Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Breakthrough Image Resizer Technology

(you should play this with audio on to hear the explanations)

I want this in Photoshop immediately!

This image resizing technology (as described in the video above) is awesome. The related paper is written by Dr. Ariel Shamir and Dr. Shai Avidan. The technology itself is promising and its definitely a breakthrough in terms of resizing for static images. The latest news is that co-inventor Shai Avidan has now joined Adobe.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Yesterday, I finished iWoz, the autobiography of Steve Wozniak.

Having read iCon Steve Jobs, I would say that iWoz is a book that is profoundly different in terms of viewpoint. Woz dwelled little into Apple's political history during its tumultuous years, but he did offered insight into the decisions he made, including leaving HP. In fact, he highlighted the very statement (told to him by his then boss Allen Baum) that convinced him to leave HP to start Apple was, "You can be an engineer and become a manager and get rich, or you can be an engineer and stay an engineer and get rich."

Woz proudly talks about some of his famous pranks, such as the TV Jammer, how he tricked Richard Nixon, and making a call to the Vatican by impersonating as Henry Kissinger. Besides the good old times, he also devoted a chapter to the less known plane crash and his resulting experience with temporary anterograde amnesia.

All in all, iWoz is not a must read, but it is a good book for anyone interesting in engineering, technology or the PC.

At the end of the book (in the last chapter "Rules to Live By"), Steve offered advice to youths regarding their passion. These are interesting lines and also worthy to note.

If you're as lucky as I've been, then you'll get to live in a time when you're young just as a revolution is about to take off. Just like Henry Ford was there for the automotive industry, I was there to see and build the first personal computers.

Back in the mid-1990s when I was teaching school, I thought one time to myself, Wow, I wish I could be twelve now, look at the things I could do with what's out there now.

But then I realized I was lucky. I got to see the before, the during, and the after of some of those changes in life. I got to be one of those few people who could effect some of those changes.

Excellence comes to me from not having much money, and also from having good building skills but not having done these products before.

I hope you'll be as lucky as I am. The world needs inventors - great ones. You can be one. If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it's within your reach. And it'll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build. It'll be worth it, I promise.

Steve's words are a reminder that things are progressing. There will always be revolutions as long as there is innovation.

And just like every other good book, the last paragraph left a lasting impression on me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

.Mac Web Gallery

Recently, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the all-new, redesigned iMac and demoed the new features in iLife '08, iWork '08, and .Mac at an Apple Special Event, held at a Town Hall meeting in Cupertino (watch Steve Job's presentation here). Among the impressive announcements were Numbers (iWork's new spreadsheet program) and the new .Mac Web Gallery (for photos & videos).

True to Apple's slick design style, the .Mac Web Gallery is absolutely cool. I compared several web services such as Flickr (demo) and Picasa Web Albums (demo), but none can be beat the .Mac Web Gallery (live demo 1, 2, 3) in terms of the professional layout and design.

Apple also made Numbers more than just a spreadsheet program, with its intuitive and easy to use interface - Numbers could be used instantly to make small presentations, such as positioning multiple spreadsheets in one "canvas" (or page), along with various elements such as charts, pictures and titles, without resorting to using a presentation-specific software such as Keynote or PowerPoint.

To end off this post, here are some titbits:
- 'Grass' Wallpaper for Leopard as shown during WWDC 07
- Hamad's Vista Wallpapers (direct download here)