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Monday, December 04, 2006

Microsoft Releases UniveRSS 3D RSS Reader

The Panel is Microsoft's attempt to innovate the user experience in Windows Vista and Live. Even better, the source code is available for each project. Right now, the only Vista application listed is UniveRSS, a 3D RSS reader.
It leverages the Windows Presentation Foundation and provides a stunning way of visualizing RSS feeds and their content. It introduces a full-screen 3D universe where galaxies represent the folders of your RSS feed directory, and the stars are represented by the spinning cubes that hold the feed information. Size and position of the feed cubes indicate how many unread items they contain.
While the visualization is cool, I'm not too sure how practical it would be to actually use UniveRSS on a day-to-day basis. Yes, it would be useful to visualize just how much stuff you haven't read in your RSS feed collection, but the approach seems too cumbersome when you actually want to read an item. The 3D approach is good for seeing the forest, but not the trees.

Three dimensional visualization has been seen before in Microsoft's impressive Photosynth project, which allows 3D reconstruction of a photo collection.


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Reader Comments:

I didn't find it to be terribly useful, once the "3D coolness" factor wore off in a couple of seconds. I put up some screenshots here: http://inkblots.markwoodman.com/2006/12/07/a-small-universs/

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