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My letter to the London MEPs

Dear Claude Moraes, Charles Tannock, Seb Dance, Mary Honeyball, Gerard Batten, Syed Kamall, Lucy Anderson and Jean Lambert,

I am writing to you all in the hope that you will be voting to block Articles 11 and 13 that go to vote this Wednesday. They will be devastating to free speech, education and unbiased news reporting as well as ensuring unassailable advantage to pre-existing media companies, preventing any new competitors from rising.

Even if we make the assumption that Article 13 were a good idea in principle, which under it's current terms I do not accept, the closest existing system for automatic content detection is the one used on Youtube, which is both universally disliked by content creators for being both inaccurate and almost impossible to fight back against without going to court. To the best of my understanding, the system created by Youtube cost somewhere in the region of 60 million USD to create. The system that article 13 would necessitate any online media provider, regardless of their size, to create would need to be several magnitudes more complex and expensive to create and maintain. A small media startup does not have half a billion dollars to spend on an automatic enforcement engine. It will firmly put all media ownership under the control of Google and Apple, the only companies that will be able to hamfistedly step into this role on others behalf should it go through, and put copyright enforcement in Europe soley in the hands of American businesses.

Please do not allow these companies that are already actively disrupting the political landscape to have final say on who is permitted to say what with no legal recourse an individual can afford.

Likewise Article 11 is farcical. The idea that, under current amendments, no one can use more that two consecutive words from a news headline without paying a licensing fee is ludicrous. The suggestion that parody and other "fair use" doctrines will be exempt does not actually exist within the document itself. And as an aside, satire is something a machine cannot yet detect as might be required for Article 13.

As an engineer I tell you these policies are technically unenforceable. The only thing they are good for is being selectively abused, as and when it suits the powers that be. For all other purposes they fail. They will only obstruct business, market and social growth. They will be chains that people fight to break. They will make half the world the enemy of those few who embrace it.


Yours sincerely,

Peter William Turpin

Planning for 2018

A few words for 2018.

Have a plan. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, and your goal is to rearrange your life to survive that. You need to stop being distracted now, or you won't have the option later.

To those in the UK, we have Brexit to look forward to in 2019. This means 2018 is the last year we have of relative abundance. Our last year to prepare ourselves for the outcome. And even if it is brought to a dead stop on January 1st, the UK economy has already been dealt a serious blow. We can expect higher prices and fewer resources. We can expect the cost of just existing to rise.

Even if you're the most faithful advocate of the idea that the UK is better off outside the EU somehow, we still have the slow threat of climate change starting to bite. And even if all the world were to instantly follow all the recommendations to prevent it, how many decades have been wasted bickering over whether it's worth the effort to have a world that isn't toxic? Climate change now has those decades of additional momentum. We've been adding a little extra push to that pendulum every year and now it swings further and harder. And that momentum means we can expect the climate to become more extreme for decades to come. We won't see the environment of our childhoods until the childhoods of our great grandchildren. And the time in between is going to become violent.

As a species we have mitigated it to some degree by lessening our reliance of fossil fuels and their associated resources. But we still grow our food in the open, and rely on the patterns of nature to do so reliably.

The effects on humanity from climate change are still the same. We can expect shortages of food & other essential resources, resulting in civil unrest and mass migration, with associated conflict and disease increases. We can expect the same again as large areas of land become too harsh to inhabit, battered by storms or drought. We can expect transport and resource costs to increase. Things that were easy to buy cheaply from the other side of the world will continue to rise in cost.

The UK is now geared for service industries. It is debatable whether it is capable of producing enough food for its entire population from its own farms. And even if it is, the cost of it's goods are held artificially low by government subsidies intended to make them competitive with EU markets. Without that, food is likely to become much more costly. And with our manufacturing industries largely sold off and relocated to overseas investors, household goods can also be expected to increase in cost.

There's a lot of society where capability and worth are equated to the ability to perform violence and survive on their own. And these same societies are ones where those acts are punished if performed. Many, particularly men, as such have essential to the survival of their ego plans and beliefs for what they would do in case of sudden disaster, where the legalities of society are gone and they can freely prove their personal worth. And as long as the legalities are there, they will never be called to do so. It's a safe, unprovable, fantasy. The sort of wish fulfilment that it's easy to bolster with expensive catalogue purchases for equipment you'll never have to prove you have no idea how to use, but the ownership of which must demonstrate your competence.

The problem with “prepping” is that nebulous definition on when it's finally time to act. When the shit hits the fan, you'll be ready. How far does the world have to fall before then though? When do you stop playing along and start acting out? How long before you're willing to see if you can act on your fantasy? How long before you're willing to be the first to risk your life?

The problem is there is no defined point. There is no starting flag. Society is a massive interconnected machine, and while it may fail in parts or locations, odds are there'll still always be enough functioning for you to hold back on actually putting your fantasy to the test. Because most of those fantasies run the risk of getting you killed. Society, for all it's flaws, is safer than anarchy.

I mention this because the sort of world we have ahead is a slow disaster. One where things will keep getting worse in multiple ways and there will be no hard defined point where it's suddenly time to make a single massive change to your lifestyle, throwing yourself unpractised and unfit into an alien environment. It's not a movie. Things will change slowly and you will get used to most of them. It may get worse, but never to the point you are willing to risk what comforts you have left.

What I'm planing is mitigation.

There is in the next couple of years the threat of essential resource shortages to the entire UK population, where one in every two hundred is already homeless. And beyond that an even more certain threat of the same thing, but on a longer timescale.

2018 is the year you have to prepare and practice. It's the year you finally get around to growing your own food, or cooking your own meals. Where you get into the habit of doing so before you're forced to do so clumsily later without a safety net.

It's the year you finally get that mini lathe, or learn to repair your own household goods instead of replacing them every time the fuse blows.

It's the year you get around to taking a self-defence class, or installing CCTV.

It's the year you get to know your neighbours. Those strangers always ominously present in your life. You will learn if you can trust them, or at least know them enough not to fear them. You will form community.

2018 is the cram-session before the exam. And if you pull it off you'll have better odds of surviving what comes afterwards.


Recommendations;
  • If you've been saving to build a small home workshop and are waiting for prices to come down, don't wait. Prices have been increasing since about 2008, roughly coinciding with the first suggestions of Peak Oil. It's not likely to get cheaper again all of a sudden.
  • Invest in a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. A slow cooker can make better use of poor cuts of meat and allows very low-involvement cooking, giving more free time. Pressure cookers can allow food to be cooked very quickly, but also make it easy to get more from meats by cooking off scraps from carcasses and making stock.
  • Make sure you have a dedicated freezer. Cooking has economies of scale. It's easier and cheaper to make a moderate amount and freeze meals for later than make multiple small meals on demand. A freezer also gives you the option to take advantage of food opportunities as they occur.
  • Look into permaculture. It's not for everyone, especially as it requires growing space. But due to the often layered planting and complimentary soil chemistry, layouts tend to require far less active maintenance than farming techniques that result in needing crop rotation, as well as producing more for a set land area.
    • Hydroponic food may be another option, but has a higher financial/material barrier to entry. I'm not yet convinced it's able to provide a financial benefit compared to shop-bought plants.
  • Try to eat less meat. Moral choices aside, meat is less energy efficient. Veg will always be cheaper, and seeing meat as a luxury food item helps put that in perspective. You'll save money.
  • Work to make yourself functionally fit. You're training for a job, not a race.
  • Diversify your income if possible. It often won't be in the time remaining, but multiple trickles can be enough to live on if one main source fails. Diversify your savings too if possible.

A debris field

I had intended to purposefully avoid relationships for the foreseeable future, as I feel I do not value my own desires enough and so I ignore them in relationships, breeding resentment. It is not anothers responsibility to draw that out of me.

What desires do I even have? I feel dead.

I feel embarassed that some months back, despite this I flirted with a friend of mine because I thought they were attracted to me. I think myself so inherently worthless that I cannot pass up any chance for a relationship, because what are the odds someone else will want me. No matter how bad it might be.

I feel old. I feel guilty for finding people younger than me attractive. I justify it by the rationale that relationships with notable age differences are ripe ground for abuses of power from relative levels of life experience, income or personal utility as well as life goals. But as someone who has always been introspective, learning more than most from experiences, who for his age is of limited utility, income and maintains a close connection to current events, I wonder if I'm not just using it as an excuse to avoid people thinking I'm some sort of predator.

I feel miserable. I do not currently have the capacity to feel emotional investment in anyone. Every learnt-response to go to someone in pain is now fear and revulsion. Every bit in the last few months has been painfully forced. I wonder how this would combine with my inability to form long-term relationships anyway.

I was always told it's what's inside someone that counts. And I still beleive it, but it makes me feel guilty for not finding men attractive. Knowing so many people in varying stages of transitioning between sexes is helping determine what it is about someone that makes them appear attractive to me and how much of it is gendered.

My sense of attraction is fragmented. I'm attracted to styles, expressiveness, personalities and certain physical characteristics. But they are all seperate. One or another, never together. And as such it feels shallow and broken. I do not currently know how to bring them together.
I understand why cities are such hateful places.

To whatever tolerance, something like Dunbars Number exists. We can only know so many people. And by even the highest estimates, walking down the street you will see more people than that.

By our nature we treat strangers with caution. And every day we have hundreds upon hundreds of strangers pressed up in our intimate space. Our caution is present with each, and our need for safe distance and bodily autonomy is denied by the nature of the city. And we drive ourselves frantic with the continual pressure of potential threats weighing on us.

We are sick and our cities are making us that way. It is their nature.

May. 20th, 2017

Tied Semagic to Dreamwidth, and it seems as good a time as any to start using it again.

Two years ago today, Lara died as far as I'm concerned. She was found on the 22nd, but the 20th was the last I heard from her. And it's been a horrible couple of years.

All the geopolitical shit that drags you down more each day, the number of people who ran for the hills when I most needed them and the realisation of how far I'd go to bring her back if it were possible has left me walking in a world of ghosts. Every person I smile at, talk to, see, is just a ghost. Nothing is real anymore.

But then we've also got, what? Four different extinction-level events scheduled in the next few decades? And the organised disruption of the only agencies capable of preventing or even mitigating them.

I'm just in a sort of relaxed nhilism now. I'm not getting stressed anymore because nothing matters. I'd like it to be different, and maybe it will in time, but for now I'm just finding a new balance. I'm doing things because I want to, which as someone who historically hates themselves is a hell of a change from waiting to please other people in the hope they'll like me.

Right now my goal is to make money to fund the satisfaction of completing some old things. I've cleared a lot of dead weight from my life in the form of three weeks just cleaning. I've been consolidating my tools and projects. Soon I think I'm going to reach a critical mass of the correct equipment to do some pretty cool stuff. But I also need money, so I'm making up for two years of business apathy too.

Low socialisation is making continuous work somewhat difficult, but it's getting there. Personal fittness is also sub-par and something I'm working on.

The change in outlook has changed what hormones I produce, and my body feels more toxic. Everything is a bit harsher, and I feel a lot older.

Preparing for the future

Today I did the final part of my PC upgrade and swapped in the larger new boot SSD. The old one was optimistically small at 60Gb. This one is 120Gb and should be ample. All my user directories are now symlinked to a separate disk. Games have their own drive and other media and docs are on yet another.

Reinstalling all the software, updates and tweaks will take a couple more days, but the machine should then be ready.

As it is I've already upgraded the CPU and graphics card. The CPU is probably a bit beyond what the motherboard was designed to handle and I have to come up with a custom cooling arrangement for the northbridge as a result. I went from 3.2Ghz 4-core to 4Ghz 8-core and the NB went rapidly to thermal throttling. There's a nice all-copper cooler on it now with a air-temp throttled fan. It still gets really hot, but no longer hits the thermal throttling limit (around 100c).

The NB also took some extra load from the new GTX 1060 graphics card.

The upgrades were necessary to support the OSVR HDK2 VR headset.

With the Brexit chaos I felt compelled to make these upgrades before 1) my savings lost even more value 2) the imported parts went up even more.

Watching the price of the HTC Vive go up by 10% felt like an early warning. Even if the rest of the VR equipment doesn't follow suite though, it's still something I needed to do.

It still feels odd to say it, but I've found a sort of faith around the idea of it and what it will become. Specifically regarding why VR has come to exist, despite decades of commercial failure. We collectively want it to exist, but don't know why. We're driven by the idea of it but find ourselves trying to make things we already have fit it.

This is why this feels odd to say; I have no evidence for this. Just a strong feeling. This is right.

Since the dawn of the human species, we've had internal worlds. Our imaginings, dreams and hallucinations. And we have come to believe on some level that they are persistent; that our internal worlds exist in some material place outside of ourselves.

This is what I feel VR is the nascent form of. Our attempt to finally make what we feel is a persistent space, actually so. To actually be able to record or recreate our individual internal landscapes in their native medium and let others walk in them. To make the fantasy of that shared other world a real thing.

In that perspective it becomes easy to view the history of the human race in terms of giving substance to what we have within our minds. From the spark of the creative process, to the memetics of speech, language and writing. All steps down the path to this point; what could evolve into the ultimate form of human communication.

And I should be clear on two points;

I don't feel it would be safe, even if the interfacing hardware & abstraction layers existed, to give this future computer-mediated dreamscape more than the ability to recreate our apparent external perceptions. Our internal landscapes are flavoured with all our individual emotional and material associations. A cup can give you a feeling of love, a pillow can make you think of a dog.
It is easy to think romantically, that these represent a line that should not be crossed. An essential violation of self that shouldn't be touched by crass technology. And while there is an element of that in my thoughts, the security issue seems far more dangerous.
If you have a multi-user network of virtual environments with the capacity to associate entities with abstract feelings, then the first script-kiddie who can make a viral website gets to take over the human race. Maybe not something as obvious as their face linked to a feeling of sheer adoration, but maybe something more insidious. Imagine the virtual homepage of the BNP with a carefully knit emotive web leading you through curiosity, agreement, rage and finally furious determination.
We cannot be trusted with the ability to place feelings directly into the minds of others.

And my second point is thus; On the day we can safely implement that level to this sort of system, we will have transcended the human condition. What VR will become will be the ultimate form of communication for the human race, because to go beyond it, to safe abstract interconnectivity of minds & emotions, we will need to be more than human. We'll need to have become something better.

I have a headset, programming guides and faith. I have a project to work on and worlds to build. I wonder if this is what missionaries feel like.

Tags:

Well how about that. Semagic still exists and it still, more or less, being updated.

It seems I've fallen to using Twitter for the most part in the last few years. Since Lara died though I've had a lot more bottled inside me. I've come to realise even more than I already had, how intertwined my life was with hers. As I said when she died; she was the first person I spoke to in the morning and the last I spoke to at night. Every day, for years.

No person or routine has come to replace her. All I find myself doing is overflowing in clipped sentences onto the internet.

Some friendships have gotten stronger in the wake of her passing. But without wanting to depreciate them, they have become what I take to be "normal" levels of friendship.
Most other friendships have revealed how vapour-like they really were. People who I screamed and cried and clawed toward when it happened have run from me and not looked back. I feel I am a moth, flitting from person to person leaving nothing but passing fascination behind with them.

Even treasuring her friendship as I did, I didn't appreciate just how tied to her I was.

The words still fit, and she still took half of me with her.

I'm moving on to other things, and a few kind people have helped me get a little closure. But I'd still rip the world apart if there was a way of getting her back.

I may write here a little more in future. I no longer have an outlet for my heart.

My best friend

I need to put this in my journal, because I'm sure over the years ahead some details will fade if they haven't already.

A month ago, my closest and dearest friend Lara Galante/tinycorvid died. A little under a week ago I attended her funeral. It still doesn't feel real. It was closed casket, as you might expect after so long a wait for burial, so in a way she has simply vanished from my life. I watched a wicker box that could have contained anything or anyone lowered into the ground. She's just.. gone. Her Skype accounts just sit at "away" now, and likely will forever onward since MS made the choice to set accounts to away unless explicitly signed out of. Her public Twitter account was deleted at some point, apparently in the week or weeks before she died. It's now well past the opportunity to restore it. Her private account sits as less than a year of recorded sadness and frustration. Her Facebook wall is now just a list of mourners messages to her memory.

Most days she was the first person I spoke to in the morning and the last person I spoke to at night. She was always there to talk with and support each-other. It's a horrible irony that she is the person I would have gone to for comfort and understanding if someone else I knew had died. It feels like half of me has gone with her, and whenever I get the urge to try and talk it out with someone else, it feels like I'm trying to replace her.

Nothing has ever made me wish I believed in an afterlife as much as this.

In the few days before I last heard from her, her mood had been worsening. I had been trying to find somewhere else she could stay for a prolonged period, where she'd get active support in getting her life back together. She seemed to be getting a serious fatalistic attitude about where her life was going. Her isolation was making it worse.
The last I heard from her was the morning of Wednesday, May 20th, saying she'd been awake all night and was going to sleep all day. The first inkling I had that something was wrong was in the evening. She still hadn't replied to messages I'd sent. I still hadn't heard anything by the Thursday morning and called the police. I was concerned that maybe she had harmed herself, or perhaps hurt herself in one of her fainting episodes.
The police knocked at three times through the day but did not force entry. While I understand they cannot kick in a door on the demand of a random telephone voice from across the country, I can't help but remember with anger how the officer talked about how nice the front door was and how it'd be a shame to break it in.
I was advised not to nag them, but it felt like it was the only way to encourage them to check at all.
I called to check again on friday evening and got a different reply. Less conversational. More official. They took my number again but carefully omitted that they would get officers to check again. I knew this meant they'd found her and something was seriously wrong. At half past midnight I got a call from a CID officer.
Her husband had come home in the afternoon and found her body. She had appeared to have died in her sleep, and had been dead for at least 24 hours.
And I fell apart.

I left desperate messages on her Skype, wanting it not to be real. I forgot myself and left a message on her Facebook, which broke the news to her circle there. Because Facebook is stupid.
Everything since has been conducted through that site, and with her Twitter gone I took it upon myself to try and let everyone I could know. I didn't want her to just vanish without a trace. She considered herself worthless so many times, I wanted her to be remembered, not just fade away.

This last month has taken so much out of me. The funeral was a beautiful nightmare. She would have loved the woodland burial, the flowers and the birds. But she's not there to anymore.
I don't know if I'm hedging my bets or just need to do something symbolic for myself, but I bought a set of beautiful dried crows wings to place with her. I had hoped to place them in the coffin with her, but as I said, it was understandably closed casket. They went down on top of it. Under one wing were a couple of coins and a brass note to her I engraved. The headstones there are loosely placed and I can't imagine them staying put over the centuries. With that brass note though, perhaps whatever future archaeologist digs her up will know her name now, and how much she was loved.

The coroner couldn't find a cause of death. It appears my fear of suicide may have been replaced by something worse.

She fought her bad lot in life at every turn. And it feels like in the end life itself cheated, and just took her when she couldn't fight back. If she had killed herself I could accept it; at least it would have been her choice. But it feels like life simply got tired of her fighting back.

And all I can do now is sit and replay it in my mind; trying to think of what I could have done differently, how I could have saved her. Fantastic fantasy scenarios haunt me. I just want my best friend back.
She was always there for me. And I wasn't there for her. Not enough, not fast enough, not persuasive enough.

We get used to people being a particular way. It lessens the urgency of their struggles. We're spoilt, the lot of us. We've all gotten this idea that just listening is "helping". Whenever people have said they'd like to help me, what they always mean is they will listen to me talk out what's on my mind. And I didn't realise I was doing the same, when I should have been physically, materially, helping her. We, all her friends, were all used to her being in dire straights and all assumed that just listening and talking was helping. If we weren't all so spoilt to think deigning to lend our precious ears for a few minutes was all the help someone could need, maybe she'd be alive today.

I have no idea what I'm going to do without you Lara. Half of me has gone with you.

Tags:

Good uses for the VR metaverse, #2

Another Tumblr repost. More thoughts on things multi-contributor VR could be used for.


 

Dynamic news reconstruction

You have some users managing a stand-alone world with a one-way viewing “plane” for observers to watch what’s going on and submit contributions to the editors as a newsworthy event is happening.

Let’s use the first Furguson protests as an example.

The room is black and of indeterminate size. There are a series of glassy squares in a circle overhead, as might be arranged in a hospital surgical gallery. There are multiple channel-rooms viewing from those virtual windows, but no rooms physically behind them in the main reconstruction room. They are one-way portals for imagery.

The room has no distinct light sources yet and the avatars of those present are rendered in flat shadowless colour.

First someone pulls the most recent satelite image of the area they can get, probably from Google maps if not a seperate public depository. Someone quickly maps that to a geographic height map to get the lay of the land. The observers get an overview showing items being event-tagged into it, but individual editors are already subjectively zooming back and forth through the document timeline, scaling and applying incoming photos and videos to the physical model.

Nearby buildings are crudely extruded up out of the ground and detailed with projections taken from the hundreds of photos and snippets of footage. Locations in 3D space are calculated from converging pieces of footage, offsets between individual time-stamps are noted and corrected for. What starts out as a crude mismash quickly becomes a four-dimensional scrapbook of stills, video and other data.

An extra wave of specialist editors join the reconstruction as word of the story spreads, looking at faces and outfits and noting who is where and where they are at each stage of the event. Police vehicles are identified, their VR render tagged with information on the makes, models and public histories. Multiple footage angles on the rifle-weilding police alow a targetting overlay to be added, calculating the line-of-sight down each gun barrel (in the form of an extrapolated probability cone). The arcs of tear-gas canisters are calculated back to their probable launch-points and the officers at that location using the in-world physics engine.

Someone tries to add information about guerilla warfare tactics to the map, but it’s spotted and wiped off quickly as irelevant and dangerous. Someone petulantly starts a #conspiracy channel for viewers to add optionally.

As the confrontation moves, the piecemeal map grows in different directions. Some people dedicate themselves to sitting on the livestreams, matching it’s broadcast location and viewing angle as best they can as it moves. Others follow them, popping up crude representations of the buildings to fit and making minor positional adjustments to this smear of imagery through virtual space-time. Others follow using events in the most uninterupted footage as a solid backbone to syncronise their own finds to.

Partly a multimedia record unlike any other, partly a vicarious experience of the event itself as it happens in a depth never before acheived. With time the world-document is refined more and more and new pieces of record are submitted and patched in. False evidence shows up easily when it can’t be matched with the events in dozens of other synchonised and overlapping pieces of record.

If it seems extreme, think of this; making a cheap VR headset using a tablet phone and some cardboard is now readily possible. You can use these to watch 3D videos.

Some day very soon someone will be livestreaming 3D video from inside an assaulted protest like at Ferguson, or inside the next Gaza bombardment, or at the crash site of a freshly downed 747. It will no longer merely be video from the perspective of someone on the scene, it will be their perspective absolute. Your head will be jerked to one side as theirs turns from the splinters of flying concrete, your eyes will fall to the ground as that citizen coughs in tear-gas, you will stagger jelly-legged with them in a feild full of fresh corpses. You will be in their shoes, riding helpless in their body through these events.

The 2-dimensional, individualy experienced, static internet is not capable of doing that justice.

What might you the viewer get from this? Well if you were in one of the viewing channels conceptually overlapping each-other in the gallery, it would probably depend on the channel topic. One might have a channel moderator, zooming the viewing angle back and forth and looking for human rights abuses. Another might be a general chat channel filled with the same disgusted and shocked reactions found on any other social media, it’s viewing windows scaled huge to accomodate the heaving mass of avatars. Another might be doomsday preppers, engaging in fantasies of perceived SS tactics or false-flag rationales behind anonymised white-noise personas. More channels might be proactive, hunting down new sources of information and filtering it for submission to the document. Some humanist channels might just be filled with the others who need somewhere to break down and weep at the sight of it all.

In short, this is another possible way an interactive and unrestrained virtual environment could be used in a way no other medium currently allows, to acheive results faster and in more detail than before. And there as an imersive analytical document to the future instead a collection of disparate images and messages.

Mirrored from The blog-hub for Peter "Sci" Turpin.

Good uses for the VR metaverse, #1

Reposting from Tumblr, in response to a posting about Lucidscape‘s intent to produce a Metaverse framework for distributed physics simulation.


 

imagine Grand Theft Auto V as the Windows of the future

A combination of getting shot by violent thugs and having everything locked down by a giant corporation? Sounds delightful.

Seriously, a fascinating idea but an odd approach to my mind. If I understand it right it’s a distributed “back end” to handle the physics interactions of a virtual world that contains all connected services.

I’m not sure I like it being seamless. It feels like it enforces conventional 3D space constraints on an inherently hyperspacial data space. If a VR world engine can’t handle non-ecluidian spaces, it’s a pale imitator of what a virtual web could be.

It also breaks a basic rule of technological advancement; does it do something better that current methods? This seems to be pushing something people want to exist into being, but from bloodymindedness and fantasy rather than any real improvement.

What do I mean? Here’s an example; how do you switch tabs in a virtual world? Every major browser does this now and it was a wonderful step up from having dozens of different browser windows open.

Virtual worlds represent 3D spaces with avatars within them. It’s a live environment, an interactive world without the ability to pause. At best you could maybe leave an avatar in some sort of AFK mode or maybe get a bot to run it? Leave an answering machine message maybe? If you dare limit it to one instance at a time, it will be dead in the water no matter how pretty.

What I’m saying is that no matter how well it’s rendered or the physics are simulated, it’s still a worse way of presenting bulk information. It actively detracts from it.

If you want the fantasy of a VR metaverse to take off, find ways of using it that are better than using a browser or file explorer for the same ends. And do so in a way that can be applied to the existing data that’s out there.

Here’s an idea; a good virtual disk manager. You’ve got an extra dimension, so use it. I want a render of my hard-drive floating in front of me, I want to be able to display the physical locations of all the files on the disk, overlay the access times and highlight the bad sectors. I want all the partitions as clear borders, all the fragmented files pulsating in time with their individual fragments and the related I/O split counts bucking upward like a graphic equaliser. I want the wasted area to glow with the void of space and the wireframe case to strobe softly with refreshing SMART data tracing out in graphs either side of it. I want the sort of tool that would be an incomprehenisible mess in 2D but gives you every available facet of the dataset AT A GLANCE when rendered in VR. THAT is what I’m talking about! THAT IS THE POTENTIAL OF VR!

The sadest thing for me is logging onto something like SecondLife and seeing houses with stairs and doors. Stairs you don’t need to climb, because there’s no real gravity, where you have no actual feet to touch a ground that doesn’t exist. Doors meant to keep people out of an imaginary space there was no need to render or load if it was really undesired.

Stop rendering your avatar in one location and render it in another. The need for movement is bypassed.

Don’t block the view of something, just decline to render it at all.

Don’t step into one room from another, step out of one existance into a different one.

Mirrored from The blog-hub for Peter "Sci" Turpin.

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