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Jeff Carlson

Jeff Carlson

Jeff Carlson is an author, photographer, and freelance writer. Among many other projects, he publishes the Smarter Image newsletter, which explores how computational photography, AI, and machine learning are fundamentally changing the art and science of photography. He’s covered the personal technology field from Macs and PalmPilots to iPhones and mirrorless cameras, publishing in paper magazines, printed books, ebooks, and websites. He’s also the co-host of the podcasts PhotoActive and Photocombobulate, and has spoken at several conferences and events. He lives in Seattle, where, yes, it is just as gray and wet and coffee-infused as you think it is.

Jeff Carlson 11 comments

“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 6

A previous chapter talked a lot about adding metadata during the import process because that’s the easiest way to apply it. Assigning keywords and other information during that initial stage takes some prep time, but when you click the Import button, the metadata is applied with a broad brush across all your incoming photos. After import, though, you still have some touch-up work to do. To make your photos easily searchable later — the ultimate goal in our organization project — you also need to apply more-specific metadata to individual photos. This might include identifying people and landmarks, or describing shots. In this chapter, I look at how to choose good keywords and how to apply them smartly. I also discuss how to fix incorrect dates and times, how to apply geolocation information, and why it may not be worth investing the time in your program’s facial-recognition tools.

Jeff Carlson 6 comments

“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 5

You need to be judgmental about your images. Why? Judging your photos achieves two goals. It sets up a practical workflow for later, so you know right away which shots you want to share with others and which ones need work in an image editor before being ready to be made public (and which should be deleted or hidden). Judging also helps you become a better photographer, because it helps you look at your shots critically to determine what you’re doing right or wrong, and in what areas you excel or need to improve. In this chapter, I offer a system for judging and flagging your photos to make them most useful in your library. I also discuss what to do with the shots that don’t make the cut.

Jeff Carlson 4 comments

“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 4

Moving photos from a camera or memory card to the computer seems like mere transportation: bits captured and stored in one location are copied and saved to a new location. But your computer can do more than just shuttle files from one location to another. By taking advantage of software’s capability to assign metadata during the import stage, much of the drudgery of organizing photos is handled upfront with minimal interaction required by you.

Jeff Carlson 43 comments

“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 3

Although it’s possible to dump photos into a folder and call that “organization,” I don’t recommend doing so. My photo-management strategy relies on software to organize images and apply essential metadata. The time you save when tagging and searching for images justifies the price of a good photo-management program. But which one? I’d love to say, “Go get this one program and you’ll be set,” but that’s not realistic. The good news is that there are several interesting options for managing photos. Because it’s impractical for me to list every program out there, I focus on the features that I consider most essential for managing your photo collection and the specific programs that meet these criteria.

Jeff Carlson 12 comments

“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 2

It’s easy to think that taking control of digital photos begins when you import the images into your computer, but the truth is that the process starts before you capture your first shot. For example, time stamps are the foundation of photo-management software, making it essential that your camera records the correct time. It is possible to fix errant time stamps later, but doing so throws a roadblock into your workflow. (And if enough roadblocks appear, you may decide to turn around and abandon the endeavor altogether.) The advice in this chapter isn’t complicated, but it goes a long way toward ensuring the photos you shoot will be cleanly imported.

Jeff Carlson 13 comments

“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 1

We’re drowning in digital photos. Too often, the shots are dumped into a computer with the best of intentions of sorting and organizing, but are then left scarcely examined or enjoyed. Life intrudes, more photos are captured, and time passes until you need to locate some shots that you vaguely remember taking. It doesn’t have to be that way, as Jeff Carlson explains in the introduction to “Take Control of Your Digital Photos.”

Jeff Carlson 11 comments

How to Relocate a Dropbox Subfolder to Another Disk

Jeff Carlson wanted to use Dropbox’s Camera Upload feature for automatically copying photos from iOS devices, cameras, and memory cards, but doing so would fill up his 256 GB SSD with image files. Instead, he created a symbolic link (symlink) in Mac OS X to relocate the Camera Uploads folder to a separate volume.

Jeff Carlson No comments

Alexander Graham Bell Speaks from Wax Recording

When we think of old communications technology, many of us picture 10Base-2 coax connectors or maybe 2400 baud modems. But what about wax-covered cardboard discs? The Smithsonian discovered and digitized such a disc containing the voice of Alexander Graham Bell saying, "Hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell." Now you can hear what the inventor of the telephone sounded like on 15 April 1885.

Jeff Carlson No comments

Aperture 3.4.4

Bug fix release addresses problems while importing and uploading photos, along with overall stability and performance. ($79.99 new, free update, 523.15 MB)

Jeff Carlson No comments

Panic Discovers a Tiny Computer in Lightning AV Adapter

Stymied by oddities when outputting video from an iPad to an HDTV, the folks at Panic took a hacksaw to Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter to investigate. To their surprise, they found what appears to be a miniature computer, complete with a processor and 2 gigabits of RAM (for reference, that equals 256 MB of RAM, the same amount shipped in the original iPad). Panic’s initial speculation was that the processor was outputting an AirPlay signal (which would partially explain some compression artifacts that appear on screen). However, an anonymous but apparently knowledgeable commenter, who sounds like he or she works at Apple, explained that the adapter’s approach “essentially allows us to output to any device on the planet, irregardless of the endpoint bus (HDMI, DisplayPort, and any future inventions) by simply producing the relevant adapter that plugs into the Lightning port.” See for yourself!

Jeff Carlson 13 comments

Kindle App Updates Demonstrate iOS App Store Flaw

Updating to version 3.6.1 of the Kindle app removed books from your device and marked them as New when you re-downloaded them from Amazon’s cloud. Fortunately, a quick 3.6.2 update fixed the issue. But why would this come up in the first place?

Jeff Carlson 2 comments

250,000 Twitter Users Affected by Data Breach

Twitter reset the passwords for 250,000 users last week after it became aware of numerous unauthorized access attempts. According to Twitter’s Director of Information Security Bob Lord “…attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords” for a quarter of a million accounts. Although it would be inconvenient to have someone else posting to your account, the greater danger is to people who reuse passwords among other services. As always, we recommend creating strong passwords, preferably using tools such as 1Password or LastPass.

Jeff Carlson Michael E. Cohen 6 comments

Apple’s $13.1 Billion Profit for Q1 2013 Dismays Analysts

Citing constrained iMac availability and a shorter reporting quarter, Apple managed to come within one percent of last year’s profit-per-share mark, as well as bring in record revenues of more than $54 billion. For many analysts, this was not enough.

Jeff Carlson No comments

Vincible: iMore on What Apple Faces in 2013

At iMore, Rene Ritchie looks at the fusillades being thrown at Apple so far in 2013 — endless nonsensical punditry, rumors of iPhone production cutbacks, possible stock price manipulation — and how everyone is attacking the supposedly invincible market leader. He argues that Apple is fighting against psychology as much as competing products, and points out the company’s edge. Ritchie writes: “But here’s the thing — Apple has been here before. They’ve been to the very bottom, and they came back. Apple knows they’re beatable — that everyone is beatable — and they know how to fight their way back. It’s part of them now.”

Jeff Carlson 3 comments

The Insourcing Boom and Apple’s Influence

Some companies, such as GE, are unexpectedly shifting manufacturing from China to the United States. Although Apple isn’t mentioned in an article in The Atlantic about the trend, the reasons for the shift are undoubtedly Apple-inspired.