Friday, August 01, 2008

Using junctions to synchronize Lightroom 2 on different Windows XP machines

As far as I can tell, my scheme,,

of using a desktop shortcut to software to the same folder tree located on different disks on different Windows XP machines no longer works with Lightroom 2. This led me to learn about real symbolic links under Windows XP.

I see that

Junction V 1.05

can be used to created and remove such links. However, I see at

Windows Symbolic and Hard Links

that such links should not be deleted using Explorer, lest what they point to be deleted as well.

I have gone ahead and given junctions a try, as follows.

As I mentioned earlier, part of my backup strategy is to maintain duplicate environments at different physical locations. I use Second Copy to keep all non-system files synchronized between a desktop at one location and a laptop that is primarily at another location. All photos on the desktop are stored on a local disk and all photos on the laptop are stored on an external disk.

I created the junction Photos.sym (named to remind me it is a symbolic link) on the desktop to point to U:\Photos and on the laptop to point Z:\Photos. I used the commands

junction.exe "C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\Desktop\Photos.sym" U:\Photos

junction.exe "C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\Desktop\Photos.sym" Z:\Photos

In this way software on each machine sees the root of the photos tree as being in the same logical location,

C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\Desktop\Photos.sym

even though they are in different physical locations, U:\Photos and Z:\Photos. Lightroom 2, in particular, now finds things on the two machines, since its catalogs contain the same root.

My only concern is to remember that the junction behaves like an actual folder and so it must no be deleted using Explorer, lest the folders tree it points to will also be deleted. A junction can be deleted by itself (without affecting what it points to using, say,

junction.exe -d "C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\Desktop\Photos.sym"

I'll be grateful to be alerted to any other cautions and "gotchas" with this approach.

Anyhow, I hope this is helpful to Windows XP users.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Adobe Lightroom synchronized on different Windows XP machines

Here is how I am able have the same Lightroom working environment on different Windows XP machines.

There are three requirements. First, that images are stored in a folder tree and that the folder tree is synchronized on the different machines. Second, that the Lightroom library folder tree and the Lightroom settings folder tree are synchronized on the different machines.

On my systems, the Lightroom folder tree is within the images folder tree, and the Lightroom settings folder tree is

C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom

I use Second Copy 7.0 for one-click synchronization, and there are various other tools that do this.

The method has three parts.
  • First, define a Desktop shortcut with the same name (Images, say) on each machine, and point this shortcut to the root of the image folder tree on each machine.
  • Second, set Lightroom to prompt for the database location on startup, so that it finds the database on each machine.
  • Third, reference images in Lightroom using the shortcut to navigate to desired folders on the image folder tree. Thereby, Lightroom (evidently) records a given image as being at the same logical location on all machines, while Windows XP resolves the logical location to actual location through its shortcut mechanism.
Here is an example. The root of my image folder tree is D:\Photos\ on an internal disk of a workstation, and Z:\Photos\ on an external disk of a laptop. The Desktop shortcut on each machine is named Images, and it points to D:\Photos\ on the workstation and to Z:\Photos\ on the laptop. With this setup in place, when I import files into Lightroom (by reference), I navigate to them through the Desktop shortcut, as Desktop:\Images\.... For example, when I point Lightroom to the image folder

Desktop:\Images\Canon 10D\Pomfret

the location is resolved by Windows XP to

D:\Photos\Canon 10D\Pomfret

on the workstation, and to

Z:\Photos\Canon 10D\Pomfret

on the laptop.

So far, this scheme has been working without any problems. It allows me to work with files on one machine, synchronize my image folder tree and Lightroom settings onto the other machine (by a single click to Second Copy 7.0 on each machine), and then continue working on the second machine where I left off on the first machine.

By the way, a very important benefit of this way of working is that all work is replicated on two different machines, and so if one machine fails, work can immediately continue on the other machine, with loss limited to the last synchronization.

On Mac OS X, the equivalent of Windows XP shortcuts is aliases, and the two approaches are described together at Aliases vs. Shortcuts. Presumably an analogous procedure can be used on Mac OS X machines.

I hope this way of synchronizing Lightroom on different Windows XP machines is helpful. I will be grateful for any suggestions for improvements or cautions/gotchas.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

QED from Feynman (and Zee)

Princeton University Press has just released the 2006 edition of Richard Feynman's QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter with a new introduction by Anthony Zee (available here). The context Zee provides is all the more helpful in light of Zee's own book, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell.

Documenting Boston's Big Dig

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hermit of Montrose

"Strangest of all, perhaps, was an Idaho man named Henry Stuart, who moved to Fairhope in the 1920's, after being told by his doctor incorrectly, it turned out that he had only a year to live.

"Mr. Stuart, who wore a long white beard and became known locally as the Hermit of Montrose, after a neighborhood in Fairhope, built himself a small round hurricane-proof hut out of concrete and lived in it for 18 years, apparently certain he might die at any moment. Mr. Stuart eventually died at 88 in 1946, somewhere in Oregon.

From Warren St. John's A Hermit's Refuge Is Now a Writer's Muse (New York Times, May 7, 2006), on how Sonny Brewer's first novel, The Poet of Tolstoy Park, came to be.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Photographic image as canvas

Andrzeij Dragan's portraits are haunting examples of images for which the photograph is the canvas.

He says that "Some people claim that a good portrait will reveal some truth about the model. I'm undoubtedly sad to state that these people will not find anything interesting in my photography which has no such purpose."

Milder examples are collected in the the PBase gallery Transformations.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Digital photography and creative thinking

Julieanne Kost
Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking

From Conrad Obregon's review: "There is a Zen principal that says if you seek enlightenment, you will not be able to find it, but that if you just let things come, enlightenment will also come. Don't read this book looking to develop your creativity. Instead, look at the pictures, slowly and carefully, and enjoy them. Read what the author has to say but don't try to mine the words. To your surprise, you might enjoy the pictures. And when you are finished you just might find you've tweaked your creativity."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Humor in science writing

"And scientists, if you wonder why the public doesn't like you, read one of your papers. Scientific language is necessary. But so is speaking plainly. And if you have something funny, or human, to tell, that won't undermine your work. But it may bring it to a wider audience."

From James Gorman's essay New York Times essay Side Effects, on Walter R. Tschinkel's book The Fire Ants. Edward O. Wilson (author of the Pulitzer Prize winner The Ants) characterizes Tschinkel's book as a "masterpiece."