Monday, October 16, 2006

Timeature 1.0: adjust image date field in Aperture

Timeature is a $15 shareware utility that addresses a giant defect in Aperture 1.5 by editing the date field in Aperture's SQLite3 database. Note below another huge Aperture date issue: dates cannot precede 1970.

Adjust the Image Date field of images imported in Aperture! The correct Image Date ensures that your photos are sorted properly within Aperture. This field is sadly not currently user-editable, hence the need for Timeature.

The Image Date field is automatically generated at import time from the EXIF shooting date of the image. If the imported file does not contain this EXIF information, Aperture will use the file creation date as the value for the Image Date field. This information is stored for quick retrieval in Aperture’s database. It is this field that Timeature modifies. Timeature makes no modifications to the original master file.
Timeature does not edit the XML (plist) files that accompany master images. Adam is reviewing these; it appears on first glance that Aperture will update the plist values to reflect changes to the internal database.

This 1.0 app should be used for now only an experimental basis. Note Adam's comments in his FAQ (I bolded this a bit):
Timeature won’t let me set a date before 1970 or after 2037!
This is a current limitation of the date calculation routines in Timeature. We are looking into resolving this in a future release.

I just rebuilt my Library and all of my Image Dates have disappeared!
Aperture stores the Image Date in two places: the SQLite3 database and in a plist file associated with each version. Timeature 1.0 currently only updates the SQLite3 database. We’re looking to release another version of Timeature shortly to also add this information to the image’s plist file.

Haven’t I seen the icon for Timeature before?
Long-time Newton owners will recognize the clock graphic used in Timeature once belonged to AlarmClock, a popular application for the Newton OS developed here. Just as the Newton never dies by getting new batteries or emulated, the iconic spirit of AlarmClock lives on in Timeature.
The inability to set a date prior to 1970 is kind of scary. I wonder if Aperture follows the unix convention of measuring time as seconds post 1970. Of course this is a crummy situation for those of with a library of scanned images from 1905! I'll be tracking this limitation closely.

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