Description: Tired of digging through your computer to find the family photos you want? Mylio’s interactive Life Calendar makes it easy to see what you’re looking for, right away.
By: Maggie King
When it comes to memories, everyone’s brain works a little differently. Some of us think in terms of people; we see a face in our minds and navigate to our memories using the feelings that face triggers. Others think in details — geographic locations, for example.
Mylio understands that, in order to access important memories through a family photo library, we need to be able to find those family photos in a way that makes sense to our individual thought processes. That’s why there are so many different ways to navigate the system. Each family member accessing the library may have a unique way of doing so, with the same end result: important memories and family history are accessed, experienced, and enjoyed on demand.
Many of us look for memories chronologically. We’re used to scrolling back (and back… and back…) until the right day, month, or year pops up. It’s not a perfect method, but everyone knows how to find the photo they need by looking for the approximate time period it occurred — it just might take a while.
Mylio’s answer to this is the Life Calendar. It goes beyond the “endless scroll” approach to provide an interactive photo calendar experience, so that you can access images chronologically and visually–and significantly faster than you would with the standard camera roll. Here’s how.
Viewing family photos in Life Calendar
In this article I laid out an example workflow for organizing files and photos in folders on your computer. When you do so chronologically in that format, you have year folders, which break down into month folders, which break down into event or day folders. It’s a good system, but for very visual people like myself, it’s better for storage than actually experiencing and enjoying your family photography.
Life Calendar, courtesy of Mylio Support
The thing that’s missing there is the ability to trigger memories by seeing them. For example, if I wanted to find photos of a friend’s baby shower from a few years ago but couldn’t remember for sure what month it happened, I could just pull up the correct year and see all the photos I took in the form of a monthly calendar. If none of the baby shower photos appear in the monthly view, I might see photos from, say, a day at the beach that happened shortly before. Oh, yeah! This happened just a couple of weeks before the shower because I bought the gift at that outlet mall nearby.
In addition to a better user experience for finding photos chronologically, it’s a lot more fun to explore and be surprised by your own memories, rather than clicking a series of computer files open and closed. It’s like seeing the important moments from your life spread out in front of you.
Make it yours
Mylio is an extremely smart program, but it doesn’t differentiate family photos with double chins and nose-picking toddlers from the more put-together shots in your library without a little help. Since I’ve got a lot of toddler photos (and a lot of images shot from the same, unflattering angle for some reason) I’ve taken to selecting photos to serve as event covers. (More on events in a moment.) That way, when I’m showing off Mylio to friends, I don’t have to share the raw stuff unless I feel like it.
It’s easy to set up, just right click your image, go to Set Cover and select Event. Now, that photo will be the first one you see associated with whatever events it appears in.
Ah! How do I get back???
When I went deep into the calendar view for the first time, down to a specific day, I had trouble trying to get back to year view. I quickly learned that when you click over to All Photos or People and click back to Calendar, it opens your Life Calendar back to exactly where you had it open. (Which is actually a really great feature, if you think about it, but not helpful if you want to go back to a broader view.)
Instead, I learned to either click Calendar while in Calendar to get back to year view, or to use the minimalistic little arrow in the top left corner of Mylio to move back one step at a time: image, day, month, year. (This goes for the app, as well.)
Linking existing calendars to your photo library
One of the advantages of using an actual calendar interface is the ability to link it with your existing calendars and see it all in the same visual format.
I’ve got a whole collection of Google Calendars spanning back to my college days. On those calendars are some very big events: weddings, birthdays, a couple of vacations, and a handful of family get-togethers. I linked these calendars with Mylio when I set it up for the first time, and now those events pop up in the photo calendar next to the corresponding images. It adds a little context to the visual information as I’m processing it because, despite my visual nature, sometimes my memory does drop the ball when I’m trying to navigate through a lot of images at once.
There are also some extremely unimportant events on my personal calendars. Reminders to take out the trash, deadlines for work, dentist appointments, and so on. I don’t necessarily want to see these as I’m hopping along memory lane, so I either unlinked those calendars or removed the events manually on an individual basis. I’ll show you how to do that in a moment. First, let’s talk about how to get the calendars you do want linked up with Mylio.
Mylio’s setup process is pretty comprehensive. It will help you get going with nearly every aspect of the program, Life Calendar included. So when you get started, take a few minutes beforehand to look over your existing calendars to see which ones make sense to link. Then, follow the instructions!
Any other time
If you didn’t link calendars at setup and would like to do so later, follow these instructions, which tell you what to do based on what operating system you’re using.
Here’s what it looks like in the app. It’s almost identical on the desktop.
To access the different options from Mylio once your calendars are linked, go to Settings and select Linked Calendars. There, you can choose which calendars show up and which ones you’d like to hide.
You can also give your calendars nicknames, choose to import events only when Mylio has media for a particular date, and write keywords for each calendar that will tell Mylio not to display a certain event. (See above, I’ve got my work calendar hidden, because I wasn’t getting value out of seeing the events on it in relation to my family photos. When I was allowing it to show, there are three keywords I used to try and weed out the things I didn’t need to remember.) You may need to select Show More Options beneath a specific calendar to see some of these features.
Back to images for a moment, Life Calendar requires very little action from you to get down to business. Mylio takes the metadata from your images and uses that information to put your photos where they belong in the calendar. However, there are some situations where you may need to help it out.
When you scan old family photos, they may show up as being very recent, since you did, in fact, create the scan quite recently. To put in more accurate dates, right click each image and select Change Date. You can do this in batches by using Shift + Click to select several images at once, right clicking one of them while all are still selected, and choosing the same option.
Single date, date range, and undated
What if you don’t know what date a photo is from? This is a problem especially with older family photos that may predate your memory (maybe even your parents’).
In this case, when you right click and select Change Date, look at the top of the dialogue box and go to Date Range instead of Single Date. You can select a range for your photo(s) based on approximately when they might have been taken.
Alternatively, you could go next door to Date Range and select Undated if it’s not important to you to have a specific date associated with a particular image.
With so many different ways to organize and explore in Mylio, events sometimes don’t get the starring role they deserve. Mostly because people stick to the tools that appear on the main toolbar as they are learning, then get comfortable and never dive any deeper.
If this is you, I’d recommend taking a look at events. They get lumped in with albums and folders a lot, but don’t confuse them. They are not really the same thing. Events inform your calendar view experience. You’re getting visual cues from the actual photos, then the relevant events pop up on the photos where they apply, to give you concrete information that goes with those cues.
Look how much fun the kids had at that children’s museum! Why were we even there? I forget…
Oh, that’s right. We went there for a conference and decided to try it out. Hey, we’ll be in that same city in a few months! We should go back.
The information is just obvious enough that you’ll look at it if you need it, but it doesn’t block the image itself to prevent you from finding what you’re looking for.
Adding, removing, and changing events
Not all of the events I want in my Mylio Life Calendar appear in the existing calendars I have linked, so I add them manually as needed. Without selecting any images, I go to the toolbar on the right and click the plus sign next to Events (in the app, I click the three dots on the far right of the bottom menu and tap Select Event).
The box that pops up gives me the option to add a title, put the event in categories, give it a priority, and fiddle with the date range if it doesn’t automatically show what I had in mind.
Removing an event is even simpler. You just right click on the event itself where it appears in your Life Calendar and select Remove.
Just want to change something? Edit Event, in the same dialogue box, gives you the option to make any changes needed to an event rather than remove it altogether.
Using categories to color code your Life Calendar
One of the main ways I keep my calendars (and life in general) organized is color coding. In Mylio, you can color code your events by putting them in categories.
You can set up categories piecemeal: select your image, go to that handy toolbar on the right, and scroll down to Categories (underneath Keywords) and press the plus sign. But when I set up, I found it easier to lay groundwork while in category mindset.
Categories, courtesy of Mylio Support
In Settings > General > Categories, you’ll see all the suggested/existing categories so far. You can order them by dragging and dropping with the six-dotted symbol to the left of each one, change the names by clicking the text, and change the color coding by clicking the color dot and selecting a new color — or creating a custom one — from the dropdown list. Click Add New while you’re here to add the different categories you anticipate using as you set up your library.
If you haven’t signed up for Mylio yet, check into the current deal with Seagate’s PhotoDrive at Walmart. You’ll get an external hard drive to use as your first vault, along with three complimentary years of Mylio Create (that’s saving you $150, if you haven’t been keeping track). That will get you ready to dive into facial recognition, the Life Calendar, and the many other ways to preserve and share your family photo library.