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Feb. 20th, 2008 @ 10:28 am the time sink that is synch
Am I just blind to the good solutions or does synchronizing data consume way more time and effort than it should?

I've given in and bought software that's supposed to be helpful for synching before, and it's never solved my problems. But I give up on smooth synching with mobile devices in general, and as long as I only buy apple hardware that side works well enough. What I really want is what should be the easy case: making specific data that's stored in desktop software available to others on the web.

How I imagine it: in iphoto I group some pictures in an album and assign them captions. I click a button to publish that album on a photo site of my choice. From then on when I click a sync button, any changes I've made locally are reflected on the web, and vice versa.

How it really is: I can batch upload some pictures to start. I lose the captions though there are for-pay maybe-solutions I haven't tried. From then on if I make a change in iphoto I have to log into the web site and make the same change. Even if I do something destructive like crop a photo and re-upload it, the web site will add the cropped version instead of updating the original.

This all puts inordinate pressure on me to get an album exactly the way I'll want it for all time before I publish it, which has the predictable result of making me avoid pictures entirely. In fact I don't even need web-to-iphoto sync, just iphoto-to-web. But it's like everything is written as if we're all submitting our final draft to the printing press.

I would be glad to abandon iphoto if something else accomplished this, but I honestly can't find any software that does this - not just for iphoto but any platform. Shouldn't be that hard? Aren't pictures one of the few things we all have in common? Even if I'm willing to deal with maintaining gallery or whatever open source software on my VPS (and I've worked hard to go the opposite direction) I still see no answers.

What am I missing?
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From:crosstables
Date:February 20th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
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Maybe Google's PicasaWeb? It publishes your Picasa gallery to the web. It's nice and googley*.
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From:extempore
Date:February 20th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
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There's no desktop picasa for the mac. Confirming that just now I found this, which may bode well.
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From:arasirsul
Date:February 20th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
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What I'm currently using is an iPhoto plug in called "iPhotoToGallery" by Zach Wily.

The good news: It exports iPhoto to Gallery 2.0. Pushes out titles and captions, as well.

Bad news: Yeah, it adds instead of updates, too. :-/ And, well, it's Gallery, which you'd proabably just as soon get rid of.

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From:extempore
Date:February 20th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that's what I used to use before I abandoned gallery. I found gallery 2 to be ridiculously overengineered and inexplicably less capable than gallery 1 (I had to hack it to get the same caption behavior) so I took the opportunity to bail.
From:themaroon
Date:February 20th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
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I have much the same problem with Flickr. Luckily I know of a startup that does a pretty good job. Essentially you have a folder on your computer (works on both Mac and PC, of which I have one and two respectively). Anything you put in that folder is automatically backed up on their server and synched to all of your pcs. They have a photo gallery feature as well (you simply put your photos in that folder, and I think it does albums by subfolders).

I'd be happy to send you an invite if you're interested.
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From:extempore
Date:February 21st, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
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Having to maintain a folder of pictures separately from iphoto is no improvement.
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From:patrissimo
Date:February 20th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
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I would say in general that Google is the company most likely to get this problem right, and so you should not despair for the future.
From:mquinnv
Date:February 20th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)

.Mac Web Galleries

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.Mac Web galleries do this. you create smart galleries to arrange the pics and then publish them to .Mac. then it will sync caption changes and edits when you tell it to.
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From:extempore
Date:February 21st, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)

Re: .Mac Web Galleries

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I tried out a .mac gallery and at least at the time I tried it, it required flash to see and was ridiculously slow. In my experience apple's services (as opposed to their hardware and shipped software) are universally terrible.
From:mquinnv
Date:February 21st, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)

Re: .Mac Web Galleries

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i certainly won't argue about that, except to say that .mac has improved a good deal from its original state of suck. the web galleries are still a little slow, but seem to be scriptaculous/prototype based with flash only used for the upload components. not entirely sure about that as the page source is pretty convoluted.
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From:meldeiry
Date:February 20th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)

On a related note...

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...Why isn't it easier to backup my laptop? If I back it up to a flash drive, I want the drive to just go thru and find files that have been edited since the last backup, and overwrite those. But NO, I have to wait 1/2 hour for it to overwrite all my pictures. It seems like this should be out there, but I can't find it. I guess it's cheap enough now to just buy an external drive, but I don't understand why this doesn't exist???
From:vmole
Date:February 20th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)

rsync?

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I think the tool you're looking for is rsync. I'm 95% sure it's included in OS-X, but if not it's freely available. Command line, but there are GUI front ends.
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From:meldeiry
Date:February 21st, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)

Re: rsync?

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Thanks for the advice! I have (shudder!) Windows. Do you know of anything that works on Windows XP Home?

Mike
From:vmole
Date:February 21st, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)

Re: rsync?

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Amazingly, there is. It's called...wait for it...rsync! Either the command line tool, or, as I found with a quick googling, "DeltaCopy", a GUI front-end, also GPL.
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From:meldeiry
Date:February 22nd, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)

Re: rsync?

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Thanks, vmole. I don't know much about these computer thingies...
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From:extempore
Date:February 21st, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)

Re: On a related note...

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There are lots of ways to accomplish this, but you didn't mention your operating system. If it's osx, in leopard you can just use time machine. I also bought SuperDuper, which is mostly obviated by time machine but still has some usefulness since its backup is bootable.

As someone else mentioned, rsync (or better yet, rdiff-backup) can do this on lots of platforms.
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From:meldeiry
Date:February 21st, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)

Re: On a related note...

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Thanks for the advice. I have (shiver!!!) Windows. I'm not a Mac guy, though I'm starting to wish I were...

You know anything about Windows?
From:vmole
Date:February 20th, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)

Ugly, but could work

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Export static HTML Galleries from iPhoto. Use rsync to upload to your website, which should avoid re-sending pictures that haven't changed; I'd guess that the HTML will get uploaded every time, but that's relatively cheap.
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From:extempore
Date:February 21st, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)

Re: Ugly, but could work

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That sounds like it would sort of solve a subset of the problems, but trade in some new ones. I like getting the features out of photo sites, like slideshows and people being able to comment. That'd all go out the window. It doesn't feel like I should have to choose.
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From:krisbrowne42
Date:February 21st, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)

.Mac photo galleries...

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.. cover most of what you are describing. The publish up maintains metadata, comments, etc, to a second mac iPhoto can subscribe and see the full set and easily locally copy it for editing or anything else if you allowed it on the initial publish, and any other tool can connect with RSS to find and download updates. Going the other way there are several ways to upload content to galleries which do sync back to iPhoto on the next update.
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From:krisbrowne42
Date:February 21st, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)

Re: .Mac photo galleries...

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Fill Disclosure I work at an Apple Store so I am a natural booster, but even so I also use the tools and love them...

http://gallery.mac.com/kris.browne
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From:extempore
Date:February 21st, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)

Re: .Mac photo galleries...

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When I tried one gallery that way a while back, my poor grandmother (who is using a mac I bought her back when jaguar was the latest) couldn't view it. I myself was aghast at the slowness. And does it seriously require flash? I just want to share some pictures. I would like to strangle whoever thought that ought to REQUIRE flash.
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From:krisbrowne42
Date:February 21st, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)

Re: .Mac photo galleries...

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You're drawing distinctions on presentation, and mostly subjectively at that.

The above mentioned criteria were about ease of sharing, syncing, and updating, for which .Mac galleries have no equal.

For what it's worth I just loaded my gallery with plugins entirely disabled and every feature worked fine.... Viewing source, it looks like every part of the page is implemented via AJAX.

From:latchkey
Date:March 9th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)

eye-fi

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