VR in 2016 is not ready

VR in 2016 is not ready. I pre-ordered an Oculus Rift and eagerly awaited it for 7 months as Oculus experienced manufacturing and logistical issues. After one month of regular use, it has sat in my closet untouched since. I think the technology is in place and available, but VR in 2016 is not ready. Why is VR not ready this year? There is no must-play VR game. There is no must-see VR experience. There is no compelling reason to purchase a VR device today.

I hope someone is hard at work making an ubiquitous snow-crash-esq VR experience that compels everyone to rush to the stores to buy VR rigs, but 2016 was not the year where VR became the big thing. It might be the next big thing, but not this year.

Technology I Use in 2016

Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Danny Nicolas and I am a web developer. I also do a bit of photography and graphic design.

What hardware do you use?

This is my technology setup:
Computer Setup in 2016

This year I build a desktop tower PC:

  • 700w psu
  • Intel i5 6600 cpu
  • 16gb ram
  • LG bluray/dvd burner
  • Corsair c70 case
  • Gigabyte g1 Nvidia gtx 1080

I also upgraded to a mechanical switch keyboard, which is a joy to type on compared to the squishy keyboards of laptops the past few years, and use a wired optical mouse. A few years ago I upgraded to my current 27″ monitor and am looking forward to adding a second 27″ monitor to the mix next year so I can have a monitor in landscape and portrait orientation.

  • Corsair Red Backlight keyboard with cherry red mechanical switches
  • Gigabyte optical mouse
  • Asus 27″ monitor (PB278Q 27″ WQHD 2560×1440 IPS)

I have a Nikon D90 that still gets some action, but most of my day to day photos are taken with my phone. I’d love to upgrade to a future Nikon camera released in answer to Sony’s Alpha/A series of mirrorless full frame cameras, but am more likely to upgrade to a D610 in the next year or two.

I’m currently using a Blackberry Passport (2013) for my cell phone. I’m looking forward to upgrading to a new Android based Blackberry with a physical keyboard next year, provided that they actually release it as planned in early 2017.

I do have a Macbook Air (2013) that is used when I travel, but I’m looking forward to replacing it with next year’s edition of the Microsoft Surface Book (provided they continue to deliver on consistent year over year improvements in hardware build quality).

I run my websites on a set of Ubuntu Linux based Digital Ocean servers.

And what software?

This desktop computer runs Windows 10 as my primary operating system, mostly out of convenience for games, excel, and Adobe software. I tried running Ubuntu desktop for several months before ultimately installing Windows for said software.

After spending 10+ years using Mac OS X as my primary operating system of choice, Windows 10 feels like a huge step forward from the previous editions of Windows that I used extensively (Windows 3.1 through Windows 2000) and with reservation (Windows Vista through Windows 8.1)

A full post about web development on Windows (and Windows 10 in particular) will follow. To say the least, there are as many headaches getting your development environment set up as there are with OS X, and this remains one of the steepest learning curves for new developers. Once you’re set up, the learning curve for development is rather gradual, and answers are easy to find online resources like stackoverflow.com.

My primary web browser is Vivaldi.

I usually have a browser window open to TweetDeck, which Twitter has fortunately kept online and functional.

I run most of my email through Fastmail, but keep my previous gmail account around for convenience and instant messaging purposes.

What would be your dream setup?

In addition to the above mentioned upgrades, I’d love to get Cintq tablet for web comics and graphic design, a dedicated large format printer, a home setup for letterpress, and a darkroom for developing film. I’d love to have a longer desk set under an west facing window so I could enjoy afternoon sunshine as it happens. I’ll probably add a CNC machine, 3D printer, and a laser mill of some sort to this list next year as well.

Format for this post shamelessly taken from usethis.com.

How to turn Flickr Around

We have a problem. I say that as one of the many subscribers or pro account holders at Flickr, we have a problem that is also Yahoo’s problem.

Flickr is a huge website. It’s in the top 40 of most visited websites (ranked by Alexa), has over 5 Billion photographs and videos (as of September 2010), and is (despite the claims otherwise) is in danger. The danger is that it is owned and operated by Yahoo.

Yahoo is a bureaucratic behemoth that is unable to turn their ship around. They’ve handed the keys of the largest, most profitable piece of their business (display and search advertising) to one of their competitors (using Bing for their search results), and continue to shutter the other thriving parts of their business in a blind, last ditch effort to somehow win the hearts of new investors- perhaps so the senior management can cash out their holdings as winners as the bow of the ship slips into the ocean.

As their competitors steam by offering life rafts full of cheese and wine to us stubborn rats wondering when our turn to face the axe will come, take for a moment to think about a solution to Flickr’s woes.

Being married to Yahoo gave Flickr one primary advantage: resources. They were able to scale to billions of photos using this advantage – but the time has come for Yahoo and Flickr to part ways. Much in the same way that Ebay is now spinning off Skype into it’s own business while retaining a partial ownership, Yahoo can profit initially from the sale, the IPO, and continued partial ownership. Flickr separates from the Titanic Yahoo cruise line and becomes a destroyer class ship.

Currently Flickr is sitting on an untapped base of photos as a revenue source.

The current rules state:

Don’t use Flickr to sell. If we find you engaging in commercial activity, we will warn you or delete your account. Some examples include selling products, services, or yourself through your photostream or in a group, using your account solely as a product catalog, or linking to commercial sites in your photostream.

In the same way that the Apple uses their App Store as a platform for others to sell their own software, Flickr should see themselves as a platform for photographers to share and sell their own photographs. They already have partnerships with printshops that allow you to buy your own photos. Turn that fire hose on for the rest of the world, charge a percentage fee, and watch the money flow. Even a 10% fee would not only cover their operating costs, but make them a profitable business while looking like saints compared to Apple’s 30%.

Even as an mildly promoted, opt-in feature, the adoption would be astounding. While maintaining the proper design and user experience standards that have done them well so far (well enough anyway, there are things to nitpick but not enough to drive me away despite my previous rants), including this functionality as an option for Flickr Pro would be a win-win-win. Flickr Pro users are able to sell their photos in a sanctioned way right from their flickr accounts, people browsing the great photos on flickr are able to buy on the same page they view the photo, and Flickr makes tons of money in the process.

While some may argue that the quality of photography uploaded would take a hit, I disagree. In the same way the Apple App Store has turned hobbyists and moonlighting hackers into successful businesses that allow passionate people to devote their full attention to creation, Flickr could be the enabling source for much more interestingness inspired, photography filled creativity than currently seen.

This is just one of many ways Flickr could successful on their own instead of being tied down and sinking along with the ship that is Yahoo.