The Drax Files Radio Hour 10: of headsets and hype

radio-hourEpisode 10 of The Drax Files Radio Hour focuses on the Oculus Rift.

The springboard for the show is the Lab’s call for beta testers to help check-out the Rift-enabled capabilities which are being developed within the viewer (and have been under development for some time now), which came coupled with the news that Oculus VR are now out-of-stock with Rift development kits and that components are in short supply. So if you have a headset – sign-up for the beta, and if you haven’t got a headset … oops.

Although that said, the pool of SL users with a headset is described elsewhere as “surprisingly large” …

Before getting to all things Rift, the LL Terms of Service are touched upon, with a reference to an upcoming interview with an SL content creator due for podcast #11. The ToS situation remains a bone of contention, despite reassurances from the Lab and clear-cut comments from Ebbe Altberg that the intention is not to “steal” content (as the more hysterical outcries against the August 2013 changes have claimed), together with an explanation as to why it would be suicidal for the Lab to even try to move in that direction. Being in the know as to who is slated to be interviewed for episode #11, I can say it’ll be a very balanced, informative point-of-view that is presented.

Of equal interest to me is the news that Emily short will also be participating in the next TDFRH podcast, talking about her situation vis-a-vis the Lab’s axing of Versu, which I’ve also covered here.

What I can’t help but consider to be VR hype pops up in a reference to Valve’s “VR room”, which was demonstrated at the Valve’s Steam Dev Days. This has Lee Vermeulen predicting homes having a VR room in “five years”. Whether he means a dedicated room or, as discussed in the show, a room of the house which is “VR / AR capable” with mo-cap, etc., is moot to me. Both predictions seem to be well ahead of the curve.

Gartner see VR as still being between 5-10 years away from reaching it's "plateau of porductivity" - the point at which it is in accepted, widespread use.
Gartner see VR as still being between 5-10 years away from reaching its “Plateau of Productivity” – the point at which it is in accepted, widespread use. so are people getting a little ahead of themselves in voicing expectations of what is coming in the next 3-5 years? (click to enlarge)

Call me a stick-in-the-mud for saying this, but a lot of what I’m hearing about VR right now seems to be far too close to the typical technology hype cycle for me not to look at a lot of what is being said vis-a-vis VR headsets in general with something of a jaundiced eye. Perhaps more so given that Gartner themselves see things like wearable UIs (seen as a necessary adjunct to VR headsets) as just starting on the slide into the Trough of Disillusionment within their own particular hype cycle, and VR systems themselves yet to start the climb up their own Slope of Enlightenment towards productive use – with an estimated time frame of 5-10 years before reasonable maturity and adoption may be reached.

WidelySo, what about the Rift and SL? Widely Linden is interviewed in the show. He’s overseeing integration of the Rift into the viewer. He dives into more of the technical elements of presenting the UI within “Riftlook” (to use Dave’s Rowe’s term for it), describing it as “following you” and being “fully customisable” and being fully familiar to those who have used the UI in its traditional presentation.

The idea that the UI is presented in a 3D form is intriguing – Maestro describes it as a toroidal form. Widely describes the 3D projection, and how far it appears to be from the user as customisable, and – most intriguingly – describes it as being somewhat Iron Man-ish, in that information is displayed peripherally towards the sides / top and bottom of the Rift display, ready to be looked-at when needed.

Continue reading “The Drax Files Radio Hour 10: of headsets and hype”

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Second Life happiness

JupiShinn is a friend who enjoys video art and new media. He recently invited me to participate in a music video he was working on, but schedules didn’t match-up. Which is a shame, as the finished piece is really good, and I would have been honoured to have been a part of it.

But just don’t take my word for it – catch the video yourself – and if you like it, leave a comment on JupiShinn’s YouTube version or over on the version he has on his flickr stream.

SL projects update week 11/2: group bans, JIRA, Oculus Rift

Server Beta meeting, Thursday March 13th
Server Beta meeting, Thursday March 13th

Server Deployments: week 11 – recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the forums for the latest updates / changes.

  • On Tuesday March 11th, the Main channel was updated with the server maintenance project deployed the BlueSteel and LeTigre channels  in week 10.
  • On Wednesday March 12th, BlueSteel and LeTigre joined Magnum in having support for a new version of the inventory service, AIS v3, enabled.  This service requires the use of the Project Sunshine RC viewer. The only changes compared to last week’s Magnum release was to include this week’s SLS changes.

Aditi Server Maintenance Package

A new server maintenance project arrived on Aditi in week 11, en route for a release on the main grid. This includes some bug fixes and some further work on the LSL syntax project  Ima Mechanic has been developing, and which is largely encapsulated in STORM-1831. The new project on Aditi specifically includes a new schema to fix STORM 2000, so expect this to be filtering through to the main grid in due course.

Group Ban Update

Not a lot to report here. Whirly Fizzle uncovered an awkward bug whereby a person granted the ability to ban others from a group could actually accidentally ban themselves. This proved a little hard for the Lab to initially pin down, prompting Maestro Linden to comment at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday March 13th, “We [he and Baker] both had problems earlier, because we were using a more manual method of just POSTing the data to the capability.” However, now the issue has been identified, a fix is being worked on.

JIRA Settings – Making Older BUG Reports Visible.

Following my note in part 1 of this report that users can opt to set their older BUG reports visible to the public, Maestro Linden said:

By the way, it’s possible to set the visibility of your past BUG issues by editing the ‘Security Level:’ setting. For the most part, we’re leaving that up to the reporters to change, if they’re willing to share their bug report issue more widely.

The reason we’re doing it that way is because people previously filed BUG reports with the expectation of only a few people being able to see it, and in some cases there are sensitive details like email addresses and conversations and whatnot.

On the matter of privacy, Maestro also indicated that new BUG reports can also be set for limited public viewing – that is, only to “Triagers and Reporter” should anyone have any concern over posting sensitive information in a new BUG report.

Oculus Rift

Not a lot to report here. The Lab has put out a call for beta testers for the Oculus Rift version of the viewer, as I reported here. commenting in broad terms about the project, Maestro Linden indicated that there is a slight drop in frame rate when using the headset, although he was uncertain as to the overall impact. He also described the revised UI as seen when in Riftlook as floating overhead, possibly in a toroidal form, and that the user needs to move their head to see it, so as not to have the UI invade the world view. He actually gave up trying to describe it, as he was without a headset when discussing it, and reported, “Marissa’s trying to explain it to me but it’s complicated :).”

Those fortunate enough to have a headset and who get into the beta programme will doubtless find out in due course!