Saving my sanity

How’s this for a testimonial:
“I’d sign over my next paycheck to these folks, if my wife didn’t have any say in it.”

Fat Cat Software and their little app: iPhoto Library Manager saved my bacon this evening. My iMac did something to me that an Apple computer hasn’t done to me in years: it crashed.

It’s been so long I didn’t know what to do. If I was at work, toiling away on the dark knight of personal computing, there’d be no question; I’d give the three-finger salute and be done with it. Well, maybe it wouldn’t be that simple, but this isn’t a post about Microsoft so let’s move on.

So how do you escape from a crash on a Mac? There’s a key combination to force quit applications, but I’d graduated to full-fledged kernel panic – or to put this in the vernacular, my poor iMac was reduced to a pretty decoration (complete with a funky pattern on the screen). It may be that the only escape from this predicament was just what I did: I pushed and held the power button.

Man was that weird. I hope I don’t have to do that again.

Friends, that wasn’t the worst of it though. The crash occurred during an edit operation in iPhoto. And you guessed it, the crash corrupted my iPhoto library. As I soon discovered, there’s no easy way to recover a thoroughly corrupted iPhoto library. It was so bad that iPhoto’s “rebuild library” command option didn’t work (press and hold option-command as iPhoto starts up). I tried creating a new library, importing the old pictures (since it was just the library files that were corrupted, not the image files themselves). The problem here is that over half of my image files are scanned photographs from my old film cameras. You may or may not know this, but iPhoto does not add information to the image file itself (like when you change the tag info on an MP3), it keeps all of your comments – and more importantly, in my case, all of your custom date info, in separate files.

So I could reimport all of my image files into a new library, but I’d loose all of my collection info, my tags, and the actual dates I’d assigned to the pictures (so they’d sort by the date the picture was actually taken, not the date the file was created by my scanner).


I did a little searching on the Apple support discussion boards, and found out about the little app I mentioned above. Among other things, it apparently has a more advanced engine for recreating iPhoto library files (from the ruin of corrupted files). It’s not perfect, but I’ve got most of it back.

I’m not going to bore you with a lot of details, but for reasons I’d rather not get into, my backups were no good. So its a good thing this worked, or I’d be looking forward to unimaginable hours sorting through this mess, re-entering image data.

You couldn’t hear it from there, but that was a BIG sigh.

Give the gift of words.