Tuesday, December 03, 2019

 

QPORIT XR DAILY NEWS

QPORIT XRN

EXTENDED REALITY: TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE
Quick Previews Of Random Interesting Things in XR News


***


TODAY: 2019-12-08 (SUN DEC 8, 2019)


THE NATION


THE NEW YORK TIMES

TV

SILICON VALLEY


THE WORLD

BRITAIN

  • holds an election on Thursday, that may determine the fate of Brexit.
  • The unraveling of the international collaboration that has kept the peace and (most of the time) prosperity since WW II is at stake.
  • While too much of the population has benefited too little from internationalization, unraveling seems to me likely to hurt that same population even more.
  • Equalizing the benefits of internationalization seems to me a much more rational course for politics; to take advantage of the benefits of the rapid progress enabled by eXtended Reality. That should be the thrust, not trying to turn back the tide. The tide will flow, and it will take great effort to utilize it properly, but the alternative is that the tide will flow anyway and we can be engulfed.
  • https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/02/extended-reality-xr.htm

***


2019-12-07 (SAT DEC 7, 2019)

TV

MRS MAISEL

  • resumed yesterday (Fri) with season 3.
  • The initial episode (all I've seen so far) was a fine one. This season is starting out strongly, much stronger than season 2, which took a while to find its bearings.
  • On Amazon Prime.

SILICON VALLEY

***

2019-12-06 (FRI DEC 6, 2019)




MEMORIAL


RIP JAY KRIEGEL Oct 10, 1940 - Dec 5, 2019

  • From 1st grade through High School, I saw Jay at Temple Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, nearly once a week, where we were in the same Sunday School classes. I went to his house for many birthday and Halloween parties.
  • His father was the President of the congregation for some time, and my uncle, Eugene J Sack was the Rabbi. My parents were active leaders: my mother wrote and produced musical review benefits for many years; my father's portraits of Rabbis hung in the lobby outside the Rabbi's office.
  • Jay was a bright and leading member of the classes. One detail I remember is that he was the only kid I ever knew that looked great in a Homberg style hat, of the type that was fashionable[*] among adults at the time: (*check almost any film from the early fifties).
  • Jay went on to become important in the Lindsey administration, at CBS, and in other NYC municipal affairs.

ENTERTAINMENT / PARKS

THE ANNUAL TRAIN SHOW

  • at the New York Botanical Gardens (NYBG) is open and ready for visitors.
  • It is a spectacular model train exhibition, with model trains running through New York scenic vistas, all amazingly created out of botanical plants and flowers.
  • It is spectacular, great for anyone young or old that loves trains, plans, or just plain amazing fun.
  • Here, below, is a video I made way back 12 years ago (when video resolution was low). Both video resolution and the show have become better and better every year!
  • https://www.nybg.org/event/holiday-train-show
  • Not to be missed!



***


2019-12-05 (THU DEC 5, 2019)




MEDIA


CBS-VIACOM 

  • merger has closed, creating ViacomCBS.
  • Shari Redstone, daughter of Sumner Redstone, consolidated her position controlling the fate of the two merged companies.
  • While the new company has a strong collection of media, they may need to bulk up in technology to confront the new media upstarts, Netflix, ATT, Disney, Apple, YouTube, and others with strong technology foundations.
  • (Note: About 20+ years ago I was a consultant, then later an employee working at Viacom, where I was a Director of affiliated channel website programming.)
  • https://www.viacbs.com/press/viacomcbs-announces-completion-of-the-merger-of-cbs-and-viacom

***


2019-12-04 (WED DEC 4, 2019)



THE NATION


HOUSE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS


***

2019-12-03 (TUE DEC 3, 2019)


TECHNOLOGY


GOOGLE

  • announced that founders Larry Page & Sergey Brin will be stepping away from management roles from both Alphabet and Google (but will remain on the Board), and Sundar Pichai will take over the role of sole CEO for both Google and Alphabet.
  • Here is the link to the Google post:
  • Here is an excerpt from the official Press Release:
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin decide to transition from their roles as CEO and President, respectively, of Alphabet.
  • Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, becomes CEO of both Google and Alphabet.
  • Page and Brin to remain active as co-founders, shareholders and board members of Alphabet.
  • For Page and Brin’s comments on the transition, see their letter on blog.google (link above)... “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company.”


THEATER

COMPANY,

  • the Stephen Sondheim musical, with a book by George Furth, following an award winning revival in London, will transition to Broadway beginning
  • March 2, 2020.
  • On Broadway, the revival stars Tony Award winning actors, Katrina Lenk and Patti Lupone, and is directed by Marianne Elliot. 


2019-12-02 (MON DEC 2, 2019)


TECHNOLOGY

APPLE


OCULUS QUEST

  • was a big hit over Thanksgiving, for people over a large spectrum of ages. Beat Saber was a quick purchase and a popular game!
  • (This is anecdotal, chez nous, not a statistical worldwide data point.)


BEAT GAMES,

  • the developer of Beat Saber, has been purchased by Facebook, to work as an independent studio within Oculus Studios.
  • Their stated intention is to support the game with more resources, and to allow it to continue running on multiple platforms.
  • Here is a link to a post from Oculus, followed by an excerpt from that post
  • https://www.oculus.com/blog/welcoming-beat-games-to-facebook
  • Today we’re announcing that Beat Games is joining us in our quest to bring VR to more people around the world.
  • They will join Oculus Studios as an independently operated studio in Prague, continuing to create new ways for people to experience music and VR gaming.
  • Most importantly, what the community has come to love about Beat Saber will remain intact. Beat Games will continue to ship content and updates for Beat Saber across all currently supported platforms, now with even more support from Facebook.


NOVEMBER, 2019

***

2019-11-25 (MON, NOV 25, 2019)


TECHNOLOGY

NEXTMIND,

  • a French company, has just announced a new, non-invasive, device for sensing where or what a person is looking at and using that to trigger an action. It would be essentially a step up from gaze+click interactions.  
  • They are currently taking applications for a Unity based dev kit to be released in 2020. Here are excerpts from the company's description:

Sid Kouider, founder and CEO of NextMind, a fast-growing neurotechnology startup unveiled a brain-sensing wearable that delivers real-time device control using just a person's thoughts at Slush 2019.

This groundbreaking technology is a first-of-its-kind, noninvasive, brain-computer interface that translates brain signals instantly from the user's visual cortex into digital commands for any device in real time.

The small, light-weight, round device fits into the back of a cap or headband, and rests gently on the user's head. It captures data from the electrical signals created by the user's neuron activity in the visual cortex, and using machine learning algorithms, transforms that output into communication that enables easier interaction and control with a computer, AR/VR headset or any device within the Internet of Things.

NextMind will allow the public to try its remarkable new brain-sensing wearable at CES 2020 in booth #21839 in LVCC, South Hall 1 from Jan. 7-10.

LINKS: 

HOME: https://www.next-mind.com/
TWITTER: @nextmindlab
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrgQcj0scGxWyajgYKc1FDA
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/nextmindlab/


Here is a video of the announcement:


***

2019-11-22 (THU, NOV 22, 2019)


USA

RIP JFK May 29, 2017 - Nov 22, 1963

  • Among President Kennedy's many great legacies are the journey into space and the subsequent development of GPS and world-wide communications; together with the spirit of developing technology, science, and culture, to benefit the people of the USA and all humans.


THEATER/FILM

IMMENSE, IMMERSIVE, LOCATION-SPECIFIC TRANSMEDIA THEATRICAL PROMOTION FOR "THE IRISHMAN"

  • today and tomorrow (9 AM-7 PM), near Mulberry and Grand, north of Canal in Little Italy (NYC)...
  • Netflix has turned the area back in time to August 1, 1975 (the day after Jimmy Hoffa was reported missing).
  • There are many events in restaurants, businesses, and on the streets.
  • It's free, but for special favors, the phrase is (sshh..according to the word on the street) "Tell 'em Jimmy sent you."




***


2019-11-21 (THU, NOV 21, 2019)


TECHNOLOGY

HOLOLENS 2


F8 - FACEBOOK ANNUAL DEVELOPER'S CONFERENCE 2020


***

2019-11-20 (WED, NOV 20, 2019)


TECHNOLOGY

INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) DAY

  • November 23 , 2019
  • "Virtual Reality Day is a series of VR/AR events organized worldwide to help virtual and augmented reality become more mainstream. Any individual, company or organization can host a free public VR/AR event and become part of the Virtual Reality Day phenomenon. This is a completely voluntary and grassroots effort. It’s about bringing the energy and interests of the greater community together, and focusing that energy for the benefit of everyone on one special day."
  • https://virtualrealityday.org/aboutus




VUZEXR CAMERAS AT DISCOUNT FOR VR DAY

  • HumanEyes, the makers of the VuzeXR camera, as sponsors of VR Day, are offering the VuzeXR camera at a sharp discount for a limited time.
  • Price: $299! (Regular $439)
  • I have been using the VuzeXR camera since it was released. I believe it is currently the absolute best 3D 180 VR camera available. It can also shoot 2D 360 VR. It is a pro-sumer device, and can shoot at 5.7K resolution 30fps video. It can be used for professional and home VR video. HumanEyes also has high quality supporting software, which can export completed videos to YouTube, still photos and videos to Facebook, and other destinations as well, for viewing in VR headsets like Oculus Go and Quest. It's a good value at the regular price, at the discount it is a terrific value. 
  • https://www.humaneyes.com/


***

2019-11-19 (TUE, NOV 19, 2019)


SCIENCE

MOONS AROUND SATURN

  • are shown in this photo from NASA.
  • A description, also from NASA follows the photo.


Moons of Saturn
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, NASA

  • Explanation: On July 29, 2011 the Cassini spacecraft's narrow-angle camera took this snapshot and captured 5 of Saturn's moons, from just above the ringplane. 
  •  Left to right are 
    • small moons Janus and Pandora respectively 179 and 81 kilometers across, 
    • shiny 504 kilometer diameter Enceladus, and Mimas, 396 kilometers across, seen just next to Rhea. 
    • Cut off by the right edge of the frame, Rhea is Saturn's second largest moon at 1,528 kilometers across. 
  • So how many moons does Saturn have? Twenty new found outer satellites bring its total to 82 known moons, and since Jupiter's moon total stands at 79, Saturn is the Solar System's new moon king. 
  • The newly announced Saturnian satellites are all very small, 5 kilometers or so in diameter, and most are in retrograde orbits inclined to Saturn's ringplane. 
  • You can help name Saturn's new moons, but you should understand the rules. Hint: A knowledge of Norse, Inuit, and Gallic mythology will help.  


TECHNOLOGY

QUALCOMM

***

2019-11-18 (MON, NOV 18, 2019)


FOOD

ZAGAT IS BACK!

  • After years of brilliant reporting on restaurants, several years ago Zagat was bought by Google.  It went through some other owners, some hard times, and even stopped printing the iconic dark red restaurant book; even worse, online they stopped using their 30 point rating. (omg!) 
  • Now, finally, the book is back (at least in NY) for 2020.
  • Same old color! Same old shape! Same old 30 point rating.
  • Le Bernadin is #1 in popularity; 29 (of 30) in cuisine!
  • We eat well (or at least know where we can go to eat well) AGAIN!

***

2019-11-17 (SUN, NOV 17, 2019)


THEATER

HB STUDIO IS PRESENTING


AMERICAN SCOREBOARD

PERFORMANCE OF TESTIMONY

FROM THE U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM

HEARING ON THE NEED FOR LEADERSHIP

TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND PROTECT NATIONAL SECURITY


TECHNOLOGY

MICROSOFT WILL END SUPPORT OF WINDOWS 7

  • on January 14, 2020.

OCULUS CTO JOHN CARMACK

  • will be leaving Oculus to investigate Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).
  • He will retain some consulting and other activities with Oculus/Facebook, but his AGI work will be completely independent.
  • Carmack has been a major factor in the development of Oculus as a leading (the leading?) developer of VR headsets, both for his leadership, and for his outstanding technical and programming abilities.
  • Carmack has also been celebrated for his presentations at the Oculus Connect events, for his insightful discussions on the tradeoffs, challenges, and realities of developing a VR headset.
  • Oculus has recently released the Quest, a standalone headset which has a basic knowledge of its environment. It is said to be working on a more advanced Mixed Reality device.
  • Here is Carmack's announcement on Facebook:
  • https://www.facebook.com/people/John-Carmack/100006735798590



***


2019-11-16 (SAT, NOV 16, 2019)


FILM

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER (FLC) presents NEW BRAZILIAN CINEMA

  • FLC together with CINEMA TROPICAL will present a galaxy of new Brazilian films and filmmakers from
  • December 6-11, 2019.
  • the event will include 10 US premieres, and a number of personal appearances, including Karim Aïnouz, Gabriel Mascaro, Gabriel Martins & Maurilio Martins for an event called VEREDAS: A GENERATION OF BRAZILIAN FILMMAKERS.
  • https://www.filmlinc.org/

TECHNOLOGY

MAGIC LEAP

  • has raised more than $2B, (much of it from Alphabet/Google) making it essentially the biggest independent company in Mixed Reality.
  • They are currently trying to raise additional funds, including debt.
  • They recently lost their CFO; and they are providing a patent portfolio to J P Morgan Chase as collateral.
  • They have reduced their headcount significantly in the last few months, but have a large number of jobs available on their career page.
  • They began life trying to create a headset (aka HMD - Head Mounted Display) using lightfield technology -- that would be a significant improvement in performance and user comfort over current HMD's; however, the first released HMD Magic Leap One, was similar to HoloLens, better in some ways, not as good in others, and did not have the advantages expected from lightfield technology.
  • The founder, Rony Abovitz, has a very impressive, expansive, and visionary view of the future of Mixed Reality in the world.
  • My impression from their videos, and briefly trying the device, is that they have accomplished a lot, but what they are trying to do is much harder than they expected, and they have a lot of work to do before they are really useful and ready to create significant revenue.
  • https://www.magicleap.com/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_field

***


2019-11-15 (FRI, NOV 15, 2019)


THEATER

RED BULL THEATER PRESENTS THE TRAITOR

  • a ONE NIGHT ONLY Revelation Reading.
  • THIS Monday, Nov 18, 2019. One night only.
  • James Shirley’s THE TRAITOR, licensed in 1631, "takes up a burning question: is a subject ever justified in killing a bad monarch or does such an act always equal the heinous crime of treason?"
  • https://www.redbulltheater.com/

***2019-11-14 (THU, NOV 14, 2019)


TECHNOLOGY

THE WEATHER COMPANY ANNOUNCES GRAF

  • a weather forecasting system that has several advantages over other current systems:
    • it gathers data, they say, at about 3 kilometers per cell, compared to 10 kilometers previously;
    • they gather data all over the world, and at various levels above earth;
    • they can predict the weather at least three times quicker than other systems;
    • and they can report the weather for any place on earth.
  • GRAF stands for Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting.
  • The Weather Company is an IBM subsidiary.
  • The system is powered by the IBM Cloud, using GPU's in a specially tailored supercomputer, plus AI, in a collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and their Open-Source forecasting model.
  • https://www.ibm.com/weather/industries/cross-industry/graf



***


2019-11-13 (WED, NOV 13, 2019)


TECHNOLOGY

THE NEW SCIENTIST  

  • reports in the current issue (2019 Nov 9-15) that new algorithms can recover images from shadows, around corners, and through walls.
  • Basically, for example, in some cases, the processing uses radar-like techniques to use timing to identify where individual photons have originated; other cases use AI to decipher an otherwise unintelligible image.
  • Here's a link to one of the source papers:
  • http://papers.nips.cc/paper/3254-object-recognition-by-scene-alignment.pdf

    APPLE PLANS 3D CAMERAS AND AR/VR HEADSETS




    THEATER


    THE WOMAN IN BLACK -  ADAPTED BY STEPHEN MALLATRATT 


    • from a  GHOST novel by Susan Hill, will play for a limited run at the "McKittrick Hotel" (the home of SLEEP NO MORE).  THE WOMAN IN BLACK is one of the longest running shows in London. 
    • https://mckittrickhotel.com/events/womaninblack

    ***

    2019-11-12 (TUE, NOV 12, 2019)


    TECHNOLOGY

    CNBC

    VIDEO


    DISNEY+ STREAMING
    • started today, with a huge library.
    • There were some outages.
    • Disney's streaming service comes in as a big new wave of new movies, old movies, new and old TV series, and other specials, comes to your TV and computer.
    • Some of the existing services are Netflix, Apple TV+, Hulu (majority owned by Disney), ESPN+ for sports (also owned by Disney) and Amazon Prime (plus other a la carte videos on Amazon); some in the works are ATT/Warner HBO Max, and NBC's Peacock.
    • There is also Roku, which seems like a streaming services aggregator.
    • https://www.disneyplus.com/

    THE GOLDEN GLOBES (GG)
    • will be hosted by Ricky Gervais (for the fifth time)!
    • GG, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press, is the first of the big awards shows, covering film and television.
    • The show airs live on NBC on Sunday, Jan 5, 2020.
    • https://www.goldenglobes.com/

    ***

    2019-11-11 (MON, NOV 11, 2019)


    VETERANS DAY!


    TECHNOLOGY


    THE IGDA - THE INTERNATIONAL GAME DEVELOPER'S ASSOCIATION
    • is a terrific resource for anyone interested in game development. 
    • The New York Chapter is active and has a very valuable newsletter - a new edition is out today!
    • To join or subscribe:
    • https://igdanyc.jimdo.com/

    TECHNOLOGY - COMMERCE


    SINGLES DAY - THE ALIBABA SHOPPING 24 HOUR "HOLIDAY"
    • seems to be the biggest shopping day of the year, anywhere in the world.
    • This year, today, the Chinese company's event brought in a record breaking tally of more than $38B, and more than a 25% increase over last year. 

    THEATER

    CTI -  THE COMMERCIAL THEATER INSTITUTE

    THE NATION

    HOUSE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY HEARINGS


    2019-11-10 (SUN, NOV 10, 2019)



    TECHNOLOGY


    MICROSOFT 
    • announced "Power Virtual Agents" (PVA) at MICROSOFT IGNITE.
    • PVA is currently in a limited Beta. It seems to be a point-drag-click, "no-programming" (pdc-np) interface to create simple bots that access the MS AI engines. Programming is possible to create more powerful agents, but at the expense of never returning to the PVA.

    THE WORLD
    EVO MORALES
    • resigned as President of Bolivia, as protests racked the country. 
    • He had served as President since 2006. 
    • In 2009 he visited the US along with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, for the screening of Oliver Stone's SOUTH OF THE BORDER at the New York Film Festival. Chavez and Morales visited with a delegation of the press at the Festival and took questions, (tho' Chavez did almost all the talking). Chavez then spoke at length to the whole audience at the screening for the Press and the Industry. 

    Evo Morales, Oliver Stone, and  Hugo Chavez
    NYFF 2009 
    Photo by Eric Roffman - QPORIT

    THEATER

    FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (IN YIDDISH)

    DAVID HENRY HWANG'S SOFT POWER
    TV

    WEEDS 
    • is in production to return on STARZ, according to Variety. Mary-Louise Parker will star and executive produce.  
    • Parker is a brilliant actress, current starring on Broadway in THE SOUND INSIDE.
    • The world, & weed, have changed drastically since the series ended. There is a wonderful new universe of possibilities to explore if they embrace the present.
    ***


    2019-11-09 (SAT, NOV 09, 2019)



    FILM

    THE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER ISSUE OF FILM COMMENT
    with stories on...

    GRETA GERWIG IN THE NYT

    FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER (FLC) FREE TALK: 

    BOOKS

    NOTHING TO SEE HERE a novel by KEVIN WILSON

    THEATER

    STEPHEN ADLY GUIRGIS' HALFWAY BITCHES GO STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN
    November 14 to December 22, 2019


    ODON VON HORVATH'S JUDGEMENT DAY
    December 5, 2019 to January 11, 2020

    ARTIST TALK: Richard Jones and the creative team on JUDGEMENT DAY
    Thursday, Dec 12 at 6:00

    TECHNOLOGY

    VOICE SUMMIT -- ANNOUNCED FOR 2020
    October 5-8 2020 -- Washington DC


    MICROSOFT HAS BEGUN SHIPPING THE HOLOLENS 2 (~$3,500)

    MICROSOFT: FREE TOUR

    ***

    SELECTED RECENT STORIES IN QPORIT

    NYXR - THE NEW YORK EXTENDED REALITY MEETUP
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/02/extended-reality-xr.html

    Review: SILICON VALLEY
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/11/review-silicon-valley-hbo.html

    2019 NOBEL PRIZE AWARDS
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/10/nobel-prizes-2019.html

    SURFACE EVENT AT MICROSOFT
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/10/surface-event-at-microsoft.html

    COLBERT INTERVIEWS JULIA-LOUIS DREYFUS
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/09/colbert-julia-louis-dreyfus.html

    APPLE ANNOUNCEMENTS
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/09/apple-announcements.html

    TEST MARKET PREDICTIONS
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/08/market-plunge-lets-test-predictions.html

    MRS MAISEL RETURNS
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/08/mrs-maisel-returns-2019-12-06-season-3.html

    NEWS ROUNDUP OF THE 2019 NYFF
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/08/news-roundup-57th-new-york-film.html

    ELON MUSK & THE NEURALINK BRAIN MACHINE
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/07/elon-musk-neuralink-and-brain-machine.html

    LIBRA: DAVID MARCUS' CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY
    https://qporit.blogspot.com/2019/07/david-marcus-congressional-testimony-on.html

    ***




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