Now already 30+ years ago I experienced my first Virtual Reality (VR). The PC had now it’s powerful 32 bit processor, the Intel 80386. I can remember well a company located in Scheveningen (NL) with the only working VR setup for consumers. The price for this VR set was approx. 150.000 Dutch guilders (73.000 euro) during the late 80s and begin 90s.
The 80’s and 90’s
The screen quality was very basic.
VR had it’s potential in the 90’s but the dream vanished quickly. No one was interested at that time. I spoke with friends a lot about why VR isn’t here yet, the graphical power of GPUs is now many times better than in those time.
Palmer Luckey had given VR a new life
Gladly Palmer Luckey gave in 2012 VR a new life, and how!
Since his kickstarter campaign reached 2.4 million dollar many jumped on the VR train. He had a vision and wanted to make VR popular and a success. He managed this in my opinion.
I dare to claim that many with me relive the moment they had the Commodore 64 home computer. Many asked why and what you should do with a computer at home but in the mean time everyone has a computer and smartphone or tablet in use. I think VR will be no different. People were yelling how stupid chatting was and only for nerds. Nowadays everyone is using it. VR will not be a replacement of things but an addition.
During the Google I/O 2014 developers meeting Google introduced the Google CardBoard. Google did motivate developers to make applications for VR in this way. I got myself also a cardboard using it on a Samsung Galaxy S5+ and I liked it right away. The possibilities were obvious. If you install the cardboard app you can start immediately with your new VR experience. YouTube also supports cardboard.
Samsung Gear VR
During my pre-order of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge I was given the opportunity to enlist for a free Samsung Gear VR. On the 8th of April 2016 Samsung started to ship the Gear VR in The Netherlands.
I took the next day time to test and install my Samsung Gear VR. I wanted to take it the slow road instead of doing it fast.
Unboxing Samsung Gear VR
During unboxing I noticed a small but nice manual in Dutch. I decided (how it should be) to read the instructions properly and doing step by step. Happy I did. The only thing they didn’t describe in the instructions is to remove the plastic protection but the other steps were clearly written.
Setup Samsung Gear VR
When I placed my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in the Gear VR I got a notification to take the mobile out of the Gear and complete the installation.
After the setup run I could place my smartphone again the in Gear VR. The VR party could start!
First experience with the Samsung Gear VR
When I placed the Gear VR on I felt immediately that everything was better made comparing to the cardboard application. It felt more VR. A short tutorial shows you the basic controls. I have to say, it felt good and natural.
I believe this is because the cooperation of Samsung with Oculus.
The application Oculus Home felt nice:
There were several moments that I a WOW.
There are several 360 videos available to watch for free. I personally liked the on of National Geographic with a waterfall. Impressive.
This was a surprise for me. A good surprise. They had two who really gave me the immersive feeling. It was a video of NBA and a soccer match (Manchester vs Barcelona). At both sport matches it’s like you actually are there! PERFECT!
Jurassic World: Apatosaurus
Don’t worry, no spoilers. I can and want only tell you it’s not scary. Enjoy the moment. Nice to watch for young and old.
A funny short animation movie. Look around and enjoy! I loved the humor. Tip: during half of the movie look at your feet 🙂
During my VR session I received a notification on my Gear 2 smartwatch and I was not able to view my watch at that moment ofcourse. The notification was shown on my Gear VR and not intrusive at all. Well made Samsung!
Not so WOW moments
It’s not all perfect. We have to remember these are basically first generation VR products for consumers.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32GB with an additional 128 GB SD. Unfortunately I was not able to move one additional or application to my SD card. So I got soon a warning I had not enough space on my smartphone while I had 90 GB free on my Samsung microSDXC Pro Plus which according me should be fast enough to handle those files with a minimum read speed of 95 MB/s and 90 MB/s write speed.
I experience one spontaneous reboot during normal usage. The screen went black and I saw suddenly appearing the white characters with Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on my screen. Looked familiar to me, but not welcome on that moment.
I was visiting my sister and showing her the Gear VR which didn’t work properly at first while it was running smooth at my place. Cause was found quickly as the WiFi connection was much slower than in my place (sound normal as I have a faster subscription and faster/more modern wifi accesspoints). The disappointment was not less due to this. This particular video was not available for download and you had to stream it but that didn’t go well causing stuttering due to buffering. Experience gone.
Mandatory Oculus Home
At the cardboard solution I was able to use other applications and using VR, for e.g. YouTube and others. In Oculus Home this is not possible. You have to start the application within Oculus home otherwise you are not able to use the Gear VR in VR mode. Happily I found soon that Samsung Internet application in Oculus Home was able to visit the YouTube site. None of the cardboard games work in Oculus Home because of the simple fact you are not able to see and select them.
The future of VR will be dependent on it’s success. Samsung already announced that you can make your own 360 videos with the Gear 360 which will be available in The Netherlands for € 349,- around spring.
This information came with my Gear VR (Dutch, sorry):
I don’t think Oculus will rest. Oculus will motivate their partners to create content for Oculus home.
Google Cardboard vs Samsung Gear VR vs Oculus Rift
I also preordered the Oculus Rift gepreordered and some will ask why. What is the difference between Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift?
The Google Cardboard is a fun way to experience VR, with a low budget.
My cousin Gino bought a Google Cardboard alternative at the Action (NL) store for only € 2,50!
Buying the Samsung Gear VR separately will cost you € 99,00. (The Samsung S6 (Edge), S7 (Edge) and Note 5 are supported).
The difference include extra sensors and lenses of a better quality. The material is not cardboard but plastic on the Gear VR. It wears more comfortable and is user-friendlier to use. The control and experience are better implemented.
Last but certainly not least… Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift will be the best in this row for VR experience. The price is not for everyone and you will need to have a powerful PC.
You are able with the Rift to use certain games and applications in VR. This is the dream of every computer nerd 🙂 Applications are almost unlimited. The Oculus Rift didn’t arrive yet but I will review it when I can.
I’m ready for a new era…. the VR era…
What is Dropbox and what does it do? Has it an advance for me?
All questions the users have because almost all cloud service providers yell to use their service but lack to explain what the advantage would be for them.
Ofcourse has every advantage also a disadvantage like Johan Cruijff said before 🙂
Disadvantage cloud :
- files/applications are stored in Cloud provider
- need a reliable internet connection for good user experience
- what happens with your files/applications when provider gets bankrupt ?
- security depended on features supplied with provider
Advantage cloud :
- uptime monitoring done by cloud provider
- maintenance done by provider
- security done by provider (also mentioned as disadvantage, but most users lack or have no knowlegde of security to cope with this well while the provider is more capable to do.)
- easier scaling
Due to the introduction of Apple iCloud cloud computing became more familiar known by the public. Cloud services were years before the word Cloud came already in use. Companies had for many years their servers made available for their mobile users by using Citrix and/or VMWare virtual servers via external networks (early days dial-in, later internet). Nowadays cloud services are very affordable services which are not exclusively being used by companies.
Some years ago I decided to supersede my home server by a NAS. I want to replace all services I was running on my server with a cloud replacement. My exception was my files I still wanted to have available locally, so I was able to access them even when internet was down. You have to think about documents, video and photos files.
The advantage to migrate these services to the cloud was the utilization of my server which would free a lot of capacity (storage, bandwidth, memory and CPU).
Backup cloud service
First I took care of my local running backups (do this people!) with an additional backup to the cloud.
File storage cloud service
To be able on restoring short term/current files I use Dropbox and OneDrive.
With my first Samsung Galaxy I’ve received 50 GB Dropbox storage for two years free. At the moment I have 11.5 GB storage without a paid subscription. On my new Galaxy I also installed dropbox so I can easy synchronize my photos and videos with my computers. In this way I have an extra backup of my photos and videos available of my smartphone.
The most important file storage cloud service is at this moment OneDrive. OneDrive is also part of my Microsoft Office 365 subscription, more about this later in this article.
I use Microsoft OneDrive 10 TB File Cloud Storage to save my documents and share them. I’ve used only 460 GB of the 10 TB. I save my documents always in OneDrive and let them synchronize with two of my local drives. In this way my documents are always available for me.
I also use Google Drive Cloud Storage on my smartphone because it’s Google Android, but to be honest I never/hardly use it.
Software As A Service (SAAS)
SAAS offers the advantage that you can use software from the cloud without having the need for own servers.
After I moved my backup and files to the cloud I deprecate my Microsoft server software Small Business Server 2008. To maintain and keep up with the security by regularly maintenace (minimum 1x week) is too time consuming. I didn’t want to lose free time on this. When a server experience downtime due to hardware failure or a power outage it consumes time to get it again up and running.
Microsoft Exchange Online
Choosing Microsoft Exchange Online I was able to get the same functions while I had SBS 2008 while now Microsoft is doing maintenance tasks. A crash of my Exchange server would imply that I have to take actions so other users are not experience the impact of the crash and have to wait for email working again. Now the connections are not to my server on my internet connection so whenever my connection or server is failing the email users are not affected. In this way the stress is relieved. Love it.
Microsoft Office 365
I’m a vivid user of Microsoft Office. I use Outlook most frequent but also of course Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Instead of buying every new boxed version of Office I decided last year to subscribe to Office 365. As an Office 365 Home subscriber you are entitled to share your subscription with 4 other persons which are also able to install one Office on their Windows PC or Mac and five installs of Microsoft Office on their Apple iPhone/iPad or Android tablet/smartphone. This for only 99 euro a year! I’m always being a big supporter to legal software (check out about Office 365 in my earlier written article: free does not exist).
Since Microsoft announced OneNote in Office 2003 I’m using it. You are able to maintain very easy your notes. Using the latest version you are able to synchronize with a lot of devices via the cloud.
Photos in the cloud
Google Photos Cloud Service
Since the introduction of Picasa3 it is possible to upload your photos from your computer to the cloud service of Google. Now they promote it even more since they decided to remove Photos from Google+ and make it a independant service : Google Photos Cloud Service
The photos and videos which you will upload (PC, smartphone, tablet, etc…) will get an unlimited space in the cloud. Limitation is the size of the photo, maximum of 16 Megapixels and videos can be FullHD in size which is still 1920×1080. In my opinion more than enough. (at the moment in some years we will demand 4K etc…)
Microsoft announced that on 29 july 2015 Windows 10 will arive to our PCs and tablets. I love Windows 8.1 as it is a great OS. I use it on my computers and tablet. The integration of OneDrive, Office and touch is amazing. People who don’t use a tablet with touch cannot appreciate the new interface. On my own experience I like it a lot and it’s very user friendly. Well done Microsoft. With the coming Windows 10 Microsoft will make it even a better experience. I’m sure!
Office 2016 is announced together with Windows 10 and will have a lot of touch friendly updates. I’m excited. I’m happy to have an Office 365 subscription so we will get the update as part of the subscription. Bring it on Microsoft! 🙂
Good news for users who have Apple and Windows machines in their environment.
Without the urge to start a fanboy war I always see the pros and cons of different systems. I saw as an ICT consultant for many years, systems come and go but now there is an announcement for cooperation I support to come soon.
Apple will in MAC OS X Mavericks (version 10.9) replace their own AFP protocol by the SMB2 protocol as default setting. SMB is developed by IBM and later on due to the cooperation between IBM and Microsoft on OS/2 eventually evolved into Windows for Workgroups. Since that time SMB is the protocol Microsoft used for sharing via network.
In Apple’s OS X Mavericks Core Technologies Overview June 2013 is written they will use SMB2 as default setting. SMB2 is first used in 2006 in Windows Vista. The strange part is that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2 uses SMB 2.1 and Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are using version SMB 2.2 which is later called SMB 3.0 while Apple only writes about SMB2 in their technical document (see page 21).
What is in it for me will a lot of readers think? The advantage is for the users that the connection between Apple and Windows devices will work better (= easier and stabile), faster and more important safer with also more features.
Why does Apple do this?
Apple is active in a niche market but also has to deal with competition like Google. Apple and Microsoft have a love-hate relation for years. They complete each other well. Since Apple uses Intel processor they also support installations of Windows on their computers. Taking the license of Microsoft for using SMB2 will a lot of users of MAC OS X stay within OS X without the need to go to Windows via bootcamp. Apple pays those royalties and it costs a bit but you will have best of both worlds.
On iOS, the operating system of the iPhone and iPad Office of Microsoft in available, you can download it here for free iOS Microsoft Office 365 via official iTunes appstore.
Apple is believed that they in the new iOS7 connect Siri to BING, the search engine of Microsoft.
You see the cooperation gets some depth. Apple and Microsoft try to give some resistance to their common competitor named Google. Till now they can, sort of.