Synthetic love

I've been a bit lazy putting up links lately, so here's some collected from the last few days. First up, Photosynth. A combination of two technologies - the first examines a boatload of pictures for similarities, and then creates a 3D representation of the area; the second just serves up whatever pixels of an image you're looking at, so you can browse through massive files really bloody quickly - it's one of those programs that'll revolutionize the way we look at images (notice the dramatic emphasis). Blaise Aguera y Arcas, one of the co-creators, shows off a seven minute demo of Photosynth at the TED site (which, incidentally, is an awesome site for watching different talks on some random, but interesting ideas) so you can see for yourself. Which, obviously, I recommend you do.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas showing off Notre Dame cathedral using Photosynth

Time to fly

Ever wondered what a 14 minute timelapse video of the Grandeur region of the Alps would look like? I can't count the number of sleepless nights I've had agonizing that the natural beauty of this land hasn't been captured in a suitable, but importantly, compressed, fashion. After over a year trawling the web on my quest, I've finally found it. This is the same link as the one above, but I don't know...some people were born lazy.

A still from the timelapse video of the Grandeur region of the Alps

Smash, smash, smash

I'm not sure if this is an actual magazine, or if it's a web only medium, in which case it's a website not a magazine (but who am I to argue?). In any case Smashing magazine, aside from sporting one of the best mission statements/bylines I've read in ages, it provides tips, tutorials, freebies, competitions, and examples of all things design and website orientated. From what I've read, they do a decent job, although I can't quite decide if I like their website or not. Perhaps it's the precedence of ads ahead of navigation, but you decide. Remember, they smash you with the information to make your life easier. Really.

Smashing magazine

Get a grip, Sony

Oh, such a witty title... Sony have submitted a patent for a handheld computer interactive device meant to allow for more interactivity and feedback in games. It's a VR/3D controller, to be held in your hand, and it'll capture all your palm and finger movements and translate them to your PS3. It's also designed to provide tactile feedback, so you can feel whatever you pick up. Which is just ever so slightly cool. You can read more about it here, or look at this picture and project.

Sony's VR/3D controller

Bad EA

You might need some background for this story. EA's Spore has been taking a bit of a pounding on Amazon, receiving a glut of one-star reviews, mainly over the DRM packaged with the game (although some people just don't like the game). A few days ago, all of the user reviews were deleted and the title's rating reset. A few hours later, they reappeared, with Amazon blaming a site "glitch" for the problem

"Amazon did not knowingly or consciously choose to remove the reviews," a rep told Kotaku. "The team is working on resolving this issue now and restoring all the reviews on the site."

Without launching into conspiracy theories, this does reek of EA leaning on Amazon. While the gaming public might know more about Spore, obviously EA are using the game to reach out the same casual audience that got hooked on the Sims. A one star review on Amazon, especially when a number of comments scream about DRM being malware, could have a large effect on EA's wallet.

Personally, I don't like DRM - if I buy something, it's mine, and screw anybody that tells me how I can play it - but then I'm not too pushed on Spore either. The different phases are over much too quickly, and the control, especially when you get to the space stage, are truly terrible. And there's bugs all over the place. Perhaps they were pushed into releasing it too quickly to maybe regain costs or something, but the game feels unfinished and lacks any real challenge or interest. When the most fun you have is playing with the Creature Creator, then there's something wrong with the core gamplay mechanics.

Also, I noticed a severe drop in my internet performance when playing. I think it's EA downloading my harddrive - possibly working with the record companies - and checking all my files. I have to stop writing now, I think it's listening to me..


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