Sunday, 29 June 2008

Managing Photos

As the number of digital photos that we have taken has increased, we have become concerned about how we find photos for use in photo books and other work. For photo editing, we have been using a combination of ACDSee Photo Editor 3.1 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0. We used ACDSee's FotoSlate 4 to draft our recent photo book but are planning to move to Adobe's InDesign and Photoshop CS 3.

ACDSee Pro claims to be a complete toolbox for photographers. It allows you to scan your folders and edit the metadata in the photo files. It also builds its own data to enable you to add keywords and search for photos. We have been using it for a while now and never been entirely happy with the way that it works. This is in part because we didn't allow it to import all our photos into its database. Instead, we have worked with our own directory structure which is based on year and then a directory for each day/camera that we have taken photos. This has allowed us to find photos easily based on date but not on theme or category.

Using the EXIF and IPTC metadata, we have been slowing adding descriptions, photographer, location, and Copyright data to each photo but this has been quite tedious with the batch update provided in ACDSee. We have also found the search mechanism not as easy to work with as we would like.

In exploring the options for purchasing the Adobe Creative Suite, we came across Adobes Photoshop Lightroom. We decided to do a comparison of the tw programs to decide which to use in the future. Here is our current judgement.

The EXIF metadata includes information about the camera, lens, camera settings, etc, used to take the photo. Most of the time, you don't want to change this data.

Lightroom

ACDsee Pro

Requires that photos be imported to database but will retain photos in place if required

It is optional to import photos but it will do so as you work with them and modify the metadata

Reports selective metadata but doesn't allow the update of EXIF metadata

Reports all metadata elements and allows update of all metadata

Has a size restriction on the photos that it imports. This is increased with Lightroom 2 beta

Seems to be no size restriction since it works on directory and not just photos imported to database

Metadata updates have to be synchronised with photos otherwise changes are just held in database. It aims to protect photos from modification

Metadata written to the photo file directly.

Seleted metadata can be used as a filter to select a range of photos. Reports number of photos for values including the number that are blank

Slected metadata can be used as filters but photos have to be in database and does not report blank or unknown values

Metadata for multiple photos can be updated at one time by selecting photos and then altering appropriate values in side panel

Metadata for multiple photos can be updated at one time by selecting photos and then running a batch information update

Can store preset values for metadata fields for use when importing and synchronising

Can store preset values for metadata fields

Import from device allows transfer to a range of different directory structures based on date photo taken or other criteria

Import to specified directory

Allows editing, creation of slide show, printing and creation of web gallery

Allows editing, slideshow, PDF creation, and a number of other options

Can use an external photo editor

Can use an external photo editor and transfer to Fotoslate

We are currently leaning toward the use of Lightroom primarily because it is easier to work with the metadata attributes to locate photos and also because of its import from device features.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Conceptions of God

I was looking for some material of proof or lack of proof in relation to the universal negative, that is: for all p, p is not r. Before being able to say whether it can be proved, we need to define what p and r are members of. My search uncovered an argument that said that since it was possible to prove that there was no integer such that the integer was the square root of two then it was not true to say that it was not possible to prove the universal negative.

To prove a universal negative, it is necessary to show that for ever p, p is not r. Disproving it is easier since all that is necessary is to show that there exists one p that is r. If I was to claim that there was no integer that was the square root of four then I hope all would agree that I was mistaken since two is the square rot of four.

The difficult comes when we make statements like there is no such thing as aliens or there is no such thing as god. What would it require to prove absolutely that these statements are true. Just because I can prove that there is no integer that is the square root of two does not mean that I can prove either of these statements. I need to do clarify what I mean by alien and god. If I restrict my definition of them appropriately then I can say that based on my conception of god or of an alien, then these things do not exist. The question then becomes one of is my conception of an alien or god reasonable.

From my perspective, our conception of something is based on what we have experienced of that thing. So if I have no experience of an alien or of god then what can I based my conception on? What others say or describe as their experience but how can I prove their experience is accurate? It isn't as if I can just go down the street an meet an alien or to the best of my knowledge I can't and for some people the same seems to apply for god. This leaves us with conflicting statements on the existence or non-existence of these things that seem to be based on personal belief rather than experience of.

What I found interesting was the claim by one person that because of the awful things that happen in the world there could be no god because if god was omnipresent and all-powerful then he wouldn't let these things happen. So what can we say about his conception of god? It would seem on the surface that in his conception of god, god would take control whenever something he didn't like looked like happening. What does that mean for the conception of man? Does this person believe that man is not responsible for his actions?

I am a father and as a loving father, I could step in each time that I saw my children doing things that I thought were dangerous or had some risk. The problem is what would my children learn? Would they learn to take responsibility for their actions? I certainly want them to be independent thinkers and to make good decisions so I allow them to take risks. I may also provide a bit of gentle persuasion in an attempt to change their mind. The only time that I would step in and physically stop them, if I had the opportunity and I could do so, is if I felt they were endangering themselves or others. Children need to learn about responsibility and risk taking. They need to understand where their rights and freewill ends and responsibility takes over. They need to learn that the actions they take have consequences.

A conception of god that sees him stepping in a stopping all evil and disease says to me that he has to remove my freedom to choose. He removes from the me the need to be responsible and to accept that my actions have consequences. The easiest way to achieve that is to remove my freewill. I become a puppet or slave. Do I want a world like that? No, I don't! So I would agree with him that a god that stops all evil and harm doesn't exist and I wouldn't want him to exist.

So maybe, we have proven that a god constrained by the conception that he or she was all-powerful and omnipresent would step in and stop all evil doesn't exist and maybe we wouldn't want to exist then what other conceptions of god are there? If we want to show there is no god then we must prove all possible conceptions of god don't exist unless of course we have some experience of God.