Photo Catalog Woes

I find myself incredibly frustrated with Adobe products again. I don’t know why it’s so hard to make sorting and tagging software that just works, although I suppose having over 465,000 photos may stretch the limits of any software. But my recent woes are not directly related to that…

I normally use Photoshop Elements 9’s organizer tool to organize and tag all of my photos. This works decently well, except when I got a new hard drive. For some reason, the software associates photos to a drive ID (rather than the drive letter), and is extremely stubborn about keeping that drive ID mapping intact when the drive letter changes. This was already a bit of a problem a year ago when I got a new (bigger) hard drive, found that all the photos were no longer found on the new drive (but still searchable with thumbnails, thankfully), and found that the built-in “Find Missing Photos” tool was a huge piece of unusable garbage that was completely impractical to use to fix everything.

It seems like newer versions of Organizer has the concept of “offline hard drives” and has an easy way for you to re-assign an entire drive or folder groups when they’re moved. But my version doesn’t. So it’s generally a horrible combination of “tries to detect drives” and “doesn’t have a way for you to fix things when the drive changes”.

So I lived with it for a year, assuming that I’d just have to deal with any photos older than November 2018 being unable to be directly opened. (Instead, I had to right-click, view the photo properties, and open the corresponding folder on the new hard drive and find the filename. Frustrating, but not completely unusable since I don’t deal with older photos all that often.)

I had the misfortune last weekend of plugging in my old hard drive at the same time as the new one while Organizer was open. The result is that now all photos, even the ones I imported in the past year, are now pointing to the old drive and are therefore running into the missing file problem. (I can’t think of why this would possibly happen, because clearly the new photos were never linked to the old drive ID.)

In any case, I had bought Lightroom a couple of years back (thankfully before they started their subscription-only garbage with it), and it seemed like a potential solution. So… install it, convert my Organizer catalog over and… great… none of the photos have imported their metadata and everything is displaying metadata conflicts and effectively have lost their ability to be searched by date, which is one of the major use cases I have for my organizer. (But at least fixing the drive letter change was easy in Lightroom after I figured out you have to use the folder view and collapse parents to the root. Which was also completely non-intuitive.)

Ignoring the fact that this is also incredibly stupid behavior (why would you take over 30 minutes to convert over a catalog file and then effectively throw away most of the data in that file… it didn’t copy thumbnails nor date data, and seems to have not gotten all of the tags/keywords), I found that the only way to really fix this is to tell it to import metadata from the actual files. Which means it needs to run through all 460,000+ photos. It takes about a second per photo, which wouldn’t be totally horrible if it didn’t also constantly “stick” on random files requiring me to manually remove the file from the library and re-add it before it can continue. So I can’t even just tell it to handle everything and leave it for a week… I have to do it in batches and monitor it fairly constantly.

But fine. Okay. I’ll eat the cost of doing that. Which brings us to today’s fun, where starting another batch of metadata syncing caused the video driver on my computer to crash, eventually requiring a hard reboot. Internet searches seem to indicate that this is a problem many people have with Lightroom in random use cases, maybe caused by a lot of keywords, maybe caused by a specific photo, but generally with no solution.

So I guess my option at this point is… upgrade Photoshop Elements to a version that properly supports drive changes and hope the catalog upgrade is compatible? Except I’m really loathe to give Adobe even more money at this point.

This should not be this complicated.

Maybe it’s time I stopped doing photo tagging.

Life updates

Things proceed, as they tend to do.

My old D90 hit a snag last Friday when the shutter release button stopped reliably working. It still works if I hit it at a certain angle (and with a lot of pressure), and I can theoretically still record video with it via live view, but that makes it significantly harder to use. Fortunately, IR remotes are a thing, so I bought one off Amazon that will hopefully allow the camera to keep chugging for a bit longer. And it still is technically usable anyway… I’ve been shooting with it at climbing, and it’s been fine other than taking much longer to take each shot.
(None of its truly functional parts, like the sensor or mirror, are broken, so there’s no real reason to ditch it yet. But given how much it would cost to fix the shutter button versus its value given its age, repairs are not worthwhile.)

Work has been a mess of annoyance and stress. Maybe I’m just expecting too much, but I’ve been running into cases lately where I feel like people doing work either aren’t understanding the task in the way they need to, or are otherwise requiring much more hand-holding than I can reasonably provide given my other duties.
I know I need to step back and give people room to grow, learn, and make mistakes… but at the same time, I don’t want people to put out code I know has issues or is wrong, because it will ultimately come down to me to deal with it. Blah.

Tried to make chicken marsala today, and realized before starting the mushrooms that we were actually out of marsala. Substituted a riesling instead, and I think it actually turned out pretty good.

Max and Yubin came over and we made cupcakes for valentine’s that weren’t very valentine-y, but still cute.

Here are some random photos, because yay photos.






Black Friday, weather, games

Life goes. It’s been busy — hard to believe we’re already halfway through December.

I took advantage of the Black Friday sales surprisingly little this year. I picked up an iPod Touch to replace my Samsung digital camera, at almost $50 off, which was nice. The iPod actually takes better photos, and is generally useful as well in places that have WiFi. It’s been a nice replacement for taking daily photos.
I also picked up season 11 of Supernatural (usual $10), and a few booster boxes of .hack//ENEMY ($3/each) since they’ve been out of print for years and it seems prudent to stock up now while they’re still buyable.
I also bought myself the new computer (a desktop this time) I’ve been wanting for years. My old laptop seems to be having a lot of trouble now, and I wanted something that could actually run Photoshop Lightroom (bought as part of my camera bundle at last year’s Black Friday), so it’s nice. :) Although it’s a little confusing now to sit at my desk and have 4 different keyboards and 3 different mice in front of me… I’ve typed on the wrong keyboard so many times.

We decorated our house for Christmas. Yay for garland things and big red bows!

The weather has been bizarre here lately. Friday it was freezing. Saturday morning the world was ice, and I walked to Giant Eagle and slipped a lot. By Saturday evening, the world was water, and I was overheating in even just a plain t-shirt with a sweater on top (never mind my usual winter coat). Today it’s cold again. Yay weird Pittsburgh.




Owen’s been visiting and there’s been board games.

We had a fun game of Salem where we killed all of the accused people. Also two of my three witches survived. Yay Salem. Also, I feel like the game plays better with 7 people. Everyone starts with totally equal information, and you don’t have to play weird annotation games with the shared colors. Limiting round 2 to 10 minutes and round 3 to 25 minutes also seemed to work well to keep the game moving.

We had a close game of Settlers with our new dice deck. It was a little weird (and maybe more awesome?) because the 8s came out mostly together, the 6s came out mostly together, and the 7s waited almost all for the end. This led to some interesting situations (abundance of wood early, abundance of sheep in the middle game, and sad everyone late game). It actually ended up being really close — Greg was one sheep away from winning for a couple of rounds, and I would have won had I rolled anything other than a 7 (due to having 8 cards and needing 5 of them to build my last city). So yay games.

Doors Open and life

Life goes. Things happen. Climbing and game photos from the past two months have been posted. Machi Koro seems to be a winner, but Lupin III seems to be a dud. We also broke out Concept again for the first time in a while… had forgotten how much fun that was.

We recently went to an escape room, the Imaginarium, and it was pretty fun. We got out, with not much time to spare, but it seemed we actually left a ton of puzzles unsolved since there were several locks and a door that we never got open. Oh well.

ITG has also been happening again, which is nice.

This weekend was Doors Open in Pittsburgh, where various downtown buildings open up and let you explore them (with cameras!). We went on Saturday, and saw a variety of buildings… most of them were apartments and hotels, but we also stopped in the Dollar Bank and Engineers’ Society, the former of which was really pretty and the latter of which was rather uninteresting. We also stopped in the city council chamber and mayor’s office, which included a stop in their vault that held pretty much all historical paperwork for the city.

The hotels were also interesting. Two of the three were setting up for a wedding at the time (the third may have been, on some upper floor we didn’t have access to), and seeing the William Penn ballroom all dressed up for a wedding is rather special. Also we got to see a $3000/night suite at the top of the Fairmont, which was also spectacular.
















The PSO was also on strike due to salary and benefit negotiations falling through. That was sad.

Also I am strangely obsessed with Rebecca Black’s new single (apparently she’s gotten rather good at singing) and The Sound of Silence cover by Disturbed.
Relatedly, Rock Band released the latter as DLC this past week, and we tried it today… the game rates vocals as a 3 (while rating Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger as a red 5, and Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl as a 4), which we think is utter bullshit. Yay for bad video game ratings.

I finished FFX Remaster this past Thursday, and the ending never fails to make me cry. I started FFX-2, and I’m just not feeling it, for some reason. I’ve never been a big fan of the ATB battle system, and I think coming to it from FFX’s super strategic battle system, I’m not enjoying combat at all. The music is also rather lackluster compared to X, and so many concepts are thrown at you all at once in the beginning (like dressspheres, skill learning, monster capturing) that I’m feeling rather overwhelmed. I don’t know. I guess at some point I’ll return to it, but unlike FFX, which was occupying much of my free evening time, I haven’t felt the same pull to play X-2.

Here’s weird soda flavors (corn, buffalo wing, bacon, ranch dressing, dirt, and grass) at a soda and candy shop in the Waterfront.

Gamey portraits

It’s Pi day. Happy Pi day!

It’d been a while since I had done any real photo project, and our new house is begging for things to put on the walls. People came over for games yesterday, so I took advantage of the situation and got some portraits shot for the game room in a crappy makeshift shooting studio in the basement. (This is the photo shoot I had been wanting to do ever since I shot Vincent in William’s stairwell in bright clothing.)




Moar people!


They look pretty good on the wall

I’ll probably get them printed in some nicer format eventually (nice prints in a frame, or maybe canvas prints), but it feels good to be doing photo-y things again. Now I want to shoot more portraits. :X