Machine beauty: Organizing 88gb of photos

It’s silly. But in my mind I think this is pretty cool.

my desktop in the morning

Photo organizing in the morning.

I’ve been postponing my photo organizing for quite a while now, because I just couldn’t settle for uploading everything to Facebook or Flikr. I needed some system for organizing my photos locally into events, rating and tagging them, before uploading the organized photos automatically to services like Flikr or Facebook. This way I would just need to organize my photos once and select which services to upload to. Properly tagging my photos would also make it easier for me when I need stockphotos because I could just search for them.

I searched online for open source photo organizing alternatives and landed on Shotwell which is bundled along with the Ubuntu linux operating system. Shotwell impressed me a lot but I was still a sceptic whether or not I had reached the ultimate “final-say-on-photo-organization” type of workflow. So, I searched online and discovered that there’s a lot of other people wondering about the same thing saying things like “am I using Shotwell correctly?”

After some more searching I found this post where a photo professional described his workflow: Link to article. What I got from the article was a description for a setup for downloading and renaming photos using Rapid Photo Downloader. It’s a super specialized tool focusing solely on effeciently downloading photos and organizing them in folders. I experienced some difficulties installing it though and the developers say that one shouldn’t use it with the most recent linux distributions.

Back to my photo above! :) In the end I installed Ubuntu 12.04 inside virtualbox in my Windows 7 (virtualbox allows for running operating systems inside operating systems). In the photo above there’s Windows 7 on the left and Ubuntu running in full screen mode on the right. After some test downloads I decided to just go for it and automatically organize a 88gb folder worth of photos / videos. 4994 items. Estimated 50min of processing. Finally, everything will be put into dated folders with thoughtful filenames.

“When something works well, you can feel it; there is a sense of rightness to it. We call that rightness beauty, and it ought to be the single most important component of design (David Gelernter).”

I dunno. It just feels cool.






Hacking Away a Sunday Night

Country music playing.  Keyboard typing. Still seeing a little light out over the fjord outside my parents’ house here in Tysvær. Just finished setting up a server in Bergen to host WordPress sites. It’s a task that might seem easy for seasoned system administrators. However, for me (not being a seasoned sysadmin) it was a nice chance to learn something new by setting all this up via command line remotely, talking to a machine several hours away (if traveling by bus). Feels satisfying somehow. Command line definitely adds to the coolness factor.

living room photo

Living room with new flooring, stuff waiting to be reorganized in the background.

seeing the fjord in the distance dimly lit

Middle of the night. Still light. Seeing the fjord in the distance.


Memo to myself of resources used

  1. I first installed LAMP on my linux server, which is a bundle open-source software used for hosting web sites.
  2. Since I had a web app already running on the default port 80, I wanted to change the apache default port, solution for that here.
  3. Restarting the server surfaced some errors complaining about a missing servername, found a solution here.
  4. After searching some more I found this nice writeup of how to install WordPress on linux via command line.
  5. I followed the steps in the how-to for a while until I realized that I had forgotten my mysql password. Found a way to reset mysql password here.
  6. The wordpress “pretty” permalinks didn’t work properly. Solution here.

Presto! Server successfully hosting a wordpress installation. :)