Aperture: Stuff I’ve Learned

After a few days playing with a trial version of Aperture I’ve learned a few things. I’m a long time user of iPhoto and Picasa. More recently I’ve been testing Lightroom and Aperture and I’m starting to consider a full-time switch to Aperture. Here are some of the things I’ve needed to learn.

Deleting Photos

Sometimes you want to delete a photo–not just remove it from the Aperture library. In Picasa, you hit the Delete key and the photo is gone for real. It’s slightly more complicated in Aperture, which also offers more flexibility.

In Aperture, you can rate a photo as a “Reject” by taping the “/” key. Then, one you’ve selected all the Rejects from your project, go into the browser mode and hit Ctrl-8 to show all the rejected photos. Then, you can delete them by selecting them all and trash them with Cmd-Delete (or from the main menu File->Delete Master Image and All Versions.)

Almost done. To remove them for real, select the Trash project in the Library and either use the keyboard shortcut or the right mouse button over the Trash to empty the trash.

Aperture will prompt you about whether you want to move the referenced files to the trash–in my case I use a referenced library so this is important to keep checked if you want the files on disk actually deleted.

The final step would be to empty the System Trash to recover your disk space. Or leave it there in case you change your mind.

Making it go fast

My first impression of Aperture’s speed was not good at all. Importing my library of photos was slow. Waiting for them to “process” was much slower (20+ hours). Then, I dared to quit the program and was greeted by this message which got stuck here and never went away:

A Force Quit was my only resolution and Aperture handled that with grace. I do have 65,000+ images in my library and I did some tests importing a hundred images at a time and Aperture seemed to perform fast enough on those imports given a couple of tricks:

  1. Time Machine likes to back up the Aperture library while Aperture is using it. This is very slow. While I’m testing, I’ve simply asked Time Machine not to backup my Aperture library. Not ideal, but much faster.

  2. Browsing between images would sometimes take up to 2-4 seconds. This was similar to my experience with Lightroom–but Picasa is almost always instant. I wrote to Apple’s Aperture Support not expecting much response, but what surprised when they quickly directed me to this little gem:

That’s the Fast Preview button. When it is down, you can browse through your library instantly, you just can’t color correct an image. A marked improvement. There must be some real good reason they don’t automatically turn that button on and off for you in the background depending on whether you’re doing a color correction in the software, but I can’t think of why.

Mac Picasa to Photoshop Button

Although it’s already pretty straightforward to right-click on an image in Picasa to edit it in Photoshop, sometimes it’s nice to be able to just tap a button.

If you’re on a mac, you’ll notice this button designed for CS3 doesn’t work for you. I’ve taken their work and made it work for any version of Photoshop on a Mac.

To add this button to your Picasa, click to automatically download and install. Let me know in the comments below if it works for you or if you run into any trouble.

Download and install. (12Kb file)

Free Paratrooper on WebOSAppDay

Today the WebOS community is celebrating the 1 year anniversary of the Palm Pre by buying apps to support developers. Of course, we love this idea and want to give back to the community with a little contest of our own.

To participate, make Paratrooper your #WebOSAppDay purchase and then tweet about it. Make sure to include the words “Paratrooper” and “#WebOSAppDay” in your tweet. At the end of today, we’ll pick 10 winners at random and pay for your copy of Paratrooper!

(A couple of details: If you don’t already follow @kaboomapps follow us so that we can DM you for your winnings. Alternatively, look for a tweet from @kaboomapps tomorrow to see if you have won. We’ll pay each winner $2.50 USD via paypal to cover your purchase price and any paypal fees. Void where prohibited)

Palm Loves Developers

Palm is known for treating their developers well. However, I was completely blown away to get this package delivered to my door today.

I received an email a few weeks ago from a Palm employee who indicated they had used Paratrooper as part of their CTIA and CES booth. Since they were retiring the panel, they wanted to know if I was interested in re-using it.

He indicated the panel was large, but I had no idea. The box was 10 feet tall and 4.5 feet wide!

The print looks so good, my daughters thought the keyboard might actually work.

Larger than life! It’s fun to see a 10 foot tall version of Paratrooper running on the Pixi.

Thank you Palm for sending this along. Another example of Palm treating their developers like first class members of the team.

Buy this app

After creating the full version of Paratrooper for WebOS, I created the free “mini” version to give people a little taste of the game. In the mini version there is an “Upgrade” menu option that fires up the Palm App Catalog and launches directly to the page where a customer can pay the tidy sum of $1.99 for the full version of the game.

A couple of people have written to me to ask how I created the upgrade menu option. Not too tricky.

First, you need the URL for your app. Find your app’s URL by navigating to your app in the app catalog and clicking the Share button. Send that link to yourself by email or SMS. Then, you use that application ID and your packageid in the code below.

Here’s my complete “Buy Game” callback that get’s executed when the Upgrade menu item gets clicked:

StageAssistant.prototype.buyGame = function (callback) {
    var currentScene = Mojo.Controller.stageController.activeScene();
    var launchParams = {
        id: "com.palm.app.findapps",
        params: {'target': "http://developer.palm.com/appredirect/?packageid=com.185vfx.paratrooper&applicationid=765"}
        method: 'open',
        parameters: launchParams
    if (callback) {

This works great, as long as the user has access to paid apps in the App Catalog in their country. In the case of Paratrooper Mini, we receive a handful of support requests each day (and a few low ratings) wondering why the “Upgrade” button takes them to a blank page in their App Catalog. It would be wonderful if Palm would upgrade the catalog to provide the user a warning indicating that the App Catalog will provide paid apps in their country in the future.