Welcome to the Red Ferret Journal – tantalisingly tasteful, tacky and taut tech trivia.
So, what’s all the fuss about Flickr? I mean it works as advertised and provides a bunch of neat tools, but is it really worth $60.00 a year for a bit of a one dimensional photo organiser tool? I don’t really get it.
I’ve been searching for the perfect photo tool for ages now without success. There are lots of products around which will do particular tasks like Flickr and Picasa, but nothing that does it all. Why can’t we have a hybrid online/offline product which offers all the best of class features of the present crop in one easy to use interface? It can’t be that hard to build, can it?
I’m talking about a really cool editing, organising and outputing tool, which links seamlessly to the Net, works elegantly as a CD/DVD burner and comes with everything wrapped in a sugar coated interface that a 3 year old could operate. Is that really so hard? There’s lots of programs and online services offering parts of the picture, but I’ve yet to find one that does it all. My wishlist for the perfect digital photography package is thusly:
1) Capture. Automatic capture, timeline logging and organisation of every photo I dump onto my hard disk as they arrive. Picasa does this, but still appears to have trouble dating and sorting subesequent images unless you tell it explicitly. I cut/copy across images in batches of 10 to 20 every week, and shove them into a generic Photo folder, with month subfolders (for some strange reason I’ve never got on with the My Pictures folder concept). It’s not elegant, but it does the job since I tend to remember roughly when I took a certain batch of photos and can find them easily this way. I want a program to automate the process for me.
2) Edit. I want a great set of editing tools. Not just the common or garden effects and filters of the great Paint Shop Pro genre, but also clever stuff like you find in PhotoBrush. All collated into one package, with PhotoShop Plugin support (so I can install cool tools like Virtual Painter) and everything. With a single button Auto Correct with before and after windows on screen, single button Red Eye remover and super simple object remover/clone tool. Because these are probably the three things that people do most with their happy snaps.
3) Output. The total range of output options.
Print, with templates covering a whole host of activities, from making calendars to postcards, business cards and passport photos.
Slide shows – online via FTP, with incremental upload of new shots to an existing online slide show, so that just by adding a new image to the pile, I can keep a running online diary of photos for friends and family easily and quickly. Slide shows to CD/DVD too, with full navigation menus, multimedia, annotation, music editor, video clips, the works, all through a simple interface. And the program must burn the CD/DVD as well, not shell out to another external program like Nero.
Shops. Intuitive and simple links into print shop services in many countries offering a full range of products from t-shirts to wall clocks with image embedding options. And at reasonable prices and 1 click shopping.
Archiving. Simple, integrated CD/DVD archiving and burning function. Just plain images, no slide shows, just files. But with some sort of sophisticated indexing system which notes which images are on which disk to make it easier to locate a disk and image a few years down the line.
Renaming. A really intelligent and easy to use batch renaming function, which automatically shields me from those really obtuse CIMG1292.jpg filenames. Shudder!
Email. Full range of email services – send small photos, email slide show parcels, video emails. The works. Quick and easy, no fuss, full integration with the email client of my choice.
Sharing. Like Flickr, but without all the flim flam. I don’t need fancy tags, RSS and moblog upload, just a really easy, elegant interface and a lot of online space. Or maybe like Hello, on a sort of P2P basis, but easier to set up and manage.
That’s about it (that I can think of off the top of my head, that is!) Above all the thing has to be zero brain easy to use, simple menu/tab system, no convoluted menuing structure or buried processes. KISS easy, know what I mean?
I’m a patient person. I’m willing to wait.