When John Carmack and Andrew “Boz” Bosworth have a conversation, people tend to listen. Andrew is vice president in charge of augmented and virtual reality at Facebook, and of course John is the millionaire Chief Technical Officer of Oculus, who is currently working away on an Artificial General Intelligence project.
The two recently held a half-hour conversation on Twitter Spaces (Twitter’s version of the hot new drop-in audio app Clubhouse), which offered a fascinating glimpse into the heads of two key people who are driving Facebook’s move into virtual reality.
Right now [VR is] still largely an early adopters’ toy where a lot of people that have VR already have everything else, and we’re just adding some new spice, but we need to be a displacement device where we need to be something that somebody hard up for money decides “I’m going to buy a VR headset instead of a Chromebook or instead of a tablet.” And we need to do everything that those devices do. You know, we need to have similar app libraries. We need to be just as effective with keyboard and mouse. We need it to be something that you could put on your head and do the work that you need to do during a normal day.
Anybody who uses what Philip Rosedale has pejoratively called a “marimba keyboard” (i.e. where you use a mallet-like device to awkwardly type on a virtual keyboard), can immediately relate to what John says here. Despite the many technical advances of the past five years, we are still not anywhere near the ease of use that is required for people to actually opt for a VR headset instead of a tablet!
Here’s the whole half-hour discussion, which I can highly recommend:
Today is officially Day 373 since I began working in self-isolation from my home for my university library system on March 16th, 2020. All the summer courses at the University of Manitoba will be taught online and remotely, as in previous semesters, although the university is planning to conduct at least some of the smaller courses in-person come September (dependent upon the current pandemic situation, of course).
I have been on Clubhouse for (double checks) eight weeks now, and things are definitely getting a bit weird. Every second room seems to be about manifesting your first million dollars, or NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), or BitClout. And Clubhouse is starting to descend into endless petty tit-for-tat squabbles like the following:
*sigh* Could somebody please call these aggrieved people a WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH-mbulance? 😉
And yet, at the same time, I have started two clubs (one for Winnipeggers and Manitobans, and the other one is called Ask a Librarian), and become a moderator for a third club founded by somebody else, the Virtual Worlds club.
And, in addition to running my own weekly rooms in those clubs, I willingly put up my hand, come up on stage, and speak in many rooms (not in the NFT rooms or the petty squabbling rooms, though). In a weird way, Clubhouse is like a comforting blanket I can wrap around myself whenever I feel the need of company. There’s always a conversation happening somewhere!
I particularly enjoy the daily News News News room, where everybody contributes to (and discusses) the headlines. For example, someone will talk about a breaking COVID-19 story, and a doctor or scientist in the room will provide some expert commentary. It’s fast becoming my favourite way of consuming the day’s news stories, particularly since I no longer watch the broadcast TV news!
And it will be interesting to see how Clubhouse will change when they finally open up to Android users (the app is still for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads only). Speaking of iPads, I finally decided to order myself a shiny new iPad, going through the Apple website rather than make a potentially germy trip to my local Apple store in a shopping mall at the other end of town! It should arrive in about a month. In the meantime, I am enjoying my Netflix, Amazon Prime, and OUTtvGO streaming content on my desktop computer and my trusty iPhone.
As for COVID-19, well, our ever-arrogant, pompous, gaslighting Manitoba premier, Brian Pallister, is once again stumble-leading us into a third wave of COVID-19 infections (mostly driven by variants of concern), and into what I feel is an inevitable third lockdown, after the ones we endured last March and last November. I feel it is only a matter of time that the problems experienced in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec land here in Manitoba, too.
I find sometimes I need to stay off the local news media because I get so angry at how the pandemic is being mismanaged by the provincial government. Our local newspaper, the Winnipeg Free Press, has been unstinting and unprecedented in its criticism and even condemnation of Brian Pallister and his government’s policies. People are not happy, and the government is unpopular, but unfortunately we still have a couple of years to go until we can vote these clowns out of office in the next provincial election. Good riddance!
I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be largely face-masking, hand-washing, and self-isolating for at least another four months, possibly longer. I received my first shot of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on March 18th, 2021, but I am not due to get my second shot until July (the government has decided to get first shots into as many arms as possible, to provide at least some protection against the coronavirus, then focus on people getting their second shots).
However, at least until that third lockdown is announced, I am now going into my library every Monday (which is still closed to faculty, staff, and students), in order to do some collection weeding work. I find that getting out of my apartment one day a week does wonders for my overall mood, and I enjoy the opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with my coworkers (wearing face masks and socially distanced, but still face to face!).
Other than going in to work on Mondays, I barely leave my apartment. The only regular trips I make are to go pick up the groceries I order online from Walmart, and to go across town to visit my mother and stepfather at their seniors life-lease condo.
Anyways, I hope you all are holding up well under the circumstances, and taking good care of yourselves. Stay safe and stay healthy!
Celebrating its thirteenth year, Fantasy Faire 2021 is the largest gathering of fantasy designers, enthusiasts, roleplayers and performers in the virtual world. From Thursday, April 22 to Sunday May 9, treat yourself to shopping, dance and theater performances, DJ parties, auctions, questing, our Literary Festival, fantasy art, events and roleplaying as thousands of Second Life residents and creators bring their own visions together to support the American Cancer Society’s vision of a world without cancer.
As always, you’ll find fantasy avatars, clothing, furnishings, gadgets and exclusive items available from over 200 of Second Life’s top Fantasy Creators across stunning regions designed by some of the visionary artists behind many of the hottest spots on the Second Life destination guide.
In addition to the shopping regions there will also be Faireland realms that take us beyond commerce, from a Memorial Garden to the Fairelands Quest, the Literary Festival, Performance Stages, from Art Galleries to the Worldling Collection.