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Politics

Submission + - French entrepreneurs use pigeons against "Startup Killer" finance law (wordpress.com)

descubes writes: "There’s been a recent flurry of activity on twitter around the #geonpi hashtag. What is going on?

The short version is that French entrepreneurs are all up in arms against the French budget law for 2013. On the surface, one aspect of the law is intended to align the taxation of capital on the taxation of other revenues. But the reasons that entrepreneurs react is that, in practice, the new taxation may well make the creation of startups in France completely untenable."

Comment Data visualization (Score 1) 73

I must confess that I also missed the point. The headline of the submission focuses on the RSS feed in 3D, making me believe that it really is the "RSS feed" that is important. Perhaps you should frame this demo differently to convey your intent to the reader. "Create Dynamic 3D documents easily" sounds quite diffferent from "3D RSS reader" as a headline.

You are right I guess. I'll take that into account for my next Slashdot submission :-)

I looked as this tool as I would be interested in displaying my computer network / sysadmin type stuff dynamically in 3D. Stock market performance. That sort of stuff. But I can't see that this tool makes that easier.

Let's try making something like that together. Here's one way to do it:

1) Create a small web server somewhere that returns the stuff you are interested it, for example in CSV format. Say you get lines with X,Y,Z,"label".

2) Read that web server with Tao Presentations, using code that looks like this:


get_url_csv "http://myserver/data.csv", "drawit"
drawit X,Y,Z,Label ->
    locally
        translate X,Y,Z
        text Label
drawit MalformedInput -> false

Of course, your server could also send color, or a sphere diameter, so you could have something like:


drawit X,Y,Z,Color,Radius,Label ->
    locally
        translate X,Y,Z
        color Color
        sphere Radius
        translate Radius, 0, 0
        text Label

If you don't want to access the network to get your data, you can also read that from a local file. For example, you can have a Perl script that munches your input data and writes it to a given local file. Then, your Tao Presentations document does something similar to the above, but with load_csv instead of get_url_csv.

You could obviously send data in other formats and parse it with regexps (XML and JSON are coming soon, hopefully). But at the moment, CSV is by far the fastest way to read relatively big amounts of data for Tao Presentations. In this 3D star map example, we use that very technique to show about 15000 stars from the Hipparcos catalog, and it runs smoothly on a modern laptop.

Comment Re:Not biased at all... (Score 1) 73

I understand your position. To be honest, we didn't really expect to hit the Slashdot front page (not that I will complain). We were content with people who look at the Firehose.

But to respond to you point, I think there is a lot of value in this new brand of journalism made of first person straight talk: blogs, video posts on YouTube, etc. You talk to me, I respond to you. Nobody in between. You know it's me, an individual, who loves his product and is clearly biased, and not some abstract and distant entity who doesn't care and just pushes "information" just because they're paid to pretend they are unbiased.

What I love first about Slashdot is that posts are from people who care about stuff, not about anonymous drones. When we get a story about Intel unveiling a new 10 watt chip (right below ours), isn't that also blatant advertising? But my hope is that this was actually submitted by some Intel guy who actually works on the chip.

The second thing I love about Slashdot is that the small guys (like us) have a fighting chance in telling their story. Hey, I'm right next to Intel, and we are a gazillion times smaller. Sure, it's free advertising too. But I've put a lot of my money in that stuff, it's paying relatively little at the moment, so do you really think that I can pass on this opportunity of reaching a wide audience on a level playing field?

The third thing about Slashdot are the comments. Granted, I would have loved to see just a little more positive feedback to what we have to offer. Still, the comments generally crack me up (this is an acquired taste, though, the rest of the team is just looking at them and just going "Huh?"). And more importantly, they are very valid data points.

If someone tells me that the language is hard to read, I need to dig further to see what we can do about it. If someone else tells me that you can do that in OpenGL in no time flat, I have to deduce that most readers, even on Slashdot, don't realize what it really took to make interactive 3D that simple. Yes, our app is written in OpenGL, and no it didn't take us "no time flat", and yes, we are good (I personally wrote the first 3D platform game, back in 1989, a year or so before Carmack's Hovertank 3D). So now, we need to explain better why this matters. Without Slashdot, I have no chance to get such live feedback.

So I understand your point, but believe me, the fact that articles about a noname startup from the south of France show up on Slashdot is a good sign. It demonstrates IMO that the Slashdot spirit is still alive and kicking. But hey, I'm biased ;-)

Comment Re:Mmm, XML parsing with regexps (Score 1) 73

Apparently we need a nice high level 3D presentation library but we don't want to work out how to use libxml2.

The idea here was precisely to show the kind of things you could do with mere regular expressions (we introduced a regexp module recently). Yes, I know it is theoretically wrong, and if you knew how much I don't care, you wouldn't bother insulting me with the suggestion that we wouldn't know how to use libxml2. XML parsing is on its way, but if you want to add it yourself, Taodyne provides a C++ SDK (here is an example to get you started).

(Also, what language did you base that on? It's surprisingly hard to read.)

As mentioned in the story, it's called XL. Can you elaborate why you think it is hard to read? As an aside, I completely disagree with that statement. Here is for example how you create a slide in Reveal.js:

<section>
  <h2>Heads Up</h2>
  <p>
    reveal.js is an easy to use, HTML based, presentation tool.
  </p>
</section>

Here is how you create a similar slide in Tao Presentations:


slide "My page",
    title
        text "Heads up"
    story
        text "Tao Presentations is an easy to use, XL-based presentation tool"

For me, I already know which one I find easier to read (or to copy-paste in Slashdot for that matter). But the difference really shows when you want to add a time-dependent HSV color:


slide "My page",
    title
        text "Heads up"
    story
        color_hsv 20 * time, 30%, 80%
        text "Tao Presentations is an easy to use, XL-based presentation tool"

Now, writing this in Reveal.js is left as an exercise for the reader...

Comment Re:Youtube Video Link (also, this is stupid) (Score 1) 73

It's just... pointless.

Rather, I think you just... missed the point. The point is not the end result, it is to show how you can now create dynamic 3D documents really easily.

I'd have assumed that using OpenGL or something one could knock something like this together in no time flat, probably any time in the last 10 to 15 years!

You'd assume wrong. In addition to OpenGL, you need at least: font rendering and typography, typesetting, JPEG image decoding, networking, text parsing. If you don't believe me, go ahead, do it. I did that short example over a coffee break, definitely less than 2 hours. Let me see how long your "no time flat" will be if you do "something like this" with straight OpenGL.

If you want to replicate this with another technology, you'd be much luckier starting with Reveal.js, Impress.js and combining this with Three.js. With that basis, I think you can probably get somewhere rapidly. At least, you'll have text and picture rendering.

Comment Re:Three.js (Score 1) 73

Because Javascript isn't event driven? Excuse me?

Not transparently event-driven, no. For example, consider the following Tao Presentations code:


color "red"
rectangle 320, 200
locally
        rotatez 20 * time
        color "blue"
        rectangle 400, 100

Because we used time in the inner block, we will re-evaluate that block more rapidly than the rest (roughly 60 times per second in that case). So we transparently detect that this or that part of the document needs this or that event. I don't think Javascript does that, does it?

Comment Re:Lines as a meazsure of code size (Score 1) 73

Of course it was totally unreadable by humans

Are you really arguing that this is unreadable by humans?


feed "US News", "http://news.google.com/news?ned=us&charset=utf8&output=rss"
feed "Slashdot", "http://rss.slashdot.org/Slashdot/slashdot"
feed "Twitter taodyne", "http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=taodyne

Comment Re:Not biased at all... (Score 1) 73

So the founder and president [of] Taodyne submits a "story" extolling the virtues of Taodyne's latest program/thingie and this actually makes it onto Slashdot? Am I really expecting too much of Slashdot by thinking that this shouldn't happen? I mean the entire summary is blatantly written like an advert -- perhaps you could say the guy isn't trying to deceive anyone since it's obvious to anyone looking (eg. me) what's going on, but is that really a good direction to go in? Is even the barest of journalistic integrity a lost cause on this site?

How is the fact that I'm the founder of Taodyne making the story irrelevant to Slashdot readers? What would have been unethical would have been to ask a friend to submit the story for me.

Of course, I'm biased. I've put years of my life into creating what I believe is the first interactive 3D document description language. I think that this is relevant to Slashdot readers. Remember, "News for nerds"? Our first tag line was "3D presentation software for geeks", it's still in my Slashdot signature.

My idea of being a "nerd" is not "I will the (N+1)-th post to rant about how big corporations are evil". Mine is "I will create this bleeding edge 3D language so that uber-geeks can use live tweets as bullet points next time they talk about some hot topic." YMMV. Don't like what we did? Feel free to not use it.

Comment Re:Three.js (Score 1) 73

I am pretty sure we have moved on from individual content viewers. If they were to process https://github.com/mrdoob/three.js/ designed applications and use some tagging to define a distance relocating the perspective then this might have a value.

There are frameworks such as Reveal.js or Impress.js that try to present things nicely using CSS3, HTML5, etc. Taodyne didn't use markup languages on purpose. From that article:

Standard markup, yes, but still a new language
On the surface, this structure is well known, so that you can leverage what you already know about HTML.

But notice how the two examples above don't use exactly the same syntax. There's a reason for that: in both cases, the power of that code really lies in additional definitions using Javascript and CSS 3D. We no longer use a really standard language, but some kind of dialect. We still need to learn this dialect before creating presentations.

It's not like the required code is extraordinarily big. For Impress.js, we are talking about 700 lines of CSS and 800 lines of Javascript. Reveal.js is slightly more extensive, with 1238 lines of CSS and 1039 lines of Javascript, not counting a few libraries.

However, that still means that you need to learn new semantics on how to build animations. The benefits of using a "standard" language are somewhat mitigated. More importantly, it means that what makes the presentation really different, the interesting 3D animations and transitions, are not in the document description itself.

A new kind of programming language designed specifically for real-time, interactive documents has a number of benefits. For example, we don't have a linear execution model. Parts of the document execute in response to events, transparently. That way, if you have a document that refreshes only once per second, we use practically no CPU. And if only this or that part of the document executes. See Execution and Drawing Model on this description of Tao documents.

Comment 3D is not the new 2D, 3D is the new color (Score 1, Insightful) 73

But 3D is the new 2D.

I'm just waiting for some advancements in augmented reality, so that I can see the world around me in 3D! /sarcasm

All sarcasm aside, 3D is not the new 2D, 3D is the new color. Black and white didn't go away, you can still use it to great effect. But most digital content today is in color, just because we can. It looks more natural, it allows effects that you can't do in black and white.

When you print a PDF document on a black and white printer, you expect it to look right. What's the equivalent for 3D today? Taodyne's value proposition is to make it ridiculously easy to create portable, dynamic 3D documents that will show at their best on Mac, PCs or Linux, on 2D, active 3D, passive 3D, 3D DLP projectors, 3D polarized projectors, multiscopic glasses-free 3D displays, 2D+Z, you name it.

Sure, glasses-free 3D displays today are expensive and have limited resolution. But when Adobe launched Postscript, laser printers were prohibitively expensive, and only black and white. Today, you can practically get a color laser printer with a Happy Meal. I'm willing to bet that in 5 years, glasses-free 3D panels with resolutions of 4K or more will be commonplace. Google glasses will be the new iPhone. And you'll want to be able to create cool interactive, real-time 3D contents for these devices.

It's time to learn how to do that now.

Comment It is actually 3D, if you explore the View menu (Score 1) 73

But then I click on the links and see RSS FEEDS IN THREE DEES! Not even really in 3D, just with perspective.

Use the "View->Display Mode" menu and select your favorite 3D mode, and you'll have actual 3D. Including 3D without glasses if you are lucky enough to own Alioscopy, Dimenco or Tridelity displays.

And what's with the "120 lines of code" crap? I could probably do the same thing in 5 lines of Processing.

Why don't you do just that? But knowing Processing, I seriously doubt this is more than trolling.

But this is a stupid thing that should never have been done. And not "stupid as in awesome" like launching flaming pianos with a trebuchet or "stupid as in a challenge" like getting a toaster to play Oregon Trail, but stupid as in pointless with no redeeming value.

And someone modded this insightful? Ach, Slashdot.

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