Social Networking
World Wide Anonymity

The World Wide Web is populated by the species that created it — an embodiment of organisms never before seen.

Our communications, actions and perceptions are not limited by physical boundaries of the environment that we inhabit. We are anonymous, faceless, masked and voiceless — yet have presence, knowledge and the power to change.

Without the expense of physical consequences, we act without fear. In the face of negative public recognition we metamorphose and become new again — any trace of identity in our anonymity erased, hidden, submerged in the depths of virtual worlds.

Without identity, we are everyone.
We are dictators
We are victims.
The accepted.
And the controversial.

We are escape artists

We are the masterminds.

We are dead politicians

We are the naive.
Children born into technological royalty.

We are the virtual embodiment of our imagination.

The Difference Between Science and Religion
A picture of Charles Darwin
Last semester I wrote an article on the difference between science and religion for Reykjavík University's school paper, the spark of which was my perceived increase of people mixing the two. I've decided to put it up here on my website for the universe to enjoy (or protest, depending on what social universe you adhere to).

The article discusses the senselessness of using the shortcomings of scientific theories, or even scientific arguments to support the existence of a god or gods. It's not intended to support or refute that there is a god — but to show that science and religion can't mix — there is an underlying difference between the two. Best let the article speak for itself, it is written in english.

Click here to read about The Difference Between Science and Religion

ISIR Preparation Era Complete
Yesterday I turned in the ISIR report to the European Union. The 33 page booklet covers the year since I founded ISIR, and marks the end of it's infancy.

Doing the formal opening speech for ISIR
at the A.I. Festival 2006
The preparation period for ISIR (Icelandic Society for Intelligence Research) was a long and interesting one. The formal support of the EU ended with the society's official opening on April 29th 2006, at Iceland's first A.I. Festival. Reviewing what we've accomplished and compiling it into a report borderlines the surreal — 33 pages hardly do it justice.

Picture 11
Pie chart showing ISIR share in Icelandic A.I. information on the web

Of course, none of this could have been accomplished without the hard work of my fellow board- and founding members. In conclusion, here's an overview of what I consider some of the milestones in the making of ISIR.

:: Well over a hundred web-users and 32 formally registered members
:: 289 pages of free A.I. related information online, doubling the total amount of information available
:: Many dozens of posted A.I. news
:: Two A.I. seminars for the public in collaboration with CADIA
:: Iceland's first A.I. magazine (available online in PDF)
:: An A.I. festival in which the majority of Icelandic A.I. companies participated, and an estimate of over 500 people attended

ISIR Mainpage ::
ISIRWiki ::
ISIR Forums ::
The Concept and Status of 'Metaverses'
The Fascinating Cover of Snow Crash
Illustrated by Bruce Jensen
When I was 11 years old, I read, and was absolutely taken by Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. The book (roughly) revolves around the protagonists quest for the cause of a computer virus which causes users of a virtual world called the Metaverse to turn comatose.

Since then, the concept of online, large-scale virtual worlds have always mesmerized me. It has also inspired the creation of many such worlds: Blaxxun (the name derived from a private club in Snow Crash called Black Sun), There, The Palace and Active Worlds, for example. — but about two years ago I discovered one that I was exceptionally impressed with: Second Life, in which players can create (almost) anything they can imagine with the use of in-world 3D editing tools, a scripting language and XML-RPC networking with the real world. Perhaps the world is best described by a typical experience:

I fly up into the air (all users can fly, as the SL world is very large, horizontally and vertically). My overview shows a lighthouse, calmly beaming in the distance. I can hear the rustling of the leaves of the trees below me. A butterfly passes by, I move the mouse over it and a small info-pane appears showing it was created by a person that's not even online. I decide that I'd like to watch a movie. I pull up the search menu and select a preferred movie theater. I get teleported there in an instant. I enter the theatre, find the correct room, press play — and Blade Runner a non-copyrighted film from the 60's starts playing. The theatre was built by a regular user, the movie is streaming from that user's server.

In the above example, I try to touch on the essential features that give the world it's depth and contribute to making it intriguing to explore and spend time in. The following are the points that I find really interesting:

What's Interesting

1. Everything in-world is created by the world's residents.
In short: There are no objects, houses or magical monsters who have been created by the developers through means unaccessible to the regular users. Everything in-game is created through the use of the tools available to everyone (except for landspace, clouds and sky).
2. What you create in-world — you retain the copyright of.
This means that whatever you create, it's yours. For a real example; a 'player' of Second Life invented and constructed an in-world game similar to Bingo. This in-world game became so successful amongst the SL community that a real-life boardgame company heard about it and offered him a business deal to manufacture it.
3. In-world currency (Linden Dollars) can be exchanged to real-world currency.
For example. If you create something that becomes a popular commodity in-world (clothes, or a jet-pack, a car, or a spaceship, for example), you can exchange it to real-world money. There are examples of SL users whose main real-life income comes from selling virtual objects. At the time this article is written, 296 Linden Dollars (L$) is worth $1 USD. Absolutely techtastic.
4. Residents can own their own land, houses and islands.
5. Second Life (SL), and other Metaverse-like worlds are not games.
Metaverses are universes with no specific goal, no levels reached by gaining experience points — the 'living' experience depends on your ability to create or otherwise find interesting things to do.This fifth point is an immensely fascinating concept and in my opinion, the core of the Metaverse concept: A world in which you are not limited by game-like artificial boundaries (decided for you by developers), but only the boundaries of human imagination and certain laws (instead of spatial limits, we have bandwidth issues; instead of gravity, we have user interface considerations).

But even with all these excellent and futuristic features, I still only 'lived in' SL for about a month.
The question of why becomes very interesting from a certain perspective:

If The Metaverse is based on the same principles as reality — creating, communicating and learning — surpassing reality by being free of disease and giving us instant capabilities to create such things as airplanes single-handedly, then why should we not want to inhabit that world?

My current avatar in SL,
on the top of a skyscraper in a
user-built city. That's my insignia
on the chest
My answer: I still feel it's a game. Besides making real money and meeting new people it's not that practical. I felt as if I was wasting my precious time. We can't escape the real world, it's the top-layer — but in Metaverses we have a choice, and when put in context with real things like 'dying', spending your time in a virtual reality seems quite petty.

Through this argument, I've reached the conclusion that to escape the 'game-feel', a Metaverse must have very tight coupling with the real world. It must offer practical incentive to actually make spending time there worthwhile.

I've identified a few main points that might make a Metaverse more practical, or at least incite a longing in me to try again:

Suggestions for Improvement

i. Make it open-source and standardize the protocols
Allow the residents of the world full control over what's possible. Allow everyone who wants the possibility of hosting a 'grid'; a land that people can visit, like the websites of today. I envision, for example, a Metaverse integration with Wikipedia — in which users can explore Wikipedia entries like "Vostok 1" in 3D
ii. Emphasis on fusion with reality and practical usage.
With the standardization of the Metaverse protocols, it could compel companies and establishments to create virtual models of their workplace — allowing students to virtually tour potential universities in another country, or online shopping by actually walking through a store. Imagine for example customizing your avatar to match your real-world body — wouldn't that make it a bit easier to find a shirt that fits and suits you online?

Open up more possibilities for teleconferencing and online collaboration. For example, when working on papers or projects with people from different continents. E.g. streaming your computer screen onto a big-screen in-world, allowing everyone to help you edit that text, source-code or graphics file.

Marvin was originally
designed in SL
Integrate interfaces to allow Metaverse users to create in-world programs with languages like Java, C++, C# or LISP. I've seen and heard of very interesting experiments with Artificial Life within the SL world; user-groups creating virtual ecosystems of fish, experimenting with swarm-behavior and growing plants. The potential of these kinds of experiments would grow enormously if we could incorporate the use of more powerful programming tools.

Improve upon the 3D modeling tools, allow integration with other 3D programs; a virtual world is a great platform for concept-designs. There is a great example of this already. Marvin The Paranoid Android from the movie The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, was originally modeled in Second Life (see SL newsletter 2006/03/22).

Unfortunately, I think more fusion with reality can prove exceedingly difficult without open-source efforts and established standards.

iii. In-world VOIP (voice over IP, like Skype) to allow audible conversations
Bandwidth issues currently prevent this. While I usually prefer text-based communications, it seems wrong to have extremely detailed avatars capable of facial expressions — but no voice. This is besides the obvious advantages of voice-communications, like speed and more efficient turn-taking.

A Close-up of my SL avatar
My Design
In relation to the last point; I'm worried that a Metaverse's full potential will never be realized until we can make cheap and high-rez head-mounted displays, or VR Glasses, along with gloves or other kinds of mechanisms to allow us to use our hands to manipulate in-world objects. In other words: Tighter reality coupling and a more immersive experience.

In summary: While we are certainly on the right track to a high-level Metaverse, we're still some way from getting rid of the game-feel. Practical usage is essential for making a Metaverse as described in
Snow Crash, and to appeal to everyone.

My old SL avatar and a Hoverbike I created
Despite of my criticism, I recommend trying out SL to know where we stand in the evolution of Metaverses. It's free — and I would definitely like to hear your opinion and take on it.

Apple Mac Comment, from Wikipedia's Snow Crash page
The title of the novel is explained in Stephenson's essay In the Beginning...was the Command Line, as the term for a particular software failure mode on the early Apple Macintosh computer. About the Macintosh, Stephenson wrote that "when the computer crashed and wrote gibberish into the bitmap, the result was something that looked vaguely like static on a broken television set—a 'snow crash.'"

Modern Spectacles
Being the only one in my family who doesn't use glasses, it was only a matter of time.

Roughly a year ago I got my sight measured for the first time. The result was minimum nearsightedness but somewhat bad astigmatism, which certainly explained why I was seeing double. Without a lot of enthusiasm, I tried on a few styles. This included the standard look, the practical look — and the awesome Peter Sellers look (note how happy I am on the photo). However, I never found glasses that I was comfortable with wearing, aesthetically or with regards to comfort.

The The proud practicalist look
The standard
"don't notice my glasses"
The proud practicalist look
SP_A0119Peter Sellers
The Peter Sellers look!
Yesterday, however, I came upon a frame that I was happy with — and decided to go with to spare myself from seeing double text on the blackboards in the coming semesters at RU. The design is quite modern — hence the title of this entry: modern spectacles. I unfortunately don't receive them until tomorrow, so I can't include a photo to go with the others (the entry icon on my weblog mainpage is a close model).

A distant look at gigantic electric poles.
I counted over forty.
However, to make the entry's title earn double meaning, I want to mention something else. For a minute forget nuclear reactors, skyscrapers and the moonlanding. Todays question is: how on Earth do we manage to plant all these electric-poles? Really, these things are gigantic! And not only do they cover incredible distances, but they go over mountains, cliffs, even small bays and lakes. Most definitely another quite remarkable achievement of mankind, especially when paired with the fact that it's not generally considered remarkable with regards to our other achievements. A genuine modern spectacle. Personally I think they're beautiful to look at, although that's not a Normality Certified™ opinion.
The intricate metalworks of these constructs are fantastic.
I conclude this entry with the photo above, which was taken in a summerhouse-village in Hvalfjörður — a little north of Reykjavík.

Ignore this (if you want). Testing out
Technorati Profile
That Time of the Month
An attempt at a humorous title — sleeplessness involves grumpiness, physical weakness, and a general feeling of disorientation.

Lie on your side and watch the time pass on the cheap, white clock with the nightmarish alarm sound — set for the time when your significant other is supposed to go to work. Forget your work, you'll be in zombie mode 'til one o'clock in the afternoon when you finally manage to find that right position (if you ever do), only to wake up around dinnertime knowing that by falling asleep you've sentenced yourself to another night of sleeplessness.

Author Chuck Palahniuk put it this way:

"When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep ...
and you're never really awake.
" [Fight Club]

Although the story's protagonist was describing a 2 year period of insomnia, it sums it up quite nicely for single nights as well. Once it's past 5am, you've usually spent your last drops of energy and desperately flip through your DVD collection to find a movie boring enough to fall asleep over. When you're a movie fanatic, however, you usually don't purchase movies you find boring — so this attempt is doomed from the start. Besides, you don't want to spoil the best movies by watching them too often.

It's not all doom and gloom, sometimes you'll catch a creative streak. Oddly enough, this seems to be a documented phenomena amongst us humans. If I were to go through my black books I'd probably find that most of the ideas are written after 11pm. Looking for a reference for this phenomena now, I came upon this page, Creative Insomnia — which seems to aim at inducing insomnia for creative purposes. They also have some products to help you sleep — one of which I thought was particularly entertaining:
"Sleep Mate is the best sleep machine—it sounds like a fan. With its movable top and collar, the sound is subtly adjustable from a soft hum to a louder whirr. $56.95".
It sounds like a fan? Why not just buy a fan then?

To be compared with pictures of Mist Over Reykjavík

There's a certain feeling of peace in knowing that the city sleeps.

The Mac Tip for this Article:
If I use a word you don't recognize, put your mouse-pointer over the word, and while holding down Ctrl+Apple, press 'D'. This will bring up a dictionary-entry for the abstruse word.

Mist Over Reykjavík
It's funny how sometimes you see more with an obscured view. These were taken today from my rooftop — showing what's usually an overview of western Reykjavík.
Addition: See this log entry for the same view during nighttime.
Busy days, finishing a publication proposal as part of my Vélaldin project, and preparing for school which starts the 18th. Seems reports of various kinds are stacking up on my to-do list, including the ISIR report to the European Union which covers a two-year period. I can envision printer-ink expenses sucking the life out of me in the coming weeks.
A Message From the Institute of Norm
If your body temperature is not normal — there is something wrong with you. The same applies to disagreeing with the normal public opinion. Abnormality, strangeness and general weirdness is bad. But sometimes it's difficult knowing what is normal — and the minute you stop acting normal, you're already strange.
Normally, little boy Larry waited for the crossing guard to help him across the street on the way to school. On January 10th 1999, little boy Larry didn't act normally. That's why today, little boy Larry is no longer with us. Abnormal behavior can ruin lives.

If you're having trouble fitting in — or you don't share the same opinions as your friends or kin — you are abnormal. Luckily, abnormal people can now seek help in normalizing themselves. The Normality Certified™ stamp of Normalcy is designed to help abnormal people know what to read, watch and generally do to make their lives more normal. Also, it is a communication tool for Normal People, as a Certified Normal product gives Normal People a chance to say loudly, and proudly, that they are not strange. The stamp is a creation of the Institute of Norm (IN) which was founded in the country of Cerebrum, but now has wide-spread operational facilities and research-branches in lobe countries such as: Temporal, Occipital and Parietal. Even as we speak the staff in Occipital and Cerebrum are hard at work, ensuring you a more normal world.

The stamp of Normalcy guarantees that the product or products to which it pertains, and any included content is intended for
Normal People.The use of a Normality Certified™ stamp is Normality Certified™. As such, you can use the Stamp of Normalcy without fearing that using it is in itself not normal.
The Institute of Norm can not guarantee that your sense of normal is normal enough to perceive a normal product as normal. Should you at any time feel in disagreement with IN's certifications, chances are that you are abnormal and should immediately seek IN's assistance. Don't blame yourself, even though you should. Instead, act on it — there is a cure.
Due to demand, IN has worked hard to produce a simple solution to worldwide abnormality — say goodbye to maladaptiveness! statistical deviation, social dysfunction and generally bizarre behavior! Along with the ambitious effort of Normality Certification, the IN staff has managed to produce new medication:

Introducing the world's first Normality Certified™ drug:
NERMALO can make you normal in under a month!

Mr. N. Curver — head of the NERMALO R&D team, claims the medication is of utmost importance, especially the to the abnormal- but also to Normal People:

Normal People have found it increasingly difficult to act normal — just the fact that something is increasing means that thing's aren't normal. Abnormal individuals are penetrating social groups, especially on the internet. With the introduction of NERMALO, everything will normalize — abnormality will be a thing of the past"

NERMALO affects the central nervous system directly, causing any traces of abnormal hormone and bodily-fluid functions to immediately normalize. The images below are of one of the first test subjects for NERMALO. Kitty the cat was very abnormal, but after only two weeks of regular NERMALO treatment became a Normal Housecat.

Left: The abnormal cat before treatment.
Right: The same cat, now normal after NERMALO treatment.

The president of the Institute of Norm is thrilled with the results of IN's pharmaceutical department:

In this time of science, people should behave normally. It's sad to see young people fall victim to abnormality — or, as I like to call it — becoming Normally Challenged. We shouldn't have to be constantly looking over our shoulder, that's just not normal. We at the Institute of Norm have the solution now."

Join the IN battle, and help us Make Abnormality History™!

And remember, even while using NERMALO:
Before you do or say something, ask yourself: What would the IN people do?

Sneak-peak at the New A.I. Lab
For some time now, Reykjavík University's Computer Science department has been on it's way to move to it's own building, across the street from RU's mainbuilding in Ofanleiti. What will be our new residence is the Morgunblaðið's old house — Iceland's largest newspaper, which recently moved to the outskirts of Reykjavík.

Of course, what this means is that CADIA and it's residing labrats will get new headquarters! Due to issues that require my constant attention here at home I haven't been up at the lab this summer, but today I went there to help out with packing up the old place. Along the way I managed to get a guided tour of the new house, and man, the place is great! Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera with me, but I did have my phonecam — so here are some photos that I took, both of the old lab and the new.

Here's an overview of the old lab, or really just the stuff we were moving. Desks and workstations are on the left and not shown in picture.

Jonheidur fighting the stack of boxes at the old lab.

Jónheiður and Ágúst contemplate which boxes to move next.

Ah, now here's the house we're moving into. Looks very futuristic, I must say — and I can definitely see a lot of futuristic projects taking place in there.

Getting closer now, here we are at the first floor. The stairs lead up to the new lab.

Ladies and gentlemen — the new A.I. Laboratory!
The is an overview taken from the northern end. The circular tables there on the left side of the image are basically in the middle of the lab. The lab's space is enclosed by an array of great art-deco desks, as we can see on the right side of the image and in the picture below.

Couldn't resist taking a closeup of the desks.

And of the drawers. Although an enthusiasm not shared by all the labrats, I really like the design.

And here is the northern end of the lab. The glass room you see there will be the "Project Room", i.e. the room where the robots come alive!

This is inside the Project Room, the room's northern glasswall there.

View to the south inside the Project Room. Ágúst, fellow boardmember of ISIR in the doorway.

Here's a better view of the desks, a table in the northeastern corner of the lab.

Finally, we have a preview of the-soon-to-be-computer-room located directly below the new A.I. Lab. At last we labrats will be able to work in peace from the whirring of clusters.

All in all, I was thrilled after my visit. The place is absolutely fantastic and I look forward to working there.
A.I. in Smalltalk
A.I. in Smalltalk 2006©Thórisson
In most conversations, people tend not to ask questions about what I'm doing beyond that of the name, which is usually followed by a nod and a change of subject. When it comes to computers, and especially artificial intelligence — it seems generally not be considered good conversation material. The process is depicted in figure 1. In the second frame, note the totally blank expression on the friendly persons face while he nods, in comparison to my intense, excited smile of joy at the prospect of an interesting conversion about work.

Governed by a concern for my own health, I've decided not even to contemplate the possibility of someone finding science uninteresting; so the closest logical reason is that many think they wouldn't understand it. I'd already written a hefty overview explaining what I do and why I do it, when I realized that the text was a bit on heavier side for a weblog, and that upon reading half of it, most people would probably act as depicted in frame 3 of figure 1. Instead, I made this entry a Normality Certified™ account of my experiences of A.I. in smalltalk1.

Now, first, let me point out that of course A.I. isn't smalltalk material — because it generally requires more than a "small talk" to even reach an agreement on how to define the words being used in the conversation (e.g. defining "intelligence"). In this aspect, small-talk is closely related to small-thought — so my frustration doesn't really derive from no-one wanting to talk about A.I. any more than the fact that people generally don't like thinking.


Overall, I've heard many — but here are selected responses that I frequently receive when my work is mentioned.

"So I'm going to have to kill you before you create
the robots that take over the world?"

Regular reply from those familiar with certain movies. Usually stated in a sarcastic tone, sometimes implying that A.I. belongs in fairytales (robotales?), with a subtle undertone of fear that it won't. There are many different versions of this response, but they all mean the same thing with their references to Terminator and the Hollywood idiosyncrasy.

"Have you created anything really intelligent?"

An unfortunate thing about this question is that there is no good answer to it if you're keeping things smalltalky, except just saying "Yes" if you think you have, or "No" if you haven't. Any attempt at intelligent answers like "Well, that depends on how you define intelligence" will often cause a smalltalker to think you really haven't, but that you're trying to find a way to make it seem like you have.

Note also the emphasis on "really" — the word "artificial" seems to be generally interpreted as a synonym to "fake". Fortunately, comparing artificial intelligence to artificial fabric works very well, as most people do realize that artificial fabrics are real.

"Oh, so ... computers?"

Chances are that people of the analog generations use this reply.


Elderly relatives' reply. Either (a) the person wants you to explain it, then starts talking about the weather, or (b) she doesn't, and then starts talking about the weather. Both events a and b are preceded by the person realizing the association of A.I. with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In the end, I'm generally ok with any response I get. We're all different, and I respect peoples choices and interests. But I have one more tale to tell in this context. The other day insomnia struck again — I had little choice but to put on a DVD from our Friends collection. It was then when I had a very disconcerting reminder of what the majority of people think of science.

So in this scene, characters Ross (David Schwimmer) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) were "hanging out" when Ross mentions "I just finished this fascinating book. By the year 2030, there'll be computers that can carry out the same amount of functions as an actual human brain. So theoretically you could download your thoughts and memories into this computer and live forever as a machine".

But then the punchline came: Chandler pretended to doze off with the appropriate satirical snoring sound, followed by that horrible studio-laughter. Now, I like Friends, and I like Chandler, but I didn't laugh this time — I was just plain bummed that Ross couldn't talk more about this book!

Let us examine what this made me think at the time:

(1) Normal people's ideas of interesting conversations do not involve science, and usually not events further away than a week (unless it's a concert).
(2) I'm not a Normality Certified™ individual

In point 1, I'm not referring to the conversation of the fictional characters Chandler and Ross. I'm talking about the very-real people that watch the show and probably rolled around on their nacho-covered floor laughing their asses off over the absurd notion of the mention of something "so obnoxiously boring" — which was exactly what the very-real scriptwriters knew, and were planning on happening.

See definition on Normality Certified™ below for reference on Point nr. 2. But the feeling I got watching the scene was both eerie and relieving. I'll leave it up to the respected reader to hypothesize why.

So, in conclusion — draw your own conclusions, and find the sarcastic hidden message in this article2.

1. That's generally called being codependent, but writing a public weblog no-one wants to read kind of makes it being public pointless.
1b. Normality Certified™ means that the contents of the product or products do not break the borders of normal, although the Institute of Norm makes no guarantees that your sense of normal is normal enough to perceive the contents as normal.
2. Yes. There really is a hidden message. Hint: It's spread over the whole article.

Beware US Box Office Toplist

If you intend to get a good overview of upcoming features, the U.S. Box Office Chart is not the best reference.

About 2-3 months ago I'd found a couple of movie titles that I found immensely interesting (when compared to movies such as "The Fast and The Furious").
The movies were:

Banlieue 13
Banlieue 13
Not necessarily a script-of-wonder (Although co-written by Luc Besson), but rather a visual feast as it sports Dave Belle and his amazing Parkour skills.

Hard Candy
Hard Candy
Sounds interesting1, and I was absolutely mesmerized by the poster.

But the excitement faded, new movies arrived that needed to be watched — and finally I'd forgotten about these two. Now, as mentioned before, I check the US box office list to keep track of new releases. But alas! These movies came and went without me noticing. Why? Probably because the US Box Office rarely contains foreign (B13) or strange (Hard Candy) films. Rather, the list sports movies such as Miami Vice (at the time this is written, it's at the top of the charts having made $25.7M in it's first weekend). For some reason, the relation of "Box" to the word "Square" makes a lot of sense in this context.

I thankfully re-discovered Hard Candy and B13 on the older UK Box Office Charts in an anxiety-attack caused by a feeling of having exhausted the Earth's Movie Resource.

1. I like not knowing movies' plots, and I assume you do too. Hence, my lips are sealed.
Website Revamped
Using the brilliant iWeb-like software from Realmac — RapidWeaver allows me to easily maintain and update my website.

I must use this opportunity to point out what an outstanding job Apple is doing as a software entrepreneur — the interrelations of software in the iLife package is influencing the developer community to create "just-click-me-and-everything-happens-the-way-you-want" software. For example, RapidWeaver includes a relatively good "Photo-album" page template. Upon creating such a page (with a basic iTunes-like interface, click the + sign and you get a page), you get a listing of all the photos you have in iPhoto, allowing you to import captions, dates, etc... that you've previously added to iPhoto.

Once done. Click "Publish" and your stuff gets uploaded.

In short: Relief from an otherwise tedious process of URL copying and table-formatting madness.
Please note: I strongly recommend not using Internet Explorer to view this page.