(Podcast) Material #47: “Removed Your Head In Daydream? No Donuts For You!”

Material #47: “Removed Your Head In Daydream? No Donuts For You!”

Russell, Yasmine and I got to spend an hour talking about Google’s VR plans in general and Daydream in particular, with Google senior designers Manuel Clément and Robbie Tilton. It was a swell opportunity to go beyond the hardware that was demonstrated at I/O and talk about the level of thought that goes into the creation of an entirely new UI.

I’m eager to see how far developers take VR. Gaming is the most obvious application but to me, it’s the least interesting. We recorded the episode over a Skype video call, as usual. Why do we use video chat, when Material is released as audio? It’s because we have a better conversation when we can all see each other and pick up all kinds of little visual cues.

Over the course of the hour I couldn’t help but think about how a VR recording session would be even better. Even if I were interacting with four VR approximations of flat video screens, the ability to turn to face the person I’m focusing on would root me in the conversation, and it’s also help everyone to feel the direction of the talk as it moves between people.

Oculus Theater kind of blew my mind when I used it for the first time. It’s a simple MP4 video player that inserts the 2D video into the screen of a multiplex-style theater environment, rendered in 3D. It’s way more than a cute little demo. I was watching “1776” in a real theater, which meant that for the first time I got to see it as the filmmakers intended. I’ve seen this movie on video a hundred times but this was the first time I was aware that certain people and actions were meant to be in my peripheral vision as I focused on just one side of the screen.

I’m looking forward to more revelations like that one. The good stuff in VR will come after lots of conversations about how people truly interact with their environment and with each other.

(Podcast) IA #00175 – “Dusted With Glitter”

Dan Benjamin is back in this week’s Ihnatko Almanac!

We did a little bit of catching up. My chat with Greg Pak last week led to a conversation about Kickstarter. And since Dan and I haven’t talked in a while, we naturally started getting into recent comics and why I even like the comics I don’t like.

I also have almost two hours of monologue about Google I/O on my hard drive. I’m hoping to edit it down to something manageable but even more than that, I want to actually release an episode containing this content. So I might just have to hold my nose, commend my soul to God, and post it as-is.

(Podcast) IA Episode #00174 – “Greg Pak/Kickstarter Secrets”

The latest episode of The Ihnatko Almanac is now up! This time, I’m talking with my pal Greg Pak about his latest Kickstarter project. “Kickstarter Secrets” is a practical, protein-packed PDF that’ll guide you through running a successful Kickstarter campaign, from concept to fulfillment.

I backed it (at my usual “skinflint” level) as soon as he announced it. It appears to be exactly what I’ve been hoping for. This isn’t a TED talk on creativity and the new crowdsourcing economy (with all due respect to TED). This is going to be a book full of specific warnings, answers, and encouragement, with the full authority of someone who’s successfully funded (and shipped!) several books. The “shipped” part is fairly important, you know. A creator should have several sensible fears before pushing the Big Green Button, and one of the largest should be “will fulfilling the rewards I’ve promised be an albatross around my neck for anywhere from a whole year to the rest of my life?”

As Greg and I discussed on the show, I’ve been tempted by Kickstarter for a few years now. His book will be delivered in October and I reckon that’s enough time for me to finish writing something that I can Kickstart.

(I am, alas, a creature of deadlines. I kind of need to see that brick wall off in the distance before I can plant my goalposts on a project.)

Subscribe to The Ihnatko Almanac, or listen right here:

And back “Kickstarter Secrets”! Even if you aren’t thinking about using Kickstarter for anything, I’m sure it’s going to be a great “behind the scenes” look at the mechanism that enables so many ideas to become reality. Also, at the $22 level you’ll also receive a damn fine library of PDFs containing Greg’s comics work with Jonathan Coulton and his terrific kids’ books. The campaign ends on Wednesday morning.

Incidentally, the weekly Almanac has been…something Less Than Weekly recently, and I apologize for that. I like doing the show with Dan, and prefer it immensely to doing a solo show like this one (even when I’m talking to someone fab, like Greg). Dan and I had a regular weekly appointment to record the show and it worked great for a year or two. Now, alas, the sands of time have shifted and Thursday mornings have found one or both of us with another commitment.

We’re working to set up a new schedule (along the lines of “put our heads together once a month and hash out that month’s recording calendar”). I love recording with Dan and I hope to keep doing shows with him more or less forever.

(With bathroom breaks. I like recording with Dan, but catheterization seems like sort of an extreme expression of commitment.) 

Ihnatko Almanac Episode #00161: “Project Doneway”

Episode 00161 of The Ihnatko Almanac has just been posted! Merlin Mann and I talk about “Project Runway” on the eve of the season finale.

This has been kind of a different season (as we discuss). There were fewer personality clashes, at least between the designers…Tim Gunn lost his cool with one of ‘em and that was about as hot as the fireworks got. What’s this? A reality show where nobody throws a glass of Chardonnay in anybody’s face?

I love podcasting with Merlin. The conversation veered off into a lot of different directions. It’s well worth your time even if you’re not into the show.

I recorded this one in LA. So please imagine lots of slices of avocado on the plate as you listen.