Iphoto is a great application. It organises your pictures, lets you tag people, add geotags and use tons of effects and sliders to make you aunt Joe look like the witch from the Wizard of Ozz. iPhoto is also good at something else : keeping your photos … in iPhoto. All cool and dandy until you want to access them from a machine .. that isn’t a Mac. iPhoto (just like iTunes) are proprietary applications that lock in your data into their database/filestructure. That’s cool if it helps them do their thing .. but what if you want more “freedom ?”
So lets spring your data.
But where are you going to put them ? That’s a good question. My philosophy here is that your data should be freely accessible by multiple operating systems, from multiple locations and multiple applications. This makes the obvious solution an organised file structure using files and folders on a network share.
What do you have to loose ?
You can loose some of that ‘extra data’ some applications add to files. iPhoto writes metadata like face recognition data and other tags in a different location (so not INSIDE the picture information) So you might end up loosing some of that data. It might be a price that is too high to pay to set your data free.
What do I use to export ?
The name of the application we suggest (for OSX of course) is not very original : “iPhoto export all events” does what it says it does. It takes your iPhoto library and exports the pictures in a folder structure based on your different events. There are 2 versions of the application (one where the folder structure is based on the names of your events the other one where it adds the event date in front of the folder name ) Its an older app, its free .. but it works.
So now what ?
Your pictures are free ! Yeey ! Time to go looking for a photo management application that does NOT try to slobber up all your files in one giant database. We will probably get into a cross-platform friendly list in a later post so in the meantime … stay sharp !
Links : iPhoto Export all Events.
We get technical this week with a great open source and free network attached filestorage solution called NAS4FREE. After running down the list of things it can do we show you how to tweak into the core of your cross-platform filesharing world, enabling you to use it as a central filehub for all of your devices and from all of your locations. We top it off with some information on how to virtualise the whole solution and give you a spot of music from Planet Boelex’s new track ‘Refurbished’ all of that and more on Kw405.
You’ve heard us talk lots of times about Virtualbox. Our FAVORITE free (as in ‘Gratis’) cross platform virtualisation software. As we mentioned in the previous podcast episode about “Proxmox” (a more serious virtualisation tool) the machines in our home with their I5 and i7 processors and “Gigglebytes” of ram .. are mostly idling around in a corner when you’re not playing Call of Duty (and perhaps you even do THAT on the Xbox) So lets give those machines something to DO ! Running a ‘dedicated’ solution like dropbox might just be a little too much, but perhaps you have some cycles to spare on another system that is also being used as a desktop ? Why not try Virtualbox.
As an example : Currently I have dragged my I7, 16 gigabyte’s of ram Mac Mini downstairs and hooked it up to our tv. Since it carries most of our media it was a little silly to have it running in my upstairs office and having to stream everything back to the TV using a second (front end) box. So now the little bugger sits in our media cabinet with some 4 terrabyte of USB Harddisks hooked up to it. Having it just sit there running OSX and acting as a mediaserver or fileserver was a waste of power and cpu cycles. So with virtualbox I gave it something to do. I installed Virtualbox, hooked up a big external usb drive and started cooking some VM’s.
- Ubuntu 12.10 vm with LXDE : This is my ‘internal’ ubuntu desktop. I use it for running cronjobs, copy operations and scripts that are meant for internal use only. Its my ‘Secure box’. I’ve enabled the RDP server on it (a builtin function of Virtualbox) so I can cantrol the screen of the virtual machine from afar.
- Ubuntu 12.10 vm with LXDE : The second machine has a torrent client running as does the ‘dirty deeds’ that need to be done on the internet. Insecure surfing, downloading and remote access via SSH are its main goals. Once a week I ‘roll back’ the machine to its original (clean) post install state with the “snapshot” function of Virtualbox.
- Ubuntu 12.10 Server : The main task of this machine is running OWNCLOUD (also featured in one of our podcasts) as my personal cloud storage.
- Nas4Free : With a 1800 gigabyte virtual disk, this VIRTUAL machine acts as my main file storage system. So instead of putting my files on a disk and sharing them out via the file-sharing options on my (host) OSX system, I made a virtual machine of a linux application geared towards storage and filesharing … and put all of my files INSIDE a virtual machine. Performance is very good so far and the added perks to running Nas4free are going to be a topic for next weeks podcast.
In the end, controlling these virtual machines is a little messy sometimes. I mean you can’t just interrupt @Niejana when she is watching “Blood and Chrome” to say : Sorry about that, I need to mess with something on my Virtualbox and for that I need to use the TV ? You need ‘remote’ ways to manage that virtual machine situation.
- Controlling the Virtual Machines. Remote controlling the virtual machines is easy. You can use the built in RDP server in Virtualbox to use an RDP client (on any operating system) to open up the remote machine. If you also want to access them from the outside, try installing Teamviewer on the Virtual Machine. If you are using a Linux operating system as your virtual machine you can enable the SSH Server and go in via the terminal.
- Controlling Virtualbox. Unbeknown to many, virtualbox has a powerful set of terminal commands you can use. With a simple terminal window to my Mac (SSH) I can use the ‘VboxManage’ commands to do just about anything. Make a new virtual machine, clone a drive, resize a drive. Everything runs in the background and its a very very powerful tool. You can find the entire list of Virtualbox commands HERE.
- Controlling Virtualbox with a web interface. Virtualbox also has a web interface that helps you control your virtualmachines. In a point and click way you can start and stop VM’s and do anything you can do on the ‘regular’ desktop window. Installing it might be a little chore (depending on the host operating system you use) but the results are pretty spiffy. Find the howto HERE.
And with those little tips you know can turn that headless box OR that powerful machine upstairs that is always on, but sometimes used by your kids for gaming… into your own personal datacenter. Don’t have the spare beige box for Proxmox ? Just have a desktop and want to get it to do some cool things ‘under the hood’. Want your own invisible datacenter ? Here you go ! Download Virtualbox NOW.
In this episode we give you some ideas and possibilities when it comes to building your own home Linux server. While putting an old clunker back to good use or using a VM, we give you tips and tricks on using the command line, CLI applications, web based interfaces remote desktop sessions or even terminal servers. Let technology work for you and build your own home linux server with this podcast as your loyal companion.
- What hardware to choose.
- What to consider.
- Command line applications
- Web based interfaces
- Graphical user interface
- Choose your graphical desktop
- Gnome shell
- Hook it up to a screen
- Hook it up to your tv
- Free nx
- Automate scripts with cron
The word alone sounds repulsing to me.
Proprietary : The word alone sounds repulsing to me. Being an open source – cross platform fetishist, anything that is locked into the boundaries of a certain manufacturer is probably comparable to the used toilet paper of satan himself. Anything that veers away from open standards and locks users into the steel confinements of a certain brand or manufacturer is no worse then the sing sing prison. Just think about it. Special document formats that implore you , no , FORCE you to buy a certain peace of software in order to open them. A peace of hardware that only has drivers for a certain operating system. Or an on line music store that will only allow its content to be played on one brand of players. Anything that promises advanced functionality at the cost of the consumers liberty to buy what he wants is something Cruellla Devill would probably love. I hate proprietary stuff. Whether its office document formats, Itunes-music-store restricted music, or even some fancy sort of USB connector variation that will only fit on that one stupid dell machine. If it ain’t open , I don’t want it ! I scream in defiance. What good is a fantastic slideshow made in powerpoint if I can’t open it on my mac, Why the frack would I buy a song on Itunes if i can’t play it on my cheap ass mp3 player, Why in hells bells would I encode my music in WMA format if my linux machine won’t be able to read it.
Oh ow , caught in the net.
But , willing or unwilling, i have slipped into the net of these close quarters and have witnessed the power of this fully operational battlesta.. erm .. proprietary software. This week I installed my old Mac Mini as a server at home. Giving it some extra firewire storage-space I bestowed upon it the tasks to store all my pictures and music , and do some video capturing on the side. Your basic run of the mill media server. Using a great program called SHAREPOINT i was able to share any folder I liked using the universal SAMBA protocol. For reasons beyond my comprehension mac does not allow sharing just any folder, just the home folder. Probably to prevent you from turning your mac into a file-server , but hey , come on .. its MY MAC remember ? Nevertheless I got it working nice and dandy. Writing a little logon script with automator gave my other macs access to the shares and that was that. Then I stared using Iphoto and Itunes on the mac server to manage the pictures. That way a boring server was also good for some music playing and photo slide-showing. Think of my mac mini as a power-station (not quite a server , but not quite a workstation). When I got downstairs on my macbook (after connecting to the shared folders using my Ubuntu workstation) i booted up my Itunes and saw…. The mac mini’s music directory.. magically shared through the wonders of AFS (apple file-sharing system). And behold : The Iphoto library on the server was available as well ! And it was surprisingly fast. Sharing files (streaming video) between macs using AFS was faster then doing the same thing with my linux machine over the open source standard of SAMBA.
Its magic .. damn you !
So there you have it . By some technology indistinguishable from magic my macs had talked to each-other and decided on a little functionality to brighten up my day: Share pictures and music just like that. Wether the other kids in the room ( my Ubuntu station and Windows machine) could join or not (they couldn’t) was none of their concern. Too bad really. I mean , I feel good about the fact i can share pictures and music from a centralized place .. but am appalled at the fact that somewhere somehow I have fallen for the proprietary marketing trick. It comes with its advantages of course. But the next time I sit behind my Ubuntu workstation … and curse for not being able to access my Itunes .. I know i’ll curse : Damn you proprietary devil !
To top it of ? A video for you guyz 🙂