Digital Photo Archiving

Dear LazyWeb:

My wife and I have something like 4000+ photos that we need to scan (at high resolution) and archive, and be able to logically manage.

My platform choice is Mac. I will likely be purchasing a Mac Mini to dedicate to this task (2GHz model). I do not want to afford a Mac Pro, as awesome as it would be to have such a powerhouse in my home. I already have an Epson 2400 scanner, and would prefer to not have to replace it.

I have no idea what software to use for the resulting photo collection. I’d like something better than simple files on the disk, and am considering either Lightroom or Aperture, even both of those seem aimed more directly at digital photography.

I would like a simple workflow, if possible, that doesn’t rely on me naming the images. Tagging and notes/comments would be required.

Can I get away with Lightroom or Aperture, and whatever scanner software I can install for my scanner? Do I need something different?

Can Lightroom or Aperture store images on an external disk (which may not always be connected?) I’ve got plenty of storage already on my home network.


Hardware will likely end up being a new 13″ MacBook, instead of a Mac Mini, as my wife needs a replacement for her iBook anyway, and the new MacBook has way more power than the mini. This definitely necessitates the ability to store all the images on external storage, ideally via a network (SMB/CIFS) share.

Digital Photo Archiving

The Continuing Quest for Reliable Email

I have, for some time now, run my own Internet domains for purposes of having what are essentially vanity email addresses and web sites. The longer I’ve done this, however, the more picky I’ve become about what kind of service I have my email stored on. I use, primarily, IMAP to access my mail, but I do on occasion require a good web mail client for those times when I don’t have my own computer(s) available to me.

In the past, I have made due with borrowed capacity on other people’s servers, running my mail through UW IMAP or Dovecot IMAP or even Courier-IMAP. All three are very capable, stable IMAP servers, though I’ve had the most reliable mail with Courier over the years. For a web front-end, if there’s been one, it’s usually been either SquirrelMail or IMP. Both are serviceable, though SquirrelMail tends more towards the no-frills just-get-me-my-mail-please approach, whereas IMP has tried for a long time to be a flashy, high-class webmail package. Neither one was really good enough, in my eyes, but then again, I’m tough to please for web apps.

The most important thing of all for me for email is reliability and stability. After that, I look at things like “how hard is it for me to manage” and “does it also make my wife happy?”. It’s on this third point that I started becoming restless with the options I had available to me, and started looking with some envy at Gmail. Zimbra, too, was under serious consideration, but it’s a heavy enough application for a server that I could not simply toss it on someone else’s server when I was already getting access for free.

Continue reading “The Continuing Quest for Reliable Email”

The Continuing Quest for Reliable Email

Oh… Safari was already awesome.

So, yeah, this is probably old news to everyone else, but I’m late to the party, as usual. I finally tripped over two menu options in the History menu of Safari that I had not previously noticed.

The first is “Reopen Last Closed Window.” This is very useful.

The second is “Reopen All Windows From Last Session.” This takes care of my biggest concern regarding session restore.

So I guess maybe a “Reopen Last Closed Tab” option might be about all I could add to that to be truly complete.

I do still look with great envy at Firefox’s extensions system, particularly for Adblock Plus, FlashBlock and NoScript.

Oh… Safari was already awesome.

Safari: You’re Awesome, But You Could Be More Awesome

It’s been about a week and a half since Apple release the last batch of updates for OS X, including the latest version of Safari. In the interests of keeping up to date with security updates, I went ahead and updated. I did my research first, though, and uninstalled Saft before the attempt (there were some who had problems with InputManagers installed during the upgrade.)

I was happy to discover, this evening, that Saft had been updated to support the latest version of Safari. Despite my general revulsion for running InputManager-based hacks (let alone other system behavior modification software, like Haxies, that hook in even deeper to the system), Saft offers a subset of functionality that I simply don’t like doing without. A couple of the features, I feel, really should be integrated into Safari proper.

Continue reading “Safari: You’re Awesome, But You Could Be More Awesome”

Safari: You’re Awesome, But You Could Be More Awesome

.Mac syncing for iPhone

A few weeks ago, when Apple announced all the new features coming to the iPhone, and specifically mentioned ActiveSync, I was reminded of a thought I had a couple months back:

There really is no good reason why the iPhone should not be able to synchronize its data to a .Mac account instead of being restricted solely to syncing via iTunes on a computer. This would actually make the iPhone even stronger for people who need reliable access to the latest version of their data without having to remember to plug the phone in all the time.

And then, this evening, as I’m going through the various RSS feeds I didn’t look at all day in NetNewsWire, If find this post on TUAW mentioning .Mac syncing on iPhones. Okay, that means the feature is most likely going to come some time this year.

Amusingly, even though I have my personal Mac at home (a 1.5GHz G4 PowerBook 15″) and a Mac at work (2GHz Core2 Mini), I still haven’t gotten myself a .Mac account. As much as I would like to synchronize my data between the two machines, I can’t seem to justify $100 a year just to be able to keep my Safari bookmarks and Address Book contacts synchronized. I already keep all my calendar information on Google Calendar, which my wife and I both use, and sync it to my Mac with Spanning Sync. (Spanning Sync will eventually have Contact syncing between Address Book and Google Calendar/Gmail too, now that Google has finally announced a Contacts API.)

The iPhone being able to sync to .Mac, however, changes the game. .Mac syncing means that, for $100 a year, I can basically never have to remember to plug the iPhone into my computer just to make sure my calendar, contacts, bookmarks and notes (well, hopefully notes) are all current. I don’t have to worry that when I add a contact in my iPhone, I need to plug in to sync it back to my Mac. For someone like me, who simply prefers for the technology to Just Work and do so on a consistent and transparent basis, .Mac syncing would sell itself.

Heck, it’s hard enough for me to remember to sync my music to my current iPod, because it means I have to dig out my cable. It’ll be interesting to see what really does come of this rumor.

.Mac syncing for iPhone

Gradually getting my ducks in a row

I’m very slowly getting my ducks in a row with regards to my online presence. I’ve decided, for the time being, that it’s probably simplest for me to keep this site as a WordPress blog, as that reduces the work I need to do to keep the site updated. Now that I’ve finally made an infrastructure decision, I can start dressing it. I’m still thinking of carrying forward the theme I used on Method, but I’m not entirely sure yet.

I’ve got comments turned off, primarily because I haven’t had time to get them working while not getting spammed to death. It appears that there’s an anti-spam plugin already included in WordPress these days, so I’ll have to give that a go.

I am also thinking that this will be the end of, as well as public entries on my LiveJournal. I don’t like being too distracted. Spread too thin, if you like. It’s my hope that what I have to say will interest at least one other person in this world besides me, and so I’ll put it here, for reading and ridicule and all to see. Expect a mix of things, with periodic dry spells.

Oh, and I’m on Twitter, too (just like the rest of the free world, it would seem.)

Gradually getting my ducks in a row

Spotlight “All Images” search leaves no stone unturned

It may not be a good thing, depending on what you try to hide on your computer. 🙂

Spotlight search in CoverFlow mode

After seeing it reported elsewhere that Spotlight’s “All Images” search on Leopard really does serve up every image on the system, I decided to give it a try myself and see what turned up. Sure enough, every single piece of spam I’ve received in the last week that included an in-line image (as a MIME attachment) ended up contributing to the show.

In this screenshot, you can clearly see all the images from the spam messages. The on of the woman in the hammock is actually from a spam message, if you can believe that. No idea who she is, but whatever email message that image was sent in got filed as spam.

Spotlight “All Images” search leaves no stone unturned

Leopard firewalling

A quickie for those that want to actually get their hands dirty with OS X’s ipfw firewall: WaterRoof seems to be the tool for configuring an ipfw firewall, setting a startup script for it, etc. for Leopard. One of the nice things is that it comes with a few rules sets that make getting the basic firewall quite simple.

I’ve simply turned off the Leopard “Firewall” for now, and reverted to the tried-and-true ipfw firewall instead.

Leopard firewalling