Also see the list of articles, none to be taken seriously.
Catching up on photo collections I’ve posted in the past few weeks:
See what Acadia National Park in Maine looks like. I took a trip there a couple of weeks ago with 17 people from the Appalachian Mountain Club Worcester Young Members (an unofficial event). Great biking, trail running, kayaking, and sunrise on Cadillac Mountain—see the pictures. Thanks to everyone involved for a memorable weekend.
Below a Providence street as it crossed over the water, I once came across a large wooden crate-like structure hanging by heavy cables, only easily visible or accessible by boat. Liana Araujo-Lane saw my picture of it and wrote in with an explanation—thanks, Liana!
“I believe that that cardboard wood thing was a project of a student at RISD for a while. She lived in it and commuted to school with a kayak every day. she had to co-ordinate her commuting times with the tides…it was pretty interesting. I learned about this from a teacher I had over last summer at RISD who was friends with this girl.”
Here’s a way to back up iPhoto’s image comments into an easy-to-read flat directory structure. (Translation: one big folder.) You’d want to do this when archiving your photos to CD or DVD, or when trying to merge photo libraries, or when leaving iPhoto for another program, or at any other time you want your comments saved in a non-proprietary, easily readable format.
As you may have read last week, when I upgraded to iPhoto 4, all the image descriptions temporarily disappeared from my online photo albums. (I caught the problem on my own staging server before it appeared on this site.) The culprit was a change in the way iPhoto stores photo comments. Comments are now entirely gone from the easy-to-parse AlbumData.xml file; iPhoto now stores them in a binary format that appears to be proprietary.
AppleScript to the rescue. Last week’s script saved the comments to text files and generated a directory structure that exactly paralleled iPhoto’s library, with one text file for each comment. These files were in folders for each day, which were in turn inside folders for each month, etc., guaranteeing there would be no name conflicts. I had rejected using the internal ID of each picture (which would have allowed a flat conflict-free directory structure) because the ID wasn’t user-visible anywhere in the iPhoto interface, making comment files named for the ID difficult to map back to the original pictures.
One of the comments on that post asked for a version that generated the comment files in one folder, based on the image’s filename. That was a good idea. Though the filename is not guaranteed to be unique, it often is in practice. Most digital cameras save unique serial numbers for each picture as part of the filename. So this is enough for most people. (The exceptions would be if you have more than one digital camera using a similar naming convention, or if your camera is configured to reset its numbering between rolls.)
If you like guaranteed accuracy, use my original script; if you like simplicity, use the following alternate script. It will only save one of the conflicting comments if photo filenames are duplicated. Dropping the parallel folder structure simplified the script, since this version doesn’t need to employ any POSIX path manipulation.
Copy the following into Script Editor and run. Tested with iPhoto 4.0 on Mac OS X 10.3. (It may also work with earlier versions; drop me a comment below if you’ve tried it.)
I bought the upgrade to the Apple’s iLife suite, released on Friday. Here’s a gotcha for developers who parse iPhoto’s AlbumData.xml file, though it doesn’t directly affect most users. It affects me, because my own code parses AlbumData.xml to generate my web-based photo albums (such as the England trip pictures I just posted).
Though the overall format of iPhoto’s XML file stays the same (and my script had no trouble reading it), the Comments and Date fields are gone! The Date field is renamed and in a different format, which is no problem to work around because the image file’s embedded EXIF data contains the date as well. The missing Comments field is a different story.
From my quick inspection, the comment data seems to be only stored in a newly introduced iPhoto.db file, which is in some binary format. The rationale for this is presumably performance, but that doesn’t completely make sense, since the photo title is still stored in the XML file and it may be changed just as often.
In any case, here’s a workaround that uses AppleScript to write a parallel folder structure holding just the comments, one per text file. Paste the following into a Script Editor window and run. Use this anytime you’d like to protect your comments from the vagaries of software or platform transitions or upgrades. (The parallel folder structure helps this; the script could have used iPhoto’s internal IDs and generated all the files in a single folder, but that wouldn’t have been as forward-compatible.) GPL-licensed.
commentCommonBaseDir = os.path.expanduser("~/Pictures/") commentOrigDir = os.path.join(commentCommonBaseDir, "iPhoto Library") commentParallelDir = os.path.join(commentCommonBaseDir, "iPhoto Library - My Comments Cache") commentFileSuffix = ".comment.txt" def getCommentForFile(imagePath): if not imagePath.lower().startswith(commentOrigDir.lower()): raise ('Error: image does not appear to be in iPhoto Library; ' + 'cannot compute comment path. Image: "%s". Library: "%s".' ) \ % (imagePath, commentOrigDir) commentPath = os.path.join(commentParallelDir, imagePath[len(commentOrigDir)+1:]) + commentFileSuffix if os.path.isfile(commentPath): print "Read comment for " + imagePath return open(commentPath, 'r').read() return ''
Here are pictures of the scenery in Dartmouth taken during my trip to England over the New Year. Uploading has been slow due to the sudden death of my cable modem. Family pictures are coming next, and are semi-private: you’ll need to enter "family" as the username and my mother’s maiden name in lowercase as the password. The aunts, uncles, and cousins involved should have no problem figuring that one out.