Category Archives: Self-Discovery

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

Learning to Write at the edge of Pomona

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It’s 6:45pm on a Friday night in Claremont Village. Restaurants, bars, clothing stores, and vinyl record shops line the streets. People are strolling along enjoying the sunny California weather. Some are on dates kissing their new love. Others are eating food outside as music is played by a guy with an accordion nearby. There are St. Patty’s Day decorations up along the building rafters as the annual drinking festivities begin. The place that I am at is called Buddamouse. It is a trinket shop that sells a variety of collectable items. There are religious symbols all around. Paintings of Hindi gods are embedded into the walls. In a back room, a group of writers are meeting up to learn new software. A total of six people, including myself, are here. The reason for this visit is to gather inspiration and learn some new writing techniques.

On my way out, the need to get some food arises. I look around and there are countless restaurants to choose from. An American style joint catches my eye. There are cops arresting a drunk guy on the corner so I navigate around the craziness and walk into the dimly-lit family night spot.  The hostess escorts me to the fire pit, but no one notices that I’m there. I get up and transition to the bar, order a La Rossa Birra Moretti , and 2 tiny burgers. Cooked medium-rare the meat melts in the mouth. The beer foams at the brim. The taste is delicious giving me the much needed energy to write.

A few U-turns later and the scene is re-located to the MAG Lab hackerspace. I met one of the founders at 23b a while ago and decided to pop-in on one of their weekly events. I take several photos of the place before anyone sees me. Once recognized as a new member, a guy by the name of Rod Steel greats me. He asks what I am building and gives me a thorough tour. Just under 1200 sq ft, the area holds a lot of tools and hardware. Motion sensors are strategically positioned around to catch movement as it occurs. More people start talking and the topics of conversations flow from the need for more makerspaces to how business related meetups can waste time and even to what issues are involved in the documentation of emerging projects. One lady named Jini scribbles ideas of something she is working on. She asks me what I see happening on planet earth in 5 years which gets me thinking.

More time goes on and I begin talking with a guy named Chuck who was a cryptologist during the Cold War with Russia. He worked with radio transmitters and tracked the movements of the Soviet armies. They would intercept the signals, decode them, and then notify the US of any events. As I inquire about his past, a fellow (who’s name will be anonymous) is making an AR-15. Once completed, he will go to a local shooting ranging to test his gun out. Although the MAG Lab is in just another warehouse, it seems like something special is happening here. It might have a little to do with the college that is a couple blocks away, or perhaps the people there are just more in-tune to the hacker mindset. Either way, this is definitely a spot to check out.

If you are feeling generous, the MAG Lab has a grocery list of items they need. Donate one if you have one:

1)      Kitchen scale

2)      More beer

3)      A computer with 8+GB of ram

4)      Horizontal drop saw for metal

Additional Links:

MAG Lab website: http://www.maglaboratory.org/

Programming outside an LA Warehouse

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After moving from Florida into California, the last reserves of my cash funds have been running low. Most of the money that was saved up before this trip has been spent driving through the center scenic route of the country running along the I-70 highway taking me into some of the most iconic cities in the US. An effort to sell fire poi sets on Etsy has started to pay off, but it has yet to make a real dent in the high cost of living in LA. The real way that I am making money at this time is coming from developing a mobile application with a Tallahasse company called LESS. It isn’t a steady income, but the Android app that is being produced will be worth the effort. If done right, it could influence thousands of people once released into the market. The only problem I have been encountering is the gradual decline in interest while working tediously during the polishing part of the production cycle. I needed a place to spark inspiration pushing me passed the last stages of this project. Big Art Labs in Los Angeles became the perfect place to visit in between coding sessions to help motivate me to finish up the work that I had started.

What makes this art collective great is the seamless integration of wide reaching creative outlets. A software hackerspace called Droplabs is what brought me here, but the friendly community is what kept me coming back. Parking can be a little tricky, making it easier to find a spot on the streets outside. Sounds of heavy duty machinery are usually interlaced between people playing music and the ever prevalent sounds of laughter once you’re inside. There is something going on here at all moments, especially around the time before Burning Man when the burners of this area are preparing to travel into the black rock desert of Nevada.

The key to getting app work done here is to utilize the widespread internet connection that streams evenly throughout the warehouse arena. The easiest way to access the world wide web is to walk into Droplabs and look at the back corner of one of the whiteboards where the password credentials are written down. If you stay for too long in the designated hackerspace it is expected to donate a little bit of money to help support the place. $5 is typical for daily use which is very cheap for the LA area. My favorite spot is over at the benches positioned outside in the middle of the warehouse complex. With the wind steady and a brightly shining sun in the sky, this location can feel like a day at the beach. If you get there at the right time you might be able to catch some big players in various industries. Skrillex was once rumored to have played a secret show here while Stefano Novelli and his team built the Skrillex Spaceship stage that was taken on tour in 2012. The individuals who started this place are heavily involved in Burning Man as well causing many types of people to float around here at any given time. Returning frequently is the best way to really get connected with everyone. Not to mention while you’re there, you can grab some vegetables from the secret community garden before leaving. There is mint, sage, and thyme to name a few. The overall abundance of art, music, software, and tools, along with a unique community makes Big Art Labs a fantastic place to get work done. I highly recommend checking it out sometime soon.

Additional Links:

– Big Art Labs: http://www.bigartlabs.com/bigartlabs_home.html

– Droplabs: https://droplabs.net/

– Stefano Novelli Designs and Fabrication http://www.stefanonovelli.com/

– LESS: https://lessutility.com/

– Fire Wizards Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/FireWizards