MacFixIt Answers is a feature from MacFixIt where our editors answer questions e-mailed to us by our readers. We have been getting regular contacts and questions from our readers, and hope to share our correspondences so everyone may benefit and contribute to them. This week we have questions about e-mail attachments not being recognized, troubles with OnyX, iPhoto e-mail attachments changing font size, and concerns about the latest iMac firmware updates.… Read more
Apple has updated and released a few knowledgebase articles, covering issues with iPhoto videos not working in iMovie, the keyboard and character pallets displaying when the system prompts for authentication, image resolution requirements for iPhoto books, and troubleshooting tips for wireless keyboards and mice.… Read more
Apple has released a small update to iPhoto, which addresses a couple of small issues that users of the program have been experiencing with the face-recognition technologies in version 8 of the program.… Read more
Roughly a year after rolling out facial recognition on its Picasa Web Albums site, Google on Tuesday is introducing an updated version of its Picasa software (for Windows | Mac) that can recognize faces in photos stored on users' computers.
Just as it does on the Web, Picasa scans your photos for faces, then groups together photos of specific people. It's then your job to tell it who they are as well as confirm its guesses. If someone you're tagging is in your Google address book, you can also look them up very quickly with auto-complete. Otherwise, Google gives you the option to add them as someone new; this information then gets synced back up your Google address book.
The system worked very well for me, but it was slow going. I had to leave the program running overnight for it to finish processing my 3,700 or so photos for faces. It also had my processor humming, since it was doing all the work on my machine instead of Google's giant server farm.
That's not to say Google hasn't included a few things to help speed up the process. For one, if you've got photos that are both hosted online and on your hard drive--and that have already been scanned for faces, the Picasa software can grab that information and add it to your local library. This saves it from having to scan the same photos twice.
And for photos it thinks contain people you've verified as contacts, it gives you quick "yes" and "no" buttons that can add or reject name tags. Oftentimes, clicking "yes" adds a few more suggestions for photos of that person that the program feels is safe enough to recommend. There's also a way to group accept or group decline its suggestions, which saves time you would have otherwise spent clicking the buttons one at a time.… Read more
Apple released a software update Thursday to let its Aperture 2, iPhoto '08, and iPhoto '09 photo-editing software handle raw images from three newer SLRs, Canon's Rebel T1i, Nikon's D5000, and Olympus' E-30.
Higher-end cameras offer raw image formats that provide more flexibility and quality than JPEG, but the raw file formats are proprietary, vary from one camera model to another, and require companies such as Apple and Adobe Systems to release a constant stream of updates. Microsoft relies on camera manufacturers to supply software for Windows that can interpret the raw data, which is taken directly from … Read more
How well does the face recognition feature built into iPhoto '09 work? CNET News reporter Ina Fried put it through the paces and she shares her impressions, including a few funny misses. That, plus the headlines of the day, on Thursday's CNET News Daily Podcast.Listen now: Download today's podcast
Face recognition technology isn't perfect yet.
That's certainly clear when using the "Faces" feature that is built into the recently released iPhoto '09.
Sure, the product does reasonably well at finding your friends and family in your photo collection. Tag a few photos by name and iPhoto comes up with other suggestions, often recognizing photos that are taken years apart and with vastly different looks. Heck, iPhoto even spotted me when I was a different gender.
The science behind face recognition is complex and still evolving. In general, face recognition software looks for predictable patterns--characteristics and proportions that stay constant from one photograph to another, things like the distance between the eyes or from the eyes to the mouth.
Even with things where the science is today, having help--any help--with the tedious task of tagging photos is welcome. And iPhoto can certainly find plenty of matches in your library, even if it won't spot them all.
But the real genius part is how Apple has made the process fun, even when the results aren't perfect.
Early speech recognition was also hit or miss, but it was painful to have to scream at a computer while it constantly misunderstood what you were trying to say. With face recognition, at least as built into iPhoto, the goofs are what make it fun.
The software frequently suggested that my contemporary friends and family were actually my 80-something cousin, my 90-something great aunt, or both. iPhoto also confused Bill Gates with our friend's 3-year-old. And among the suggestions for former CNET colleague Joris Evers was a shot of Wayne Gretzky that I had taken at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. … Read more