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Notes

Oculas

The recent acquisition of Oculus by Facebook sparked many debates on the future of both companies and the intentions of the Social Media network, who only a month ago was announcing the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp messenger.

Outraged gamers and developers voiced concerns about the future of the Oculus and it’s innovative virtual reality headgear, questioning what Zuckerberg’s enterprise could bring to the platform and why the market leader didn’t carry on riding the wave of growth without external intervention.

Although the technology behind the flagship Oculus Rift has proven exciting for the future of virtual reality devices, the history of the concept has a history of failure, stretching decades, perhaps this is the reason the California-based tech visionaries (excuse the pun) took the decision to look up the food chain for a helping hand.

Check out this wonderful, not exactly timeless 1985 feature on the development of the VR headset. When three decades later the market remains small, is a money-splashing tech giant going to be the push that VR needs to finally make this ageing dream a reality?

@Mingard is a regular contributor to Found Things.

Notes

Silicon Valley’s youth problem
In start-up land, the young barely talk to the old (and vice versa). That makes for a lot of cool apps. But great technology? Not so much.
Full article on the New York Times.

Silicon Valley’s youth problem

In start-up land, the young barely talk to the old (and vice versa). That makes for a lot of cool apps. But great technology? Not so much.

Full article on the New York Times.

Notes

Transforming Formula One: 2014 rules explained

This new video from Red Bull sees Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel explain the 2014 Formula 1 regulations – which are arguably the most complex the sport has ever seen.

At the start, thousands of car parts simultaneously assemble around Ricciardo to form the RB10. As he races to catch up Vettel in his RB9, the World Champion’s car becomes transparent while travelling at full speed, sequencing through the changes to the car to meet 2014’s regulations.

As well as providing information on the technical changes for 2014, the clip also presents a unique view of the technology at work inside this year’s F1 cars.

Awesome stuff.

1 Notes

Full-body 3D scan and print

Snap sculpture: DoubleMe3D makes personally commissioned sculptures, 10-17cm high, printed from 3D scans undertaken in their studio.

The process requires three minutes of sitting still. Materials include plastic, sandstone, aluminium, ceramics, bronze, silver or gold, and single colours (full-colour is planned).

I like how the process requires time being still, much like photography of old. Imagine where we’ll be in 10 years…

@ColonyClive is a regular contributor to Found Things.

Notes

Pit stop perfection

Ferrari F1: in and out in three seconds. Amazing.

Via @abovedave.

5 Notes

Incredible 3D Gifs created with a simple visual effect
Animated gifs seem to be everywhere these days, but some gif creators are taking the visual experience of viewing quick clips of silent motion to another level.

By carefully adding a couple of solid-coloured - typically white - vertical lines to the moving images, an three-dimensional effect is created.
As characters and objects move into the foreground, they appear to extend beyond the barrier of the image.

The solid, dividing strips serve as visual markers for the foreground. Once anything breaks out in font of them, blocking the view of the white dividers, your brain immediately translates this as a three-dimensional scene.
Via @mikedicks.

Incredible 3D Gifs created with a simple visual effect

Animated gifs seem to be everywhere these days, but some gif creators are taking the visual experience of viewing quick clips of silent motion to another level.

By carefully adding a couple of solid-coloured - typically white - vertical lines to the moving images, an three-dimensional effect is created.

As characters and objects move into the foreground, they appear to extend beyond the barrier of the image.

The solid, dividing strips serve as visual markers for the foreground. Once anything breaks out in font of them, blocking the view of the white dividers, your brain immediately translates this as a three-dimensional scene.

Via @mikedicks.

1 Notes

I wore a tiny gadget that took a photo of what I was doing every 30 seconds
The Narrative Clip is a plastic square that’s bigger than a quarter but smaller than a book of matches. There’s a metal clip on the back for attaching it to things and it houses a 5-megapixel camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds. Tap it with your finger twice to take a picture manually.
Dylan Love wore one in order to review it for Business Insider -

"It’s fun to be able to look back through the Narrative app and know exactly where you were at 1:13 PM last Tuesday, or how funny-looking that guy from the subway was this morning.
"The negative aspects of the Narrative are mostly social. People will notice it on your clothes and ask about it, which puts you in the awkward position of explaining that you’re secretly photographing everything that’s going on."

You can read his review here.

I wore a tiny gadget that took a photo of what I was doing every 30 seconds

The Narrative Clip is a plastic square that’s bigger than a quarter but smaller than a book of matches. There’s a metal clip on the back for attaching it to things and it houses a 5-megapixel camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds. Tap it with your finger twice to take a picture manually.

Dylan Love wore one in order to review it for Business Insider -

"It’s fun to be able to look back through the Narrative app and know exactly where you were at 1:13 PM last Tuesday, or how funny-looking that guy from the subway was this morning.

"The negative aspects of the Narrative are mostly social. People will notice it on your clothes and ask about it, which puts you in the awkward position of explaining that you’re secretly photographing everything that’s going on."

You can read his review here.

Notes

This is the state of computer science education in the UK

Apparently you can learn to teach to code in a day. Oh, and you can build a website in an hour.

It is clear that the Director of “Year of Code” has no idea what she means when she uses the word “code”. Does she have any idea how many different programming languages there are? Or the profound differences between, say, HTML and C++?

As ever, Twitter provides the best response -

The guardian has an interesting article highlighting the opportunistic commercial reality behind the Year of Code initiative.

It’s a depressing read.

The real problem here is trying to shoehorn the future into the past. What we really need is a revolution in education.

4 Notes

Your 60-hour work week is not a badge of honour
We’ve all had to deal with long, tough work weeks, whether it’s working over the weekend to meet a project deadline, pulling all-nighters to resolve a crisis, or the steady accretion of overtime in a death march.
It’s fairly common in the tech sector for employees to hold these tough weeks up as points of pride; something good they achieved or survived.
Jeff Archibald thinks that this is the wrong way to think of it. And he’s right.

"If you’re working 60 hours a week, something has broken down organisationally. You are doing two people’s jobs. You aren’t telling your boss you’re overworked (or maybe he/she doesn’t care). You are probably a pinch point, a bottleneck. You are far less productive. You are frantically swimming against the current, just trying to keep your head above water.
"We need to stop being proud of overworking ourselves."

Worth a read.

Your 60-hour work week is not a badge of honour

We’ve all had to deal with long, tough work weeks, whether it’s working over the weekend to meet a project deadline, pulling all-nighters to resolve a crisis, or the steady accretion of overtime in a death march.

It’s fairly common in the tech sector for employees to hold these tough weeks up as points of pride; something good they achieved or survived.

Jeff Archibald thinks that this is the wrong way to think of it. And he’s right.

"If you’re working 60 hours a week, something has broken down organisationally. You are doing two people’s jobs. You aren’t telling your boss you’re overworked (or maybe he/she doesn’t care). You are probably a pinch point, a bottleneck. You are far less productive. You are frantically swimming against the current, just trying to keep your head above water.

"We need to stop being proud of overworking ourselves."

Worth a read.

2 Notes

Canada’s first computer, 1951-52
Following on from Sunday’s find of a photo of London’s first computer, here’s a shot of Canada’s first computer, which was located at the Computation Center in the University of Toronto.
The photo was dug up by a relative, who now in her mid 80’s is completely wired to today’s technology. She was the keeper of the keys to this beast… and presumably other secrets of the day.
@ColonyClive is a regular contributor to Found Things.

Canada’s first computer, 1951-52

Following on from Sunday’s find of a photo of London’s first computer, here’s a shot of Canada’s first computer, which was located at the Computation Center in the University of Toronto.

The photo was dug up by a relative, who now in her mid 80’s is completely wired to today’s technology. She was the keeper of the keys to this beast… and presumably other secrets of the day.

@ColonyClive is a regular contributor to Found Things.

Notes

London’s first computer, May, 1950
At the time, the fastest in the world, running at 1MHz.
Read more on Wikipedia.

London’s first computer, May, 1950

At the time, the fastest in the world, running at 1MHz.

Read more on Wikipedia.

1 Notes

UK government plans switch to open source from Microsoft office suite
Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft. 
Some £200m - ! - has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant’s Office suite alone since 2010.
But Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to Open Source software.
Document formats are set to be standardised across Whitehall to help break the “oligopoly” of IT suppliers, and improve communications between civil servants.
About freaking time. Full story on the Guardian.
Via @chrismair.

UK government plans switch to open source from Microsoft office suite

Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft. 

Some £200m - ! - has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant’s Office suite alone since 2010.

But Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to Open Source software.

Document formats are set to be standardised across Whitehall to help break the “oligopoly” of IT suppliers, and improve communications between civil servants.

About freaking time. Full story on the Guardian.

Via @chrismair.

Notes

Mercedes-Benz’s Prediction Engine will learn your life – and it’ll be in cars by 2016

Following on from the revelations about Amazon’s plans to send you goods before you know you want to order them, Mercedes-Benz is developing a prediction engine that will know where you want to go as soon as you start up your car.

The car uses an array of sensors to work out who’s driving it – everything from seats that measure your weight to sensors that track how heavy you are on the accelerator. It’ll even monitor which smartphones are in the car to build up a picture of who’s driving and their passengers.

Armed with that information, the car’s Prediction Engine will monitor your driving habits and work out where you want to go, based on who’s in the car, the time of day and the weather.

So if a parent and two children are in the vehicle on a weekday morning, it’s a fairly safe bet that they’re on the school run – and that the parent will be going to work after they drop the kids off. If it’s a rainy weekend evening and there are two adults in the car, they’re likely to be going to the cinema or one of their favourite after-work haunts.

Mercedes reckons that the Prediction Engine will take around two to three weeks to work out where you habitually drive to – and will draw on information from satellites and other connected cars to help you avoid traffic and find the fastest route.

You can get the full story on Stuff.

@paulrgn is a regular contributor to Found Things.

Notes

Dancing neon lights build a giant digital clock

Imagine a $15,000 clock radio that works on a system of pullets, motors and Ardunino and you have CL:OC, by Grosse 8.

It’s a light installation that sits smack dab in the middle of a traditional watch and the future-is-now smartphone in your pocket.

“As the lights pulse, you are able to watch as light tries to reach the other side of the tube. It gets thinner and thinner and ends in the middle of the tube.”

Apparently, it’s quite hypnotic in person. The tubes actually rearrange randomly each time, creating an unpredictable effect that can keep audiences watching the time tick away for 20 minutes.

Full article and more pictures on Co.Design.

Via @paulrgn.

Notes

Seven found things from CES day one
1. Full body virtual reality gaming
VR headset brain Oculus Rift has been showing off new kit at CES, but has also teamed up with PrioVR, makers of a full-body tracking suit. This means your every move is monitored in-game, so you can duck, peer around corners, roll on the ground… you name it.
Watch the video for more info – and the PrioVR hits Kickstarter on February 14, too, keep one hand on your money box.

2. Germ-free glass
This, apparently, is the ‘world’s first antimicrobial glass’. Called Gorilla and made by boffins at Corning, it’ll keep your mobile or tablet free of infectious little bugs on the outside, so next time you momentarily hold your iPhone between your teeth while rummaging for car keys, you won’t end up sneezing for a week.

3. Pebble to the metal
Smartwatch too plasticky? Pebble has revealed the Steel – yep, you guessed it, a metal version available in stainless or matt black. Good news is the price remains affordable at around £150.

Find out more getpebble.com.
4. Valve releases Steam
As predicted yesterday, Valve has revealed the first bunch of Steam Machines, the PC-based gaming system.

Developed in conjunction with more than ten manufacturing partners there are many variations to choose from.
If you want the full spec breakdown, Engadget is the place to read.
5. Best TV ever?
LG were always going big for CES, but the company may have built the ultimate front room viewing experience.
The 77-inch EC9800 combined 4K, OLED, webOS and 4K Netflix, plus a curved screen for an extra-immersive experience. And not a panicked Michael Bay in sight.
Head to Stuff magazine for more details.
6. Mother knows best
Perhaps a little disturbing, but Mother is a life tracking tool that monitors your every move using ‘Cookies’.
Nothing to do with websites, these small plastic sensors can be placed anywhere you want to track and Mother will tell you how often it has moved.

Use Mother to remind you to exercise, monitor sleep, take medicine, drink coffee… whatever.
More details here.
7. Out of touch
If Intel had a headline theme at CES, it was ‘no touching’.

Its Realsense 3D depth-sensing cameras are making gesture controls a reality for laptops, and a new Smart headset was one of a selection of wearable devices that keep an ear on you, so to speak, by relaying your every command to connected devices.

Intel also offered a charging bowl (10 inches in diameter and you simply drop multiple devices into it to charge) and headphones that monitor your health.
Read more on BBC News.

Seven found things from CES day one

1. Full body virtual reality gaming

VR headset brain Oculus Rift has been showing off new kit at CES, but has also teamed up with PrioVR, makers of a full-body tracking suit. This means your every move is monitored in-game, so you can duck, peer around corners, roll on the ground… you name it.

Watch the video for more info – and the PrioVR hits Kickstarter on February 14, too, keep one hand on your money box.

2. Germ-free glass

This, apparently, is the ‘world’s first antimicrobial glass’. Called Gorilla and made by boffins at Corning, it’ll keep your mobile or tablet free of infectious little bugs on the outside, so next time you momentarily hold your iPhone between your teeth while rummaging for car keys, you won’t end up sneezing for a week.

3. Pebble to the metal

Smartwatch too plasticky? Pebble has revealed the Steel – yep, you guessed it, a metal version available in stainless or matt black. Good news is the price remains affordable at around £150.

Find out more getpebble.com.

4. Valve releases Steam

As predicted yesterday, Valve has revealed the first bunch of Steam Machines, the PC-based gaming system.

Developed in conjunction with more than ten manufacturing partners there are many variations to choose from.

If you want the full spec breakdown, Engadget is the place to read.

5. Best TV ever?

LG were always going big for CES, but the company may have built the ultimate front room viewing experience.

The 77-inch EC9800 combined 4K, OLED, webOS and 4K Netflix, plus a curved screen for an extra-immersive experience. And not a panicked Michael Bay in sight.

Head to Stuff magazine for more details.

6. Mother knows best

Perhaps a little disturbing, but Mother is a life tracking tool that monitors your every move using ‘Cookies’.

Nothing to do with websites, these small plastic sensors can be placed anywhere you want to track and Mother will tell you how often it has moved.

Use Mother to remind you to exercise, monitor sleep, take medicine, drink coffee… whatever.

More details here.

7. Out of touch

If Intel had a headline theme at CES, it was ‘no touching’.

Its Realsense 3D depth-sensing cameras are making gesture controls a reality for laptops, and a new Smart headset was one of a selection of wearable devices that keep an ear on you, so to speak, by relaying your every command to connected devices.

Intel also offered a charging bowl (10 inches in diameter and you simply drop multiple devices into it to charge) and headphones that monitor your health.

Read more on BBC News.