Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2005.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Never so excited

Posted 30 May 2005 in technology

I have not used such powerful, useful software in years. F-Spot is jaw-droppingly good. I don't even know where to begin.

You know how I have a photo gallery running off of Gallery? F-Spot can export to Gallery. I created an account over at Flickr. F-Spot can export to Flickr. It can also export to static webpages, so if you had, say, an account at Geocities (which doesn't allow script-based software like Gallery), you could export and upload to that, as well. Or I can burn directly to CD and give it to my friends.

The software is blowing my mind. It organizes using a concept called "tagging" (which is the same concept used by del.icio.us and Flickr). The bad way of doing things is to create a kind of digital box in which to put a photo. All computers do this with files. Under Windows, you see this manifested as "My Photos", "My Movies", "My Et Cetera". Then, under "My Photos" you would have directories like "Vacation Photos", "Kitty Cats", and "Girlfriend".

So what happens if you have a photo of your girlfriend holding a kitty cat you saw while on vacation?

You have a problem, because the containers-for-photos method doesn't scale up to handle more complex categorization methods. Luckily, we can now discard the "containers" method for the "tags" method. Rather than putting the photos in a box, we put sticky notes on the backs of the photos and put all of the photos in a big pile. In real life this wouldn't work, but computers can handle finding and dynamically categorizing photos based on their tags.

My online photo gallery is categorized by events because events generally don't overlap. They may be subsets or supersets of each other (my birthday photos are a subset of my spring break photos, for instance), but they don't overlap (my birthday doesn't chronologically overlap with Easter).

With F-Spot I can do whatever I want in an offline photo gallery, and then pick out the best photos to put online. There's a lot of work ahead of me to get all of my photos imported, but I have what I think is the most powerful, most promising, and most best solution available.