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April 20 2004

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Filtered tech news and the occasional interview.

Image Capture

For those of us left behind in the great sem agency upgrade of '04, we are left without the wonderful and magical application that is iPhoto 4. We know of — and still suffer from — the harsh realities of the previous version of iPhoto. It crashes, it's slow and doesn't really do much. Hence, follows, concise instructions in setting up your digital photograph processing mechanism using the wonderful and magical Image Capture. And yes, Image Capture really does what it says on the tin and what's more, it does it well.

  1. To start we need to locate the Image Capture application; so Quicksilver users type CMD + Space (or what ever combination you use) and enter the string "image ca" then press enter. Those still using Finder — I do occasionally — either type in "Image Capture" into the search box or navigate to it's location, if you know it (I found it in /Applications/ but, you might have moved it).
  2. Double click it.
  3. Select the "Image Capture" drop-down menu from the menu bar.
  4. Choose "Preferences..." (CMD + ,).
  5. Choose "Image Capture" from the drop-down labelled "When a camera is connected, open:".
  6. Rejoice, for all is much better.

Now you can import videos from your camera (something iPhoto seems to ignore), select which photographs you'd like to import rather than "Import All" and even apply an array of macros to incoming photographs — some more useful than others (convert to web gallery and resize to x by x are my favourites).

Image Capture may not look like much but it sure packs a punch. If you have a minute, check out the preferences a little further. People rejoiced about sharing photos as a new feature in iPhoto 4 but it's here in Image Capture too; "Share my devices" (via Rendezvous, I'm assuming) and "Enable Web-Sharing". We really are spoilt.

Now, equipped with Preview, we have our viewing mechanism. Putting off buying iLife '04 for another few months, really is that easy.

Note: the above instructions work with my iBook G4 and a Canon IXUS v2, connected via the USB cable that came with the camera. I haven't been able to test with other cameras but I'm assuming it would work much the same. (posted 18/04/04 @ 03:27:34 PM).

Half Dead

It seems to me that Safarievery Mac users favourite browser — has a user induced half-life. By this I mean, the longer you use Safari, the slower and less responsive it becomes. We all know applications shouldn't degrade as you use them. It's just not friendly.

Try this little experiment: first of all, close all applications except Safari then, click the open-book icon which represents the bookmarks section, navigate to the History and find a day where you visited more than 100 sites. Upon selecting a day, CTRL + Click and choose 'Open in tabs'. Finally, wait until all the pages have loaded then try to close Safari — watching all hell break loose is optional.

I have a hunch the problem lays in the way Safari handles memory usage — a possible memory leak? — so the puny amount of RAM (256MB) my iBook's got to play with might compound the problem. But, then again, I'm speculating. (posted 16/04/04 @ 01:28:51 PM).

Blame it on the Bot

I'd like to congratulate the team at Kinja on putting together one of the most accessible and intuitive web sites I've visited in a long time. In the last few days I've used it on-and-off, just out of interest, and I've been pleasantly impressed. Even though they haven't really produced a new product as-such, I'd still consider what they've done to be innovative, just for the fact that they took a broken product and fixed it. Everything is just where it needs to be.

One thing I wasn't so pleased with was the Kinja robot. It's decided to hammer my site looking for my RSS/Atom feed in what looks like a random fashion. I'd say it was guessing the location, if it was human.

After letting Meg know about the problem over iChat, I was told "your markup is really nice, so I'm surprised the parser isn't succeeding with the straight html", she added later, "hopefully we'll get this fixed". I hope they fix it too, for it would be a shame to block the robot for its bad behaviour. (posted 08/04/04 @ 07:12:17 PM).


Back in 1859 Charles Darwin proposed a theory, making the case for "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest". Little did he know that some 145-years later, something would come along and throw a spanner in the works. You see, Darwin's theory is only partially correct in the modern world — it doesn't seem to work for technology related things.

Fast-forward a little to 1999. At this time, the web had only penetrated a small minority of people. Most of the web sites were either corporate shop-fronts or niche hobby sites maintained by Vi wielding Californians, but, unbeknownst to myself, things were about to change as 1999 was the year Blogger launched and with it came the catalyst needed ("Push-button publishing") for a whole new genre of web sites referred to as weblogs — a contraction of web log, as in "the captain's log" only the first generation version (browser support for audio CSS has greatly improved in the future so nameless "Star Trek" captains can read their cat postings out to the whole ship without hitting browser hiccups).

As with anything, the quality of these weblogs ranged from a great, to something the US Army might have used to torture terrorism suspects in Guantanamo.

New weblogs were popping up each hour but, much, much, less weblogs were disappearing and being replaced by domain squatters. This caused the total webloging population to mushroom into around 2,048,691 unique weblogs today (according to Technorati, forgive me if it's out of date already).

Now, back to Darwin. He said — in layman's terms — if it ain't fit; it won't survive long, but still crap weblogs live on... and on... and on. Leading me to the only conclusion that is possible for me to reach: Darwin was wrong. This means we must take evolution into our own hands and start changing the weblogging environment faster than the speed with which crap webloggers can evolve to combat the changes. This will of course encourage their extinction.

One possible solution would be for Blogger and LiveJournal to swap URLs. I'd imagine the confusion would wipe out at least half of the crap weblogger population.

Another solution would be for sites like Kinja (a weblog-of-weblogs) to take off. If weblogs contained in the Kinja system are deemed to be of a fair quality they are added to one of the editor 'digests' (just like a playlist — of weblogs) thus promoting the good weblogs whilst shying away from the weblogs which left a little to be desired.

Will this "positive selection theory" rectify Darwin's theory here in the weblog world? I'd like to think so.

Update: Vlad has pointed out, via email (thanks!), a factual error from the opening paragraph. It was in fact Herbert Spencer, a professional writer, who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" (although he used it in a social sense), not Darwin as I'd previously thought. (posted 06/04/04 @ 03:06:34 PM).

Oh Snails

I've decided to change the focus of zlog.

From this day forth I'll now exclusively 'blog about turkish snail breeding and the surrounding issues. It may be a slow topic but it sure has enough delights to keep me interested (lame April fools joke). (posted 02/04/04 @ 07:00:19 AM).

Elsewhere: Flickr, Technorati, Kinja digest, (subscribe) | ronan at zlog dhat co dhat uk.
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