Beware of iPhoto and Adobe Elements Organizer


It’s Wednesday and Finder reports you only have 13GB available on your 512GB SSD. You’ve been installing apps and crap all month in an attempt to ramp up on some new technologies because your role is changing. You also started playing with Photoshop Elements because you fancy yourself a designer in your free time. Hi, I’m Cliff. You’re here because you’re looking for a way to offload a quick 20-40GB worth of video you’d been shooting and saving from your iPhone. I’m here to warn you of a problem you didn’t know you had.

Let’s start with Adobe, because I’m seriously angry with them! If you use any Adobe software regularly then you’ll understand what I mean when I say Adobe has made it their personal mission to inconvenience us all in any and everyday they can possibly imagine! Earlier today I was nagged to upgrade my Flash for the ninety-hundredth-twoth time with a promise that the upgrade will take less than a minute on broadband and that no restart was required. I reluctantly clicked away and agreed to release control of my Mac to the Adobe engineering staff believing the promise that I would once again regain control in under a minute without losing state in my web browsing session. A “.pkg” file downloaded while the upgrade process began. launching the “.pkg” ran an installer that stopped and told me right away that I must close Safari before it could continue. Let down and lied to, I closed Safari thanked my lucky stars that I am running Lion and all my state is automatically saved these days. I digress

What I really wanted to warn you about was Adobe’s Photoshop Elements Organizer. I made the mistake of importing my iPhotos Library thinking that in this day and age Adobe’s engineers would know enough that it’s not polite to clone the contents of a +50GB photo library. Even if the price of hard disk space is near single digit dollar amounts capacity typically tops off in the .5-1TB range and SSD is becoming popular resetting these limits to their early 2000 ranges. Also, some folks like to split their hard drive in half running two operating systems side by side. Finally, it’s just not a nice thing to do without at least warning your user, “Hey are you sure you want to clone 50GB worth of data just so you can use our software extension which doesn’t do half the work already available in your OS’ pre bundled photo viewer?” “Import…” should at least be properly re-labeled “Copy files in from…” I kind of figured the software was too dumb to use pointers or symbolic links and copy on demand but some part of me just held out hope that things have matured further in 2012.

On a slightly related note, I was looking to move a bunch of videos of my daughter playing Basketball I’d been filming over the last few months to a backup drive to free up drive space (claimed impolitely by Adobe). That’s when I remembered how Apple loves to mutate its popular software titles like iPhoto by constantly tucking familiar options away in new and exciting places. Looking for “Right-click and Reveal in Finder”? Surprise! It’s now in the File menu! Don’t try looking in the more logical info view that we trained you to resort to when you want to find the actual file path. We know you’re too smart for us so now we’ve changed it again! I also learned today that the contents of your photo library are not indexed by spotlight! That means the only way to locate the basketball movie from 3 months ago that is so adequately named “IMG_0081.mov” is to bring up the info view in iPhoto, pencil the name down on a piece of scrap paper, then manually drill into your photo library in Finder diving in and out of each folder until you stumble across something that looks close enough. Copy/paste this file to a backup drive and repeat the process for the seven hundred ninety two remaining files you wish to backup. Finally realize several years later that you copied “IMG_0018.mov” and deleted “IMG_0081.mov”!

I’m just utterly irritated with software in general. There was a time when I used to marvel at computers and programs and programming computers. Now after working in a couple of big name companies and seeing how things are actually cooked up I get depressed. I completely understand how these magical collections of ones and zeroes come into existence and why certain compromises are made leading to issues like what I am facing. I thought I was going somewhere with today’s post but I think I spiraled off somewhere partway in. If you write software for a living then you deserved to be punched in the arm today. If you know someone who writes software for a living, punch them in the arm because… well just because Spotlight can’t find my movie files. I also hold every software engineer personally responsible for Adobe’s everyday upgrade prompts that are now promising not to disturb your work but bringing your systems down anyway. It’s your fault, with your passion for automatic upgrades that magically pull down your corrections from the cloud and constantly disturb end users! If you can understand what’s written in my header f… my banner picture above then I break-wind in your general direction.