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The End of an Era...

Ok, maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic, but I finally got around to putting all my nintendo stuff up for auction at eBay. I haven't touched either my gamecube or my GBA in pretty much a year, so I figured that I could try and sell them to raise some funds to support my current photography habit. (I've pretty much decided on the D70 - just have to wait for the cash to show up under my mattress one of these days)

So if anybody is interesed, head on over to eBay and bid really high on some of the relics of my bachelor days :)

While I'm at it, I think I'll dig out my old NES, SNES and N64 and see what those will fetch at auction...

To XMP, or not to XMP

Garrett's question at linuxart, What do you do with your images? has generated quite the discussion. Many excellent suggestions being made, including the use of XMP to store the metadata for your images directly within the image files.

The advantages of using XMP are that you can move your files around outside of F-Spot (or whatever other image management app), and still maintain information that you've entered about the description, location, etc. Backups become simpler because you don't have to save the metadata seperately.

Two possible issues that I can see are:

  • All image manipulation must be done in an XMP-aware app, or at least applications that don't blow away the XMP data.
  • Support of RAW formats - Adobe's XMP documentation doesn't specifically mention any RAW formats, which makes me wonder if it's possible to use XMP in formats like Nikon's .NEF (which does seem to be a TIFF format, so maybe there's hope).

This does seem like a 180° about face from my last post, but as long as there's an original, unmodified copy of the image somewhere that I can easily revert to, then I'm happy.

Don't touch my pics!

<rant> My images are sacrosanct.

I do not want image management software to store comments, tags, descriptions or anything else that did not come from my camera inside the image.

If you absolutely feel the need to do this in your software, then at least make a copy of the original image. I always want to be able to go back to the virgin image as it first was transferred from my camera.

</rant>

F-Spot

The F-Spot project really interests me. I think I first noticed it from Garret's blog. F-Spot plans to do (according to the wiki) many of the things that I've been trying to hack into my photo management app. One area that I'd like to see more focus on in F-Spot is backups.

I've been implementing a system that backs up (as part of a generic exporting system) all of your pictures to CDs or DVDs of different sizes. The CD would also contain (enough to fill up the disc):

  • The complete index of all the pictures you've taken (dates, comments, categories, etc.)
  • Thumbnails for images (those on the CD, and those not on the CD)
  • Images that haven't been backed up in a while (configurable - I figured I'd start with LRBU - Least Recently Backed Up)
  • Recovery data for individual images, or entire CDs. I was thinking of using parchive (probably v2) to generate the recovery data.

All of the above are useful to ensure that no image is ever lost. Losing a CD shouldn't be catastrophic. Nor should losing your hard drive. Storing the complete index on every backup made means that even if your hard drive gets eaten by your dog, you won't lose all of the time spent organizing pictures into categories, adding descriptions, etc. Storing thumbnails of images that are present on the disc just makes browsing the disc faster. It should be possible to turn any of these options off, or change the ratio of thumbnails to extra backups to recovery data.

A few other features that would make F-Spot the killer app for me:

  • Flexible directory structure for storing images. I like all of my images to be in folders that identify the date the image was taken. So I've got folders named "2004-10-11", "2004-10-07", etc. But I'm sure that everybody has their own preference, so this should be configurable.
  • Batch date adjustment. I often forget to update the clock on my camera when I travel, so as a result the dates stored in the EXIF headers of the image are in EST. It would be great to be able to select a bunch of images and say "offset the time by -1 hour." If your camera's clock was completely off (but still consistent with itself), it would be great to select a bunch of pictures, choose one of them for which you know the date and time, and the program would figure out the correct time offset and apply it to your selected images.

Maybe I'll have to learn C# so I can start helping out with F-Spot myself :)

Super Size Me

I watched Super Size Me (imdb.com) on Sunday night. It was a very entertaining documentary, although I can't say that Spurlock's findings were surprising. If you eat crap everyday, it's going to have an affect on your mind and body. The obesity crisis in North America (no, Canada is not immune from this, unfortunately) is just a symptom of our society's refusal to acknowledge personal responsibility. Stop depending on the latest fad diets, "magic" pills, and surgery.

The secret formula is: eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.

Anyway, on to Fast Food Nation...Hopefully this will reinforce my current disgust at fast food and I'll never eat another big mac again.

Thanksgiving

Just got back from Calgary where we spent Thanksgiving weekend with my family. We went hiking up Johnston's Canyon in Banff, went to the hot springs, had a great turkey dinner, helped out Tim and Holly with their invitations, and generally had a great time with my whole family. It's been a while since we've all been together!

Canon EOS 20D

Somehow the EOS 20D (dpreview.com) slipped by my notice...So now I have four cameras that I'm considering.

My preference is still the D70, but I haven't read up much on the 20D. To me, it looks like that all you get for the extra cash is a few more megapixels...