UniveRSS, A 3D RSS Reader from Microsoft for Windows Vista

In an email from MSDN Microsoft silently mentions the UniveRSS reader. After a look i actually was quite surprised. Microsoft took the RSS possibilities from IE7 and put them into a really stunning 3D interface! The application only works on Windows Vista and requires a Vista Premium Ready PC (With WDDM drivers).

UniveRSS is a 3D RSS feed reader for Windows Vista. 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.

You navigate through the feed galaxies in a game-like environment, freely moving in all three dimensions. Selecting items in lists will turn the cube to the next side displaying the item's content including images. Just click the right mouse buttons and you turn back to the list view or to the galaxy.

The RSS feed items are currently only manageable in the IE7 feed store.

Download UniveRSS 0.5.0.1 for Windows Vista | 9KB
Product Website with screenshots
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men...this is Slooooooow
Ok its a tech dmo granted..But WPF its pretty much final now, so I am hopping that Ati Drivers are lame
cause its running poorly on a X1950

Reminds me of 3DOSX for the Mac - cool, but ultimately pointless.

Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what developers come up with for Vista's WPF and Leopard's Core Animation.

IN case anyone doesn't realise this - it's a technology demo... not an application set to take over the world.

Think of it as WPF's version of NVIDIA's 'Dawn'... looked great, did nothing (other than heat up your GPU).

Not bad. It works, but zoom up to the default "Microsoft Feeds" or any other group name, and the FPS crawls like mad hell. But otherwise, looks pretty cool. The cubes could be a bit larger though, and a bit fancier. The Neowin cubes for Neowin's news feeds don't look all that bad either.

I ran this on a 7800 GT, with the unofficial 97.34 drivers.

Make sure you download the file from within IE, Firefox saves the file but can't run it, while IE can.

Oh yeah, and RSS only, what about Atom?

The theoretical point of graphical and/or 3D applications is that human's can interpret information in many forms.

* Words are nice, but the user has to interpret the meaning.
* Pictures are better as the user can see what what is presented to them
* Moving pictures improve opon the idea as we can see how data flows
* Adding audio to the above issue allows the human brain to interpret data on multiple levels
* Bring in 3D and the user can start to see relationships to the information. Data that is displayed farther from the user can be used to present older or less important data. (or other criteria)

I have said for many years that reading text is unnatural. We have to learn to read, but we can see and interpret information almost from birth. Computer technology is trying to make it easier to express ideas. 3D simply gives us another way to present our ideas.

Ive been a developer for nearly 20 years, and the idea of 3d data visualization has been an interest to me for a long time. When I lived back in San Francisco a friend of mine created a proff of concept (in OpenGL) that would hook into a database to show relationships, views, data in 3D as a library motif. It was interesting (slow!) but the few end users who saw it got the idea very quickly.

Personally I believe that WPF applications will get some serious play in the next few years.

Peace,
James Rose
New York City

I have this running on Windows XP x64 SP2 with .NET Framework 3.0 installed and I find it takes ages to load. Once loaded, it appears to be working like it should. I'm viewing the Neowin RSS Feed within it as I type. Navigation within the program is all controlled with the mouse. Right Click closes the program for those who didn't know.

Wow some of you need to lighten up. Its just a tech demo to teach the new programming model.

To quote:

UniveRSS is a showcase application that demonstrates the use of several WPF features, 3D animations, data binding, and data visualization

Agreed; but at the same time, this seem to show the difficulty in coming up with a truly useful 3D application. I mean, a tech demo for Microsoft's MFC API is the WordPad application, and for WinFX a photo management app. Even if this is just a showcase, what kind of apps using WPF will one really feel 3D is warranted in? I can only see it for 3D effects really, like in Aero Glass.

Hey it's still BETA, and i didn't test it myself (since my P3 with 256MB SDRam and nVidia Riva TNT2 just can't handle this)

It's still impressive for being only 9KB!

Performance is ridiculously slow. 256MB 7600 here, not the fastest but quite capable of rendering a few cubes at more then 5-6 fps.

that will never work...you need this link then download all codebase files, in each file thereafter (add .deploy extension).

http://userexperience.message.ch/thepanel/...RSS.application

or, to make it easier get the files below from http://userexperience.message.ch/thepanel/

3DTools.dll.deploy
Interop.Microsoft.Feeds.Interop.dll.deploy
UniveRSS.application
UniveRss.exe.config.deploy
UniveRss.exe.deploy
UniveRSS.exe.manifest
UniveRss.HtmlConverter.dll.deploy
UniveRSS.ico.deploy

then run/click UniveRSS.application

aww looks like they pulled the download, anyone has a mirror or at least screenshots how it looks?

I went ahead and clicked the download link, it loaded up the reader ok under XP, but I'm not subscribed to any RSS feeds and its way too slow for this old machine to deal with me bothering to test further.

Quote - Colin-uk said @ #6.1
no, you can use one of the other thousands of RSS readers out there already.

I think he was being sarcastic Colin

oh wow... very nice... what`s so impressive about it?

* 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
* 1 GB of system memory
* Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum), Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel.

to render cubes? wtf? optimization anyone? opengl maybe?

Not specifically to render cubes, but to run the Windows Presentation Layer which requires those specs.

I'm not a big fan of OpenGL. I have a friend who was at WildTanget and his take on OpenGL is less than flattering than DirectX... although he would like to have a completely different 2d/3d graphics implimentation altogether so...

Quote - jameswjrose said @ #4.1
Not specifically to render cubes, but to run the Windows Presentation Layer which requires those specs.

I'm not a big fan of OpenGL. I have a friend who was at WildTanget and his take on OpenGL is less than flattering than DirectX... although he would like to have a completely different 2d/3d graphics implimentation altogether so...


The point was that it`s bs for such a simple app to have such high requirements.

Since when do I need a pc that is more powerfull than all military sattelites were like 10 years ago to make a spreadsheet or view rss?! :confused:

Rev,

I'm sorry, but my point was that you dont need those specs for the application, it's that those are the specs for Vista to properly run Windows Presentation... and since UnivRSS needs the presentation layer to display it's content it needs the higher specifications.

And you have a valid point, why would you NEED such high specifications to run your computer... In short, you don't. I can run a 386, or maybe low end 486 with WordPerfect 5.1 and Lotus 123 and other old applications and get much of the work done that many users do.

I dont NEED a HDTV, I just like the picture quality more than my older tv. For Vista to move, animate, etc it needs alot of memory and computing power to move that much data that quickly.

I'm doing some work for a company that is dealing with real-time pattern matching from video devices. And the amount of data coming through is huge. To do this process quickly we need fast systems with alot of memory. We have run the code on Unix variants and Windows and in each case it takes a large amount of memory and CPU cycles. Since Vista and UnivRSS are so graphically intensive I can understand why it SHOULD have such high expectations. Also, with the release of Win95 everyone was saying the same thing about 1mb video cards and 16mb of ram. Im sure my wife's kids will soon complain about having only a terabyte of RAM. ;)

Peace,
James Rose
New York City

I`m not saying we don`t need fast PCs (I didn`t say anything about resource intensive tasks) or nice looking apps. It`s just that it doesn`t make sense to make exactly the same thing that was possible with the a bit older technology work 10 times slower with the new. Where`s progress in that? Users don`t care how easy it is to write an app, they not going to do it anyway even if they could speak their thoughts and OS would magically create an app for that.

Quote - rev3nant said @ #4.4
I`m not saying we don`t need fast PCs (I didn`t say anything about resource intensive tasks) or nice looking apps. It`s just that it doesn`t make sense to make exactly the same thing that was possible with the a bit older technology work 10 times slower with the new. Where`s progress in that? Users don`t care how easy it is to write an app, they not going to do it anyway even if they could speak their thoughts and OS would magically create an app for that.

The progress is for developers which in the end is better for end users. Those specs are really not high for today's standards and the benefits are very high. If you don't know how the WPF benefits developers and how end users will see improvements then you should do some more reading here because it would be too much info just to post here.

Quote - libertas83 said @ #4.5
The progress is for developers which in the end is better for end users. Those specs are really not high for today's standards and the benefits are very high. If you don't know how the WPF benefits developers and how end users will see improvements then you should do some more reading here because it would be too much info just to post here.

Oh, right then I`ll just rewrite all our company`s soft with wpf and tell all the customers that they need to update all their hardware and that they will benefit from that in the end.
Specs not high? Evere seen what most companies use as workstations? You would be amased, believe me.
Jesus, where do you guys come from

rev3nant,

I believe what I was simply saying is that the new graphics give you the opportunity to give your users new abilities that were not available in the previous version of Windows. With these frameworks installed delivering very rich, visual and animated applications are small deliverables. The new WPF gives developers a standard model to work with.

Do you or I HAVE to update our apps. Of course not. For example my last long term project I wrote using VB6 because our clients had much older systems. They didnt get all the latest/greatest abilities of .NET, but the app does what they want.

If a developer wants to give their users a more visual enviroment then WPF is one way to achive this. Adobe offers other options, as does OpenGL.

It all comes down to your client's needs. Obviously lots of flashy stuff is not nessasary. But if a developer does want that sort of UI/UX... then any computer, Win/Unix will need some serious memory and processing to achieve the level of throughput required for motion and audio.

Peace,
James

Quote - jameswjrose said @ #4.7
Do you or I HAVE to update our apps. Of course not.

Umm, normally, yes you do, because your clients decide they're going to use features in Office 2003 - 7 that just aren't in 2000 that does everything you need.
For example my last long term project I wrote using VB6 because our clients had much older systems. They didnt get all the latest/greatest abilities of .NET, but the app does what they want.

Any reason why it couldn't be created on a Linux box (you could have even used Mono to have all that .NET funkiness) that would require even less resources than a VB6 project? You've already got the overhead of having to have Windows running before you dump a VB6 app on top of it.
It all comes down to your client's needs. Obviously lots of flashy stuff is not nessasary. But if a developer does want that sort of UI/UX... then any computer, Win/Unix will need some serious memory and processing to achieve the level of throughput required for motion and audio.

One word: BeOS. Loads of flashy stuff and it ran on a 486. Imagine what something that worked well on a 100MHz (if you had the top spec chip) CPU would do on a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU with all the SLI trimmings. In comparison, something that requires so much resources just to manipulate a pixel is bloatware.

Hmm.... both the download link and the site are down. I managed to find a mirror for the application manifest (installation file), but the server from which it downloads the main application does not have the files, so Looks like it's pulled for the minute?

Chris

Looks great, however doesn't it defeat the object of RSS which was a simple way to view news.

Kind of over the top IMHO

Quote - Co_Co said @ #1
They're making news cool :)

Yep with a "Spore" like interface, only the planets are cubes with letters on them.

P.S. Can you idiots end the argument thing? It's a piece of software. You either use it or you don't. The end. Ok? OK.

I have no idea why people would argue about softwares, or Mac vs PC, while they have probably contributed ZERO to either project. So all you just shut up and either you use it, or ya don't.

C.G. 13YR
Pleasanton, CA