I'd like to use rsync to back up my Mac, mostly because it's what I'm used to. But, resource forks. What's the done thing?

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  1. Do nothing different than what I did before, and back up my Mac to a remote Linux machine. This means my backups won't have resource forks saved. What will break if I later restore those? Probably nothing?
  2. Use the /usr/bin/rsync (2.6.3 proto 28) shipped by Apple with 10.4. In this version, the "-E" argument causes rsync to preserve resource forks, but:

    1. it seems to always considers them to be "changed" (that is, with -v it will print a line for every file that has a resource fork, even if there haven't been any changes, which is annoying);
    2. it only works when the target file system is HFS: if you point it at a remote Linux box, you get a protocol version mismatch error. (Solved by backing up to a Firewire HFS drive instead of to a Linux server, I guess, but that'd be a waste as I have plenty of room on the disk in the Linux box...)

  3. RsyncX: again, this version only works with HFS on both sides. I can't see a reason to use this in preference to the one that Apple ships.

  4. Patched rsync+hfsmode: this can back up resource forks to remote non-HFS servers, but when going the other direction, does not re-assemble the magic dot-files back into resources. This sounds generally to be the most sensible solution of the three, but my instincts tell me, "the fact that there is no .dmg binary distribution of it means that only 5 people in the world are actually using it, and you don't want to be one of those."

Update: In case you were curious, I'm going with option #1, "ignore the problem".

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car parts

Nice try, but I give it a "B". They didn't even try to take the seats apart!


photography workflow, photoshop, and gamma

A few weeks ago I lamented that iPhoto doesn't match the way I like to organize my photos, and was thinking that the way to go was to buy a copy of PhotoMechanic and use that instead.

Well, I finally got a copy of Photoshop CS2, and it turns out that it includes a tool that does pretty much exactly what I want! The file browser dingus in "Adobe Bridge" gives you a bunch of different views for looking at, rating, and pruning thumbnails, and it approaches it as "visualizing the contents of a directory" (which I like) instead of "I've sucked all your photos into some scary proprietary database, and now I will show you search results" (what iPhoto does).

So I think that now the way I'll be doing it is:

  • Copy photos off camera to a YYYY-MM-DD-title/RAW/ directory;
  • Copy that to YYYY-MM-DD-title/EDIT/ directory;
  • Edit those through Bridge and Photoshop;
  • "Tools / Photoshop / Image Processor";
    Output to a web directory;
    Resize to fit 900 x 750.

The "Web Photo Gallery" command looks promising, but none of the templates generate pages that are very close to the layout that I use today, so I guess I'll just keep using my script to generate those. (Maybe someday I'll poke around and see if I can customize Photoshop to do it my way instead.)

It's been a long time since I've used Photoshop, and it really is an amazing program. It's no wonder that it has no competitors. The last time I used it seriously was, I think, Photoshop 3.5, which was the last version they released for Irix. Since then I've been using GIMP, which is a decent program (in that it's approximately equivalent to Photoshop 3.5) but man, the real thing is just leaps and bounds ahead. And so fast!

I am especially thrilled by "Image / Adjustments / Photo Filter" and "Image / Adjustments / Shadow/Highlight". Those two commands let me do in a couple of seconds what I'd spent ten minutes doing with "Levels" in GIMP!

I'm still not sure what the Right Thing to do is with respect to gamma. The default Mac gamma is brighter than the default Windows gamma, meaning that on a Mac, you see more detail in the dark areas. I guess my Linux box was calibrated in a Windows-like way, because when I look at my old galleries, a lot of the pictures look kind of washed out, and (even worse) I can see blocky JPEG artifacts in some spots that previously looked solid black.

So I guess the thing to do is leave my monitor set at "Mac" gamma, and when I'm editing pictures, err toward "too bright" instead of "too dark". That means that the failure mode might be that a picture looks too dark to some users, which I think is better than icky JPEG artifacts being visible to some other users.

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