Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008

The yuletide season heralds the coming of a new year. It brings to mind the faithful past and the rhapsody from the future. It is also the time of the year when one takes a step back to look at the eventful months that have gone, be it quietly or in haste, and to prepare for that beckoning journey which lies not too far ahead.

HanWorks Research takes a brief look at some issues that will affect us in the coming year.

Technology Predictions for '08

Throughout history, humans have made it a habit to read and tame the future. This year, it is no different, except that the advent of the internet has swelled the number of "predictions".

I think that 2008 will be the year cloud computing will take off in a big way, with Amazon leading the charge. Casual gaming (such as those countless games which have been integrated on Facebook) is clearly on the rise (I was addicted to Desktop Tower Defence for a couple of months this year). Of course, a Facebook acquisition/IPO may also be round the corner. Twitter may get acquired.

On the more technical side, the excitement of HTML 5, CSS 3, XHTML 2 and ECMAScript 4 looms large. Firefox 3 is slated for release in the early months of 2008, while IE 8.0 is in the works and continues the catching up game started by its predecessor, IE 7.

US Presidential Elections '08

The United States has always prided itself as a country which upholds freedom and equality for all men. Ironically, the American people has never chosen a president who is non-white, non-male or non-Christian. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton can make the difference. Barack Obama is a promising candidate, but he has hinged his campaign on a campaign of hope.

Mini reading list for 2008

I conjured a recommended reading list a year ago and I have decided to continue this insignificant but meaningful tradition.

1. The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan. I have yet to read this book, but reading memoirs can be a refreshing change from the monotony of life. One identifies with the author's struggles, shares his dilemmas, and learns from mistakes made by others.

2. Superfreakonomics - The sequel to Freakonomics, to be out in 2008.

If you are looking for more books to read, Scribd is a good place to start.

Many Anticipations, One Aspiration

2008 promises to go down in history as an exciting and memorable year. Beijing will be hosting its first ever Olympics. The F1 will have its first night race in the streets of urban Singapore. The Large Hadron Collider will finally begin operations. The world is watching.

So, goodbye 2007 and hello to 2008!

Last but not least, HanWorks Reserach wishes all readers a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Flickr Photo of the Day: Majestic Mountains Part II

In the spirit of our last post, we present to you this HDR panorama:
Again a shot of made during my skiing vacation. This was taken hand held.
Please take your time to view it Large on Black, it looks much better this way.

Majestic Mountains Part II, originally uploaded by chop1n

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Creating a Panorama using Autostitch

There are numerous ways to create Panoramas. This post will focus creating a panorama the vanilla flavoured way using Autostitch.

1. Download Autostitch and unzip it into a folder of your choice.
2. In the root folder, launch autostitch.exe
3. On the menu, goto Edit > Options.

4. Change Scale to 100% and JPEG Quality to 95%. Then click "OK"
5. On the menu, select File > Open.

6. Select ALL the images from the folder path {$AutostitchRootFolder}/images/test in the open dialog box.
7. Let the application to the processing.
8. The result is immediately displayed on screen. Two files are also automatically generated in the folder {$AutostitchRootFolder}/images/test: pano.jpg and pano.txt

9. Congratulate yourself on creating your first panorama using Autostitch.

- A guide on how to modify the settings in the options dialog box can be found in README.txt (in the root folder of your autostitch program).
- The version of autostitch you downloaded is "for demo" only. (Quote from website:)
Individuals or companies are free to use images that they generate using the demo version of Autostitch without restriction or royalties so long as they acknowledge the use of Autostitch in such works. A commercial license to Autostitch provides access to the patent, source code, technical support and updates.

Other panorama-creation programs worth taking a look at:
- Hugin (tons of tutorial, including this video tutorial on working with GIMP). This is free, and works with other cool free tools such as enblend.
- Autopano (commercial)
- Photomerge feature in Adobe Photoshop CS2 and above, and Photoshop Elements.

Cool panoramas:
- (Uber cool 360 panos)
- photos on Flickr created using Autostitch.
- Gigapixel Pano

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

There is no Bubble

"The Bubble" video is awesome!

It is sung to the tune of We Didn't Start the Fire (mp3). And if you have not heard before, check out We Didn't Go to Harvard (mp3) too.