“Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have designed a new system that cleverly blends a video-conference feed with a transparent image of a computer desktop into one full-screen window,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired News.
“Called Facetop, the system simultaneously transmits a video feed of users along with a shared, transparent image of the desktop. It allows two colleagues to work on the same document, Web page or graphic, while communicating face to face,” Kahney reports. “Developed by David Stotts, an associate professor of computer science, and graduate student Jason Smith, Facetop was conceived for collaborative tasks like programming or editing text. But the researchers say it has obvious uses in other areas such as medical imaging or remote teaching.”
“The system is implemented in Mac OS X and is made possible largely by the system’s Quartz rendering engine, which can make any part of the interface transparent. Thanks to Quartz, a quick prototype was whipped up in about 45 minutes, Smith said,” Kahney reports. “A PC version will likely be delayed until the release of Longhorn, the next major version of Windows, due in 2006, which will include a similar graphics subsystem.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: If Longhorn comes out in 2006, by some miracle, it will have a “similar graphics subsystem” to Mac OS X’s Quartz which debuted with the Mac OS X Public Beta which shipped in September 2000. More proof, as if we needed any, that Apple leads by a wide margin (in this particular case, by some six or more years) and Wintel follows as usual. Still, Microsoft’s billions mightt be working some magic; it took them over 11 years to poorly copy the original Mac OS with the debut of Windows 95, so 6+ would be a nice improvement. Too bad they can’t seem to improve the quality of their copies – everything that comes out of Redmond seems to be upside down and backwards.