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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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February 18, 2009 9:55 AM

Sony readies PlayStation 3 push with much-anticipated 'Killzone 2' on tap

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

After three straight months of declining video game console sales, Sony is hoping to start 2009 with a bang as one of the most-anticipated titles for the PlayStation 3 hits stores Feb. 27. With "Killzone 2," the company hopes to showcase the power of its game console and take some momentum away from Microsoft's Xbox 360. Killzone 2 screenshot.jpg

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Comments | Category: Games & entertainment , Graphics and imaging , Halo , Sony |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 17, 2008 2:12 PM

WSJ reviews competition between Microsoft and Adobe

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The Wall Street Journal today published a nice rundown of the battle brewing between Microsoft and Adobe over Web video and animation software, and Web design tools. The story lists the major customer wins each company has notched this year and refers to Microsoft's willingness to offer lots of extras to get its technology on marquee sites.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Graphics and imaging |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 17, 2008 2:26 PM

Adobe Flash nabs MLB.com video delivery from upstart Microsoft Silverlight

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft touted a partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media as a major win for its upstart Silverlight Web video platform in spring 2007, but today the company has lost the customer to the dominant online video platform: Adobe Flash.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Graphics and imaging , Video |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 6, 2008 4:42 PM

Photosynth now available in Microsoft Live Search Maps

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Photosynth, the Microsoft software that arranges photo sets in their real-world, 3-D context and allows people to navigate them smoothly, has been added to the company's Live Search Maps service, as planned.

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging , Online services |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 15, 2008 3:00 PM

Microsoft, plaintiffs debate Vista graphics hardware requirements in class-action lawsuit

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft filed a flurry of motions and declarations late Tuesday in the Windows Vista Capable class action lawsuit countering the plaintiffs' request for a summary judgment on the issue of whether PCs sold in late 2006 and early 2007 with less powerful graphics drivers were actually "Windows Vista Capable," as they were labeled through a Microsoft marketing program.

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging , Legal issues , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 9, 2008 3:23 PM

Microsoftie's research on making you hot(ter) gets big play in NYT

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

When Tommer Leyvand was a graduate student at Tel-Aviv University, he did some interesting work on software that "enhanc[es] the aesthetic appeal (or the attractiveness) of human faces in frontal photographs (portraits)." Now a part of Microsoft's Xbox 360 XNA team in Redmond, Leyvand's "beautification engine" has attracted attention with a write up in the Skin Deep column of The New York Times.

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Comments | Category: Games & entertainment , Graphics and imaging , Research |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 22, 2008 10:12 AM

Photosynth users uploaded 286,689 images in first 24 hours

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The Microsoft Photosynth team recapped its hectic first-day in the wild, marked by a huge wave of interest that overwhelmed the service and temporarily knocked it down. They were back up and running by late Thursday.

Here are some usage stats from the first 24 hours, posted early this morning:

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging , Photosynth |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 21, 2008 10:36 AM

Photosynth "a little overwhelmed;" uploading suspended after big launch

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The guys at Photosynth seemed to be anticipating huge demand and interest in their new product, but it looks like they underestimated. I just visited www.photosynth.com after seeing that the synth of Stonehenge we'd embedded on our site wasn't working. Photosynth appears to be in reduced functionality mode, according to this note on the site:

"Please stand by...The Photosynth site is a little overwhelmed just now. While we're reviving it, please enjoy this beautiful synth. Refresh the page to explore a different one."

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 20, 2008 9:01 PM

Microsoft releases version of Photosynth you can use

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

"You hope a computer could do something that's sort of magic and it so rarely ever happens. Photosynth is one of the cases where when you see this for the first time, and even after you've seen 100 synths, it's still magic."

That was David Gedye, group manager of Microsoft's Photosynth, talking about his team's enthusiasm as they prepared to launch a version of the software that consumers could use. I couldn't find a place for it in my story in Thursday's paper, but, even though it's a bit hyperbolic, I wanted to post it here, because, frankly, I agree.

Here's a "synth" National Geographic did on Stonehenge. You'll need to download the Photosynth software (8 megabytes) and be running Windows Vista or XP to view it.

And here's an excerpt from my story in Thursday's paper on Photosynth:

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging , Natural user interface |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 15, 2008 10:26 AM

Video: UW-Microsoft Photosynth team back at it with new mind-blowing demo

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

When I saw Photosynth for the first time about two years ago, it joined a small handful of new products that really captured my attention. The software arranges sets of photos in 3-D context and allows viewers to navigate fluidly from image to image, moving their gaze from a building's facade to a detail shot of a specific fresco, for example.

Photosynth is a distinctly Seattle invention. It emerged from a collaboration of University of Washington graduate student Noah Snavely and computer-science professor Steven Seitz, with Microsoft researcher Richard Szeliski, as well as a Ballard startup Microsoft acquired. Now at least part of that team is at it again.

In a paper presented at this week's SIGGRAPH (a meeting of the world's top computer graphics researchers), the UW/Microsoft team described the next iteration of their work, soberly named "Finding Paths through the World's Photos." Here's the video:

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging , Natural user interface , Video |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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