Forum : Advice & Critiques

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Topic: Silverlight catering to mac users?

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EricDevious (Over 1 year ago)
Why did they have to ruin Photosynth to cater to Macs? The old direct3d version was so beautiful and simple. You can sit back all day and just glide through a synth using simple mouse drags. The new system is horribly clunky and slow, and it lacks the beautiful design and feel that the old player used to have. Who’s brilliant idea was it to dull the program layout design to the boring and basic buttons to cater to a user group that bought Macs in the first place for there innovative designs? Why the heck is Photosynth  trying to cater to Mac users anyway? Its a Microsoft product. What kind of business sense does this make? I have a better idea, how about releasing a separate Silverlight "trial" for Mac users and creating a new Photosynth windows feature for registered users only.
dariusmonsef (Over 1 year ago)
Hey Eric. Sorry you're bummed about our move to the Silverlight viewer... but this wasn't done just to cater to Mac users.  We're working on making Photosynth usable by as many people as possible.  This does include mac users, but it also includes people who might not want to install our full Photosynth software just to view some synths.  Silverlight is growing its installation base every day and we have much greater reach now with the Silverlight viewer... even if you only focus on PC users.  

We have a small team and don't have the resources to develop and manage two viewers.  While the D3D viewer does currently have better performance it will never be a simple viewer that most people could use without the major hurdle of a download and install.  As I've mentioned a few times in the forums and on our blog.  We recognize that we took a step back with the performance of the Silverlight viewer, but we're working hard on catching this up.
dariusmonsef (Over 1 year ago)
The Silverlight viewer also allows us to build into the code some great editing features like the highlights feature we just added.  We'll continue to build in editing and synth improving features now that we have a solid platform.  For those of you that really want to view things on the old D3D viewer until the Silverlight viewer catches up in performance we've left a link to the D3D viewer on every synth page.  It's below the viewer in the bottom left corner.

As for the buttons.  We didn't change the layout just for Silverlight, we'd have changed them in the D3D viewer too if we were continuing to develop it.  We wanted to move the buttons so that they were all grouped together and easier to use.  This will take a little adjusting from our regular users... but we hope it will make navigating synths easier in the long run.

As always, we appreciate your feedback.  If you have some specific ideas on how we can improve Photosynth please let us know.
RayRolfe (Over 1 year ago)
I agree with you Eric.

And I will add my own theory. It is now now known that Apple shares 2 directors with Google. Eric Schmidt and Arthur Levinson are on both boards. There's is an anti-trust probe gearing up because of this...
So I surmise this silverlight fiasco is some how Google, competing with Mircosoft from within, by incrementally destroying it's most innovative application.
I'm a technology enthusiast, not an ego maniac, which is why I use a PC. I couldn't care less what macs can and can't run, why would microsoft?

And since when is downloading an application "a major hurdle"? Give me a break. If I remember you have to download silverlight anyway. It's an extremely similar process.

So I don't mean to sound to jaded, but I think MSLiveLabs got some moles in place derailing the direction of photosynth while Google/Apple try to catch up.

Be a logical business strategy wouldn't it?
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Ray, one small correction. I'm not crystal clear on the hierarchy, but the Photosynth team, to the best of my knowledge, was moved out of Live Labs and into the Virtual Earth 3D imagery division (and thus into the MSN group, looking at things from a high vantage point [Blaise is now an architect of MSN, rather than just Live Labs]) after they launched last August.

Darius, etc. I know the team is doing all you can to improve the performance of the Silverlight Viewer. I feel pained for you guys getting all this criticism and also pained as a user who feels the same as these other guys. The install story is troublesome now... two installers instead of one. I feel like that's a major flaw in execution. Silverlight should be wrapped into the Photosynth installer. 

Limited resources and moving to Silverlight aside, you always make it sound as though it would have been impossible to build the editor into the D3D viewer. Really?

Lastly: I, too, really miss leaf nav.
dariusmonsef (Over 1 year ago)
@Ray It isn't just about reaching Mac users.  Silverlight is a much easier way to reach all viewers for Photosynth.  There have been some 300 million installs of Silverlight... a few less for Photosynth ;)

The reason installing an application is a major hurdle, is that for a lot of people they won't have to install Silverlight.  If they watched the Olympics online, a Netflix movie, the Obama inauguration or anything else using Silverlight... they already have it installed.  They just open our website and there you go.

@Nathanael It wouldn't have been impossible to build the editor into the D3D viewer as well... but we wouldn't have been able to make either as useful and it would have taken us twice as long to release anything.  We have a rapidly growing list of great features to add to Photosynth and not enough time to get to them all.  Maintaining two code bases makes everything twice as hard.

Community Organizer for App...err, Photosynth ;)
Schn828 (Over 1 year ago)
I am sure that the Photosynth team is giving their all for this product. I am just glad to know that they still have people working on this project. Whenever I hear of cuts at Microsoft I always hope that it is not any of the Photosynth team.
RayRolfe (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks all for the further clarifications.

I'm starting to look on the bright side. I'm now realizing that, while anyone will be able to create synths, it will be a more rare skill to create in the best quality, using the code modifications previously suggested. A professional photographer might then be able to charge money to create a high quality D3D embed page. Hmmmm?   
I do miss high quality as standard default, though. My blogger page looked cool as heck!

Oh, here is an idea for the download thing, although I'll say again, downloading a plug-in is not an obstacle to users. How about integrating it into Windows7. It's so obvious, I really though that would have been done in Vista. Eh, what do I know, I'm in the end user compartment. Peace all.
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