The fine folks behind the scenes are giving the O’Reilly Weblogs a major overhaul, so mind the dust.
Last month I wrote about buying a shiny new digital camera, and figuring out what computing platform to use for digital editing and archiving. Much to my shame, I actually tried Windows first. That didn’t work very well. Then I thought, well hey, Macs are way cool and this kind of work is just what Macs excel at.
Well, I still don’t own a Mac, as lovely and tempting as they are. Linux is working out great for my needs. Here’s a quick outline.
A key step was upgrading my PC. It had an 800mhz Duron and a puny 256 megs of RAM, which simply wasn’t going to cut it for photo editing. Now it boasts a 64-bit 3400 Sempron, 1 gig RAM, a new DVD writer, a shiny new 80-gig SATA drive, and a front-panel USB/Firewire/Smart Card panel. And a lovely quiet Thermaltake 430-watt power supply, with the best cable-wraps I ever saw. They look like snakeskin, and make it very easy to keep the power cables tidy.
After all that, I simply could not connect it to my old fading 17″ CRT, so I bought a 19″ ViewSonic flat-panel, the VA912b. I love this monitor- great color saturation, no dead pixels, built-in (tinny cheap) speakers, and it included both a DSUB and DVI cable. Of course this required a new video card, so I got a deal on a eVGA NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500 256 MB AGP, which packs more horsepower than my first three PCs. Yes, I know that PCI-E is teh hawt, but my mobo does not support it. This card has wonderful 2D performance with the native Linux drivers. For 3D you need the Nvidia drivers. With LCDs get a DVI card for the best sharpness and least ghosting.
I like the KDE desktop and Debian, so I installed 64-bit Kubuntu. The Konqueror file manager is the best file manager on any platform. I plug in my camera card, and Konqueror creates a thumbnail preview. The I dump all images onto the computer for editing, an easy drag n drop, and very fast over USB 2.0.
While still in Konqueror I delete the pictures I don’t want, turn sideways pics around the right way, and move them into other folders. For editing, simply right-click to call up whatever editor I want, either the Gimp or Krita.
For making Web galleries, you can’t beat Album. (If you use it and like it, click the PayPal link and send the author a few bucks.) Album makes thumbnails, resizes, links everything conveniently, and comes with themes for dressing up your site.
Printing is the one area where I blew it. I did not shop carefully enough for a nice color photo printer. I bought a Canon Pixma, which is a great little printer, but its Linux support is not very good. I also have an Epson CX4800 scanner/printer which does horrible Linux printing, but makes great scans in Linux with XSane or Kooka. I will either purchase a new Samsung or Hewlett-Packard printer, since both have extensive lines of good Linux-supported printers, or I may just buy Turbo-Print for $30, since it supports both printers.
For future expansion I already have EVMS (Enterprise Volume Management System) set up, so adding new drives and shuffling storage volumes around will be as easy as falling asleep.
So after a few false starts, I’m back on track. Stay tuned for links to pages and pages of entertaining cat pics.