I remember going to Sega world in Sydney at the age of 7 and playing a much-hyped virtual reality boxing game. And it SUCKED. Clunky graphics, delayed reaction times, and a feeling that I had just ported into the Dire Straits ‘Money for nothing’ music video. Wasn’t impressed.
Coming forward almost 20 years, I have a feeling the Oculus Rift is going to change things as far as virtual reality is concerned.
In a nutshell the Oculus rift is a decent crack at a Virtual Reality headset that plays video on a manipulated pixel display.
The Horizontal 110 degree field of view means you don’t see the screen when it’s strapped to your face, resulting in an ‘immersive’ viewing experience. What appears to play inside the headset seems to be dual video screens, which kind of resembles the viewfinder of the ancient Stereograph.
Palmer Lucky, the creator, set out to create ‘Matrix’ experience, where you could ‘plug-in’ and feel like you’re in the game. And if he pulls it off, it could change the way films are created and the video games developed. Possibility a set towards combining the two.
The people developing the headset have raised $2.4m from their Kickstarter campaign. This crowd sourced money is being used to create a developer kit. You can be pre-order one from the website.Continue Reading16.05 20130
Putting the 'real' in retail.
Anyone who has had to go through the process of buying designer glasses will know that, whilst you might look cool in the mirror, the invoice doesn’t make for pretty viewing.
Enter Warby Parker, an eyewear retailer that has an online retail offer with real appeal.
They even offer to send you five sets of glasses to try out free of charge, and you simply return the ones you don’t want, free.
There’s a lot more to their approach that is very appealing, I really hope they come to Australia, real soon.
Alex.Continue Reading25.02 20130
Keeping it Real with Gamification
In a massive Internet binge on Saturday morning I stumbled across some interesting stuff that's got me pretty excited. It's all about 'gamifying' (ad talk) real world events.
The first example is a game called Endgame: Syria, and it caught my attention because Apple has just blocked it from entering the app store. Why? Well it allows users to act out the Syrian conflict and make military and political decisions based on what's unfolding in the news. E.g. If Russia sends tanks to support the Syrian Government in reality, then you must respond by seeking support with a neighbouring country like Turkey.
A shot from Endgame: Syria.
Which in itself is pretty controversial idea, but to make matters even tenser you play on the side of Rebels – a side marginalised and largely portrayed as the aggressors by major news networks. A risky strategy, but one that has given me a unique understanding of the Rebels rarely told story.
My Saturday morning binge continued when I stumbled upon more examples of taking really complex subjects and ‘gamifying’ them for the Average Joe.Continue Reading08.02 20130
Information architecture before the web.
Flew into Sydney recently and by the time I got to my hotel it was getting late, so I decided against going out for dinner. I reached for the hotel phone and found the ‘in room dining’ button, ordered some butter chicken, turned on the Olympic highlights and took a shower before the food arrived.
I was about to sit on the dining chair when I noticed one of the legs was bent under and likely to collapse if I sat on it. There was another chair there so I simply swapped to that one. Then I felt a pang of conscience and thought I’d best inform the hotel that the chair was faulty. So I scanned the choice of buttons on the phone and opted for ‘housekeeping’ to report the defective furniture.
A couple of hours later, I was back on the phone pressing ‘wake up’ so I’d be ready for an early morning edit.
Then it hit me that this simple arrangement of buttons on the hotel phone was no random collection, but rather, a prioritised, user-driven piece of information architecture.
From the most likely to be needed button, ‘24/7’, the answer to any and every customer demand: ‘I want something and I want it now.’ Through the list to what one can only hope might be the least needed: ‘emergency.’Continue Reading06.08 20120
SXSW Part 2: Skynet is coming.
Day 3 started off with us waiting forever and a day for the shuttle to pick us up from the hotel. The biggest issue with SXSW is traveling around town. Austin is a relatively small city that does not have an elaborate rail network, buses or many taxis. The shuttle service from the hotels to downtown is what most in town for SXSW use. However, with the large amount of attendees, the traffic congestions and poor management, waiting for the shuttle can creep up to 2 hours.
Upon finally arriving at the Austin Convention Centre, Joey and I went our separate ways. I went over to the Hilton to check out Interactive Arts in Japan, which was a showcase hosted by the Creative Director of Dentsu to show interactive artwork done in Japan and how these artists collaborate with agencies to create digital experiences.
Only in Japan. A Skype doll.
Joey and I both then attended a session on Avoiding Bullshit Personas. This session was a case study on how lynda.com defined their users and the do's and don'ts of good personas.
The keynote of the day was from visionary Ray Kurzweil and TIME magazine writer Lev Grossman. In a QA type environoment they had a conversation about what the future lies, and if you have ever watched Terminator, it will happen, computers will be come self aware in our lifetime.Continue Reading21.03 20120
SXSW Part 1. Queues, queues and more queues.
After the longest 5 hour flight in history, Joey and I arrived in Austin, Texas at approximately 5pm local time.
It was clear that Austin was buzzing with excitement. There was live music playing in the airport as part of the SXSW festivities, and the chatter amongst everyone revolved around the next 10 days.
Our biggest shock happened the moment we stepped out of the airport. It was freezing. What made it worse was there was a 50m line for taxis.
Day 1 at SXSW started by being confronted with a line waiting for the registration booth to open. This line was literally wrapping its way around the building. Once the doors opened and we got into the booth there was another line to get your badges, then a line to get your swags.
We checked out a session on what the sports fan will look like in 2015, got tips on how to design for CMS and saw an interview with Dennis Crowley (the co-founder on Foursquare) on making the real world easier to use.Continue Reading14.03 20120
Joey and I are flying up to Austin, Texas today to attend the annual SXSW conference. What was once a one of the largest music festivals in the world, it has since become an interactive festival that focuses on emerging technologies and a breeding ground for new ideas and creativity.
So who's involved in this year's SXSW festival. Plenty.
The focus this year seems to be on mobile, mobile wallet (NFC) and interestingly the future sports audience and over the last few days and nights, I've been feverishly trying to organise my conference schedule. Who and what I'd like to see, and have come to the realisation that in every hour, I need to be in 4-5 places. I think it may be a case of just going with the flow and try to get to as many interesting presentations as possible.
In addition, there has an influx of emails, facebook messages, invites and snail mail from SXSW and the 500+ Aussies that have signed up to attend this festival. All uber geeky, all uber excited.Continue Reading09.03 20120
Mobile Marketer Workshop @ #omxmel11
The Online Marketer Conference & Expo was on at the Hliton on the Park this week, which Joey & I attended the first day and Amy & James attending the other.
The Opening Keynote was by Stefan Weitz of Bing. He spoke about the lack of evolution in search engines, and how Bing is trying to redefine how search engines work. Search engines currently act as a "search & find", but Bing is trying to move to a "search & do" mentality. They believe that certain tasks should be able to be completed within the search results, rather than having users find a result, click to the site, and then try and find the information they are searching on another site. Their goal is to complete tasks as efficiently as possible.
We then split into our streams, in which I attended the Mobile Marketing Workshop. The lineup consisted of speakers from MobileNation, Reseo, 4th Screen Advertising, The Long Weekend, Burst SMS and Mobile Marketing Experts, presenting on topics that included Mobile Site Architecture, App Store SEO, Mobile Advertising, Web vs Native Apps, SMS Marketing and Mobile Campaign Planning.Continue Reading16.11 20110
The anti-social media experiment.
Social Media is fast becoming one of our most dependent communication tools. The emergence of smartphones is allowing us to be constantly connected to our friends, families, celebrities, political figures and the guy around the corner that owns the milk bar.
It is also allowing brands, large and small, to engage with their customers, enabling them to be able to get insights that was once impossible. Being able to check-in to places, "like" brands, engage in open dialogues, is allowing marketers to understand consumers better than ever.
However, being constantly connected may be great for engagement, but is it making us more anti-social in the real world?
A few weeks ago, my friends and I encountered an issue that has been brewing for some time. Every time we go to a restaurant it ends up being like this:
The moment we sit down, it's phones out, check-in, update status, comment, likes, upload photos, the list goes on. Banning phones from the table didn't work, as the urge to visit facebook was too strong.
So we decided to on a challenge, an group experiment. The 7-day Social Media Ban.
The rules were simple. No social media for 7 days. If you made it through the week then you get 'kudos'.Continue Reading20.09 20110
This is one of the most cool applications of the Microsoft Kinect I’ve seen to date. It really opens your eyes into the future of eCommerce. Imagine a time when you will be able to try on a complete outfit without leaving your own home. You will even be able to get feedback from your friends all over the world via your connected social network.Continue Reading15.06 20110