The VR Glass is half full

It turns out when you start dealing with AR and VR and all the requests for one or the other, you are quickly pulled down a rabbit hole that would leave Alice bewildered.

As you may know, we have done a lot of web apps involving Google Earth and when Google decided to walk away from Google Earth, we were first concerned and then moved most of our clients over to Google Maps and finally with the partnership?of a crafty client, we developed a replacement.

(I am getting to the VR part) The new environment is easier to manage than Google Earth and since our client loves to work in/on the paradigm of scripting languages, we have been making break neck progress.

In this new environment, we provide the X, Y, Z, R, Y, P, Xn, Yn, Zn and we get to define the position, zoom, roll, yaw and pitch and we can place anything in to the environment.? None of this is newsworthy of course. But (here comes my favorite part), it turns out that in our attempt to make the admin of our ARTdynamix CMS easy to use and yet versatile as all get out, we have created a really nice WCM for the VR folks.

We had already been using ARTdynamix? for augmented reality to talk to various beacons and to provide specific content based on positioning or geo-fencing. We have also been overlaying video, audio, and images on top of triggers of all kind.? (All of this occurs through use of web services and handshakes with various applications )

Here is the newsworthy part:? Imagine any 3D environment that has basic content translation built-in (in this case our client’s amazing work) then you can utilize the admin interface of ARTdynamix? to enter the time, location, stage size, avatarID (audio, video, construct – still or animated, text …), orientation and zoom.? You can import the sequence from an excel spreadsheet and be on your way to demonstrating a civil war battle on your App/Site with correct date and event sequence and have the content pop up on the side of the screen to support the visual of the story.? The possibilities are difficult to enumerate – but just imagine.

If you want this tomorrow, it is not quite done yet but next week probably. I am happy to say that our good friend and client Ken J. is at the leading edge of VR content development and we are blazing new trails on this bumpy road to VR Nirvana. (But much of this is ready to roll now and already in use.)

P.S.? Between the time I wrote this and tried to post it, I had a very exciting conversation with an amazing engineer that is developing compression algorithms for 3D environments that are really phenomenal so the gap time — and thus the associated sense of nausea — would nearly disappear.? (so maybe VR will mature before 2023 — but that is a conversation for another time, location, stage size and construct. ?

Augment those angry birds

Yeah, yeah … it is not that the new Angry Bird’s movie comes from a game that is compelling about the story. All of that is well known fact.

What is interesting about the Angry Bird movie release is the fact that the marketing of the movie involves augmented reality.

In order to build a buzz around the opening of the movie, Rovio ? the makers of the game ? created a big AR promotional campaign to grab the hearts of the players, and attract new audiences to both the game and the movie.

The campaign introduced the brand new game ? Angry Birds Action! ? in which the famous little birds are main characters of a puzzle set in a top-down 3D world. Next, they introduced a series of QR codes that were added to the movie?s official merchandising, cross promotional campaigns and credits. In order to activate additional features, you will need to scan the code.

The codes have been cross promoted by brands ranging from McDonald?s to Lego.? Once the code has been scanned, then you get to enjoy exclusive content, and activate new features in the game.

Every cross promotion has its own special branded mini-game and to play all the games, it will be necessary to scan the code for every cross promotion which incentivizes the fans to visit the promoter?s location and make a purchase in order to get their hands on new games.

This is a quite sophisticated promotional technique, which for the first time is taking advantage on the wider reaches of AR.? The campaign was made possible by Zapper for Rovio.? A job well done!?If you want to add Augmented Reality to your project, just give us a call. (We already have some great applications in the works that I’ll be telling you more about soon.)

Happy Bird Out.

Yelp as a Weapon

Businesses run in fear….or don’t worry about it.
Consumers don’t worry about it or aim it like a sword.

What is the magic of the review post and what is reasonable? Of course this answer is highly dependent on the individual or organization.

I think the advent of review sites from Yelp, Angie’s List, Open Table and the like, have been a great tool for shoppers. I certainly utilize them regularly and Dream Warrior customers have found us through the same process.

As raters though, I wonder if we should (as I admit to this) Yelp when Angry — or Yelp under the influence for that matter (YUI?). Feedback is important although as I read the reviews of others, I tend to focus more on the patterns and more detailed reviews as opposed to those that may be a one-off or emotion based.

Businesses are often the recipients of a revenge reviews or weaponized comments. Why do customers do this? Your customers will have to make that decision for themselves but for a business, there is a lesson to learn. Even if the comments may be what you deem an ‘unfair’ review, something brought the consumer to that level of frustration to take the time to make a review and let their opinion be heard. Those are the anomalies to remove from your process – fair or not.

How should you reply to reviews? I tend to concur with Yelp’s advice … rarely publicly; a ‘thank-you’ to great reviews and a ‘can I make it better next time’ response to reviews that call for improvement.

As to how Yelp filters their reviews, the jury may still be out. While Yelp advises us on their goal, it doesn’t always seem like that to me. But this can be resolved from your end.

Minimize the potential for negative reviews in your business practices/rules.

I know it’s a pain but you have to do it

I count myself among the many who groan at automatic password changes, passwords that aren’t easy to memorize…and just about any security measure that makes things less ‘handy’. I do it because I have to do it…and probably because I tell others they have to do it.

But the recent hacking at Target, is reinforcement. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-target-encrypted-pin-breach-20131227,0,1295751.story#axzz2pJ8FvT3e

The fact is…we (and you) now are obligated as web providers, employers, clients and folks who manage other’s data. The simple things do matter and as much as we want to pass them by…don’t do it.

Here are a few simple musts — I’m sure our tech team will have many to add:

Make your password complex – and don’t be obvious
Don’t give everyone access to your network -have separate ones where possible. Change that password often
Don’t join just any network
Don’t upload files that you are not sure of to your network, website or internal file system
Don’t turn-off the auto-logoff on your computer/site.
DON’T open the emails you don’t know – even if you are curious.

Let common sense prevail and remember…it might be a pain but it has to happen.

Love on San Pedro and other things I saw

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Cornerstone Theater Company present “Love on San Pedro” last night at the Los Angeles Mission. It was funny, intense and educational……thought-provoking. (My apologies for leaving a bit early). The acting and story were very well done I find myself both anticipatory and anxious about how it ended. If you have time and want to learn more about issues on Skid Row and beyond please go see it: http://cornerstonetheater.org

As a member of the LAMP BOD, I was proud to know that our members helped and participated in the show. Three cheers.

While we are leaving, we saw some other things that are images I can’t (and should not) shake. I often travel to that area of town during the day for business and to visit LAMP. But this was my first visit at night in some time.

I was amazed at the strength of the residents of Skid Row for their determination and won’t give up attitude.
I didn’t realize how many people, tents and shopping carts there were.
I was speechless at how as we traveled the distance of only one block the environment transformed from residents trying to keep warm under their tarps to 20-somethings carrying designer bags in-between the stores.

Have we turned such a blind eye to other human beings? I don’t’ think so. But, I do wonder if we often try to avoid those images and experiences because the gravity and cultural messages are disturbing and perhaps overwhelming. We might wonder if there’s anything we can do to help…or if there is something within our own wheelhouse we can contribute. I think so.

If you are able to help, please consider helping LAMP at http://lampcommunity.org

You don’t need fancy clackers

Borrowed from our inspiration, Gil Cates’ use of a gong to announce successes and celebrations. The DWG team now ‘clacks’.

After shopping for an appropriate gong, I thought we might need to be more original when I came across two what we have been calling Clackers that we bought on our last China teaching trip. (It’s sort of a tambourine with balls on strings – so when you spin it – it drums).

Initially, we used it to make our team meetings more fun and to announce new projects or web site launches. It has evolved in a way that makes me smile. The guidelines for when to clack has diluted, it is now a team activity. People will clack when they have a celebration or a milestone and the entire team perks up their ears.

You don’t need a Clacker to Clack

A few months back, we had a meeting and no one brought a clacker….so we all just said “clacker, clacker, clacker”. We laughed and that is now part of our team ritual.

It’s important to celebrate the big moments for the organization….but it’s also important to celebrate the moments that are important to team members.

…clacker, clacker, clacker….