Aperture Library Maintenance

I have run into various issues with Aperture and always end up searching for ways to clean up the Aperture Library. I have started trying to keep smaller libraries in an effort to reduce the amount of time it takes to work in the app. 

Repairing the Aperture Library

  • Start Aperture by while holding the Option and Command keys
  • The Aperture Library First Aid dialog will appear and offer the following three troubleshooting options:  

Repair Permissions

If your library isn’t accessing images that you know are there and that you know are connected, or even if your library simply won’t open, this could be the fix you’re looking for. File permissions (basically defined as who or what app has the right to read or write to certain files) can sometimes be incorrectly defined, and this will correct that. 

Repair Database

Any other problem you’re having with the library is addressed here. I realize that’s a big open statement, but essentially, if you have any oddities in your Aperture library, this is the first thing to try. If you called tech support—this is the first thing they’d tell you to do. Think of it like rebooting your computer. Sometimes you just need to.

Rebuild Database

If the Repair doesn’t do the job, then try a full Rebuild. This will take considerably more time, so don’t try this first. But if the Repair doesn’t fix it, try a Rebuild.

Sometimes it helps to just delete the Aperture preferences file 

Deleting this file will reset all of Aperture’s preferences, you may want to review and note any special settings you had before deleting it.

  • Quit Aperture.
  • Choose  “Go to the folder” from the Go menu in the Finder.
  • Type ~/Library/Preferences in the field. Press the Go button. 
  • Remove the “com.apple.Aperture.plist” file from the Preferences folder.

Geotagging Japan on the iPhone with Placetagger

I just finished up a month long trip to Japan.

My first thought was to purchase a dedicated GPS tracker. Based on reviews at amazon I ordered an AMOD AGL3080 logger, but unfortunately I reieved a defective module. Without enough time to get a replacement I decided to return this and try using the GPS built into my iPhone and went about searching the iTunes store for the best app to log the GPS coordinates. Placetagger appeared to fit the bill, so I purchased it and logged as much as I could of my trip. The app had pretty good reviews and they recently added an update. Unfortunately the app did not live up to my expectations.

The app has several good feature, a simple to use interface, icloud support, and exports data as a standard GPX file.

Some of the critical problems I ran into

  • The app crashes at random times: Once I realized this I was pretty good about checking my phone often to make sure it was still running. But there were several times I forgot. Fortunately it does not loose all the data before the crash and I can see from the log at what point it stopped logging.
  • Unable to export some data: I didn’t realize this until way too late. When you choose to export data on the iPhone the app launches a email message with the attached GPX data file, sometimes the file never shows up.
  • Appears to stop logging sometimes in the background: I would switch over to mail/instagram etc and often forget to bring Placetagger back to the foreground. It appears that it doesn’t always log when in the background.
  • The app won’t show the GPS coordinates on a map outside the US: When you select a GPS log it will just show you a blank map of the US. No idea why the map would be limited in this way. But this was not a big issue for me since the goal here is to get the GPX data file to my desktop to geotag my photos.

With a few changes it could be very good app.

  • To start with fix the bugs: Until that is done I would not recommend using this app.
  • Pause / Resume: Through the day I would stop for a meal or coffee and don’t need to log, why not let the user pause logging. Perhaps in set intervals of 15 or 30 minutes would be a nice feature that would have the app logging again without the need to go back and select resume.
  • Save GPX data files directly to dropbox: The whole point of this is to access the GPX files for tagging, eliminate the extra step of mailing each file.
  • View the frequency: The Precision to Battery Life slider is great, but I would like to know how often if is actually logging.

Internet access in Japan using an iPhone and B-mobile

Previously I have taken my iPhone and relied on wifi access where I could get it. But unlike the US free wifi was not that common. Few cafes or hotels offered the service. Wifi service is a little more common now, I wanted a more consistent connection for checking mail, instagramming or accessing FB and of course maps. 

There are a number of different SIM cards you can get for a smartphone with an unlocked SIM. Many offer voice and data and some just voice. But all I really needed was data. B-mobile was the only service I know of that offers a data only plan. For around $40 (¥3,500) you can get a sim (or in my case a micro-sim for the iPhone 4S) with 1GB of data, which was just the right amount of time for me. The card is available at the Yodobashi Camera/Bic Camera or Yamada Denki.    

A few things to be aware of:

  • You must have a phone with an unlocked SIM slot. Many companies will unlock your SIM slot for international travel so check with your phone service before your trip. 
  • To activate the SIM card you must call an activation number from a Japanese phone. The card isn’t active until the 1PM next day. 
  • 1GB is a lot of data but if you use the phone often you can burn through that pretty quick. Many apps run in the background constantly downloading and checking updates. I suggest downloading a data monitor app. I used “My Data Manager” for iPhone which is free. You can also turn on airplane mode, or temporarily disable “Cellular Data” to minimize data usage.  You can of course purchase another card or refill your current card.
  • ImageThe network settings for 3G data need to be configured for B-mobile. I didn’t realize this at first and for the first day thought the SIM card was not working. 


Update: It does appear that B-mobile has a visitor card in 14-day and 1 month variations that does not require activation and can be picked up at the airport. 


SF Galleries & Museums

Some small but cool museums/galleries around SF

Beat Museum

540 Broadway (at Columbus). Open daily, 10a.m. – 7 p.m. Admission: $5.  

Located in North Beach, the eclectic Beat Museum pays homage to the group of writers, artists, movers, and shakers that defined their generation. The Beatniks, as they were famously called by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Herb Caen, helped usher in a new artistic and creative era that reflected the angst of the post World War II generation and the sexual liberation of the hippie movement. Old typewriters, vintage furniture, framed correspondence between celebratory Beats, a jacket once owned by Jack Kerouac, and an odd assortment of other artifacts make up the core of the museum’s collection. The whole thing feels like the attic of a slightly neurotic distinct relative — it straddles interesting memorabilia and fanatical obsession. The massive bookstore which houses vintage and limited-edition prints of Howl and On the Roadin hundreds of languages. The trip through Beat nostalgia can be rounded out with a peek next door into City Lights Bookstore, the publishing house that first printed Howl in 1956, and a coffee at Cafe Vesuvio, located on Jack Kerouac Alley.

Cartoon Art Museum

655 Mission Street (at 3rd). Admission: $7 / $5 (seniors and students with an ID) / $3 (children 6 to 12) / Free (children 6 and under). Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Niche, nostalgic, and relevant in a way that few museums of its size and scale can pull off, the Cartoon Art Museum is another one-of-kind cultural experience that is truly unique to San Francisco. The museum is the only one in the western United States that is fully dedicated to preserving and exhibiting cartoon art in all its forms. It houses approximately 6,000 pieces of original art and hosts traveling exhibits from famed cartoonists like the creator of Troubletown, Lloyd Dangle. And in addition to the one-dimensional classics like Archie, there’s a TV showing old-school Looney Tunes. The museum has an extensive research library and a classroom for cartoon art workshops. There’s a great bookstore on site as well, with a vast collection of interesting and eclectic coffee table books, graphic tees, and other novelty items for the kid in all of us!

Pier 24 Photography Museum

Pier 24 (at Embarcadero). Open by appointment only; call 415-512-7424 or visit theirwebsite. Admission: Free.

Available by appointment only, the little-known Pier 24 Photography Museum is “a place to view and think about photography.” The museum combines rotating exhibits with the Pilara Foundation’s permanent collection, which includes significant holdings of American photographers Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus.

GLBT Historical Society Museum

4127 18th Street. Open Monday and Wednesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission: $5 / $3 (California students).

In addition to being the birthplace of the Beats, San Francisco is also deeply tied to the GLBT movement in America. Located in the Castro District, the GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. The museum is a celebration of the “vast queer past” of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, and of San Francisco’s pivotal role in helping to shape that history. It offers interactive exhibits and provocative programming meant to explore the breadth of the queer experience.

Center for the Book

300 De Haro Street (at Rhode Island). Open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 12-4 p.m. Admission: Free.

The San Francisco Center for the Book is like that limited-edition, signed copy — it’s hard to find but worth the effort! In an effort to preserve and promote the art of creating books, the Center curates small but beautiful exhibits that display both the history of bookmaking and the modern interpretations of contemporary bookmaking artists. Located out in Potrero Hill, the Center for the Book also offers access to machinery, bookbinding workshops and artistic exhibits. Interested artists may rent studio space to work on an individual project or take a letterpress class.