I never found myself using the paid features. The other big issue for me was with tagging – I would add tags to notes but then forget about them and never use them to find things. The inability to organize notes hierarchically is very necessary to me as someone who thinks that way due to my years as a sysad and developer, and I couldn’t get used to everything having to be arranged with tags.

Faith In The Cloud?

So my question yesterday became: “Where do I put all this info I have in Evernote that is more secure and can be synched and access between my phone, laptop, and desktop?”

Security experts mostly agree that putting secure information in the cloud is not a very good idea. But I want to have faith that it can be, and there are companies making an effort in that regard. I turned to a solution that was right under my nose: Google Drive.

Why Google Drive over Dropbox or some other service? Because it integrates easily with everything I already use, and more and more features and interactions with it are becoming available. I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords.

I’m still working on moving everything over from Evernote to Google Drive, and it’s not a simple process, but I think I will be able to live with it. I’ll also be able to rest a little better knowing that, while my data is still in the cloud, Google seems to value it more than Evernote.

Other fed up users are coming up with their own solutions for replacing their faith in Evernote.

What will be yours?