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5 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Is The Next Big Thing

5 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Is The Next Big Thing

There’s a lot of buzz going on about virtual reality (VR). There are articles popping up in the news and a lot of general excitement. With smartphone-compatible versions of VR, like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, already on the market, as well as the recent pre-release of the Oculus Rift and the imminent arrival of the HTC Vive, one thing is certain: virtual reality is coming.

Although many have forecasted VR’s categorical success, others are not so certain about it. Some naysayers have even predicted that VR will be a complete flop, saying it’s doomed to the same fate as 3D TV.

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The biggest problem with 3D TV was that there simply wasn’t enough content to persuade mainstream consumers to go out and buy expensive new TV sets (not to mention that the technology was imperfect at best…). It always remained a niche venture. But this is just not the case with VR. As I write these sentences, even before Oculus Rift, the first dedicated, full-fledged VR headset, becomes generally available to consumers, there are already tons of really cool applications in all sorts of domains, not just gaming. Here are five of the the best.

1. You can teleport yourself just about anywhere in the world and feel as if you’re really there using the new Google Street View VR app

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been to Paris, and the truth is that walking down Boulevard Saint Michel in real life still beats any approximation to that experience that you can have with an HD screen. However, short of actually purchasing an $800 round-trip ticket to Europe, the Google Street View VR app (currently available for android devices using Google Cardboard or Gear VR) is about as realistic and genuine an experience as you can have in another city. Even with regular old Street View, I enjoy “exploring” foreign cities from behind my laptop’s screen – I think most of us appreciate how close we are brought to faraway places with those panoramic images, and being able to rotate around was part of that.

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Well, the 360º VR functionality is a step up from traditional Street View. Here, you get to freely zip through city streets, getting a real feel for their spaces and places. But unlike the Street View we’re accustomed to, the VR function lets you really focus on small details you might otherwise miss, since you are completely immersed in the experience. And that’s the magic it offers: unlike staring at your computer screen, where you never lose sight of the fact that you are, in fact, sitting in your living room, Street View VR is so immersive that you become aware only of your virtual surroundings.

2. You can watch movies on a 140-foot screen on the moon

Oculus Cinema is an app that lets you watch movies and other video content as though you were in a movie theater, an IMAX theater, or on the moon. The light from the movie screen bounces off moon rocks around you, and if you turn to your right, you’ll see the Apollo moon lander (which, of course, explains how it is that you came to be binge watching your new favorite series on the moon).

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This is really cool because it accurately recreates the cozy feeling of being in a theater while specifically focussing on watching a movie. Much like in a theater, it’s dark around you and you can’t glance down at your phone to check the game scores – which is what is cool about the cinema in the first place: escaping our mundane existences and diving into the movie’s story. Also, Oculus has just announced that friends are coming to the oculus cinema; they are adding a social function to the app which will let your friends sit in the same theater (or part of the moon) as you while you watch the movie, thereby overcoming some of the loneliness of VR.

3. You can attend live shows, like the filming of SNL

One of the things I most enjoy when I go to any live performance is turning around, right in the middle of the show, and watching other spectators watch the show. It’s just part of the magic of being there. For its 40th anniversary special episode, Saturday Night Live recently placed a 360º camera inside Studio 8H so that people with an android phone and Google Cardboard could watch Will Ferrell play Alex Trebek in “Celebrity Jeopardy” in VR. They could also turn around and scrutinize the cameramen or members of the audience, which included Michael Douglas, John Goodman, James Franco, Larry David, Tim Meadows, Dakota Johnson, and Sarah Palin. This sort of VR application really does add a dimension to SNL (and other live shows) that was previously reserved for people who were lucky enough to actually attend live sessions.

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4. You can interact with people in an entirely new social network: AltspaceVR

Released just a few days ago, AltspaceVR lets you share and really interact with other people within virtual reality spaces. Whether you’re playing chess or sitting in a warm cabin in a virtual winter wonderland, this new platform lets you have shared experiences with people that may be thousands of miles away. Ultimately, the basis of friendship is the possibility of talking, having common experiences, playing together, and hanging out. AltspaceVR taps into that, and thus truly unleashes an enormous potential for VR socializing. This is still in its early stages, but it’s paving the way for a social network revolution.

5. You can be in the game instead of just looking at the game (and get some exercise!)

I like watching the Tour de France. Also, I should exercise more – shouldn’t we all? Put these two together and you get things like VirZoom and Activainment’s ebove B

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Eric Lancheres

Entrepreneur

5 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Is The Next Big Thing

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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