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Zooming Through the History of the Universe
posted by Editor on Thursday January 31, @11:57PM
Zooming User Interfaces

ChronoZoom is a timeline for a history of the universe that uses a Zooming User Interface (ZUI) to navigate. The interface delivers a clear feel for the scale of geologic time spanning billions of years, while providing a convenient way to navigate between periods and events in various epochs of the universe. The ChronoZoom screen is divided into nested regions showing the lifespan of the Cosmos, the Solar System, Earth, and its inhabitants. Within the region representing the history of Earth, users can focus on the evolution of the climate and atmosphere, and life, while tracking major impacts of meteors millions of years ago. Throughout the interface, interactive bubbles show background information about a particular timeframe. ChronoZoom is a good example of how ZUIs can efficiently visualize and navigate potentially vast temporal dataspaces (see concept of Big History). This is the second release of ChronoZoom, and it is implemented in HTML5, which shows nicely how HTML controls and other web page elements such as video clips can be embedded into an interactive surface.

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Visualizing Data in 3D Virtual Worlds
posted by Editor on Saturday January 19, @02:31AM
Data Visualization
As Second Life releases its first app for the iPad, it is worth looking at some ways to visualize data as 3D structures that can be placed into virtual reality spaces like SL. The latest generation of head-mounted VR displays, some of which are now reaching 110 degrees of horizontal visual range, could also generate more interest in experiencing data immersively. This directory of data visualization tools shows various ways for integrating data-based structures into Second Life. Companies like Green Phosphor specialize in 3D data visualization for virtual spaces (see video of walking around a moving stock market visualization).

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RDFRoom Puts 3D Shooter Interface on Semantic Information Spaces
posted by Editor on Tuesday May 01, @07:37PM
Visual User Interfaces

RDFRoom is a prototype for a third-person shooter interface to navigate the content of Resource Description Framework (RDF) files, which can be used to describe information models (and thus play a key role in populating the Semantic Web). RDFRoom displays an RDF graph as an isometric room, in which each node appears as a solid object shaped like the concept it is representing (i.e. "mailto:" resources are shown as e-mails, "foaf:Person" resources as people etc). The user is represented as a character who can walk around these objects, pick them up, put them down, shoot & "kill" them, and open them up to expand into nested spaces.

The Python code can be downloaded here, and there are executables for Debian Linux and Windows (no dependencies - works well on Win7). This paper describes the RDFRoom concept and some of its inspirations, which include the psdoom interface to manage UNIX system processes with a Doom-like first-person shooter interface.

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TermKit Fuses UNIX Command Line Pipes With Visual Output
posted by Editor on Thursday January 19, @04:51PM
Command Line Interfaces TermKit is a visual front-end for the UNIX command line. A key attribute of the UNIX command line environment is the ability to chain multiple programs with pipes, in which the output of one program is fed through a pipe to become the input for the next program, and the last program in the chain displays the output of the entire sequence - traditionally as ASCII characters on a terminal (or terminal window). The piping approach is key to UNIX modularity, as it encourages the development of simple, well-defined programs that work together to solve a more complex problem.

TermKit maintains this modularity, but adds the ability to display the output in a way that fully exploits the more powerful graphics of modern interfaces. It accomplishes this by separating the output of programs into two types: data output, which is intended for feeding into subsequent programs in the chain, and view output, for visually rich display in a browser window.

The result is that programs can display anything representable in a browser, including HTML5 media. The output is built out of generic widgets (lists, tables, images, files, progress bars, etc.) (see screen shot). The goal is to offer a rich enough set for the common data types of Unix, extensible with plug-ins. This YouTube video shows the interface in action with a mix of commands that produce both simple text-based output and richer visual displays. The TermKit code is based on Node.js, Socket.IO, jQuery and WebKit. It currently runs only on Mac and Windows, but 90% of the prototype functions work in any WebKit-based browser.

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Everything You Need To Know About Peer-To-Peer Networks
posted by Editor on Wednesday January 11, @05:47PM
Peer-To-Peer Searching Peer-to-peer expert Arnaud Legout has released a new version of the presentation for his course on peer-to-peer networking. It is available as a PDF file, but get the PowerPoint version to see animations. With more than 500 slides, the presentation provides a concise overview for each of the major issues with P2P, including the basic mathematical theory and technology that enables P2P; peer allocation strategies; parallelism; load balancing algorithms; network traffic impact; privacy concerns; seeding & trackers; and many other topics. Its case studies are primarily based on the increasingly dominant BitTorrent, and it also looks at Murder, a new Bittorent-based tool that Twitter uses to distribute files during its own software updates.

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D-Wave Praised For Selling First Quantum Computer
posted by Editor on Thursday December 22, @04:41PM
Quantum Computing The supercomputing site HPCWire just released its top 10 hits and misses for 2011, and D-Wave Systems earned a "hit" for selling the world's first commercial quantum computer. The system, called D-Wave One, uses a superconducting 128-qubit (quantum bit) chip, called Rainier, which is designed to bring quantum performance to artificial intelligence applications such as natural language processing, computer vision, bioinformatics, financial risk analysis, and other types of highly complex pattern matching (see this article for an overview of how quantum algorithms can be used to implement machine learning).

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Displair Combines Gesture Interface with 3D Volumetric Fog Display
posted by Editor on Tuesday December 13, @06:09PM
Gesture Interfaces
For some time, researchers have been working on fog displays, in which images & video are projected into a controlled mist of fine water droplets, so that the images appear to float in the air (see Fogscreen for an early commercial application of the technique). The technique has been extended to Volumetric Displays, allowing 3D computer-generated objects to appear as if they were floating in the air (in some cases, at very large scale, like the huge 3D fog display that was seen by 200,000 people at the Glow 08 festival in Santa Monica, CA - see video). Now, the Russian company Displair has coupled a desktop-sized 3D volumetric fog display with a 3D gesture interface, which allows users to manipulate the projected interface in the air. It's not clear from the site what the commercial status is of the system, but there is a great demo video of the interface in use.

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Zoom-Tube Searches YouTube Visually With Zoomable Canvas
posted by Editor on Thursday December 08, @05:21PM
Zooming User Interfaces Zoom-Tube is a Zooming User Interface (ZUI) to visually search for YouTube videos. It displays the results of YouTube searches with a zoomable canvas, in which playable thumbnails of each discovered video are organized in a series of concentric frames. Users can zoom in and out of results with the mousewheel, and pan across them with drag-and-crop mouseclicks. Zoom-Tube was developed by Bevodesign, which has been doing work on several other ZUI projects.

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CogSpace 3D Mindmap Visualizes Methods To Study Cognition & Consciousness
posted by Editor on Wednesday December 07, @05:45PM
Relational User Interfaces CogSpace is a 3D mindmap of collective approaches for understanding the human mind and consciousness. The model visualizes the interdisciplinary knowledge domains of Cognitive Science and Consciousness Studies, using a 3D axiomatic conceptual framework to represent the primary knowledge domains of interdisciplinary Cognitive Science, including Psychology, Anthropology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Philosophy, and Linguistics. Various sub-domains are placed in the map, with the position of each sub-domain corresponding to its relative magnitude of association to the six primary terminal points of the framework. Each sub-domain is also colored in a way to match it with other sub-domains that have a similar relationship with the primary knowledge domains, thus correlating semantic context with both spacial position and color value. The result is a synesthetic experience of the entire model. You can try out the interface here (requires Flash), and here is a paper explaining its design.

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Aurasma Visual Browser Places Virtual Content In Real World
posted by Editor on Monday December 05, @05:22PM
Augmented Reality Aurasma is an augmented reality browser that senses opportunities to reveal virtual content in real-world environments. Content providers place "Auras" in physical locations (i.e. billboards, magazines etc. - see examples), which come to life wherever they are found through a mobile device's camera. The Auras appear like regular images when viewed normally, but when a mobile device detects an Aura, an app converts the image to a video, animation, or other content when viewed through the device's display.

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Twitter

Features
What comes after the file/folder metaphor?

The superficial "look-and-feel" of an interface is distinct from the more fundamental issue of how it represents data to the user. In this regard, potentially dramatic improvements are possible.

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Poll
Are tablets post-PC devices?
Yes, tablets will gradually replace PCs for the majority of users
No, tablets and PCs serve different purposes, and they will coexist indefinitely
Maybe, it's too early to tell
[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:1 | Votes:17

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Older Stuff
- Basilar Turns Web Surfing Session Into 3D City (0)
- JavaScript Library Enables Direct Data-Driven Transformations of Web Pages (0)
- iPhone Attachment Records Continuous 360-Degree Panoramic Video (0)
- Do Gestural Interfaces Hurt Usability? (0)
- Game Interfaces Reward Creation of Semantic Content (0)
- Tableau Empowers Users With Speed-of-Thought Data Visualization (0)
- Entertainer Announces Development of New Relational Search Engine (0)
- What comes after the file/folder metaphor? (0)
- Joking Computers and Comparison of Visual Search Engines (0)
- Google Command Line Interface & What Comes After Second Life? (0)
- Will Apple Still Dominate When The Economy Picks Up? (0)
- Does Steve Jobs See Flash as Obstacle in Apple's Frantic Dash to the Cloud? (0)
- Touch Interfaces and Displays Take Off - Literally (0)
- Mainstream Media Declares Dominance of Mobile Computing (4)
- Televisions Becoming More Interactive; Mobile Computing Reaches Pivotal Juncture (1)
- Using Creative Processes to Mine Scientific Data (0)
- Data Becomes Space With Zooming User Interfaces (6)
- How Multi-Touch Interface Should Be Applied On Desktops (6)
- Huge Archive of Information Visualization Examples (2)
- Designer-Branded Notebooks, Wearable Video Recording, and Safety from Gadgets (6)

Older Articles
Yesterday's Edition

Ideas International
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  • I'm not a robot like you. I don't like having disks crammed into me... unless they're Oreos, and then only in the mouth. -- Fry

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