Links for November 1, 2005

iPhoto Bloat and Slowdowns

I got an email today asking if I knew anything about slowdowns in iPhoto due to bloating of the Library.iPhoto index file. I hadn’t heard of it before, but Eric Lindsay, J Kevin Wolfe and the MacInTouch iLife reports have a lot of good background information.

My iPhoto is slow, but not too bad compared to some of these reports. However it does make using it not particularly enjoyable. My Library.iPhoto file is only 35mb (264,395 lines for 10,000 images), iPhoto takes about 15-20 seconds to show photos after launching. Most of my photos came from Sony cameras.

Maybe some of this will be addressed by the new 10.4.3 update.

Remembering Phil Hays

I remember spending many wonderful hours talking with Phil outside of classes at Art Center. Cigarettes were his cadence, coughing his punctuation. He used to stress that no one should ever leave their apartment without a pen and change for several calls on a pay-phone. He loved to tell stories about parties, rock stars, The Life. Phil made it all seem so glamorous, he’d lived his dream and he seemed to want the same for all of us too. His stories about New York City contributed to the myth and wonder that helped lead me here.

But those stories are only part of made Phil special for me. Phil was one of the most consistently encouraging and giving people at Art Center. Too often teachers try to mold students into copies of themselves, but Phil taught his students to recognize and better use their own innate strengths. He pushed us to outdo ourselves, as ourselves. His own life was an example of succeeding on one’s own unique merits, more than anything else, this was the greatest lesson he could offer.

Phil Hays died last week at the age of 74, he’ll be fondly remembered.

In the mid-1950’s Mr. Hays was one of a young band of expressive and interpretative illustrators, including Robert Weaver, Jack Potter, Tom Allen and Robert Andrew Parker, who, rather than paint or draw literal scenes based entirely on an author’s prose, interpreted texts with an eye toward expressive license. Mr. Hays said that representational illustration was an art of nuance, and his work routinely dug below the surface, drawing on Impressionist, Expressionist and Surrealist influences. In 1957, Mr. Hays was hired by Silas H. Rhodes, a founder of the School of Visual Arts in New York, to teach his first illustration class, and later he became chairman of the illustration department.

As a teacher he introduced novels, plays and films to students as a way to increase their visual and verbal literacy. “Phil’s favorite expression is ‘Why not?,’ ” wrote the poster artist Paul Davis, a former student of his, on the occasion of Mr. Hays’s being awarded the Society of Illustrators 2000 Distinguished Educators in the Arts award. “He welcomes experimentation and innovation.” […]

In 1979 Mr. Hays moved back to California to become chairman of the illustration department at the Art Center College of Design. He retired in 2002.

New Apple Announcements

Being PowerBook based, I was a bit disappointed. The towers sound fantastic, especially the G5 Quad, which is a mind-blowing amount of horsepower in a desktop machine. Aperture looks stellar, I know several professional photographers who will probably start using it right away and I might be graduating from iPhoto too.

Today’s hardware releases had to have been tailored for a few goals:

  1. Make terrific machines which will sell
  2. Don’t exceed the Intel machines
  3. Don’t fall too far behind the Intel machines

Number one is obvious. Numbers two and three are more delicate. These machines can’t be so good that they take the piss out of the coming Intel boxes. Likewise, they can’t be so pathetic that Intel hardware makes these worthless. Apple has a great deal invested in brand loyalty, these machines were distinctly tailored for the transitional role they’ll be serving.

Based on that, i think it’s clear that the PowerBooks are maxed out. Yes they have better screens, better batteries, upgraded video chipsets, dual-layer DVD burners, digital audio ports and the option for larger hard drives. But there was no speed boost. These are the same CPUs as the previous generation — and that’s why I’m not going to buy one now.

New portables will most likely ship before new towers. Intel’s latest quarterly earnings pointed to the exceptional performance of their portable division. Before this upgrade, PowerBooks hadn’t been updated since January 2005, which means that Apple’s laptops for the holiday season will likely be running year-old CPUs. That’s just bad on its face. Intel’s Mobile Computing Platform and Centrino chips have been an area of great innovation at Intel, a good thing since AMD’s workstation and server chips are currently out-performing Intel’s equivalents. Apple’s Intel laptops are likely going to break my third point above. Battery life should be significantly improved and there will probably be something close to a half gigahertz speed increase (numbers based on the Intel® Products Laptop Processor Roadmap). This round of laptops won’t compare well unless Apple releases intentionally weakened Intel PowerBooks.

So I’m thinking 1Q 2006 for laptops, hopefully at MacWorld in January. They will absolutely be shipped at least a month or two before WWDC. There’s no way Jobs will get onstage this year without having shipped Intel laptops. A few months lead time would allow many developers to have Intel hardware on their laps for the keynote.

Links for October 18, 2005

Links for October 11, 2005

Joe’s iPhoto AppleScripts updated

I just posted updated versions of my iPhoto AppleScripts which hopefully address many of the problems related to System Events errors.

As I was trying to nail down what caused System Events to throw occasional errors I found a bug which was my fault. If any other windows were open in iPhoto, (info, keywords, Keyword Assistant), iPhoto would sometimes throw an NSReceiver error. All extra windows will now be closed before setting any dates. Apologies for not catching that sooner or thinking to check whether other windows were open. Hopefully that oversight will account for the majority of NSReceiver errors.

All window references should now be numeric, even though I’m fairly sure the window is always called “iPhoto” despite the active user language. (I deduced that from running the application under a variety of languages while internationalizing the date handling, the window title was always “iPhoto” even if everything else was not English and using non-Roman characters.)

iPhoto is now more assertive about coming to front, this should make running from Script Editor easier since dialogs won’t be popping behind iPhoto.

Every System Events command is now wrapped in an try block and a loop. Errors will cause that function to be run again after restarting System Events. I did this in the functions to try and maintain portability, but it made the code much uglier.

Random notes:

iPhoto 5’s adjustment windows are wacky. They report themselves as “AXUnknown”, with a possibly English localized name “HUD”. These windows do not respond correctly to a close window command

iPhoto 4 and iPhoto 2 reversed the numeric index of the date and title fields in the info pane. I must the only person in the world who noticed that. If I remember correctly there was no iPhoto 3. iPhoto 2 is not currently supported, for whatever reason it wasn’t correctly incrementing selections via Apple Events. If it’s a quick fix, I might get that working at some point since I have access to a machine with that version.

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