While lately the content of slashdot has really been lame, there was a nice article yesterday about a algorithm for content aware resizing. The algorithm presented at SIGGRAPH 2007 by Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir is able to resize images by selectively removing parts of the image with the least information. This is useful to make a picture fit within a frame with a determined ratio, and more graceful than distorting the picture, clipping out the border, or adding a black border.
This method for rescaling images does not preserve the image, basically the algorithm cuts out regions that do not contain meaningful data (the actual metric for this can be changed), the movie actually shows how to give hints to the algorithm to perform actual retouching of pictures, removing persons. Of course, all this was doable before by a person using some digital retouching software, but the possibility of doing it in an automated way could have quite some implications.
I found an interesting article about banner blindness. The article basically confirms something I had suspected for some time, people ignore web-ads. It seems the web-ads that are the most efficient are not the stupid animated monkeys, but stuff that looks like content. The good news is that this might mean the end of flashy ads. The bad news is that the most efficient adds are the ones that basically blur the line between content and ad.
In some sense, this is a trend I already noticed. Certain magazines already have ads that take a full page and have a layout that mimics the layout of the normal pages. Only a small note indicates that this is an ad. I find this quite fishy, in particular if the ad is an scientific magazine and pretends to be a scientific article. In movies, you have more and more product placement, which is again a blurring between the content and the ad. I suppose the next step will be fake politicians that are actually product placement agents…
I found by the way of the Twenty sided tale blog a post about the thirteen sins of blogging. It is an interesting read and it seems I did not indulge to much in those sins. There was no direct about me page, but there was always a link to my home-page and I have now added a short page about me – I should still translate it. One could argue that by linking to his post, I’m now blogging about blogging, but that would be way to recursive, and I prefer to leave such reflexions to the XKCD people.
This Saturday, I went to the 16th edition of the Buenzli. Buenzli is the main party of the Swiss demoscene. While this is not a large event like the Breakpoint, there still were a few interesting productions that were presented. Typical productions are programs that dynamically produce graphics and music. Competition is done in different categories, depending on the size of program (typically 4KB and 64KB) but also the thema. One special category of the Bunezli is called OHP, aka Overhead Projector. This involves doing a demo on an overhead projector without actually involving a computer. One group, called Drifters presented a completely crazy machine that made a complicated demo, with multiple scrolling directions, special effects with water and salt, it was really great and the event of the evening. I really look forward to next year with a even crazier machine.