Monday Musings: Travel! Caffeine! VR Talks!

Welcome to Monday Musings!

This is a post that might be a little all over the place. I had a few things that I wanted to talk about in today’s post, and I’ve decided to lump them all in here because they’re tangentially related to one another. I’m also a bit jet lagged from a 12 hour flight from San Francisco over to Scotland (I’m writing to you from Edinburgh today!) but bear with me.

Get it? Bear with me?

Get it? Bear with me?

Okay, now that we’re both done aww-ing over the baby polar bears, let’s go onto the main topics of today’s blog post! First of all, let’s address ‘travel’! I’m currently in Edinburgh for ScotlandJS, where I’ll be giving the opening keynote for the conference on Thursday talking all about the VR web and why today’s browser-based VR is paving the way for some pretty amazing stuff over the next few months. If you’re interested in some of the details from Google & the MozVR team, I highly recommend that you check out the talks from last week’s SFHTML5 WebVR API & Ecosystem update – they’re all available on YouTube here!

On Caffeine

This one’s related to travel, because I wanted to share some things that I’ve noticed recently. Right around the holidays last year, I started to notice that my anxiety was starting to get to me again. I tend to stop taking care of my diet as much as I should around the holidays ,and when I get really busy, I’ve been known to rely unhealthily on caffeine to make up for skipping meals and lost sleep – something that compounds pretty badly over time. Several weeks ago, I ran out of caffeinated tea, and I started drinking green tea and peppermint tea at home and saving black tea and coffee for when I was at work. Over time, I found myself preferring peppermint tea to those, too, and now I can say that I tend to have a fairly low amount of caffeine on a regular basis – maybe twice a week.

Enter that 12 hour flight, which was actually a 5h30m flight, a 2h layover, and a 6h30m flight, where I got approximately 4 hours of sleep and skipped ahead 8 hours. I had one cup of coffee (and it’s an airplane cup, so you know that drill) and… it’s 10:21 PM and I’ve kicked jet lag’s butt. I’d like to thank my past self for dialing that back.

I’m not going to lie, I can be a pain in the butt sometimes about preaching dietary benefits, but I’m not saying that caffeine’s bad, cutting back just helped me a lot. If you’re newly traveling a lot, you might find that to be something to watch!

Update: can definitely confirm that being more sensitive to caffeine helps a LOT with travel adjustments.

On Giving VR Talks!

Now, I’ve talked pretty extensively about giving VR demos or workshops before, but I wanted to drop a few notes about what I’ve learned about giving talks on VR. Over the past year, I’ve probably given about 25 presentations around virtual and augmented reality, and there are a few things that I’ve found work well and work not-so-well to keep in mind if you’re starting to think about joining up the conference circuit to share your own passion (which, PS, you should absolutely do!)

  • Until there’s a solid runtime for a laptop, I do my demos in video format instead of live. It’s just not a great time right now to be demoing a desktop headset (unless you have a really solid laptop with desktop-grade GFX cards) and frankly, I don’t personally think that stereoscopic rendering on a huge overhead projector adds a lot to the discussion. Capturing the display to screen window with a headset moving around the orientation generally gets the ideas across.
  • There are a lot of areas outside pure development that need more talks given about VR. Ethics, applications to different industries, ways to get involved – even if you aren’t a developer, if you’ve been excited about and working on a VR project, odds are you have some pretty compelling stories to share.
  • Yeah, you should probably at least bring one thing you can demo. I like the Gear VR because it’s high-quality and portability makes it really easy to pass around at a conference event, which is especially helpful if you’re a speaker without a demo booth (many non-VR specific conferences don’t do booths anyway).
  • Let that passion shine through. VR is awesome and we love it, and that comes through when you see speakers talking about something they’re really, really excited about.

It’s never too early to start getting the word out there. A lot of people are getting interested, and now is a wonderful time to break out of the flow, travel, and share some of things you’ve been learning as you’ve been building your own prototypes for the metaverse!

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