Instant Messaging Increased in the U.S. Northeast During the Blizzard

People use chat and IM more when working from home.  I’d call that a blinding glimpse of the obvious.  HBR is, of course, right.  They’re also very late to the party.  I blogged about these effects and benefits almost 10 years ago.  Check out old postings in “IM Roadmap” (See “Other Blogs” above.)

 

via Instant Messaging Increased in the U.S. Northeast During the Blizzard – HBR.

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Analysis of @Microsoft holographic #HoloLens #virtualreality #augmentedreality

Virtual reality + augmented reality = new Microsoft HoloLens. HoloLens plays in the space between head-mounted VR and Google Glass-like augmented reality.  Well, more of a mash-up really.  Yeah, it’s got a certain geek quality, but so do the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard and Google Glass.

How will this compare to other recent VR and AR efforts?  Let’s look at the virtual reality side first, partly because it’s been a personal interest for two decades.  In particular, head-mounted VR vs. theater- or room-based VR.  I had the luck of being a summer intern for UIC’s original CAVE immersive virtual reality theater way back in the 1990s (which only UIC themselves has since managed to top IMO).   Long story short, the CAVE approach is a room with projected images or displays on walls surrounding you, and lightweight LCD shutter glasses then create the 3D effect (see also my then-retrospective 2010 and 2002 posts here and here).  The newer CAVE2 uses an array of flat panel displays, but a similar “room” metaphor.  It feels more natural than head-mounted approaches, but isn’t exactly portable or wallet-friendly.  Separately, back in the 1990s I also got to intern for a while with a VA hospital R&D team building a head-mounted unit,  to help with architecture design for the disabled.  It was a beast – two small CRTs in the headset, and counterweights on the back so you didn’t get whiplash.  But, it was much lower-cost to implement, required much less computational power, and designs could be iterated more quickly.

The downside to head-mounted VR approaches is that while immersive, they are also more intrusive.  Between Cardboard and Rift, I have to say, Cardboard is “good enough” for many use cases, is less intrusive than Rift, and uses the smartphone you’re already carrying.  If you get a decent $30 or so headset, it feels plenty solid, but weighs alot less and is definitely more portable.  I have both at home, and while the Oculus is more capable, I’m more likely to throw on my ColorCross headset and play some quick Cardboard apps.   And new startups like Pinc are going even further – when you’re not using your VR headset as a VR headset, it’s a smartphone case.  There’s an old expression that the best camera is the one on you when you need to take a picture.  I think VR will be a little like that – the best VR is the VR that is easiest to use (and to stop using).

None of these have the augmented reality and see-through capabilities described for Microsoft’s HoloLens.  And the HoloLens will be less intrusive than typical head-mounted VR, but more so than a CAVE.  But – it’s an awesome time if you’re into VR.

On the augmented reality side, I think the most amazing things from Microsoft’s promotion video (very first link in this post) are the fluidity, placement and perspective.   In short – it’s convincing.  That is, the “holographic” objects projected onto the HoloLens display appear to go in the right place in the user’s visual field, and obey the correct perspective rules, and it’s performant.  Granted, it is a promotional video – but that’s alot of stuff to get right.  Another key factor will be how long the average user can wear and use HoloLens before getting eye fatigue, headaches or simulation sickness.

One last thing : Minecraft figures prominently in the HoloLens video.  I was very excited when Microsoft acquired Minecraft, for a variety of reasons, but this is even more promising.  More on that in a separate post.

Microsoft’s insane holographic vision of the future – Jan. 21, 2015.

 

The open-office trend is destroying the #workplace

Wow, so this wasn’t my plan for this blog, but office productivity and corporate culture keep coming up as themes….

The Washington Post article blames Silicon Valley* for the open-office movement, but the trend in that direction has been well in motion for many years before Facebook or Google were around.  Contemporary motivations by misguided managers may be to foster some intangible vibe of energy and collaboration around the office, but its roots IMO are both more mundane and cynical :  Open offices are cheaper to build, kit-out, maintain and clean.

via Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. – The Washington Post.

*PS, “Google got it wrong” in the title??  Shameless click bait for an institution like the Washington Post.

#CocaCola Disconnects Voice Mail at Headquarters #technology

I’ve been saying for years that voicemail is antiquated.   The best nugget from this article is that when given the option of keeping voicemail, ONLY 6% wanted it.  Not just because younger workers are habituated to other technologies, but also because it is manifestly evident it is inferior to alternative ways of leaving/sending/retrieving messages.

Off to the tech trash heap of history, like the fax machine and Apple Newton.  Good riddance.

via Coca-Cola Disconnects Voice Mail at Headquarters – Bloomberg.