Tidy Up! for Mac, a short review, clean up missing thumbnails in iPhoto??

Recently I accidentally imported a batch of photos into iPhoto twice. With over 1,000 duplicates to clean up I went looking for an application that could do the job. I found Tidy Up! which looked like exactly what I needed. It had a professional looking UI and I was in a rush and so I skipped my normal due diligence on reviews, forums and tests and paid \$33 to unlock it. \$33 and countless hours of frustration later I have to conclude that it simply doesn’t work as advertised.

The UI is complex and despite numerous attempts with different options it still wasn’t finding the duplicates - sometimes it would spin for minutes and then declare no duplicates, sometimes it would find some but not all. I finally found a setting that seemed to find all my duplicates and I launched it into deleting them. iPhoto began flickering wildly as it did its work but it gave no indication as to how far it had progressed or when it would finish, so I left it running. In the morning it seemed to have stopped running but iPhoto would not quit. I reluctantly did a force quit and restarted it. Disaster - it had deleted the images but left the thumbnails in iPhoto for each of the duplicates it had found. Worse still, there were still lots of duplicate images left in my library. Undeterred I tried the option to find images with thumbnails but no backing files. It found 1,900 of them so I asked it to delete them all. That failed so I tried deleting just a few at a time from the list of 1,900 images. After about 40 operations it claimed they were all gone and my library was clean. Except it wasn’t, I still have missing images and I still have duplicates.

Next I tried an option to find photos by similarity in the time they were taken except the developer used the date instead of the date plus time so it lumped all the photos found on a single date and called them duplicates!

At this point I emailed to get my money back. The developer send me a form which I dutifully filled in, signed, scanned and sent back. But, oh no, that wasn’t good enough for him, he wanted me to mail the letter to Italy. At this point I sent a strongly worded email and contacted Paypal to get a refund which came through. The developer claimed that because it worked for thousands of other people there was nothing wrong with it and that he shouldn’t have to refund me, a classic case of “it works on my machine”! It’s also a lesson that “because most customers can’t be bothered to call doesn’t mean they are happy”, for \$33 most will just write it off as a failed investment. A quick look at the forum showed just a handful of people using (or attempting to use) the product.

Based on my experience with the developer I would not recommend this product. If you could try it and then pay if it worked that would be one thing, but having to pay to find out that it doesn’t work and then having to deal with the hassle of getting a refund makes this not worthwhile.

So now I’m back to cleaning up iPhoto by hand to remove duplicates and fix the thumbnails that still have no backing photo.

Tue Jul 06 2010 05:04:15 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

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