The Problem With Being an Apple Fan

Let me just say off the bat that I love my Apple Mac and iPod products. I own a MacBook Pro, a Magic Mouse, a cordless keyboard, an iPod Touch (First generation!), and the nearly microscopic iPod Shuffle. I use iTunes, the iLife suite of really useful programs pre-loaded on Macs (that beat the junk pre-loaded on Windows machines), and really enjoy OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard). I've seen my mom go from someone who hardly touched her Windows computer to someone who loves using her iMac. But when you buy into the Apple way of computing there are some complications, some bigger than others.


My main headache is with Apple software being a fairly closed environment. I love using iTunes and really liked how Palm had their Prē sync with it unofficially. Sure, it was sneaky and Apple would keep making updates to stop it from working. iTunes only works with iPhones or iPods, and to get it to work with others you need to use a third party piece of software that just isn't as good as iTunes. I use GoGadget by Markspace to do my music syncing, but it really isn't very nice. This is where someone says, "Get an iPhone," but that's not the point. Plus, I don't like them.

But my latest annoyance with Apple is with iPhoto 09. I upgraded to iLife 09 specifically for iPhoto which added it's Faces and Places features. Basically you can tag photos with locations and tag people within photos. You can either make use of your camera's (or SD card's) ability to tag photos with GPS info, or you can manually add a location to photos. The latter option is where I have a problem. In the former situation the GPS info is written in the EXIF part of the file that contains all the data about the photo, but in the other option the location information is stored in a separate location of the iPhoto database. The problem becomes apparent when you want to upload photos to an online photo site. If you use Flickr, iPhoto uploads all the information about the photo, including GPS info. I've never been a big Flickr fan and chose Smugmug for it's flexibility, but exporting/uploading to Smugmug doesn't include the location data. Sure, there's an easy enough work around; export as a file, then upload, but that's just another step I don't want to have to do. After hearing about these features of iPhoto, and Apple's partner site, I had hoped that other partners would step up, but so far that's not happening.
It's hard being an fan of data being open and available without a proprietary format and a fan of Apple at the same time, but I hope Apple opens up a little bit more.

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