Marc Rochkind's Apps, Books, and Opinions


PhotoMag for Mac now, too!

Well, the whole point of using Electron is that it's portable, so I decided to test that out by firing up the Mac, moving the code over, and seeing if it would run. There were a few very minor glitches, but I got it running perfectly, near as I can tell, in less than an hour. So, you can now download it for the Mac, too.

PhotoMag: a new app for creating photo magazines

PhotoMag1

When I return from a vacation I like to create a photo magazine containing a few dozen photos. Nothing as prestigious or expensive as a photo book, but much handier to pass around to family and friends than a phone or having them gather in front of a computer screen. The equivalent of one of those photo albums that could hold 12 or 24 4x6 prints. It's not a book you design, with custom page layouts, but rather a book that you stuff with prints as quickly as you can. (If you want a fancy book, there are many ways to create one.)

With MagCloud, the magazines are cheap. For example, I just made one with 60 photos for $6.40. (Twenty cents a page, with two photos on a page. Add two pages for the covers.) Doing a book with Blurb would cost about $25. (MagCloud is owned by Blurb, who bought it from HP, manufacturer of the printers that MagCloud uses.)

You can easily create a suitable PDF with Lightroom's Print module, but I don't like the way it positions captions. For one thing, you have to reserve a fixed amount of space below each photo for the largest caption. It's better to vary the size of the photo, so the photos are bigger if the captions are short. Also, Lightroom has no provision for front and back covers, which are full-page-size photos. You have to add them to the PDF with another program, such as PDFsam Basic (free) or Acrobat (expensive). And, of course, not everyone has Lightroom.

I developed a great app for producing these magazines called ProofSheet, but it's Mac only, and I have no interest in programming a similar app for Windows. For a while I used a PHP program that I wrote that formats the pages as HTML, and then uses the browser's print facility to create the PDF. That worked fine, but it was impractical for anyone other than me to use, because it has to run locally, not on a server. Uploading the photos to a server is too cumbersome and too slow. Installing a local server is too much to ask of most people.

Recently, I wrote PhotoMag, using the portable technologies offered by Electron. It does as good a job as ProofSheet, but has fewer formatting features. (No page titles or information above the photos, only below.) It's fine for my purposes, and it might work for you, too.

If you want to use PhotoMag, it's free, and you can download it here. It's for Windows 64-bit only. I've only tested it on Windows 10, but it might run on earlier versions as well. It's implementation is entirely portable, and I expect I'll have a Mac version in a few weeks, but don't hold me to it. (Meanwhile, you can use ProofSheet on a Mac.)

How I do backups now - updated

When I last blogged about my backup plan, I was using Disk Master Free to do a backup each night, in addition to the continuous backups with Bvckup and CrashPlan. A reader suggested that having both local backups online all the time made then accessible to ransomware and viruses. So, I dropped the Disk Master Free backup and replaced it with two full backups once a week, alternating weeks. That way I get a week to discover if one of them has been compromised during the short time it was online. I'd have to go to CrashPlan with its time-consuming restore only for the files not on the last good backup. Safer, and not much additional work.

So, it's:


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Mac/Windows Apps

Apps for serious photographers: Exif­Changer, Ingest­amatic, Proof­Sheet, and Exif­Extreme.

Verifying and Uploading Large Archives of Photos

ZipVerifier and S3BigUpload are for preparing large image archives and uploading them to Amazon S3 and Glacier. Designed for the backup of last resort, to be retrieved only if all other backups have been destroyed. The emphasis is on verifying that the archive is absolutely correct and that the upload, which could take days, completes and is correct.

SmugMugBrowser

The first Chrome App for SmugMug. You can browse galleries, organized by category and subcategory, view thumbnails for a gallery, and view larger images, annotated with EXIF data. As it runs under Chrome, it works on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and Chromebooks.

Classic Cameras

The web version of the iOS Classic Cameras app, now free. Features high-resolution photos of over 100 classic cameras, along with reviews, ads, and lots more. A treat for anyone who's ever shot with a classic film camera.

Wright Brothers Photographs

Photographs taken by the Wright Brothers themselves, digitized by the Library of Congress from the original glass plates. Contains 183 photographs with captions. Includes many taken at Kitty Hawk, including early gliding experiments and the first flight.

Programming Chrome Apps

Also available from Amazon.

Expert PHP and MySQL

My latest book, capturing what I've learned building apps, both the few successes and the many failures. Advanced material, too, such as two-factor authentication and data conversion.

Published by Apress in 2013 and available from Amazon.

Generating PDFs with PHP and FPDF

How to use the free FPDF library to generate PDFs directly from your PHP app.

Published in 2013 and available as an eBook from Amazon.

Advanced UNIX Programming

The first book on UNIX programming, updated in 2004.

Published by Addison-Wesley and available from Amazon.

More Books

All of my books (16 or so), available from Amazon.

Bernie's Bar & Girll

My first (and only) novel, which would be a romance, except that the main character is a man. It's got everything: humor, sex, a car chase, a bar fight, a trial, an exposé of Big Oil, and some endearing Creationists.

Published in 2012 and available from Amazon as a $1 eBook.

Articles

Various articles I've written over the years, ranging from mind-numbingly serious to ridiculously silly. Most are in-between.

Contact Me

Click this box for support on any of my apps or to contact me generally.

Entire site ©2006-2015 Marc Rochkind, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Books image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.