Windows 7 supports IPTC in JPEG Picture Files! (Not quite – Adobe XMP actually)

Wow! I’ve just discovered by accident that Windows 7 beta supports a few IPTC XMP attributes in picture files. At last, Microsoft supporting standards!

Above is a screen shot from the properties of a test picture. The Description and Origin sections seem to be standard IPTC fields and I checked them out using iTag.

In iTag the Title attribute comes out as both the Title and the Description. The Subject field doesn’t seem to be recognised nor does the comments field. Rating, Tags, Authors and Copyright are all recognised by iTag.

I’ll do some more extensive testing when I get time.

Update: I spoke too soon 🙁 In fact, it’s rather more complex.

Using ExifTool with ExiftoolGUI, I can see that actually, Windows 7 sets BOTH some EXIF attributes and some XMP (the Adobe meta data format) attributes but NOT IPTC attributes. As it happens, iTag also understands these. Here is a table of what seems to get set.

Windows 7 Attribute EXIF Attributes XMP Attributes iTag Name (Note that iTag synchronises EXIF and XMP attributes on updates [may not be a good thing], Win7 overwrites!!!)
Title XPTitle, UserComment,

ImageDescription
Title,

Description

(Note that only the Title will show the title in Windows 7)
Title,

Description (updates EXIF ImageDescription & XMP Description, multi-lines joined with “…”)
Subject XPSubject N/A N/A
Rating (Number, 1-5) Rating (1-5), RatingPercent (as per XMP)

Rating (1-5), RatingPercent (1=1, 2=13)

(Note that Rating alone DOES show the rating stars in Windows 7)

Stars under the thumbnail
Tags (“:” separated) XPKeywords (“:” separated) LastKeywordXMP (separated by “, “)

(Note that this alone DOES show in Windows 7)
Tag Bucket
Comments (Multi-line – ctrl-enter) XPComments (Lines separated with “…”) N/A N/A
Authors Artist, XPAuthor

Creator

(Note that this alone DOES show in Windows 7)

Author
Copyright Copyright Rights Copyright

The “XP…” EXIF attributes seem to be Windows specific as ExifToolGUI doesn’t offer an edit feature for them, just lists them.

So, a rather typically Microsoft mixed bag. Why wasn’t the XMP Description attribute mapped to Windows Comments? Similarly for EXIF UserComment!

Still, it is something anyway and hopefully the table will help you choose which attributes to use for the best cross-tool support.

I will try to add some more applications to the table if I get a change, if you get there before me, please let me know and I will add the details here.

Update 2: A quick look at Wikipedia shows that Microsoft seem to be backing XMP as support is built in to a number of their photo tools. In the past I’ve stayed away from this as only Adobe and other expensive products supported it whereas IPTC had more widespread support. It seems that this may be changing now – typical – time perhaps to find a way to copy all those IPTC attributes in my photos across to XMP.

See my note about what happens with Windows 7 and iTag updates. This is BAD. Windows 7 rides roughshod over several attributes. Even worse, iTag was unable to reopen the file after Windows 7 had updated it.

So do not use Windows 7 to update image attributes if you also want to use other, more professional tools.


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Easier posting to Blogger Blogs (Zoundry Raven)

Just a quick note to recommend some software that makes writing blog entries very much easier.

The software is called Zoundry Raven and I’m using the latest beta (under Windows 7 beta).

The editor is WYSIWYG and has a much more sensible set of standards than the built-in Blogger editor (including the beta version). It also allows you to publish the same entry to multiple blogs if needed. It has image, link and tag handling too and it makes blogging rather more pleasurable.


Update 2009-02-28
: A couple of things I wanted to add to this. Firstly, Raven isn’t actually in beta! Secondly, that the more I use it, the more I like it! It is very extensible too, I’ve just added a tag search for Diigo, the online bookmarking service that is miles better than del.icio.us and it only took 2 minutes. I have also found that I rarely need to manually adjust the html, quite a change from the native Blogger interface. Finally, adding images is a breeze; you can copy and paste and as long as you have some storage defined (I’m just using a free Google Picassa account at the moment) and Raven will automatically upload the image and sort out the links – magic! Well done Zoundry.

One final thing. Raven doesn’t have all that good a support for proxy servers at the moment. So if you are behind a Microsoft ISA Server proxy (very common in large organisations), you might need to use something like CNTLM. I’ll blog about that another time I think.


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Windows 7 Beta – Now my main OS

I’m now using Windows 7 Beta (Build 7000) as my day-to-day operating system.

It is generally very well behaved I have to say and appears to be what Vista should have been from the start. Vista reminds me a lot of Windows/ME, anyone remember that? Another failed Windows build. In reality, Vista was the Windows 7 beta.

Of course, there are a few rough edges and I’ll do a post about them shortly.

The PC is a Dell M1710, 17″ screen and 4GB RAM with WiFi and an NVidia 7900 series mobile graphics card.

Windows applications I use

Following on from my post about what stops me from dropping Windows altogether, I thought that I would put together a more complete post about the Windows applications I find myself using.

  • Memory Map
    If ActiveSync is installed, the standard license allows you to push a copy of the Windows Mobile version to a handheld along with extracts of (or whole) maps, POI, routes, etc. It is also best to plan routes and add new POI on the desktop as its easier than the small interface on the handheld. There are two versions of the software. One will only run Ordnance Survey maps due to their overly restrictive license (in any other industry they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with it). The other will run any map other than OS and also allows you to scan your own maps. If you buy the OS one for British maps, you can download the other from their US web site. Both can be installed at the same time and they don’t seem to mind.
  • Google Sketchup
  • Laridian Pocket Bible for Windows
    I generally use the Windows Mobile version of this excellent software but sometimes have the need to see larger passages, do side-by-side comparisons or write more extensive notes. The latest versions of the desktop now synchronise notes, etc.
  • MobiPocket Reader for Windows
    This is able to translate ebooks from HTML and PDF into its native PRC format which is what I mainly use it for. It can push the file straight to a Windows Mobile device. It can also capture RSS feeds and do reading on the desktop.
  • ActiveSync
    Yeuch! A necessary evil. The Linux sync software is notoriously difficult to get running and keep running and there are still some Windows Mobile installations that require a Windows machine with ActiveSync. It is though, the most dreadful and unstable software I use. I keep all of the options turned off so that it doesn’t mess up the handheld.
  • MyMobile
    This is the epitomy of a simple piece of software that just works! It allows access to the screen and keyboard of the Windows Mobile device within the desktop. Really useful if you use the phone a lot, especially as a PDA as well. It also has a file manager that is a lot faster than the ActiveSync one.
  • Microsoft Office 2007
    Although I often try to use OpenOffice for general tasks, there is no getting away from the fact that MS Office is light-years ahead in terms of features. If, like me, you rely on these for your day-to-day work then you need MS Office. I would say though that I would no longer purchase a copy for home use (not that I’ve ever needed to thanks to always having access to business laptops) – OpenOffice is more than sufficient for general use.
  • Internet Explorer
    It is a sad fact that there are still too many web sites that require IE to work. Thankfully all of the banking and finance sites seem to have got their act together.

Well, it is still a pleasantly small list. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against Windows, it’s just that I like having a choice and believe that real competition is good for everyone both users and suppliers. Further, I cannot really agree with the restrictive licensing that MS are always trying to force on people given the large price they put on both the software and updates. Nor can I really agree with the stifling of innovation that is the result of overly restrictive trade practices. The competition from Linux and open source is good for the market though I would really like to see OpenOffice start to innovate more rather than trying to play catchup with Office.

What stops me finally parting company with Windows

Will I ever be free of Microsoft? Well, unlike many people I’m not really evangelistic about this. I’ll use whatever gets the job done properly. My main reason for ditching Microsoft products is due to their overly restrictive and greedy licensing without really giving real innovation in return.

So why can’t I escape? Well one of the main reasons is that I am constantly faced with Microsoft products through my job as an IT consultant. While I am more likely today than ever before to end up with a mixed environment, MS still owns most of the desktop and much of the server market in my customer base.

That aside, it is mainly for personal reasons that I want to be free at home so why do I still need to run MS dependent software? Here is the list of products I still need Windows for:

  • Memory Map
    This is a great map display and navigation tool for which I have the whole of the UK at 1:50,000 scale. In fact there is no good mapping application for Linux as far as I can tell and certainly not one that will display UK Ordnance Survey maps. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any navigation software for Linux either. Hopefully this will change with the advent of more Linux based mobile phones
  • Google Sketchup
    I don’t often get time to do 3D work these days (not like in my bachelor days when I was using a Commodore Amiga for 3D graphics and video!) but when I do, this is likely to be the tool I turn to.
    In fact, I can’t find any easy to use tool that will do architectural 3D under Linux. Lets hope that Google are listening to the call from Linux fans for a proper Linux version like they’ve done with Google Earth

That’s all I can think of for now.

I might of added MS Office to this list as there is certainly nothing to touch this in Linux land. OpenOffice is fine for simple stuff but for those of us who rely on the power of MS Office day-to-day, you quickly find the limitations of OOo. Thankfully, I don’t generally have the need for complex office documents at home so I’ve not listed it here.