Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fix iPhoto error "You made changes to your photo library using a newer version of iPhoto"

Firstly, if you actually have gone through the process of upgrading iLife or iPhoto and receive this error, this article likely won't help. You can try a permissions repair, but that's about the extent of what you'll find for that problem here. Now, if you haven't done anything to iPhoto but starting getting the "You made changes to your photo library using a newer version of iPhoto" error out of nowhere, then hopefully this will help you out.

I had a Mac OS X 10.4.11 user report that she was having issues getting iPhoto to open. When she opened it, she would get an error "You can not open your current photo library using this version of iPhoto. You made changes to your photo library using a newer version of iPhoto." The only thing she could think of is that she had hooked up a different camera than normal to get some pictures from it, and started getting the error after that.

I tried rebuilding her iPhoto library, but that didn't work. Repairing permissions didn't help either. Then I actually tried to verify the disk using Disk Utility, and it found some minor errors. You can't repair those errors while OS X is running though. I booted from the OS X 10.4 install disk that came with the computer, ran Disk Utility to repair the disk, then rebuilt the iPhoto library again. Viola! iPhoto launched and worked fine after that.

Here's how to do each of those things:

First, check your disk permissions. Hopefully that's all it is. To do this, go to Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility. Within Disk Utility, select your hard drive and and select Repair Permissions. Let that run. Once it's done, try iPhoto again. If it still doesn't work, continue to the next step.

Within Disk Utility, now try using the Verify Disk option. Let that run. If everything is green and no errors are found, then you have a different problem. If you get anything that shows up in red though, errors were found and you should keep reading.

To repair the disk you have to boot from your OS X install disk. To do this, put the disk in the drive and shut down the computer. Now turn the computer back on and hold down the C key on the keyboard. This will tell the computer to boot from the CD-ROM drive, rather than your hard drive. This should bring you to the installation setup screen which asks you to pick a language. Pick your language of choice and then click the -> arrow to continue.

Do not go any further with the install. At this point you just want to launch Disk Utility from the CD and use it to repair the disk. You can get to Disk Utility by going to Utilities on the top menu bar.

Once Disk Utility is open, select your hard drive again and click on Repair Disk. That should run and possibly run again after the repairs are made. If Disk Utility cannot repair your disk write down what the problem was. If it says something about an invalid node structure, check out my other post on how to fix it. If it's some other error, you'll have to look to Google and see what you can find. If you can't find a fix to the problem you may want to look into replacing your hard drive before it completely fails. Once you're done with Disk Utility, go to Disk Utility->Quit Disk Utility. Then go to Installer->Quit Installer. Your computer should reboot.

Things should load like normal, and you can try rebuilding your iPhoto database now. To do this, hold down Apple+Option when launching iPhoto, and continue holding both of them down until it prompts you to select the rebuild options. I checked all 4 boxes that were shown and clicked Ok. At this point you just have to wait for it to finish. It took ~30 minutes when I did it, and that will vary depending on the amount of photos you have in your iPhoto.

Once the iPhoto database rebuild is complete you'll find out whether this worked or not. If you're lucky and iPhoto opens correctly, you have successfully solved your problem and can go back to using iPhoto for organizing your pictures. However, if you again get the error about a newer version of iPhoto, sorry, but you're on your own now. I'd suggest making sure to backup your iPhoto library before doing anything else to make sure you don't lose any of your pictures. You can find it by going to Users->Your username->Pictures->iPhoto Library, but replacing "Your username" with whatever your particular username is on the computer.

If this works, great. If not, but you happen to find something else to solve your problem, please leave it in the comments so it can help anyone else that runs into this issue. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

QR codes and smartphone use (iPhone, Android, etc)

QR codes are an interesting thing I've come across this week. They are apparently becoming more popular with smartphone users as QR reader applications are being released. They can encode URLs, phone numbers, and other textual items into this barcode format, and then using a QR reader application an individual can retrieve that information and use it.

There are some free QR code generators out there, and I've been using On my iPhone, I downloaded a free app called i-nigma. i-nigma has versions available for other phones as well, so if you're interested go to from your mobile device to see if they have a version for your phone.

The way it works is that your phone must have a camera. The camera is used to capture the QR barcode, and you can then go to the URL encoded within the QR barcode. With the i-nigma version I have on my iPhone, I didn't even have to take a picture. The program would just tap into the camera feature and recognize the barcode in the viewfinder. It worked very well for what I tested.

This presents an opportunity to increase web traffic to particular pages, especially if you are running an e-commerce site. You could use QR codes in print ads to direct readers to a specific website related to the ad. Google is already using it to encode business locations on actual maps, to make it easy for people to jump to that location within Google Maps. There are a lot of possibilities for these QR codes, and as long as there are free code generators and applications to read them it might be something to think about using.

Of course there are limitations and cons to the idea. You have to make sure the code is large enough for a device to be able to read correctly. The smallest I was able to read was 150px X 150px, which can be kind of a large barcode. I'm using an iPhone 3G though, and I know some of the other phones on the market now have better resolution so they should be able to read smaller codes, and phone cameras continue to improve. You also have to rely on the target audience to have a smartphone, along with a QR code reader application. As long as the applications are freely available though, it should only be a matter of spreading the word about these applications and hoping more and more people turn to smartphones.

I'm no marketing expert, but I can see this as a quick way to promote products and pages to those people out there with smartphones. Since Google is already starting to use it, it's bound to gain momentum as more and more people find out about it. With the number of smartphone users out there (~34 million iPhones sold through Q4 2009, with 6.4 million in the US), it's definitely a target audience worth trying to gain a share of.

QR code for

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Convert numbers to barcode for FREE

The situation I faced was a user who was manually entering a bunch (over 1,000) of inventory numbers from a spreadsheet into our ERP system. They wanted a way to help avoid errors, while also making it quicker to enter the numbers. Converting the cell values into barcodes would allow the user to scan the barcodes with a barcode scanner, essentially allowing them to cruise through the entry of the numbers with very no chance of typos. Surprisingly, this is very easy to do with the help of a freely available barcode font called Free3of9, which creates a Code 39 bar code for you.

First, download the Free3of9 font from Then unzip the contents and install the fonts on your computer. If you need help, check out my previous post about installing fonts. Once you have Free3of9 installed on your computer, converting numbers to bar codes is as easy as changing the font you're using to Free3of9. However, you must make sure you surround your value with asterisks. This is because the barcode reader needs to know where to start and stop reading, and this particular font uses the asterisk * to send that signal.

A quick way to do this in Excel or Calc is to use the concatenation function. Let's say cell A1 equals 123, and you want to turn that into a barcode. In cell B1, you would enter { ="*"&A1&"*" } (everything inside the brackets {}, but not including them). This would add an asterisk before and after the contents of A1 to create a value of *123* in cell B1. Then change the font used in B1 to be Free3of9 and you'll have a fully readable bar code that will produce the value 123 when read by a barcode reader device.

Good luck, and hopefully this helps save you or someone you know from a lot of manual number entry. You can try this with text, but I haven't tried that so I can't guarantee it will work. I believe you have to use the Free3of9 Extended font, which is included in the download, in order to encode non-number text. The same asterisk rules would apply.

UPDATE 5/3/13

Wow, it's been over 3 years since I originally published this and I've come back to it many times. I have something to add that I ran into today though. If you're using this font in Microsoft Word , be careful. The reason is Word adds a carriage return character at the end of a line of text, and normally you wouldn't see it but this font actually has a value for carriage return so it will encode that into the barcode. If this happens the barcode will not work. I did a mail merge and to get around this problem, after inserting my merge field that was the UPC value, I added a space after it before the end of the line of text and then changed my font to Free 3 of 9. What this does is prevents the system from auto-selecting that carriage return and changing the font on it to Free 3 of 9. You'll know if that happened by looking to the right of the merged field. If you have <> and immediately to the right there shouldn't be any text but you see a barcode, that's because the carriage return font was changed. To fix, either add the space before, or change the font for that little section back to what it originally was. Once I did that the barcodes worked just fine out of Word