- Category: Rants
So here comes my Apple rant ...
People who know me in real life already know my opinion on this matter, however I still feel the need to spew about it here because I'm still confronted on a daily basis with Apple users who think Apple is an 'innovator'. A good example is this article 'was steve jobs the greatest innovator of all time'. Spoiler alert .. he wasn't.
First of all, lets define the word innovator so we're al on the same page. From Wikipedia : 'An innovator in a general sense, is a person or an organization who is one of the first to introduce into reality something better than before. That opens up a new area for others and achieves an innovation.'. Source : Wikipedia Innovator article
Now if you are an Apple user, I can already hear you thinking. Ok, so Apple IS an innovator .. they invented the smartphone, the mp3 player, the tablet and now they are coming with a watch ! Innovation, right ? WRONG ! In order for it to be innovation, you need to be the first (or one of the first) to come with something new. Apple has never actually innovated anything, because what they really are is a 'smart follower'. They let other companies try out all the new technologies and carefully wait for the perfect moment where they can come with a very polished version of that technology. They are followers, always have been and always will be. They are very good at it and it's why they are so successful. I'm not saying it's a bad business practice at all, however calling it 'innovation' is just plain wrong.
Now here are some facts and examples to show you that they are just really good at copying other peoples work :
The iPod was by no means the first mp3 player. The iPod was released in 2001, and I already saw mp3 players in 1997 at electronic shows (Cebit) and in 1998 in all the stores. Here's a link showing several mp3 players in the years before the iPod was released.
iPhone was not the first smartphone. Not the first phone with a touchscreen. Not the first phone to have an internet browser, not the first to support apps, not the first with ANYTHING, really. It was very very similar to my SPV m1000. It also had a touchscreen covering most of the phone and you opened applications by touching icons (on a grid). So .. nothing new there. At all.
iPad was not the first tablet. We will ignore the many references in scifi dating back as far as the 60's, showing a tablet design for computers. It's not a hard design to make, you take a screen and make it respond to touch. For the rest you want to keep it as small as possible, so it's going to be shaped like the screen. Microsoft was actually the first to produce real tablets, however they thought a slightly modified version of their OS would be suitable. By the time Apple released their iPad, iOS was already a well developed OS and all they did was ad some scaling features, et voila !
iWatch or Apple Watch ... We've already had many different smart watches, all with the same functionality. LG's gwatch, Samsung's Gear line, etc. Just another example of waiting and trying to hit the market with a more pollished version of the technology.
I could go on and point out other products they copied, but I think I have made my point. So who really are innovators in the tech industry ? It's obvious to me that Microsoft is one of the biggest innovators, and another company that is taking the lead in some areas is Samsung.
Some products from Microsoft that I consider true innovation : Microsoft surface table , Microsoft Kinect sensor , Microsoft Hololens. Now even though stuff like the surface table were not a market success, they were true innovations. Nobody brought anything similar to the consumer market.
Samsung is also showing itself as an innovator by bringing the first virtual reality head mounted display to the consumer market (Samsung Gear VR) ... They were also the first with some things like : Super AMOLED screen production, curved screens production, smart watches with curved oled displays ... etc etc.
So there you go .. that's that. If you don't agree and know about some secret innovation that Apple made that should be mentioned here, well give me a shout.
- Category: Rants
Apparently, this is a fact of human nature. I forgot where I read it, but it was on the internet, so it must be true.
What happens when we have too much choice ? The brain starts to think if it chooses one thing, it's missing out on all those other options. This goes for many different things in life, but in mine it applies to games. And it only took me 37 years to figure it out. But I think I get it now ;)
When I was a teenager, and even slightly before that .. I used to play games on my 8-bit Atari 800-XL. Good times ! Back then there was no internet. If you wanted games, you went to the store and bought them, or you had to have a friend with connections who could get you 'cracked' games. I did not grow up particularly rich, so even though I did buy quite some games from the store, I also managed to get some access to the 'underground'. Anyway to cut a long story short, I noticed that as I got more games, I enjoyed them less. Instead of playing games to the end, or at least attempting to do so, I would check out a new title, play it for a bit and then decide it was not as great as I expected and I should go out and get more games in order to have more fun. I would go out and get more games, sometimes many more games (at the time 20 games was a ton). But the problem only got worse. Games started to bore me sooner and sooner. Lesson learned ? I think not !
As I grew up and got into PCs, there were more options to get a hold of 'copied' games. Some of you may remember the warez collection CD's called 'Oh no - more games !'. Well the name should have given me a hint, more games is just more trouble. Then the internet came and many 'warez' sites stated popping up. It was VERY easy to get a hold of games for free now. So what did I do ? Download all the warez of course. I wanted everything and the more I got, the more I wanted. So I got more and more and more. Did that make me happier ? Nope, sure didn't. I'm not trying to say that I was getting depressed or anything, just that the great feeling of playing a game through to the end was felt less and less. I did still complete quite a few games, but many more were just left behind. My attention span was worsening progressively.
Even later in life, a couple of years ago, the games market really boomed. This meant I cold get even MORE games ! Awesome ! Right ? Download everything, spend time unzipping, unrarring, mounting ISOs, copying cracks and cracked patches etc etc. Only to start the game, play it for 5 minutes and decide it was not worth my time and I should really look at all those OTHER great games that were availaable. Rinse and repeat.
Time went on and I grew up, got a decent job and was earning a decent wage at this point. I had some friends who had already given up getting games for free from the warez scene and they pointed me to the wonderful platform known as 'Steam'. For those of you who don't know (why the fuck are you even reading this, but ok) Steam is a game distribution platform. It's basically like an appstore for games, before Apple ever created an appstore and called it innovation. It made getting games in an honest way much easier and with the regular sales they were having, games no longer had to cost 50 euros each. Also,l I figured since I was no longer the flat broke kid I used to be, I really couldn't justify downloading games for free anymore to myself. At this point I had learned a little bit from my mistakes in the past and thought it would be great to get rid of all the 'warez' and just get a few good titles and play them to the end. Having plunked down actual cash for a game should be a good motivator.
But then I fell into the same trap as before .. Steam sales and 'Humble bundle' deals offered me games for such low prices .. how could I say no ? I mean, $1 for 5 games is a killer deal. Nevermind if you are ever going to play them .. good to have them in the library, right ? After a few years I am now stuck with almost 400 games in my Steam library and am none the happier about it. And there's no way back really ... I paid for them .. I own them. I'm stuck with them and not really happy about it. Will I ever learn ?
I've read some posts on sites like Rock paper shotgun where people are complaining about the exact same thing. One thing suggested, to deal with the constant backlog of games, was to set yourself targets/goals. Like .. today I have some time to play games, I should try and complete at least another 10% in South Park - stick of truth. And then ignore all the impulses to check out other stuff, stick with your guns and play what you decided you wanted to play. Forget about how much you invested in your library, etc etc. And ... stop fucking buying more games ! No matter how good the deal. The only exception I'm going to make is when my friends get a game that we can play together (like coop or whatever), I'll grab it just so I can have fun with my friends.
TL;DR : There's a nice TED talk on this subject - The paradox of choice
- Category: Rants
I left Facebook a long time ago. I didn't to be there to begin with, but you know how it is .. everybody and their grandmother (and even your own, if you still have one) asks you if you are on Facebook and if you would please please please accept their friend request. At some point I caved and got an account .. kinda started to like it, because I got reconnected with friends from school and placed I used to work at. Kinda nice. And it's free. Which is nice .. until you realise WHY it's free. It's free because YOU are the product (I'm sure you've heard that one before, I didn't come up with that myself. But it's SO true). Facebook is in the business of DATA. Your data. Everyone's data. The more the better. Now, I generally don't have a huge issue with that. Nor am I some privacy freak who worries about someone at FB constantly checking what I'm doing, or where I am, etc etc. No problem with that whatsoever. But then .. they enabled facial recognition. Enabling it by default for all current and new users of the platform. Whooo ... wait a minute. This could have implications way beyond FB and even beyond the internets. Once they know your unique facial features, you can be recognized on ANY picture that shows (most of) your face. That includes pictures I didn't make and ones that I wasn't even aware of that people were taking ! That includes pictures where I'm still a youngster, or ones in the far future where I'm really old. THAT'S what got me to cancel my account. There is no way to control other people tagging you in pictures. Yes you can untag them or whatever, but that doesn't solve the problem. Now they have your face. And knowing FB, they are going to hold onto that data for EVER.
There's something else I really didn't like about Facebook ... family, friends and colleagues are all mixed into one bag. Family does not equal friends and visa versa. I don't want to talk about the same stuff with those groups of people. Not to mention I don't feel the need to share anything with my colleagues. But how can you tell people 'Yes I have FB, but I don't want to be your friend ?'. Try telling that to your manager. Or your sister. I think it's a *very bad idea* to mix those circles and that was another reason for me to get the F out of FB.
Another HUGE reason for me to depart the platform was all the damn baby pictures. My god, who wants to see those ? I don't give a flying fuck that you just gave birth. It's not a miracle, it's just nature. Anyone can do it .. well .. any woman can... Granted she's fertile (which is the default setting in nature, but I guess there are exceptions). And even though parents may think everyone wants to see their new born, most of us don't. Or at least, I don't and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I started by just telling facebook I didn't want to see any more posts from people as soon as they posted a single baby picture. But they just kept on coming and coming and coming, like a 20 year old in a wild orgy .. Really, I love kids as much as the next guy, maybe even more. Love my nieces and nephews, love to spend some time with them but at the end of the day I'm glad they are going home with their parents and I get my peace and quiet back. I don't want kids, I don't need them. My life is awesome the way it is .. Don't push your kids pictures down my throat !
And then there's the political posts. And the religious ones .. and then all the ads started coming in (Back when I signed up there where NO ADS). In the end I figured I didn't need it. And I'm of the opinion that most people don't 'need' facebook in their lives. Unless you are living in another country than your family, it's an easy way to stay in touch and see who got a baby. For all other people, it's waste of fucking time and internet bandwidth.
- Category: Virtual Reality
If it wasn't for Julius Horsthuis, who recently released 2 fractal animations in 360 format for Gear VR and Oculus Rift, I would never have found this beautiful piece of software called 'Mandelbulb 3D'. It's a FREE piece of 3D rendering software to generate images and videos from the mathematics of complex numbers, aka Fractals. Apparently a breakthrough was made around 2008, when a method was discovered to render a 3D representation of fractals. You can find tons of beautiful work already on google images, vimeo video, etc. Seeing those examples of professional work immediately shows you how amateuristic my first attempt at using this software looks. I have managed to produce something though, and since the Gear VR community is craving for any content, I'm making the file available for download for FREE today at this link :
This 1 min 47 second video gives a quick impression of what is possible with this software. It's just a teaser of what's to come once I know what I'm doing. I've really only spent an hour or 2 learning the software and setting up this first animation so far. So please forgive me for some of the obvious errors I've made flying through walls and stuff. My PC took 18 hours to render all the frames and I have spent many days in frustration trying to get the file converted to the proper format so it plays back in the Gear VR. It turns out that Oculus 360 videos does not support the same file formats as Milk VR. I have my rendered files only working in Milk VR at the moment, so follow these steps to play the video on Gear VR :
- Download from link above (^^)
- Create folder on root of phone memory (not sd card) called VoltVR
- Copy mp4 file into VoltVR folder
- Launch Milk VR, open 'downloaded' section, play file
Enjoy this free content for your Gear VR. More to come soon.
Page 1 of 2