All posts by kirsch

Playstation VR

I’ve played with the Oculus Rift, the MS Hololens (AR not VR) and the HTC Vive.

For completeness, I had to go check out a demo of Sony’s Playstation VR which was being demo’ed at a local Gamestop.

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Free demos!

The main difference between the Playstation VR and the Rift/Vive is that it works with the Playstation 4 gaming console instead of a high end (~$1500 and up) decked out gaming PC. The headset itself is cheaper too: $400 vs $800 for the Vive. So if you don’t have any pre-requisites, this is a much cheaper way to get into VR – and no, I don’t think of Google Cardboard as a viable alternative.

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Playstation and Move controllers not included.

The VR headset itself is slick, as one would expect from Sony. The way it sits on your head feels comfortable. There’s no elastic bands nor cushions involved.

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Flying a spaceship in VR.

They would let you play one out of five games, and that’s it. I chose to play Eve Valkyrie in which you get to fly a spaceship and have space dogfights. I had never played before, and the demo dude didn’t explain how to play, so I was on my own. This compares poorly to the Vive demos at Microsoft, where they guide you through a few very simple, very different games.

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The headset is much lighter and much cooler, as in it doesn’t have plasticky cushions on you face making you sweat.

But whatever, I got to fly a spaceship. You see yourself sitting in the cockpit and it wasn’t too hard, although I had no idea who I was shooting at. You can do barrel rolls and those made me a little sick. Interestingly, I felt mildly sick for a few hours and it was those barrel rolls. YMMV.

The headset seemed to be of good quality and the immersion and tracking seemed to be on par with the other systems in spite of the cheaper price and specs. But the fact that you can walk around in the Vive still sets it apart, in my opinion.

Video: Masacotes vs PBD Stars

Manuel (of the opposing team) recorded all their Volleyball matches using a little Geek Pro. They use them to analyze their matches, correct their mistakes, improve on their technique… or to make fun of each other. He sent me the video of last Thursday’s Championship match which was right around one hour long.

Because nobody wants to watch a one hour long video of mediocre amateur volleyball, I thought it’d be a good idea to edit out the significant dead time. But that’s a lot of tedious work, even for me.

Enter: Amazon Mechanical Turk: “The Artificial Artificial Intelligence”.

Cleverly named after the 18th century fake chess playing machine; which I thought was a well known story but turns out I only know about it because of my odd childhood reading habits; Mechanical Turk is a service that allows you to set up jobs for someone else to do. It’s a great way for those who earn in US Dollars or Euros (but not British pounds!) to get people in China or India or some other low income country to do their menial tasks.

In any case, I uploaded the video to Dropbox and set up a gig, offering $5 to whoever does it.

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Boom! It’s done.

For your enjoyment, the full edited match:

Call me gringo

After almost 15 years of living in the United States, following the law, paying taxes, not bringing drugs, and not killing nor raping anyone (I assume I am one of the good people) I have joined my wife — also a naturalized American — and son — true born Austinite — in being a citizen of this country.

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Outside the Delco Center, where the ceremony was held.
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The stage is all set. A few hours later there were over 1000 new Americans from over 90 different countries.
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That’s me in the center, with the bad hair day.

Now I need to find something to do with this newfound status, like voting. I haven’t been keeping up… is that coming soon? Who’s running? Any suggestions?

Marcos’ Naturalization FAQ

Will you lose the accent?
Yes, I will now stop faking the foreigner accent.

If Mexico plays against the US in a soccer match, who would you root for?
Mexico.

Where did you get that lovely purple / pinkish shirt?
Macy’s.

 

Today’s quote: Nicholas

Comment by a reader in a Financial Times article about Brexit, sadly behind a paywall but accessible via Google search results. Emphasis added by me, highlighting the parts that are sadly applicable to recent US politics.

A quick note on the first three tragedies. Firstly, it was the working classes who voted us to leave because they were economically disregarded and it is they who will suffer the most in the short term from the dearth of jobs and investment. They have merely swapped one distant and unreachable elite for another one. Secondly, the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors. Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy. When the facts met the myths they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of aliens in a HG Wells novel. When [British Conservative, pro-Brexit politician] Michael Gove said ‘the British people are sick of experts’ he was right. But can anybody tell me the last time a prevailing culture of anti-intellectualism has lead to anything other than bigotry?

Copa América Centenario

The Copa América Centenario is over. For me at least – no more stadium. I got to go to the stadium for all three matches held in Houston.

Game 1: Colombia 2-3 Costa Rica

Colombia’s coach Nestor Pekerman miscalculated and lost the match and the first place of the group. Still made it to quarterfinals. Costa Rica closed the tournament with dignity. Interestingly, this is the second time I see Costa Rica play, and they won both times.

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Outside the stadium before Colombia vs Costa Rica
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Nice view of the field. Underwhelming attendance.

Game 2: Mexico 1-1 Venezuela

Venezuela did well and was ahead for most of the game.

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With my good buddy Alberto García Aspe.
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Donald Drumpf was not a popular guy among the crowd.
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Maduro was unpopular as well.
fuck trump
Those jerseys are like $90!
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National anthems
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Good looking fans.

A few days after the Orlando gay club shooting, the full stadium respectfully honors the victims with a moment of silence before the match starts. But only a few minutes later, the cultured Mexican fans go back to their famous gay slur:

I get it, people who are obviously straight think it’s funny and not offensive in this context. But it’s up to those who feel offended to decide whether it’s offensive. Also, the joke is kind of old by now.

Game 3: Argentina 4-0 USA

Oh boy, Argentina played at half capacity and completely humiliated the host team. USA had no ball possession and created no opportunities. In the second half, the American players would stay 3-6 feet away from Lionel Messi whenever he had the ball… they simply stopped trying. Due to happy circumstances and the generosity of some people, I sat really close to the field and was able to see the action up-close.

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Nice view. I mean us. Get it?
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Field panorama. Messi’s free kick goal looked amazing from this angle.
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Posing with a few peasants who sat really far from the action.

This is my view – short video of Argentina’s 4th goal celebration:

Mascotes 2016

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Jimmy, Marcos, Ilán, Alejandro, Jose Antonio, Rolando, Samuel
Iker, Santiago, Carlos

Los Mascotes – NI’s summer volleyball league’s oldest (maybe) team – is back. Against all odds we reached the final last year. And lost it.

Can we win the league this time? Yes, we can.