James O'Neill's Blog

September 14, 2009

Photosynth re-visited

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 1:13 pm

One of the things that I’ve said many times is how great today’s technology seems. The first computer I worked on used punched paper tape. We would need 2 miles of tape to hold 1MB of data. Moving from film photography to digital has meant we can shoot far more pictures: Victorian plate photographers would coat, expose, and develop a tiny number of plates. The relative cheapness and ease of working with film, made photography more practical. Still: shooting hundreds of pictures in an afternoon was the province of the professional or very rich. That has all changed with digital, this morning with a couple of spare memory cards in my bag I had the equivalent storage to a strip of paper tape to go all the way round the planet. Battery capacity is the limiting factor on the number of pictures I can shoot, and since a battery lasts the thick end of 1000 shots it’s not much one.

Both my family and my in-laws live by the seaside, and while visiting early this year I shot about 530 pictures over a couple of days, with a view to putting them into photosynth. Unfortunately they sat forgotten on my hard disk until the recent upgrade  and  disk swap gave me a shove to have a bit of tidy-up of the tens of gigabytes of photos which account for most of disk space. In paper-tape terms the ones waiting to be go into this one synth would have used enough paper tape to go from here to Baghdad*. Time to do the synth. And I have to admit to a certain amount of satisfaction that of the 535 photos it was able to link 97% into a synth. In the year since it was launched there have been several updates to Photosynth. There is more to come, which I’m looking forward to, but I’ll leave it to those working on it to say what (and when). In the meantime, if you’re interested in photography and haven’t had a play with photosynth yet – well you should: you can start with my synths or just head for the home page.



* To a reasonable approximation there are 64K inches in a mile and 8 bytes per paper tape inch give ~ 2Miles per MB. My 1.3GB comes out about 2600 miles, and when I checked for a city 2600 miles from London…

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


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