this day in family photos

I’ve been pretty good at keeping all of my digital family photos organized over the years. I keep them in folders on my Windows computer that are named for the date and event. For example, here’s the name of a real folder on my computer:

2011-12-25 Christmas morning

Naming my folders this way makes them sort nicely and allows me to quickly find a photo from a past event, no matter how long ago. It also makes a good foundation for the purpose of this article, a daily reminder that I call “this day in family photos”.

You’ve certainly seen stories like “this day in world history” or something similar. Well, I’m pretty heavy into genealogy and I appreciate looking at the same thing but specifically in the history of my own family. Therefore, each morning, waiting for me on my computer screen, is an Explorer window that looks like this:

Notice that while the years and titles of the folder names vary, the months and dates are all the same, today’s date. I can click on any of those folders to browse the photos and videos from that day. It’s a lot of fun, and a bit nostalgic, to look back and see what happened on this day in my family. So, here’s how I do that.

Assuming that you name your photo folders similarly, this setup only requires three additional items:

  • Everything
  • Windows batch file
  • Windows Task Scheduler

Everything is a Windows desktop search engine. While the name is a bit interesting, I find it to be a very powerful and handy tool. So, you’ll need to download and install Everything. 😀

Next, create a Windows batch file that launches Everything and shows the list of folders for today’s date as shown above. If you’ve never created a Windows batch file, start by launching Windows explorer (Win+e). Create a folder at C:\scripts (hopefully you can figure out how to do this). In that new folder, create a new text file named something like “todayphotos.bat”. Here’s the contents:

@ECHO off
SET MM=%DATE:~4,2%
SET DD=%DATE:~7,2%
SET ARG=folder:????-%MM%-%DD%*
"C:\Program Files\Everything\Everything.exe" -s %ARG%

For purposes of this article, I’m not going to explain the details of the above file. You can research that if you want; just look for info about the Windows SET command along with Everything’s searching syntax. For now, just create the file, save it, and exit. Then, double click the file to run it. This should pop up the Everything search window, with a search for folders named with today’s date.

Now, schedule it to run every day. I’m not going to explain how, because you can already find many articles about how to schedule a task in Windows.

That’s it. Enjoy looking back on your own family history. Merry Christmas.

Social Media Concerns, Reliable Sources

I’ve become increasingly concerned about our use of social media in recent years. I expect that I’ll write more about this in the coming months, but for now, I’ll just share some simple links to stories and documentaries that I hope you’ll watch.

The Social Dilema
2020 – Netflix
This documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.

Is TikTok A Harmless App or A Threat To U.S. Security?
Nov 15, 2020 – CBS 60 Minutes
It’s billed itself as “the last sunny corner on the internet,” but is TikTok really a tool for China to obtain troves of data on Americans? “Like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, TikTok’s real business is keeping you engaged as long as possible… in order to collect your data.”

I can’t overstate this. The very future of our privacy as Americans depends first on our awareness of what’s going on, and second on the actions that we take as a result.

By sharing these links, I really hope you’ll watch them and form your opinion based on information provided by experts. Let me know if you have additional links that should be listed here.

Welcome

I created this little spot on the internet on March 28, 1996. This website has had many forms over the decades, the most recent of which was a simple blog where I shared my thoughts about anything and everything. Today, it’s still my personal blog, but I’ve decided to remove all of my previous posts (285) and start over.

My immediate plans are to write about internet and social media privacy and security. I’m working on some posts now.

More soon…