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6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Keeping An Eye Out On Oculus Rift And Other Virtual Reality Projects

6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Keeping An Eye Out On Oculus Rift And Other Virtual Reality Projects

Virtual reality, which may also be referred to as immersive multimedia, is essentially a computer-simulated environment that creates a physical presence in either the real or an imagined realm. One of the key aspects of virtual reality is its capacity to replicate human sensory experiences, including taste, smell, sound and touch, and alongside the Internet of Things (IoT) it is a concept that will define the relationships between corporeal and simulated realms.

Virtual Reality has been in the news during recent months, after Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of gaming firm Oculus VR. While this deal will place a heavy emphasis on gaming initially, there is the potential for a whole host of virtual reality platforms to be introduced in the next decade.

The sheer scope of the Oculus VR purchase and the potential for the technology to be developed further is vast, and these factors have created a great deal of interest in the future of virtual reality. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the most compelling aspects of VR and why it is such a topical subject:

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1. Virtual Reality Goes beyond Gaming and Into Education

After completing the purchase of Oculus VR, Facebook leader Marc Zuckerberg revealed that the brand intended to reveal a host of alternative platforms beyond gaming. This reflects a wider trend, as people are beginning to consider the benefits of virtual reality outside of a gaming scenario. This is particularly prominent in education, where the OpenSim virtual platform has already been integrated to empower students’ creativity and enable them to build historical recreations. Such as concept can be taken further in the bid to create more engaging programs of learning for youngsters, and this spirit has been embodied by the proposal to develop a Minecraft virtual reality mod and create the ultimate in educational social gaming.

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    2. VR has Huge Potential for Healthcare Applications

    Isolation is a difficult but inevitable aspect of the real world, and one that virtual reality has the potential to negate. This is particularly true when applied to areas such as Exposure therapy, for example, which is a method of treatment used to correct anxiety disorders. Although the benefits have yet to be proven, this could be a huge boom for healthcare providers and companies that deliver psychological coaching. In terms of the latter, there are YouTube videos that show examples of how existing VR software can be used to help nervous individuals practice public speaking in a simulated environment. Currently in beta mode and designed for Octulus Rift, it may have huge applications across multiple markets and sectors.

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      3. VR can transform the Nature of Broadband Service Providers

      VR represents a huge technological evolution, and one that will force multiple service providers to upgrade their packages and associated technology. Take broadband, for example, which has already undergone multiple changes in recent times and is relied upon by households and business owners throughout the world. Fibre broadband currently represents the standard in high speed Internet connections, but this technology may be revised in order to support emerging virtual reality platforms. This need has initiated a cross-company project to integrate the high-performance Cell Broadband Engine with an existing IBM mainframe, in a bid to deliver a fast and powerful one that has the capacity to handle virtual world applications. As more and more virtual reality platforms emerge, this technology will be crucial to delivering them effectively.

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        4. VR may serve as the Future of Journalism

        The nature of journalism has changed considerably during the course of the last decade, as media reporting has moved predominantly from print to the online forum. It may be about to experience an additional evolution, however, as renowned writer Nonny de la Pena continues to pioneer the concept of ‘immersive journalism’. This utilizes the technological power of virtual reality to share powerful stories and narratives in real-time, and it has already been showcased in the harrowing film ‘Hunger in Los Angeles’. This short film is based on real footage of a man collapsing while waiting in line at a food bank, which has subsequently been digitally reconstructed and offers viewers a unique opportunity to share first-hand experience of the tension and sadness surrounding the event.

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          5. Virtual Reality Represents an Innovative Sales Tool of the Future

          While we have discussed the potential of virtual reality platforms to revolutionize education, services and the creative industries, they are also beginning to make their mark on more commercial disciplines. Take sales, for example, as the technology behind VR can be used to effectively showcase products and enable potential customers’ to experience them first-hand. This has been put into practice by a Chicago-based real estate firm, who have turned up with Arch Virtual to execute a 3D, real-time application project and simulate a nine-unit building in the heart of the city. It effectively allows customers to walk through structures before they are constructed, which can help companies to complete sales and transactions extremely quickly. So far from being a one-dimensional gaming concept, virtual reality has genuine commercial benefits and is attracting the attention of multiple business owners.

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            6. Virtual Reality will change the World of Home Entertainment

            In many respects, the pace of innovation in the home entertainment industry has been slow when compared to other aspects of technology and media. This may be about to change thanks to VR, however, with Netflix currently discussing an experimental project that could combine their television and film streaming service with the highly anticipated Oculus Rift headset. Under the tentative name of Oculix, the project would enable user to browse the Netflix library and select a film simply by moving their head, and once a selection has been made they would be immersed in a virtual cinema experience. Whether or not this project achieves its aims has yet to be seen, but it offers an insight into how virtual reality may impact on home entertainment and family dynamics.

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              Featured photo credit: Bago Games / Flickr via flickr.com

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              Published on November 19, 2020

              15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

              15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

              When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

              But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

              While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

              Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

              What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

              Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

              • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
              • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
              • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

              A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

                While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

                The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

                Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

                Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

                  Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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                  In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

                  Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

                  Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

                    One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

                    In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

                    Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

                    A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

                    The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

                    Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

                    Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

                    Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

                    The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

                    Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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                    Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

                      If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

                      This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

                      Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

                      Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

                      For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

                      One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

                      Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

                      Car Charger For Charging On The Go

                        For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

                        It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

                        Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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                        USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

                        If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

                        Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

                        A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

                        A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

                        Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

                        Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                          If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                          Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                          A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                          We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                          Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                          Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                            Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                            Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                            Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                            Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                              Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                              In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                              Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                              A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                              The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                              The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                              Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                              Bottom Line

                              There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                              Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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