A rotten apple leads to another one..

I am getting tired of these “well tested” and “polished” Apple “pro” applications so this is a short story.

Aperture 3 cannot play MPEG-1 videos (at least the ones shot with a less than two years old Sony camera), even though they play with Quicktime, Finder, etc. This is a bug on its own and has been reported to Apple.

However, I decided to convert those to MPEG-4 / H.264 / AVC / whatever-nobody-can-figure-out-thing-that-plays-most-places-today. Studying the various video files I have collected over the years, I made another “interesting” discovery..

Since I started to use iPhoto, I download photos and videos from my cameras to iPhoto, fix the photos, then export a backup to filesystem. Now I noticed that what iPhoto does is that the videos are exported as JPEGs but renamed to .AVI or whatever was the original video file type!! All 200+ videos on my filesystem backup were < 1 MB JPEGs! WHAT AN AMAZING APPLE(tm) FEATURE (*)! (*) (I filed a bug report on this also, and today Apple engineers responded to me that "it works as intended": I have to export the video as "original". I disagree. If I export an event with hundreds of photos and videos, the videos should be exported properly as the photos. I don't want to manually clickety-click each video and select the different export mode.) This once again confirms that "the assumption is the mother of all f*ckups". I can't assume anything with Apple software any more. From now on, all master files go to plain file system first and get SHA256 checksums before being seen by iPhoto or Aperture.


Mac OS X and files named “(null)” silently ignored

Yet another bug that needs to be made Googleable. One of the most annoying things I have found in Mac OS X (at least in its photo applications iPhoto and Aperture) is that it silently fails with some files when importing data. For me it happened the first time when I was importing a whole directory structure to iPhoto, and there were files which had 8-bit characters like Ä and Ö! Those were simply ignored and I noticed the bug when comparing the number of files in iPhoto vs. in the directory.

Now I found a bug in Aperture 3.1.1 that is completely by Apple. After importing a photo library from iPhoto’11 to Aperture 3, there was again a mismatch in photo counts. I found out that there were three photos in iPhoto that were named “(null)”. Those photos were those few (out of 11K) that I had saved from someone else’s e-mail directly to iPhoto. Now those names are not good for Aperture. It simply skipped them without telling me anything in the end! That is a bug of the most serious kind as it may lead to data loss for the less careful users! Shame on you Apple!

Now, I will submit a bug report to them, let’s hope it gets fixed. Before that, be careful!


Mac App Store and multiple Macs

I was planning on buying Apple’s Aperture 3 as I saw it was about 62 euros in the new Mac App Store (comes with Mac OS X 10.6.6) and after reading some reviews which showed it to be at least in par with Adobe Lightroom 3 (better speed, better for Mac users, mostly only lacking the lens correction features). I just needed something more than iPhoto, but Photoshop is expensive and Gimp is messy. I have about 15,000 photos in iPhoto so the automated move to Aperture was really appealing.

The funny thing is that stand alone Aperture 3 sells for 199 euros in retail stores and in online Apple Store. How can it be only 62 euros in the Mac App store? Maybe it can only be installed on one machine, and for the second one you need to pay another 62 euros? That would have made sense. However, after installing Aperture on my MacBook, it seems to install fine also in the living room on my Mac Mini. Just went to the Mac App Store’s “purchased” view and clicked “re-install”. Cool.

Yes, it installed and runs fine. The only difference is that I had to find it from Applications and then tick “keep in dock”, while on my MacBook (the first purchase) it installed directly to the dock. That is on the borderlines of even mentioning, but I did.