Friday, January 14, 2011

Apple's Aperture 3 Photo Management Software

San Rafael, California

Being a MAC guy I was pretty excited to see Apple open up the App Store, which basically mirrors the iPhone App Store, but is for the bigger machines. On the day the App Store opened Apple dumped the price of Aperture 3 from a smooth $199 to a cool $79..99. I had to have it.

This turned into a four day saga, where I spent hour upon hour trying to unsnarl the chaos that occurred in my hard drive while trying to move my photo's from iPhoto 11 to Aperture 3. Many including me, stay with Apple because up until now the MAC eco-system has worked really well across different platforms and gizmos. A really pathetic situation as Aperture 3's consumer hook is targeted toward iPhoto 11 users who are budding amateurs photographers that want to play with the big boys. Many professional photographers use Aperture to manage their work-flow. Apple is taking a run at the king of management and editing software, Adobe Photoshop. Briefly, here is what happened. Aperture didn't recognize some older video file formats that iPhoto had no problem with. This locked up Aperture over and over, resulting in me force quiting multiple times. Once I figured out a work around, Aperture completely choked on its much touted facial recognition software. Once I disabled that, the program then locked up over trying to generate the thousands of previews and thumbnail photo's. I eventually had to import all my photo's that were in iPhoto manually, and in a piecemeal fashion. 

All of this took many hours as I'm no computer expert. I had to spend time in the MAC discussion boards to learn work-arounds, and that I'm not the only one running into all these problems. The boards were on fire! I learned a ton about Aperture 3, and my MAC during this heinous time. The software upgrade is simply not ready for prime time. I can't recommend the software until Apple fixes all the bugs.

Here is the good news. Without the bugs, the software itself is awesome! I've now imported my library, and have figured out what locks the program up resulting in everything working smoothly. What a photographer can do with this software is really amazing. I almost bought it at $199, and consider it a steal at $79.99. So, for anyone who really wants the software, do some research prior to the purchase. Not everyone runs into problems. There are steps that you can take during installation to have things go smoothly, however it is more complicated than Apple would have you believe.

With all my excited over my Canon G11 and Aperture 3, I lit out and took some pictures while I was in Sausalito yesterday. Below is a sample. Enjoy!

Shot with a Canon G11
Shot with Canon G11
Shot with Canon G11

Blast From the Past 

USCGC Polar Sea WAGB 11

Big Red rolls heavily to port in the southern ocean in the fall of 1988.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Starbucks Java Squatters

San Rafael, California
Mission? Squatting @ a Starbucks

I've become one of "them." A squatter, and even I'm irritated when I come into a Starbucks and see all the tables consumed by fellow java squatters. They get the stare. The same one I'm a recipient of while I'm squatting.

On July 1st of 2010 Starbucks made the bold move of providing free wi-fi to all its customers. This was/is big news for people like me. At the same time they launched the Starbucks Digital Network. The screen below is what pops up when you first connect to the wi-fi and launch your browser.

It's really pretty cool, at least for me. You can get free premium content such as a download of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. What Starbucks is attempting to do is mesh together social media, coffee and a type of community meeting situation. I've been coming to Starbucks for a long time, and I've observed that Starbucks coffee houses are significantly more crammed with people since its move to free wi-fi. The question becomes is whether this translates into more profit for the company. 

I can't see how linking up social media with face to face conversation is going to work. They are opposing forces. Us laptop warriors usually have earbuds crammed into our lobes oblivious to the old school human interaction taking place around us. Our main concern is the availability of an electrical outlet. 

It is interesting to observe how things are evolving. As in most things, the success of  any of this is dependent upon people doing the right thing. I spend money each time I trigger a squatting event. There is the same cast of characters I see regularly, and some could be charaterized as freeloading hippie types. What can I say. When someone comes in with a stack of DVD's, snags a free cup of water and proceeds to take up a table for an entire afternoon, all of us squatters run the risk of losing the privilege. I feel for the couple who come in who just want to sit at a table and enjoy a cup of coffee, but all tables are occupied with mobile command posts. Even more upsetting is people who step outside to take a 45 minute phone call while all their crap takes up a table. So I work to mitigate my squatter ways. I am grateful to Starbucks, as coming into the local shop is a great joy. The employee's are friendly, the place is clean, and of course I'm a coffee addict.

Blast From the Past

This shot is from Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara, California. Circa 96. That is John Gamble on the left. 


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back Home in San Francisco

Mill Valley, California
Mission? Regrouping after a month on the move

I flew out of White Planes, New York yesterday afternoon, but just barely. With the blizzard roaring up the eastern seaboard, and the snow event occurring in Chicago, all served to create chaos in the nations flight system. I'm fortunate to have made it out of New York before the airports closed. I surely would have been stranded on the east coast for another few days. Here are some pictures of what I missed. Photo credit to my sister, and editing credit goes to the kid using my new snazzy Aperture 3 program. Saga to follow on that software update.

Sisters backporch

I'm thrilled to be back home in California. I landed at San Francisco International and took the Marin Airporter back to San Rafael. I spend the majority of my time behind the wheel while traveling. Last night I gained an even greater appreciation of my lot in life as I stared out the windows of the bus. The city skyline is a gem, and driving across the Golden Gate Bridge never ceases to amaze me. I was beeming even after 12 hours of airports and travel. Christa was as I left her, and the Green Hornet fired right up.

Today I made my noon yoga class at Red Dragon Yoga, and noticed a clear reduction in ability after slacking for a month. But this was offset by smiles and greetings from familiar folks who were happy at my return. 

Back in the saddle with the comfort of my standard routine.

Blast From the Past
Glacier National Park
This shot was taken in June of 2004. I took about 30 days of leave, and lit out for Montana from San Francisco. I once had a spur to buy a track of land in Montana, and almost did. I found 40 acres in Thompson's Falls, just over the ridge from the Bitter Roots. I really wanted the land, the price was right, and I had the scratch. I just got so freaked out about how big and far away Montana was from everything I knew. The trip was not a wash, but another grand adventure. Camping in a June blizzard, backpacking through Glacier National Park, watching a 300 pound man eat a 1/4 burger while smoking a cigarette, and continuously pouring money into and pulling the handle on a slot machine. I was in a hotel in Big Fork, Montana when I learned of Ronald Reagan's crossing the bar. The above picture was taken while backpacking with my trusty Fuji Finepix 3200.