All About Images Blog


How low can online storage prices go? I’m not sure I know the answer to that, but MediaFire recently announced promotional pricing of $2.50 per month for 1 TB , compared to the previously announced rate of $9.99/month for Google Drive. With prices like these, online backup is starting to make more and more sense. I’m not ready to completely give up on external hard drives, since I like having my own backup. Instead, I am planning to keep two backup copies. After all, you can’t be too safe.

For more about storing files online, see Online Storage with Microsoft OneDrive.


Well, actually I think they do matter, but a recent article in the Wall Street Journal “The Power of the Earliest Memories” by Sue Shellenbarger included the following quote: “While the lives of many youngsters today are heavily documented in photos and video on social media and stored in families’ digital archives, studies suggest photos and videos have little impact.” A recent study by Carole Peterson and coworkers found that the existence of photos and videos didn’t have an impact on kids’ memories. The article goes on to state, “Parents play a bigger role in helping determine not just how many early memories children can recall, but how children interpret and learn from the events of their earliest experiences.”

I’m not convinced. All too often, I see my own children reviewing the photo books I have created. They are clearly interested, and I cannot believe my kids would spend time looking at photos if they were unimportant.

What I can say is that perhaps the photos alone are not enough and that when we are taking photos we need to occasionally step back and talk about what is happening. And you know what, we might even enjoy hearing what our kids’ thoughts are.

az_pink album

pink trimmer

Ahni and Zoe’s 9-Inch Trimmer

Declaring that pink is their favorite color, Ahni and Zoe stated, “Any customer can have a strap-hinge album any color that she wants so long as it is pink.” In a similar vein, Ahni and Zoe will also offer pink album pages, pink photo mounting paper and pink stickers to complement their recently introduced pink pen and pink trimmer. When asked about placing pink photo mounting paper on pink album pages, Ahni said, “We like pink and expect our customers to like it too.” The more demure Zoe added, “These products have great potential. We’re still working on a marketing plan”

pink pen



I now have all my photos stored on Microsoft OneDrive. I ran out of space in the various free accounts that I was able to create, and I needed more storage. I looked at the options for cloud storage and selected OneDrive, as the most reasonable option available. OneDrive is a Microsoft product so it is unlikely to disappear any time soon. OneDrive charges $50 per year for 100 GB storage, which was what I needed.

OneDrive allows me to copy specific directories and then access them from different locations, including other computers and from my phone. Unlike some services, OneDrive is not designed as a computer backup system. It does, however, store an additional backup copy of my photos, in case something happens to the external hard drive that I routinely use.

The OneDrive PC application and iPhone App are easy-to-use. I encountered no problems, although it took about a week to transfer all my files to OneDrive. Fortunately, OneDrive keeps you well informed about the progress of your transfer and clearly marks transferred files with a green check mark.

My timing for this change was not good. A few days after I made my decision, Google lowered the price for their competing Google Drive service to $1.99 per month or $23.88 per year. Consequently, when my OneDrive service comes up for renewal, I will probably change to Google unless Microsoft has lowered its prices by then.


Dear Ahni, Zoe, Youngevity, and other album manufacturers,

It’s really not that hard. Here’s how to make a high-quality album in seven easy steps:

  1. No PVC. It’s simple. Avoid the material. I have never seen anything good come out of an album that contained PVC.
  2. No coated paper covers. Use real cloth instead.
  3. Use synthetic adhesives. These adhesives minimize warp and fungal growth.
  4. Stainless steel instead of galvanized wire. Galvanized wire may corrode over time.
  5. Only high-quality paper. See Paper Weight and Photo Safety and Pick the Perfect Paper.
  6. Look for potential points of failure and eliminate them.
  7. Implement quality control systems to ensure consistent production.

I hope this helps.


Dr. Mark


Paper is critical for many projects and unfortunately it is all too easily misunderstood. As an example, Creative Memories has changed its album page to what appears to be a more flexible, less stiff paper. Does this mean the paper is thinner and less durable? Not necessarily.

To measure paper weight, cut out a known area and weigh it. Divide the weight by the area. If the weight is in grams and the area in square meters, your answer will be in grams per square meter (gsm). I checked an old (October 10, 2005) and a relatively current (2013) album page. The old page came in at 212 gsm and the new one at 213 gsm. These two measurements are within experimental error and indicate that the paper weight has not changed.

I used metric measurements above, because English units for measuring paper are just plain confusing. However, we can use a measurement conversion tool to convert the metric unit to English pounds. Cover weight paper is traditionally used for album  pages. In this case, we find that the old album page had a cover weight of 78 lbs. and the new  album page had a cover weight of 79 lbs. These weights are slightly less than the probable specified cover weight of 80 lbs but within allowable tolerances.

The next question that comes up is whether or not the paper is safe for use with photos. Paper weight has no relationship to photo safety.

I really can’t help with photo safety since I now have no ability to complete the required tests. The four tests that are required are pH, buffering, lignin, and the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). Because paper manufacturing processes change over time, all tests should be run within the last year. pH should be alkaline with a value greater than 7.0, and buffering should be greater than 2.0 %. In addition,  paper should not contain lignin and should pass the PAT.

For colored paper, you will also want to add bleed to the list of required tests. Colored paper should not bleed. You can do this test yourself. Simply place the colored paper in contact with a piece of white paper. Paper clip the two pieces together and place in water for 24 hours. If the color paper bleeds onto the white paper, it is not photo safe.

For more about paper, see Pick the Perfect Paper.

12x12 Page Print Test - Page 012

I completed my 2013-2014 Custom Album Pages today. Actually, I completed Page Prints, since Creative Memories no longer offers Custom Album pages. My plan is to get Page Prints and add them to my Custom Album Cover, either by mounting them on blank pages or using Portrait Sleeves. I haven’t decided which approach to take, but since I don’t use Page Protectors for Custom Album Pages, I am leaning toward the first approach.

12x12 Page Print Test - Page 011

On my first page, I used the photos pretty much as I received them from Lifetouch. I used Artisan, added  a border and captions, and put them on City Streets Digital Kit. For the second page, I wanted to include Ed and Noah together, so I used the same photos without the Lifetouch background. I couldn’t decide which background to use, so rather than choose, I selected four papers. I combined them all on a single page and after adding the photos of Ed and Noah, had four pages for the price of one.

See Spend Your Money Wisely and Custom Album Page Completes Projects for additional pages in this album.


All opinions expressed in this blog are mine, not HID Global's.

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