Posted Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday's Mail: Answering Your iPhoto Questions, and a Fascinating Article about the Music Business

I hear a weekend coming; time to reach into the macilife mailbag and answer some of the questions I've received lately.

I also want to share a link to a cool article about the music business that appears in this week's edition of The New Yorker magazine. But first, let's go to the phones. Hi, you're on the air!

Yeah, hi. I want to try your tip about hacking iPhoto's preferences to double the resolution of a book. But I don't have a very fast Internet connection. Can I generate the high-resolution book on my G5, and then move it to my PowerBook and upload the book from an Internet café?

Hello, caller—are you there?

Just kidding. The answer to your question is "yes, sort of." In order to take your completed book somewhere else for faster uploading, you need to copy your entire iPhoto Library folder to your PowerBook. A good way to do that is to put your PowerBook in FireWire target disk mode, and then copy the iPhoto Library folder to its hard drive. You want to copy it to the following location: Users > your user account folder > Pictures.

To avoid the copying hassles, you could just create the book on your PowerBook to begin with. Thanks for the call; now let's talk to Homer in Springfield.

Hi, Jim. I like ordering prints of my favorite photos, but I'd like to get them on matte-finish paper. iPhoto seems to offer only glossy prints. Any ideas?

You might try Mpix, a rather cool lab aimed at pros and advanced amateurs. They offer several interesting Kodak paper finishes, including matte and pearlescent. They also have a fascinating-sounding paper for black-and-white prints; it's called True Digital B&W. I haven't tried it yet, but I will be in the next few weeks.

Here's a link to their list of products and prices; you can also order a free sample of their paper finish offerings.

Now let's talk to Laura in New Rochelle. Hi, Laura, you're on the air.

Hi. I don't have a question; I just wanted to let you know that a company is selling Photoshop Elements 3 for $34.95—it's normally $89.

Wow—that's a great deal. Is it legit?

Well, it's OEM software. There's some controversy about that, I know, but they claim it is legit. And I know someone who bought it and was able to register it with Adobe.

Interesting. I would always avoid buying OEM software advertised via spam, of course. These folks do seem to be different; for example, that Photoshop Elements disc actually comes with a Logitech mouse—it's apparently a close-out or overstock sale of a mouse that happens to be bundled with Elements.

And yet the company's site has an awful lot of defensive-sounding disclaimers on it. Anyway, I'll pass that tip along for what it's worth. Let the buyer beware. Thanks for that call, Laura, and give my best to Rob and Richie.

Well, that's all the time we have for today. There's more mail to answer, and I'll try to get to it next week. In the meantime, I want to leave you with a reading recommendation. In this week's edition of The New Yorker magazine, there's a great little article about the music business in the age of digital music and file sharing. Here's a snippet:

The fortunes of musicians and the fortunes of music labels have less and less to do with each other. This may be the first stage of what John Perry Barlow, a former lyricist for the Dead, once called the shift from "the music business" to "the musician business." In the musician business, the assets that once made the major labels so important—promotion, distribution, shelf space—matter less than the assets that belong to the artists, such as their ability to perform live. As technology has grown more sophisticated, the ways in which artists make money have grown more old-fashioned. The value of songs falls, and the value of seeing an artist sing them rises, because that experience can’t really be reproduced. It’s funny that, in an era of file-sharing and iPod-stealing, the old troubadour may have the most lucrative gig of all.

Fascinating stuff. We're out of time, folks; stay tuned for the news. I'm Jim Heid; thanks for listening—I'll be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!