the evenings out here - Thoughts, rants and musings about absolutely everything except photography. Or cats.

Photogather for Palm

in Palm , Friday, June 23, 2006

I have been looking for ages for a program which would allow me to resize photos on my Palm, so that I can post photos taken with my camera phone, adjusted to fit my blog format. There are countless (well, lots anyway) of programs which allow you to view, categorise, display and zoom photos - Palm's built-in software on the LifeDrive isn't bad, and SplashPhoto and RescoView (my favourite) are both fully featured alternatives. However, although many of these allow you to rename and move photos, to adjust the contrast and colours, none, as far as I know, allow you to resize. Photogather does. However, Photogather is one weird piece of software. To be absolutely fair, it seems it was written mainly for Sony Clie devices with built-in cameras, but even so... First, Photgather does not let you browse photos in the conventional way. You have to import them, although exactly where to is not 100% clear. But it seems it makes a copy of a photo in a database within the internal memory, which is absurd, especially on the LifeDrive. So, before you can do anything, you have to import the photo(s) you want to work with, using this dialog: The amazing thing about this dialog is the "DELETE" button. What the hell is that doing there ? I want to load photos, or cancel. I most certainly do not want to delete friom this dialog. Ok, so Windows lets you do something like this. But Windows is (a) crap, and (b) not intended for handhelds with stylus entry where tapping the wrong place is all too easy, especially when sitting on a Zurich tram. Unfortunately things don't get better... Actually, they didn't start off terribly well. When you start Photogather, you are presented with a row of extremely inscrutable icons along the top of the screen. Since they're not documented anywhere, all you can do is tap & pray. This is how I discovered the import feature. You can see this in the screenshot below, which also shows the icon for the image I have loaded, and towards the top right, two drop-downs. The rightmost is a standard category selector, but the other one is the ultimate in Photogather's GUI weirdness. Here, you select an action, such as "Edit", "Delete", "Save", and THEN click on the icon to apply the action. So, to edit a photo, select Edit, then click on the icon. The photo loads in the edit window, and here things are relatively straightforward. One thing to note is that in these drop-down actions, the Delete action, unlike in the Import dialog, deletes the image from Photogather's "worklist", rather than the original. It might appear from this that I don't like Photogather. Actually I do, and I will resgister it. It solves a problem for me, which is what good software is supposed to do. It does have a weird GUI and even weirder interaction design, but you soon get used to it. I suspect that Photogather is no longer actively developed, but this would be a shame. The LifeDrive, and its successors (if it has any) needs software which takes it a stage further, where it can be used completely independently of a desktop machine. The other photo applications for Palm are essentially viewers and organisers with a few adjustment features added on. Photogather is more like an editor, with limited organisation features. It would be nice to see it develop this concept further. UPDATE: sadly I have to add that the edit mode is very unstable, and crashed my LifeDrive several times. So far, I have quite a lot of 3rd party applications installed, some quite obscure, but only Photogather behaves so badly.

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