Making Whiteboards: Now You Can Too!

I’ve been working hard to get this ready for release, and I am thrilled to announce, my YoVille drawing program, AutoDraw, is available for download!

Here it is in action:

As I have said before, the process of putting an image onto a whiteboard has two distinct parts:  First, to transform an image into a set of pen strokes, and second, to apply those pen strokes to a whiteboard.  The first part requires mathematical image processing, and the second part requires programming the mouse to move and click.

The way the system is organized, the website does the first part, transforming the image into pen strokes, while the AutoDraw executable does the second part, clicking and moving.   AutoDraw simply downloads the pen strokes from and moves the mouse as instructed.

For the user, it means that you can get a simulated preview of what it will look like after it’s been drawn.

The “tethered” architecture also means that there is a much smaller chance of the program being hacked, and illicit porn factories appearing and ruining it for everyone.

Zynga could probably shut this down pretty easily if they wanted, but I am guessing they won’t, because this automation is benign, and I might even say beneficial to their business.  But if it’s used to scam a lot of people, or if it’s used for porn, then it may attract Zynga’s attention and that will be the end of it.

My hope is that the system I’ve built can reduce scams, because people can inexpensively make whiteboards for themselves, instead of taking a gamble with a dealer.  That’s part of the reason for expiring keys.  If keys can be used to make infinitely many copies of an image, then they are too valuable, and only the serious art dealers will want them.  An expiring key can be priced much lower.

So what are you waiting for?  Go download it and try it out!

New Photo Tour

I know I’ve been really quiet for quite some time now.  I’ve been working on a couple ‘top secret’ projects and I didn’t have much that I could offer my readers.

But now I do have a couple things to offer.  One is a new and improved photo tour which should be less time consuming.  Those of you who have done the photo tour in the past know how slow it is.

The old photo tour was arranged in what I call a hub configuration, where a central location had a door for each photo op.  Going from one photo op to the next required two teleports: one to go back to the hub, and another to go to the next photo op.

Here’s a link to the new photo tour for Facebook users and another one for MySpace. These links will take you to the first of 25 rooms. Just keep going left-to-right. MySpace users may also leave comments for their daily coin run. Please no gifts though, because I am already flooded with stuff.

Update: Here are links for the end of the photo tour: Facebook and MySpace.  This is useful if you get disconnected halfway through, because you can start at the end and work backwards.

The new photo tour is in a chain configuration, where each photo op has a teleport door to take you to the next photo op directly.  Like so:

This is much faster.

The reason I didn’t set up a chain configuration before is that it requires every photo op to be very reliable, because a single error can ruin the entire setup.  If the photo ops are not under my control, then it’s hard to guarantee that they won’t break the chain, and if they do break the chain, it’s hard to fix.

I felt that the hub configuration was good enough, but even that got to be a problem because some of the photo op owners would change their setup to have multiple doors, which turned into a maze-like web of photo ops, which led people to get lost.  I think it’s good if more people decide to offer photo tours, but I don’t want mine to confuse visitors in a maze of doors.  That’s part of the reason I decided to set up the chain configuration photo tour.

So what else have I been up to?  What’s in the works?

I am putting together a website, which is almost ready, that will allow people to make their own custom whiteboards.  I’ve got a video posted, and I hope to have the website ready in a couple days.

After that is up and running, I am contemplating a url service which will provide links for those popup things that are normally posted to your Facebook wall.  Like factory mystery gifts, puppies, red/green/blue keys, Hollywood stars, and all that junk.  The problem with posting a raw URL (on Facebook or anywhere else) is that after a few people have clicked on it, it no longer works.  But a little web app can keep track of how many people have clicked on a link, and discard the URL once it has been consumed.

Then, after I’m done with that, I think I’ll re-do the maxing program.  I’m sorry to everyone who is wanting an update to the maxing program sooner rather than later.  As you can see, I’ve got a lot on my plate right now.  I am hoping in a week or two!

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