Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spending money I didn't really need to spend

I bought iLife '09 on my way home from work last night. I was underwhelmed by the iLife '09 demo at MacWorld last month and at that time had determined that I could live without the new enhancements to iPhoto, iMovie, and the other programs in the suite. But after I ran the first draft of my tax returns and saw that I should get a decent sum back from the federales, I changed my mind. Late last night I installed the upgrades and set about place- and face-tagging my photos. The advantages of place-tagging and face-tagging are that once you've tagged all your photos, you can search for photos by person or location. Since I organize my photos by date, time, and then location, searching by place and/or person could be useful. For the $80 I spent on the software, I certainly hope it's useful.

The place-tagging didn't take that long, but it took me a while to figure out how to get specific with my pushpins. I didn't want to tag every photo taken in the five boroughs as "New York," when some of them are specifically in Central Park, or at a particular location in Brooklyn like Floyd Bennett Field. After making a few adjustments I finished the process about an hour later.

By that time iPhoto had completed its face-scanning process, so I set about face-tagging some of my recent photo sets. I am not too impressed with the facial recognition so far. It has trouble with people wearing glasses or sunglasses, or with heads tilted slightly. I have had to correct or add face tags to most of the photos I've adjusted up to this point. But it is fun to go back through some of these photos and see who iPhoto knows and who it doesn't know. Also, it helps me to remember the names of all the people I met at the various weddings I attended last year. I know that I don't need to tag everyone; it's unlikely that I'll want to search for friends of friends that I met one time in my photo collection. But if I tag the major friends, it will make a difference for future searches.

As for the rest of the product suite, I spent a few minutes in iMovie this morning just poking around, and I haven't tried the updated version of GarageBand or iWeb yet. I don't own a guitar or a piano, so I don't think the celebrity lessons feature of GarageBand will be of much use to me. And this blog is the only web site I maintain at the moment so iWeb might not get much use either. But I couldn't pick and choose which applications I wanted to buy so I got the whole suite. I just hope Apple doesn't release a super-updated version next year, because I'll have to buy that too.

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