I have been taking pictures for many years and have found it increasingly difficult to find the pictures I wanted in the ever growing folder structure I stored them in. A couple of years ago I started looking for a photo database that would give me the capability of sorting my pictures into multiple subcategory sets and then query the subcategories against each other. For example: if I wanted to find all of the pictures I had taken of plants in the family Rosaceae in the state of California, I could query the category structure (Plants/Vascular Plants/Rosaceae) against (Places/USA/California). Almost every database I found was filled with useless crap and wouldn’t work like I wanted it to. There was only one database I found that appeared to do what I required and that was Picajet FX. I have been using Picajet FX for a couple years now and feel I should share my experiences with it to all the prospective buyers out there.
Basically, Picajet FX is exactly what I wanted, except that it doesn’t work like it is supposed to which renders it useless much of the time. The only reason I’m still using it is because I haven’t found anything better. The good part about Picajet FX is that the interface lets me use it like I would use Windows Explorer to create a folder structure and drag whatever I want over to the folder I want it in, except it is a category structure rather than a folder structure. I could take a single picture and put it under a bunch of different categories that I might want to query later. If I had a picture taken at Crater Lake National Park showing a landscape of the lake with Wizard Island and the plants Pulsatilla occidentalis and Pinus albicaulis, I could categorized it in the following ways: (Places/USA/Oregon/Crater Lake National Park), (Landscapes), (Landforms/Islands), (Landforms/Volcano), (Water/Lakes), (Plants/Vascular Plants/Ranunculaceae/Pulsatilla occidentalis), (Plants/Vascular Plants/Pinaceae/Pinus albicaulis), and probably a bunch of others. I could then query any of those categories and/or subcategories against any of the others and this picture would come up. For example if I wanted to see all of the landscape pictures I took in Oregon that have water in them, this picture would show up. Picajet FX has a bunch of other features, but none of them are really important compared to that one.
So, what is the problem with Picajet FX? The biggest problem is that the queries only work on simple category structures. If a category or subcategory has only a limited number of its own subcategories, it works fine. If you have lots of subcategories, you are screwed. It won’t work. The early example querying the category structure (Plants/Vascular Plants/Rosaceae) against (Places/USA/California) works because neither Rosaceae or California has very many subcategories. What if I want to see all of the pictures of vascular plants I have from Joshua Tree National Park? That is a query of (Plants/Vascular Plants) against (Places/USA/California/Joshua Tree National Park). Picajet FX’s result of this query is the following error: “You select too much criteria for query! Cannot display results.” I have too many subcategories under the Vascular Plants category. Picajet FX can’t handle anything beyond very basic category structures. This is a huge problem as I require complex category structures that is a very typical query that I would make. I’ve tried contact the Picajet FX’s programmers many times over the past couple year to get them to fix this problem, but they just don’t seem to understand that there is not much point in having a database that you can’t query.
There are several other problems with Picajet FX that are really annoying, but I can deal with them if they would fix the query function. One particularly obnoxious problem is that almost every time I use Picajet FX, it locks up for about 10-15 minutes at a time seemingly doing nothing. If you wait for it to do whatever it is doing, it will eventually start working again. This isn’t bad if you are working with it for hours, but if you want to use it for 20 minutes and it locks up for 15 minutes, it’s really problematic.
In conclusion, Picajet FX has a huge amount of potential, but fails miserably by not reaching that potential. If it could do what it claims it can do, it would be wonderful. Still, it’s the best thing I’ve found. If anyone else has found a good photo database that will function the way I want it to, let me know. Otherwise I guess I’m stuck with Picajet.