And the geeks shall inherit the Earth – is this the future of VR?

Just started reading my new book, “Ready Player One”. Excellent so far!

The book is based on a dystopian future where everyone engages in a virtual reality environment that reminded me of Second Life – perhaps it could be the evolution of second life.

The designer of a Virtual reality software system called OASIS dies and leaves a fortune to the person who solves a complex puzzle and the main character seeks to find the fortune by following clues that only someone with intimate knowledge of pop culture could solve.The whole book is full of references to music, games and pop culture from the 80’s onwards. Its a Geekfest.

So far, we’ve had mention of many of my guilty pleasures, Krull, 80’s arcade games, 80’s home computers like the TRS-80, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Dungeons & Dragons, Easter Eggs, Monty Python, The Last Starfighter (which is on Sky TV this week!), BBS, modems, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Betamax, Atari 800XL and more. I’m only on chapter 4.

VR has been around for a long time now but has been gaining some ground recently with the likes of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. People are beginning to see some possibilities of how this technology could change our lives, particularly in areas such as education.

As a lecturer, I can fully see a future where students study from home without having to physically attend a school or college. Think of the advantages. The government could save millions. The students log in and find themselves in a classroom with their peers studying. With VR, they could go on field trips every lesson. Haptic feedback technology is also advancing rapidly now so again to crack VR users would still want some feedback from their environment. haptic gloves and bodysuits could fulfil this. At the moment these are being developed with gaming in mind but could easily be adapted for learning.

In the book, the VR school environments are still interactive lie the real world and have interesting ways of managing behaviour that we cant employ in the physical world.

I will update this post as I read more of the book.

And finally, they are going to make a film out of the book – I cant wait.

A Walk through Slough

Had a great anniversary weekend with lots of indulgences so decided to try to arrest my middle aged spread by walking 6 miles through Slough to work at Langley College. 

I am invigilating GCSE exams today so left my house at about 6.15am to get to work early. It was 13 degrees and cloudy but otherwise dry and pleasant. 

There’s a couple of different routes I could take but today I opted for the one that takes me through Slough town centre as there was some shopping I wanted to pick up en route.

After walking for a couple of miles through the Britwell and Manor Park Estates, I passed through Baylis Park and noticed that all the parks in Slough seem to be getting these outdoor gyms. Great idea.

As you walk through this park you pass the walls of the Baylis House and its grounds, some ducks, a stream and a pond.

I have fond memories as a child when there was a Lido here and you could enjoy paddling on a hot summers day.

As you leave Baylis, you cross a road, past a mosque, under the Main London train line and into Salt Hill Park.

The mosque

Cross the road next to the recycling site walls.

Under the railway tunnel. Often has people smoking cannabis. The council have now erected CCTV to monitor the tunnel but it doesn’t seem to stop people.

Into Salt Hill Park with its outdoor gym, cafe, bowling alley and tennis courts.

As I left Salt Hill Park, I joined the A4 and walked past the old Church, the new curve building and through the Town Centre until I reached the Sainsbury’s where I stopped to pick up some Jack Daniels (on offer at £16 for 70cl) and some bananas for breakfast. Another mile and half along Langley road and I arrived at the College at about 8.00 am. 12800 steps in all. Not a bad way to start Monday morning.

Retro Revival 2017 Event 20/21st May

Another year at the Retro Revival Event which had moved this year to Banks’s Stadium, Bescot Crescent, Walsall, WS1 4SA.

When we arrived we were directed to a car park allocated for Revival ticket holders which was useful as the football stadium was busy with a car boot sale/market. Unfortunately my friends could not make it with us and despite trying to give their spare tickets away we were unable to make use of them.

After a short wait in a queue, we were in and enjoying hundreds of arcade machines and retro consoles most which were set to freeplay.

The venue had a bar, small canteen and stalls selling lots of retro goodies.

After a coupe of hours of retro nostalgia, we also headed out to the market and bought some goodies before going home.


The first IoT Google Assisted Shed?

After a couple of weeks of building, blisters, cuts, bruises, splinters and worst, the shed is finally built with just a couple of minor jobs to finish.

Over the next few weeks it will slowly become my new workshop and get teched up.

At work today with Krasimir’s help, I built the Raspberry Pi 3 powered Google AIY project from this months Magpi magazine. Its a fantastic little kit with full instruction. Just add a Pi, mains charger and SD Card. It took about 40 minutes in all including imaging the SD card.

Watch the short video of me testing in my new shed.

So the shed already has a PC, IP camera, and now a Raspberry Pi running the google assistant API. You can either clap your hands and ask a question or push the little arcade button on top.

Cant wait to develop this further. Excellent value for the £5.99 price of the magazine.

I’m a Labrador

I’ve been eating a lot of fast food recently at home and at work as Debbie and I are working long hours and rarely have time to cook properly at home.

Work has been the same. We’ve had a lot of work birthdays and events where we all bring in food or get a takeaway at Subway, McDonald’s, Dominoes Pizza etc. So today I decided to be good and have one of my Yokebe shakes for lunch to cut down on the calories.

This is what suddenly appeared on the desk at work along with my colleagues suggesting we got get some fish and chips. I don’t stand a chance. They know I’m like a Labrador and have to eat anything put in front me.. But I did resist, just.



A busy but enjoyable weekend 

Friday night was a great night out with Debbie and friends from work.

Playing pool with Chris & the girls and drinking at Bar H

Mexican food & cocktails were great

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was definitely worth the wait. It’s an excellent sequel and even funnier than the first. The soundtrack is also awesome!

Saturday morning, went to work for half a day for the College Fun/Open Day.

Dads birthday and a little Family party on Saturday night.

Car boot sale on Sunday morning, some shopping and then erect three sides of the shed. Quite a busy weekend.

Have aches all over, possibly a hernia, hit my thumb with a hammer on Saturday, and the nail went a little black. Sunday, I decided this didn’t hurt enough, so hit it again to make sure along with some blisters, a bruise and a splinter. Washing machine also died on Friday night, so had a new one arrive on Sunday. A quick bit of plumbing and it seems to work alright.

And finally, this months Radpberry Pj magazine comes with a complete kit to build your own google voice assistant. Can’t wait to build it!