Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

HashThySelf to help Partner Launch Cool Ad Campaign!

Watch this space! HashThySelf is actively working with one of our partners (soon to be announced) to launch a novel and cool interactive ad campaign. Sounds intriguing? Well, we hope that it will also sound scrumptious.

All we can say at this point is “yum!”

Hashers!

New Look New Feel is on schedule

Dudes et dudettes

Despite enormous setbacks and hurdles, we have managed to stick to our schedule and the new look of hashthyself that was promised earlier is due to roll out tonight. If you are one of a select set of invitees, you will receive an invitation to beta-test the new site this evening.

Then, depending on whether your collective feedback suggests drastic mods or not, we hope to go live on Independence Day, 2007.

We thank everyone who had sent in comments and feedback, every word of which has been immensely valuable to us. We hope you will be as excited about the new site as we are.

We just can’t wait to open up the site!

A. Hasher.

Widget ETA is by the middle of June

Dudes et dudettes,

Just to let you know that Craigslist stepped in to the rescue once again in helping identify who seems like an absolutely top-notch developer for the Widget task. His name is Morgan R Allen (Check out his blog). For a sample of cool stuff he’s done recently, look at:

http://www.turnhere.com/sfbayarea
http://error.servebeer.com/sand box/hashThySelf_widget

So welcome Morgan. We look forward to a really cool widget from you.

Cheers.

A. Hasher.

Widget on the way

Dudes et dudettes,

As part of the UI reengineering effort, we have decided to present the results in the form of an animated widget. But wait, here is the cool part: You can show the same widget on any web page of your choosing by inserting a single (configurable) javascript line in the page where you’d like to see your HashThySelf results Widget.

This is very exciting. So stay tuned and watch this space!

A. Hasher

New look for HashThySelf Zeta

Dudes et dudettes,

In response to your feedback, for which we are thankful, we have decided to increase the priority of a redesigned web interface for the HashThySelf app. In particular, we hope to model it after our experimental QTmeter website. Yes, that’s right. This was in the pipeline scheduled to make its appearance sometime in the 3rd quarter. But it may be sooner than that. If you happen upon this site, please tell us what you think (be mindful that we are still not using the right reference images for comparison, i.e. not composites from the real top 10 cuties).

Check out qt meter

Both as a fun diversion and for a peek into what the HashThySelf interface will look like shortly.

And BTW, we will also, most likely, do away with the archaic language that has adorned Hash up till now and move to plain clean modern English!

Cheers.

A. Hasher.

Zetangole is down!

Dudes et dudettes

Zetangole is down due to a serious hardware fault and we will resuscitate it at as soon as possible. Please bear with us in the meantime. Apologies for any inconvenience this is causing.

Hashers

Outage on Dec 28, 2006

Dudes et Dudettes,

All us Hashers were celebrating a good year with our families in Disneyland, LA, when the predictable thing happened. Murphy struck and a power outage in Palo Alto caused all servers to switch off. Unfortunately, power-up had to wait until we returned. HashThySelf and Zetangole were not available for a full 24 hours, the first time this has happened in over a year since our launch.

Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. Everything is back to normal now, as we work to bring you even newer features this year.

Hashers.

Model retraining planned

At the current rate we hope to have enough annotated training data to refine our face recognition models and search algorithm early next year. Bear with us until then. When the new models are released, expect significantly improved matching and faster search.

A. Hasher.

Two more Creative Error messages (Only for HashThySelf Mobile)

These were written by ourselves :-) following in the footsteps of our original contributors to the Web-based service). These two new messages were needed because of mildly annoying hurdles imposed by the carriers upon developers. On first-use (assuming application permissions are set to “ask on first use”), the J2ME client will ask for permission to use the camera and access the net. If you deny either, then one or both of the following messages pop up.

CAMERA ACCESS REQUIRED

Thy camera I seek to use
Thy likeness I seek to capture
Thy trust, fear not, I sha’nt abuse
Thy results shall bring you rapture

Until thou grants permission
To snap thy still pictures
My program I cannot comission
To use thy cellphone’s fixtures.

- Thy Faithful Zetamaton

INTERNET ACCESS REQUIRED

I need to use the Net
To send thy lovely likeness
But it seems that thou hast set
Permissions to deny me access

Dear patron, return’st please
Enable me a Network link
Thereafter problems will cease
To hinder our search, I think.

- Thy Faithful Zetamaton

On Data plans for cellphones

To use the HashThySelf Zeta application on your cellphone, you obviously need to have a data plan with your carrier. I find Cingular to be pretty good in terms of coverage and speed, but it charges $19.99 per month for a data plan because, I’m told, it bundles the “use your phone as a modem for your laptop” feature, which I hardly ever use. After all, aren’t we all perpetually in one WiFi zone or another?

In contrast, T-Mo offers a data plan (unlimited Internet browsing via the phone only) for just $5.99 (at least as long as this link is active)

Check it out. Once you have a data plan on your phone, not only can you have fun with HashThySelf and the upcoming Zetangole Mobile party game, but you can also use the ever-so-cool Google Maps on your phone (which has gotten me unlost more times than I can remember)

A. Hasher

Wanted! Folks to try out HashThySelf Mobile on platforms other than Nokia 6682

Since the Nokia 6682 HashThySelf app is writtin in Java, we want to find out which other phones it will run on. If you have a recent camera equipped Java phone, and would like to try out the HashThySelf app on it, you should let us know via this Contacts page. We will then send you a free version of the Mobile client in the understanding that you will promptly let us know if it works or not on your phone. Once we have confirmation that it works on your phone, we will be able to add the phone to the list of supported devices with our distributor. Tell us your phone’s make and model, your name and the email address to which we should send the application.

Note that you also need to have a data plan with carriers in order for the application to work.

A. Hasher.

New! HashThySelf Zeta on Nokia 6682, etc.

Since my last post - we’ve actually made double
progress. Not only is HashThySelf Zeta available on
Palm Treos (which the developer chose to
give away free), we also now have a version on the
Nokia 6680 series cellphones. I must say that the UIs
of both these mobile apps are amazing and wish to thank
both developers for wonderful jobs.

If you have an Internet enabled camera phone that is
compatible with the Nokia 6682 or a Palm Treo with a
data plan, I urge you to give HashThySelf Zeta a try.

See how easy it is to find which celebrity you or your
friends look like by just pointing your mobile camera,
clicking and sending.

Enjoy dudes et dudettes, and be sure to send us your
comments.

A. Hasher

HashThySelf Palm Treo Client to be available soon

Something in the pipeline, which we’ll probably release soon, just to get closure :-) is a HashThySelf client for Palm Treos. Soon Treo users will be able to snap up their friends with their Treo cams and instantly find celeb doppelgangers then and there.

Hashers.

Recent Zetangole Games

At our focus group Phase 1 trial of this game, two features came out as really desirable - 1) A page linking Zetangole games played by anyone and 2) Ability to personalize games through the web so that players could preselect celebs they want to play with, have a “My games” area, and so on. We listened, and we’re working on both.

Watch this space for a notification about the availability of these features soon.

Enjoy!

-HASHers.

Zetangole and MagnaDoodle!

Seems like a creative Zetangole player has come up with a new and fun way to “abuse” Zetangole!

This comes from a comment on this blog (by hb?). Looks like if you have a Magnadoodle at hand, you can play “who can draw better” with your friends using Zetangole. Simply take turns in drawing the target celeb’s face, snap it and let the Zetamaton decide who drew better!

Here’s the link hb posted of his/her own game.

http://zetangole.com/cgi/a?i=01f5000481

This is fun. Thanks, hb, for pointing this out!

-HASHers

Recent Hashes page makeover

We have now made some (but not all) of the suggested mods to the “Recent Hashes” page at http://www.hashthyself.com/recent. In particular, the layout has been slightly cleaned up, and voting links are not presented for images that failed to hash (that is, images in which our algorithm could not automatically register a face).

The page refreshes automatically every 5 minutes, and displayed images are actually thumbnailed, so they load sooner.

At some point we will change the “auto-refreshed at …” tag into a counting-down timer.

Enjoy!

-HASHers

Last refreshed tag added to recent views

On the way to refurbishing the page of recent hashes as per our stated plan :-), we have now added a tag that shows when the page was last auto-refreshed. Of course, the nicer thing would be to have a timer and a countdown, with a personalizable setting for how often to refresh. We’re getting there…

Hashers

The history of Hashing (with HashThySelf)

HashThySelf is H, A, S, and H, the initials of the four founders who collectively go by the flattering term HASHers

Better late than never. Few people seem to get to this link and we often get queries asking “why the convoluted name HashThySelf?”

So, here is the story behind the name of the site (from http://www.hashthyself.com/legend)

How did HashThySelf start?

The narrator swears this ain’t apocryphal.

One of the founders of HashThySelf, A, was at a dinner party in Palo Alto during the weekend of April 4 2005. His partner, M, was wearing a long white dress, a black vest and a scarf. The host stopped by them as they were sipping their drinks and remarked to M “You look very pretty in this dress… Like Catherine Zeta-Jones in `Zorro’”.

“Ahem!” A interrupted. “You realize it’s not very polite to compliment a person on their looks when another perfectly good looking specimen is standing right beside them?”

The host looked startled for a moment, eyes darting searchingly around A and his partner. After A cleared his throat loudly several times, she stuttered, “Ah yes, and you… you look… look shmashingly like Zeta-Jones too…”

Later that night, while driving home, M said to A, “You know, why don’t we create a web search engine that measures picture similarities and gives its users a list of famous people that look like them? Wouldn’t that be fun?”

The following day, A caught up with an old friend H, an expert on image processing, always receptive to A’s wacky ideas. A quick feasibility check later, A brainstormed with S and the other H over lunch, realized that the service could eventually be extended to do voice-prints, for which there was enormous expertise that could be licensed from their employer, and recipes for which there was tremendous in-house need, and HashThySelf was born in name. Of course, voice-prints and recipes are yet to come, but HashThySelf is here for thine enjoyment now!

- Hashers

Notes on the page with recent hashes

Some notes about the recent-hashes page and a call for volunteers to help out :-) I’m sure we can get to all of this soon, but more hands will certainly expedite the process, seeing as we’re all working folk :-)

On the recent-hashes page, we maintain a rolling list of the 100 most recent submissions from people who tried to find their celebrity doppelgangers using HashThySelf. This is a place-holder page under development, and so watch for improvements in the near future. Of course, we are open to suggestions and comments on what to put in here or how to lay it out (There might be a tee-shirt in it for you :-) especially if you volunteer to take on the task or one of the ones below!

Some of the things that are planned:

1. Only present successful hashes. If the algorithm failed to register or recognize a face, the submission won’t be listed here.
2. Layout with twin frames, with the Google Ad running as a scyscraper on the far right.
3. Include a dynamically updating timer that shows when this page will be refreshed next
4. Categorize submissions by date, and present a link going further back into history to retrieve older hashes.
5. Show the user’s “blurb” (a small snippet of blog-like text) along with their hash. HashThySelf users have an opportunity to enter this along with their photo on the main page.
6. Categorize/Compartmentalize the Hashes in some way to be more space-efficient on this page

Poetic error for oversize uploads

Thanks Andrew, for this beauty! You can see this when either a user submits an oversized upload or enters disallowed text in input fields.

Input Unacceptable! Upload Too Large.

A few things ‘pon this earth my pages cannot handle
Amongst them images, shot with but one candle
Low-bandwidth tubes, and capricious connections
Disabled Javascript and paranoid protections

Files with forbidden names, Names with funny letters
Photos thou own’st not, those boundeth by legal fetters
Pictures of non-faces, images of bubbly babies
Files that be too small or bigger than 150 KBs

- Thy faithful Zetamaton.

Dudes et dudettes, can someone contribute a similarly flavored poem for when the input image is in a format we don’t support? (Currently we can handle gifs, jpegs, bmps, tiffs and most other common formats (see http://hashthyself.com/help/formats.html). But the odd user inevitably submits non-image data, or some encoding that we don’t understand how to convert (using Perl ImageMagick). There’s at least one tee-shirt in this for you!

Hashers

The Anti Hash link isn’t gone!

The Anti-hash link hasn’t gone forever. It just moved over to create room for the recent hashes link.

We listened to the comments sent our way by our users (Thanks dudes) and decided to do two things:

1. Insert a Plain-Modern-English Help panel on the front page
2. Create a link to a page of recent hashes submitted by our users.

You can now check out who’s been hashing whom at:

http://www.hashthyself.com/recent

Enjoy!

Hashers

Help panel on front page inserted

People seem to love this interface or hate it. There ain’t a middle ground it seems. While many have written to us that they like the old-tyme language we adopted for this site, some have made the perfectly valid comment that the languge befuddles them, and there simply isn’t anything on the front page that says what the @%&%*^! this site does :-)

We have, I hope, promptly remedied this situation by adding a help panel on the front-page. Henceforth, when you visit http://www.hashthyself.com, you will see instructions in plain modern English describing what you can do on this site.

Note, however, that the help panel is ephemeral :-) It will vanish when you mouse-over one of the buttons or the logo, only to reappear upon the next reload!

Hope that’s a satisfactory middle ground?

Enjoy!

Hashers.

API available for development

Dudes et dudettes,

We are pleased to announce the availability of an API to interact with the HashThySelf servers. You can now write a Hash application on the device of your choice so celeb lookalikes can be found by our Hashing engines and served on the (mobile?) device you want. We have arranged for the output to be sent without Javascript frills and for it to be formatted to suit small screens.

BTW, Check out a poem recently contributed by one of our grateful :-) users:

http://www.hashthyself.com/errors/busy.html

Hopefully, with the addition of a new server to field the hits, you’d never have to see the page in response to one of your submissions!

Here’s what the page says:

The Zetamaton is busy!

To serve thee is but all that I yearn
Alas! ‘Tis just now that I learn
My servants all runneth other errands
Few here be, most in distant lands

I pray, dear patron, losest not thy hope
For although this seemeth like the end of the rope
Return’st, retry’st in just a few hours
I hope by then to regain my powers

- Thy faithful Zetamaton.
(contributed by Martha-Ann “Ginger” Venkman, Arlington, VA)

Cool huh?

PS:

Check out this Zeta match:

http://www.hashthyself.com/cgi/d?k=/AzRnj67XrZKUQwwaRTUJgc

Celebrity Dopplegangers! Which celebrity dost thou resemble?

Dudes et Dudettes,

HashThySelf.com has been live now for over a month, and Zetangole for a little over two weeks. We think it’s about time we started a blog. On this forum, we’ll try and answer all your questions regarding the HashThySelf service, post about updates and improvements, and receive your comments and feedback.

Use HashThySelf - Find the celebrity in you.
Play Zetangole - Cream friends who are less of a celeb than you are.

Here is a Zeta link from HashThySelf for the dopplegangers of Nick Cage:
http://www.hashthyself.com/cgi/d?k=VAB3e633QDrqX93cMPkEPAu

Here is the web page of a sample game archive from Zetangole:
http://zetangole.com/cgi-bin/a?i=04c8000659

Here is a page showing a simulated game from Zetangole:
http://zetangole.com/simulation

We welcome creative input of all kinds. If you want to let your creative juices flow to create one of those funky fictitious ads we run on the side of the page, or send us one or more cool error message screens like this one, please feel like totally free. For that special contribution, we might also put one of the first HashThySelf or Zetangole T-shirts in the mail.

We have an open call for developers to volunteer and contribute by porting our PC-based Java code to a mobile platform such as a Treo. Are you up for the challenge? Check out the Game Server protocol and see if you can contribute a game client. The PC java client was written in less than a week (working during our spare time).

Let us know what you think.

The HASH team.
Compulsively Creative Cranks