My love affair with Apple hardware started August of 1982. It took Apple another twenty years to come up with a piece of internally crafted software that I really loved and which actually managed to get updated.
In January of 2002, iPhoto was introduced, and it seemed to fit my needs from day one. I was never crazy about the way it stored photos, but the positives always outweighed the negatives in the irregular updates over the years until last fall.
My mostly Mac workflow had iPhoto as a key element for years.
Now the love affair is over. I just switched to Picasa on my MacBook on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.
It was not an easy divorce.
I purchased an I5 iMac October 18, 2010. Two days later Apple announced iPhoto 9 as part of iLife 11. I went ahead and ordered the very reasonably priced upgrade.
It did not take long to arrive, but some internal guardian told me to install it on my Intel MacBook first to see how I liked it. I don't have my main iPhoto library on the MacBook, and I have a spare MacBook iPhoto library that I keep on a firewire drive. Well I didn't like iPhoto 9 at all. It was slow and just did not seem to perform well.
I did, however, keep using it occassionally when I was in a hotel or just had a couple of photos to get from one of my cameras. The software did get a little speedier, but its email interface remained irritating, and it did not perform as well as the older software. It also would hang, and require force quiting.
My I5 iMac happily chugged along on iPhoto 8. I am currently running version 8.1.2 of iPhoto on my iMac.
The last week of July 2011, I did a routine software update on the MacBook. It included iPhoto 9.1.5.
When I launched iPhoto after the software update, it told me my library needed to be updated. It started and never finished. Relaunching iPhoto got me nowhere so I searched the web for some solutions. I tried a few which did not seem to work. I even tried creating a new library, and iPhoto 9.1.5 still did not work.
Then I dug out my DVD and re-installed iPhoto 9 from scratch. I then applied the software updates and got the same non-functioning results.
There were probably ten photos on the MacBook that were not on my backup library. I had those photos on my Windows laptop, but it really irritated me that I could not get my MacBook to work. My wife was asking for those specific photos of our granddaughter to be printed on our little Canon Pixma Mini 320 which for some reason unknown even to me, I have been using exclusively with my MacBook.
It was getting late, and then it dawned on me that I had Picasa on the MacBook, but that I had not used it for a while. I launched Picasa, and it immediately began sucking up pictures that had been added to the MacBook since the last time that I had launched Picasa.
I took a gamble and went to bed. I got up the next morning and found that Picasa had located and added all my photos, and the ones that I needed to print were easily accessible. I hooked up the printer, and printed the few photos that my wife wanted, and we took off for a lunch with my wife's college roommate.
When we got back, I changed the default app for photos on the MacBook to Picasa. I am not going to spend any more time trying to make the newest version of iPhoto work.
I really hate to see iPhoto go because it has been an application that I used almost every day. That said I also use Picasa for Windows every day. I will keep using iPhoto on my iMac as long as I can get away with it.
What bothers me about the iPhoto problem is that it is just another glitch that is making me wonder if Apple is stretched a little too thin. I wasn't one of the folks who hated the big change in iMovie. I got so that I liked it, but recently after several unsuccessful tries at uploading movies to YouTube from iMovie, I gave up on iMovie.
I don't do any complex video these days so as long as I can trim a clip a little, I am pretty happy. It turns out that Picasa does a fine job of sending HD video from my Nikon 3100 to YouTube, and Sony included an application with my Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V that uploads their AVCHD format video.
The movies that come from the Sony are very good, I recently did a handheld movie of a trip down the White Oak River at 30 mph in our skiff. It was early morning on a deserted river that I travel three or four times a week so I didn't feel too bad about filming with one hand and driving with the over.
The next day I put the camera in my Gorilla pod mount on our skiff and did a movie of some marshes near Swansboro which is about ten minutes by boat from our house.
On July 30, I made this movie on the same river. It is even better. The difference is that the river was glassy smooth, and I could go even faster. I am pleased with the movie, no iMovie necessar, and it uploaded while I was cooking breakfast.
The point is that I did these movies without a Mac being involved. Trimming was simple and straightforward. Uploading worked flawlessly. It was only a few years ago when I know that I told a group of people taking one of my photography classes that I would not even consider doing a movie with Windows. Recent events have proved that things have changed.
Right down there are only two programs left which I use that are Mac only and for which I don't have a Windows equivalent. Rapid Weaver is one and Coda is the other. That is a pretty thin software line holding me to the Mac. I am not counting MacDraft PE since my Housevision.us project is on hold until the real estate market turns.
I do use Pixelmator and Fetch by choice when I have that opportunity, but there are Windows or web based programs that work as well.
While I am still irritated about the location of the SD slot on my iMac, it is still a very good product. Apple's recent hardware announcements like the new Mac mini look very good. One of these days, I will likely get a Mac mini to replace my aging 2004 dual G5 system. So likely the lure of cool hardware will keep me using Macs even if Apple's own software no longer meets my needs.
While I have no hard feeling towards Apple over my non-functional iPhoto, I do feel some sadness. I have seen really good Apple software disappear, languish, or just get dropped. The list doesn't need to get longer.
The thing that I used to love about Apple is that we could have great confidence in saying that everything will just work. It made selling the product very easy. I actually would think twice about saying that these days.
I have gotten to the point that my Windows 7 laptop is often what I grab when I want something done quickly. It boots faster than any of my Macs, and in seventeen months, neither my I7 laptop or my wife's Windows I5 laptop have ever hung. I have never even had an application misbehave.
That is a 180 degree turn from the days of Vista when I used to spend 45 minutes a week just keeping my Windows system running. Now the Windows 7 laptop is what just seems to work. Also, and this hasn't really changed over the years, when there are versions on both platforms, there always seems to be some little feature that the Mac version doesn't have.
Snagit is a program that I have enjoyed on Windows for a long time. I was happy to see it come over to the Mac. Yet the other day when I was trying to create a web page with some simple Flash content, I couldn't do it on the Mac version. I had to switch to the Windows version.
Probably Apple doesn't need hard to please customers like me, they seem to have more than enough, but I have to think there is an underlying problem in a company who can't get an important product like iPhoto out the door in a bulletproof release. I hardly even know when Picasa is updated. It seems to get faster and better. I still believe that moving iPhoto slightly towards a more iPhone-like interface might be at the root of the problem, but I am not going to lose much sleep thinking about it since Picasa fixed my problem without me even having to resort to my backup library. The organization is a little weird because of some of the imported iPhoto naming conventions, but I can live with it.
The iPhoto and iMovie problems and a natural reluctance to test the first release of an Apple OS are keeping me from trying Lion even on my MacBook test system. I'll get there, just not for a while. I have been burned a few times.
As usual, the absolute best way to get a great Apple experience is to buy a brand new product with the software pre-loaded. Apple's whole existence is built around getting new hardware out the door, so new will always deliver the best way to enjoy a Mac.
With that said, it is time to sign off from the Crystal Coast of North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks. The heat has been here, but we have been luckier than most places when you look at temperatures.
Still even a couple of days with the windows open help a lot in the heart of summer. We were fortunate to have some of those.
I remain happier and healthier living in world where Apple is not the center of my universe. Focusing on my tomato crop is far better than living for the next Apple product or jumping on the lastest tech trend.