Really filter by date in Picasa 3

I've been managing my photos in Google's Picasa since 2009.  I personally think it's a good application with all the social connectivity I need (Facebook, Google+).  I expected that Google, being a company built on information and search, would have made the search bar in Picasa as robust as their web search bar.  Unfortunately, not so.

If you use any of Google's web products, you should be familiar with searching by dates using keys like...

  • date:
  • between:
  • before:
  • after:
Well, these don't work in Picasa.  Worse, all that there is for filtering by date is a slider bar that limits the range from some time in the past to the current date. This is not at all useful if you are only looking for photos taken in the month of June, 2012.

Yes, Picasa naturally organizes photos in date named folders.  However, this convenience is lost when importing instant uploads from Google+, which just drops a pile of photos/videos into one "Instant Uploads" folder.

What the Picasa search bar does do is index all text fields/tags in your photos.  If EXIF data is saved with your photos, there is a field called "Camera Date" which holds the date (according to the camera) that the photo was taken.  This field is formatted as:

yyyy:mm:dd hh:mm:ss
(where hours are in 24-hr format)

So, if you want to search for June 2012 photos, type:


into the search bar.  So, while this works to grab photos from a specific month, there still isn't a way to find photos from a specific date range.  Hopefully, this will be a new feature in an upcoming release.


My Job Just Got Shiny-er

Today I went to the RStudio site to post a feature request.  I noticed up in the top navigation a link called "Shiny".  I like things that are shiny.  It turns out Shiny is a new package the RStudio team has developed for easily making reactive web applications from R code.

One of the tools I built at my current job is a web application that uses R as the server side analysis engine with A LOT of HMTL/CSS and AJAX tomfoolery in the browser to make things responsive a pretty.

From the looks of it, the shiny new Shiny package will significantly reduce the UI development time.  In fact, it appears to make web UI development more like UI development in desktop python apps using [insert your favorite toolkit here] (note: so far I mostly have experience with wx).

Ever since I started using R (back in 2007) I often lamented the lack of a way to create easy to use GUIs that could encapsulate complex analysis scripts for non-R users.  In MATLAB, this is done using GUIDE or low level uicontrol() functions.  In 2009, RGG looked promising, and I also found SciViews-R, but I never really had/invested the time to look deeper into either of these tools.  Besides, doing things from the comfort of a web browser is all the rage these days (and certainly makes deploying app updates easier).

I'm looking forward to testing this out!