Daily Post to RED66 08/15/2008

  • “Our approach takes as input a large set of community or personal photos, reconstructs camera viewpoints, and automatically computes orbits, panoramas, canonical views, and optimal paths between views. The scene can then be interactively browsed in 3D using these controls or with five degree-of-freedom free-viewpoint control.”

    tags: red66blog, bblog, technology, cool, photography

The Pros and Cons of Twitter as News Source

In just one day, Twitter proved its worth as a viable news source while at the same time demonstrating how easy it is to spread false information.

While Twitter makes the spread of information quick and painless (when Twitter itself isn’t acting up) it also makes the spread of false news that much easier as well. Louis Gray reports how today, the long debunked myth of the Subway guy’s death, resurfaced on Twitter via some highly connected folk like Kevin Rose of Digg and Adam Ostorow of Mashable. Read Louis’ highly informative post, “Smart People, Stupid Tweets. Fake News Spreads Fast on Twitter“, for more information.

I’ve posted before about the large number of news organizations using Twitter for breaking news, but Louis describes the problem perfectly:

“The combination of a rush to publish and a low barrier to entry for microblogging makes posting quick notes to Twitter extremely tempting for people who are trying to break news.”

In the process, fact-checking seems to get thrown out the window, much the same way gossip spreads. The problem isn’t so much those who post false news, but -as is also the case with gossip- those who repeat it (and often embellish it) without checking out the facts.

On the other hand, Twitter -and even more so, Summize and ESPN’s website- proved vital for anyone trying to follow the EURO 2008 semifinal game between Germany and Turkey. A storm knocked out the International Broadcast Center in Vienna, leaving anyone watching the game around the world staring at a blank screen.

I jumped on Twitter for more information, but Twhirl quickly informed me that I had “exceeded” my tweet limit -even though I haven’t been on Twitter all day. It seemed “information blackout” was the note of the day.

Summize, however, saved the day by aggregating relevant commentary from all over the world.


ESPN’s own Live Commentary from their online GameCast provided just enough information to “see” what we were missing. It seems that ESPN reporters had access to the radio broadcast of the game and were able to fill us in with the details.


Just another day on the information super highway.

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Seriously, who runs Microsoft’s Usability Lab?

Check out the Preferences Pane for the four Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage). They all look different and behave differently.

Shouldn’t programs in the same office suite at least look alike?

While setting up the latest Microsoft Office suite on a friend’s Mac, I needed to set all applications to save to Office’s previous file format by default – for better compatibility with clients who might not have upgraded to Redmond’s latest.

Check out these images of the Preferences pane for each Office app and where the file format compatibility settings are stored:

Microsoft Word:

In Microsoft Word, the Preferences Pane looks a lot like Apple’s System Preferences Pane and you select the default format you want to save files to on the “Save” tab under the “Output and Sharing” section. Looking good so far.

The Microsoft Word Preferences Pane

Microsoft Word Preferences : Output and Sharing : Save Pane

Microsoft Excel:

Excel’s Preferences Pane also look a lot like Apple’s System Preferences, but now the “Save” tab rests within the “Sharing and Privacy” section. Worst of all, you select the default format you want to save files to on the “Compatibility” tab. Word also has a “Compatibility” tab, but it does different stuff.

The Microsoft Excel Preferences Pane

Microsoft Excel Preferences : Sharing and Privacy : Compatibility Pane

Microsoft PowerPoint:

Powerpoint has a completely different Preferences Pane, with all tabs displayed at the top like a toolbar. It also has a “Compatibility” tab, but you select the default file save format on the “Save” tab.

Microsoft PowerPoint Preferences : Save Pane

Microsoft Entourage:

Entourage is so different from the rest of the Office suite that it doesn’t surprise me to see a totally different Preferences Pane. There’s no need to set compatibility options here, but take a look at it anyway.

The Microsoft Entourage Preferences Pane

For comparison, here’s Apple’s iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote):

The Apple Pages Preferences Pane

The Apple Numbers Preferences Pane:

The Apple Keynote Preferences Pane

They could still look better, and more like Apple’s OSX System Preferences Pane, but at least they all look alike.

7 Missing Features from the iPhone 3G

Apple’s announcement of the new iPhone 3G puts to rest all the crazy rumors about new features it may include. Here are seven features I was waiting for but never materialized.


1. Flash Support

The iPhone’s Safari browser still lacks support for Adobe Flash, so it seems connection speed wasn’t really the issue.

2. Cut-and-Paste

Nope. You still can’t copy-and-paste text in the iPhone. I’m guessing Apple has some security concerns about allowing cutting and pasting of data (and Flash applications. See #1 above).

3. Network Independent

There was no mention of offering the iPhone unlocked so that you can use it with your favorite GSM provider. Apparently it’s still AT&T only in the US.

4. Video or a Better Camera

The iPhone 3G still sports a 2-megapixel camera with no video support. Nokia offers a 5-MP camera with very good video support, so why can’t Apple?

5. Landscape Email

Why can’t I turn my iPhone sideways to read emails?

6. Wi-Fi syncing

Although Mobile Me will go a long way towards syncing the information on my iPhone with my desktop, I still don’t understand why the iPhone can’t automatically sync itself when it connects to my home wifi network. Why the need for a USB cable?

7. iPhone Modem

Why can’t I use my iPhone as a modem? It connects to the internet via cellular and it connects to my Mac via USB or Bluetooth… Then, why can’t it patch me through to the Internet?

In conclusion… other than 3G speed and true GPS, it doesn’t seem like the new iPhone does much more than the old one (which doesn’t make it a bad phone, specially at the new price; it just doesn’t make a must upgrade, since most of the cool stuff comes with the 2.0 software upgrade, available free for all iPhones).

Léelo en español en: 7 Funciones que le Faltan al iPhone 3G

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