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Unique and Productive or Just More Eye-Candy? 111

4ndys writes "A guy who goes by the name MacSlow is currently working on a project he calls LowFat. This is a photomanager with a twist. Rather than just viewing you pictures one at a time, you spread the pictures out over your desktop and can manage them in a much more natural way. He is hoping to release this on multiple platforms inc. Linux, Mac and Windows."
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Unique and Productive or Just More Eye-Candy?

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  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:45PM (#14929601) Homepage Journal
    1. Write blog entry about cool product
    2. Do demo of cool product
    3. Get cool product and blog mentioned on Slashdot
    4. Just happen to have tip jars at bottom of blog page.
    5. Profit.

    I'm not against throwing a few bucks in the direction of something useful,
    but I usually wait until said useful thing is in my possession before
    deciding.

    For all you know, this guy has no intention of finishing this thing and is
    just looking for a way to make a quick buck.
  • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:46PM (#14929604)
    I hate to discourage folks from trying to be innovative, but competing head to head with a company backed by Gooooooooooooogle [slashdot.org] when they're releasing their product free isn't likely to be very successful. And Picasa is actually feature-complete...
    • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:50PM (#14929630) Homepage Journal
      Feature complete compared to what?

      Did you even watch the demo? Because I don't recall Picasa allowing me to organize my pics in the manner shown in the demo. Also, I don't recall this guy saying that in order to use his stuff, I'll have to allow him to index all of my pics for some vaguely defined reason.
    • Unfortuantely Picasa is Windows only. According to the summary, this one should be fully cross-platform.
    • I've tried Picassa, tossed it, and purchased a photo app. Have you ever tried to scroll through a few hundred photos in Picassa? Google has a whole new (and bad) way for the scroll bar to work.
      • by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@yahoo. c o m> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:07PM (#14929972)
        I've tried Picassa, tossed it, and purchased a photo app. Have you ever tried to scroll through a few hundred photos in Picassa? Google has a whole new (and bad) way for the scroll bar to work.

        You do realize there's a scrollbar on the right and a scrollbar on the left, didn't you?

        The scrollbar on the right can be used in several ways as well. You can pull the slider up and down, you can click anywhere in the scrollbar, you can use the arrow keys at the top and bottom, or you can click the "=" buttons to quickly move p and down a grouping of photos.

        If you don't like this, you can use the traditional scrollbar on the left to quickly navigate folders.

        I wonder what "photo app" you "purchased". Have you tried actually navigating through a large collection of photos in Photoshop? I actually use Picasa as a front-end to Photoshop; it blows the doors off Adobe Bridge, which is supposed to do some of what Picasa does but does it all very, very poorly (mostly because it takes about five hours for it to do simple things like display a thumbnail collection).
      • Have you ever tried to scroll through a few hundred photos in Picassa?

        Yes, I have scrolled through nearly a thousand photos in Picasa. On a 333MHz machine with 192MB of memory. Running Windows 98.

        All I can say is that I wish iPhoto could do things as smoothly, even on far faster hardware. :-)

    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:48PM (#14929899) Homepage Journal
      From what was actually demoed he's aiming at something more interesting than a simple photo sorting application. Photo-sorting is the initial demonstration, but it's really all about the interface and ability to manipulate and sort objects with an easy to use interface in a very visual way. For instance, he talks about building a next generation file management tool out of it, which certainly could make a lot of sense. Based on what was demonstrated it certainly looks like it could provide very interesting and intuitive new file handling abilities.

      The downside is what you don't get to see in the demonstration: how the interface actually works. You can see photos being grouped, changing layout schemes, being zoomed and rotated etc. which is great, but the real question of exactly what the interface to all those things is: how do you use keyboard and mouse to tell the computer to perform all those actions? How do you zoom instead of dragging the photo? How do you manipulate a group instead of an individual item from the group (and vice versa)? If it's an exclusive modal system switched by keyboard commands then it's clunky, but if it's based on modifier keys and buttons then, given the rnge of actions demonstrated, it may become equally clunky.

      None the less it looks like an interesting idea, and if the demo actually shows fully implemented work (as opposed to being rendered and edited together) then it is indeed a promising project.

      Jedidiah.
  • by Psionicist ( 561330 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:50PM (#14929631)
    To sort my (ehm) porn, I hacked togheter this 8 kb python program using wxPython and pyGame a couple of months ago. Here it is: http://psionicist.online.fr/pile.py.txt [online.fr]

    The code is god awful, but it works. Some screenshots here: http://forum.sweclockers.com/showthread.php?s=&thr eadid=504073 [sweclockers.com]

  • by mcguyver ( 589810 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:51PM (#14929636) Homepage
    This is how you manage photos:

    Crazy Multi-Input Touch Screen [youtube.com]

    Althought likely vaporware, it would be cool to have a multi touch screen...
  • Or.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Starker_Kull ( 896770 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:51PM (#14929638)
    "Here's hoping that the /. effect will spur him on to get this finished in record time!" ...or blow his monthly bandwidth limit to the moon. Hope he's ready.
  • Or you can use an existing free mature project that lays out all your photos at once, groups them by whatever metadata you have, and adds smooth zooming to the mix.

    Try PhotoMesa - www.photomesa.com
    • How exactly do you select the images together to apply tags?

      Whenever I do it, its "that one, that one, that one and ermmmmmm that one"

      Then I realise that I wanna see one closer and double click on it to view and the selection goes away...

      This initial sorting and management will save so much time.
    • Looks interesting, but only if you run Windows. The web site says PhotoMesa only runs on Windows.
    • It seems to me that PhotoMesa has nearly the exact same layout as, and many common features of, Canon's Zoom Browser program that they include with their digital cameras. CZB is a pretty decent program - decent enough that I don't even bother loading Picasa or anything else when importing pics from my camera. I think it's freely available through Canon's website. Another decent photo-browsing / lite editing program I like is FastStone Image Viewer [faststone.org]. It's got a pretty cool interface, tons of options, and
  • Videos (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:59PM (#14929683) Journal
    He's got some videos on his site

    Use the coral cache or any money left in the tip jar is going to end up being spent on his bandwidth bill.

    http://macslow.thepimp.net.nyud.net:8090/projects/ lowfat/preview-1.ogg [nyud.net]
    http://macslow.thepimp.net.nyud.net:8090/projects/ lowfat/preview-1.avi [nyud.net]
    http://macslow.thepimp.net.nyud.net:8090/projects/ lowfat/preview-1.swf [nyud.net]
    http://macslow.thepimp.net.nyud.net:8090/projects/ lowfat/preview-1_h264.mov [nyud.net]
    ^the mov link doesn't seem to be working^

  • It appears that the /. affect has already hit him
  • more mirrors (Score:5, Informative)

    by alienfluid ( 677872 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:10PM (#14929735) Homepage
    I managed to get the .avi and .wav files off the server before it blew up/melted.

    http://www.cribot.com/preview-1.avi [cribot.com]
    http://www.cribot.com/preview-1.wav [cribot.com]
  • You build it ... then I'll consider paying you for it.
  • What's new? Look at more than one picture at a time? OK ... even Windows Explorer has a filmstrip slide show. And in Thumbnail view you can set them to any size you want (with a little TweakUI setting).

    I'm not getting it.
  • Point missed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xvalentinex ( 961506 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:58PM (#14929937)
    A lot of you guys including the Original Poster missed the point of his program (Could be that his server was ./ed so fast). He is wanting this to be more of a file-manager than a photo program, or even integrated with the file manager. Like explorer, nautilus, or konqueror. I think it's a great idea to moving to a new UI. I am bored with the current thumbnails way of management. I wonder how resource intensive it will be though, because that doesn't interest me in a file-manager.
  • by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:33PM (#14930098) Journal
    The human way of dealing with the real world is limited by many factors, including the size and strength of our hands and arms, and the inability of our eyes to see through opaque things. This makes, for example, finding a picture in a pile of 1,000 a difficult task. In the same way, finding a picture in a computer-simulated pile of 1,000 is a difficult task. I'm generally fond of novel user interface ideas, but this one just smells like a lot of manual work (both sorting the pictures according to your personal criteria, and remember that criteria later). Is this really an improvement over iPhoto's "primitive" folders, for instance? I don't see how this solution would not degenerate into several piles of pictures called "vacation 2005", "dog", "birthday 2003", and so on once you are organizing hundreds or thousands of shots.

    Handwriting is a very natural way of entering text, but the keyboard is a far more efficient one. Real world mail from your friends would not be naturally threaded, or sorted by date. Real world spreadsheets don't recompute when you change a value. Real world typewriters can't correct a typo as if it never happened. Real world metaphors (like folders, for example) can be very useful, but they don't belong everywhere. I can find a picture in iPhoto quite a bit faster than I can from the shoebox that Lowfat seems to simulate.

    • I think, on the other hand, that this type of zooming interface would be very useful for photos that haven't been named/organized via text attributes (which I believe is part of Macslow's ideas here). Think of non-text (visual-based) attribute searches... color/shape/subject/etc.

      I think an interesting experiment would be to measure the amount of time it takes to find a unique photo from various size groups of photos 10/100/500/1000/etc to find out where the sweet spot is for lowFat versus any other file so
      • I think an interesting experiment would be to measure the amount of time it takes to find a unique photo from various size groups of photos 10/100/500/1000/etc to find out where the sweet spot is for lowFat versus any other file sorting/mgmt system.

        Your experiment will depend largely on how well the picture is organized, how visually unique it is, and so on. An advanced amateur photographer can easily have dozens of very similar shots made while looking for that perfect shot, especially in the age of digi

        • Key word is "having". 11 years later... and?

          It's the grok factor. Demo videos? High grok. Autocorrelation & Cepstrum Analysis? Low grok.

          Personally, I like Macslow's approach. Build it (webify/create videos w/links) and they will come (feedback/donations).

          You can't deny he's got a great demo.
      • It would be like having a music mgmt system that could find/organize music files by humming a melody or riff.

        Not to detract from your point, but in my mind, the image file equivalent of finding a music file by humming would be finding a photo by drawing a rough sketch of it. THAT would be really cool.

        • Maybe Glassheart could help on the prior art/patent search before we get too carried away...

          I. Couldn't. Resist.
        • Not to detract from your point, but in my mind, the image file equivalent of finding a music file by humming would be finding a photo by drawing a rough sketch of it. THAT would be really cool.

          This software exists. I really don't remember at all what it was called but I found it a few months ago when looking for something else. It's a very interesting idea, but it didn't seem like it worked particularly well for most things. Still though, very cool. I'm sure if you spent a little time, you could caress a li

        • >> finding a photo by drawing a rough sketch of it.
          >> THAT would be really cool

          It is really cool, albeit this implementation is not perfect, check out retrievr [systemone.at].

    • It has potential. For example, different from the real world, the same photo can be a member in multiple piles. That alone would make sorting and finding stuff a ton easier.
      Likewise, the thing seen in the videos, the ability to spread out the pile in an instant, allows you to find a specific picture fairly quickly.
      Now if I can also group piles together (i.e. subfolders), things start to be interesting.
    • There is nothing that stops you on adding some automatic categorization or searching on top of such a zoomable interface, the point however is that you have a zoomable interface to begin with, since zoomable interfaces are a lot more natural to use, since they give you space to play around with, which a normal thumbnail view doesn't give you. And this space to play in is quite important, since it can both act as space for organisation as well as for presentation, it also makes the application much more mode
  • wow, i wish my window manager could do that..
    metacity? compiz?
  • This is just the top feature of Aperture, isn't it?

    *scratching his head*

    Not that innovative, I'm afraid. Can he handle raw files? If not, well, it's Aperture for "normal" users.
  • I'd really like to have a demo of that in my hands. No matter if it's beta. I'll even forgive it crashing every now and then, but it looks interesting enough to make me want to play with it.
  • I think I will send him a $20 bill torn in half with a note that says half now, half when the product is available for public consumption.
  • by rlk ( 1089 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @07:43AM (#14931896)
    It's a neat idea, but how well is it going to scale to 10,000 or more objects (say, 6-16 megapixel images)? A lot of interfaces of this kind seem to work very well on small sets of images (or whatever), but founder when they scale up.

    I only have about 12000 images, but professionals might easily accumulate 50,000 or more images per year, in some cases using medium format backs with 35 megapixels and 16 bit color depth. While the storage requirements for something like that might still be a bit daunting (each image of that size would be 200 MB if stored in uncompressed TIFF format, so this would be 5 TB/year), any good image management tool has to handle large scale.

    I like KPhotoAlbum [kphotoalbum.org] (formerly KimDaBa) myself. While not particularly elegant visually, it's fast and has excellent search capabilities and metadata organization.
    • Looks interesting, and I could see myself using it (I generate about 3500 digital images a year, give or take some)

      Too bad there's no win32 binary
    • Whenever I see stuff like this, I always wonder about the pathological high-resolution situations. Professionals will *not* be sorting small 72dpi images. They'll be sorting 300 or 600 dpi photos, and they'll be dealing with hundreds, if not thousands of them.

      I don't know the specifics of how this guy's app gets the pixels on the screen -- from what I recall looking at this from Digg a few weeks back I think he's using Cairo, which implies glitz, which implies opengl. Now, I don't know about you, but my pow
      • All such an app requires is a clever way to store cache data, sure loading a large multiple megabyte photo is no fun and loading a hundred of them at the same time will cause your machine to halt for quite a while, but as long as the app makes sure that the photo is only loaded at a resolution close to that that is equal to the screen resolution at the current zoom level there should be little problem and a reasonable way to store such intermediate thumbnails should solve the problem. Its not really an unso
  • by pcp_ip ( 612017 )
    Am I missing something? Maybe I'm mistaken, but it appears it be the same as Apple's Aperture Lightbox, Adobe's Lightbox or the new iview media 3 lightbox.
  • I mean, this concept isn't even original. A few months ago a company displayed technology allowing up to 8 points of contact on a touch screen display. One of the demo videos shows a bunch of photo images scattered on the background where the user could drag photos around, scale them, rotate them, etc, all in a simple environment using 2 fingers.

    Apple even has a patent on multipoint touch displays, I am sure some future version of iPhoto is already patented with this concept in mind.

    If your going to hype

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