April, 2011

Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

eScience & Technical Computing - Web Services and Scientific Research

April, 2011

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    New update of Microsoft ICE– Cool video to panorama feature


    The latest update to Microsoft ICE – Image Composite Editor is available and it has a feature I’ve been waiting for – being able to create a panoramic stitched images from video…now you can take videos with your cellphone or Flip Video and easily create large seamless images.

    Here’s a panoramic stitch I made while in Copenhagen, just selected new video panorama and cropped it…


    You can also do more interesting panoramas by selecting objects you’d like to appear in the panorama – here are two “motion summaries” of the same sets of images – they give you a different feel of the action.

    Dozier Stitch


    new features:

    • Stitching From Video
    • Automatic Vignette Correction
    • Improved Blending
    • and More Smile 

    Matt Uyttendaele ICE lead has more details on the new release on his latest blog post.

    Microsoft ICE update–video to panorama, lens vignette, improved blending

    We are pleased to announce our latest update to Microsoft ICE.  The download is available by following these links:  ICE for 32 bit Windows  -or-  ICE for 64 bit Windows

    After installing, you will find some exciting new features.

    Stitching From Video

    The first is that ICE can now automatically stitch a panorama directly from video.  One fun use of video panoramas is “motion summaries,” like this result that ICE produced:

    Ski jump 4

    In this video the photographer was panning the camera to follow the motion of the snowboarder.  I used ICE to indicate “Start” and “End” points, and I gave a few hints about which video frames were interesting. The motion tracking and final composition was then done automatically by ICE.  You can access this feature by selecting “New Video Panorama” from the File menu.  This will bring up the Video Panorama dialog (shown to the right), where you can play or single-step through videos in order to choose start and end points. You can also optionally draw regions of interest on individual video frames to ensure that certain elements are present in the final composition. ICE supports most common video formats (avi, mov, wmv, and more).  Of course the results can also be uploaded to Photosynth. Note that this particular feature is only available for ICE running on Windows 7 (for other versions of Windows this menu item will be disabled).


    And More

    In addition to the above main features, we have also made a few other enhancements:

      • An options dialog to control scratch disk location and ICE memory use.

      • Enable perspective projection for wide field-of-view panoramas

      • 1/3 less disk usage when stitching large data sets

      • ICE is now more robust to corrupt metadata in source photos

    Microsoft ICE update–video to panorama, lens vignette, improved blending | HD View

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    BI Labs and Fuzzy Match for Excel


    Just saw that the Business Intelligence folks have setup BI Labs – It will be interesting to see all the prototypes and concepts as the come out and how they can be used for Scientific research/exploration.  I’m currently looking at the Fuzzy Lookup Add-in to see how it performs for environmental datasets.

    The Fuzzy Lookup Add-In for Excel was developed by Microsoft Research and performs fuzzy matching of textual data in Microsoft Excel. It can be used to identify fuzzy duplicate rows within a single table or to fuzzy join similar rows between two different tables. The matching is robust to a wide variety of errors including spelling mistakes, abbreviations, synonyms and added/missing data. For instance, it might detect that the rows “Mr. Andrew Hill”, “Hill, Andrew R.” and “Andy Hill” all refer to the same underlying entity, returning a similarity score along with each match. While the default configuration works well for a wide variety of textual data, such as product names or customer addresses, the matching may also be customized for specific domains or languages.

    BI Labs

    BI Labs is a collection of experimental business intelligence projects and useful applications made available from internal sources across Microsoft. These projects are prototypes and concepts, and there are no current plans to include them in Microsoft products. New ideas can pop up at any time, so please check back often to see what's new. We look forward to your feedback. Enjoy!

    BI Labs

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Celebrating an Out-of-This-World Earth Day guest post on Microsoft Research Connections Blog


    For Earth Day last Friday I did a guest blog post talking about the great collaboration we had with the Astronomers at the Univ. of Washington to create a Digital Planetarium powered by Worldwide Telescope.  Jonathan Fay (no relation) was the driving force behind on our side has been a great experience working with the UW folks, Andy Connolly, Phil Rosenfeld, and Jake Vanderplas.  If you ever have a chance to attend one of the UW Planetarium shows – I can honestly say you’ll be amazed. 

    Celebrating an Out-of-This-World Earth Day

    Earth Day - How will you celebrate your environment?

    It may seem like an unlikely way to celebrate Earth Day, but this year, students at the University of Washington (UW) can mark the occasion with an exhilarating virtual trip away from our small blue planet, thanks to a unique collaboration between Microsoft Research Redmond and the UW Planetarium.


    Celebrating an Out-of-This-World Earth Day - Microsoft Research Connections Blog

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    WWT and Kinect Demo at MIX–the universe at your fingertips.


    Ever wonder when you’d see the “Minority Report” beyond the silver screen?   Beyond the FX you need the technology that will enable the vision – with Kinect we finally have the technology and tools to enable the magic of software to enable the experience.

    At MIX11 the WWT team showed the integration of NUI  via Kinect and Worldwide Telescope and Jonathan Fay demo’d it during the keynote.  The curved three screen setup used at MIX11 really immerses you in the experience – talk about getting “lost in space” – this is the type of data exploration Microsoft Research envisions that every scientist/researcher could use. 

    Check out the reports/videos….

    Don’t forget to sign up for the Kinect for Windows SDK Beta

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Finding Hubble in the WorldWide Telescope


    The folks at HubbleSite.org have a good overview on how to view the magnificent images in WorldWide Telescope.   


    Bring the power of the Hubble Space Telescope to your computer screen, browsing the universe for astronomical phenomena in striking detail. Hubble images in full resolution are now available through Microsoft Research's free WorldWide Telescope (WWT) software. Pan across the constellations to find objects of interest and zoom in for close-ups, or zoom out for context. Hear professional Hubble astronomers explain the stories, science and significance of the objects in guided tours, or make your own tours to share with the public. WorldWide Telescope includes not only Hubble images, but a rich collection of visuals from both ground and space telescopes in visible light, infrared, x-ray, radio and other wavelengths. The universe in its full glory is yours to explore.

    HubbleSite - Explore Astronomy - Finding Hubble in the WorldWide Telescope

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010


    More OData support by products…really neat to see…

    OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010

    I’m pleased to announce the beta of the OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 is now available!

    What the heck is an OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010?
    I’m glad you asked. The purpose of this project is to help developers work with data from Team Foundation Server on multiple types of devices (such as smartphones and tablets) and operating systems. OData provides a great solution for this goal, since the existing Team Foundation Server 2010 object model only works for applications developed on the Windows platform. The Team Foundation Server 2010 application tier also exposes a number of web services, but these are not supported interfaces and interaction with these web services directly may have unintended side effects. OData, on the other hand, is accessible from any device and application stack which supports HTTP requests. As such, this OData service interacts with the client object model in the SDK (it does not manipulate any web services directly).

    What is OData?
    OData exposes a way to work with data over the web. If you’re new to OData, I suggest spending a few minutes at http://www.odata.org/ reading about this evolving standard. It uses interfaces similar to REST, so that you can programmatically consume and manipulate data from any device or application stack which supports HTTP requests. DPE has been working with several organizations (such as PayPal, Facebook, and Netflix) and product groups to enable OData where it makes sense to do so. Team Foundation Server was an obvious choice since it not only allows developers to extend TFS in new and interesting ways, but it also allows us to further showcase support for this evolving standard with the developer community at large.

    Can I see a demo?
    Of course! I filmed a video for Channel 9 which shows you how to get started using this service. When you’re ready to get started, just download the beta which includes full documentation. The service can be easily hosted in Windows Azure to front-end your own Team Foundation Server instance, or if you want to use this with CodePlex we’ve already hosted this service for you at https://codeplexodata.cloudapp.net/. As long as you have contributor rights on any CodePlex project backed by Team Foundation Server 2010 you can start making OData calls immediately. We also have included a sample Windows Phone 7 application, and WebMatrix Helpers, which show you how to get started building applications which consume this service.

    OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 - Brian Keller - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

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