ACDSee & Foto slate

One of the biggest problems with digital images is that there get to be so darn many of them that it becomes really hard to view them or find the one you need in a hurry.In order to find that precious picture of your Auntie Millie which you know you took, for example, you’ll probably end up spending hours looking through all the cryptically named pictures on your hard drive and even then you might not find it in time for use in the pew leaflet at her funeral.
Some time ago I bought a new scanner and got a program called ACDSee for viewing and organizing images with it. I fiddled with it for quite a while a found it a very good tool to use for navigating through and viewing masses of images.
I recently decided that I wanted the newest version which has all sorts of extras which make it easy to catalogue and find images. After squeezing my credit card a bit, I spent an evening downloading ACDSee 5.0 together with a free copy of Fotoslate 3.0 from www.acdsystems.com.
The new version of the program was great but, before I could turn round, Version 6 of was released and I was given a free upgrade to it after a bit of a brawl. Version 6 of ACDSee was definitely not an improvement being both slower and generally more cra*py than the previous one. Since then, then, however, there have been two service releases which have improved V6 enormously.
What you can do, as you store pictures on your computer, is select an image or any group of them and put them in a category, such as pets or people, which makes it easier to search for whatever you want. The program will also allow you to enter a description and keywords for each picture or group of pictures. The cataloguing feature is very handy and worked like a dream during a fairly intense period last year when I was taking hundreds of pictures and needed to know exactly what each was.
The only worrying thing about the system is the database in which ACDSee stores the information about each picture. It is a digital file, of course, and is therefore just as liable to become corrupted, accidentally deleted or overwritten, as any other file. I recently had a serious incident with Windows during which I had to re-install my all my software and ACDSee, not being bright enough to tell that I already had a large database, overwrote it with a new empty one. ACDSee wasn’t the only stupid one on that occasion, however, because I hadn’t backed-up my database.
If you go the digital photo route you have to do your backups religiously. I say again, you have to do your backups religiously
One of the companion programs to ACDSee which has turned out to be a little gem is FotoSlate. It can be used to produce album pages of your pictures or print layouts so that you can get the maximum use out of your expensive photographic paper. You can print multiple copies of an image or a number of different ones on the same sheet of paper. The program is potentially very useful if you do a lot of home printing and is intelligent enough to try to increase the size of pictures that would not print well because they are too small.

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