Vive Day 7: The Move is Upon Us

May 25, 2016

It’s time to see just how much of a bottleneck the GPU is! My new computer — to live permanently in the living room — is arriving today. It’s a pretty powerful PC, but I didn’t order a graphics card with it since the GTX 1070 is coming out soon. Until then, I’ll be transferring the GTX 960 in this machine to my VR computer. I’ll also have a chance to see how much bigger a 3×4 meter space feels compared to a 2×3 meter space. Stay tuned!

Day 4 Vive Report — Comfort Issues!

May 21, 2016

By far, by FAR my biggest complaint with the HTC Vive is how unergonomic it is. I really can’t stand to wear it more than about 10 minutes at a time due to it pressing down on the sides of my nose and it getting so hot inside the unit. I’ve tried a few different configurations, and I’m beginning to worry that the absolute discomfort, combined with mild motion sickness, will prevent me from enjoying VR as a leisurely activity.

I think a haircut may actually help a bit with the overheating issues — as for the strap adjustments, I’ll just have to keep trying.

More VR Thoughts

May 20, 2016

Ha, I had this written out and drafted:

“Having seen 2016 described as “the year of VR” by multiple outlets, and seeing the evidence myself, I thought I’d go ahead and tip my toe into the world of VR.

I went with the AuraVisor, a relatively obscure option in the VR market. To see my thoughts on it, skip ahead to the next heading.

After a few days of (April 2016) research, I concluded that these were my options:

The HTC Vive ($800) probably provides the best, most powerful experience available today. It also requires at least 2×1.5 meters to walk around — a space I could easily clear in my living room, but the real kink in the plans here is that moving my computer in there (necessary to power it) would be a major hassle. So the $800 price tag might have scared me away anyway, but logistically it just didn’t seem feasible as an introductory option.

The Oculus Rift has major shipping delays going on, and seems somewhat overshadowed by the Vive, so I didn’t give it too much thought. Somewhat similarly, Playstation VR is too far off to satisfy my immediate curiosity. Besides, these are still large commitments, money-wise… $600 and $500 + a PS4 respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Google Cardboard and its variants available for use with smartphones. Android is definitely the platform of choice for this route, and I just so happened to have gotten a Windows phone (and one without a gyroscope, at that — something smartphone VR apps use), so I didn’t want to go this route either. Samsung’s VR initiatives are android-based as well, and require their high-end phones, so it ends up being around a $600 investment, as well.

So the AuraVisor is a glorified Google Cardboard variant, priced at a premium for the conveniences it provides (a ready to go, wireless VR experience out of the box pretty much) I was okay with this idea, and this was a route to experience Android-based VR without the guilt of buying a second phone.”

— I planned on editing and posting this entry once I got my hands on the AuraVisor, but this was before I did a bit more research and became convinced that it was simply a terrible use of my money. I had indiegogo refund my contribution. If my non-gaming experiences on the Vive had been any indication, I would have looked at a few VR videos/apps, been like “well, this is underwhelming,” and regretting spending $400 on it surely. There are other reasons it’s a bad investment, but I think it’d be a waste of time to trash the product here.

If Google releases a stand-alone headset for Daydream, I might get that for my “mobile” VR solution and to compare against the Vive.

HTC Vive

May 19, 2016

And so I’ve had my first VR experience! I plan to write a lot more on the topic, but my first takeaway is this — anyone who says that “you have to try it to see what it’s like” is wrong! Virtual reality is, at least if you’re relatively computer-literate, probably exactly what you expect it to be. That doesn’t mean it’s not amazing, though!

Lumia 640 and Windows 10 Mobile a month later…

May 16, 2016

My praise and thoughts from previous posts still apply, but now that I’ve had a month of normal phone usage I do have to add that I’m mildly dissatisfied with the instability of the phone and OS. It is a preview version of Windows 10, but the People app in particular has a tenancy to crash under pretty typical circumstances.

The camera is still pretty great, though! That alone might prevent me from going back in time and buying a $30 android phone instead.

That said, my current phone annoyance:

The Phone Saga Continued — Getting Things to Work with my Lumia 640, Windows 10 Mobile and TracFone.

April 29, 2016

The first part of the journey (getting my first smartphone) is here.

Edit: I also came across this after writing this entry. You might want to do a hard reset first. I did not.

One of the annoyances that prompted me to go ahead and download Windows 10 on my Lumia 640 was that I couldn’t seem to receive media over text messages (I would try, and it would forever be stuck on “getting media content”). I found a few convoluted-looking solutions online, but hoped that Windows 10 would just fix it for me behind the scenes. Sadly, it did not.

Getting data from your TracFone network on your Lumia 640 without a Wi-Fi connection on Windows 10 Mobile:

First, since it’s somewhat related and much less of a headache, here’s how to get the internet to work outside of your wireless range in Windows 10 Mobile starting from the home screen. We’ll go ahead and start by disabling our wireless connection so we can see if it’s working when we’re done:

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Wi-Fi => Wi-Fi networking: Off

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Cellular & Sim => Data Connection: On

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Cellular & Sim => SIM Settings => Internet APN => Add an Internet APN:

Profile name: [whatever you want]
User name: [blank]
Password: [blank]
Type of sign-in info: PAP
IP type: IPv4 (change from default)
[keep checked] “Use this APN for LTE and palce the one from my mobile operator”
Proxy server: [blank]
Proxy port: [blank]
[keep checked] “Apply this profile”

-Turn your phone off and back on. If successful, you’ll be able to for example get google results as long as you have bars. You can turn your Wi-Fi back on without worries.

Getting media content in text messages (MMS) on the TracFone network on your Lumia 640 without a Wi-Fi connection on Windows 10 Mobile:

It seems that you have to disable Wi-Fi (assuming you are in range of a network) if you want to download media content of any kind (i.e. pictures) from a text message (UPDATE: thankfully, it seems like we only need to do this once). First, we need to set up the correct APN for the TracFone network:

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Cellular & Sim => SIM Settings => Internet APN => Add an MMS APN:

Profile name: [whatever you want]
User name: [blank]
Password: [blank]
Type of sign-in info: PAP
IP type: IPv4
Proxy server:
Proxy port: 80
MMSC Port: 80
Maximum MMS size (KB): 1024

Now, here are the step by step procedures I needed to follow to download (and send) my first media content through text messages.

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Wi-Fi => Wi-Fi networking: Off

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Cellular & Sim => Data Connection: On

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Airplane mode => On

[wait about 30 seconds]

-All Apps => Settings => Network & Wireless => Airplane mode => Off

[restart phone]

Once you reconnect to the cellular network, you should be able to download the media content from your text messages.* If you reconnect to a Wi-Fi network, you might have to go through this process again (I was given that impression, but actually it seems like it’s continuing to work regardless of my Wi-Fi settings). Naturally, there are plenty of ways to send media to other folks than text messages these days, so you might find that to be the easier option.

*if no Wi-Fi is in range and you are having trouble, the trick here is go ahead and disable Wi-Fi and possibly restart the phone. Yeah, pretty annoying.

Got Win 10 Mobile up and running

April 28, 2016

Loving Windows 10 Mobile so far and I have no plans to go back. However, it did seem to lose my phone numbers (at least, the ones I had manually entered from my old tracfone and actually cared about). The GPS navigation seems to have a lot more options, Skype now seems built into the OS, and most importantly my little physics game runs on it. But to say it runs slowly is an understatement. The physics plugin may be too demanding for the demo I have on this site (10+ objects), or perhaps simply limiting the app to 256 colors would speed it up. More thoughts on Win 10 later!