Oculus Quest Now Supports Hand Tracking

Well, the goodies keep coming for the Oculus Quest wireless VR headset! Several weeks after the launch of Oculus Link (which allows you to use your Oculus Quest as a wired VR headset with a gaming PC to run Oculus Rift apps), today Facebook announced that the Oculus Quest will now support hand tracking!

VR YouTuber Nathie had a chance to try out hand tracking at the recent OC6 conference, and he has all the details on this new feature in a new video:

The hand tracking is meant to replace the use of the Oculus Touch controllers. Apparently, you will be able to switch between using your Touch controllers and your hands using your headset. Also, it will likely be some time until your favourite app or game supports hand tracking.

But it is now clear that Oculus Quest (as opposed to the Oculus Rift) is where all the action is happening lately! It’s truly amazing to me how many surprises the Oculus engineers have been able to squeeze out of the Oculus Quest headset this year.

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My Love-Hate Relationship With the Second Life Gossip Website Virtual Secrets

Virtual Secrets (formerly known as SL Secrets) is sort of the National Enquirer of Second Life: a long-running website where anybody can anonymously post a picture, usually to call out the (mis)behaviour of another avatar, store, event, or brand. Common accusations include:

  • one avatar attacking another avatar’s looks, behaviour, or relationships (essentially, an SL version of The Dirty)
  • one avatar cheating on another;
  • an avatar engaging in sexual ageplay (a bannable offence under the Second Life Terms of Service);
  • one store stealing another store’s design or intellectual property;
  • an SL brand copying real life intellectual property;
  • a store not putting in sufficient design effort on a gacha or an item for a shopping event;
  • a supposedly too-cozy relationship between a store and an event organizer or blogger manager;
  • people getting banned from clubs, and other club-related drama;
  • clubs or stores using alts to artificially boost traffic statistics.
A Typical Virtual Secrets Post

And the list goes on, and on, and on… but I was very surprised this week when somebody actually used one of the pictures from my blog for their post!

(Which I think is a compliment about modesty in dress…in which case, thank you. But it could just as easily be a jab at how Vanity Fair is overdressed. With Virtual Secrets, you just never know…)

I must confess that I do find myself reading the latest installment every Sunday, just to find out what the latest drama is on the grid, but I often come away from it feeling a little depressed and disheartened by how people attack each other.

Every so often, somebody does post something genuinely funny, insightful, or positive, but they are pretty few and far between:

So I will admit that Virtual Secrets is my guilty pleasure. But I feel guilty that my entertainment comes at the expense of another person. So I confess that I have a continuing love-hate relationship with the website.

What I do find interesting is that I can think of no other virtual world that has such a gossip site. There is just something about the ecosystem of Second Life that seems to lend itself to all the petty drama and mudslinging that enable Virtual Secrets to be as popular as it is.

Perhaps, it’s a sign that a virtual world has “made it” if websites like this spring up around it? I’m quite sure that competing platforms would love to generate the levels of enthusiasm, engagement, and outrage that seem to drive so many of the posters to Virtual Secrets.

But what do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below, thanks!

JanusVR Shuts Down Its Corporation, But the Platform Will Continue

JanusVR CEO and co-founder James McCrae posted a letter to the JanusVR subReddit, announcing that the company behind JanusVR is shutting down:

I write to inform the broader community of our intent to dissolve the corporation, Janus VR, Inc., at the end of Q4 2019. It is no longer feasible to maintain our corporation status in Canada and the US given the expenses this will incur each year (as it relates to legal, accounting, patent/IP filings, etc.)

It’s not all sad news. I remain committed to do all I can to maintain our existing services and underlying infrastructure that the community enjoys, such as our default presence server, build servers and our Vesta hosting service. While I would love to see a sub-community emerge around supporting essential Janus services such that it would be self-sufficient, with an appointed group of custodians, it is my intention to take this on as a personal expense in the interim.

I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say we take great pride in what we have built as a result of our interaction with you, our community, over the past five years. A fact some may find surprising is that Janus VR has had hundreds of thousands of unique users since it was created. It is an incredible feeling to have built something that captured such attention and delighted so many people, or at least introduced them to our unique interpretation of the “immersive web” – even if that vision was a little “early”, “different” or “ahead of its time”. 

You can read the letter in full here. The open source JanusVR project will continue (here is the guide and GitHub), maintained by a cadre of volunteers. One commenter on the RyanSchultz.com Discord said:

It’s a shame they had to close down, but not surprising… They had no viable business model. None of these VR organizations seem to be trying the nonprofit route, even though it has worked out well for the Blender foundation. Maybe Blender is just an anomaly, though.

Thanks to Jin for the heads up!