Google Backup & Sync - What it does and doesn't do (yet !?) (Dec 2017)

Google "Backup & Sync" App replaces both Google Drive App.

The Google Photos Desktop Uploader has been discontinued and its functionality is NOT included in the new App.

The new app not only "watches" the Google Drive Folder on your computer, but offers to "watch" additional folders (by default Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, but you can add any other folders.

Be careful, as the pictures folder contents WILL count against your google storage quota.

The other preferences are poorly described:

  • Photo and video upload size.  This choice plainly implies that all photos in My Mac will be uploaded at "High Quality" and will therefore use "free unlimited storage". 

    This is NOT true as all photos in the Pictures folder are backed up to Google Drive and count against your storage quota.
    The "Learn more" link takes you to a Google Photos help page.
  • Removing/ Deleting Items.  This choice DOES relate to Google drive and offers very basic control of your sync settings: 
    • Remove items everywhere: When you delete something on your computer or, it will be deleted everywhere.
    • Don’t remove items everywhere: When you delete something on your computer, it will stay on
    • Ask me before removing items everywhere: When you delete something on your computer, it will ask if you want to delete it everywhere.
    • Most people will choose the default of "remove items everywhere" and rely on local computer backups to retrieve items removed in error.  The items can be retreived for up to 30 days from your Google Drive "bin" folder.
  • Upload newly added photos and videos to Google Photos:  This option does not seem to do ANYTHING.  
    • Photos added to Google Drive - "My Mac" Pictures Folder do not appear in Google Photos
    • Photos added to Google Drive Folder do not appear in Google Photos
    • Photos added to Google Drive - "USB Devices" (i.e. photo storage chip) do not appear in Google Photos

To add photos to Google Photos, you need to use the Google Photos app on your mobile phone, OR upload groups of photo files via the Google Photos web page.  This method does NOT allow folders to be selected (as was possible in the old Desktop Uploader), so you need to get you photos out of folders, or upload each folder separately.

Overall, this seems like an App released before it was thought through.

Google Backup & Sync SHOULD be improved with: 
  • New tab for Google Photos containing:
    • Photo and video upload size setting
    • Ability to add watched folders for google photo uploads
    • Ability to point to a folder and upload all photos to Google Photos
  • Ability to select whether attached storage (like photo storage chips) are uploaded to Google drive or Google Photos.

Google Cloud Platform Static website

  • Display instructions for instructions
    • Create a google cloud account  (requires credit card details) 
    • Register domain c go daddy ($3 ! for one year)
    • Verify the domain using Google automatic tool
    • Log into Go Daddy and open domain - DNS Zone File - Edit existing www record:
      • Type: CNAME
      • Host:  (or whatever you have registered))
      • Points to:
      • TTL: 1 hour (default value)
    • Log into
    • Create a bucket with the name of the website e.g. (This failed for me for a bout an hour before working.  Perhaps server settings from the verification had not reached the console server ?)
      • Edit Object Default permissions
      • Add Permission: User - allUsers - Reader (see
    •  Edit website configuration:
      • type the filename for the main page and Save  (the default index.html is already there in grey, but must be typed and saved to execute it)

    Picasa Desktop Application (Mac) - Advanced Search - Dates

    The absence of online reference manuals is a common and annoying feature of so many major software systems such as google and apple.
    They provide user manuals that assume a certain common workflow, but leave out the detail that would allow a user to understand what the software is programmed to do so that they can predict other workflow outcomes.

    Picasa (purchased by google and now being retired over the next decade) has always lacked a manual or any comprehensive user guide.

    So it's up to the usual patchwork quilt created by users.

    Date searches:

    At the top of the Picasa window is the search pane.

    Simple searches are usually successful based on any "word".  Picasa seems to search 

    Examples of date searches:
    • 2015 identifies all pictures with 2015 in title or within their metadata.
      It also identifies a large number of photos which don't seem to have 2015 anywhere in folder title, file title, or metadata ????
    • 2015:02 selects all photos with "Camera Date" or Digitized Date" or "Modified Date" during Feb 2015 far more reliably.
    • 2015 02 unfortunately selects all photos with either "2014" or "02".  Not very useful.
    • 2015:02:11 selects all pictures with a "Camera Date" or Digitized Date" or "Modified Date" of 11 Feb 2015.  Very specific.
    • I cannot find any syntax that allows searches for a date range.
    • The slider bar allows narrowing of pictures selected by a search term e.g. "Alan" to "2 days old" (slide to the far right) to as old as you like (mine go back 20 years !).
      The problem is that the start date is always fixed at "now".
    See also:

    PS:  You can still download Picasa 3.9 for Mac OSX from

    Picasa Web Albums - Refresh Online Status

    I can't find any Picasa manual and the Mac version has no built in help documents, so I am guessing and experimenting on this one.
    It is hard to tell if a function is working as it should if there is not statement of what the function was intended to do .........

    I have found that (on Mac v3.9.1.306), if Sync to web is on for the album, "Refresh Online Status" compares of files on computer and the matching Picasa web album.
    If Sync to web is off it has no effect.
    If there are photos online that are not on in the desktop album, it will often download them to the computer (sometimes inexplicably, it ignores some online photos and refuses to download them).
    If there are videos online that are not on in the desktop album, it will always ignore them.

    I was hoping that it would download photos and videos from the online album, so that I could see them on the computer and delete them while checking the "delete the online copy too" button.  In its current state it is pretty useless to me.

    The "Sync to web" album setting is not a sync at all, but rather an "immediately upload any new items" button.

    To sync, I have found it easier to:

    • "view online" the album; "organise" to display thumbs of all items; drag a boz arouns all items to select them; and delete them. 
    • view the album through the desktop picasa application, highlight all items in the album and upload.

    You do not want to use the "Delete Online Album", because it destroys any album sharing links you might have set up.

    I know this is pretty messy, but it is the easiest way to overcome the problem that picasa does not have a true "sync" capability.

    What the programmer should do, is to change the Sync options to a much cleaner set of functions:

    MS Word VBA code to display different versions of a document by making paragraphs invisible based on a code

    Perhaps you want 3 versions of a document, but do not want to maintain 3 seperate files.
    It may be handy to be able to see all versions at one time to check all content.
    Having all paragraphs in one document means that an update to a paragraph will automatically update all versions that use that paragraph.

    The VBA code that I used is here.
    The word document containing this macro is here.

    In the document, command-6 has been assigned to run the macro.

    The macro asks for a key letter.
    If the key letter is contained within the first marker word of a paragraph, then the paragraph (minus the first word) will be displayed.
    If a paragraph has one or less characters, then it is also displayed (to preserve blank lines).
    (I set the minimum for testing at 2 characters as I can use one letter e.g. A to display all paragraphs)
    All other paragraphs are marked as hidden.

    Vertical Scrolling using HTML Marquee

    Blogger implements the marquee command,
    Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah

    In blogger "compose" mode, it ignores the settings such as:
    • direction="up" (for vertical scroll)
    • height="300" (for controlling height of vertical scroll)
    • scrollamount="2" (for controlling the speed of the scroll)
    • scrolldelay="20" (for controlling the delay before scrolling starts
    One published the effect is implemented.
    Find the code here 

    Tweaking the iOS Music app for the Classical Listener

    Setup so that a tap on album art displays track info

    The best way to display full track title and artist info is through a Doug Adams script called: Selected Tags to Lyrics. After using the script and syncing your iPhone, the track and artist info is displayed just by tapping the album cover !

    Apple has neglected the "Classical" music listener from the start  - especially in iOS.

    On the iPhone Music app, most of the screen is taken up by the album image.  The track progress bar is so this as to be almost invisible.  The track name is below and underneath that is the artist name displayed in a tiny font.   Both these lines scroll and pause periodically making them harder to read and requiring a significant wait before you get the info you need.

    iOS 9.2 release mentions an upgrade to Classical Music browsing which fails to address the key issue: Ability to display the Track name, Artist (and optionally, the Album name) in a stable, good size font.

    Applescript: Selected Tags to Lyrics

    The script is very simple to install (just unzip and place in your itunes scripts folder and it is immediately active.  When installed, you just select one or a thousand tracks and ....

    You select which fields you want copied to the lyrics filed of the track:

    I only want the Name and Artist, but many would want the Album name as well.
    Then the script asks if you want to prepend (place at start) of existing lyrics, or replace.

    As I have some opera tracks with librettos that I want to keep, and other tracks with notes, I always choose Prepend for safety.  (When I manually add lyrics, I also add the word "lyrics" to the grouping tag so that I can select or avoid selecting these tracks in future.)
    Now, sync you iPhone and open the Music App to enjoy easy access to a static large display of the track and artist info just by tapping the album cover !

    PS Doug provides these scripts free but asks for a donation to keep him working and feeling appreciated. 
    See also: Tracksift 2 - Creates playlist from selected tracks where they have no lyrics and many other options. 

    JPG Tags - Captions and Descriptions in Picasa and OSX

    Picasa and OSX File Info:
    • displays xmp:description as the Picasa Caption
      (i.e. if the iptc:caption-abstract happens to be different, it will NOT be displayed.)
    • if there is no xmp:description, then they display iptc:caption-abstract
    • Changing Caption field updates BOTH xmp:description and iptc:caption-abstract
    Exiftool commands used in OSX Terminal to change JPG Data
    • Add or change xmp:description for a file
      • exiftool -xmp:description='This is a new xmp description' dst.jpg
    • Delete an xmp:description for a file
      • exiftool -xmp:description= dst.jpg
    • Copy the filename to the xmp:description
      • exiftool -xmp:description=--filename dst.jpg
    • Copy xmp:description to iptc:caption-abstract.  Not really necessary as the xmp:description will be displayed in Picasa and OSX File Info
      • exiftool "-iptc:caption-abstract
    • Copy the filename into the xmp:description field for all files in the current directory
      • exiftool "-xmp:description
    • Copy Filename without ".jpg"
      • supposed to be able to use a config file to define a new variable "basename". But damned if I can get it to work.
      • exiftool "-xmp:description<${filename;s/.jpg/ /}" *.jpg  ----- just gives errors
    • Useful Terminal Commands
      • "pwd" displays current directory (folder)
      • "cd" command changes directory (folder). Either type the directory, or drag the folder into the terminal window to automatically type its name.

    Photo and Video Management across multiple devices - A moving feast (Aug 2015)


    • Photos taken with multiple mobile phones, digital camera and digital movie camera as well as received via messages, facebook and other services

    Mac OSX Chrome: Stop mailto links from opening MacMail. Use Gmail website instead.

    Why wait for Mac mail to open everytime you click a mailto link on the  internet...

    Open Chrome settings

    Show advanced

    Open content settings

    Manage handlers

    Select Gmail to handle all mailto links

    This post contains some responses to questions that I have been asked by various people over the last few years. In most cases, I have also posted the information on relevant online community forums such as I hope that you find this useful. Stephen Digby