Friday, February 13, 2009

In Stitches

So my sister called and wanted to know what Emily's room looked like now. So I ran in there with my Nikon D80 with its 18-200 zoom lens. do you get a picture of the whole room? So I stood in the door way and took 6 or 7 shots of the room. downloaded them and they looked fine, but you had to scroll back and forth through them to get the 'whole picture' of what it looked like. Hmmm if there was only some easy way to stitch them all together...I am in a hurry and do it automatically.
So I ask Google "stitch picture automatically" what my options are...the 3rd link on the page looked promising...something called AutoStitch. A quick trip the the AutoStitch website shows that I hit the bullseye first time out. I download the very small program (about 1 mb). Unzip it, click on the program name called AutoStitch.

There is a File menu, click open, browse to the pictures of Emily's room, select them and click ok, kinda wondering what was going to happen. The program, throws up a status thing about loading pictures and then something about RANSAC...I look away for a few seconds and bam, in my image editor there is a panoramic stitched together picture of my images of her room. WOW!!! I didn't tell it what order I took them in, I did not tell it where to start, no dragging, no dropping, just here are my files and it says here is your pano.jpg. Now it was not 100% perfect, but WOW!
The image posted here is the example that comes with AutoStitch when you download it. It took the seven images of the mountain and turned it into the full mountain.

Try it is FREE and I think you will like it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Thoughts to paper or to computer?

All of us have created a new, blank document or doodled on a pad staring at the vast empty space wondering what to do next. Well there are a number of tools out there to help handle that situation or brainstroming meetings etc, it is call "Mind Mapping". Mind mapping uses a process that gets the ideas out quickly, without needless organizational burdens.

In my ongoing quest of finding new tools, I have come across a couple in this category that are interesting. A commercial program that I have used previously is the MindJet MindManager product. It costs money (but does have a free trial), but it is out of consideration. Two others that are fairly prominent in the open source world are FreeMind and XMind.(note that XMind is a relative new comer to the open source world)

I have installed both and am trying them out. So far they are both AWESOME. I will update this post with which one is my favorite and why in a few days. In the mean time check out an example or two or three.

Update: 3 Feb - Uploaded a basic XMind map to Xmind seems to work real well. Unfortunately, the ability to share mind maps between FreeMind and XMind is very limited. Heres to hoping for an open standard.

Update: 6 Feb - After using both for a few days, there are some great advantages to both. I really like the XMind layout options and floating nodes. I really like the copy and paste of text into FreeMind and its speed. I dislike the fact that interoperability between the two is so limited...please come up with a open standard format for mind maps. FreeMind has never crashed on me. XMind locked up one and blanked out my diagram (I had to close and reopen to get the graphics to redisplay.).
All in all if I was to tally points for features, etc, I think they would be in a dead tie. I will keep both installed for now. I find myself using XMind a little more because I can change the layout and look a little easier. Try them both you will win either way! :)