Saturday, June 16, 2012

When Social Media Sites Go Away

I’m just now mourning the loss of EONs, the social media site aimed at Baby Boomers. I didn’t use it all that much, but I loved the groups that talked about the iPhone and the iPad. The people my age and older using those devices were so knowledgeable and so willing to share their advice that I felt that no question was too irrelevant or just plain dumb. 

And some of them were using their iPads for very sophisticated things that I could never replicate. One of the members of the group always put up great videos he edited on the iPad. Another talked about how he used the device for many business applications.

 And one of the members of the group gave me a gift by letting Tech and the Baby Boomer use the story of her mother, severely impacted by arthritis, who could touch the iPad with her knuckles to tap out emails to her family and also to view photos from grandchildren. As you can see, these people made a real impact on me. 

So my question now is where did they go? Where are you OldMike? Louscraps? Techie44? SkeeterThompson1? LBretired? Where did all the posts go? Where are those great discussions? And the photos? I know many of the members of this group uploaded photos and videos to the site. If they were smart, they kept copies.

Officially Lori Bitter of Continuum Crew, who purchased Eons a few months ago, blamed the problem on the company’s service provider. This is what was posted on the Facebook page for the group in early May:

To our Eons members,

We know many you have all been waiting patiently for news on the future of the site. As a team, we have been working to resolve the business issues with our service provider. We have negotiated in good faith to restore the site and move forward. Unfortunately our provider is demanding a financial commitment that we cannot make at this time. We are at an impasse. While we have worked behind the scenes to try to come up with an alternative to get the site restored, none of those have worked out either. For the foreseeable future, the site will remain down.

As Matt stated before, there is no reason to worry about your personal data; it is secure. We will continue to pursue all avenues available to bring Eons back.

Also, the company Crew Media in Texas is in no way affiliated with Crew Media who owns Eons. Please stop the calls to their president immediately, as there is nothing he can do.

Thank you,
Lori and the Eons Team

If you are “into” social media, and that includes Facebook, the people on the sites become if not friends, then people you are looking forward to hearing from. You enjoy their discussions. You like what they have to say. 

Perhaps you’ve gotten involved on a gaming site where the same people play the games you like, and you’ve grown to enjoy playing with them. Or perhaps you like to talk about golf or baseball. In social media, the people who have similar interests to you become closer to you than you realize.

That is: you become close to them until the server is shut down, and all their conversations, past and those you might have had in the future, are unreachable.

For me, this brings up a larger question. What if Facebook went away? What if they closed in the middle of the night with no way for you to retrieve your Timeline? Or see your old status updates? How would all the millions of you who spend time on it day after day feel?
They say that nothing really goes away on the Internet. Somewhere in cyberspace those discussions about the iPad and iPhone will exist. Yet finding them will not be easy. So Lori, if you are reading this, and EONs doesn’t return, please at least make your archives accessible in some way and provide a way for the people who liked to hang out on your site to find each other.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Photo Editing Site Simple Enough for Everyone

One of my favorite web photo editing tools PicNik is being shut down by Google. No amount of lamenting the fact will save it. I used PicNik to sharpen and re-size photos I took on my iPhone for my New Jersey Tech Weekly website. I liked it because it was easy to use and did just what I wanted it to do without confusing me with fancy jargon. While all the professionals and photo hobbyists I know are crazy about Photoshop, I have found it incredibly difficult to use, even after I took a course on it. (My apologies to Prof. Kerstin Vogdes-Diehn at Pace University! You tried.) 

Once I learned that PicNik would be closed, I turned to the web to look for alternatives that would be easy to use. What follows is a blog entry by Kaye Swain of SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation. Kaye’s blog is not devoted to technology and is in fact a fairly religious site while Tech and the Baby Boomer is clearly a secular site. However, we both agree that we need photo editing tools that are easy to use so we can keep posting.  With Kaye’s permission I am reprinting much of her blog post about an alternative to PicNik called iPiccy.

by Kaye Swain on February 21, 2012

Photo editing! Some tools, like are fun and easy to use with both photos from a digital camera or clip art. With other tools, it's like pushing a rock uphill – for 5000 miles. That's about how I felt when I learned was closing their site and migrating some of their tools over to Google+. As a VERY busy member of the Sandwich Generation, I was definitely feeling frustrated.

HOWEVER, after lots of fun experimenting, and plenty of intensive research, and gaining several great new iPhone apps (and a couple of not so great ones), I revisited a site that had helped someone I know, and found that he had discovered an excellent alternative. Mega thanks to Brad Andersohn of Brads Domain (not to mention being the Industry Outreach Manager for, the Director/Instructor for Zillow Academy, and an Ambassador and Blogger on the ActiveRain Real estate network – all great resources for all of us in the Sandwich Generation who are busy caring for the real estate needs of our elderly parents.)  for introducing me – and now you – to iPiccy.

If you are familiar with, you will probably feel quite comfortable at iPiccy. There are many similarities. There are plenty of differences as well, though. Some things are better. Some are more difficult. And it all takes a few minutes of playing with it to start learning what's what. But it takes me a LOT longer to figure out things like Gimp or PhotoShop – if I ever do, so I'm happy to say that I find that this is definitely much easier. 

A couple of little pros, cons, and tips. First, I miss the stickers from Picnik that let me point to something. I can do the same thing with the pencil tool, but as you can see, I'm not very straight at it.

When you are editing the size of your photo, (select "editor," then "resize image," making sure it says "constrain proportions," then type in the width or height, and it SHOULD change both for you, keeping it in proportion. The SHOULD is because last week, it wasn't doing it. I suspect it may have been upgraded, as I know they are working on it steadily to make it even better than it is. But just in case it does NOT change both numbers for you – here's the little trick I discovered. Click on the arrow to the right of the "WIDTH %." A little bar will show up and you can toggle that to adjust both the height and width in proportion. 

There are several different choices for special effects from "old photo" to "neon" to "artistic painting" to this cute "Snow" effect. My grandkids will enjoy seeing granddog surrounded in snow, since our own snow failed to make an appearance this week.
One thing that is of vital importance to me is the ability to add text easily to photos and my cute country clipart from Trina and Friends. This works GREAT. It's actually easier than Picnik in some respects and, while it doesn't have as many fonts, I like the selection. It has my favorite font – Comic Sans. I love it because it's small letter A is the same  way kids write them so it's easier for little ones to read. I also found a few others I know I will use a lot like:

One thing I noted in the font options is that it always comes with "SHADOW" preselected. I don't care for the effect so I always deselect it before anything else. Try it both ways to decide for yourself.  ;)
Well, that's it for now on iPiccy. As I play with it more and learn more interesting and intriguing options, I'll pass them on. It's definitely a useful tool for those of us in the Sandwich Generation who like a quick and easy to use photo editor as well as a digital camera.