I want Riya to import/monitor my Flickr photos

Just had a thought. I want Riya to import and monitor the photos I upload to Flickr, as an alternative to leaving their little agent running on my local computer.

The benefits:

  • I upload to Flickr from several computers, not all of them Windows-based. Getting my photos from Flickr wouldn’t limit me to just my home XP system.
  • I’ve already decided about privacy on the photos I upload to Flickr. For Riya, I have it set to monitor and upload from the My Pictures folder, but I’ve got the privacy set to Private instead of Public, until I can review the photos and make sure I want the world to see them.
  • All the Flickr uploader tools and hacks should work to get photos into Riya
  • I don’t have to go to the hassle, however small, of uploading my photos to two different services, and having them stored in two places online.

I’m sure there are downsides, and obstacles to make this happen (analysis would use Riya’s CPU cycles, instead of my computer’s), but it sure would be cool to see these two photo services talk to each other.

Now that I think about it, I want to be able to export the recognized faces from Riya back to my Flickr photos as “notes” – the little mouseover outlines. Now THAT would be cool. πŸ™‚

Perhaps, as I gaze into my crystal ball, Yahoo should just buy Riya, and integrate their service into Flickr?

(Note: I know nothing. Idle speculation. All disclaimers apply.)


Played some more with Riya – this is amazing stuff

After realizing last night that running the Riya uploader on a laptop is not the best idea, I installed it on my main computer at home, with all of my digital photos, and told it to start uploading. More than 6000 photos, and 24 hours later, it’s about 70% done.

But of the hundreds of faces it’s already isolated, I’ve been playing around with the identification training, telling Riya who the faces are, and I have to say, this is some pretty freaking cool stuff. πŸ™‚

You can do a search within your photos, your Friends’ photos, and all public photos for a particular person’s face. You get an RSS feed to subscribe to for those search results – do a search for yourself, subscribe to the RSS feed, and now you’ll know whenever someone posts a photo of you to Riya. Pretty mindblowing. πŸ™‚

You can also search for photos containing text, but I’m not sure if you can search for particular text. I’ll have to play with it some more.

I’ve done about a dozen rounds of the manual training – you’re presented a grid of your photos, and then can tab through an AJAX-y autocomplete interface to very quickly and easily tell it who each face is. When you’re done with a round of this (Riya recommends doing this at least 5x, but it’s addictive, and fun! :-)), it searches through your photos with the new names you just gave it, and shows you some proposed matches. You tell Riya which of the guesses are NOT the right person. It’s pretty dead on most of the time.

At any rate, I’ve got a lot more playing with this to do, but I can’t wait to have a way to search for all of my photos based on who is in them. If you’re like me, and don’t rename your photos after they come out of the camera, this is like a magic app that will parse through and tag your photos, kind of like what Musicbrainz does for MP3 files and filling in ID3 tags.


Podcast Block – what would you like to hear?

You’ve probably noticed a lack of podcast content here at the TinyScreenfuls ranch. Several of you have pinged me about it, and I’ve made well intentioned promises that more is coming soon. I’ve made excuses about how it’s been hard to find time in my schedule to hook up with Brian to record a show (because our podcasts are so much better when it’s a conversation, rather than me talking to a mic).

But no podcasts.

I can’t really explain why not. I kind of feel like I’m facing some kind of writer’s block, but for podcasts. I haven’t lost interest – if anything, the opposite. I’ve been interviewed by the Portland Oregonian newspaper for their articles on podcasting. I’m actually doing podcasting as part of my day job at Intel. I’ve finally got my home recording rig set up and working – it sounds awesome. But I haven’t put out a podcast.

Maybe I just need to sit down and do one. Maybe change the format to a short (3-5 minute) show several times a week, instead of one big one. If you’ve noticed, I’ve posted a ton tonight, which is me overcoming similar feelings of “block” about posting here. Maybe I just need to extend that to the podcast.

What do you guys think? What do you want to get out of a podcast from me? Talking about the news, and stuff I’m reading? Thoughts on gadgets and software that I’m using? Talking about life at Intel, and my ongoing blog/podcast/wiki evangelization efforts there?

Let me know – post a comment, or drop an email. Whatever the format or changes, I want to start being productive, podcast-wise, again soon. I want to be creating again. So I may as well do what you guys want to talk about. πŸ™‚


Really tired of the cowboy boot ads

They’re just so out of character for this site! I’m not half so irritated by the lost ad revenue (paltry) as I am by the fact that they’re just so alien to this site, and my lifestyle! πŸ™‚

I’ve got an open support ticket with Chitika, which shows a status of “on hold” in their ticketing system. I added a note, asking when it would be addressed.

Untill then, I guess I’ll just have to compulsively post about geeky stuff that has nothing to do with you-know-what, to try to chase them away by sheer nerd volume.


Mac Software Recommendations – Audio Editing, like Adobe Audition?

I’m settling into my digs on my Mac mini, and getting ready to tackle that pile of recorded audio I have that’s waiting to be turned into podcast (mostly for work).

I started my podcasting career using Audacity on Windows, and after about a year or so, graduated to Adobe Audition, which I liked for it’s RMS normalization, better noise reduction results, and simple multitrack editing.

Now that I’m on the Mac, I’m looking for something similar in functionality to Audition, that’s either free or cheap. I’ve got the latest beta of Audacity for Mac OSX, and it does the job, but I get the feeling that there’s this whole world of useful Mac software out there that I’m not aware of. Tim Germer already recommended Sound Studio (which crashed when I tried to run it). I’m trying to make sense of the editing capabilities built into GarageBand 3, but I think I’m missing something fundamental.

So, my Mac using friends, what do you recommend I try for audio editing? Should I just take the blue pill, and force my brain to figure out how to make GarageBand do its magic with the 24 bit 44KHz WAV files that get recorded on my M-Audio Microtrack? Is there some other magic program out there that I’m not aware of?

Instruct me in the way of the Mac, o my fruity brethren. I am an open vessel, an unmolded lump of clay. πŸ™‚


Playing with Riya – Java is a CPU hog

So Riya, the fancy face recognition that everyone who has seen a demo has been drooling over, finally went public beta last night. I signed up, and just installed their little uploader app (had to wait until I was at home, because it didn’t work at all behind the proxy at work).

I’m uploading a small sampling of photos right now. Impressions so far? Well, I don’t know. I’ve been waiting for the last 20 minutes for it to analyze, process, and upload the 40 or so photos I told it to upload.

It appears that the little Riya tray application is written in Java, because right now, while it’s doing it’s thing, I can see a javaw.exe child process in Process Explorer. It’s pegging my CPU utilization at 100%, making my X41 tablet very hot, and draining my battery. And it’s only on photo 15 of 47. Great…

It says somewhere on the Riya site to let the uploader run overnight, and boy, they weren’t kidding…


Tetris DS and Metroid Prime Hunters on their way

I had a small gift certificate to Amazon, so I caved and ordered Tetris DS and Metroid Prime Hunters. The orders actually went through J&R, who I’ve ordered from in the past, and their site says both titles ship within 1-2 days. I got a backorder notification, but according to their site, this is common with “preordered” items. I didn’t really pre order, but did order on the day they were released, so I’m hoping this is just a mix up.

Hopefully, but this time next week, I’ll have some time with them, and will post some impressions.


Game feast this week

Several video games I’ve been waiting for are coming out this week: Tetris DS, Me and My Katamari, and Metroid Prime: Hunters. I find that I’ve been doing the majority of my gaming on a portable system, like the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP, because it’s so easy to play for a short time, in between waiting for other stuff, etc. It also keeps me social at home – I can play while I’m sitting on the couch watching TV with Rachel, etc.

I also find that I’ve been playing puzzle/innovative-type games almost exclusively. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been a gamer since I was 4, and I’ve played my fill of first person shooters and racing games, but I’m drawn to games that are a little more “unusual”. Lumines on the PSP is a great example. Nintendogs. Animal Crossing:Wild World, etc.

I’ve been wanting to play a Katamary Damacy game, but with no PS2, I’ve had to wait for the PSP version. Tetris is in my blood, and with all of the cool classic Nintendo themed levels and WiFi internet multiplayer, Tetris DS is a no brainer. And while Metroid Prime: Hunters is a more traditional FPS, the promise of WiFi internet multiplayer, plus the quality we’ve come to expect from a Metroid Prime game combine to add it to my list.

Don’t know if I’ll pick them up all at once, or when, but these are the only games on the horizon that I’ve been excited about, and they all come out this week. Whee! πŸ™‚


The Big Secret: I got an Intel Mac Mini

I’ve been alluding to a big suprise that I’ve been playing with the last week or so. New hardware. Exciting. Hype-building. I didn’t let the cat out of the bag because I had photos and video of the “unboxing ceremony” that I wanted to get ready to post before I said anything.

And then I got busy, and those things kept slipping. And people were IMing and emailing me, asking what the new toy was. I told them, because it wasn’t a super-secret NDA thing. I just wasn’t ready with all of the stuff I wanted to share.

Well, I’m a victim of my own hype. I still don’t have the video ready, or the photos posted to Flickr. There’s a fun little side project site I want to “launch” along with those, too. They’re coming, soon. I promise. But I don’t want to drag this out any longer.

The big surprise was that I lost my Mac virginity. I got an Intel-powered Mac mini, to use as a podcast/video production machine at work. Core Duo 1.6GHz, 2 GB of RAM, and an external La Cie 160GB Firewire hard drive that sits under the mini and matches it perfectly. It’s my first Mac, and I’ve spent the last week or so playng with it, learning my way around OSX, and trying out software. It’s been a blast. πŸ™‚

Those of you who know me know that I’ve wanted a Mac to play with for a long time, if only for the opportunity to learn a new platform. I’m a Windows guy by trade, but I know enough linux to be dangerous. Mac OSX was the only major OS I’ve never really played around with. Since I like to consider myself “platform agnostic” – that is, no “religious” affiliation with any OS – it only made sense that I’d add a Mac to the stable one day.

So the big question is, am I going to “convert”? Will I be staying in the land of beautiful icons, slick window animations, and cool features like Dashboard and Expose? Sorta. I’m definitely hooked. Not to the point that I’m going to dump Windows – there are still lots of cool things that you can only do in Microsoft-land, for work and for play, but I’ve had a taste of OSX, and I definitely want more.

I’ll more than likely be picking up a Mac laptop, but I’m going to wait and see what gets announced in the next couple of months. The 15″ Mac Book Pro just seems a little bigger than I want. I’ve been spoiled by small laptops like the Dell 700m and the X41 Tablet. But, I may find that the resolution of a smaller 12 or 13 inch screen just isn’t enough (my mini is hooked up to a Dell 2005FPW 20″ widescreen LCD, running at 1680×1050). We’ll see.

Expect lots more Mac posts in the future, along with lots of questions – I know a lot of my readers have been Mac users for a long time. Many thanks to those that have already helped me out – especially my friend Tod at work, long time Mac user who has patiently answered my questions and tolerated my child-like glee at getting a shiny new toy. Can’t wait to keep finding cool new stuff for it! πŸ˜€