The Confusing New Age of Photo Management

Apple Aperture BoxFirst off: I’m no pro photographer, I’m a pure hobby shooter. I own a nice camera that I love, a Sony DSC-R1, which gets used often enough. When I’m on the road, like I just was in Vancouver, I shoot 150-200 frames each day. Typically, when at home, it’s 20-30. That’s more than the average casual photographer, but definitely not pro volume.

I’ve shot like this for years, however, and have used a very wide variety of cameras in that time. So I currently have tens of GB of photo files that represents tens of thousands of actual frames. I have a vested interest in managing these files effectively so that I can find the shot I want resonably quickly.

For several years I’ve depended on a product called iView Media Pro. When I first started using it, there wasn’t much like it on the market. The interface was cutting edge and its catloguing capabilities were second-to-none. Unfortunately over the years very little has been done to improve either the application’s feature set or its interface. The program looks and behaves a tad decrepitly.

Enter new photo management software, and lots of it, the best coming from the big boys.
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All Inks Are Not Created Equal

Inkjet CartridgeInk cartridges are like the razor heads of the computer industry. Printer manufacturers like HP and Canon hawk their printers at a loss, knowing they’ll make a killing on the flip side when their customers purchase the consumables.

And a killing is just what they make. Printer ink is one of the most expensive fluids on earth. By some estimates, if you were to fill up the tank of your car with the stuff it would cost anywhere from $120,000 to $150,000.

I rarely print anything just for this reason. Laying out all that dough on what is basically coloured water is a tough pill to swallow.
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Happiness Is…

Charlie BrownOkay, maybe it’s just that I’ve been alone with Cole for about a week solid during which I’ve had almost no time to myself, perhaps it’s the fact that I’m up before 6am for the first time in a long time (my favourite time of day), but I’m feeling like Charlie Brown right now at one of his rare moments of total elation.

I’m in a café on Lonsdale Avenue, sipping a superb Americano, munching on a brilliant walnut zucchini bran muffin, watching the flow of traffic grow on the street outside as people fumble their way out to their cars and head off to work. There’s free wifi, other laptop users (so I’m not sticking out like The Geek), and I’ve got The Plastic Constellations cranked on my iPod.

(How did I manage this moment of bliss, you might ask? Cindy came in last night from Ottawa and she and Cole are still crashed out.)

Now, this sort of scene would be possible in my hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon, except for one important element (other than free wifi): anonymity. If I were kicking in, say, the Bakerei on Main St., social interruptions would be constant. In a small town, there’s always somebody you know walking through the door, interrupting your train of thought or moment of musical enjoyment with a friendly hello and five seconds of meaningless small talk.

Here in the bustling metropolis it’s easy to fade into the woodwork when you feel like it and become just another schmuck with a laptop in a coffee shop. And, sometimes, anonymity an important aspect of modern existence. Sometimes just merging with the world’s mis en scene is a valuable method of survival.

So, as Charlie Brown would say: “Happiness is being unknown in a public place for a little while.”

Microsoft Sucks

Microsoft LogoMicrosoft does have a heart of darkness, after all, as revealed by Windows guru Paul Turrott. He’s posted a fascinatingly scathing review of the Evil Empire’s lack of progress with Windows Vista that highlights the major reasons for the company’s failure to deliver their major new OS in a reasonable timeframe. Perhaps most interestingly he points to Bill Gates as a major stumbling block to success and suggests the company’s founder just needs to get out of the way of the new Microsoft.

Trading Bullets and Missiles for Sore Fingertips

As Chinese president Hu Jintao chooses to visit Bill Gates before George Bush on a US trip and the Russian mob eclipses the infamously popular Italian mafia in relevance and effectiveness, it’s interesting to reflect on how technology is affecting the worlds of war and crime.

It was quite a while ago that the Chinese government decided to base their operations on a custom version of Linux rather than the more ubiquitous and commercial Windows operating system.

The Americans took this as an affront and Microsoft despaired as the world’s last remaining untapped market shrivelled up and blew away. China’s direction was probably guided as much by security concerns as politics and economics, however.
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Microsoft is Cool

Mslogo1_1A while back a friend who worked at MicroAge in the Horse was suddenly recruited by Microsoft and moved to Seattle to work on their Media Server products. I always wondered what happened to him and how he liked his new life. I always wanted to ask him: “Is Microsoft really evil?”

Well, he’s still out of touch, but here’s the next best thing. Microsoft employee Michael Brundage has written a short essay on his experiences at the company. It’s very interesting and makes me think it’d be great to go work for Microsoft.

Where I’ve Been

Worldmap_6I happened across an interesting site tonight that helps you map out where you’ve been in the world, Visited Countries. It’s kind of neat in the way that you can specify the countries you’ve visited and then it blocks them in on a graphic. It’s pretty basic and feels like the first step in something larger, but neat all the same.