Goin’ digital

My 20 year old travel companion   http://www.worldofescher.com/gallery/jpgs/P11.jpg
http://www.pictosphere.com/jpegs/portrait_small.jpg   4 dimensional candleholder

We’ll be on the right coast this week, with a new content grabber, the Canon PowerShot S70, wide enough for architectural photography. If the weather smiles on us, there may be things to discuss. Hopefully, the author will find that the transition from emulsion (and a 10-pound SLR with bulky shift lens) to CompactFlash is as liberating as the transition from handwriting to WordPress.

What will be interesting for my techie side is what you can do in post-photography to build architectural images, given 7.1 megapixels and some good tools. Panorama Tools (or a freeware replacement for it) should help compensate the loss of a real tilt-shift lens. The transformations of this little software package are pretty astounding. I like the attitude of the developer, Helmut Dersch, when he states that with his software and the right equipment “previously impossible effects can be realized.” Off we go.

Err. Guess what–every silver lining has an IP cloud around it. Apparently the folks at Pictosphere feel that they own Helmut’s stuff:

We believe Helmut Dersch has made a non-profit contribution to the field of spherical photography, as have many of those who use his software. We plan no legal action in enforcing our patents against Dr. Dersch, nor against non-profit users of his software in the United States. While this is our policy, it should be clearly understood that we believe the “PT” suite of software tools uses technology encompassed by our patents, and that if you are using the tools commercially in the United States, you need to purchase the appropriate Pictosphere™ license (e.g., Click Away™) in fairness to us. We have invested considerable resources and many years to open up the spherical industry commercially to a legal, non-click-fee solution, and we believe this will benefit everyone in the industry. Furthermore, you need to be aware that other than for PT-Viewer, you may have third party exposure if you are using the “PT” tools commercially, (although it may not be worth it for someone to prove in court whose tools you are really using). We are distributing PT-Viewer under the GNU license, alongside our product. Because, as has been previously stated, a Pictosphere™ Click Away™ software license includes a license to Ford Oxaal’s patents, and because Ford Oxaal’s patents alone, so far as we know, cover PT-Viewer, Click Away™ users are free to use PT-Viewer.

And poor Pictosphere is trying to extort from the big boys: iPix and their ilk. Ain’t patents wonderful. The underlying math of mapping pixels from one space to another is in every graphics textbook around. I’m not “commercial” so I’m not going to worry (yet).