Perhaps the one comment most illustrative of what I like least about the Apple world said that the whole thing was my fault because I had an issue with iPhoto and I couldn't solve the issue. That is perhaps the best example of Apple thinking that I have seen in a long time.
The same people who think it is my fault because iPhoto 9.1.5 wouldn't run would be the first to rant and rave and blame Microsoft if Microsoft shipped a program which didn't install properly.
Somehow Apple gets a free pass from many of its users no matter what it does. Unfortunately that just feeds the arrogance that has often been Apple's downfall. However, they have such a big cash cushion now, it is hard to imagine what they would have to do to screw up, but I have been surprised before.
I try to hold Microsoft, Google, and Apple to similar standards. When they provide software free or otherwise, I expect it to work which includes installing without screwing up my data.
When I have paid money for a piece of software and the company ships me a piece of software to update it, it is reasonable to expect it to work. I have been around Apple hardware and software for twenty-nine years this month which is the anniversary of my Apple II+ purchase. September will be the 29th anniversary of the first Apple computer that I sold, so I have seen the good, the great, the bad, and the ugly.
Perhaps what I should have said in my most recent post is that I was a lover of iPhoto until the version that came out last fall, and I was willing to put up with some blemishes, but now I feel like that I have lost a valued tool since it has grown some ugly warts.
In the interest of putting some facts behind my assertion that Picasa is a better piece of software than iPhoto 9.1.5, I decided to once again try to get iPhoto 9.1.5 running. I tried another repair of the library and actually left that running all night. In the morning iPhoto was unresponsive so I forced iPhoto to quit and threw the whole iPhoto package in the trash and emptied it.
Next I got out my firewire drive and copied over a small iPhoto library that I was sure had been untouched by the most recent versions of iPhoto. It was around 9 gigs of photos, and I made it the main iPhoto library.
Then from the DVD, I reinstalled iPhoto 9 which came with iLife 11. Of course I ended up doing all the updates and eventually got to the screen which asked me if I wanted to update the library which I did. Finally iPhoto 9.1.5 decided to work.
As a bench mark I checked my old dual G5 system downstairs, it has over 50,000 photos in one of several libraries, but of course it is running iPhoto 8.
Having gotten iPhoto 9.1.5 running on my MacBook, I decided to run some tests. While I tried to make it as fair as possible, Picasa ended up being a little handicapped. The iPhoto library that I used for the tests has about 2,600 photos in it and came in at a little over 9 gigs. Picasa because it was managing all the photos on my MacBook which includes several libraries, all my jpeg downloads, and even screen captures had 46,000 photo and over 30 gigs of data.
One of my assertions about the newest versions of iPhoto is that the program is flat out slow. To test that I wanted to see how long it would to take to upload photos. I have two cameras with me on this trip, my Nikon 3100 and my Sony DSC-HX7V pocket camera. I formatted both their SDHC cards and drove down to the Roanoke River and then visited a local farmer's market. From the two spots I got about 50 pictures with each camera and made a couple of movies with the Sony.
When I got back, I set iPhoto to the default Photo application on the MacBook, I did a trial upload of another SDHC card just to check that everything was working. Then I took one of the SDHC cards from my trip and timed with the stopwatch app on my Droid how long it took for iPhoto to launch and import all the photos on the SDHC card in the USB reader that I plugged into the MacBook. It took just over 50 seconds to import the 50 photos from the Sony formatted card.
I quit iPhoto and set the default photo application to Picasa, once again did a trial import, and then timed how long it took to launch Picasa and import all fifty photos. It was less than 30 seconds until completion.
I repeated the tests with HDSC card from my Nikon. It had only 49 photos, but they were larger files. This time I did Picasa first. It got the photos from the Nikon formatted card in 35 seconds. I switched to iPhoto 9.1.5, and it took 53 seconds.
Just out of curiosity, I did the Sony card on my HP I7 laptop. It took 32 or 33 seconds for the import, but it did take a couple of seconds to click and quit the Sony app that imports my movies. With that said the times for Picasa were a dead heat on both platforms.
One thing that I did find out in all the changing of settings is that there is a setting in the new iPhoto that allows you go back to using Apple Mail for the default way to email your pictures. As the next tests show, that is a very good thing.
I set the default picture size to be small and "shared" a photo by email. With both Picasa and IPhoto set to use Apple Mail, it was a dead heat with both programs coming in at close to 4 seconds. However, when you change the setting to iPhoto using its own email program and Picasa using Gmail, the results were very different. Picasa took 3 seconds using Gmail, while iPhoto took 8 seconds using its email program.
Next I tried to run some tests of taking a picture, cropping it, applying an auto enhance, and uploading it from iPhoto to MobileMe Gallery or from Picasa to Picasa web albums. I thought the tests looked pretty even, then when I tried to quit iPhoto, it told me that it was still updating the gallery. I gave up trying to come up with a consistent way to see which was faster. From what I could tell it looked like Picasa took 41 seconds, iPhoto 46 seconds, but again I am not sure iPhoto was finished.
I upload a lot from the iPhoto on my I5 iMac to Picasa web albums. Of course you have to add something to iPhoto to make that happens since Steve has a holy war going on against Google. I have long had the perception that it takes much longer to upload from iPhoto on my iMac to Picasa web albums than it does going from Picasa on my Windows I7 laptop to Picasa web albums.
This morning I took the same photo, cropped, auto enhanced, and uploaded to Picasa web albums using the I7 laptop. It only took 24 seconds seconds and was clearly faster than either program on the MacBook. Both computers are on the same wireless G class network. My guess is that the difference was not in the editing but in the uploading.
I tried one more test. I added some photos to one of the cards I used for the previous day's test and went through the uploading to the library test again except this time, I also tested the Windows laptop using the same external USB reader as I use on the MacBook. Picasa on the MacBook took 29 seconds to get the photos. iPhoto on the MacBook took 61 seconds, and the Windows laptop took 50 seconds. The one caveat is that the way I have the Windows laptop set up, a Sony program launches for an optional import which is what I use for movies so I have to cancel it before Picasa on Windows can do its job.
From my tests I don't think that there is any doubt that Picasa is a faster program on the Mac. It will remain my choice of a photo program on my MacBook while I will continue to use an earlier version of iPhoto on my iMac for as long as I can get away with it. I will also continue using Picasa web albums since I believe it is a far better solution for my needs than MobileMe Gallery or its successors.
Your needs might vary, but here are some thoughts beyond speed that have gone into my decision.
Number one, I spent much of the last five years of my nearly twenty years at Apple preaching to enterprise customers that it was a very bad thing to let an application or a vendor hold your data hostage. The biggest example in the enterprise world is Microsoft Exchange mail which at the time was certainly not standards based. We preached IMAP which lets you use any standards compliant mail client that you want.
In a certain sense, iPhoto with its libraries also holds your data hostage. Once you have used a library with a new version of iPhoto there is no turning back. It there is a problem with the library, you need to have a back-up. I think the iPhoto library is a bad idea. I like Picasa's method of just finding the jpegs and keeping track of them. If I have a folder of jpegs, I can take it to a Linux computer, a Mac, or a Windows computer and find something that will look at them just like various email clients will look at an IMAP mail server. I think we are really fortunate to have a free program like Picasa that to certain extent frees the data in an iPhoto library. It certainly saved me lots of time when I needed to print some pictures.
What I love with the older versions of iPhoto is that I don't have to do a lot of switching around to get my tasks done. When I have a batch of photos that need the same adjustments, it is easy to apply those exact same settings. I could click on a photo and click again and be back to the main library. That has all changed in the latest versions whose interface I find dumbed down for lack of a better phrase. iPhoto was a better program than Picasa for editing, but no longer. It adopted some of the things I don't like about Picasa and added some of its own truly ugly interface changes.
The only thing that I do to my photos is to try to make what I see on the screen look like what I saw when I was taking the picture. Since I live at the beach and shoot in lots of difficult light, a good auto contrast is worth a lot to me. Picasa has a very reliable one that works most of the time in a way that gets me close to what eyes and memory caught when I took the picture. I also like to put a watermark on a photo and sometimes I like to put a frame around it. Picasa does the watermark easily when I want and with access to Picnik's online services does a better job of framing than what I get using iPhoto and Pixelmator. I can get the same results with both, it is just easier and faster with the Picasa/Picnik combination as long as you have a fast Internet connection. I pay $25 a year or so for the enhanced version of Picnik. I think it is a good value for the money, and certainly a better value than I have gotten out of MobileMe.
Another area where I believe that Picasa is substantially better than iPhoto is the touch up tool. There are photos where I might want to take a stray branch out of the finished picture. For many years I would resort to Photoshop for that task, but the touch up tool in Picasa, once you learn how to use it properly, does an exceptional job. I can't even remember when I have had to resort to Photoshop. I find that the iPhoto retouch tool does more smudging than anything else.
Another really big point for me is that it is very easy to share a single photo using Picasa web albums. I get the link for sharing, embed it into my blog post, and I am off to the races. I also like that I can choose in Picasa whether to use Gmail or AppleMail to send my pictures by email without going to the preferences. Of course Picasa syncs automatically to my the photo gallery on my Droid.
I always try to use the best tool for the job. I have Aperture and have tried Adobe's Lightroom several times, but I don't need their features. That said, there are days that I take 500 to 1,000 pictures, and it would be a rare day when I don't take fifty or sixty pictures.
I use Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony cameras. I use Apple, HP, and Dell hardware along with OS X, Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux. I have Epson, Canon, and HP printers.
Sometimes a different camera lets me see a scene in a different way, and there are tweaks that are better done in one program or the other. The results are highly subjective. I still prefer the editing on the iPhoto 8 that I have on my iMac. Sometimes now I use Picnik with it for watermarking and framing.
Your needs are going to vary from mine, but I have given this a lot of thought, applied some tests, and come to the conclusion that Picasa is far better software for my needs than iPhoto 9.1.5. All the tests were done on my July 2006 Intel MacBook running Snow Leopard.
This settles the issue for me, I might run some more tests when I get home to my I5 iMac just to see how fast it is importing, but I won't be upgrading to iPhoto 9.1.5 ( or LIon for that matter) since the newer iPhoto just doesn't meet my very demanding needs.
This isn't the first time I have had comments about iPhoto and interface changes. Share has once again moved.
That said I am probably going to need some more Marsh time after all this thinking about computers.