Wednesday, May 04, 2016

And we're back...

Wow. Looks like I've been away since almost exactly two years ago :)
I guess I could just wait for a week and nail it on the head.

On one hand, I like the discussion aspect of FB better than Blogger... but one of the things that I don't care for on FB is the difficulty with going back through the past. They've got a new interesting "your memories" thing going on these days, but it's not enough.

Kina funny... my last post here was about the beginnings of VR. Appropriate.
I've been after that one for a long time. I actually modeled my campus in 3dVR back in college. Mary has a watercolour painting I did as part of that project hanging in her livingroom.. bet ya didn't know that was a geek painting Mary?

What brings me back here has similar undertones... the past.
We all have a personal list of favourite songs. Being a geek, it's easy for me to share that list. I didn't feel like posting this on FB though. Not only because of FB being FB, but it's a bit more suited to quick posts and to light discussion. I like it for that, but it has it's limits.

So here's my list.
It's missing a lot, especially stuff that you wouldn't be at all familiar with like Suzanne Ciani (Dear Lord... the entire Pianissimo album alone would top this list!)
This isn't my iPod list.
That one's good too, but these are ones that mean something to me. (ha, some I don't even know what)
This is like comfort food... self indulgent. A bit of wallowing in the past. After too much of this, I feel a great need for exposure to new music. It's nice to wallow sometimes for a bit though.

AC-DC - Who Made Who
Alphaville - Forever Young -Official Video
Arcade Fire - Ready to Start
Basement Jaxx - Where's Your Head At
Blind Melon - No Rain
Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart
Broods - Mother & Father
Candlebox - Far Behind Official Video
Cold War Kids - Hang Me Up To Dry
Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time lyrics
Def Leppard - Animal
Def Leppard - Foolin
Def Leppard - Hysteria
DEF LEPPARD - Pour Some Sugar On Me
Depeche Mode - Everything Counts (Live)
Die Antwoord Fatty Boom Boom Cut
Ella Henderson - Ghost Lyrics
Eurythmics - Here Comes The Rain Again
Filter - Hey Man, Nice Shot
Florence   The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
Forty Six & 2 - Tool
Goodbye Norma Jeane- Elton John sings to Marilyn Monroe
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
Green Day-Wake Me Up When September Ends
Guns N' Roses - November Rain
Janet Jackson - Black Cat
Joan Armatrading - Love And Affection
Katy Perry - Wide Awake
Kelly Clarkson - Heartbeat Song
Kid Rock - All Summer Long
Kid Rock - Cowboy (Explicit)
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
led zeppelin - Hot Dog
Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
Lil Jon Get low (Explicit)
Liz Phair - Supernova
Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
men without hats safety dance
Metallica - For Whom The Bell Tolls
Miley Cyrus - Party In The U.S.A.
Naked Eyes Always Something There To Remind Me
Nena - 99 Luftballons (German Version)
Nine Inch  Nails - Closer
Nine Inch Nails - Down In It
Nine Inch Nails - Head Like A Hole
Nine Inch Nails - Wish
Nirvana - Lithium
Nirvana - Milk It
Nirvana - School
Nirvana - Something In The Way
Nirvana - You Know You're Right
Paper Planes
Pat Benatar - We Belong
Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter
Pink Floyd - High Hopes
Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly
Pixies -- Where Is My Mind
Prince - Little Red Corvette
Prince - Raspberry Beret on Vimeo
Prince - When Doves Cry
Prince & The Revolution-Purple Rain
Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure
Roxette - The Look
RUN-DMC - Walk This Way
Selena Gomez - The Heart Wants What It Wants
Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars
Taylor Swift - Style
The Cranberries - Zombie
The Cure - Pictures Of You
The Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet with Butterfly Wings
The Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
The Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
The Smashing Pumpkins - Luna
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
The Smashing Pumpkins - Rhinoceros
The Smiths - How Soon Is Now
TLC - Waterfalls
Tokio Hotel - World Behind My Wall
Tomorrow, Wendy - Concrete Blonde
Tool - 46 and 2 (Aaron O'Keefe)
Tool - Stinkfist
Van Halen - Dreams
Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby
Walking On A Thin Line - Huey Lewis & The News
Walking on a Thin Line
Werewolves Of London
What's Up--4 Non Blondes
YACHT - Psychic City
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Phenomena
ZZ Top - La Grange
ZZ Top - Rough Boy
ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man

If I had to throw out all my albums but the select few...
Suzanne Ciani - Pianissimo (This may be the only CD that I still have physically in my possession)
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
The Smashing Pumpkins - Gish
Nirvana - In Utero
NIN - Pretty Hate Machine
NIN - Broken / Fixed
Lorde - Pure Heroine

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A good video explaining what we mean when we say "Presence" in 3dVR...

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Moar 3D

3D VR Goggles How-To

So what's all this 3d nonsense I'm on about and why am I so obsessed with it?

It's interactive IMAX.

The original IMAX screens were domes.
The idea is to fill your "Field of view" so you see nothing but the screen. Nothing in your periphery... just screen.

I saw this once in Las Vegas, it's pretty awesome.
Now "IMAX" just means "Huge screen".
The goal is the same though... fill your eyes with screen.

BUT (there's always a but)
You can't turn your head.

You're watching a video. You look where the video camera looks. That's what made the IMAX domes neat.. you could look around a little.

Now you can turn your head.
Computers have gotten powerful enough to be able to generate 3d environments that are extremely convincing....

Yes folks, this is a game... not a video in a game... actual gameplay.

Since the computer can send different images to each eye, you get "sterioscopic" 3d.... aka, real 3d.
This is how your eyes work, so the effect is pretty compelling. If you're standing in a large room, it looks large. If you're right next to a car, you feel like you can reach out and touch it... you can tell how far away from you it is. This is the real deal.

So what?
The whole idea is that "you're there" feeling.
With sterioscopic 3d and "head tracking" (being able to turn your head), you get to be "in" the game.

One of the most frustrating things with flying any flight simulator is not being able to turn your head. Now you can... and it is glorious.

For now, because the home made goggles don't take up your full field of view, the illusion is not as compelling. That's what the Oculus is all about.

Seeing is believing.
I gotta tell ya, the results are no less than stunning. But it all sounds like "fanboy" stuff till you see it. Then you "get it". It might not even be your thing, but if it is, then it's the biggest change in computers in a long time, especially gaming.

How To

Ok, for anyone looking to see this 3d stuff in person... it's supremely easy to do and does not require disassembling anything or installing anything "funky". It only takes a few hours of cutting and gluing some cardboard and about $7 for the lenses.

In a nut shell... you build a holder/mask for your phone. These are the 3d "goggles".
You install an App from the AppStore (iPhone) or Google Play (Android) and you're done.
This stuff works out of the box.
[Instructions Here]

If you don't feel adventurous with cardboard, you can even buy commercial ones. They'll cost you around $80 and take about 2 weeks to arrive (they're made in Germany)

[Durovis Dive]

So what can you do?

With just the goggles, you can head over to YouTube and check out what the big systems can do. This is because people are posting up videos of Oculus style side by side video.

[War Thunder]


Load up the video on your phone and slap it in the goggles and you can see what the games will look like (although with a lower FOV). 
War Thunder and Arma3 look absolutely stunning.

Gaming on the phone
Head over to Dive Games and pick up some 3dvr games and demos that work right on your phone.
No fuss, no muss.

Pick up a SnakeByte controller and you can play some of the more interactive games.

Poor mans Oculus
Oculus Rift
For the very adventurous, you can output your computer display to the phone in the 3d goggles and play Oculus software. You won't get the full FOV or resolution, but you get everything else.

You use a free app called SplashTop to send the display and a $20 "Flying Keyboard" to do the head tracking (because your phone is only being used as a screen, it won't do the tracking)

[Flying Mouse]
[Adding HeadTracking]

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ok, one really simple question for ya....
Have you ever eaten 11 servings of bread and NOT woken up in a coma or 10 lbs heavier?

That's the equivalent of 3 slices of pizza, 2 sandwiches and a big bowl of pasta. And this is what the USDA would like you to eat... every day? And we wonder why the US has an obesity problem?

Here's what the real food pyramid looks like... 

You can read more here (the first part is available for preview)

The truth of course lies in the fact that Wheat (especially refined) is metabolized by your body as sugar.
So... as far as your body's concerned, bread is cake.
It's not "like" cake... it's the same damn thing.

Then, realize that sugar is highly addictive.
Lab rats prefer sugar to cocaine.

Think about that for a second, then look at the world from the viewpoint of sugar as being addictive.
Things start making a whole lot more sense and it gets really obvious how hopelessly addicted we are.

Am I going cold turkey? Am I advocating that you do?
I live in the real world too.
But it's a hell of a perspective and I've certainly greatly cut down on my sugar intake.

Ok, so here's where it all started.
The idea was to take one of these Hasbro 3d viewers and use it to like a poor man's version of the Oculus Rift.
Why not just get a Rift?
Because you can't. All you can get right now are the development kits and the next one doesn't ship till July (at least). I've got one on order of course.

In the mean time, you can cobble together a lesser version of the oculus for a whopping $7.

If you just get the Hasbro Viewer, it all just works. No fiddling around.
Slap your phone in it... download the software and away you go.

I suggest the rollercoaster game for starters.
The downside is that you have to hold the viewer. This gives you the idea of what's going on, but it's not the same as just looking around. For that, I strapped everything to the headstrap for a welding shield....

Crude, but effective.

Well, that was fun and wonderful and extremely non-work-intensive. Proof of concept->done.
Time for refinements.

First thing's first.... ditch the headband and lose some weight. A big honkin cellphone hanging off a big case on your face is less than comfortable.

So, I disassembled the Hasbro Viewer. Lo and behold, they've got the focal length completely wrong. The thing's like twice as long as it needs to be! No wonder's everything's blurry as hell. Ok, cool... so shorter viewbox = less pressure on face. Good. I also ditched the extended battery on my phone and put the much lighter stock one back in.

I took a small box I had lying around and cut a few holes in it, added some velcro and dropped the lenses from the Hasbro Viewer in it. I took a GoPro headstrap and mounted it to that. Insto Presto, V2....

Now this one's usable.
It's not polished, but I can hand it to friends and they can use it, no fuss, no muss.

Here's a few better pics

Next Steps?
Get it running Oculus Software
Better optics.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ok, my 3d display thing is getting a bit long winded for FB, so I'm going to post it up here.

It's actually really simple and effective. I was expecting a much higher hill to climb.
If you want to see what I'm talking about and have $7 to throw at something neat, you can pick up this 3d viewer. I know, "Hasbro?"... but it works.
The focal length is off, but it doesn't need any tweaking to use.

Go Here and pick up a game (sorry, there's only 2 for iPhones)

This will give you an idea of what this stuff is all about.
You'll see first hand what I mean by "true 3d". It's not a gimick, it works.
The kicker though is the head tracking. It's not as intuitive when you have to hold the display, but you'll get the idea. I suggest a dark room as well since this has no blinders and light from the sides kinda wrecks the effect. Oh, and sit down. Preferably in a swivel chair, but standing can be problematic.

If that peaks your interest, it's not far to go to have a full headset. There's a commercial one that you can just buy and they're stupid-simple to make.

The stuff I'm going to do goes beyond this point, but even just having the display that works with a few games on a cellphone is pretty stinking impressive.

Beyond that, it gets interactive and that's where the real fun starts.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Dreaming of today

Everyone, no matter who you are or where you're at in life gets caught in the funk at times.
We often joke about many of them as "First world problems". The examples are always a bit overblown, but at their core, the idea is correct. However, we all suffer it. Yes, we are exceptionally well off and live lives of extreme privilege. This does not make us immune to the funk though.

Knowing that it's the funk and kicking the funk are two entirely different things. I know I live an extremely well off life. By medieval standards, I live the life of royalty. I have the information of the gods at my fingertips and move about the earth with ease in mystical metal boxes at unheard of speeds, yet treat it nearly as walking down the road.

But still the funk.
I can fall into it when I complete things. I like having projects. When I finish them, I'm left without that purpose... a bit unhinged... unmoored. It's strange. I understand it, but it's weird.

It's been a long time since I've had a "day off", let alone a regular day off. But I'm back in Maryland and we take Tues/Wed off, every week. Mind you, when I say a "long time", I'm not talking about a few months. I mean years. Sure, I have days where I'm not involved with work. I have times where I'm no where near work. But they're not "normal". I don't sit at home and not work. The times I have off are either bad weather or travel time, not a day that I'm where I could work but I just don't. This is strange.

So, I'm out running errands. That's what you do on the weekend right? I'm not really kidding either. Remember... years. So I'm out driving to Walmart and I notice the funk. It's strange. Nothing you can put your finger on and completely irrational. But there it is. So I roll it around and around. Strange. Not crippling depression or anything silly like that, but I should be wicked happy but I've got "the bla's"... wtf? I suspect that people get this when they retire too.

But then I remembered. I pass by some mowed lawns on the way from one store to the next and I remembered... I had dreamt of today... longed for it. Years ago. I had reminded myself back then what I would be and what I would do with it should I ever find it again. I was confined to a wheelchair at the time and not allowed outside without a nurse. I couldn't walk and I couldn't be trusted alone. I might accidentally roll myself into traffic or drop into a seizure. I might go out and forget how to get back, or forget that I even needed to get back. I knew it would be over some day, so it didn't get me down. But I did remember and I do remember how the world looked and what "the other side" looked like. The "normal people" who had the world at their fingertips for nothing more than simply being able to walk up a hill. Walk outside alone. Drive a car. Go where you please. Do what you please. I remember what that all looks like when you can't.

Now, just like "there's starving kids in Africa" doesn't help you finish those green peas, just "knowing" that stuff on an ethereal level won't help, but I lived it. It's real for me. And let me tell ya... the mental shift was dramatic and instant. The moment I remembered that day where I looked out my window up a hill and thought how wonderful it would be when I was able to just decide to go walk up it... in that instant a huge smile came over me, because that day is today.

I'm on the other side of the fence.
The world is my oyster.
But more importantly, I know it.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election nonsense

Ok, now that that's finally over.
Pardon me while I get on my high horse for a second.
I get to have a whinge every now and then, just as so many have been whining about this political bs for six months or more.
My turn:

Please take a moment to step back and realize something ok?

This media "drama" is fictional.
Every election is a "close race"... even when it's not (as this one wasn't).
Anyone remember Sarah Palin? Yup, that fiasco was supposedly a "close race" too... yeah, NOT.
The media makes money when you watch them... and no one watches a sure thing. Not that this was a "sure thing", but it wasn't "close" either.

Splitting hairs?
303 to 206 (electoral votes)... Close my ass!

Easy to say after the fact, right?
Well... I was saying it before the fact as well... if for no other reason than to remind you of it now.
It's a fabrication.
Unfortunately, we'll have an other "close race" in four years... regardless as to whether or not it's actually close.

See you then.