ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Recovering Facebook photos (K2 #15)

Question of the Week
Over the last few years I have uploaded many photos from my smartphone to my Facebook account. Recently my smartphone was stolen. Is there an quick way to recover my photos?
-- Sonam in Bangkok

Sorry to hear about your smartphone! Here's some good news: Downloading album photos from your 
Facebook account is easy. A few months ago, Facebook added a Download Your Information feature. Using this feature, you can download an offline version of your Facebook account data. The data includes your profile, the wall, your list of friends, events, notes, messages, uploaded videos and also what you were looking for: all your photo albums.

Here's how to use this feature:

  1. After logging into your Facebook account, select Account at the top-right and then Account Settings from the drop-down menu. You will reach the My Account page. 
  2. Toward the bottom of the page, look for the Download Your Information section. Click on the learn more link, and just follow the simple instructions. It will take Facebook some time to prepare your download, and when it is ready, you will receive an email saying "Your download is ready" and containing a link back to the download page. 
  3. Click on the link. You will be asked to re-enter your password, and then offered to download a zip file. The file can be quite big, depending on how much content is in your Facebook account. 
  4. Download the file to your computer, then unzip it to a new folder on your hard disk. 
The folder will contain an index.html file in addition to a few folders. One of the folders - photos - will contain all your albums and photos, in JPG format. You can then copy your files back to your smartphone (use your phone-to-PC sync application). You can also view your Facebook account offline by opening the index.html file with any web browser. You might be surprised with how much information is contained in your account!

While we are on the topic of Facebook photos, here's a tip that could save you from some embarrassment. If you have photos that you don't want strangers to see, make sure that your privacy settings reflect that. To control who can view a photo album, go to the album, select Edit Album at the top, then click on the drop-down Privacy menu. To make sure that only your friends can see your photos, select "Friends only". Notice that by selecting "Friends of Friends", you are probably allowing thousands and thousands of people that you don't know to view your photos! To make the album completely private, select "Custom" and then "Only me". You will need to repeat this procedure for each and every photo album.

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