WereSync 1.0b

Backup is a pain for so many reasons, but the main one is that you have to think about it at all. This is a problem that Apple has almost solved with its own Time Machine/Time Capsule software and hardware combination. This autonomously backs up files as a background operation, seldom bothering the user unless disaster strikes or they need an older version of something restored. Linux can do this, too, of course, especially with the latest generation of versioning filesystems, but it always requires thought and preparation – even if it's rsync running on a cron job. WereSync is a new backup solution that attempts to do something similar, although rather more ambitiously; it's designed to clone an entire drive, while you're using it, onto another drive. The second drive then becomes an identical copy that can be booted just like the first, if needed.

The unique selling point for WereSync is that you don't need to be an expert to use it, unlike rsync or the cloning Russian roulette of dd. This is thanks to its GUI, which at its minimum will take just a couple of arguments and happily go off and duplicate your data. The new drive will need to be big enough to store your data, but new UUIDs will be generated regardless, which means you can have both drives on the same system. It's basically a subset of options provided by rsync, with rsync running in the background. This is a good choice because rsync is probably the most popular backup tool we have, happily copying data and change deltas across drives and networks. It's well-tested, especially at scale, and works. Building atop of this backup stalwart is a good strategy.

Project Website

If you've ever wanted to use rsync but didn't know which options to choose, WereSync is your friend.

Structure-from-motion generator


Despite a widespread consumer launch, virtual reality (VR) is still in the developmental phase. This is mainly because of the cost and intrusiveness of this first generation of hardware. There's little doubt, however, that at some point in the not too distant future, VR headsets that track movement and map that movement into a 3D interactive world will transform the way we view the world.

One element of this future will be the recreation of real locations. VR will let us virtually visit and walk around famous landmarks, your childhood home, and historical places. And, the technology that drives these recreations is called photogrammetry. One of the best photogrammetry solutions for Linux is the combination of VisualSFM and MeshLab. But VisualSFM isn't quite open source and is often difficult to install. Now there's another viable option, COLMAP, which performs many of VisualSFM's functions and is potentially capable of better results. COLMAP is both a command-line and GUI-driven application that takes images as input and generates 3D structures as output. Unfortunately, because this is the cutting edge, the process isn't that simple. It starts with taking the images themselves, importing them into COLMAP, and calculating the camera and lens variables before mapping the various photographs into 3D space. Only then can a sparse set of points be generated from the multiple viewpoints of the same structure, which in turn leads to a dense cloud of points, which leads to polygons and finally, a 3D model with optionally generated textures. COLMAP does most of this through a series of tables and requesters, with a 3D viewport to help make sure everything is working as it should.

Project Website

In many ways, photogrammetry often feels like an ongoing research paper, but its 3D techniques are getting easier to use.

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