Aperture Confusion

I realised disk space on the Mac was filling up rather faster than expected, and after some investigation I found a couple of culprits.  First of all, iTunes was set to copy files into the iTunes Media folder when found, so storing a second copy of all my media files.

That was fairly easily sorted, but the bigger problem was that when I’d originally imported all of my pictures into iPhoto, and then shared the iPhoto Library with Aperture, iPhoto had sneakily done that by coping all those images – so Aperture was, mostly, working Managed, not Referenced.  

The workflow to sort this out was, after some trial and error, as follows:

  • Select group of Projects in Aperture (they are grouped by year)
  • File->Relocate Originals to put them in an Aperture sub-directory of the original folder.
  • find Aperture -exec touch {} \; to update the timestamp on the newly created files, because Gemini couldn’t work out which files to keep
  • Run Gemini on the folder, tell it to keep the newest files, and go.

Oh, and full marks to Gemini as a neat, cheap, file de-duplication program.  £2.99 from the App Store, and it’s gained my 200Gb of disk space and counting.  I also used Disk Inventory X to gain some insight into where space was being used to start with.  Both of which I found from tips at LifeHacker.com.

I still have some cleanup to do on the original directories, but that’s not taking up much space in comparison with 90Gb of images – which, stored three times (in the file system, in the library, and in the backup Vault) was something of a disk space hog. 

Going Paperless: Top 10 Paperless Posts of 2012 | Jamie Todd Rubin

I’ve made a few entries on the subject of Paperless – or as I prefer to call it, Paprefree – organisation, and Jamie Todd Rubin has an excellent and informative blog on this subject.   His Top 10 Paperless Posts of 2012 offer a useful insight into how to reduce the amount of paper in your life – and more importantly the amount of time spent filing it and finding the stuff again later.

IKA Logic ScanStudio Software on MacOS

Playing around with various digital circuits I was pleased to discover the IKALogic ScanaLogic logic analyser for not a lot of money, largely because your PC gets to do the heavy lifting.

However, I did run into some problems running the Scanstudio software under Parallels Desktop 8 on my Mac.  It turns out that the problem is with the DirectX support in parallels.    The problem is that if you import one of the example waveforms, or   try to show a decoded capture, it doesn’t display properly, as shown.

Screenshot 29 12 2012 18 18

 

The workaround is to shut down the VM, open the Parallels hardware settings, and disable 3D Acceleration.

 

Screenshot 29 12 2012 18 20

One that’s done, the traces appear properly:

 

Screenshot 29 12 2012 18 23

Aperture – moving photos between computer

There’s a great video up at ApertureExpert on how to do this in detail, but this is the quick and dirty version.

For the “on the road” library, work in Managed mode, where the photos are stored in the library.  It keeps everything in once place, but for the main computer with 30,000 photos and growing, I need to work Referenced so that I can keep Aperture file sizes manageable.

Import from Laptop to Desktop

So, after importing and editing on the Macbook (working managed):   File->Export->Project as New Library.  

Then, on the base machine, File->Relocate Original… 

Export from Desktop to Laptop

Select what you want, then File->Export->Items as new Library

Select Copy Originals into exported Library – use the originals, and copy previews into exported library.  You can just export the previews if you don’t want to edit the images, just add keywords etc.

When you bring them back, use the merge option to merge back to existing project folders.

Paperless, and Apple Mac

I hinted at a bit of a technology change in my last post.  Several months on, I’ve replaced my PC technology with Apple, and I have to say I’m very pleased with the switch.  It’s been a bit more of an investment than I’d planned, largely because of finding some paid equivalents of free PC software that I’ve wanted to get, but for a lot of people, particularly those who aren’t power users, this could be done on a bit of a shoe string.

Copying the data over from the PC was painless enough – I just dropped the PC drive into a USB drive caddy and copied everything over.  About the only thing I know i lost was the iTunes Meta-data (track ratings, playlists, etc), and that was largely a conscious decision that with everything else that needed converting and moving I’d rather start from scratch.

Getting the new mac fully loaded with software was helped along with the MacHeist Bundle 4.  While I’m not going to use everything in that bundle, I’ve more than got my money’s worth.

So, what does my Mac software bundle look like?

Aperture  for photo management.  iPhoto just didn’t cut it with almost 30,000 photos to manage.  I should probably do a longer post just on this, but I now stand a chance of finding pictures I’ve taken in the past, and seeing them again. 

Google Chrome as my primary browser.  Safari is OK, but I’m used to Chrome and it plays the same everywhere.  I really should make the effort to switch to Safari, just for the integration across devices, but sometimes the comfort zone is just too comfortable. 

iTunes for music and video playback.  There are lots of other programs out there, but for integration with the other iThings, it wins hands down. 

iMovie for video editing.  I’d like to get something a bit more sophisticated, but I do so little video work it’s extravagant to buy a more expensive piece of software for now.

Handbrake for transcoding DVDs to video files to watch on the iPad

Microsoft Office – fortunately I work for a company who is eligible for Microsoft’s Home Use Program so I was able to get Office 2011 for a tiny fraction of the usual price.   I’m still tempted to drop the Apple alternatives – Keynote, Pages, Numbers on as well for comparison. 

GIMP and Acorn for photo editing.  I installed Acorn and haven’t registered it, largely because, well, I’m familiar with GIMP and I’ve not used Acorn enough to decide if it’s better or not.  It probably is, but I need to get over the initial learning curve first.   What I really want is something that will do PhotoShop-esque intelligent object selection, but I’m not prepared to pay PhotoShop money to get it. 

Scrivener.  The word processor for writers.  For putting together longer documents, and researching projects, this is an excellent way of working – far nicer than trying to do it in word.  Again, why Scrivener is different from both Evernote and Word, is probably something that deserves it’s own post.

Evernote  “Your external brain” they call it, and it’s certainly mine. Synced to all my devices, and used in conjunction with the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner, this is the core of keeping paper off my desk.  Given the amount of non-paper cluttering the desk up, I do wonder why I bothered!

MarsEdit  Blogging client.  For writing blog posts offline, and managing them online.  I have several different blogs – this one, a separate one for amateur radio, and a third for a 4×4 Club, plus other websites I’m converting to use WordPress as  their CMS.

TextWrangler – because I can’t justify paying the money for BBEdit right now, though I probably will upgrade when I get into a serious programming frenzy at some point. 

DropBox to synchronise work in progress between the two macs, and also make stuff available to the iPad when offline.  For the amount of stuff I count as work in progress.

Backblaze for off-site backup of the primary Mac.  The laptop is backed up to a portable hard drive when at home, but I don’t worry about it too much.  I’m rarely on the road for any length of time. 

Freemind I’ve not found anything better looking as a paid app, though I love iThoughtsHD on the iPad.   This is my “thinking” program. 

Parallels to run Windows and Linux in a virtual machine.  There are a few applications I run under here, most of which are only installed on either the home Mac Mini or the Laptop – I don”t need them on both. 

Running under Parallels

TaxCalc – I get the upgrade every year for the pain it takes out of doing a Tax return.  

Quickbooks – looks like there’s a Mac version, but it’s not my money to upgrade with. 

Legacy – family tree software.  There’s probably a Mac alternative.  The learning curve is tough enough I’ll probably stick this one out. 

Ham Radio Deluxe and Minos for my Amateur Radio logbook.   HRD is going pay ware some time, so I’m probably going to switch to HamLoggerDX instead.   But right now, I don’t want to learn another logging program .

Various G4HFQ programs for radio handset programming, plus Kenwood’s program for the TMD72E.  I confess I haven’t tried these actually connected to a radio, but I remain impressed with Parallels ability to assign USB devices either to the host OS or guests on connection or permanently. 

Nanocom’s desktop software

And, for the hardware:

2011 Mac Mini with i7 Processor, 256Gb SSD, 750Gb Hard Drive, 16Gb RAM, two 22″ wide screen monitors, Apple USB keyboard and magic mouse.  I also have a trackpad which I find easier for some tasks, especially scrolling through documents while working on something else. 

MacBook Air, 13″ screen i7 processor,  8GB RAM, 256Gb SSD. 

Backup devices: QNAP NAS with 2x2TB RAID 1 array for backup of the Mini.  500Gb hard drive connected to the Mini to backup the Air.  None of these leave home under normal circumstances; I’ll use dropbox or a local disk for on-the-fly backup copies if needed. 

APRS Presentation

November 2011, and there’s been a bit of a gap in updates on this site. Actually, it’s been completely neglected. But, I’ve had fit of technical upgrades here, and have now got all my websites in the process of being converted to a single WordPress platform so I can write and update more easily, and I’m intending to try to keep things up to date.

Most recent news on the radio front is that I did a talk in November for the Bracknell ARC, about my efforts to work the Interrnational Space Station using APRS. It was an interesting challenge, and part 2 is still to come.

Oops… a bit of a glitch in the paperless road

Well, more than a glitch… My PC died last week.  Only 2 1/2 years old, my trusty HP laptop died a death with a fried motherboard.

I’ve been hankering after a Mac for a while and had been considering getting one as a Christmas present.

The dead PC brought this into focus a bit – and I decided that rather than repair the laptop on what might be a never ending cycle of “just another component”, or get another Windows PC, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and “go mac”.

I’ve been using my iPad 3 as my primary computer for the last week, and that’s proven to be an interesting experience.  For the majority of tasks, writing emails, Facebook, keeping up with the news, watching the odd video… it’s worked like a charm.  But as a power user there are some things that I need a Proper Actual Computer for.

And there are some things I’ll need a Windows PC for, which is why I’m making Parallels part of the purchase decision so I can still access my existing applications.  It’s a lot cheaper than the £500 or so I’d need to invest in replacing the Windows Apps I’ve spent money on.

It’s going to bean interesting journey.  I’ve been warned to expect a couple of weeks of “so this is what computers are like if you’re not an expert”, and I’ve also been told I’m going to hate PCs after this.  Watch this space to find out how I get on.

Paperless Office

The paperless office has been the promise of computing almost since the start of the computing generation.   I don’t think we’ll ever see the back of paper, but I do think that the amount going around is getting drastically reduced.

I’m looking at a two foot high pile of paper in the corner of my office.  I know it’s “post-action” – I don’t need to do anything with it, but it still needs filing against possible future need.   And I just can’t be bothered.

This is on the back of a  productive day.  I’ve shifted a pile of paper over a foot high, done the stuff hidden in there,  and now I’ve got this pile which is growing and looking at me accusingly.   I need to get the paper shifted out of my office, and then start on the non-paper stuff.

So, the plan to tackle the paper is to expand my use of Evernote by purchasing their recommended Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner.  I already have a scanner, but it’s a single side scanner with limited document feed capability.  And since Amazon had some S1500 models on at a reduced price, it seemed like too good a deal to miss.

I do have some concerns about this approach, notably around security.  Evernote is cloud based storage, and the files are not encrypted.  So, I think some sensitive finanical files will need to be stored just locally on my PC.  I need to ensure they get backed up.

I believe the scanner can be configured to scan everything to a network drive and to evernote, so that will allow me to throw all of the data onto my NAS drive in parallel with an instant backup, so the availability question is covered.

There will always be books, but I think I can give the recycling guy a hernia next week when I stick all of this paper back into the recyling bank.

I think getting to a clutterless office is going to be a bigger challenge, but this is a good start.