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Lphoto: A 2nd Try at Photo Album Software

Ten years ago, I started a digital camera software company called Media Minds, which made photo album software for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows computers. I saw my first digital camera and thought that people would soon be shooting millions of digital photos and need software to organize and share them. Chances are that you have never heard about that company. Although the software was loaded with advanced features like adding audio annotations to each photo and image searching, we were doomed by the camera. The first digital cameras were too low quality, slow, and had limited capacity, which hindered widespread adoption. Ten years have passed since Media Minds, and now digital cameras are stunning in quality and capacity.

Check out Lphoto
I just bought a fantastic new digital camera - the Casio Exilim. It's so tiny that I can slip it into my pocket, yet it shoots high quality photos and even has a brilliant LCD display. I've been snapping shots everywhere I go, but now I have piles of files with names like "cimg2017.jpg." Sure enough, I need software to organize these photos, edit a few and then publish them for others to see. That hasn't been easy using a Linux computer, so I decided to once again build some photo album software. This week we released an easy-to-use photo organizer called Lphoto, which Linspire users can install with a single mouse click using CNR.

Lphoto gives desktop Linux a powerful, yet easy photo manager. There are three modes which walk users through the photo process. First is "import," where you can add images either from a folder, or by importing them directly from one of hundreds of popular digital cameras. My new Casio mounts as a USB device when I plug it, allowing me to add images directly from the camera.

Drag & drop images into your albums
Next is the "organize" mode, where you can group related images. Here you can create albums similar to the paper-based cousins you find on relatives' coffee tables. To create a new album, just click on one or more images and then drag them to the left column. You'll probably need to edit some images so double clicking on any image takes you to the edit mode. Here you can crop, enhance, remove red eye and more with just a single mouse click.

Once you've perfected your album, you'll want to share them with friends or co-workers, and Lphoto makes that a snap. One button will send an entire album of images via email - even offering to auto-compress the images so they are sent in email-friendly sizes. Another feature will make a web page of an album. I've made a sample album using some recent images I shot. Here's a list of the images:

  • Downtown Singapore - SIPphone signed a major partnership with Singtel which gave me a chance to visit this modern and polite city.
  • Breaking the Law - Yes, that is a 'no pictures' sign
  • Buy a coke using your cell phone - Yup, they're doing it in Singapore.
  • Real Rocky - I shot a picture of this guy shadow boxing while walking on sharp rocks cemented to point up. Ouch!
  • Cannonball - It took three attempts to get one of my kids doing an airborne cannonball.
  • DLS Booth - The guys at had the flashiest Desktop Linux Summit booth.
  • Petco Park - I finally made it to a game at the new San Diego ballpark.
  • Phil Nevin - Padre first baseman up to bat.
  • Lindy - Our company mascot, all grown up.
  • Sunset - A beautiful San Diego evening.
We're releasing Lphoto 1.0 so desktop Linux users have a quality photo program. Linspire users can get it with a single mouse-click from the Warehouse. We're also making the source code available, so others can use and improve on Lphoto. It doesn't have near the features of the Media Minds' PictureAlbum software I released ten years ago, but it's a great step forward for Linux. You've seen my album, now post a link to your photo album on our forums!

We've also made a video animation on how Lphoto works which you should be able to view from any browser. Click here to check it out.

-- Michael 

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