Put your devices away…machines aren’t people

we’ve come to steal your attention

There’s a line in a newer Cat Stevens’ song where he makes some weird reference to putting machines behind us. Since Advent, Miriam and I have tried to do a digital detox.

Eventually, we’ll get to where we don’t even look at our little machines (phones, tablets, and computers) on Sundays, but at this point that’s too much.

Instead we do a social media detox, where we don’t post anything for a whole day. I’m sure my loyal readers miss me those endless hours when I’m not available (sarcasm intended), but as Miriam says, ‘Schade.’ (too bad)

Whatever photo I’ve taken of my sandwich is going to have to wait to be posted until Monday, or simply not at all. How are you supposed to know what we had for lunch today?

Well, you could just call and ask me.

That’s why we haven’t yet given up everything on Sundays, but that is eventually the end goal. Nowadays, we still use our devices to call and stay in touch. In the near future, we won’t even do that. We’ll just be gone.

It’ll be fine. You’ll be fine & so will we.

This social media lark is just that. It’s not serious. No matter what you’ve been told. Nothing going on online is more important than the people sitting in front of you.

Today, my family takes precedence. Period.

Everyday, actually.

It’s just that today it’s more pronounced.

More obvious.


digital detox (for social media) and grieving for those damned dogs

Here’s how it feels now…they’re always there in my thoughts but somehow deeply, truly gone

We decided last weekend that we’d do a Digital Detox starting this next Sunday, and neither of us really thought it through. Late last night (or two nights ago, at this point), Miriam turned to me and said, ‘You remember what we agreed to last weekend?’ In a split second, it all came rushing back to me.

I’m a personality that knows two speeds. Either really slow, if not stationary, or full speed ahead. Pedal to the proverbial metal. It’s not easy, but it’s much worse for whoever I’m partnered with. Even work colleagues have noticed how all or nothing I tend to be.

Either you’re on my team and can practically do no wrong, or I’ve judged you by some ridiculous standard and cannot bear the sight of you. It sounds like I’m bragging but I assure you I’m not.

So this weekly day off allows us to reconnect to source, as it were. I’m hoping it makes me more tolerable to work with. She went to her meditation Runde & the baby and I putzed around the new flat.

I’m doing the Plassman’s Polka Lounge this Tuesday, so I needed to sort out my playlist. At this point, I’ll be playing:

  • Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen
  • You Can’t Always get What you Want (in honour of getting crap xmas gifts)
  • Be nicer to DJT (an original I just wrote)
  • and either All of Me or My Romance

I’ve also just signed up for Freilich Open Arts, which looks promising. If you want to hear us play, just go to the site and book us. Old Braunfels has been quiet lately. It’s time for us to awaken from our slumber.

Digital Detox was good, even if it didn’t include everything we’d thought. As freelancers, neither of us can just take every Sunday off. Oh well.

We’re not complaining, though. This is an amazing existence and every single day, we try to remind each other of how lucky we have it.

We get to live here?

The Future of Augmented Reality with Metaio 6

If you had walked around the stands at InsideAR last week here in Munich, you would have likely been astounded at both what was available, and more importantly, what was on the horizon in the world of AR (Augmented Reality). Because the event was hosted by Metaio, its products were firmly center stage during the event, and the major unveiling that took place on the first day was the release of its new platform Metaio 6.

To get an idea of how far we have come in the world of AR, you need only to look at some examples of the technology from several years ago. In this ever-changing field, those few years might seem like an eternity. The best place to start is with Lego Digital Box, which has been featured for years in Lego’s shops. It might be the most accessible way that people not involved in video game development or automobile technology have actually come into contact with Augmented Reality. By holding the box with Lego’s product in it up to the cameras, the Lego Digital Box creates a 3D image of the toy that is inside and places it onto the screen. Here, you can see for yourself:

Compared to what technology is available today, the Lego Digital Box is clearly from an earlier era of technology. The cameras are stationary and simply seeing the 3D version of the toy in your hand on the screen is the whole point of the tool. Fast-forward a few years, and now you have the cameras inside of your mobile devices. Here is a more recent application of AR shown in a video for IKEA:

In this case, you have a photo of a room, and with this technology you can superimpose a 3D image of a piece of furniture into that room. The practical application is that you can see how that piece of furniture looks in your home before ever making the purchase.

But how does it work? How does the camera process the information it is taking in and recreate it on the screen? To comprehend that, you need to know a bit about tracking.

Tracking is how the camera takes in data and computes the spatial relationships to objects in a room. Although there are various sorts of tracking, the important thing to remember here is that the most cutting-edge tracking technology is often a hybrid of different tracking types.

The core of the brand new Metaio 6 platform is its innovative tracking technology, in addition to all of the surrounding features that are included. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all tool. You can pick and choose which sort of tracking best fits the application you need. That available tracking pipeline is part of how this platform will push the envelope of innovation as so many of this company’s products already have in the past.

Where do we go from here?

At this point, it is not standard to have a 3D camera already installed in a mobile phone or a tablet. That time is certainly coming, though, as Augmented Reality is constantly more commonplace. While devices continue to get smaller and the real world applications of these technologies become more obvious, the era before this Augmented Reality explosion is looking more and more old-fashioned. How often can you see the future of an industry at one single event? At InsideAR, we had that very thing. Metaio 6 is that future.

(Originally appeared on MunichNOW. See this piece there at: The Future of Augmented Reality with Metaio 6)


Near and distant future with Augmented Reality

I’m heading out to an Augmented Reality event today that’s being hosted by Metaio, and for multiple reasons I’m going to be writing more about this field. First of all, what is AR?

Well, here’s how Wikipedia defines it:

‘…is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.’

There are plenty of videos showing the real world applications of Augmented Reality, and this one is a bit dry, but it does show off some of the most practical uses one might have. Check it out:

Plenty going on in the world of Augmented Reality, which is what this event today is showcasing, and my plan is to spend a few blogposts talking about the different ways this field can impact our lives in the near and distant future.