I think this is what statisticians call an “outlier”

Aside

My web server was close to having a nervous breakdown today, but it held up! Behold:

Figure 1: Total page views on Doc-Ok.org over the last 30 days.

I’m expecting tomorrow will be back to normal. BTW, my previous “Best ever” was around 4,500 views on the day I published my first impressions from the Oculus Rift dev kit, a little more than one year ago.

New Adventures in Blogging

Aside

Today I learned what happens when an article gets reblogged (is that a word now?) that does not have a picture in it, and apparently an embedded YouTube video does not count as a picture: the blogging software scoops up whatever the first picture below the article headline is, and if that picture happens to be a commenter’s mugshot, so be it. Proof: see Figure 1.

Figure 1: How an article without a picture in the article is represented when reblogged by an artificial “intelligence.”

Note to self: always add a picture. Now I’m curious to see what will happen if this article gets reblogged. After all, it has a picture in it…

A Positive Outcome of the Facebook Oculus Acquisition

Aside

Here’s a silver lining: Since Facebook has taken over Oculus, this blog, or more precisely, my early review of the Oculus Rift dev kit, is no longer Google’s number one result for “Oculus Rift garbage.” I’ve always felt very bad for that (Google took my review completely out of context!). It’s now number four three two.

Alas, I’m still number one for “Oculus Rift rubbish.” Hey Oculus, could you please announce that you’ll delay shipping of DK2 to Q1 2015? Help a guy out, will you?

KThxbye

Happy birthday, doc-ok.org!

It’s exactly one year ago that I posted my first article for this here blog. I think that is cause for some reflection and maybe some celebration. Has it been worth the effort? Am I on the way to achieving what I set out to do?

According to my “About This Blog” page, my concrete goals were to

…talk about insights gained or problems encountered while writing software, comment on things others have said, discuss my own opinions on how to do things the “right way” or the “wrong way,” post updates on software development, comment on new VR hardware as I get my hands on it, etc.

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Stereo Sue

I was just reminded of an article in The New Yorker that I read a long time ago, in June 2006. The article, written by eminent neurologist Oliver Sacks, describes the experience of an adult woman, Susan R. Barry, a professor of neurobiology herself, who had been stereoblind her entire life, and suddenly regained stereoscopic vision after intensive visual training at the age of 48. While the full original article, titled “Stereo Sue,” is behind the New Yorker’s pay wall, I just found an awesome YouTube video of a joint interview with Drs. Barry and Sacks:

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An off-topic post

I promised I would keep off-topic posts to a minimum, but I have to make an exception for this. I just found out that Roger Ebert died today, at age 70, after a long battle with cancer. This is very sad, and a great loss. There are three primary reasons why I have always stayed aware of Mr. Ebert’s output: I love movies, video games, and 3D, and he had strong opinions on all three of those areas.

When hearing about a movie, my first step is always the Internet Movie Database, and the second step is a click-through to Mr. Ebert’s review. While I didn’t always agree with his opinions, his reviews were always very useful in forming an opinion; and anyway, after having listened to his full-length commentary track on Dark City — something that everybody with even a remote interest in movies or science fiction should check out — he could do no wrong in my book.

I do not want to weigh in on the “video games as art” discussion, because that’s neither here nor there.

However, I do want to address Mr. Ebert’s opinions on stereoscopic movies (I’m not going to say 3D movies!), because that’s close to my heart (and this blog… hey, we’re on topic again!). In a nutshell, he did not like them. At all. And the thing is, I don’t really think they work either. Where I strongly disagreed with him is the reason why they don’t work. For Mr. Ebert, 3D itself was a fundamentally flawed idea in principle. For me, the current implementation of stereoscopy as seen in most movies is deeply flawed (am I going to see “Jurassic Park 3D?” Hell no!). What I’m saying is, 3D can be great; it’s just not done right in most stereoscopic movies, and maybe properly applying it will require a change in the entire idea of what a movie is. I always felt that the end goal of 3D movies should not be to watch the proceedings on a stereoscopic screen from far away, but to be in the middle the action, as in viewing a theater performance by being on stage amidst the actors.

I had always hoped that Mr. Ebert would at some point see how 3D is supposed to be, and then nudge movie makers towards that ideal. Alas, it was not to be.

Poll: Potential VR Open House at UC Davis

One of the big problems with advocating for virtual reality is that it can really only be experienced first-hand; I can make all the movies I want, and still won’t get the main point across.

So I figured it might be a good idea to host a “VR Open House” at UC Davis, and invite readers of my blog, or the redditors of the virtualreality subreddit where I sometimes hang out, to come and see what I mean by immersive 3D graphics (or “VR”) in person.

But before I do any planning, I need to find out if there’s any interest in the first place; after all, I don’t know how many people live around northern California, or how far people would be willing to travel for something like this (we’re an hour north-east of San Francisco, right off I-80).

So here’s my idea: if you read this post, and would attend such an open house, please leave a reply. If enough people show interest, I’ll schedule something, and then do another poll for people to sign up on a first-come first-serve basis, as I can’t handle a group larger than, say, a dozen. If you do leave a reply, maybe indicate what date ranges won’t work for you.

Some details on what we could look at / play with:

I’m thinking this could be a half-day affair; that won’t be enough to look at everything, but at least at a good cross-section.

So, please, leave a comment if you’re interested; maybe indicate how far you’d be traveling and what dates are no-no for you. I’ll take it from there.