Why does every photo organization program for the Mac suck?

I’ve been a fanboy now for almost three years, and I have yet to find a graphics program for OS X that is as functional as Cerious Software’s Thumbs Plus for Windows, something I had been using for pretty close to a decade. Once upon a time Cerious supposedly had a Mac (PowerPC) version available, but that’s long gone and nothing is available for Intel-based machines running OS X.  Since the company has only gotten around to updating their Windows version recently, I have no hope whatsoever that they’ll ever get around to writing for the Mac platform. The excuse: “ThumbsPlus contains thousands of lines of code, and we’re a small company with limited resources.” Blah, blah, blah.

That leaves me with only a few viable alternatives.

Apple provides its own native Photo organization tool, iPhoto:

The logic of how iPhoto works has eluded me until very recently. As I understand it (and please someone correct me if I’m wrong), at its core, iPhoto is basically nothing but one big database. If you choose the option to leave all your photos in their original locations on the hard drive when importing, the only thing that’s actually in that database are the thumbnails it creates of those photos and any changes you make to the photos from inside iPhoto. In other words, if you adjust color or saturation or anything else inside application, it creates a copy of the original photo inside the database (leaving the original untouched) and applies your changes to that. The only way to update the original on your hard drive is to export it from within the program and overwrite the existing file.

What a load of crap. Seriously Apple, this is the best you can do?

To iPhoto’s credit, if you don’t need direct access to your original photos or especially care where they’re actually located on your hard drive, iPhoto provides some excellent tools for grouping and organizing the photos. Unfortunately, I’m much more file-and-folder oriented (probably because of my Windows  upbringing) and despite its wonderful ability to have a single photo grouped in multiple, virtual “albums” (like having the same  picture filed in “religious absurdity” and “politics”), its way of doing things just doesn’t work for me. I’m missing something here, please enlighten me, because I really want to be able to use iPhoto.

With that being the case, for most of these past three years, in lieu of iPhoto, I’ve been using Adobe Bridge:

Bridge does most of what I need it to do and is very similar to Thumbs Plus in its layout, but it also has the annoying habit of crashing, often when doing any kind of file maintenance. Drag a photo from one folder to another? Guaranteed crash 1 out of 5 times. Adobe’s forums are full of examples of this, and their only fix is to effectively send it back to the fresh-out-of-the-box state. All well and good if you haven’t gone to all the trouble to set up which panes are displayed, thumbnail size, and file sorting preferences. It works fine for a while after doing that, but then it’s soon back to crashing. Not an acceptable answer, Adobe.

But since they aren’t even including Bridge with some of their products any longer, I have lost hope that this crashing problem will ever be addressed through a software update.

A very promising alternative I discovered a while ago was XnViewMP:

In fact, it’s about the closest thing I’ve found to Thumbs. But like all Mac photo software, there are things it just doesn’t do. You can’t drag-and drop photos from one folder to another. Seriously? You have to right-click on the thumbnail, select move and then choose a destination folder from a drop-down menu.

I want to bang my head against the desk.

Rename an image directly while in Thumbnail view?  Can’t do it.  Once again, you have to right-click and select rename.

Since XnViewMP for OS X is still in beta, I’m hoping that the author gets his shit together and adds basic, expected functionality to the program before it hits regular release because it really does show promise to finally be the Thumbs Plus replacement that myself and a lot of other people have been desperately longing for on the Mac platform.

I’ve also tried several other applications, but they were so awful they didn’t last long enough on my system for me to even remember what they were.

Computer as Appliance

When I first got into personal computers back in the late 1980s, they were still very much a niche product. For about a thousand dollars a geek could go to any of the weekend “computer fairs” that dotted the Bay Area and buy the parts to build a PC. (It wasn’t until 2004 that I actually bought my first pre-assembled computer.)  Interchangeable parts were the norm, and if you wanted to upgrade your paltry little 8088 system board to a “blindingly fast” 286, it was fairly simple (if relatively expensive).

Back in the day, system boards were larger than a sheet of paper, and individual memory chips on those boards were still the norm. There was no such thing as integrated video, parallel or serial connectors on a system board. If you wanted any of those, you had to buy separate cards. Hell, at that point there weren’t even built-in clocks! (I remember buying and installing more than one clock card over the course of assembling several PCs.) If you wanted to upgrade your RAM, you came home with a bag full of individual chips and prayed that none of them were bad, because tracking down a bad chip when you’ve just inserted 32 of the things was an absolute nightmare. (I can’t tell you how happy I was when the first SIMMs and DIMMs appeared on the scene.) And if you wanted to run AutoCAD (which I did back in the day), you needed to buy a separate math co-processor chip.

Gawd, I don’t miss those days.

Fast forward twenty-five years. Apple’s MacBook Air and iPad have shrunk system boards to an eighth the size they once were and now include video, I/O and wireless. The amount of RAM has grown exponentially, and CPUs are packing more power than ever dreamt of in 1988. The Air and iPad have no moving parts (except a CPU cooling fan in the Air) and contain nothing that is user-replaceable. Spurred in no small part by the wild success of the iPhone, the idea of computer as appliance is coming to fruition.

When I remember the sheer number of parts required to build a PC once upon a time, I am amazed when I see tear downs of the iPad and the Air (click to embiggen):

In both cases, the biggest parts of both devices are the batteries.

And even if you don’t consider them appliances, but simply as portable computers, compare them with this, the Compaq II from 1987:

My ex brought one of these home from work one evening in 1988 and we thought it was the coolest thing evah. I only wish he were still around to see how far we’ve come since then.

It all makes me wonder what the face of computing will look like in another 25 years…

I Want To Print This…

…roll it up, and beat several well known bloggers over the head with it.

But then, I am a Grammar Nazi.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve argued with fellow bloggers (one of whom in particular—and no, not my Bubba) who say, “People know what I mean.” Yeah, maybe so, but it makes you look uneducated, and therefore anything you’ve written not worthy of being taken seriously.

The Truth Hurts

In its entirety from Ministry of Truth at The Great Orange Satan:

“If you LOVE Rush Limbaugh you probably suck to be around. Unhappy, unpleasant, racist, backwards, sexist, homophobic conspiracy theorists who hate hate hate and fear fear fear. At this point they should replace the elephant with Chicken Little.

Dear Conservatives, all of your ideas, when practiced, result in Epic Fail. Drill baby drill, BP Oil Spill. Let the banks get Too Big To Fail and police themselves, massive bank collapse. Teach abstinence only, teen pregnancies go up. Cut taxes for the rich while waging war, create a massive deficit. Trust me, I could go on. Your political philosophy is a joke, a tiresome reel of you as Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes, yet no matter how hard your ideas fail you insist that it is only your leaders who fail the ideas, so you have doubled down on stupid and insisted that by being really, really conservative, this time it’s going to work, seriously. Modern day conservatives are trying as hard as they can to bang a square peg through a round hole, but don’t even get me started on Marcus Bachmann.

It is not your conservative “family values” nonsense that you love to harp on that really matters, ask anyone who voted for Newt Gingrich this primary season. No, what binds the conservative movement at this point is hate, hate of government and socialism and liberals, Saul Alinsky and Reverend Wright and ACORN and Van Jones and whatever else they’ve been prattling on about on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. Conservatives love it and hate everything else, which brings me to my main point, which is at this point, being a conservative isn’t a political philosophy, it’s a personality disorder.

I’ve tried, I’ve really really tried to reach out to conservatives and find areas where we can work together to fix the country, but we want different things. I want to make life better for the vast majority of Americans and fix our broken system and you want to let the Government of the State of Virginia shove things inside a woman’s vagina whether she wants you to or not while screaming about an out of control government. I just can’t take you anywhere.

So I’m not going to try to pretend that you don’t have this problem, Conservatives, because its’ your problem, not mine. You have a personality disorder. You treat people like shit, you don’t like any of my friends and all of your ideas suck for everyone but the wealthiest 1% and corporations. Frankly, it’s over. I’m leaving you, and I’m taking the kids with me.

All you have left is your die-hard wingnuts, the true-believers of the conspiracy theorists, crackpots, kooks, Fox News Viewers. Much like all of the advertisers fleeing the Rush Limbaugh show, your ship is sinking, and as you continue to alienate every growing demographic in an attempt to pander to your rabid, end of the world believing, xenophobic and backwards religiously extremist base please don’t let us stop you from desperately clinging to your “stay the course” joke of a platform because that’s pretty much all you have left.

So good luck in 2012, Conservatives! Keep on selling your factually incorrect ridiculousness to gullible low information voters and your ultra-right conspiracy theory riddled base. The only difference between a Conservative pundit and Wormtongue is that Sauron never had the lobbyists Bank of America can afford. I only wonder what you will tell yourself when you step on another rake again with your “I’m a real conservative” clown shoes on, I’m sure it will be some liberal conspiracy against poor defenseless you.

But let’s not pretend what is obvious to the rest of us, there are only two places in America where a bunch of sexually repressed white guys can be legitimized based off of their net worth alone in a place where women have no voice for their rights, and that’s at the Republican National Convention and a gay strip club, but then that takes us back to Marcus Bachmann again, and thus the circle of life is complete.”

Quote of the Day

Stolen in its entirety From Bill in Exile:

“All those people who supported the war, and most especially all those who voted for it, bear the moral responsibility for the results of the war. At least 100,000 dead Iraqis (and probably closer to a million). 4,000 and rising dead US soldiers. Rape. Murder. Torture. Orphans who got to watch their parents being killed. Husbands who saw their wives die, or wives who watched their husbands gunned down or blown into bloody carrion. Families who have buried multiple children.

All because members of Congress didn’t care and because they were gutless. Because they thought to themselves “I might have to face attack ads if I vote against this war.” Can you think of anything more weak, anything more pathetically evil, than to care more about your reelection than about thousands dying? Than about the certainty that from your vote will come rape and torture and murder?

And can you think of anything more pathetic, more redolent of bad judgment than to say “but I didn’t know. I trusted George Bush?”

As far as I am concerned most of Congress doesn’t just have blood on their hands, they are in it up to their chins. Their gutlessness, cupidity and selfishness is such that most of them, in a just world, would be preparing their defenses for a Nuremburg trial. They attacked a country which had not attacked the US, based on lies that were debunked at the time, for petty personal reasons of political ambition or cowardice.

We all know that won’t happen, but what I will tell you is this. Without the Iraq war, the financial crisis happening right now either wouldn’t be, or would be much less harsh. It is quite likely that Iraq is the last mistake of the American century and marks the end of America as a superpower.

This is only fitting. Those who have proven they cannot be trusted with power must have that power taken away. America had its chance, in 2004, to take that power away from the worst of its elites. It didn’t. For an outsider, whether the election was stolen in 2004 or not is irrelevant, all that matters was the lesson of the result—that Americans are no longer capable of disciplining their own elites.”

Ian Welsh in a re-posted blog post from 2008 titled It is in Blood that Empires, Like Humans, Are Born, It is in Blood That They Die.

Go read it.

Because I think Ian is absolutely correct: America can no longer be trusted with the power and influence it has wielded since the end of World War II.

And therefore we must have it taken from us.

We’ve abrogated our responsibilities as a nation and as a people and are therefore now no longer deserving of the leadership position we once held.

We allow war criminals to run free — and make a good living as tee vee pundits on Fox.

We normalize torture as a legitimate means of interrogation.

We have a president who claims for himself the right to order the murder of American citizens without trial or even charges being brought.

We see trillions of dollars stolen by malefactors of great wealth who not only get off without even so much as a slap on the wrist but who then get paid billions in bonus money from the pockets of the very citizens that they robbed, while the people whom they defrauded lose their homes and their life savings.

I adore the idea of the country we were supposed to be, and perhaps one day we’ll find our way back from the wilderness that we now inhabit.

But I have little respect for the country we’ve become for what we have become is toxic.

I will live out my life here deeply saddened that we all, every single one of us, allowed it to come to this.

We are, in a word, spent.


n. fr. “douche”, fr. French, fr. Italian “doccia”

1. An object used for vaginal hygeine.

2. An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intellegence, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears.

3. Mitt Romney


You know I’d eventually have to peek inside The Precious.

Actually, I needed to re-seat the bottom panel because it’s been creaking a bit (a known issue), and since I had it off I figured I might as well take a picture…