High quality photography from simple cheap lenses using post-processing (Video)

Sample Results
Sample Results

There is a good reason why DSLR camera lenses are so expensive; in order to perfectly focus an image many lens elements are required making the whole system expensive to both to design and manufacture. But with the following research it seems like there is a high quality future for cheap lenses too. The research paper describes a way to post-process images, shot through a cheap single element lens and bring out the lost sharpness of the original image. The process works by calculating the way the image is distorted when passed through the lens and then reversing its effects. To do this they first shoot calibration targets and mathematically extract the distortion pattern for the particular lens. You can view the video below for more details:

I can see this having a good practical application in mobile phone imaging where due to the size of the optics its nearly impossible to include a multi-element lens.

Source: Project Home Page

Google Reader – my favorite website is shutting down – what are the alternatives?

The Facts

In a move that I fail to understand Google announced on the Google Reader blog that they will be shutting down their service for good on 1st July 2013 due to ‘decreasing number of users’. I and many others probably don’t think of course this is the real reason, Google Reader is one of Google’s cheapest to run products but it probably hinders parts of their greater agenda to push their social media platform Google+ (i.e. if you subscribe to an RSS feed you don’t need to follow the page on Google+ to get updated, so removing your RSS reader might push more users to Google+).Ā  (more…)

PhpStorm – an IDE worth its name

I recently switched to JetBrains PhpStorm as my main IDE for PHP/HTML/JS/CSS development. I tried many solutions in the past such as Dreamweaver (please don’t try it), NetBeans, Aptana, Eclipse PDT, before settling with Zend Studio for quite sometime and finally a couple of months ago I gave ZendStudio the boot and switched to PhpStorm. I am currently using version 6.0 from the Early Access Program (the current stable is version 5) – and I am planning to buy it once 6.0 final is out. (more…)

LaserVex – Very Challenging HTML5 Puzzle Game

LaserVex is a very challenging optics based game. Each level has one or more laser sources, a series of mirrors, a number of targets all on the same plane. The aim of the game is to hit all targets just by moving the mirrors around without moving the laser sources. It sounds and looks simple at first but after going through the first 4-5 levels you will start facing some real challenges. Its one of the hardest puzzle games I’ve played in a while.

It has a lot of potential and should be made available as a mobile app. The graphics are lacking a bit (its all lines basically on a canvas) and the controls need some work (moving a mirror requires yo to move both vertices) but the gameplay makes up for it.

If you don’t have time to waste please don’t try this game. You’ve been warned.

Check it out here.

How to take screenshots in Windows 8

Microsoft added a nice feature to Windows 8. Just hit Win + Prt Sc and you can get a full screenshot saved directly to your Pictures/Screenshots folder in 24 bit PNG format. No more fiddling with Paint or Snipping tool. Oh, and this key combination will also take screenshots of Metro apps not just Desktop.

Nexus 7, iPad Mini and iPad 3 Drop & Water Test – Which survived?

SquareTrade have done their ‘scientific’ drop test for the (almost) latest tablets. You should generally ignore whatever the guy is saying since he’s utterly biased (he says iPad mini survived when you can clearly see the screen got cracked all the way. Then they go ahead and submerge each tablet in water, all of them survived this test, Apple’s products remained on while in water, while Nexus 7 powers down (which is the correct thing to do when any electronics get dropped in water). The guy automatically suggests Nexus 7 doesn’t work but you can clearly see that its booting.

Android 4.2 Photo Sphere feature – a real innovation

Android 4.2 comes pre-installed on LG Nexus 4 which was announced yesterday (which seems like a great phone for its price, Quad Core Snapdragon S4 SoC, 2GB RAM, 720p display, 4.7inch screen and all the usual bells and whistles for 299 USD). One of the new features of 4.2 is the upgraded camera app which has a new shooting mode called Photo Sphere. It’s the next evolutionary step in the Panorama mode that digital cameras and camera-phones had for years, it allows you to shoot multiple photos from a single point and it automatically stitches them together seamlessly without any user effort. Unlike panoramas, it works both vertically and horizontally at the same time and you don’t really need to align edges manually, just keep shooting to fill in the gaps. After you are done you can navigate your photo sphere the same way you’d look around in Google Street Map. View the video below to get the idea:

This feature will probably be copied by the usual suspect and it won’t be long before your friends start sharing their ‘surround’ photographic experiences on Facebook; now all we need is Instagram support so users can start ruining their Photo Spheres as well.

Windows 8 is out – how to upgrade?

Windows 8 is now out in retail and if you are a legit Windows XP/Vista or 7 user you are entitled to a 39.99 USD upgrade. You can visit this link to download the Upgrade tool. Assuming you are still running the original Windows version your PC came pre-installed upgrade to Windows 8 will be straight forward. Apparently its even possible to upgrade if you have the Release Preview installed and a valid Windows XP/Vista/7 key (which is usually printed on a sticker on your laptop or desktop).

Unfortunately In my case I installed Windows 8 Enterprise Trial when RTM came out which is valid for 90 days (and has almost expired by now). That version cannot be directly upgraded and there’s no way on earth I will reinstall the bloated version ofĀ Windows 7 that came pre-installed on the laptop by Asus (I did create re-install media and probably have it somewhere but as i recall Asus tool filled 5 DVD’s). The only upgrade path I could take will involve re-installing the Release Preview and use my Windows 7 key; but I’d rather not lose the configuration and apps I have installed on the current installation which is after all final but just time-limited.

It seems you can still download the Release Preview ISO directly from Microsoft hereĀ for 64bit and here for 32bit. Now all its left is to find a way to trick it into downgrading Windows 8 Enterprise Trial RTM into Release Preview (which could possibly be done by changing cversion.ini)and then using the upgrade tool to purchase a Windows 8 license and upgrade to Windows 8 Pro retail.

I’ll run my experiments tonight after work and hopefully post a step by step guide if I get it done.