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The demand that I upload the same photos over and over is driving me absolutely up the wall when using the Photosynth 2 website.
This *needs* to be fixed.
It is infuriating to get 99% of the way through a 200 12 megapixel photo upload and then have the upload stall (due to network error or any other reason) and not be given any chance to finish the last 1%, but instead be forced to re-upload every single photo all over again, re-type the Title, Description, License, and GeoTag and then have the upload interrupted again.
I am on my fourth such attempt since late last night and this is definitely not the first time that this has happened to me.
Other scenarios apply as well, such as only a fraction of a large upload being used in a synth and needing to re-upload all the photos in the unused portion to try them as a separate synth and repeating if that group fractures again.
Common sense expects that if I've uploaded something, I shouldn't need to again.
As I see it, there are three possible solutions.
(1) Create a hash value / checksum for both the original JPG and its DZI(Z) equivelant.
If this is true, then creating a hash value for each original image prior to upload and then a second hash value for the DZI, once it has been converted on the server would allow you to query the server for hash values of original images and see whether you already have a DZI of it stored.
If the DZI conversion process is identical in Photosynth 1's synther and Photosynth 2's server synther (so that any given image, once converted to DZI, in either Photosynth 1 or 2 would yield the same hash value) then Photosynth 1 and 2 can avoid duplicate uploads from each other and any new Photosynth 2 uploads from the update could avoid duplicate Photosynth 2 uploads.
(2) Accept side loading of photos from services such as OneDrive.
Simply put, since there are many online photo stores which enable me to resume uploads or fill in small blanks in an album of photos, it would be ideal for your users to be able to upload once and then allow you to download photos for new synths from OneDrive, Flickr, Dropbox, Picasa Web, iCloud, etc.
At that point, the burden of transferring the photos to your servers over and over is taken off of my Internet connection and put onto a server somewhere with a faster upload speed than I have at home, reducing my pain as your user further.
(3) Provide me access to all the photos which I've successfully uploaded to Photosynth, allow me to upload any missing pieces, and enable me to select groups of uploaded photos to create new synths from.
I list this option last, since you strive for simplicity, but for those of us who are completely comfortable with file management, this would solve a lot of headaches, regardless of any percieved complexity by the average user.
Having a link hidden away that takes me to my Photosynth photo library and allows me to add a few missing photos, combine them with those I've uploaded already, and create new synths would be very welcome indeed.
Something especially useful would be a filter to show me photos which I've uploaded, but which have failed to be included in Photosynth 2 photosynths (with the option to view them along with the files they were uploaded alongside).
A more primitive form of the third option would be an option to create separate synths with unsynthed photos.
What I mean is basically if a group of photos would have resulted in four different point clouds/photo clusters in Photosynth 1, then give me the option in Photosynth 2 for all four groups to show up as separate synths on my profile without re-uploading the photos repeatedly.
P.SPerhaps it would be best to publish the largest group by default (as you already do), but present sub-synths as available to publish to a user's profile if desired, rather than just dumping a fractured series of synths onto the profile.
In any case, I really really want to see this re-upload problem go away.
P.S. If creating a hash value for the original image files is fast enough, it might be desirable to add this to the original synther to skip conversion to DZI where possible, though this would only work on photos which have been uploaded after such a dual hash update.
Wow Nate, that is no fun what you are experiencing.
If possible, I would like a blend of Nate's option 3 with the OneDrive part in his option 2.
Having a UX for novices and a different one for experienced synth creators would not be that strange. Many products have such an option. Is there any segmentation of synth creators, used by the team to create UX scenarios?
When uploads fail for some reason, the website normally gives the option to retry uploading the missing photos at the end, which has worked fine for me as far as I can remember.
Unfortunately the option failed to present itself the first time (the 99% time).
The next two times got stuck at 12% and the retry option resulted in a little more progress but stalled again at 18% and instantly began counting up to 164 photos failed to upload, every time that the Retry link was clicked, although I did observe network activity while this was happening. (I was accessing the photos from a network drive on a laptop so this network activity may have simply been the incoming data being read by the laptop, though, rather than any upload activity. I also made sure that Windows Explorer could access the folder that the photos were in during the failure to resume uploading, just to try to rule out any local network access issues.)
I have had about 50% success and 50% failure with the Retry upload process, I am sorry to report.
Another little perk of having a hash value for the unconverted images would be that when a new synth uses an image which has been previously uploaded in a synth which has been previously geotagged it will be possible to offer a suggested location for the new synth in the upload wizard.