September, 2007

  • Steve Clayton

    PGR4 “Skid Art”



    Skid Art - that just pus a wicked smile on my face :)

    Everyone will be talking about Halo 3 this week/month/year but I'm eagerly awaiting PGR4 and love this trailer that Long found.
    I think I've found my new career

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  • Steve Clayton

    Microsoft & Facebook rumours again


    Slow news day?

  • Steve Clayton

    Can UK businesses really gain from the blogosphere?


    It would appear so (but you knew that already right...)

    My chums at Inferno recently commissioned and then released research from Loudhouse on the use of blogs by companies. Specifically, they looked at how companies use blogs to interact with existing and potential customers and how they engage with the blogosphere to inform their own business decision making. Some interesting results for sure which were presented at an event at Lords cricket ground - I was due to be presenting on Microsoft's use of blogging but had to head to Redmond. Neville Hobson and Hugh were there and there presentations were recorded.

    Obvious to many of us who have been here a while but perhaps not the general corporate population:

    Grant Currie, managing director of Inferno PR which commissioned Loudhouse Research to carry out the survey, said: "Businesses shouldn't view a blog as another billboard from which to shout their corporate messages.

    "Starting a blog is essentially starting a conversation and as in verbal communication, conversations have conventions, rules and boundaries.

    "Those businesses in our survey who have derived new business opportunities from their blogs, will have found that these successes came indirectly from the blog, rather than directly. A blog is not the place to sell and businesses should get suitable advice before embarking on their blogs."

    Perhaps slightly more interesting was this stat though

    Of those companies that do have blogs, 64% were launched in the last 6 months. And 86% of these blogging companies state that their blog has generated additional business opportunities.

    These guys "get" blogging which means for me it's great to work with them as a partner of ours. Saves a lot of headaches.

    Check out the Inferno press release and how to get access to the full report.

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  • Steve Clayton

    More details on Panoramic imaging and Photosynth


    I had a question on my blog about a week ago regarding the panoramic feature in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Specifically Bradders wanted to know if this was a first implementation of our Photsynth technology. Only one way to find out - ask the products guys and Rick Szeliski from Microsoft Research kindly came back with some detailed answers:

    "It's derived from the same technology that previously shipped in Digital Image Suite, both of which were developed in conjunction with MSR’s Interactive Visual Media group. The same team that created the PhotoTourism technology that powers PhotoSynth.

    We started developing the stitching technology in 1996, and have shipped it inside a number of Digital Image Suite versions. The version shipping now inside the Window Live Photo Gallery is the latest (and best) version of our software yet.

    Photosynth is a project that started out as a collaboration between Rick Szeliski, Noah Snavely and Steve Seitz at the University of Washington called “Photo Tourism”.  It was later combined with the Seadragon multi-resolution image streaming technology to create the Photosynth system that people may be familiar with.  Both sets of technologies use similar early-stage processing pipelines, which extract features from images in order to match up overlapping images (see Rick's Tutorial on Image Stitching for a detailed technical review of feature extraction and matching). 

    The main difference is in the second half of the processing pipeline.  Image stitching software assumes that all images were taken from the same point, so that they can be seamlessly stitched into a single image.  Photosynth assumes that the pictures are taken from different points of view, and can therefore be used to create a 3D model of the scene.  On the flip side, it isn’t possible to stitch all the photos into a single image, so we use “morphing” 3D transitions to move between individual images.

    We are currently working on techniques to merge these two processing pipelines, so that you can just input all of your photos into a single system, and have it discover all of the panoramas and Photosynth's in your collection.  In the future, we also expect the same viewer to be able to view and navigate both kinds of content.  Stay tuned to the Photosynth page for more details."


    So there you go - a very thorough explanation of where we've come from, got to and possibly going with all of this advanced imaging technology. I love the work of Microsoft Research - it's stunning to spend some time with them and truly see the magic of software coming to life!

    thanks Rick!

  • Steve Clayton

    Web 2.0 in the Enterprise



    Anna nearly spat out her tea when I asked her to print the latest version of the The Architecture Journal today. She's a real architect who designs buildings and stuff like that so she finds it slightly odd the way the IT industry has assumed the use of the word. Anyway, I digress...

    I've know about The Architecture Journal for a while but never really spent any time looking at it - until now. I've seen what is coming next month and it'll be very topical but this also made me look at past issues. Last month's had a great article on Web 2.0 in the Enterprise - by Michael Platt who is an old pal from the UK, now working in Redmond.

    You can also download the latest edition of the Journal or view previous editions online at the Architecture Resource Center where you can subscribe for free to get an online and hard copy version.


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