Fighting Isolation in Virtual Reality

It’s weird living in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s frankly surreal, on so many levels. One of those ‘levels’ is the forced isolation that many of us are having to get used to, and that can be hard. We are, after all, social animals. Yesterday afternoon, I dropped in to a small group meeting in AltspaceVR using an Oculus Quest virtual reality (VR) headset. I mention this because you or your kids may have one and you’re thinking of it as just another thing for playing games. Trust me when I say that it is, and can be, …

VR Conferences in the Days of COVID-19

I’ve had a fair bit of experience with VR conferences and meetings of late (including the “Educators in VR” conference mentioned in the linked article), and I’ve used several different platforms, including AltspaceVR, Mozilla HUBS, VRChat, RecRoom, and others. There’s a real future in VR and it’s just going to get bigger. I even recorded an episode of my podcast with Evan Leibovitch in AltspaceVR. Expect to see, hear, read, and experience a lot more about this in coming days. Over at FORBES online, they have an article on that very topic. You can find it by clicking here.

COVID-19 Community Update

As I write this, the World Health Organization has officially declared COVID-19 (aka the Novel Coronavirus) a global pandemic. If you have been paying attention to the news today, then you also know that the Prime Minister held a press conference this morning addressing the current crisis and what will be done to mitigate the widespread impact. Now, I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on television, but I’d like to pass on some information on the (I almost hesitate to use the word) crisis. While our public health agencies, here in Canada, tell us that the immediate …

My Open Source Journey

Way back, in my late teens, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, I had created myself a geek’s paradise in my basement. I had a chemistry lab, with equipment sourced through my high school, a microscope, a telescope, and an electronics lab built with equipment from Radio Shack. I was also starting to experiment with various computers and, in time, would have at least three different Commodore computers, a TRS-80, until eventually moving to a state of the art 286 IBM PC clone. Later, I’d expand the memory on that PC’s main board to a staggering 1 MB of RAM. …

Happy Halloween! An Excuse To Party!

Feeling a little on edge? Like someone is looking over your shoulder? Do you hear a creaking sound in an otherwise silent room? Wait! Was there something moving in the shadows? You could swear you just just heard a low kind of moaning sound, as though the saddest, loneliest creature in the universe were writing in solitary pain.  Buck up! It’s Halloween! The day after Halloween was once considered one of Christianity’s holiest of days. Enshrined as “All Saints Day” by Pope Boniface IV, the holiday, like many Christian holidays (e.g. Christmas), borrows from earlier Pagan religions. This rite of …

Zombies are your friends, and other news.

As we enter October, the month of spooky, we turn our attentions to all the scary things that hide in the dark places. Like zombies. Yeah, I know. Zombies are scary undead things that eat brains. The whole “eating your brain” thing would be (or should be) scary enough, but the fact that you then turn into a filthy, smelly, parts falling off, undead thing yourself is also pretty bad. And even though I agree that it’s pretty bad, there’s something you need to know about zombies before you go passing final judgement. Zombies are actually just big goofy creatures …

The Death of Capitalism

I’ve been listening to a fascinating discussion regarding the death of capitalism on CBC’s “Ideas” program. I’m only about half way through it, but the subject matter is important and somewhat unsettling. Here’s a quote from where I’ve paused in my podcast app. “Democracy was always a problem in a capitalist society. There’s an enormous inherent tension between the two. Democracy is inherently egalitarian because every citizen has one vote. And the rich also have one vote but the rich are only five percent. Whereas in the market, every dollar has a vote. And the capitalist economy in particular functions …

Noah was what we call a ‘bad drunk’!

After God was done killing everyone and everything on Earth, save for what Noah was hauling aboard the Ark, it came to pass that things had to start anew. Noah, his boys, and their wives set about begetting in order to repopulate the Earth. A man needs hobbies and old Noah, who was already 600 years old at this point, got into wine making, a business I heartily approve of. He also got into wine drinking and would, from time to time, hit the sauce a little hard. Turn, if you will, to Genesis 9, verses 18 to 29 wherein …

Some Thoughts on Capitalism, Universal Basic Income, and Automation

The concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is not new, but surprisingly few have heard of it or truly understand the reason for it and why, now more than ever, it is vitally important. In simplest terms, UBI is a regular cash payment made to every person. You don’t need to work for it and you can do anything you want with it. Some see it as money for nothing, a lazy person’s way of getting a handout from the rest of society. Proponents, many of whom don’t actually ‘need’ UBI, see it as a necessary means to keep the …

The Book of Secret Knowledge

Every once in a while, you run across something so terribly useful, that you just need to share it with others, even if it does have the word “secret” in the title. This is one of those times. Should I call this a document, or a resource? Hey, maybe it’s just a glorified collection of bookmarks, but dang, is it ever useful! Given that I think it’s pretty awesome, I’m going to pretend that maybe you’ll feel the same way. And so, I give you “The Book of Secret Knowledge“, a “collection of inspiring lists, manuals, cheatsheets, blogs, hacks, one-liners, …