Monthly Archives: June 2014

Virtual Reality is a vehicle that helps us unlock our dreams

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Imagine, if you will, a key of gold that can be inserted into any door opening up the contents stored within. It has no specified ridges on it, but rather contains segments of a universal code that, when turned slowly, unlocks the pins located inside.

With that tool in hand, you are now able to venture into the future of our existence seeing what is capable and what can be achieved. Ideas start swirling around you falling from the interstellar sky. Writing appears in front of you asking which direction you would like to travel. Which dream of another would you like explore?

14 - 1Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on your sweater already. You’re nervous, but its okay because you know that this is just a temporary ride. It is a wild ride when shooting down a tunnel in space. As galaxies and planets pass by, you realize that you are a part of something bigger. But what?

Now snap back to reality. Oh there goes gravity.

You can feel the community all around you. The presence of 300 hundred like-minded individuals pushes forward toward a way to explore these thoughts of what virtual reality actually is. A research lab is nearby. Let’s see what’s inside.

Turns out it is creativity that holds us all together. It brings us to places that we never would have thought existed, including hacker-related incubator spaces like the Mixed Reality Lab at USC in Los Angeles, California. Students who learned new skills here went on to create companies  like Oculus and Survios. But this begs the question of how they got there. Where they just smarter than the rest of us? Or where they just given the right tools at the right time?

So, lets ask a virtual reality pioneer some of those questions:

From the sounds of what Mark Bolas is saying, the key is to have the right environment around. You need people that are curious. And you need tools.
If you got all that, then you are really travelling in the correct direction towards figuring out who you are and what you are on this planet for. And, you can even journey into other worlds. Granted you have the right combination between hardware and software.
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Once all strapped in, it is time to dig deeper and find what the future of our dreams look like. Where are the ideas coming from? And who is laying down the foundation for those to build up after?

So, lets pick Jonnie Ross‘s brain and see what he comes up with:

To wrap up, virtual is a dream. It is a kind of a dream. We are right at the forefront at a turning point in how people perceive themselves (and others) in time. In a sense, it is a form of storytelling. In a way, it allows us to share our ideas and experiences through technology transporting us somewhere else entirely.

It will all now come down to how we push these dreams further once they have been unlocked. Musicians, writers, game developers, film students, and many other creative people will all explore the edges of what is capable through this medium. Look for what comes next, because it will change the very fabric of how we communicate and learn from each other.

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Article written by @industrychanger

Film captured by William Correa with @hndpla

More interviews found below:

Questions of self-discovery answered in this video with Mark Bolas:

Should inner city kids get involved in technology?

Tell us more Mark:

Next week we will explore the transportation aspects surrounding the virtual reality movements.

Additional Links:

Los Angeles VR – http://www.virtualrealityla.com/

Orange County VR – http://orangecountyvr.com/

Silicon Valley VR – http://svvr.com/

San Francisco VR – http://www.meetup.com/virtualreality/

Las Vegas VR – http://www.meetup.com/Las-Vegas-Virtual-Reality-Meetup/

Mixed Reality Lab – http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/

Das Tapes Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/das-tapes

How to make a lock picking set with spare scraps of metal

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Lock picking is a very useful skill when you are trying to open up a gate, a door, or a secret passageway. And the tools needed for the task can be found nearby, eliminating the need to purchase a set online.

First things first. You will need to know how a key works. Image

If you look on your key ring, you will notice that each key has ridges on it. This allows the key to fit perfectly inside the lock aligning the pins within to a level position. Once the pins are correctly placed, the lock mechanism can then be turned. If any of the pins are not aligned properly, then the lock will not open. This is why putting in a different key doesn’t unlock the lock because the ridges aren’t correctly positioned with the pins inside.

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Now that you understand how a lock works, you can begin to gather the materials needed to fashion together a lock picking set. A good place to look is on the streets, specifically on the roads that have regular street sweeping. There you should be able to find broken off bristles. Typically you can tell that you have the right item by seeing how beat up the metal is. This is because of how much wear-and-tear the machines usually go through when scraping trash off the asphalt streets.

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If you aren’t able to locate one of the street bristles, then you can use blued steel metal tape usually found at a local hardware store. Spring steel materials are also good. It doesn’t quite matter where the metal is coming from, as long as it is somewhat strong and thin enough to fit inside a lock.

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After you got the material, the next step is to grind the metal down to the right shape and size. A nice tool to use is a simple bench grinder that can be found in hardware shops, warehouses, and possible even in your garage at home.

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Get the grinder and put a bucket of water nearby. Put on safety glasses and don’t wear gloves (very important! You don’t want the glove material to get caught in the grinder. It’s better to get a small burn than to lose a finger). Start up the grinder. Then, position the metal and begin to shape the metal like the picks in the photo above. The goal is to create something with a finger-like tip that will go all the way to the back of the lock to push the pins down. Every second or so of grinding, dip the metal into the water to cool it down.

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The intended products are shown above. As you can see, you need two different types of metal tools. The item with the red tape on it is called a finger or a hook. This is the one that pushes the pins down. The other metal bar is the tension or turning wrench.

To make the tension wrench, just take a straight piece of metal and heat it up using a blow torch or an oven at the end where you want to make the bend. Use some pliers to hold the metal because it will get very hot. Then take another set of pliers and bend the metal when the material is glowing red.Image

Once complete, you will be able to test the set. Just take the tension wrench and put it in the middle of the lock placing your thumb or index finger on the metal pushing it up slightly with a small amount of force. Then position the finger into the lock with the point facing down. Push down a pin and turn the wrench. Move the finger to the next pin and repeat the process. When all of the pins are down, the lock will open. If you don’t turn the wrench through at the same time as the pin, then the lock will reset.

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It really takes some time figuring out how to explore the lock. It might get frustrating for a while, but the reward once you actually open the lock is worth the effort. You will be surprised at how good it feels the first time you do it.

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After opening up one, try as many other locks you can find. Just don’t be breaking into places where you aren’t supposed to be there. Test your skills on your own locks, not other peoples’.

Article written by @hackertrips

Sleepy Giant hosts a Virtual Reality meetup in Orange County

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Just down the road from the Oculus Rift headquarters is an office park where hotels, parking garages, and corporate buildings are located. This where Sleepy Giant, an independent game company focused on enthusiast gamers, held an event with OCVR.

The pivoting glass doors opened up at the entrance leading to a beautifully constructed lobby with elevators found on both sides of the area. Security access was given to those who RSVP’d on the website allowing them to travel up to the 5th floor.

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Once inside, about 100 people gathered together sitting on wooden tables and standing up against the walls ready for the speakers to begin talking. They drank beer and ate Hors d’oeuvres while focusing their attention on the front of the room where the 1st presenter was preparing himself.

This is when Doug Griffin demoed a version of Faceshift, which is a that technology should enable creativity through the use of motion capture to produce facial animations that are realistic and emotional, with a system that is affordable and easy to use.

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After that, E McNeill (creator of the cyberpunk hacker game called Darknet) got up and discussed the benefits and challenges of virtual reality. Some of the limitations he talked about included hardware performance requirements, limited resolutions, small market size, and the potential for nausea symptoms in some users. On the plus side, E spoke of fantasy fulfillment where anyone can unlock their dreams and the amazing developer support from Oculus & Sony.

Ben Miller from WeMo Labs also presented ideas as well.

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Once the speakers were done, a long line quickly formed to try out the new Mario 64-style third-person cartoony game called Lucky’s Tale on the Oculus Rift DK2. A young developer was the first to try it out, gaining inspiration for his next project.

What made this experience top-notch was the community involvement by Oculus employees. They were there to answer questions, provide support, and get feedback from the VR enthusiasts who were happy to be discussing their thoughts on the new platform.

Shariq Hashme, the Oculus intern, showed up. His collegue Dean Beeler, their Senior Software Engineer, went down the line talking to the people waiting to try the game. And David Borel, an Oculus developer, assisted with the headset.

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Amongst the crowd were food truck owners, 3d developers, science fiction writers, bloggers, journalists, marketing associates, lawyers, hardware manufacturers, and many other types of people.

OCVR co-founder, Dylan Watkins, walked around sparking innovation with his Iron Man sweatshirt and spikey hair. He spoke of upcoming meetups, possible collaborations with Alex Gray, and mobile makerspaces.

Jamie Ortiz, VP of marketing and communications with Sleepy Giant, was happy to see such a big turnout and would definitely host another event here. He also talked about growth hacking and what the term hacker actually means.

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When the night came to a close, the remaining members hung outside for a bit longer discussing whatever thoughts flowed in. Arman Bastani with Oval Integration was there. Wagas Hussain, the creator of the Unreal LA Developers group floated around as well.

Jeff Howell, a SoCal attorney, talked with a local journalist about the possibilities of reducing crime and incarceration with the use of Virtual Reality. They also discussed how science fiction writers are the ones that lay the foundation for tech pioneers to create their work.

Overall, it was a night filled with amazing people.

Article written by @industrychanger

 

Additional Links:

Full Video of E McNeill’s presentation:

 

Orange County VR’s meetup page – http://www.meetup.com/OC-Virtual-Reality-Meetup/

Sleepy Giant’s Website – http://www.sleepygiant.com/

 

Other Notable Attendees:

Ian Hamilton – journalist and writer

Morris May –  Hollywood visual effects supervisor with Specular Theory

Jason A. Huff – developer with Atom Arcade (interested in music production for the Rift)

Michael Anetsberger & Joel Swank – who are looking for 3D developers

Phil Osborne – science fiction reader

HNDP.LA brings together the local community for a Kickstarter launch party

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Two days after releasing their initial funding goals, the talented team behind the unique music platform called HNDP (Helping Nations Discover Peace) organized an event at a skateshop in the Northeastern part of Los Angeles, California.

The party was held at Maintain your-lifestyle, and dozens of people gathered to help support the mobile music truck movement that HNDP is looking to setup. T-shirt’s were purchased while graffiti art was sprayed onto plywood boards live on the streets outside by members of the surrounding neighborhoods. As refreshments were served up, the co-founders of HNDP (William Correa & Aaron Duran) started a small cypher vibing to the beats and rhythms of DJTun gaining momentum and attracting attention of those who strolled by.

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It was amazing to see how artists, musicians, rappers, designers, game-developers, DJ’s, hustlers, photographers, and bloggers all showed up at the skateshop soaking in the creative environment as onlookers walked outside. Those who stuck around for a bit, consistently whipped out camera-phones out of denim pockets raising them toward the sky ready to capture the moments in time.

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When the night unreluctantly wound down, the crowds dispersed leaving behind the foundation of the HNDP team. This is when I had a chance to sit down with Stephen Saiz, the President of HNDP’s Board of Directors, to talk.

Below are segments of what was asked:

Why are you here today?

I’m here today to help the rest of the Board and co-founders Aaron and William launch our Kickstarter program which is going to help us fund the 1st phase of building out the truck that we are going to operate out of.

Tell us about HNDP. What is it? And where did the idea come from?

So HNDP originally started out as a program at Self Help Graphics & Art back in 2009. At that time, I was the Board President at Self Help and William and Aaron came to me and pitched the idea of using our space every Friday afternoon and throwing open-mics. We basically allowed them to do that, and what they ultimately built after that point was incredible. They built a huge buzz.

At that time, the program the program was actually called Hard N’ Da Paint. They ultimately were getting anywhere from 40 to 60 kids to come in on a Friday afternoon. They started to do more shows and even began operating on Saturdays to throw these larger events and bring in bigger-named artists allowing these kids that came in on open-mics to open up.

It was just really a compelling program, and to see the youth’s response and how they worked with the kids and to see the enthusiasm of the participation was something that I knew I wanted to be a part of longer-term.

Who came up with the idea of the Mobile Music Truck?

So the mobile music truck is something that we kind of formulated as a group. We knew, and because of a lot of us were experienced within the nonprofit sector, how challenging it was to actually own a physical space. So we thought we would kill two birds with one stone. We knew we wanted to serve the greater LA area and we knew that some nonprofits were using mobile vehicles like schoolbuses and that type of thing. In addition, we also experienced the phenomenon of lunch trucks within LA and saw how compelling that was to get people to follow on social media and always follow where the trucks were at. So we thought that we could combine the two and keep our overhead lean down by exclusively operating out of the vehicle, to be able to serve the greater LA area and to actually do it in an innovative way and to get people excited how we were going to approach it from a nonprofit perspective.

What do you think people will learn from the HNDP experience?

I think they are going to learn a ton of stuff. At its core, we are a music development program. We are building that out though to broader digital arts. But at the end of the day, we are really teaching entrepreneurship, whether they want to be a musician, a digital artist, a game developer, a promoter, a street team builder.

Do you think that you will reach the $15,000 goal that you have set with Kickstarter?

I think that it is going to be a challenge, but I think that we will get there. We are already nearly 20% of the way there. With additional support and the more people that learn about it and are introduced to the organization, and because of our compelling offering and compelling story, I think that people will hopefully feel the same way and open up their wallets and donate.

We have very low limits. You can donate as little as $2, and we also have some much higher stretch goals. So we are hoping to get in some bigger donors as well. We think that we are actually offering a pretty compelling variety of items and merchandise that will appeal to a variety of potential donors.

What are the next steps to reaching the Kickstarter goal?

We are going to continue to market it. We are going to continue to reach out to our network of people that we have in social media. A lot of us on the Board also have a lot of big professional networks, so we are individually reaching out to our friends and colleagues in the industries that we all come from.  We will continue to do that.

We will potentially talk to some friendly corporations out there that have either equipment and/or tools that we can potentially use in our programming to come in at some of the larger levels. We also have a series of fine art that we are going to be releasing, and we know that there is a huge collector base of some of the art that we have decided to select. We have been fortunate enough to have those artists donate their time and their art to us as a part of this campaign. As we continue to release new items and continue to market it and keep people updated on the type of content that we have, we think that that’s going to be a really big way for us to continue to reach out goal.

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As this Kickstarter campaign continues over the next month or so, it is important to spread the story to as many people as possible. If you are interested in donating to the cause, or would like to know more about the project, be sure to visit their Kickstarter page here.

HNDP’s Kickstarter Video:

Article written by @industrychanger

 

More Links:

HNDP’s Kickstarter Page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hndp/hndp-music-truck-mobile-mentorship-to-inspire-new

HNDP’s Website: http://hndp.la/

Another article about HNDP: http://www.digitaljournal.com/a-and-e/music/kickstarter-campaign-aims-to-inspire-artists-w-mobile-musictruck/article/386471

An Interview with Co-Founder of HNDP, William Correa: http://hackertrips.tumblr.com/post/88296003520/william-correa-is-working-on-a-mobile-recording-studio

 

In addition, here is a link to the full interview with Stephen Saiz:

Ted Nelson’s Xanadu finally gets released after 50+ years (with Transclusion).

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“In computer science, transclusion is the inclusion of a document or part of a document into another document by reference.

Rather than copying the included data and storing it in two places, a transclusion embodies modular design, by allowing it to be stored only once (and perhaps corrected and updated if the link type supported that) and viewed in different contexts.” [1]

“The term was coined by hypertext pioneer Ted Nelson in 1963.” [2]

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“Project Xanadu, the original hypertext project, is often misunderstood as an attempt to create the World Wide Web.

It has always been much more ambitious, proposing an entire form of literature where links do not break as versions change; where documents may be closely compared side by side and closely annotated; where it is possible to see the origins of every quotation; and in which there is a valid copyright system– a literary, legal and business arrangement– for frictionless, non-negotiated quotation at any time and in any amount.  The Web trivialized this original Xanadu model, vastly but incorrectly simplifying these problems to a world of fragile ever-breaking one-way links, with no recognition of change or copyright, and no support for multiple versions or principled re-use.  Fonts and glitz, rather than content connective structure, prevail.” [3]

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One of the initial links of transclusion surfaced on April 24, 2014 at an event honoring Ted Nelson. The conference was held at Chapman University. Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA, Christine Borgman, was there. Virtual reality pioneer and Author of ‘You Are Not a Gadget’, Jaron Lanier, attended to share his respect for Ted. Steve Wozniak even showed up unexpectedly giving a passionate speech at the end.

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When the final presentation was made, Ted Nelson walked up to the stage to thank his friends for this outpouring of appreciation. He then went on to talk about his life’s experiences. He believes that this place would be a much better world if he succeeded at what he intended to do from an earlier age.

“But I ain’t dead yet!” he says during his speech.

Guided by the inspiration from his 4 main heroes (Walt Disney, Leonardo Da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright & Buckminster Fuller), Ted Nelson went out to be independent, able to see what others could not, and creating designs others could not imagine.

To wind up his story, Ted Nelson stated that he was “dealt one of the best hands in history, and misplayed it to the hilt. [He] could have accomplished so much more. [He] was here 1st, and it’s all gone wrong. [He] believes this would be a very different world and better world if [he] had gotten leverage. The world has gone the wrong way.”

Despite all that, Ted has continued on his visions, pursuing the ideas of transclusion in a visible way.

“Oh, I almost forgot…One more thing.”

The link for transclusion can be found here. The browser-based Xanadu is working. Nicolas Levin developed it.

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Article written by @industrychanger

List of notable attendees at the Interwingled Conference

Steve Wozniak – American inventor, electronics engineer, and computer programmer who co-founded Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) with Steve Jobs

Jaron Lanier – American writer, computer scientist, and composer of classical music. A pioneer in the field of virtual reality (a term he is credited with popularizing). Author of ‘You Are Not a Gadget’ and ‘Who owns the future?’

Wendy Hall – Professor of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Physical Science and Engineering at the University of Southampton, UK; Former President of the Association for Computing Machinery; Multimedia and Hypermedia researcher.

Christine Borgman – Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA; Author of Scholarship in the Digital Age.

Belinda Barnet – Lecturer in Media at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne; Author of Memory Machines: the Evolution of Hypertext.

Ian Hamilton – Writer. Editor. Photographer. Videographer. Technology reporter at the Orange County Register.

Morten Bay – Getting Ph.D. in Information Studies @ UCLA. Covers tech for politiken and recordere.dk.

Gary Chung – Co-Founder at Jamby

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Additional Links:

Full list of speakers + videos of all the presentations can be found here – https://www.chapman.edu/events/intertwingled/

Ted Nelson’s Speech: http://ibc.chapman.edu/Mediasite/Play/83d7b9016e3a42ecaf112cc4620e719f1d

Working Xanadu Transclusion: http://xanadu.com/xanademos/MoeJusteOrigins.html

Project Xanadu Webpage: http://www.xanadu.com