Do you have an idea for an awesome feature we should add… or hate the way we’re currently doing something? Share your ideas and suggestions here.
Okay, first off, for people who will read the title and be confused by what I mean, I don't mean save the synth offline on my machine. That is a different topic; please go find someone else's thread to comment in.
What I am talking about is very simple. In the same way that in a video editing or encoding program, you can save your video 'project' if you need to restart the computer, etc. and come back to your editing later. This does not save an actual video file, but rather a list of the video and audio files involved and exactly what instructions you've given as to their arrangement so far.
How this applies to Photosynth (where we don't customise what the synther is doing) is very simple. Sometimes I have a nice long list of synths that I want my computer to work on uploading. Then sometime before all of them can finish, the computer will need to be restarted.
If I have already lined up a bunch of synths, with a few hundred photos each, out of a folder which contains thousands (too many to fit in a single synth), then I really don't want to have to recreate my long list of synths again after I've restarted the computer (laboriously selecting all the correct ranges of files again, re-typing or re-pasting the descriptions, tags, resetting the license setting or the visibility setting again on each one, or selecting the thumbnails again for 40 different small synths.
What I would like is to simply be able to set up a whole bunch of synths at once for the synther to go through (just like we are currently able), but then save the list of all of them so that if an unexpected reboot of the computer is necessary in the middle of them, when I restart Windows, I can just open up Photosynth and restart from the beginning of the last synth that the computer had started computing.
Slightly related, but possibly deserving its own 'New Feature Request' entry is being able to open the Photosynther .log files from the synther and recompute a synth, if desired (for example to see whether any difference in the calculation will occur).
From this standpoint, you could view my above request as the simple twofold implementation:
1) Please create a .log file for each synth that I set up in the synther right away (before any tile conversion has happened for it, etc.) and
2) Upon launching the synther, please examine my .log files to see which synths have not yet been successfully completed and list the uncomputed ones for immediate synthing.
(Perhaps have a separate tab where you can see previously completed synths (with an option to query your account and see which ones have been deleted and which are still online) as well as a list for previously attempted and failed synths.
As far as the previously failed synths, you might actually want to list them closer to those that the user wishes to retry, though, attempting to concisely give them an idea as to whether a retry is probable to result in repeated failure or still stands a chance of success, based on the reasons for the specific failure the first time.
One more suggestion for this idea would be to associate which Windows Live ID you want to have the synth uploaded under|associated with.
For instance, if I have a commercial account and a private account or a friend and I both have synths that we want to run on the most powerful computer between the two of us, it would be great to be able to tell the synther, "First compute these synths of mine, but then sign out of my account, sign in to my friend's account (I'm imagining that both people would have saved their passwords in the synther on this computer) and compute all of these for him (or according to the first scenario here, upload these four to my commercial account, but then these last five to my personal account for friends and family.
Going back to my initial idea, it seems as though this sort of data would be better to be its own 'project' file type, rather than storing all of this data in the .log files.
That being said, I do like the idea of being able to just drag a log file onto the synther to recompute a synth (say if I've updated metadata since an initial test, but obviously not moved the location of any of the photos). Perhaps as far as using the correct Live ID for a given log file, you could implement backwards compatibility for old log files by simply looking up the collection in the database, checking the Live ID associated and asking the user whether they intend to resynth with that same account.
Now that I mention the possibility of files having moved from the location listed in an old log file, let's assume that the filenames haven't changed but the file *path* has. It would be great to be able to batch remedy the filepath, but retain a specific selection of filenames.