Saturday, March 23, 2013

Revisiting Multi User Picasa on a single computer

Awhile ago, I wrote an article about having multiple users on a single computer using Picasa. I wrote it in 2008, after I had setup a new computer at my house. In all it worked fairly well, we never had any issues with it.

It's been 5 years, and we've bought a new computer again.  I figured, it's been five years, Picasa MUST have some native functionality for this now?

Nope. Nada. Zilch.

I could do the same symlink thing, but while searching Google's forums for Picasa trying to see if they've added native support, I found a guy that had wrote a nice utility that does the symlinks.

First, a little background on why I would want to do this.

My wife and I both have our own accounts on the computer.  We like it because we can personalize the computer however we want, and not bother the other.

Except this sucks when you have iTunes and Picasa, and you want to share them.  For iTunes, if you want to automatically have songs the other users downloads added to your library, you have to create a bunch of symlinks, and share a database.  Not the best solution. (My playlists kept overwriting her's till we figured it out and named them different).

Picasa had the same issue.  I take the pictures, and download them to the Public folders.  My wife will then open picasa (which will automatically find them) and edit them.  But I wouldn't see the edits, unless she saved the image (But I think I got two images in mine when it discovered them the original and the edited because the database didn't know about the edit).  Anyways, it was a mess.

So back to the program. It doesn't do symlinks anymore, it's a little more advanced that that.

It's called PicasaStarter. It's pretty neat. It has the following features:

  • Create any number of Picasa databases
  • Databases can be created in any location, including network drives, and can be shared by multiple computers and users.
  • Warns if the Database is already in use, preventing Database errors.
I've been using it for a few years now, and I've had no issues.

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