# Saturday, 30 August 2008

100% Synthy!!! Means no pictures where wasted, you can check out my games collection, inspect Haruhi and Yuki, and look at my Xbox 360 (the tape is to stop WZ from pressing the power button!)

I showed my wife this and she repeated the same question "Why would anyone go through all this trouble normally?" Correction, one person would not be able to get enough pictures to stitch together a proper synth. But, let's see you were part of a tour group, and at the end of the trip you collect everyone's digital cameras and put all the pictures together, you might get some unexpected results.

After I mention that to her I came across this blog post from the Photosynth team that explains how to best nab a scenario like this.. wedding photography! It short it recommends that you get one person to take pictures that are meant to be thrown into photosynth and then add photos of every other camera and mix it in the synth to get the best results.


Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:46:16 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 29 August 2008

If you're the type of person that likes to test out Beta web browsers, IE8 Beta 2 has been launched and this they're asking users, not just developers to try it out as well. But of course it's still a Beta so please only download and install on a machine that you can sacrifice if necessary.

One Very Important Note!

There is one very important change in IE8, IE8 now displays web pages in a heavy handed standards compliance mode now (like what Firefox does) which while a good idea when you talk to people about it (we're standards compliant! :P) it means that for all the pages out there that had code that was tailor made to handle IE's quirks will now not display correctly like say... thestar.com.my

star-ie8nocompat

Note how the drop menus aren't showing properly.. But don't fret, you don't have to go screaming at the developer of your favorite websites to fix the problem, or even scream at Microsoft for 'breaking' the site. Just remember to click THIS BUTTON when you see weird stuff happening on sites that were ok in IE7.

ie8-compatbutton

That's the compatibility button which will tell IE8 to display and process the site the way IE7 does. So after pushing the button...

ie8-backcompat

Everything works just the way they did previously, so do remember about the compatibility button when you're using IE8.

For developers, info on this compatibility switch can be found here.

Update please read this blog post from the IE team before installing this beta. Also please also read the release notes about known issues and such


Friday, 29 August 2008 10:37:20 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 25 August 2008

A while back something popped out of MS Research called Photosynth. It was a neat thing but I didn't pay too much attention to it. Mainly because it was more like a research topic then, and not much use for me.

That has changed... NOW EVERYONE can use it! Download it now!

What is Photosynth? The most easiest definition is that it takes photos and stitches them together to allow to viewer to move through an area if you have enough pics, sort of like stitching a panorama picture but in 3D.

Just check out the site for examples, I'll try and make one of my lair room tonight.

Update.. here it is.. Marauderz Room

Frankly I thought I would have gotten a better connection, but the fluttering curtain threw off the stitcher. I'll try again once I get a replacement tripod to better steady the camera for the high up shots. And I also realized I didn't take enough shots, I took the photos by standing in the center of the room. But it is recommended that to get a good coverage you should take shots from the corners as well.

As I showed the wife some samples, such as the sphinx and the Taj Mahal she says "Why the heck would a normal person take so many pictures from so many angles to reconstruct the scene?" I explain to her that it's not about perfectly rebuilding a scene (Though I guess there are geek points involved in getting 100% synth photos!) But rather it gives a physical context to the pictures that you take, when going on vacation you'd typically snap a WHOLE LOAD of pictures from one location, the idea is that when you throw them into Photosynth it'll create a nice layout of where the pictures are and how they relate between each other.

But ok.. it's really unlikely that a normal person would go through all the hard work to get a 100% synth when he goes on a vacation.... but he can TRY TO NOW!


Monday, 25 August 2008 18:25:06 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

I was over at my inlaws during the weekend, and my mother in law had a little garden at the house. So I snapped decided to snap off a few shots, I didn't bring along my macro lens though so I had to rely on the close up filter. Not to mention my tripod was broken so I had to take the shots by hand.

Then we managed to get some Jonker's Satay which is basically pork satay + pineapple sauce. Yuummm.


Monday, 25 August 2008 09:55:01 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 21 August 2008

I was pointed to the Singtel Grid Girls competition website as an example of how Silverlight is being used in the real world. It uses a lot of short small video clips, well encoded so that they're nice and clean. So I went poking around the site, then I went through this girl compatibility questionnaire and at the end of it the site presented me with a surprise!

It allowed me to get a closer look at the girl which I chosen, by presenting me with a Deep Zoom image of the girl. Now THAT'S an interesting use of Deep Zoom I thought, but it didn't take long for me to realize that the image they feed through the Deep Zoom image generator was a sized for web image, so zooming in you just saw pixels instead of detail.

I managed to get in touch with the people who made the site and the response to the question of "Why didn't you people use the RAW shots for the Deep Zoom images?" was...

"I don't think the girls would appreciate being scrutinized up close."

Then it dawned on me, the advantages of making a Deep Zoom image was that it allowed you to put online the detailed image of whatever you captured. But for every hidden detail of a landscape photo which you discover, you can also pretty much see every detail of the person whose closeup your camera took. Maybe even minute details like the bumps on their face, or other things like that.

I asked the SemiPro about it and he told me he wouldn't want his pics to be able to be viewed like that by Pixel Peepers. I think it's because Pixel Peepers would just want to find fault in any small imperfection or something, I guess that's reasonable.

I'd put an example up to explain what I'm talking about but I guess I'd be dead after I do so. :P


Thursday, 21 August 2008 22:13:03 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 18 August 2008

Ever since Beta 2 of Silverlight was released all of my previous Deep Zoom albums stopped working because of the incompatibilities between Beta 1 and Beta 2. And of course for the past few weeks I was working on the YTBN video system.

But finally.. here it is.. the return of the DeepZoom Album Creator!

Why go through the trouble of uploading 45MBs of photos instead of just a plain slideshow? Because of the detail you can see in the pictures, zoom in on the right end of the tree in the field, and you can see some unexpected details!

It's mostly the same code as previously, with some upgrades to the system. Most notably is that if the source picture contains EXIF info it'll now be placed into the album for those who are interested in such information. The UI is a bit clutter because of the additional EXIF panel so I guess I'll need to fix it later.

Hopefully this time I'll be able to sort out the code to be uploaded to CodePlex properly this time.


Monday, 18 August 2008 01:36:04 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 14 August 2008

Bit late here, but I'll just add in to the noise on the net about this. SP1 for both Visual Studio 2008 and .Net Framework 3.5 has been released, other than patching up problems SP1 also includes some new nifty ADO.Net features so check it out now!

Visual Studio 2008 SP1

.Net Framework 3.5 SP1


Thursday, 14 August 2008 09:58:25 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 10 August 2008
Gadget lust defined...

Sunday, 10 August 2008 16:31:02 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 03 August 2008

As both daddy and mommy needs to work during the day, grandma is the one that takes care of WZ during weekdays. WZ usually just runs around the house, but ever since mommy showed WZ The Lion King, he started to ask to watch the movie, usually by picking up the DVD box and shoving it into the face of whoever he sees. Now here's the problem, my mother isn't computer literate, so she can't work the main computer downstairs to play the DVD, as well as various other videos that can keep WZ occupied. At first I tried creating shortcuts to the video files then assigning shortcut-keys to them ie. Ctrl-Alt-X for Lion King. Ctrl-Alt-Y for something else, but the problem was that the keys gets disabled when the video player came up, so it was hard for my mother to change to another clip while one was already playing.

So I needed a foolproof of allowing my mother to run the videos with a simple push of a button, yet doesn't conflict with anything that's currently running on the system.

The first thing I needed to search for was the buttons which my mother would push to bring up the videos. For that I got this.

DSC03411

The Genius Navigator 365 Laser mouse Of course if this was JUST another mouse, I wouldn't have bought it, it obviously has a nifty trick.

DSC03414

It opens up to be a joypad! Plenty of buttons that I can use to map to shortcuts of the video files, and also since a joystick doesn't have any real purpose in normal Windows operations, whatever shortcuts I wire to it wouldn't interfere with anything.

Of course I needed software to respond to the button presses and bring up the files. For that I turned to GlovePIE. The trusted input scripting solution already used by many many Wiimote hackers and other devices. GlovePIE basically allows you to write a script so that whatever input device you're listening in on can be used to do stuff it wasn't intended to like.. using a joystick to control the mouse, mapping key commands to joystick buttons, and of course.. executing files when certain buttons are pressed. Which is exactly what I needed, so I just quickly whipped up a script so that when a button is pressed a video plays. And everything just works!

Why didn't I create a menuing system, or rely on Windows Media Center? Because my end user is my mother that has absolutely no idea on how to work a computer. I don't want anything which I was running previously on the system to interfere with her gaining access to the controls, also she would have no idea what went wrong if it did so this solutions works the best for her.

Now when WZ is old enough to understand how to make menu choices.. that's when I'll make the menu selector! ;)


Sunday, 03 August 2008 17:27:09 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |