A few days ago @lastknight gave me a strange cardboard package. I have no idea of what it was. “It’s a Google Cardboard” he said. Wasn’t helpful. Still no idea.

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After a couple of Google search everything was clear. The strange package he gave me is a Knox V2: one of the implementation of the Google Cardboard project.

Google Cardboard Logo

The Google Cardboard project logo

Virtual reality (or “VR”) is one of the most interesting topic in tech business. Since when Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook during March 2014 for about 2B$ everybody think VR will be one of the next big thing in many fields: from game to surgery. I had the opportunity to test Oculus Rift only once at Codemotion 2014 in Milan (a surgery test simulator). Experience seems really realistic but I have no idea about how could be for an extensive use.

My iPhone 5 doesn’t support cooler apps (like Vrse that seems really cool) but I was able to test Roller Coaster VR, a simple roller coaster demo:

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and Vanguard V for Google Cardboard, a third person space flight rails shooter designed for virtual reality.

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More and more application are available, here is a list of best apps select by the Huffington Posts. Anyway my thought about VR are not about the quality. Application are still poor. They don’t give you an headache like a few years ago but aliasing, clipping and other 3D related glitch are still there. Quality could improve a lot more and is doing. I’m more interested in real world use of a VR kit.

So I asked my family to test the Knox.

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First impression is of a new, cool and fun way to enjoy media. Gaming is hard but really immersive and the roller coaster demo is addictive. My parent aren’t familiar with cutting edge technologies but they were happily involved in the new experience. Gaming and documentaries can benefit this new way to interact.

Another industry can benefit this new way: the porn industry. By now a Google search show 3 producer who publicise VR movies: BadoinkVRVirtualRealPorn and NaughtyAmericaVR. Moreover BadoinkVR sponsor the new experience offering a pair of VR Google Cardboard for free. In the past porn industry was able address technology adoption. It’s easy to think they could do it again.

In the end Google Cardboard isn’t confortable. Smartphone position inside the box is fundamental and sharp corners hurt my big nose. But I think is the first step of the next big thing. We are ready and I really look forward to find what the future holds.

c2_logoA few weeks ago I had the privilege to attend C2 Spark conference in Milan. It is a “business conference somewhere between genius and insanity by Sid Lee, Cirque du Soleil, Fast Company and Microsoft” and try to mix Commerce and Creativity. It started in Montreal a few years ago and this was the first time in Europe (Zurich and Milan).

Talks were awesome and people were awesome too. Is quite strange for me meet non tech people and I really enjoy the day. I learned a lot of things attending the conference. Here the most fascinating ones.

Technology will change everything, again.

David Rose, scientist at MIT Media Lab and author of “Enchanted Objects” talks about the way we imagined the future. Internet of Things will be a huge opportunity and a lot of products are already here. Here is the “periodic table” of the Enchanted Objects who David shown us.

enchanted_objects_poster

Microsoft has enough money to reboot its business

Ten year ago Microsoft make a lot of billions on Windows and Office. Now Windows and Office worth nothing and Microsoft is trying to reboot its business with cloud (Windows Azure), mobile (Nokia and Surface) and wearable (Microsoft Band). Carlo Purassanta, CEO of Microsoft Italia, was clear: Microsoft is changing. He first ran for the conference wearing a Microsoft Band.

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Non tech people are awesome

I never had great respect for the non-technical people. “I can change the world, they can’t“, a lot of modesty and respect. I grow up inside a really close environment made by nerds and geeks and I always thought non-technical people have nothing to give me. I was wrong. I was absolutely wrong. At the event people came from different fields: diplomacy, medicine, sales, biology, advertising, marketing, law and more. Each of them has enriched me in some way. Non tech people are awesome 🙂

non-tech-people

Creativity could be an analytical process

Sid Lee, creativity firm behind C2 Spark describes the process behind its most successful advertising campaigns. A lot of myths about creativity are just myths and, with the right process, anyone could express his creativity.

creativity_process

Jump on table to move them is definitely cool

Time between talks and workshops where staff move tables is usually boring. At C2 Spark tables were moved by a parkour crew jumping and dancing around the room. It was absolutely useless by definitely cool! 😀

c2_parkour-2 c2_parkour-4 c2_parkour-1 c2_parkour-3

[UPDATE 2014-12-27 21:10 CET]

Seems a lot of people at Microsoft liked my article 🙂 Carlo Purassanta (CEO at Microsoft Italy), Carlo Rinaldi (Digital Marketing Group Leader at Microsoft Italia) and Chiara Mizzi (CMO at Microsoft Italia) shared it:

A couple of weeks ago @lastknight lent me his Jawbone UP because I want to buy an activity tracker in order to log my sleep “performances” and my workouts and I was undecided between the Jawbone UP24 and the Fitbit Force.

The UP is really interesting from a technical point of view. Is a small set of sensors (mostly accelerometers) with a battery (up to 10 days of use).

jawbone_up_tech

jawbone_up_app_logoFeelings are good: is lightweight enough to don’t notice when you wear it. You can track steps, sleep and a large set of activities (giving a different meaning to steps informations). There is not web interface yet. The only way to sync your device and view you data is your smartphone.

I started using the new 3.0 version of the app so i don’t know how the previous versions were.

I added my friends @gigisommo, @luka_bernardi and @dieguitoweb and I started to track all my activities. Dashboard shows your everyday progress:

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And there are details about walk, sleep and workouts:

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After a week I’m quite happy with this device. Steps are probably overvalued and sleep tracking is not perfect but data seems near enough to reality to be useful. Since I started to test it I tried to sleep more and do more steps and challenge with my friends was really fun. I really miss the web interface. Would be the best addition to this ecosystem.

Anyway I’m probably going to buy an UP24 on january. If you are part of this network add me as friend 😉