Myron Kassaraba's weblog about digital photography on the web

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New Feedburner Feed

Somehow when I set up the Feedburner feed it gave me some random name. Sorry for the inconvenience to the two of you who signed up with the old feed.

Happy Holidays!


New Scientist Technology - Camera phone helps label snaps

New Scientist has a story this month on some of Marc Davis's work at the new Yahoo Labs at Berkeley where they are exploring ways of further automating the capture and intelligent use of metadata from cameraphone pictures. Some of the inference approaches are particularly interesting.

The project is called Mobile Media Metadata 2 (MMM2) and is an extension of work done in the Garage Cinema Research lab. One of the unique approaches used in MMM2 is "bluetooth-sensed human co-presence" (remember, these are researchers!). What this means is that if the system knows where your phone is from cell-tower information from the network (or GPS in the phone in the future) and it knows the location of other phones close to your phone using Bluetooth (or maybe it can figure that out from cell tower proximity), then this information along with additional contextual information could be used in some interesting ways.

I could be used to drive "share guesser" which gives you suggestions on who you might want to share a particular photo with (this also uses past sharing patterns). I can also be a useful variable to be combined with things like face recognition. You could see how services like Riya could use this to help identify people in your pictures.

The Yahoo/Berkeley partnership is an interesting one since it is leveraging an academic setting rather than trying to export researchers into a corporate lab. It will be interesting to see if and how Yahoo makes use of some of these innovations.

Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: What "problem" does Riya solve?

Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: What "problem" does Riya solve?

Intersting discussion about Riya going on at Don Dodge's The Next Big Thing Blog. I've added some comments including some results from my testing of the Alpha release.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Missing the Boat?

2006 is going to be the year of video on the web. This will include both video programming from media companies and user-generated content from consumers. I've been trying my hand at videoblogging and it is quite easy and a lot of fun.

So here's the point. Camcoders are nice and have great quality but the easiest and quickest way to capture web-quality video is using a digital camera. My Nikon Coolpix 3700 takes great 640x480 30fps video in Quicktime format and the best part is they are already in clips. Digital camera vendors seem to be oblivious to this trend. In the every circular distributed with the Boston Globe this Sunday not one of the ads for digital cameras made any mention of the video capture capabilities - not one.

Flickr with still pictures is fun and it can be quite entertaining to subscribe to someone's photostream but it does not come close to a videoblog as compelling content (just check out Rocketboom for a taste). I'm not the only one saying this so I'll add my voice to the chorus. Digital Video is going to be not just big but huge in 2006. Digital camera vendors need to catch this wave to fuel growth as their business is under seige from camreaphones. Happy Holidays and here's to looking forward to a great 2006.

Friday, December 09, 2005

DropShots: a "flashy" new photo site

DropShots, formerly known as JussPress, has just re-launched. This service is based on co-founder and CTO, Ryan Sit's Masters Thesis at UC San Diego. It is still a little rough around the edges which is to be understood as projects come out of an academic setting to a commercial one.

The online photosharing space is a crowed one not to say that there are not opportunities for improvement, especially in user interface. Flash is now a ubiquitous platform for delivery of rich internet applications. This interactivity is a hallmark of the current Web 2.0 movement. Users will soon become accustomed to these interfaces like Google Maps and other services making use of AJAX techniques and will come to expect them. That said, DropShots faces the challenges of all of the new entrants which is building a user base that is either willing to pay or can be marketed as an attractive target for advertisers. As we saw recently with FotoAmigo's closing, not matter how neat your service is and how cheap storage and bandwith are, they are still not free.

We'll keep an eye on DropShots and wish them luck in the move from lab to market!

A paper presented by Ryan and his colleagues at a conference in Hawaii in January 05 is available HERE. Note a login may be required.

Here are some links to work done by the group Ryan was in at UC San Diego.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Weather Bonk - Live Weather, Forecasts, WebCams, and more on a Google Map

Originally uploaded by mjkboston.

Another great Google Maps mashup. This site aggregates weather data from multiple sources including Accuweather, WeatherBug,, Weather Underground and the National Weather Service. It also links to web cams that might be accessible in the area.

It would be cool to add cameraphone photos or citizen journalist videos linked to these locations. A mashup of mashups = WeatherBonk + GeoBloggers + Vlogmap!