Fixing the Ability to edit iPhone Images Imported to Windows

If you’ve been plagued by the following errors ever since upgrading to iOS5:

This photo can't be saved because of a problem with the photo's file properties.
This photo can’t be saved because of a problem with the photo’s file properties.
Photo Gallery couldn't update this file: Error code: (0x80070057)
Photo Gallery couldn’t update this file: Error code: (0x80070057)

Fret no more, relief is here!

After much investigation the root cause is erroneous white-space characters in the XMP block of the image files. 

The first step to fixing this problem is to

Stop taking pictures with the volume button!

No, this is not a solution but the problem seems to happen more frequently for images taken with the volume up button than images take win the shutter release on-screen button. Therefor, avoiding the volume button seems like a good idea. Next,

Fix the Images which already have the issue!

Lots of work-arounds have been posted for when you discover the problem when editing a particular image, however; the issue may surface down the road on images you have not previously edited. For me, fixing the issue only on the images I attempted to edit was not a good solution. I wanted an all-or-nothing fix.

I’ve written a small Java utility which will scan over an entire directory (or a directory of directories, or a directory of directories of directories, etc) and fix the issue on any images which have it.  The full source code is available on Google Code (yes I still live in 2009, but at least it’s using mercurial). It will not touch images which do not have the issue.

Download jpegxmpxmltrimmer

As of this post the current version is 0.01 which essentially means:

It’s pre-production, pre-release, pre-beta, pre-alpha, pre-warranty, you-get-what-you-pay-for. /disclaimer

Run jpegxmpxmltrimmer

Assuming you already have a Java JRE installed, bring up a command prompt and enter the following command:

NOTE: This command will not edit existing files.  This is the safe mechanism to fixing your images.  Rather than fixing the originals, it makes copies and fixes the copies (named appropriately).

java -jar <path-to-downloaded-jpegxmpxmltrimmer.jar> <path-to-root-directory-of-images>

If you would like to fix the error by editing the existing files simply add a true at the end of the commandline.

That’s it.  You’ve now fixed the issue!  Yay! <insert-mini-celebration-here/>

The Catch

You’ve fixed the images with the pre-existing issue, but the bug still exists in the latest release of iOS (5.1 as of this post).

For now, you’ll have to run the utility over any files you import.  I’ve still found the issue on a few photos I’ve imported even since I stopped using the volume button.

I’ve reported the issue to Apple but haven’t yet heard back.  If you want this issue fixed permanently I suggest you do the same:

Creativity in a Touch-Screen World

The first time Delilah crawled it was to get my iPhone. No joke. Even before that she seemed interested so we would let her play with certain apps, taking video of herself, creating drawings, creating sounds etc.

A few days ago I was sitting at my computer doing something with our Taxes when Rachel brought her in for me to watch for a few minutes. As I set her on my lap she immediately reached for the keyboard. Not to ever stifle creativity, I tossed up Notepad and let her at it. She struggled for a few minutes and tapped a few keys and eventually ended up with this:

1 ` 1Q IYXZJG  nm hnmws SDEWQIOJHI9

Not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination.  But what got me was that a few years ago this would have been her limit.  Keyboard and mouse interactivity is something that takes a while to develop and at 6-9months she just wouldn’t have the skills to do manipulate our archaic input devices.

Not so, any more.  The following works were all created by Delilah on my iPad in the Kid Paint app:

Artistic masterpieces? No.

Impressive for a 6-9mo old? Hell yes
(Note: some help from me to pick colors and utensils and to restart the app when she accidentally closed it, but that’s it.)

Additionally, she’s composed some music using Beatwave: Beatwave Music Composition

If you don’t have it,
Get Beatwave on iTunes (FREE!)

Would any of this have been possible 5 years ago? Maybe, if you had a million dollars worth of touch screen equipment. She did this with a $500 1.5lb device. I think the age of the Dynabook has arrived.

Man the future is gonna be crazy. I can’t wait till she’s teaching me this stuff.

The Ride In

IMG_4488 On our way to Portland we flew through Newark (New Jersey) and for once we didn’t miss our flights because of it… Of course, once we got on the plane to Portland we did sit on the runway for an hour …sigh

Ahh well, once we were finally in the air Rachel and I watched Kingdom of Heaven on my iPhone and we were then graced with some magnificent views of the Mountainous west coast.

After being in Portland for all of 30 minutes we had a few observations:

  • It’s very green.  There’s huge Ponderosa Pine Trees absolutely everywhere and they’re gorgeous.
  • It’s very green-conscious.  We probably saw 147 bikes between the airport and our Hotel.  There are bike lanes on literally every street, and bike paths next to every highway.  There are “Please Conserve Water” signs everywhere.
  • The flowers are amazing and they’re everywhere
  • It’s Claim Jumpers not Clam Jumpers
  • Shopping is great here.  Lots of outlet stores and no sales tax!  This doesn’t mean we’ll be doing any this trip, but it certainly is a good place to go if you’d like to.  The pearl district seems to be where all the higher class shops are.
  • Unemployment is bad here, we saw beggars on pretty much every major intersection between the airport and the hotel.

We had a great trip in and a nice relaxing first day.

Genesee Bike Ride

Preferred Care is putting on what they call Nature Nights every Tuesday at 6pm from May 26th through August 25th.  These nights include biking, (canoe) paddling, hiking and walking in the different areas Rochester has to offer.

Tuesday Rachel and I, along with my mother and several other of their coworkers, participated in a 10 (ish) mile bike ride along the Genesee River.  We started at the Seneca Park Zoo parking lot.  From there we crossed a walking/riding bridge to the other side of the Genesee.  We rode along Lake ave for a short distance and then through Turning Point Park.  From there we rode on to Ontario Beach Park.  We took a short break at abbots and then headed back along the same route.  Some people got a longer break than others, due to a lost rider… but that’s a story for another day.

I intended to record video of the whole thing.  However; the battery in my camera died after crossing the bridge so this is all I got:

The pace was very leisurely (a bit slow for my taste) but it was a great ride with a great group.  Everyone was very friendly and we’ll probably participate again.

Enjoy some  of the scenery the Genesee Riverway Trail has to offer below.  Please note, these were shot with my iPhone so the quality is a little… well the quality is little.

Vertical Shutter Slit Photography

I’ve been reading Derek Miller’s blog for a while now and I love his Camera Works series.  Most of the stuff he posts in the series I already have a pretty good handle on but he does an excellent job describing (and simplifying) exactly how Cameras (and photography) work. Back in September he posted an article about Shutters, Flashes and Sync Speed.  Although I have a general knowledge of how all 3 work Derek provided a great in-depth write-up.  I have no idea how I missed it before but I read it today and it’s fantastic!

One key idea I’ve never really understood is how camera’s overcome their technical (mechanical) limitation on shutter speed.  Derek provides exactly the write-up I needed.  Essentially they don’t, they just use 2 shutters at the same time (both moving in the same direction) to allow a ‘slit’ of light through rather than expose the entire frame/sensor at a time.

If a subject is moving fast enough and the slit is moving slow enough, this can result in some interesting photographs, like this famous 1913 Photograph by Jacques-Henri Lartigue.


As Derek writes, this is an exaggerated effect and will most likely never be so dramatic with today’s cameras DSLRs without something moving at extreme super-sonic speeds.

Please visit Derek’s site for the full write-up.

EDIT: Derek was kind enough to stop by and suggest that this discussion really only applies to DSLRs (or Film Cameras ::Gasp::) since they’re the only ones with mechanical shutters.  Most (if not all) point & shoot cameras (including your cell-phone cameras) simply turn the sensor on and off.  Some of these electronic means of exposing the sensor even go slow enough to produce the same effect.  See the background of the following photo shot with my iPhone:

Warped iPhone photo

Each one of those slanted boxes should be a perfect rectangle.

Two Discoveries

turning-point-boardwalkI made two discoveries today.  Well really, my friend Mike made one discovery yesterday (which I realized today) and I made another one today.  I’m going to use my discovery today to illustrate Mike’s from Yesterday.  If you’re less inclined to a little geekery skip to the map below.

GPS Tracking isn’t all that new, there are many devices to do this, and every mobile GPS unit that I know has the ability.  The iPhone doesn’t, or at least not natively.  Mike and I were exploring an area of Rochester today which I’d never heard of or seen before today.  Because of this I thought it would be neat to track where we were and how far we went etc.  Also because I tend to take a lot of photos I figured I could use the GPS tracking information to geo-tag my pictures.

My criteria for GPS tracking was that it could use my iPhone, that it was free, and that it could track my coordinates over time.  This isn’t a lot, I know, I was trying to be flexible.  I did a little searching in the iTunes app store and came up with InstaMapper.

InstaMapper fit the bill perfectly.  Not only is instamapper free, but it pushes the data direct to a website (which requiers an account that is also free) allowing you to export it in any format you wish.  It also interfaces directly with Google Maps letting you see all your waypoint data on a very nice Google Maps interface.

Overall I’m impressed.  My only complaint is that the the waypoint data is not cached locally to send later if you don’t have a connection.  While this isn’t a problem around Rochester, this will be a problem if I were to try to use this application in a more rural area such as the Adirondacks.  Of course, there is another downfall to the iPhone app version, and that is the app has to be running in the foreground for your waypoints to get tracked.  This is a limitation of the iPhone however; and in my opinion can’t detract from the value of the application itself.  The app is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android & Motorola iDEN(whatever that is) at this point.

The following is the GPS waypoint map created and embedded using InstaMapper’s tools of our trek today.

GPS tracking powered by

This is all in a park called Turning Point Park.  It’s quite nice and apparently they’ve spent a large chunk of change in the past few years putting in the 4,000ft boardwalk.  I’m awefully happy with whoever spent all the effort to push for the new boardwalk, it made the entire experience vary enjoyable and the park would be all but useless without it.

I will be visiting again.

The Passion of Ben

Watching anyone that is passionate about what they’re doing is both exciting and rewarding.

At the last minute Rachel and I were able to get Tickets to the Ben Folds Show at the Waterstreet Music Hall last week.  During the show it became clear that Ben thoroughly enjoys his music and his shows.  He played some of the most energetic piano for over 2 hours and when he finally went off stage he shook his hands and you could tell he was exhausted.  Even so, as all bands do, he came back for an encore and rocked the house again.

Needless to say the show was incredible.  Everything was amazing from the opener, a band I’d not previously heard of called “Jukebox the Ghost“, to “The midnight Ramblers” (an acappella group from The University of Rochester) to Julia Nunes (a famous ukalele YouTuber from Rochester NY).  The only music we really knew was the older stuff from Ben Folds Five but it didn’t really matter, The place was alive and it was a blast.

Unfortunately all I had with me was my iPhone camera so It was difficult to capture the moment with any clarity.

I’ll remember the show forever even without the pictures.  That’s what Passion does.

Old and Busted, Meet New Hotness (Apple TV Take 2)

AppleIt’s been said before but I’ll say it again. Blueray and HD-DVD have lost and the media wars don’t matter. I thought it was going to take a lot longer than this but Streaming HD content is here. Enter the new and improved (and cheaper) Apple TV. Every Tech Blog in the world is making announcements from MacWorld 2008 and the most important announcement isn’t really the new streaming rentals, iPhone update, Time Capsule or even the new MacBook Air. The most important announcement is their Apple TV Take 2. They even admitted their first version was a failure. That’s a big step for a company like apple.

Rent High Definition Movies Directly from Your Widescreen…rent movies from a catalog of over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in stunning high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, with no computer required.

That’s it. Move over Blueray and HD-DVD, Your days are numbered. With the new ability to forgo the computer and rent or buy directly from your living room at a price point lower than most Blueray or HD-DVD players out at the moment why would you do anything else?

Apple is definitely a forward looking company and I’m glad they’re making the push for streaming media. My only wish is that they’d realize that some people would rather pay for a subscription service than pay per use.

Apple admits to thievery

AppleOn Monday Apple came out with the following statement:

many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed

Isn’t this just admitting guilt? If you updated your iPhone post-modification and it ceased working nobody would question it, you screwed something up during modification and the latest update is affected. Apple doesn’t have to accommodate modifiers because their warranty is voided as soon as they (according to apple’s iPhone contract) use the device for something it was not initially intended. By openly saying that an update may brick the device Apple is saying

Whether you bought it or not that device is ours. You can only do with it what we want.

This philosophy makes perfect sense if Apple was charging rent for the iPhone but they’re not. They charge a single flat rate fee for the DEVICE not the service it provides. Once you pay for an item regardless of what it is, that item is yours to do with what you wish. The only right Apple has in the case that you modify it from its original purchase is not to honor their original warranty. They have no right to intentionally stop the device from operating because they think you’re doing something you shouldn’t be.

We don’t live in Minority Report. We can’t be charged with crimes we haven’t committed yet. Just because the phone itself is modified, or unlocked as the term may be, does not in and of itself mean we’re doing anything wrong. We could have unlocked the phone simply because we don’t like the idea of our every move and feature being dictated by the super-companies of the world. And how about innovation? Innovation is born of change. If we can’t change what we have then nothing new will ever be created.

Once we start down the road of implementing a DRM for real world objects there is no end in sight. Can Ford take back the brand new Ford 500 you bought just because you installed an after-market stereo system? What if you add a patio to your house? Nobody would put up with these scenarios so why are we putting up with this from Apple?

The latest iPhone development coupled with the fact that Apple charges more for its DRM free music than anyone else and their recent debacle over ring tones just makes me realize how truly evil Apple is regardless of how awesome their products are.