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Messages - MrCrispy [ switch to compact view ]

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I found a new program - FotoAlbum Pro from

It lacks some of the more power user features but ts very fast and handles metadata and queries very nicely. I emailed the developers with some suggestions and received a prompt reply which is a good sign.

Tagging is really the way to go. I have over 40gb of music and i don't remember or care where it is on my drives. I access all of it from my mp3 player and it organizes everything into a proper structure. Nearly any music player these days will work with tags - iTunes, MediaMonkey, MusikCube are all free. I use J.River MediaCenter which I find a bit more powerful, and it also works with other media types. I've started a thread about the lack of apps that do the same for pictures.

General Software Discussion / Thoughts on backup software
« on: February 23, 2007, 04:27 PM »
I want backup software that will keep track of my files and when they were last used (NTFS last accessed timestamps). After a certain threshold, the files would be backed up to another location, BUT, and here's the imp bit - a stub would be left on the filesystem that would look like the real file to the OS, and thus to any program. When someone tries to access the file, it could either be read from the backup location (if online) or the user would be prompted to connect to the correct media.

I should be able to define folders and time limits for specific filetypes, so I can say that anything I haven't seen in 4 months in c:\Movies can be archived, but My Documents should always be available.

Another imp feature I find missing from backup software is that they don't track media. External USB drives and optical media both have unique id's, so instead of asking me to insert drive K: the program should be able to detect if I attach the right drive, no matter what drive letter is assigned.

So I'd be able to say that I want all my movies and music backed up to my 250GB usb drive. The program would keep track of what needs to be done, and whenever I happen to connect it, the files would be backed up.

I know backup like this exists for corporate use across multiple platforms in SAN's, but haven't seen anything for the home user. IMO, combined with CDP (continuous data protection), like what FileHamster provides,  this is what's needed for backup to become mainstream and not just be used by tech savvy people.  Instead, backup programs today present a bewildering array of choices - full or incremental, where to backup, how often to do it, proprietary formats, compression levels etc. No wonder most people don't use  them.

Backup software should detect if I have extra space available (on a different partition, disk, NAS, whatever), ask me if I want to use it as backup location, and never bother me again. We now have revision tracking built in to the OS (Vista's Previous versions, Apple's Time machine), there's no reason not to have automated backups that are set-and-forget.

Am I being overly optimistic or does something like this exist?

Edit - the motivation behind this is the philosophy of 'throw away anything you haven't used for a year', or at least put it away in storage! And this is the concept on which modern computing is built - virtual memory, paging, on demand loading, smart pointers are all implementations of this idea. So as a programmer, I can't help but feel this way :)

Portfolio at $199 is competing with Lightroom. It does seem to have a lot of features but after playing with the UI for 10min, I don't think it's what I'm after. I didn't see the kind of UI which would let me easily select sets of photos with different tags. There's a Find dialog in which I define queries and see results, but I want something like Photoshop Elements/Lightroom where in one panel I see a list of all the tags read from metadata.

Something like this -

-- tag2
-- tag3


-- abc

In front of each of these would be a checkbox to let me select that criteria. So I can say I want to see all pictures in folder abc or its subfolders, having a rating of 3,4,5 and tagged with 'home'. I should be able to do this very quickly without having to open extra dialogs. Also to change metadata, I should be able to select pictures and drag them to the category, or drag the category over the pics.

Most of Adobe's products (Lightroom, Elements) do something like that, as well as IView Media Pro. But they are just too slow. Browsing is one area where AcdSee is actually  pretty good, but its lack of a decent organizer and proper support for xmp/iptc lets it down.

I'm disappointed with Lightroom's  performance. Its very slow refreshing thumbnails when I scroll through my library.

All these apps seem designed for the pro photographer and offer much more than just cataloging - unfortunately I could care less about workflow, developing etc since I am not a pro. All I want is flexible tagging, viewing and speed!

General Software Discussion / Re: virtual install
« on: February 21, 2007, 12:38 PM »
I would be careful running programs off of USB. Flash memory is not designed to handle lots of writes, its optimized for reading. And I'm guessing using your method, Altiris will be writing to flash as registry/file changes are made.

I'm trying out IDImager and Imatch at the moment. Also, Adobe released Lightroom (their Apeture competitor) today. The way I test these apps is to let them import about 5000 pics which have various tags in them. Then i play around to see how easy it is - if I have to open the help file then its not a good sign!

I have to say that there seems to be a disturbing trend among graphic apps - the ones which are easy to use don't have any powerful features, and the ones designed for pros seem to lack ease of use and 'discoverability'. Lightroom seems like Photoshop Elements on steroids with workflow added - its UI is light years ahead of anything else, almost Apple-like in its goodness. But once again, not terribly fast. The other app which I like so far is IView Media Pro. Microsoft bought these guys last year and its going to be sold as 'Expression Media', so thats a good or bad sign w.r.t future development, depending on how evil you think MS are :)

All I want from an image organizer is -

1. Fast and reposnsive. I'm working with over 10k pictures
2. Ability to select a folder in the tree view and see all pics in that and its subfolders
3. Tagging support for XMP and IPTC. Import and export
4. A proper way to organize/filter views based on tags
5. File monitoring for new folders/pics
6. A nice UI with support for multiple zoom levels

I've tried nearly everything out there - Photoshop Elements 5, AcdSee, Picajet, IView etc. This category can be divided into 2 segments

- the lightweight viewers such as XnView, FastStone, IrfanView
- full blown organizers like the big 3 above
- other apps like Picasa, Corel Paint Shop Pro etc

So far, Photoshop Elements is the only one which offers halfway decent support for organizing based on tags, but of course Adobe support only XMP and nearly everyone else likes IPTC. PE is also about as fast as a hippo crawling through molasses while drunk. It also has some really neat 'features' such as maintaining its own album db which is not in sync with the filesystem, taking forever to add 'watched' folders, slideshows taking up 100% cpu and so on.

I mean, all I want is say XnView along with the ability to filter based on tag combinations. I don't want/care about a million different image editing tools (I have Photoshop for that) or slideshow effects. Picasa has a nice UI, is lightweight, but is completely braindead about tagging. Also, its amazing that not a single program seems to support #2. I also want some software to add picture tags directly from Explorer, at the file and folder level - i.e I want to be able to say - tag all pics below this level with 'xyz'.

Is there anything else out there?

Dexpot has 1 big flaw for me - lets say I am on desktop #2 and in the system tray I double click an icon for a program which is on a desktop #1 - Dexpot does not switch the desktops and I get no indication that something has happened.

This is unnacceptable. I am going to try the other managers to see how they do.

btw, I have not seen the source code for these programs but I wonder how many are using virtual desktop support which is built into XP. Like many other things, XP and Win32 fully support virtual desktops, its just not exposed as a feature in explorer - its pretty unfortunate as MS has chosen in the interests of simplicity to make XP far less capable than it really is (and the trend continues with Vista).

We're trying out OneNote 2007 trial right now to see if he likes it. I wish they'd provided an easier way to import data from Word and other apps as well.

My dad currently keeps all his data in a bunch of Word doc's. This includes all his personal as well as work correspondence and he also has a huge (1000+ pages) files in which he writes and maintains poems. He uses this as his scratchpad for new ideas as well as to copy and paste from his email.

I'm trying to find some software which will help him organize all this. Most importantly, I'd like him to stop using huge Word documents to store and find info because they are not at all well suited for the task, and if the file is damaged he'll lose everything.

But at the same time, the replacement can't be something which is too techie and is hard to use. It has to be free-form enough to let him use it without having to click around or understand a lot of jargon.

Right now I think my best bet is OneNote but I'm not too sure if its a good fit for large amounts of data.

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