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Photograph Your Work (coker.com.au)
79 points by edward on Jan 7, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 36 comments

It's definitely a good idea, and an easy way of taking notes from a screen in situations where copy-paste is not available. Or from oscilloscopes or other instruments. Just one thing to beware if your phone is synced to Google Photos:

> ""By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.""

Recommended Open Source Alternative: https://photoprism.org/

They changed that a couple of years ago.


> "you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services"

Any photos you sync to Google can be publicly displayed for google's promotional purposes?

That doesn't sound great.

" The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. "

Introducing the worlds largest stock photography service "GOOGLE Stock Photography". So inclusive, it probably has many of the photo's you have taken in the last few years!!!

This is also true for any mechanical work on vehicles that you're not too familiar with. You will always underestimate how forgetful you'll get after even one day. When rebuilding or even performing small mechanical tasks on a motorcycle, I always photograph and label every new state of the motorcycle and link that photograph to the corresponding parts (nuts, bolts, gaskets etc) in chronological order. And even then somehow I find myself getting lazy in the process and think that I'll remember this little step or location of the part.

I often take short videos with narration after removing parts, especially noting where they came from and where they were placed.

Off topic, but I photograph everything around the house - windows, rooms, walls, cabinets. I include measurements in my photos so that if I ever need to buy something but not sure how it fits or how it will look, I reference my photos. I also take photos of all consumable products in the case where they run out or break, I can pull up a photo of what I purchased and re-purchase it again, knowing it will work / fit as needed.

This has served me very well for decades. Many datacenters will not allow photographs, but if you ask they will usually allow you to photograph your own equipment as long as it is only pictures of your own gear.

Years ago I was managing 10 racks, and I built some scripts to automate turning an SD card filled with images into HTML pages. I would bring in my midrange Nikon DSLR and take photos of the cabinets (upper, mid, lower, both front and back). These high quality photos allowed for high zoom levels that often came in handy. We had facility staff thank us for sending photos with our work requests on remote hands issues.

Now I watch youtube videos with people taking apart and repairing electrical and car related things and think "It sure could be handy to have a full video record of repair work."

I've also been remodeling my house and have taken copious photos of the work, both to help the inspectors, and for future work.

My brother in law just had a house water damage issue and several rooms were torn down to the studs. I recommended he take photos while the walls were open, for future reference.

There's a great use case for taking lots of photos.

I once installed a CPU onto a motherboard; the resulting machine didn't boot, and the initial attempts at root-causing the issue implicated the motherboard, so I arranged for it to be RMA'd. However, that meant the CPU needed to come out of the socket, and a small plastic placeholder that protects the pins in the socket needed to go back in. I did not take photos of it prior to removing it, and afterwards I really wish I had. This manufacturer appears to have made two different iterations, slightly different around just this area, with the same model number. The manual's instructions (which were written in broken English, b/c China…) were wrong (they were for the other version), and directly contacting customer support got me the same instructions. The pictures in the manual didn't match the hardware in front of me, so even that didn't help.

I eventually "intuited" how it fit together, but I caused damage to the pins in doing so. A single photo of the assembled version would have really helped.

I've heard of construction companies offering this as a service, in addition to the plans you can have photospheres of every room before the drywall goes on. Could come in pretty handy if you ever need to know exactly where some wire or pipe was run.

I've got terrible eyes, and I've also used my camera phone to zoom in on tiny serial numbers. Sometimes it's enough to use the built-in zoom for magnification; sometimes I actually snap a pic and zoom it after.

I've got a desk in a co-working space with a locking cabinet underneath that has a godawful (three-wheel, not dial) combination lock that is impossible to read in low light. Worse, the dials are chrome so shining a light on it produces specular highlights that make it even harder to distinguish the numbers. I regularly have to snap a photo of the lock, zoom in, and adjust the wheels based on the photo.

I've got nearsightedness, and roughly once or twice a year I'll lose track of my glasses due to random circumstances (e.g. going to bed very tired but wanting to read a few pages, and then falling asleep mid-reading and losing my glasses in the bedding). In such cases, I've learned to immediately locate my smartphone instead, and use its camera as emergency glasses to help find the proper ones.

Wow, you are a genius. Thank you so much for that little tidbit.

Even if you have good vision, a phone is useful when you need to look at something that is in a cramped space, e.g. behind a wall mounted TV.

It is the only use I’ve yet to find for the remote camera app in Apple Watch. Shove the phone into the blind crevice, view it using the watch. Take a few pics for reference if I like.

Or if something is at an odd angle. I once had to grab the model number of a transformer mounted in a chime box that was mounted over a set of stairs - I simply setup a ladder by the railing and used my phone to grab a few photos of the entire box.

Yes, I’ve held my phone through a small hole drilled in a ceiling to locate a dripping water pipe.

I've used the camera to check if UTP cable plugs were attached correctly.

Slightly off topic but I've noticed all the good contractors I've hired in recent years take photographs of their work after they have finished. I'm beginning to think it might be worth asking to see the photos before they start as a filter.

I get the feeling that asking that would be confusing correlation and causation. Do you know whether the bad contractors take photographs too?

Although your method is bullet-proof in one sense: if a contractor agrees to show you pictures of other clients' infrastructure, you might not want to hire someone who is such a security risk :)

Well I was thinking more about people that do work around the house.

I run timesnapper on my windows computer, it records a video of everything on my computer for the entire day. In the event I need to reproduce errors for sysadmin work

Whenever I have to debug / gut components out from my PC, you pretty much had to take pictures. Especially if you need to determine which point of failure you have (hardware, or software related).

Great idea, I'm starting that too now. Thanks for the suggestion.

Yes, this is equally important when repairing some electronic gadgets with tens of little screws and interlocking parts, etc.

Great article.

I’ve never thought of using slo-mo video to capture overly fast error messages.

The sentiment is correct, but there are a number of caveats depending on the nature of the work.

Dealing with any data that is defined under a compliance policy of some kind, for instance.

Having grown up in digital scarcity or perhaps 'photo poverty', one of the things I've had to learn after getting a smartphone is to take more photos, at the drop of a hat, for anything I might want to recall later. Caption on artwork? Photo. Item at grocery store? Photo. Interesting cat posture? Photo. Where I parked in a parking garage or giant parking lot? Photos.

Gives one a hint of how useful good lifelogging could be.

I keep a daily log of all my work with screenshots and phone pics along with a narrative. It has saved me countless times.

As an admin I will never ever put ssh private keys on any kind of mobile crap. I have no control on it, I can't trust it in any way.

However yes, I like photograph not only to fix for future reference something but also to document what I'm doing, and also other kind of logging, sometimes useful if something goes wrong not because of me but someone like to say it's because of me...

And for that a traditional pocket voice recorder is really good, plus eventual camera on it :-)

Similar thing, but I once needed to see the readout of a binary transmission coming at a baud rate of 31250Hz using a low quality (and hence minimal featured) oscilliscope. The individual bits were too fast to see in real time, so I used to slow-mo camera to record it, and got what I needed.

Definitely do this. It's incredibly handy to be able to send a video to support of a startup sequence failing or some other hard to describe scenario. Only point of caution I'd raise is if any confidential information is contained in the images. I know one data centre that forbid cameras within the aisles.

Unrelated to the content, but related to the website, Cisco Umbrella / OpenDNS tells me that etbe.coker.com.au is blocked due to a security threat. Yet, I threw the URL at VirusTotal and Google Safe Browsing and they both returned with a clean analysis. Either Cisco TALOS is ahead of the curve, or way off.

I always photograph (and sometimes even record video) of the build process of all my sculptures and carvings. They more than anything else help me reflect on my work and avoid the same pitfalls the next time.

Saved me a few times when doing laptop surgery!

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