will a photosynth "offline" version be released ?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I'd like to use photosynth on my "totally offline, never been connected to anything" PC, will it be possible ?
(XP, dual core, 2Gb RAM, 8800GTX)
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stefmixo

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Posted 7 years ago

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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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stefmixo, I know others will have this request, especially in the professional space, where movie studios, contractors, etc. would like to use the computer vision parts of Photosynth to assist them with projects. We're thinking about it, but have no announced plans. That would be unlikely to be a free tool, since it has no beneficial network effects for the community. However, we are thinking hard about providing private or restricted synths on the web service, so that you don't need to share your personal stuff.
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Hmmm...you could make a lot of money. I, for one, would be willing to pay for such a stand-alone application. Is that not beneficial to the user community?
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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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fastolfe, you may get your wish :). What I meant by the above is that it benefits whoever uses it, but has no nonlinear multiplier ('network effect') in that for every user who does this, the benefit goes only to that user, not to the whole community.
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sfla

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I would pay for an offline version ... would it be faster I hope since there is no need to upload.
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stefmixo

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"dada" got a point ! +1 !!!!! ;-)
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I have tens of thousands of digital images, many of which are personal such as family, friends, my house, etc. that I would like to synth for use by myself and close friends. Obviously many others have similar desires.
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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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Yes-- this scenario is actually best realized by giving you the ability for online synths to be private or restricted, rather than making an offline experience-- that way you could share it only with your family and friends, even if they're viewing remotely (not in front of your computer). We're certainly considering this!
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stefmixo

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Thank's Blaise for the answer, I'm well aware of the "non beneficial" aspect of my question but my problem is not about "sharing" it's about "connecting". For security's sake, I don't want to ever "plug" THIS ONE pc (where all my photos and other personal and professional files are) to the internet, that's why I asked. Anyway, I am too, ready to pay for this feature. Thanks again ;-)
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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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Understood-- we'll keep this request in mind.
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Yes, a restricted on-line version is needed, but there is also a need for a restricted version intended for corporate LANs. Many corporations view their photographic data with the same sensitivity as text data on their internal databases such as SQL Server. They would never dream of making that data available outside the corporation, even to Microsoft. You should develop a private LAN version of Photosynth and license it like you do SQL Server.
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The main problem that I'm experiencing with photosynth is slow loading, due to the very limited bandwidth of my connection. This can be solved by adding an option to cache the whole photoset at loading time, or (much easier and more convenient) adding the ability to save and view synths locally. Don't you think? I can't be the only one with a crappy connection
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I must say, I find it disappointing that you don't see the network benefits of having an offline tool. Particularly when people are just starting to learn to use Photosynth, it would benefit me greatly to be able to see the synth before having to upload ~300MB of files only to find out that there was something very obvious that I missed.

I understand though if you're trying to commercialize the product.

I would like to see a different mode of navigation, something more along the lines of a free flight navigation through a 3d landscape with the surfaces textured instead of the sparse points with the ghosted 2d photos. Cool effect, but I have trouble navigating it.
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I'm pretty sure you can just go in and add / remove photos to a synth you created, no? Not sure since I own a Mac (at least for now) and can't d/l.

Benji, I hear your frustration :) I know it's a tradeoff, but it's sounds like a limited one. The purpose for this release seems to be primarily to build community as fast as possible. Once they reach a critical mass, and people get very comfortable with the idea of sharing their synths, I'm sure we'll see some user access controls thrown in (it's all in the video I swear!) and maybe even down the road a personal/commercial version that you could buy... but that's kinda beside the point. It's about building the entire community first through open sharing. Shouldn't be disappointed at all Benji!!

Think about it, a week ago you didn't even have the option to create or share with anyone... :-)

Also, I'd recommend watching the Channel 10 video on photosynth.net as it would talk about why they have to use point clouds. I'm sure the UI is something they'll want all sorts of comments on though. It's a totally new way of viewing collections of photos so I'm sure we'll see all sorts of refinements.
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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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Benji, I do think your point is valid.
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srblackbird

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@ glencannon: no you can't do that. The ability to preview you synth, and tweak it, is more than welcome.
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After watching a bit of the video that people are referencing (apologies for not watching it sooner, and also for not having finished it), I think Glencannon has a good point about the visibility of the controls in the UI. For instance, I was unaware of the 'wasd' style navigation as well as ability to toggle the photos to the point map ('p' key for anyone interested). It might be useful to default to a menu similar to a video game with options and control options.

As for the offline stuff, I totally understand having all the synths online, but the ability to preview before uploading would save me a good amount of time. As I understand it, the synthing takes less time than the upload as well, so it would cut my synth editing time significantly.

Also, Blaise, you and your team are doing an awesome job. Keep it up!

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stealthtech

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The 3d free-flighT stuff can be done using the w-a-s-d keys. One draw back to the view application is that a lot can be done with the keyboard but not know unless you read it somewhere. I read about it in the PDF guide. The viewing application needs more "help" and I mean navigation help a quick tutorial. Reveal the key board short cuts and make them more up front.

I can see the composer rendering a preview. Might not be the end result be something close. Or download a preview from the cloud. Before uploading to the cloud. This comes back to the question of what benifit does the cloud offer or what is the clouds role? Is it is only for hosting and publishing or does it do the actual work too? If the work is not done in the cloud that would mean the work is being done on my PC. So why not preview before upload? Now if some of the stiching, matching and figuring out textures is done in the cloud then I can see why a client side only would be challange. Does this process require a lot of horse power that is obtained by uploading the images to the cloud? I understand "what" is going on with Photosynth I just don't know "where".

If it does require horse power then I could see a comercial entity buying the servers to produce and host the synths. Like selling Surface, but for consumers that might be a bit more challange.

I'm all for a private and controlling the sharing of synths. Just having the C on the lower left corner is not too much of a warm a fuzzy fealing. Also for privacy.

I compare this S+S to the likes of DeepZoom the difference is the I can *choose* to upload to PhotoZoom or not. Or I can host somewhere else or just keep it local for an Intranet.
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stealthtech, the Channel 10 video that's on photosynth.net I believe answers all (most?) of your questions.
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stealthtech

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I just watched (scanned thru) a video on Photosynth from Channel 10 posted on the blog. It is about 19 to 25 minutes into the video. I think it is you Blaise and Scott (good video) explaining that the synthing is done on the PC and then uploaded. Funny the upload takes longer than synthing.

Meet some of the Photosynth team

Which is why another post states there is no "queue" or "pipeline" per say. Nice insight into the engineering challanges.
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If the synthing is already being done client side, then why can't it be previewed prior to uploading? I'm all for not letting you save them for offline viewing (well, not really all for, but it doesn't bother me), but something to let you know you need a few more photos to be more synthy.
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I will be happy with the ability for online synths to be private or restricted.
And I really think that you should be able to preview your synth before uploading.
It is not very funny to wait 120 minutes (if you are lucky and in works ok) to realize that you synth sucks.
It is not a very nice way to learn.
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Completely useless if not offline. I do not see a point in uploading tens or hudreds of MB just to find out something is wrong. Also it is not very appealing to link the synths to Photosynth webpage, instead of just being able to include the synths in own webpages. Not sure what the current format is but I am sure this can be made possible to convert to user friendly formats that can be self-embedded. Atherwise great Idea. Will sure spend a lot of time synthing as soon as I am able to create content that I can safe and view on my harddrive in association with respective prohogaleries from my trip/events.
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Jonathan, Official Rep

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You can embed a synth directly on any webpage. When you're viewing the synth, there's an embed icon to the right of it that will give you the code snippet for it.
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luminoso

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It makes no sense to be 100% online. Offline photsync would be MUCH faster and diserable experience, since there is no loading times (or very short ones) and more image quality.

i don't understand, i was hoping to see something like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p16frK... .

oh! and such a disapointing online performance and features if adobe or something create something similar photosync will be gone :-((
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GoodTV

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That youtube sample looks pretty easy to do, but your not going to get anything like that with a handfull of images! You have to take a LOT of photos. Wide open squares and such seem super easy. It's the scenes that have a bunch of objects in the path that you have to do a 360 shoot arounds that gets really involved and the number of photos to that will likely not synth unless you got a super computer! Even if this goes offline, if your PC isn't up to the task of processing the synth, your still stuck.
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For a broad success, it will be essential to provide an offline version!

Besides the long upload time, there are people with restricted internet transfer volume (e.g. 3GB per month). One of the key features of the technology is the ability to zoom in to high detail level. Hence, photos with high detail level are usually big in size --> huge uploads must be done before being able to view the synth (if it completed without errors).
Currently you get a lot of good responses among the online community and it's quite clear that you aim to increase the online database of synth to get more and more users involved. But I am sure that there will be more high quality synths uploaded, if there is the ability to try it out and optimize(!) locally before uploading and waiting for the process to complete.

Come on, add more "coolness" to photosynth and be less restrictive by providing both, offline AND online versions. An even broader success among photo enhusiasts will be almost guaranteed!

Besides that: Congratulations for the release of Photosynth! It's really cool!

--== And PLEASE: Give us an offline version!!! The sooner, the better! ==--
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Brendan Davidson

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I Am one of those people with a 3gb upload limit, and a 10gb d/l limit, its not all that enjoyable to hear that this is not avalable offline, although you have to give the photosyth team some credit... its not like any of us could make something like this, without a team of poeple who know what to do.
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I was so embarassed today. I created a huge synth from hi-res photos yesterday and tested it a bit. It worked slow but not too much. Today I told my friend about a cool thing that can be made from photos. She was very interested and asked me to show it to her. I opened the page and... Some unidentifiable blurred patterns emerged from the black and started moving. I was shocked. I paused the synth and waited for some time. After some seconds the blurry pattern at the center became blurred grainy pattern resembling photo worse than anything that could be taken with old cell phone. I waited some more seconds... and more... nothing changed. The disappointed look on her face was worth thousand words.

You know.. high speed internet access is nothing when the servers are slowpokes.
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Unfortunately, most of this world is still "off the net". The ability to download photosynths and "play" them offline would in no way impact the "nonlinear multiplier ('network effect')".
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Nathanael Lawrence

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Bill, I totally empathise with you. I grew up in a third world country where broadband internet is pretty much unheard of unless you want to pay for a satellite connection from Australia for large sums of money... no such thing as unlimited bandwidth per month either. I have many friends over there still who I think would really enjoy using Photosynth, but uploading them might be more expensive or take longer than burning the local files to DVD and mailing it to your friends, family, or business associates. As you can see, I totally agree with your point.

What I intended to reply with, though, is that as of right now Photosynth loads in the minimum amount of data required for any current view. This minimizes the traffic on their servers. If they suddenly offered the ability to download an entire synth in a zip or similar compressed format they would instantly drive up the server load in the case of extremely popular synths. Rather than just giving each user the pixels they need, they would suddenly have to deliver massive amounts of data to each user who decided to download any given synth. This runs counter to the whole design philosophy. The excellent SeaDragon technology that is currenly delivering all the data at maximum efficiency would suddenly be cut out of the equation.

I know that as I pointed out above, if you could save the files locally, you could then mail them to whoever you wanted to view them. This does not account, however, for synths that prove extremely popular with the public. If one of your synths that you meant for public appreciation suddenly became popular and half the Photosynth.net community wanted to download it to load it more quickly on their local machine. Are you going to want them all sending you messages asking you to mail them a copy? No. Does Microsoft want to pay the cost to let people download the entire synth at once when it invested its money to buy Blaise's and the SeaDragon team's hard work with their streaming on demand technology expressly to drive server loads down? Likely not.

I don't mean to be hostile... at all. As Blaise himself said above, they are considering an offline version. All I really wanted to say was that I don't anticipate being able to download the entire copy of any given synth off of Microsoft servers... ah... ever.
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I disagree, but that's irrelevant. Nice app, but I'll never use it the way it is now. Someone else will code up something similar that's actually useful.
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they've got a technology that resolves all those nasty bandwidth issues for singular, large, popular files: bittorrent
put the protocol as the transfer layer in the photosynth software so that whenever you're on/downloading synths, then you're also uploading the ones on your system.
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they've got a technology that resolves all those nasty bandwidth issues for singular, large, popular files: bittorrent
put the protocol as the transfer layer in the photosynth software so that whenever you're on/downloading synths, then you're also uploading the ones on your system.
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NeilDickson

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Yeah, the whole previewing and optimizing before uploading idea makes a lot of sense, even though it means that then you won't be uploading while synthing. For example, if I make a really crummy synth (and I have) that I'd like to turn into a much better synth without having to upload all of the photos that will be removed immediately and download all of the photos for viewing repeatedly. Of course, that depends on the ability to add/remove photos as mentioned elsewhere, but I'm sure they'll be adding that.
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Muka

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I love photosynth, but an offline version is really necessary since I live in the UK (a country with some of the world's slowest internet connections).
Having to wait an eternity for a synth to load is really frustrating, especially when they are ones that I would like to keep personal anyway.

The photosynth program itself seems to do most of the work offline, then publish the synth which is viewed with the browser plugin. Surely having the software save the content to your hard drive, rather than publish, is a very basic thing to code, and then still use the browser with the plugin to view the saved file.
I am sure the majority of users will still upload synths they are happy with, thus not harming the community at all.

Anyways, it's great software, but far too frustrating having to use it online - especially as the servers crashing on the first day proved that they can't cope with the load when many people all try to access it at once.
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I am a teacher in Indonesia and want to use photosynth to create a virtual classroom. Sadly as posted in the comments above this probably will not work due to the crap internet speeds. I will try anyway but I also pray for an offline version. Already I have to download my youtube video's in advance. Help a brother in a disadvantaged country out!

Also the program is so revolutionary that irrespective of it being offline, the community would do nothing but grow as people make their own synths and want to show them off. look at youtube. it has no problems getting new users who want to post their work to the world.

Awesome work though, the concept and application to education is incredible. One day I will tour the great wall and explore the forbidden city with my class without paying a dime in flights. Of course as long as it can be downloaded :)
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I have created offline Photosynth viewer over a month ago. But I don't know if it's legal to share it.
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Nathanael Lawrence

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Fduch, I would absolutely love to take a look at your offline Photosynth viewer if you would be kind enough to email the code and a readme to nathanael.lawrence@live.com. I know how to archive my synth files but not the correct folder structure to unzip them in or how to get any of the Photosynth viewers to load the DZC (or anything else) and would love any advice you have for me.

I'm not sure if you've created your own viewer from scratch or if you've figured out how to use the regular Direct3D Photosynth plugin to open local synth files. I'm interested in either scenario, but if the latter, I'd be interested in seeing whether you could get the original 2006 Photosynth CTP viewer to open modern synths as well. In any case, please drop me a line.
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I'll try to look at the new photosynth.
My program was very small and simple (written in VB.Net). It hosted Photosynth's ActiveX control and had a small "caching proxy server". I asked Photosynth control to load photosynth from http://localhost:31337/forgot_the_name and the proxy returned files as the ywere asked (downloading them if they weren't in cache). The proxy also changed URLs from protosynth.net to localhost so that all request went through the proxy.
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I'll try to look at the new photosynth.
My program was very small and simple (written in VB.Net). It hosted Photosynth's ActiveX control and had a small "caching proxy server". I asked Photosynth control to load photosynth from http://localhost:31337/forgot_the_name and the proxy returned files as the ywere asked (downloading them if they weren't in cache). The proxy also changed URLs from protosynth.net to localhost so that all request went through the proxy.
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MattWeiler

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Hi Fduch,

I'd definitely be interested in taking a look at what you've done :)
I hope you can get your solution to work with the new PhotoSynth.

Since the original Direct3D viewer is still availableon the PhotoSynth.net page, via IE, your original solution would most likely work like it did before ;)

If you need any help, I'd be more than happy to lend a hand. VB isn't the language I learned on, but I'm more than willing to learn it quickly :)

mattweiler@hotmail.com
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Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Employee

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Fduch, we'd love to have a look at what you've done! (Don't worry, we're very unlikely to find what you've done objectionable!)
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luminoso

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so.. Microsoft wants to ruin it? :-P
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Mitch

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I am helping a Pacific island learn to adapt to global warming. They do not have a high bandwidth data line available on the remote islands. An offline version would be a very useful tool to provide training materials and receive surveys of the islands for future projects and documenting ecological damage.
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Nathanael Lawrence

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Mitch, saving your synth files is quite easy, although I do not know how to get the Photosynth viewer to load them after saving them.

Fiddler and other programs like it make watching which files are downloading very easy and perhaps if you spend some time watching the names of the files downloaded compared to the names of the files saved, you will discover how to unzip and arrange your synth files so that they have the same layout as on the photosynth.net servers.

From there, it is only the matter, again, of getting the photosynth viewer on your computer to open those files. I'm sure that Microsoft employees are not allowed to tell us how to do this, but it can't be that difficult to figure out if we work together.
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alisonhortig

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I also would appreciate an offline version. I am working in Israel on the documentation and conservation of historic architecture and archaeology, Photosynth has provided an excellent way of viewing and exploring a monument or building in-situ without having to be at the site, however the ability to view without an internet connection is crucial for presentations and accurate documentations.

I have experimented with video screen capture software, but the quality is just not up to par with the way Photosynth loads it's images... might anyone else have a recommendation?
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Nathanael Lawrence

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Alison Hortig,

Have you tried Expression Encoder 3's Screen Capture? I've been able to capture exactly what I see onscreen by using it. I wrote a little set of instructions on the settings that I used at this link. I'm not a video encoding expert, so feel free to modify my encoding profile as you see fit if you know better than my to begin with or if you think something can be improved after following my settings exactly.
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Mitch

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My needs are probably not too different from an archiologist's. I want to take the point cloud and build a model of the islands. I've developed an inexpensive way for them to provide the islanders fresh water and the byproducts are cool sea water and dry air. The model would help decide where to place the collectors and where to discharge the cold water. The model would then be used to measure good or bad what is happening to island and coral. The coral is a nursery to the world's fish food chain. We lose it and our children, even in inland nations, will start losing food supplies.

Archiologists could use point clouds to make an extremely accurate record of how things were found.

Lawyers could glom on to this for evidence descriptions as well as police, doctors, and our defense.

Microsoft, are you listening? This could be your next "Word"
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Nathanael Lawrence

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The whole, "This could be your next "Word"." is probably not the argument that you want to use on Blaise and the Photosynth team, but I understand your vision and desire for the technology to flow into other Microsoft programs. It really does have huge potential.
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darin722

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I think microsoft is killing this product by not releasing an offline version.

Online it's a cute, novelty photo album.

Offline it could become the hottest documentation tool since productios like camtasia for documenting mechanical assembly, building construction, crime scenes, and many other uses where object/position/viewing angle is important.

In my opinion Microsoft is really missing the boat on this one. --Again
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Nathanael Lawrence

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Darin, please explain your logic. Someone could easily copy and paste your statements, switching where it says 'online' and 'offline' and make an equally believable case.

What is it, in your opinion, that cripples viewing synths about having them be freely hosted online where you can immediately share it with anyone who has Silverlight installed?
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segun

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Please I will be willing to pay good money for an offline version of photosynth. I live in Africa, where the only way to appreciate the power of photosynth is to have it offline because of low bandwidth.

Please Microsoft, release an offline version. We love you despite Google and Apple. Will always love Bill G because he created the present software industry as it is!
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Gary Mortimer

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For the very same reason, living in Africa with low speed high cost internet access, Bill G knows he came to visit where I worked and flew with us ;-)
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Cheng Rubin

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I saw a different Microsoft Photosynth on NCIS:LA. It was using the Microsoft Office 2007 format (It has the same quick access toolbar like Microsoft Word / Powerpoint / Excel). I know that Microsoft was the sponsor of that show so is the Microsoft team actually developed an offline Photosynth?