Format Archives: Aside

JapanDave 6.0 Coming!

I know updates have become somewhat sparse lately. The reason for this is that I have been spending nearly all my free time working on the next version of JapanDave. Balance is not always my strong suit, so I’m afraid the result’s been my ignoring the current site. I’ll try to rectify that in the coming weeks.

At any rate, be on the lookout for the 6.0 update. Among other things it will include:

  • Some fancy javascript to fix the footnote problems on this site
  • It should be a lot faster as I am rewriting some php files for more efficiency and also eliminating nearly all WordPress plugins
  • I am going back to the drawing board and redesigning the four major posts types I do here — quotes, links, photos, and long-form articles about Japan — to make them more consistent, easier to read.
  • To the last point, for example: Currently no date shows up for link posts or news posts (like this one). I am fixing this.

I daresay I am mostly finished with any major changes, the only holdup is minor things that I want to get perfect. How soon the update shows up is probably directly related to how much I am able to suppress these perfectionist urges.

Notes: An Update

It’s been a while since I posted, so I wanted to take a few minutes to give a small update.

First, as you can see with the previous post, I am starting a new interview series called The Photogs in which I shoot a few questions to a photographer about a wide range of stuff. These won’t be long interviews; they are intended simply to introduce you to other good photographers who you may not be aware of.

Next, there is a reason for my slowed output with photo posts. Unfortunately I can’t quite say what that is yet, but I will share the reason soon enough. In the meantime, I will do my best to post more.

Finally, I have a big announcement coming next[1]… Stay tuned.

Edit: He’s up, and there goes my writing time. But I’m almost finished with the post. I’ll try to find time to finish it tonight (Japan time), so look for it in a few hours.

  1. Next being hopefully within the hour, assuming my son doesn’t wake up from his nap screaming before I’m finished… Fingers crossed ^^  ↩

How to Pronounce Japanese

Have you ever come across an unfamilar Japanese word and wondered how to pronounce it? Japan has worked its way into popular culture and we are surrounded by Japanese words. Words such as: Pokemon, Matcha, Sakura, Geisha, Samurai, Karaoke, Manga, and so on. When these words come into English, we nearly always retain the Japanese pronouncation, and this can be quite different than you may expect if you are strictly going by English rules. With this in mind, let’s take a few minutes to learn how to pronounce Japanese correctly.

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Happy Birthday to me!

It’s my birthday! A fact I actually wasn’t aware of until my wife and Facebook reminded me. I must be getting old and forgetful to not realize the day on my own.


As celebration, I am discounting all photo prints in my store by 50%. If you’ve been waiting to order any prints, now is the time to do so!

Simply use the coupon code “DavesBirthday” (without the quotes) at checkout for 50% off. The code will be good from today (July 6) to July 12th.

Here is a link to the store: http://​japandave​.smugmug​.com

RIP Aperture

It’s official: Apple has finally killed Aperture. The writing has been on the wall for a while, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Nevertheless, it’s sad news.

I’ve used Aperture since the beginning. I switched primarily to Lightroom with LR version 4 due to the superior editing and the fact that Adobe seemed much more committed to it than Apple was to Aperture, but I still kept using Aperture.

Huh? You used both?’

Yes, and I still do. I use Lightroom for my main photo catalogue, to edit the photos, to apply tags, and to rate them. The best photos are then copied to my Aperture library where I sort them based on where I share them online (Flickr, this website, Facebook, etc), where I publish them offline, where I sell them (as stock or as higher priced exclusives), and so on.

It is a slight variation on Trey Ratcliff’s system. His system uses Lightroom and iPhoto. I have never liked iPhoto and love the organization of Aperture, so I go with that instead.

Besides the wonderful Aperture UI which, in my opinion, is much better than Lightroom, the biggest win of Aperture is their support of custom metadata.

What do I mean by that?

Metadata, as I’m sure most of you know, is data about data. Wikipedia gives the example of the card catalogue at the library. The card catalogue contains information about other information, a book’s title, author, and so on. Digital photos also have metadata attached to the files. There are a number of standard things recorded, ranging from camera settings such as Aperture size, shutter speed, ISO, and so on, all the way to more descriptive things such as photo title, caption, GPS coordinates.

Both Aperture and Lightroom and many other photo apps support all this standard metadata. What sets Aperture apart is the ability to define and store custom metadata. I use the heck out of this! I have fields for online addresses for various places I share photos, places I’ve sold photos to, and so on.

What makes this even more powerful is that I can access all of these settings via Applescript so I can do all kinds of things with this custom metadata very, very quickly.


A number of the custom metadata fields I have are for smugmug information. A few of these are automatically filled when I upload to Smugmug (using this great plugin). I have an Applescript that automatically takes this data and uses it to fill in other custom fields with more useful Smugmug URLs, such as a direct link to a large size of the photo, a link to buy the photo, a link to the photo in a gallery, and so on. I have another Applescript which will grab all these URLs and paste them into a template for posting to this site.

This is just a small sample.

Don’t be too impressed. I am hardly a programmer and generally find coding to be akin to ripping out hangnails. I built this system and these scripts up over several years, copying bits and pieces of them from various articles I’ve read and modifying them to my needs by fiddling with the code until it does what I want, even when I don’t really understand how it’s working.

Starting Over

To my knowledge Lightroom doesn’t support custom metadata. I’ve never been able to find settings for it. Due to this, I am pretty reliant on Aperture and you might understand why I’ve very sad to hear Apple is pulling the plug on it.

Apple only said they are stoping development, so I have some hope that they will maintain what is there so that it keeps working on future versions of OSX. I am doubtful they will continue supporting it for long, however, because they also have announced a new Photos app. The story I linked to at the top also talks about this new app.

The new Photos app does look interesting and it seems to have some professional level features. I wonder, though, if it will have the same support for custom metadata as Aperture. If so, I may eventually move my system to it, but if not… I will hold on to Aperture for as long as possible (or at least until Lightroom supports custom metadata and Applescript).