We Are Resolute
Renaming Picture Files
I am one of those people who laboriously rename pictures one-by-one because I wish to retain the camera sequence number. For example, DSC01234.jpg gets changed to S01234MyPicture.jpg. I can name several pictures with the same name because the camera number is unique. The S stands for Sony (I also have a Nikon). I have not seen any renaming programs that allow a template. It would be nice to tell the program that I wish to keep the S and the 5 numbers and add something to the end. Are you aware of anything like that?
Check out A Better Finder Rename and GraphicConverter. —Michael Tsai
I’ve been using DVDAttache 2.3.5 for tracking our DVD collection and find it very easy and useful. It too is freeware. I love the look of Delicious Library, but I don’t think I’d be willing to pay $40 for it.
I can see that DVDAttache is a fantastic alternative for many people. I truly liked its approach, but I believe I’m still going to stick with DVDManager.
DVDAttache’s interface is slightly clunky because it’s done in Java. To clarify, the actual layout is very nice. It’s just certain behaviors (open/save dialog boxes, for example) that just don’t feel right. This isn’t the developer’s fault—it’s something that’s just inherent in Java applications. I’m completely in favor of Java-developed applications because they can be ported to any platform that supports Java, but I prefer to only use Java applications when there’s not a good OS X-native alternative.
I also really like DVDAttache’s approach for HTML output, but it doesn’t meet my wish of an at-a-glance listing that DVDManager gives me. If I ever want a full-page interface with all details for each DVD, this looks like it would be a good choice. So far, though, DVDManager’s HTML output is the only one I’ve seen that I can relatively easily integrate into my blog design. —Lee Bennett
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Aside what was said above on DVDManager and DVDAttache, it’s worth mentioning that both of them successfully connect to a range of DVD info servers, and in my tests successfully found almost 90% of the DVD I tried.
Delicious Library, while announcing this in the future (among many other features), entirely depends on the single Amazon US service and won’t find any non-US DVD. It’s just unusable for a European.
I’m presently hesitating between DVDManager and the (more complete but more complex) DVDTheque.
IOGEAR and Dr. Bott KVMs
Thanks for a fascinating article about Dr. Bott’s KVM. It’s just what I need to save my knees as I grovel under the desk! But, after checking up on KeyTweak, I found that it wouldn’t work with Windows 98 SE.
Have you any suggestions for an alternative key remapper?
You might be interested in AppleK Pro. Sorry about that huge omission! —David Zatz
What a wealth of resources we have in these programs and in this series of articles! Allow me to add a note of caution, however.
I’ve been an Apple user since the beginning, and I have data dating back to around 1980 that I wish to preserve. I’ve used countless methods for organizing the data. Those of you who recall the program VisiCalc might also recall VisiDex (short for VISIble inDEX). Sure wish I could read those files now. Of course I jumped on the program MORE and developed extensive outline material in that format. Fortunately, OmniOutliner was able to make that data available again. HyperCard was among my favorite organizing tools for a time. I can still access my ‘stacks’ if I’m willing to load an older OS on my computer, but future Macs may be unable to do that. FullWrite was a wonderfully full-featured word processing program, and it helped create beautifully formatted documents that I can no longer read. The General Manager was a fabulous hierarchical database program (Apple ][) that I became addicted to, but…I mention these programs because they were very popular and represented the pinnacle of their genre at the time. And now they are gone. And with them went all the precious data that they helped to generate.
We are not alone in this. Government agencies around the world have immense volumes of data that they can no longer access and that they can’t share with other computer systems, even in the same branch of government sometimes. The problem is that every program and every computer tends to create its own proprietary method of formatting data.
And so my warning is that before you commit yourself to thousands of hours with an exciting new program to organize your life, consider what will happen when the program is no longer available. Consider what will happen when you want to upgrade to OS XI, and the program won’t run under it and won’t be upgraded.
One thing to look for is a commitment by the developer of the software to release the source code to the public domain should development ever be stopped. There is then the possibility that someone will take up the cause and continue development, thus keeping your data and investment alive. Another thing to look for is the availability of a standard format for accessing your data. Can it be exported to RTF, HTML, XML, tab-delimited, or other useful forms? Often a program offers many ways to import data, but few ways to export data. They want to lock you into using their system.
I have a current investment in OmniOutliner and Circus Ponies Notebook, but I’m reconsidering the outliner in Word with the thought that Microsoft might be a better long-term gamble than some of the other outline publishers discussed here. Certain types of data can best be handled in a program like FileMaker, which gives much control over the input and the presentation of information, and also seems to have a good future.
May the future be kind to you and the fruits of your labor.
I wish to join the many who are very thankful for this outstanding series. Keep up the good work!
Would like some input on my own situation. I write a lot, fiction and non-fiction, both based on huge amounts of research.
For a period I stuck with Tinderbox, but it was not strong enough as a writing tool. Along came Tao, which really made my heart beat faster. But it lacks support for filtering, it seems. It is able to hide items, but that is not enough. I need to be able to hide and show items at wish, based on metadata such as labels.
Two-pane editing is also very important to me; I outline and comment to the left and write the full manuscript text to the right. Tao does this beautifully, and it lets me zoom the note window, but it does not allow me to print and manipulate only the notes (my manuscript). Or am I wrong?
Support for large amounts of data, like DEVONthink has, would also be nice, but that application is again too weak in the writing/outlining department.
Good support, like Tinderbox has, is also important to me. Tao has none.
So, the requirements are: filtering, two-pane editing, support for huge amounts of data, power outlining, a very clean interface (Tao, again, excels here).
A great many ATPO readers are in your shoes. The capabilities we want are spread out over several applications.
An upcoming column will deal with combining applications. If anyone has any ideas along these lines, please send them to me. —Ted Goranson
StudioBoard Mechanical Keyboard
Nice review of a necessary component, Michael. Especially since I’m always spilling various kinds of edibles and drinkables on my keyboard. (Apple’s products seem to be very forgiving in that regard, by the way.)
One must wonder why the Micro Connectors unit is no more.
Michael, the Return key layout matches my Apple Pro keyboard layout here in the UK—but I can certainly see the differences to the US layout.
While it would make the keyboard a more attractive proposition here, Kensington’s European site doesn’t yet feature the StudioBoard…
I’m still using our Micro Connectors keyboard. I still like it as much as I did before. I guess the only way to find another will be through exhaustive searches online, online auctions or yard sales, the way I found ours. I don’t hate the new Apple Pro keyboard that my wife has with her Cube, but I’d take the Micro Connectors over it any day. By the way, I did a search and thenerds.net still has them in Blueberry, Strawberry, and Grape. They’re not cheap, but they are available.
I suggest you try MacAlly iceKey. I have had mine for a couple years and I love it. It has low-profile keys like a laptop keyboard and mechanical key switches.
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