Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo Woe

I've been a pretty loyal Apple/Mac customer for ten years now. Their stuff Just Works.

Except for when it doesn't.

I acquired a copy of iPhoto '11, and installed it with a great deal of glee. I let it convert my library, shunting everything into a single massive package file, and then it started scanning my pictures for faces. Awesome! That was going to take a while, so I left it overnight.

The next morning... it had crashed. Oops. Oh, well. I started it back up, and it promptly crashed again. And again. And again.

I poked around online for help. I opened the package file and deleted portions of the database to no avail. I downloaded a separate utility application and had it rebuild my entire library. That chewed up another 20 GB of my hard drive (glad I'd cleared out some space recently!) and I left it sitting for yet another night. When I got up the next morning, the rebuild log file told me it had encountered something like 400 critical errors, but had finally got the job done.

And sure enough, there was my photo library. Finally. I started going through the "Faces" it had recognized and labeling them. Except that only 1 tag of every five was a face at all. And the ones I closed out as not-faces didn't stay gone. iPhoto wouldn't let them go.

Well, whatever, I didn't need face-tagging, really. I went into the main photo album and started playing with stuff. I couldn't get it to display photo keywords on the main thumbnail screen. And when I tried to add a face tag to one picture, the interface was ridiculously clunky. And broken. It wouldn't let me move or re-size the tags, and wouldn't let me delete them once they'd been created. I thought maybe the system had gotten its memory scrambled -- that happens sometimes -- so I shut it down and went to work.

When I got home last night, I fired it back up to see if I could get it to work properly. iPhoto's main screen loaded, and then I was treated to the Spinning Beach Ball of Death. Better still, it locked up my entire system instead of just the one application. I had to do a hard-reboot. Well, maybe the memory was just screwy from all the rebuilding. I tried again.

Same result. iPhoto was Not Loading, and whatever it was doing while it was Not Loading, it was also locking up my whole computer.

Argh. So I gave up and deleted it. I deleted iPhoto '11, and the rebuilt library, and then I plugged in my backup drive and fired up Time Machine and went back to a backup from about a week ago and restored my old, unconverted library, and my old version of iPhoto that doesn't have face tagging but which, you know, actually works. That took all of about 45 minutes to do -- and 10 minutes of that was doing the delete of the rebuilt library package.

iPhoto '11? Pretty much crap, at least on my machine (though I'm willing to entertain the notion that it was crap because my machine is a few years old). Time Machine, now... That's some software that Just Works. I've only needed it a handful of times, but on those occasions, it's done exactly what I wanted it to do, exactly the way I wanted it to do it. I love my Time Machine.

1 comment:

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