In a comment on an item last month about Photo Gallery, Mary Branscombe writes:
I’m having an issue at the moment where renaming a file in Windows Live Photo Gallery seems to reset the date on the file so WLPG sees a file from May 2006 as having been taken today. Has anyone else seen this? Changing the name also loses my tags and confuses WLPG so it can’t upload it to flickr… All JPEGs.
That’s a perfectly plausible problem report. But I couldn’t reproduce it, and neither could a couple of product managers I asked to take a look. If it “won’t repro” we’re stuck.
But there might be a way out of this bind. The description “renaming a file in Windows Live Gallery seems to reset the date” is reasonably precise, but there can be all kinds of nuances that would be difficult for Mary to convey, or that she might not even be aware of. That’s why it’s a great idea to capture a screencast that illustrates the problem you’re having. You can do that with Windows Media Encoder which remains, as I’ve been saying for years, sadly unknown and unappreciated. If you’ve never installed or used it, John Montgomery’s recent screencast shows you how.
I wish that this sort of diagnostic screencasting were more accessible to people. Even I don’t reach for the tool as often as I should, and when I don’t, I regret it. For example, last year I ran into an issue with an application that suddenly wouldn’t save a particular file type. Of course it “wouldn’t repro” and I got into a long back-and-forth with the developer in the course of which I wound up installing a specially instrumented version of the program to capture a detailed log file.
In the end we found that, as is so often the case, it was a silly little thing. The export feature broke when I switched, without realizing it, from an absolute path:
to a relative path:
It turns out that a third-party component used by the program for this export operation won’t accept relative paths. The program needed to know that (which it didn’t) and, if a user entered a relative path, needed to transform it into an absolute one.
We’ll never know how things might have otherwise turned out. But if I’d shown the developer a screencast of my problem scenario, there’s a decent chance he’d have said: “Hmm. Something unusual about that path in the file save box.”
So I’ve asked Mary Branscombe to make a diagnostic screencast, and if you find yourself in a similar situation I urge you to do the same. Pictorial descriptions of software behavior can enhance verbal descriptions with details that we ourselves aren’t aware of.