Friday, June 17, 2016

Open-Sharing VR First Step: Google Cardboard Pics

In the emerging area of VR media, sharing productions and compositions is a clunky and cumbersome process. Most platforms are built only for sharing within their own systems (e.g. Oculus, Google Cardboard, etc.)

So - I'm looking and I found ONE WAY you can share Google Cardboard Photos without a lot of emailing and downloading and third-party app installation -This website:

You just go to the website, share the image link of the photo you've taken in Google cardboard (from your Google photos gallery,) and it generates three ways to share the image/

Sharing VR compositions is a challenge in this emerging area. Creating, Discovering and Sharing tools (such as this one) is an excellent opportunity for productive discourse among students, scholars and explorers of this new digital landscape.

Here is an example of sharing a 3D VR photo taken by my 5 year old granddaughter:
1. URL link to the image:
2. QR code for the image: (You can scan this with your smartphone now and see the image in Google Cardboard.)

3. Embed code for the image produces this:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Calling Our Bluff: VR & Our "New Media" Theories

Unless you've actually strapped on the headgear and experienced it, you don't understand.

VR has arrived. 
Seriously - it's here.

CNET has an interesting take on one of the VR vehicles (Oculus Rift) here: CNET VR Special Edition.

But VR is arriving by other ways, too. I've already begun experiencing (and producing) the new phenomenon for (very nearly) FREE with my own smartphone, the free Google Cardboard and Cardboard Camera apps, and a very comfortable 15 buck headset. Tons of free VR material is even available on YouTube. (Add a cheap Bluetooth controller for a few bucks and you can do even more.)

For under a hundred bucks, there is the Samsung Gear VR headset that Lebron hawks. Gear is powered by Oculus, which is releasing its more expensive premium Rift device (mentioned above.) Microsoft Hololens is also already shipping - and more iterations are following this year.

Like I said - VR has arrived.

We Don't Know &#!@
We theorists like to think we know about "new media." We know about Technologizing the Word, and the Second Gutenberg Shift, and how Old Media Becomes Content for New Media, and how Remediation works in Re-shaping our Brains. We're pretty sure we know it all.

But, strap-on a VR headset, and it becomes clear that we don't. know. $#!@.

We Better Learn Quick
Taking a class on Tigers, or watching a documentary on Tigers, is one thing.
Being tossed in the path of a Tiger is another.
One situation is casual and leisurely.
The other is frantic.

VR has just brought FRANTIC to the new media party.
We gotta learn. Quick.

There are no experts in this field. There is no time (yet) for experts to develop. This is a media shift that is happening at  pace exponentially faster than previous shifts. We need to move, think, improvise, and act before the Tiger eats us and moves on.

Here are some ideas: (What? You got better ideas? Let's hear 'em.)

  1. Read. Quick. I'm not thinking of scholarly journals that take a year or more to get to press or books that take 6 years to get to print. The Tiger will have already eaten us by then. Read now - here's a start
  2. Play. Now. Experiment with the emerging medium and its technologies. Explore, Create. Share. Download the apps. Get a headset. Talk with others. Share Experiences. Have students experience stuff and make stuff with you.
  3. Write. Immediately. Be willing to have this writing be "disposable." Use a blog or a website or a social media vehicle. Editing, revision, peer review and publication can come later. After you've survived the encounter with the Tiger. "Writing" might consist of aggregating, curating, cobbling, collaging, and sharing resources in platforms like ScoopIt!, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc. 
It appears, in glorious, 360-degree 3D realness, that the VR Tiger is in front of us, so let's get busy, shall we?

(Your shared resources, contributions, ideas, etc. will be greatly appreciated. Just leave links, etc. in the comments section.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Removed: Connected, Disconnected, Addicted

Sample from Removed Exhibit by Eric Pickersgill
I recently discovered Removed, a photography exhibition by Eric Pickersgill. In this collection, Pickersgill digitally "erased" the smartphones and tablets from the hand of his subjects in the images. To me, the resulting images were humorously discordant - and then, obtusely disturbing.

Pickersgill relates an observation that informed his work:
Family sitting next to me at Illium cafĂ© in Troy, NY... Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology ... (from Eric Pickersgill's website)
 The photographs in Pickersgill's collection ( may serve as a treasure trove of evocative connections to thinking about communication, dystopic futures, digital technologies, Third Sense meanings, and more.
Look. Enjoy. Think. Write. Reflect.