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Converting RSS Feeds To a Dynamic 3D Scene In 120 Lines of Code

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the something-you-never-knew-you-needed dept.

Graphics 73

descubes writes "Tao Presentations is a 3D presentation tool based on a 3D dynamic document description language. This makes it very easy for developers to create their own 3D shows, illustrate talks in an innovative way, even build small interactive 3D applications. An example included in the latest release grabs RSS feeds from a variety of sources (including Slashdot) and turns them into a 3D scene, all in real-time and in about 120 lines of code. It fetches the pictures directly from the web site and maps them on 3D shapes. And this is only a starting point. Tao Presentations can display 3D objects, drive the majority of 3D displays (including glasses-free 3D displays from Alioscopy, Philips or Tridelity), use GLSL shaders for advanced effects, and much more. Tao Presentations is free (as in beer), and the document description language is based on the free (as in speech) XL programming language."

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73 comments

Already down!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41307319)

*sigh* slashdot

Re:Already down!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41307507)

All I got was a 2D scene of a snowstorm in Siberia...

Re:Already down!? (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310321)

*sigh* slashdot

And we had tried to use Coral [coralcdn.org] to minimize the load. Silly Slashdotters who actually follow links :-)

Underwhelming implementation (2, Insightful)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307339)

but the concept is flawed in that it borders on the ridiculous. What is wrong with just reading the news in a list format? Do we need to see it rendered in 3D?

its about copyright control (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41307375)

has zero to do with news or reading it its like those silly tvs hollystupid wants you to buy into....hahaha suckers the lot of you

Re:Underwhelming implementation (2)

SIR_Taco (467460) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307381)

But 3D is the new 2D.

I'm just waiting for some advancements in augmented reality, so that I can see the world around me in 3D! /sarcasm

Re:Underwhelming implementation (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307505)

Wait until you have 3d ON 3d! It looks like a normal super spy car, but put on the glasses and the patterns on it pop out to be an assortment of rocket launchers and DirecTV ads

Re:Underwhelming implementation (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309521)

if you can't make it good, make it 3d?

Re:Underwhelming implementation (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310247)

if you can't make it good, make it 3d?

Just making it 3D doesn't make it good. Our goal is simply to provide a tool to create dynamic 3D contents easily. Remember the first HTML pages with the blink tag? They all looked horrible, it took a while for designers to catch up with this new technology.

So I'm not a good graphic designer? Not surprised. Well, we are looking for good designers to help us fix that. Do something beautiful with Tao Presentations, and we'll be sure to talk about it.

Re:Underwhelming implementation (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311961)

I think the point people are trying to make here is that TFA title is "Converting RSS Feeds To a Dynamic 3D Scene in 120 Lines of Code"
and when we look at the examples, we are seeing the 3D equivalent of the "blink" tag.

Why bother with the announcement of the tools, without a bit more effort put into what they can do.
Maybe the tools are great, but how would we know.

3D is not the new 2D, 3D is the new color (1, Insightful)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310553)

But 3D is the new 2D.

I'm just waiting for some advancements in augmented reality, so that I can see the world around me in 3D! /sarcasm

All sarcasm aside, 3D is not the new 2D, 3D is the new color. Black and white didn't go away, you can still use it to great effect [wikipedia.org] . But most digital content today is in color, just because we can. It looks more natural, it allows effects that you can't do in black and white.

When you print a PDF document on a black and white printer, you expect it to look right. What's the equivalent for 3D today? Taodyne's value proposition is to make it ridiculously easy to create portable, dynamic 3D documents that will show at their best on Mac, PCs or Linux, on 2D, active 3D, passive 3D, 3D DLP projectors, 3D polarized projectors, multiscopic glasses-free 3D displays, 2D+Z, you name it.

Sure, glasses-free 3D displays today are expensive and have limited resolution. But when Adobe launched Postscript, laser printers were prohibitively expensive, and only black and white. Today, you can practically get a color laser printer with a Happy Meal. I'm willing to bet that in 5 years, glasses-free 3D panels with resolutions of 4K or more will be commonplace. Google glasses will be the new iPhone. And you'll want to be able to create cool interactive, real-time 3D contents for these devices.

It's time to learn how to do that now.

Re:Underwhelming implementation (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307673)

It should have atleast been events around the world (a globe with blob points each resprenting a news article, sized as large as the importance of the article).

Re:Underwhelming implementation (0)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310265)

It should have atleast been events around the world (a globe with blob points each resprenting a news article, sized as large as the importance of the article).

Yes. And if you RTFA, you'll see:

Unfortunately, I didn't find any good way to obtain latitude and longitude reliably for each piece of news, otherwise we could have created a much cooler effect, showing each picture and news at the right spot on the surface of Earth... If anybody has an idea on how to do that, I'm interested.

The best there is GeoRSS [wikipedia.org] , but Google News doesn't use that. So we can show the earthquakes on a globe [pastebin.com] if you wish. Hit the 'w' key for a small animation.

Now, if you know of a good database of geolocalized news, I'm very interested.

Re:Underwhelming implementation (0)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310183)

but the concept is flawed in that it borders on the ridiculous. What is wrong with just reading the news in a list format? Do we need to see it rendered in 3D?

You can render it in 2D if you prefer. The point is that you can now have a Powerpoint-like presentation with, say, a twitter wall inside, or news related to what you are talking about.

Active Worlds (3, Insightful)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307369)

I'm getting a strong, familiar VRML-era stench about this hype.

Re:Active Worlds (0)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310273)

I'm getting a strong, familiar VRML-era stench about this hype.

We thought of it more like an innovative way to create tweeter walls than virtual words. Just like Powerpoint is not about re-creating realistic pictures, Tao Presentation is not about creating virtual worlds, but about telling a story.

Beer ain't free. (1)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307427)

Unless you're a chic. At any rate, wow 3d RSS feeds! Now I can care equally as little about RSS feeds as I did 2 minutes ago. Also, I DOUBT it is 120 lines of code. Maybe like 120 lines of high level coding, from some crazy encapsulated api. I mean, I wrote a HTML Form framework that allows you to create full forms with validation in like 15 lines. Wow.

Re:Beer ain't free. (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307623)

"Chick" is a slightly pejorative term for a young female. "Chic" is a French word meaning "stylish."

Re:Beer ain't free. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41315795)

Although I agree that this is a pointless "innovation", I can see where you might do it in 120 lines of code, and you hinted at how yourself -- "120 lines of high level coding, from some crazy encapsulated api." I once wrote a program to reboot a DOS machine that took all of six bytes. Load a register with a value, call an interrupt. That was the entire program. All I needed to write it was Debug, didn't even need a compiler. Hell, I wrote a full featured word processor on a machine with only 16k of memory back then. So I'm pretty sure it's doable.

Three.js (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41307431)

I am pretty sure we have moved on from individual content viewers. If they were to process https://github.com/mrdoob/three.js/ designed applications and use some tagging to define a distance relocating the perspective then this might have a value.

Re:Three.js (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310587)

I am pretty sure we have moved on from individual content viewers. If they were to process https://github.com/mrdoob/three.js/ [github.com] designed applications and use some tagging to define a distance relocating the perspective then this might have a value.

There are frameworks such as Reveal.js or Impress.js that try to present things nicely using CSS3, HTML5, etc. Taodyne didn't use markup languages on purpose [taodyne.com] . From that article:

Standard markup, yes, but still a new language
On the surface, this structure is well known, so that you can leverage what you already know about HTML.

But notice how the two examples above don't use exactly the same syntax. There's a reason for that: in both cases, the power of that code really lies in additional definitions using Javascript and CSS 3D. We no longer use a really standard language, but some kind of dialect. We still need to learn this dialect before creating presentations.

It's not like the required code is extraordinarily big. For Impress.js, we are talking about 700 lines of CSS and 800 lines of Javascript. Reveal.js is slightly more extensive, with 1238 lines of CSS and 1039 lines of Javascript, not counting a few libraries.

However, that still means that you need to learn new semantics on how to build animations. The benefits of using a "standard" language are somewhat mitigated. More importantly, it means that what makes the presentation really different, the interesting 3D animations and transitions, are not in the document description itself.

A new kind of programming language designed specifically for real-time, interactive documents has a number of benefits. For example, we don't have a linear execution model. Parts of the document execute in response to events, transparently. That way, if you have a document that refreshes only once per second, we use practically no CPU. And if only this or that part of the document executes. See Execution and Drawing Model on this description of Tao documents [taodyne.com] .

Re:Three.js (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310747)

> A new kind of programming language designed specifically for real-time, interactive documents has a number of benefits. For example, we don't have a linear execution model. Parts of the document execute in response to events, transparently.

Because Javascript isn't event driven? Excuse me?

Re:Three.js (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310791)

Because Javascript isn't event driven? Excuse me?

Not transparently event-driven, no. For example, consider the following Tao Presentations code:


color "red"
rectangle 320, 200
locally
        rotatez 20 * time
        color "blue"
        rectangle 400, 100

Because we used time in the inner block, we will re-evaluate that block more rapidly than the rest (roughly 60 times per second in that case). So we transparently detect that this or that part of the document needs this or that event. I don't think Javascript does that, does it?

So wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41307633)

It renders a 3D scene from slashdot of a males wide open gaping anal hole?

I made it 4D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41307643)

By urinating in my pants while reading the story

Not biased at all... (5, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307669)

So the founder and president [of] Taodyne [linkedin.com] submits a "story" extolling the virtues of Taodyne's latest program/thingie and this actually makes it onto Slashdot? Am I really expecting too much of Slashdot by thinking that this shouldn't happen? I mean the entire summary is blatantly written like an advert -- perhaps you could say the guy isn't trying to deceive anyone since it's obvious to anyone looking (eg. me) what's going on, but is that really a good direction to go in? Is even the barest of journalistic integrity a lost cause on this site?

Re:Not biased at all... (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310661)

So the founder and president [of] Taodyne [linkedin.com] submits a "story" extolling the virtues of Taodyne's latest program/thingie and this actually makes it onto Slashdot? Am I really expecting too much of Slashdot by thinking that this shouldn't happen? I mean the entire summary is blatantly written like an advert -- perhaps you could say the guy isn't trying to deceive anyone since it's obvious to anyone looking (eg. me) what's going on, but is that really a good direction to go in? Is even the barest of journalistic integrity a lost cause on this site?

How is the fact that I'm the founder of Taodyne making the story irrelevant to Slashdot readers? What would have been unethical would have been to ask a friend to submit the story for me.

Of course, I'm biased. I've put years of my life into creating what I believe is the first interactive 3D document description language. I think that this is relevant to Slashdot readers. Remember, "News for nerds"? Our first tag line was "3D presentation software for geeks", it's still in my Slashdot signature.

My idea of being a "nerd" is not "I will the (N+1)-th post to rant about how big corporations are evil". Mine is "I will create this bleeding edge 3D language so that uber-geeks can use live tweets as bullet points next time they talk about some hot topic." YMMV. Don't like what we did? Feel free to not use it.

Re:Not biased at all... (2)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310831)

The problem isn't that the story is (necessarily) irrelevant to Slashdot readers, it's that you are in no position to make an unbiased look at the subject at hand and report about it to readers who are on what is ostensibly a news site. This doesn't make you a bad person and you were not the intended target of my rant because, as we both mentioned, you made no attempt to obscure the fact that you were tied to the subject matter. My issue is that Slashdot editors and/or firehosers (I don't even know how that works anymore) should have noted that link and either rejected it or re-written/re-submitted a new summary from their own opinion.

Obviously you have a product you're excited about and you want to tell people about it, there's nothing wrong with that. That's why press releases exist - you write what is essentially an informative advert, which by the nature of all PR is 90% bullshit and hyperbole, and send it out to various news source, bloggers and other interested parties. They then read it, ignore the aforementioned bullshit, then decide whether the remaining 10% is worth theirs and their readers time to make it into a story formed from their own words and opinions.

In short, the problem here isn't that your thingie isn't relevant to Slashdot, I honestly don't know whether it is or not, the problem is that there is a degree of abstraction --a level of objectivity-- missing from the process here. That objectivity is the difference between a legitimate news source and a pin-up board for advertisers, and it's a distinction that I expect^H^H^H^H^H^H want Slashdot to adhere to.

Re:Not biased at all... (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311275)

I understand your position. To be honest, we didn't really expect to hit the Slashdot front page (not that I will complain). We were content with people who look at the Firehose.

But to respond to you point, I think there is a lot of value in this new brand of journalism made of first person straight talk: blogs, video posts on YouTube, etc. You talk to me, I respond to you. Nobody in between. You know it's me, an individual, who loves his product and is clearly biased, and not some abstract and distant entity who doesn't care and just pushes "information" just because they're paid to pretend they are unbiased.

What I love first about Slashdot is that posts are from people who care about stuff, not about anonymous drones. When we get a story about Intel unveiling a new 10 watt chip [slashdot.org] (right below ours), isn't that also blatant advertising? But my hope is that this was actually submitted by some Intel guy who actually works on the chip.

The second thing I love about Slashdot is that the small guys (like us) have a fighting chance in telling their story. Hey, I'm right next to Intel, and we are a gazillion times smaller. Sure, it's free advertising too. But I've put a lot of my money in that stuff, it's paying relatively little at the moment, so do you really think that I can pass on this opportunity of reaching a wide audience on a level playing field?

The third thing about Slashdot are the comments. Granted, I would have loved to see just a little more positive feedback to what we have to offer. Still, the comments generally crack me up (this is an acquired taste, though, the rest of the team is just looking at them and just going "Huh?"). And more importantly, they are very valid data points.

If someone tells me that the language is hard to read, I need to dig further to see what we can do about it. If someone else tells me that you can do that in OpenGL in no time flat, I have to deduce that most readers, even on Slashdot, don't realize what it really took to make interactive 3D that simple. Yes, our app is written in OpenGL, and no it didn't take us "no time flat", and yes, we are good (I personally wrote the first 3D platform game [blogspot.fr] , back in 1989, a year or so before Carmack's Hovertank 3D). So now, we need to explain better why this matters. Without Slashdot, I have no chance to get such live feedback.

So I understand your point, but believe me, the fact that articles about a noname startup from the south of France show up on Slashdot is a good sign. It demonstrates IMO that the Slashdot spirit is still alive and kicking. But hey, I'm biased ;-)

Re:Not biased at all... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41314907)

Have you visited the firehose lately? If not, you have as much right to bitch about what gets posted as someone not registered to vote has about who got elected President. And if so, you don't have to click on the link if you're not interested.

Congrats on the +5, I'd have modded you offtopic. Posts like yours are what I fond distasteful about slashdot; if there are more than 100 comments I don't bother, because it's all bad jokes and people bitching about how they don't like the subject they're commenting in.

Bitching about slashbugs, "bad editing", what stories get posted, etc, are for your journal, not as an offtopic comment.

Re:Not biased at all... (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about a year and a half ago | (#41317473)

I'm not interested in my moderation score or what you would have modded me given the chance. You'll notice nothing about my 'bitching' was regarding the subject matter, it was in the complete lack of editorial control that Slashdot exhibits. I feel like it's getting worse but that might just be nostalgia, after all Slashdot editors have never been renowned for being thorough or professional.

I haven't used the firehose lately; in fact I haven't done much of anything on Slashdot in a while since most visits don't last more than a few seconds. I read a couple of headlines, decide I don't care about this stuff and move on. Even when a story would interest me it's usually something I read yesterday on some other site. It's really only habit and a serious procrastination problem that keep me coming back at all. And that's really not enough, is it? I was actually thinking about this very thing this morning when making my previous post. Perhaps the site really has gone downhill, perhaps it's simply shifted focus, or maybe my own interests and wants have subtly changed; it doesn't really matter, what does matter is that I don't enjoy visiting this site anymore. When I do comment it is usually to complain about something I perceive as a failing in Slashdot, but I don't honestly expect it to change, experience has taught me that much at least. So I agree with you completely in that respect: I'm not adding anything to the community. Moaning doesn't help those who agree with me and it's annoying for those who don't. Instead of complaining that Slashdot isn't what I want it to be I should find a site that is.

I realise that sounds passive aggressive, like I'm running some melodramatic gambit in the hope that Slashdot will come chasing after me begging me to stay and promising to change. I'm really not, it's just feels a shame to walk away from a site I've visited more-or-less daily for over a decade. But it just isn't working out anymore.

I think we should see other people.

3D RSS feed sounds like... (3, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#41307863)

3D RSS feed sounds like it'll be the greatest thing since six-speaker stereo surround sound for the morse code coming out ham radios.

Re:3D RSS feed sounds like... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#41308299)

As a sidenote, many small devices that have integrated stereo speakers (laptops, TVs, tabletop radios...) could do just fine with a mono speaker. You really cannot create a good stereo image in that sort of setting anyway. Give me one slightly better speaker instead of two craptastic ones.

free as in beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41308221)

Beer is not usually free, sometimes beer is a trick, sometimes beer is home made, sometimes free beer is horrible, sometimes free beer fell off the back of a truck (free as in stolen), what are you talking about?

Re:free as in beer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41308857)

"Free as in beer" is a concept generally associated with Richard Stallman. He was trying to explain his concept of free software. The basic idea is that when you say free beer, you mean that you don't want to pay money for it. When you say free speech, you mean that you don't want it to be restricted. Stallman's concept of free software was for it to be free like speech should be, not free like we wish beer was.

Links (from googling "free as in beer"):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_libre [wikipedia.org]
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?FreeAsInBeer [c2.com]
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31717/what-do-the-phrases-free-speech-vs.-free-beer-really-mean/ [howtogeek.com]

Re:free as in beer (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309415)

Beer is not usually free, sometimes beer is a trick, sometimes beer is home made, sometimes free beer is horrible, sometimes free beer fell off the back of a truck (free as in stolen), what are you talking about?

I hadn't heard the "free as in beer" term used that much recently but I didn't think it was _that_ long ago... maybe i'm just old :(

Lines as a meazsure of code size (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41308231)

Remember APL ? You could do an awful lot of stuff in one line using APL

Of course it was totally unreadable by humans

Re:Lines as a meazsure of code size (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310671)

Of course it was totally unreadable by humans

Are you really arguing that this is unreadable by humans?


feed "US News", "http://news.google.com/news?ned=us&charset=utf8&output=rss"
feed "Slashdot", "http://rss.slashdot.org/Slashdot/slashdot"
feed "Twitter taodyne", "http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=taodyne

Vaporware or crapware? (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41308953)

These guys cannot even figure out how to reinstall display drivers on a Win 7 box [taodyne.com] and they want to sell me a rendering package? Not gonna happen.

Re:Vaporware or crapware? (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310179)

These guys cannot even figure out how to reinstall display drivers on a Win 7 box [taodyne.com] and they want to sell me a rendering package? Not gonna happen.

RTFA. We did reinstall the display drivers, and they just don't work. Unless you think that having full screen rendering blinks unless the screen is upside down is not a bug in the driver. Seriously. And the problem only exists on this particular ATI driver, never had that with the original driver or with nVidia...

Re:Vaporware or crapware? (1)

Simon80 (874052) | about a year and a half ago | (#41371031)

I have to say, having scrolled through all of these negative comments, I really feel for you for trying to respond to so many of them without losing your head. Not all of us readers feel the need to put down the little guy just because you got some attention on Slashdot. I'm saddened that so many are taking the time to do this instead of just skipping over the article.

Caution, clicker. (1)

kfsone (63008) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309075)

The links in the article are a bit ... odd

http :// www.taodyne.com.nyud.net / shop / en / blog / 42-showing-rss-feeds-in-3d

Whereas taodyne actually have their own site, www.taodyne.com/

Re:Caution, clicker. (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309527)

nyud.net is used to try and lessen a Slashdotting of the original site. Coral cache is another option if you don't want to use AWS

Youtube Video Link (also, this is stupid) (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309131)

The site is slashdotted at the moment but here is the video on that page when it finally sort-of loaded.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk39a22wDL0 [youtube.com]

What sort of pointless nonsense is this? What actual purpose does this have that any normal RSS reader does not have? All it is, seems to be, sticking a list of RSS links on a "jaunty angle" in 3d and adding an associated image on a spinning cube. It's just... pointless.

It's not even much of a technology demonstration is it, I'm no 3d guy, but I'd have assumed that using OpenGL or something one could knock something like this together in no time flat, probably any time in the last 10 to 15 years!

Re:Youtube Video Link (also, this is stupid) (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310897)

It's just... pointless.

Rather, I think you just... missed the point. The point is not the end result, it is to show how you can now create dynamic 3D documents really easily.

I'd have assumed that using OpenGL or something one could knock something like this together in no time flat, probably any time in the last 10 to 15 years!

You'd assume wrong. In addition to OpenGL, you need at least: font rendering and typography, typesetting, JPEG image decoding, networking, text parsing. If you don't believe me, go ahead, do it. I did that short example over a coffee break, definitely less than 2 hours. Let me see how long your "no time flat" will be if you do "something like this" with straight OpenGL.

If you want to replicate this with another technology, you'd be much luckier starting with Reveal.js, Impress.js and combining this with Three.js. With that basis, I think you can probably get somewhere rapidly. At least, you'll have text and picture rendering.

Re:Youtube Video Link (also, this is stupid) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41312379)

Rather, I think you just... missed the point. The point is not the end result, it is to show how you can now create dynamic 3D documents really easily.

I must confess that I also missed the point. The headline of the submission focuses on the RSS feed in 3D, making me believe that it really is the "RSS feed" that is important. Perhaps you should frame this demo differently to convey your intent to the reader. "Create Dynamic 3D documents easily" sounds quite diffferent from "3D RSS reader" as a headline.

I am also struggling with your intended audience. Programming in a scripting language indicates you want to target really technical users. But showing a presentation in 3D on an expensive 3D display targets... who? Marketing types? Medical professionals? I don't know. Not your average programmer anyway.

I looked as this tool as I would be interested in displaying my computer network / sysadmin type stuff dynamically in 3D. Stock market performance. That sort of stuff. But I can't see that this tool makes that easier.

Please continue to work on your demos and think really hard about your audience.

Thank you Sir for your continued presence in this thread.

Data visualization (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312819)

I must confess that I also missed the point. The headline of the submission focuses on the RSS feed in 3D, making me believe that it really is the "RSS feed" that is important. Perhaps you should frame this demo differently to convey your intent to the reader. "Create Dynamic 3D documents easily" sounds quite diffferent from "3D RSS reader" as a headline.

You are right I guess. I'll take that into account for my next Slashdot submission :-)

I looked as this tool as I would be interested in displaying my computer network / sysadmin type stuff dynamically in 3D. Stock market performance. That sort of stuff. But I can't see that this tool makes that easier.

Let's try making something like that together. Here's one way to do it:

1) Create a small web server somewhere that returns the stuff you are interested it, for example in CSV format. Say you get lines with X,Y,Z,"label".

2) Read that web server with Tao Presentations, using code that looks like this:


get_url_csv "http://myserver/data.csv", "drawit"
drawit X,Y,Z,Label ->
    locally
        translate X,Y,Z
        text Label
drawit MalformedInput -> false

Of course, your server could also send color, or a sphere diameter, so you could have something like:


drawit X,Y,Z,Color,Radius,Label ->
    locally
        translate X,Y,Z
        color Color
        sphere Radius
        translate Radius, 0, 0
        text Label

If you don't want to access the network to get your data, you can also read that from a local file. For example, you can have a Perl script that munches your input data and writes it to a given local file. Then, your Tao Presentations document does something similar to the above, but with load_csv instead of get_url_csv.

You could obviously send data in other formats and parse it with regexps (XML and JSON are coming soon, hopefully). But at the moment, CSV is by far the fastest way to read relatively big amounts of data for Tao Presentations. In this 3D star map example [taodyne.com] , we use that very technique to show about 15000 stars from the Hipparcos catalog, and it runs smoothly on a modern laptop.

What the hell? Don't bother to RTFM (1, Insightful)

Zadaz (950521) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309169)

Is this a blast from the past post from 1998?

I admit I skimmed the Slashdot summary and thought it was compressing 3D information into Twitter-sized bites, similar to the Twitter music notation from a while back. But then I click on the links and see RSS FEEDS IN THREE DEES! Not even really in 3D, just with perspective.

I'm not even going to dig up any of my "Oh, just stop with trying to display text in 3D" rants because everyone has to know by now, right? Everyone but these guys. (Hint: Do a search for VRML.)

And what's with the "120 lines of code" crap? I could probably do the same thing in 5 lines of Processing, or a whole lot more of ASM. But this is a stupid thing that should never have been done. And not "stupid as in awesome" like launching flaming pianos with a trebuchet or "stupid as in a challenge" like getting a toaster to play Oregon Trail, but stupid as in pointless with no redeeming value.

So as much as Slashdotters love to bash on people for not pulling the subtle points from the fine article, don't bother with this one. It was a mistake to have made it to the front page, on top o the much greater mistake of actually doing it in the first place.

It is actually 3D, if you explore the View menu (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310369)

But then I click on the links and see RSS FEEDS IN THREE DEES! Not even really in 3D, just with perspective.

Use the "View->Display Mode" menu and select your favorite 3D mode, and you'll have actual 3D. Including 3D without glasses if you are lucky enough to own Alioscopy [alioscopy.com] , Dimenco [dimencodisplays.com] or Tridelity [tridelity.com] displays.

And what's with the "120 lines of code" crap? I could probably do the same thing in 5 lines of Processing.

Why don't you do just that? But knowing Processing, I seriously doubt this is more than trolling.

But this is a stupid thing that should never have been done. And not "stupid as in awesome" like launching flaming pianos with a trebuchet or "stupid as in a challenge" like getting a toaster to play Oregon Trail, but stupid as in pointless with no redeeming value.

And someone modded this insightful? Ach, Slashdot.

actually running the 120 lines is not free (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309643)

the 120 lines of code under review actually need a pay version of Tao. The free evaluation version does not work with the example code TFA shows. [Nice although that a linux version is available.]

Re:actually running the 120 lines is not free (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310209)

the 120 lines of code under review actually need a pay version of Tao. The free evaluation version does not work with the example code TFA shows. [Nice although that a linux version is available.]

So you have to dismiss two dialog boxes mentioning that we use pay features in that presentation. Big deal! The only downside of using the free version or modules you didn't pay for is that you will have a Taodyne logo showing up in the corner of the screen. No time bomb, no other limitation. Seriously.

Wow, 120 lines! (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310003)

...is that a lot? Not enough?

Anyway, my new language has a built-in function to do this, so it needs only one line of code!

Re:Wow, 120 lines! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41312919)

Who needs your new language? I can do that in one line of code with good old bash:
    tao /opt/Taodyne/TaoPresentations/templates/newsfeed/news.ddd

Malware? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310065)

McAfee doesn't like those links. Whazzup with that?

"not available in your country" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310245)

I kept on getting a "not available in your country" notice.

I'm in Canada - anyone in Europe able to see past the first page?

Re:"not available in your country" (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310283)

I kept on getting a "not available in your country" notice.

I'm in Canada - anyone in Europe able to see past the first page?

I think this should be fixed now. Thanks for reporting. Believe it or not, Canada was not listed in the "known countries" in our database. Sorry...

Mmm, XML parsing with regexps (1)

Froggie (1154) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310737)

Apparently we need a nice high level 3D presentation library but we don't want to work out how to use libxml2. I shall leave http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1732348/regex-match-open-tags-except-xhtml-self-contained-tags [stackoverflow.com] here and leave you to consider the error of your ways.

(Also, what language did you base that on? It's surprisingly hard to read.)

Re:Mmm, XML parsing with regexps (1)

descubes (35093) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311015)

Apparently we need a nice high level 3D presentation library but we don't want to work out how to use libxml2.

The idea here was precisely to show the kind of things you could do with mere regular expressions (we introduced a regexp module recently). Yes, I know it is theoretically wrong, and if you knew how much I don't care, you wouldn't bother insulting me with the suggestion that we wouldn't know how to use libxml2. XML parsing is on its way, but if you want to add it yourself, Taodyne provides a C++ SDK (here is an example [gitorious.org] to get you started).

(Also, what language did you base that on? It's surprisingly hard to read.)

As mentioned in the story, it's called XL [sf.net] . Can you elaborate why you think it is hard to read? As an aside, I completely disagree with that statement. Here is for example how you create a slide in Reveal.js:

<section>
  <h2>Heads Up</h2>
  <p>
    reveal.js is an easy to use, HTML based, presentation tool.
  </p>
</section>

Here is how you create a similar slide in Tao Presentations:


slide "My page",
    title
        text "Heads up"
    story
        text "Tao Presentations is an easy to use, XL-based presentation tool"

For me, I already know which one I find easier to read (or to copy-paste in Slashdot for that matter). But the difference really shows when you want to add a time-dependent HSV color:


slide "My page",
    title
        text "Heads up"
    story
        color_hsv 20 * time, 30%, 80%
        text "Tao Presentations is an easy to use, XL-based presentation tool"

Now, writing this in Reveal.js is left as an exercise for the reader...

Re:Mmm, XML parsing with regexps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41312429)

Apparently we need a nice high level 3D presentation library but we don't want to work out how to use libxml2.

The idea here was precisely to show the kind of things you could do with mere regular expressions (we introduced a regexp module recently). Yes, I know it is theoretically wrong, and if you knew how much I don't care, you wouldn't bother insulting me with the suggestion that we wouldn't know how to use libxml2.

Wow, some people are never satisfied. They already ran your Slashvertisement, but you also want everybody to tell you how wonderful your language is - you want a hand-job too?

Presentation Tool is more than just 3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311747)

I tried Tao Presentations a while back, and while I personally have no use for the 3D features per se, the ability to easily script a presentation is really useful when conveying ideas that are considerably more complex than a couple of bullet points (in my case, code and algorithms). What otherwise takes me days of mind-numbing work using Keynote (which gradually slows down as complexity increases) I can do in less than a day with a bit of straightforward coding ("scripting"). (The scripting involved here is different from e.g. AppleScripting Keynote. You don't so much write a script to create an opaque document; rather, the script _is_ the document.)

user perspective (well, mine) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41314351)

We use it (among other things) for rendering simulations of asteroid collisions (4k frames of 250k particles). I am not sure of what tools could have been used before but our local rocket scientists used to spend the night producing a flat movie that they inserted in their PowerPoint (and back to step one if the movie wasn't good enough). Now they just need to load the data and they can manipulate the thing (rotate, explore, filters particle etc...) in real time in their presentations. Would be beyond their hopes even without the 3D (the optional aspect of witch should remain quite important in real world for some time).
From my perspective, just having the possibility to code the thing (in a general purpose language, meaning that in the yet to happen worst case scenario, I would not be stalled) without wasting time with a wysiwyg interface that some very helpful person thought would be just what I needed would have been enough to justify the move: if I'm in a hurry and just want to package some pieces of existing sample code for a training, I can do it quick a get a descent result (at least better than what I could get before, (I hate doing slides)). Basically, it is a simple effective tool that can adapt to the amount of time and energy I can/am willing to put on the job at hand.

This is actually quite cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41318293)

ok, so I've been playing with the thing a bit. you should look at the various demos. the one that has 6 scrat movies on a cube made me laugh, you can't get enough of scrat... the pastebin is here http://pastebin.com/TjXu2vdt. got that from the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-rNUlgNiI0. interesting how they adjust the sound based on whcih video is in the front. and that demo grabs the videos straight from youtube, which is cool. made me wonder if you could do something like that with html5 and css3d and have something that runs as smoothly.

some built-in demos are surprising, like their water demo, where you click on the slide background and you see water ripples. not sure if i like it, but i like that they can do something that crazy. the mandelbrot example is also interesting, because it shows how you can use glsl (the opengl shading language) to do mathematical stuff. glsl can be used for really cool effects. i can't wait to play more with that.

a few things i noticed. there's a kind of user interface, menus to add shapes. but it seems like an afterthought. tho having the code self-modify when you insert a shape or move it on the screen is interesting. i think i saw apple do that with javascript. they're probably on something there, but it needs more work. i discovered that the menus are all defined in a config file called tao.xl. interesting. so you can actually change the menu layout if you want. not sure why you'd do that, but it has a kind of emacs-lisp feeling to it that i like.

when they say it's free, it is more like adware, but not overly annoying. it basically pops a dialog box or two about missing licenses. then it seems to jsut work. i think you need to pay to get rid of the logo in the corner of the screen. makes sense for them to place an ad each time someone uses the free version. i suppose they'll sell ad-space unless you pay, is that their business model?

rendering of 3d or video or 3d objects is actually quite good. i couldn't find an example with 3d video, but the site implies they support it, there's even a module called stereodecoder. i had a bit of trouble with my 3d tv. once i selected the over-under mode on both sides, it worked well. that mode is annoying because when you quit the app, the tv doesn't revert to 2d mode, so it strains the eyes. better pick a black background. i also tried alternate rows, but on my tv it's blurry. i think it has something to do with overscan. at any rate, the 3d effect is definitely there. looking at the tao.xl file taught me that i could adjust the depth with control+ and control- and a few other useful keyboard shortcuts.

on the language side, it's really... different. nothing like xml in sight, despite the xl name instead, a kind of pattern matching that makes a lot of sense once you get the hang of it. you write a->b and it means 'a becomes b'. you can define variables or functions that way. say you have a collection of names, you can do name 1 -> "joe" and name 2 -> "jane", and then iterate on name i. you have to get used to the lack of parentheses and punctuation, tho the language seems to accept them. so you can type if (x>y) instead of if x>y, it still works.

but the execution model is strange, with parts of the documents executed at different times. i can see a lot of complexity lurking in the shadows. having bugs in my powerpoints? another way to make life interesting. on teh plus side, writing slides with a kind of wiki-like language is really interesting, and having arithmetic or math functions or loops in that wiki language is a definite plus.

one thing i find really useful is that you can edit the source code with whatever editor you like, and as soon as you save, the thing updates automatically. not a new idea, preview on macosx has been doing it for a while, but still useful when you edit source code. the problem is that this seems to break down when you have errors. it shows error messages, and then more often than not i had to restart the app. also, you can't get to the source line by clicking on an error message!

a few other ideas i liked: creating multilingual slides, although that's probably more useful in europe. being able to draw mathematical curves directly in the software. the point cloud stuff, i can really see a use of this to show really big data sets (my machine craps out around a million random points, not too bad). oh, and the smart resizing. that is really great, because it's so simple. the background and the text don't resize at the same rate, so that the text always fits and the background always covers the whole screen. you really have to try it with, say, the "simple slides" demo. smooth and sweet.

this all leaves me with a really mixed feeling. it's clearly work in progress, already usable, but making you wish for more. i can see myself becoming addict to that tool. it's fun to use, and it's definitely very rich. but with tons of sharp edges to bite you.

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