James Duncan Davidson

James Duncan Davidson

Photographer, technologist, traveller.

  • @duncan

Berlin, Germany

Areas of Expertise:

  • cocoa
  • ruby
  • rails
  • objective-c
  • photography
  • digital asset management
  • java
  • ant
  • tomcat
James Duncan Davidson is a freelance author, software developer, and consultant focusing on Mac OS X, Java, XML, and open source technologies. He is the author of Learning Cocoa with Objective-C (published by O'Reilly & Associates) and is a frequent contributor to the O'Reilly Network online website as well as publisher of his own website, x180 (http://www.x180.net), where he keeps his popular weblog. Duncan was the creator of Apache Tomcat and Apache Ant and was instrumental in their donation to the Apache Software Foundation by Sun Microsystems . While working at Sun, he authored two versions of the Java Servlet API specification as well as the Java API for XML Processing. Duncan regularly presents at conferences all over the world on topics ranging from open source and collaborative development to programming Java more effectively. He didn't graduate with a Computer Science degree, but sees that as a benefit in helping explain how software works. His educational background is in Architecture (the bricks and mortar kind), the essence of which he applies to every software problem that finds him. He currently resides in San Francisco, California.

Agile Web Development with Rails Agile Web Development with Rails (Pragmatic Bookshelf)
by Dave Thomas, David Heinemeier Hansson
Second Edition December 2006

Running Mac OS X Tiger Running Mac OS X Tiger
by Jason Deraleau, James Duncan Davidson
December 2005
Print: $39.95

Mac OS X Panther Hacks Mac OS X Panther Hacks
by Rael Dornfest, James Duncan Davidson
June 2004
Print: $29.95

Running Mac OS X Panther Running Mac OS X Panther
by James Duncan Davidson
December 2003

Cocoa in a Nutshell Cocoa in a Nutshell
by Michael Beam, James Duncan Davidson
May 2003
Print: $44.99
Ebook: $35.99

Learning Cocoa with Objective-C Learning Cocoa with Objective-C
by James Duncan Davidson, Apple Computer, Inc.
Second Edition September 2002

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James Duncan blogs at:

Web 2.0 Summit 2010

November 19 2010

The seventh edition of the Web 2.0 Summit has come and gone. It's the sixth year that I've been the photographer and I've seen the event go through a few phases from irrational exuberance to weathering the downturn. ... read more

A Backup Disk Solution

August 18 2008

Earlier this year, I wrote quite a bit on this blog about storage and backing up. Starting with a New Years Storage Resolution, I worked my way up to The Simplest Storage Solution. In short, I keep multiple copies of... read more

Viewing Your Masks

August 06 2008

When applying localized corrections in Lightroom 2, it can be sometimes difficult to see the bounds of the mask you are working with. This is especially true if you are using a very subtle correction, such as just a bit... read more

Lightroom 2.0 Hits the Streets

July 29 2008

The wait is over. Lightroom 2 is out of beta. This release brings loads of new features, including 64-bit support, localized corrections, and dual monitor support. There are even some features that are new since the public beta, including gradient... read more

Picking Out a Tablet

July 17 2008

When Lightroom 2.0 hits the streets, you can be sure that one of the features you’ll want to experiment first with is the new localized correction tools. As I’ve said before on this blog, I think that localized corrections are... read more

George Jardine Leaves Adobe

July 02 2008

George Jardine has said farewell to Adobe and his position as an evangelist for Lightroom. Over the last few years, he’s been a welcome voice on his series of Lightroom podcasts, a library of content from which I’ve learned quite... read more

Lightroom Used in New Canon Ad

June 26 2008

Canon's new Rebel XSi ad is making its way around the Internet and probably out onto the TV airwaves as well. It's a really nicely crafted ad and one that will hopefully inspire budding photographers everywhere to pick up a... read more

Adobe Camera Raw 4.5 Release Candidate

June 26 2008

Today, Adobe posted a release candidate of the Camera Raw 4.5 plug-in via the Adobe Labs website. By release candidate, Adobe means that the software is well tested, but they would like to see additional community testing before it is... read more

The Usefulness of the Quick Collection

June 18 2008

Over the last few months, I’ve been extensively using the latest versions of both Aperture and Lightroom in gigs large and small. I’ve long been comfortable using both, but with the 2.0 versions of both, I’ve really wanted to dig... read more

Looking for the Right Level of Keywording

June 03 2008

After using modern workflow tools, like Adobe Lightroom, for the last few years, I'm finding myself approaching a crisis point with keywords. When I first started really adding keywords to image metadata years back, I took the same approach many... read more

Lightroom 2 and Soft Proofing

May 29 2008

Most of the features that I wanted to see in Lightroom 2 are in, including multiple monitor support, metadata based localized corrections, and tons of improvements in the Library. There is one significant missing piece to me, however,and that's soft... read more

Lightroom 2 and 64-bits

May 20 2008

One of the bullet point features of Lightroom 2.0 is that it supports the latest 64-bit systems on both Windows and Intel-based Macs. For 64-bit Windows Vista, you have to use a separate download to get 64-bit support. On the... read more

Localized Corrections and Masking

May 15 2008

The headline feature of Lightroom 2 will be localized corrections. Sure, multiple monitor support is nice, print packages are pretty cool, and 64-bit support are all great additions, but localized corrections are what really will get people's excitement going. Because... read more

Auto Sync and White Balance

May 11 2008

Brandon Oelling has been extolling the virtues of AutoSync on this blog, and for good reason. It can make quick work of adjusting dozens or hundreds of images at once, especially for simple adjustments like exposure and contrast. There's one... read more

Import Considerations

April 21 2008

Because of the fact that I spend so much time working with digital assets, or maybe despite it depending on your point of view, I'm always quite curious to see how other people deal with the problems of managing large... read more

Lightroom 1.4.1 Released

April 11 2008

On March 16th, Lightroom 1.4 was pulled from Adobe's servers because of some rather nasty bugs that slipped out into the world. This was a disappointment to many because Lightroom 1.4 contained support for lots of new cameras, including the... read more

Lightroom 2.0 Beta Is Out

April 02 2008

It may be the end of April Fool's day, but this is no joke. Today marks the start of the public beta of Lightroom 2.0 which introduces localized corrections as well as the ability to run on multiple monitors. As... read more

Monitor Calibration Cheat Sheet

March 31 2008

If you're using Lightroom to manage your photos, you are probably serious about your photographs. And if you are indeed serious, then practicing good color management is essential to getting the most out of your work. I recommend that everyone... read more

Lightroom 1.4 Rollback

March 17 2008

Lightroom 1.4 and Adobe Camera Raw 4.4 were released last week. However, it has come to Adobe's attention that things aren't all happy with these updates and that if you've installed it, you should rollback to previous versions. If you're... read more

Lightroom and Time Machine Update

March 11 2008

When Mac OS X Leopard was released, it came with a cautionary note about Time Machine compatibility with Aperture databases. Soon after, Adobe released information that the interaction between Lightroom and Time Machine was unknown. Of course, we all presumed... read more

Keep Things Straight When Using Multiple Catalogs

March 02 2008

For many people, putting all of their images into a single Lightroom catalog works just fine. When everything is in a single catalog, things are easy. All of your keywords are in one place and you can search among all... read more

To Delete or Not to Delete

February 19 2008

One of the common threads of the comments to my recent set of posts about the challenges of keeping a large library and backing it up—both on this blog and in person—was the question of why should one keep so... read more

Another Vote for 1:1 Previews

February 12 2008

A few days ago, fellow Inside Lightroom blogger Michael Clark talked about his use of 1:1 Previews to speed up his Lightroom workflow. At the risk of sounding off with a "me too!" post, I fully agree. For the last... read more

Copyright and Metadata

February 05 2008

One of the essential uses of metadata for photographic images is to indicate who owns the image and how to get in touch with them. After all, if you publish your images on the web they're going to be distributed... read more

The Economics of Online Backup

January 29 2008

In the comments to my previous posts about storing a photo library, quite a few people have mentioned using an online backup solution like Amazon S3 or Mozy. I've looked into this many times and keep running the two sets... read more

Safe Deposit Backups of Photo Libraries

January 22 2008

In last week's blog post, I mentioned that I was done talking about storage of photo libraries. I lied. Over the course of the last seven days, I've had dozens of conversations with photographers about storage. Even at the end... read more

The Simplest Photo Storage Solution

January 15 2008

Starting out on New Year's Day, I've been writing about storage here on the Inside Lightroom and evidently it's hit a nerve as my fellow blogger Micheal Clark has also chimed in on storage solutions. What with all these posts... read more

The Fundamental Storage Strategy

January 08 2008

It's been interesting reading people's views and suggestions about how to handle storage for a large photo library. The feedback I've seen on this topic in the comments to my last Inside Lightroom post has spanned quite an impressive range... read more

A New Years Storage Resolution

January 01 2008

New Year's is always a good time for resolutions. Sometimes, the best resolutions are the small approachable ones that solve big problems in your life. For example, one of my big problems right now is storage for my photo library.... read more

A Snowy Landscape for Christmas

December 26 2007

The snowy landscape is a staple of Christmas imagery, even for those that live in otherwise snowless climes. One year, I was in Hawaii in mid-December and was amazed at all the holiday decorations that involved snow and Santas wearing... read more

New Flickr Export Plugin for Lightroom

December 19 2007

Ever since Lightroom 1.3 was released with support for export plugins, I've been looking forward to being able to export directly to Flickr from inside Lightroom. Today, while searching around on the net, I found Jeffrey Friedl's recently released Flickr... read more

Baking Copies of your Work

December 12 2007

Last week, over on the Inside Aperture blog, Micah Walter mused on what would happen if his RAW workflow tool went away. What would happen to the metadata and the image adjustments? I have to admit, it's a thought that... read more

Be Bold With the Controls

December 04 2007

Sometimes when you're out making photos, things don't always go just as you'd like. You can be in the most stunning scenery, but the light won't cooperate. This happened to me a few days ago while traveling through the Big... read more

Two Handy Metadata Views

November 28 2007

Entering in metadata about your photographs is one of the more tedious jobs in the digital darkroom. Most of the time, I consider it to be a necessary, but unexciting step. Sometimes, when I'm feeling less charitable, I find it... read more

Two Handy Metadata Views

November 28 2007

Entering in metadata about your photographs is one of the more tedious jobs in the digital darkroom. Most of the time, I consider it to be a necessary, but unexciting step. Sometimes, when I'm feeling less charitable, I find it... read more

Lightroom 1.3 on Leopard

November 21 2007

Compatibility with Mac OS X Leopard is one of the bullet points of the recent Lightroom 1.3 release. Now that I've had a few days to work with the release, I can indeed confirm that Lightroom 1.3 gets along with... read more

Lightroom 1.3 Release

November 16 2007

It's out. The release we've all been waiting for—at least for the last few weeks. Lightroom 1.3 has hit the streets and brings support for running Lightroom on Leopard, some new camera models, and an export SDK. The new cameras... read more

So, What's Lightroom Again?

November 08 2007

Like Michah over on the Inside Aperture blog, I was surprised to see the InfoTrends RAW workflow tool survey numbers that John Nack of Adobe published last week. If you haven't seen them yet, they basically indicate that about 2/3rds... read more

SDK for Lightroom Soon?

November 05 2007

It looks like the upcoming release of Lightroom, which is supposed to bring compatibility with Leopard, may bring more. Todd Dominey wrote the following on the SlideShowPro News blog: A frequent request from many, I'm pleased to announce that in... read more

Lightroom on Leopard in Mid-November

October 30 2007

According to the official Lightroom team blog, we've got a few weeks to wait before we'll be able to run Lightroom seamlessly on Leopard: The good news is that we’ll be releasing an update in mid-November that will address key... read more

Lightroom and Leopard

October 28 2007

For those of you wondering about Lightroom compatibility with Leopard, the answer is in Adobe's Support for Mac OS X Leopard PDF. In this document, they state Lightroom 1.2 is not fully certified for Mac OS X Leopard and that... read more

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