Posted on Oct 12, 2005

After a recent family gathering I decided that it would be nice to produce a printed photo album as a gift. Let’s be clear

  • I make no claim to fame as a photographer, but I enjoy taking pictures. Scanning the web to find a plausible service to use for my 50 photo book it seemed that every service wanted me to download some Windows software to assemble the book or suffer a truly hideous web-based designer. In the end, I dug out my Powerbook and resolved to give the photo printing in iPhoto a try.

Since last playing with iPhoto I’ve upgraded my camera to an eight megapixel SLR, meaning that the poor machine has to push around almost twice as much data. Scanning through the pictures and assembling the book was incredibly painful on my 800Mhz G4. I strongly suspect that a laptop disk and only 512MB RAM is a contributory factor. In the end the book was ordered and should be here in a few days. I’ll post some comments about the results when it arrives.

Since buying my new camera (a Canon EOS 350D) I’ve been meaning to look into “raw” images and the associated processing. Finding software to do that on Solaris is challenging. Linux isn’t much better. It seems that my alternatives are Mac OS or Windows.

I have some general resistance to Windows, though perhaps it’s time I went back and tried it for this specific application. I know that Picasa was a neat tool when I played with it recently. The big benefit of Windows would be that I have a bunch of x86 hardware around the place, including nice dual processor machines with lots of memory - the only required investment would be in software.

Buying a new Mac is perhaps an option. I already have an LCD display, so the iMac is out. The Mini seems as though it might be under-powered, leaving the G5. An Ebay sourced G5 with “all the twos” (two 2Ghz processors, 2GB RAM, 200GB disk) seems to run for around a thousand pounds, which doesn’t seem so bad. Of course, a copy of Photoshop or whatever would be on top of that. Would a machine like that be adequate for pushing around 8MP raw files, perhaps some light video editing, etc?

Then again, that’s back down the path of Apple entrapment. In a couple of years I’d need to spend another bunch of cash for an Intel based Apple machine, whereas PCs are, generally speaking, in plentiful supply.