Dan Blair

Tag Archives: Development

JavaScript Quirks

JavaScript is one of THOSE languages.. The ones where you’re both cool for using it and cool for not using it. I actually like it, although I am looking more into TypeScript lately. I do personally believe that everythign will move closer and closer to being all JavaScript all the time.

I’ve been working with JavaScript for a while and have been using it for different kinds of applications like mobile with Cordova and with frameworks like AngularJS. JavaScript is one of those languages which hurts your head sometimes. It has a lot of quirks, lets mess around with them.

Being A Little Agile

It has been a while since I wrote starting up, I have been busy with my business (which is a good thing). When I started Bit Space Development I set out to learn. If I was going to start a business and fail, I would have learned about failing. If I built something that was sucessfull I would have learned how to succeed. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would learn in such a short amount of time.

Starting Up

I gave another awkward speech to students at Red River College recently. This might not be awkward to most people but I’m not used to it. The topic was jumping off a cliff or doing what I did and jumping off a shit load of small hills.

The talk was for entrepreneurship students in the Business Information Technology program at RRC and is about building your network of mentors, gaining support and taking a leap of faith.

The Oculus Rift DK2

Virtual Reality is not a new technology, certainly not something that was imagined recently. The Oculus Rift was one of the first devices to actually do a good job with creating an immersive environment. The DK2 is quite an improvement from the original Oculus Rift, which was hard to do considering the first Oculus Rift was so amazing to begin with.

Virtual reality is difficult to describe to people who have not actually tried it. It is not quite like you are sitting at your desk with a box on your head (google cardboard), it is more like you have actually traveled to the virtual place. If a simulation is good enough, it can feel like you are really there. This is amplified if you are actually sitting or standing like the character in the simulation and if you are wearing a good headset to cancel the noise.

Hardware

The hardware is a lot better this time around. The resolution is now 960 X 1080 per eye, which is noticeable. There is an additional position tracking unit which tracks the Oculus Rift, and your device’s orientation.

Precise, low-latency positional tracking opens the door to entirely new interactive and gameplay opportunities. Great positional tracking is a key requirement for virtual reality; with it, the Oculus Rift can accurately map all of your real world head movements.

two

The DK2 uses low persistence OLED Displays. This basically eliminated the motion blur and jutter of the display, which is what makes you feel sick most of the time.

DK2 uses a low persistence OLED display to eliminate motion blur and judder, two of the biggest contributors to simulator sickness. Low persistence makes the scene appear visually stable, increasing the potential for presence.

three

Over all the DK2 has a lot better hardware. The specs below will outline what is on board of the headset.

Display
Resolution 960 x 1080 per eye
Refresh Rate 75 Hz, 72 Hz, 60 Hz
Persistence 2 ms, 3 ms, full
Viewing Optics
Viewing Optics 100° Field of View (nominal)
Interfaces
Cable 10′ (detachable)
HDMI HDMI 1.4b
USB Device USB 2.0
USB Host USB 2.0 (requires DC Power Adapter)
Positional Tracker USB USB 2.0
Internal Tracking
Sensors Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer
Update Rate 1000 Hz
Positional Tracking
Sensors Near Infrared CMOS Sensor
Update Rate 60 Hz
Weight
Weight 0.97 lbs (without cable)
Included Accessories
Included Accessories HDMI to DVI Adapter DC Power Adapter International Power Plugs Nearsighted lens cups Lens cleaning cloth

Software

Software wise there is a lot to choose from experiment wise. Immediately I downloaded a tour of the solar system. This blew my mind away. One of my biggest dreams (not surprisingly) is to go to space one day. The experience was great, and it really sold me on virtual reality. On the Oculus Share site, there are loads of software experiments to download for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

There is also a plugin for the Unity game engine to develop games for the Oculus Rift. The SDK allows you to easily build games and simulations for the rift.

The Oculus Rift is paired with the publicly available Oculus SDK which includes source code, documentation, and samples to help you hit the ground running. The Oculus Rift and the Oculus SDK currently support Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Over all developing for the rift is easier than you would expect, if you have a little game dev knowledge to begin with.

Usability

The device isn’t terrible to set up. There are a lot more cords than you would expect. The device I tried it out first on was my laptop at work, a 2013 Mac Book Pro. Setting up the Oculus on the Mac wasn’t terrible but it was difficult to get the displays configured correctly.

If you are going to use the Oculus Rift, the best configuration I have found so far is to just mirror your display, I found that sending my display to the rift as a secondary display just caused a bunch of issues including rotating the display. After all was said and done, it was super easy to download and try out different experiments.

Conclusion

Overall the device is great. The setup was a little frustrating. On Windows it was admittedly a lot easier to set up than Mac, which is fine because my work laptop isn’t really for gaming anyways haha. It is going to be interesting to see what kind of technologies are released for this in the near future. It is also going to be interesting to see what Samsung does with their Gear VR, based on the Oculus Rift.

Pics

Here are some fun pictures of us using it at the office.

Cake Board : BreadBoard Connectable to LEGO®

The Cake Board is a unique bread BreadBoard that will make it a lot easier to do some things while prototyping. This board is not only compatible with LEGO which is just the coolest but it is also double sided which makes stacking the boards or connecting the GPIO pins from a RaspberryPi or Arduino to the board super easy. This board is on Kickstarter right now and you can check out the page here.

Google I/O 2014

Today was the keynote for Google’s developer conference, Google I/O. This is an exciting time for people who develop for and work with Google’s services and platforms like Android, Chrome, and ChromeOS. This year all kinds of exciting new things were announced like Android L, Android apps running on your Chromebook and Android TV. These are all new form factors for app developers and designers to consider when working with these services but it is exciting to be a consumer right now and get to experience some of this stuff.

Community & Development

When you start attending user groups and meetups, you will not only start meeting like minded developers but you will be invited to share your ideas and see what you are truly capable of as a developer. This experience is the most valuable thing you can get entering the field and it is something that I am happy that I did before even graduating college.

The Micro: The First Truly Consumer 3D Printer

The first truly consumer 3D printer should be incredibly intuitive, easy to own, and seamless by design. This project has already beat it’s goal of $50,000 by $1,550,000. If that doesn’t show you how excited people are for 3D printing then I don’t know what will. This project, the Micro 3D is a small, cheap, consumer 3D printer that is aiming to be on the market by August 2014. This is shaking up the world of 3D printing because traditionally you are looking at over $1000 for a 3D printer. These guys want to sell them for less than $500.