Pandemic Diary, May 20th, 2021: Hello, iPad

My shiny silver, 10.2-inch, 8th generation iPad arrived via UPS this morning, and I am busy setting it up today: connecting my email account, installing Kindle, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, etc.

Although it is much the same size as my trusty old iPad 2, it is so much thinner, and the screen is slightly larger, too! This is going to take a little bit of getting used to. But it will be nice for streaming movies and TV shows, reading novels, and following Reddit, Twitter and Discord (I will continue to use my iPhone for Clubhouse).

I decided to splurge and buy a model with both WiFi and cellular capabilities. However, I discovered that the sim card from my iPad 2 is slightly too big to fit into the slot on the new model, so I will need to upgrade that, once I feel safe venturing out to the cellphone store at my local shopping mall. Then again, I so rarely use cellular because I am so infrequently in any space where I would need to use it! Ninety-five percent of the time, I am within reach of a public or private WiFi network, and anyways, at present I am still stuck within the same four walls of my apartment while Manitoba is in pandemic lockdown. Still, I decided to get cellular in the rare times that it would come in handy.

I also decided to go for 128GB of memory, since I expect I will be using this model for quite a while (my iPad 2, which I used nearly every day, lasted a whole decade and then some, before dying on me). That’s plenty of space for music, photos, videos, what have you. I’d rather have that extra space than rue not getting it down the line.

After my iPad 2 died, living without an iPad for two whole months was an interesting experience. My iPhone did double duty as both my cellphone and as a mini-tablet, and while I did get used to it, I do appreciate having all that real estate again! No longer will I have to squint at the screen to watch a movie or read a book!

I am still taking a break from most social media and from the news media, in order to get some respite from the doom-and-gloom headlines (the transfer of some patients from Manitoba’s overloaded healthcare system to Ontario, and further pandemic restrictions are to be announced before the long weekend). I don an avatar and hang out in my favourite escape spot, Second Life, or I pop into various discussion rooms on Clubhouse, and that’s about it for me this week. I am feeling very tired and anxious, and I am sleeping a lot this week, another sign I need to recharge my batteries and take care of myself.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

New! Sansar Launches Mobile Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android Devices

While reading through all the ways that you could watch and listen to the Lost Horizon virtual music festival in Sansar, I learned that there are now mobile apps, for both iOS and Android devices!

Here’s a link to the iPhone and iPad apps on the Apple App Store, and here is the link to the app on the Google Play App Store.

Once again, the branding is squarely on attending live events in Sansar. The events listing includes this weekend’s Lost Horizon Festival, plus a number of other live music events taking place later on this month, such as Monstercat: Call of the Wild. Because it would appear that Wookey staff need to place cameras in place before the event, not every event from the Sansar Events Calendar is available to view using these new mobile apps (perhaps Wookey charges clients extra for this service?).

The only stage I could visit on the iPhone app was the Gas Tower stage, and the only views I could get were a direct view of the DJ on stage, or a birds-eye view of the event, seeing the avatars of the people who were there in person as tiny figures below me:

The sound quality was not great, and I was unable to visit any of the other music stages. The first set of reviewers on the App Store were not that impressed:

However, it is still a significant step for Wookey-run Sansar to have mobile apps, which dramatically opens the door to a much broader potential audience. I’m also quite sure that they are using these new apps as part of their product pitch to other music industry executives, to offer more live music performers in future! Let’s hope that this new feature will help to reel in a few new customers and events.

Rec Room Is Coming Soon to the iPhone and iPad, Plans to Create an In-Game Economy for Content Creators

Road to VR and UploadVR both report that the popular social VR platform Rec Room is expanding to both the iPhone and iPad. If you wish to be an iOS beta tester, you can sign up here.

Rec Room also has plans to create an in-game economy where content creators can get paid. UploadVR reports:

Against Gravity has big plans for Rec Room with the goal that “someone in school with no coding knowledge can build a game in an afternoon and ship it on console, PC, mobile, and VR. We’re already seeing this happen, but we think the ability to instantly build and publish a game gets a lot more interesting when you open up the audience to anyone with a mobile device.”

In addition to cross-platform creation tools, the company is also looking into ways for creators to get paid for their works in Rec Room.

“We’re looking into letting creators charge in-app tokens for inventions they created, costumes, events, and for different things they can build into their games and rooms,” according to the company.

Rec Room is going into some interesting directions!