Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

iPhoto is a hideous piece of software—I think the “i” stands for Irk Me.  Tonight, it crashed on me while I was importing photos, and it erased the whole batch of 30 photos.  That’s unforgivable behavior—crashing is bad enough, but deleting files before writing the new copies to disk safely is deplorable.

To recover them, I had to buy a piece of software that recovers photos from photo cards.  I felt like it was 1991 all over again and I back was recovering term papers from corrupt floppy disks in the campus computer lab.  But that’s not the only beef I have with iPhoto.

I recently had to increase the amount of RAM in my computer, not because of any of the other programs I run, hogs like Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Word. No, the problem was iPhoto, which seems incapable of handling a big photo library.  It uses more RAM (even when idle) and runs slower than any other program on my computer.

My photo library is currently 13,000 photos.  That’s fairly big, I admit that, but it’s not out-of-this-world big.  The advice I’ve gotten to deal with iPhoto’s inability to handle my photos—take older photos and break them into separate libraries by year or something—is pretty much unacceptable.

Let’s say I want to find a nice picture of my sister to put on her birthday card.  I don’t want to have to look through multiple libraries—it’s a pain in the butt.  Or what about if I’m doing a slideshow of past Christmases?  Or what if I just want random pictures on my screensaver, from my entire collection?

Frankly, I’m looking for a replacement and I’m open to suggestions.

In the mean time, not that Apple’s listening, but here are some things I’d like to see added to the next iPhoto:
1) Any title, keywords, description, rating, date or other data I add to a photo should be stored in the photo’s IPTC data.  As it stands, if my iPhoto database goes sour—and I bet it will, given iPhoto’s flakiness—I will lose every bit of data I’ve typed in. For comaprison, with iTunes, data added via iTunes is also saved in each MP3 file, which means iTunes isn’t the single point of failure, and using those files in other programs is much easier, as an added bonus. Even works well with Spotlight.

2) Better keyword handling. As it exists right now, iPhoto’s keyword system is impossible to use.  I’d like to be able to quickly add and remove keywords, without having to use some bizarre interface different, and more awkward than any other product out there.  This is a version 5 product, why are the keywords basically unimproved since version 2?

3) Much better saving and rebuilding of the database.  Many times, I’ve had iPhoto crash and I’ve lost titles and keywords, or editing I’ve done.  Come on, Apple.  That’s so lame.


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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