Aper-ent Fail

A short follow-up to my post last week about equipment success and failure in the trip.

When I got back, I had a couple of 32GB CF cards with, between them, almost 3000 images of the trip (which is to say, among other things, that they were full. Glad I resisted the temptation to only get one). I knew that this would end up, with additional edits, completely filling up the hard drive in my iMac.

So I knew, immediately, that I needed to move my Aperture library off of that drive.

Happily, I had a spare hard drive sitting around. After kvetching a bit about USB transfer speeds (and, especially, that my iMac doesn't have USB3), it finally occurred to me that I did have a little-used firewire port that I could use for fast transfer. So I got a firewire 800 (and USB3) case for the drive. That has been a major win.

But, even before I got the case, I was trying to read all those images off the cards. To that end, I copied my Aperture library onto the new drive (thank goodness I didn't delete the original), and tried to import the images into that. Disaster. I waited a couple of days (until I went multiple hours without any data being written (using inode counts to verify)) for the import, to no avail. I then tried again with the whole process, hoping it was a transitory problem (and, by this time, I had the firewire case) or related to the drive and reader both being USB (one of the less-talked-about benefits of firewire over USB is that, because of its latency guarantees, firewire handles flooding of the bus much better).

Second verse, same as the first.

Ok, need to do something different. For surety (and to ensure USB was not the issue), I copied the files to the hard drive before importing. The surety part came when that made it easy to back them up.

Anyway, I tried again, this time with a new (ie: empty) Aperture library. Third verse, same as the first.

Tried again with a subset of the 1500 (ie: one card) I'd been trying to import. Fourth verse, same as the first.

Tried again with an even smaller subset (mind you, I've been using Aperture for several years now, with no serious problems, which is a large part of why I gave it so many chances); one gross of them. Appearances looked the same (it seemed hung at a certain point), but while I was waiting to verify, my son turned off the UPS to my computer. Ugh. After turning the computer back on, I fired up Aperture, and saw that it appeared to have succeeded in importing.

I tried again, with a larger subset of files; do import, wait for apparent hang. When it hung, I manually killed Aperture (one thing I'd found out during this process is that you can't gently kill Aperture. It gives a warning, then tries to undo what it's been doing if you tell it to quit. This has no more success than the import. So I used the old UNIX standby, kill), and then fired it up again. It worked again.

In this manner, I was able to get the rest of the images imported, but it took nine days, total.

Pissed me off enough that I was seriously considering switching over to Lightroom (and I really don't like Adobe, so that would not have been flippant decision). I'm hoping that the problem won't repeat the next time I need to import stuff.

The one positive indication (which I forgot about until just now) is that, after that first failed import, I did successfully import from my XQD card, some pictures which I'd taken the Sunday morning after we got home. Maybe it's just an indication that my computer doesn't like compact flash. Or me using the GPS device (not nearly all my pictures from the trip had GPS coords, but the ones that did were the first pictures I'd taken that had them).

Oh, one other thing I learned about during this. You can get a progress indication on an import job by clicking on where it says 'Importing'. Didn't get me through this, but the feedback was sometimes very useful.

Do I have a conclusion? Not really, although it certainly shows an epic fail by Aperture vis a vis this trip. Let's hope it's the last failure. One more, and I'm giving up on it, and going to Lightroom. Ugh.

Oh, and Apple?  When are we going to see a new version?  This one's a couple of years old, with the only updates being photo stream support and recognizing new RAW formats.

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