The Future of Virtual Reality

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It’s easy to assume that virtual reality is only a recent occurrence. It seems VR has only recently came back to the public attention in the 80’s/90’s, but most do not know that VR has long been a challenge engineers have fought to conquer. Although some of the earliest known modern VR technology gaining popularity as early as the 1950’s, there’s evidence of virtual reality even as far back as the 1860’s. Paintings depicting a 360° view established the first historical evidence at an attempt of granting the viewer a “full experience” of a depicted environment.
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Many people may be skeptical of some of the latest re-introductions to virtual reality, because we’ve heard it all before. Items introduced in the 90’s, for instance Nintendo’s “Virtual Boy,” were a big flop. They showed that the advancement was a possibility, but the price was not practical enough for the masses to get on board. Well, like most technology, timing is everything.

Companies delving into the depths of virtual reality technology today are not only testing its’ limits, but they’re also tackling issues that had failed for VR before: availability and affordability. For example, Google’sME - Virtual Reality 2 virtual reality team has introduced the world to Google Cardboard, which is virtual reality googles that are literally made out of Cardboard. For now, Google Cardboard only works with Android (not surprising), but according to the company it has already been shipped to 5 million users in the U.S. In addition, Google is working to span the reach of VR overseas to Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The convenience of this new VR technology can’t be overlooked. Google Cardboard is being sold on the Google Store for just $15. That’s a lot cheaper than the headsets of the 90’s, which sold for close to $1,000.

Google isn’t the only tech company getting in the game. Facebook and Samsung have recently partnered to make Oculus, a VR headset that is tied to 350 apps, with a million users so far in April alone. While it costs around $600, its popularity and reach so far cannot be overlooked.

What are people spending so much time and money looking at? The most talked-about content spans everything from 360 experiences under the ocean to even virtual porn. These examples obviously become a huge concern for those who are a fan of the more old-fashioned “going out and doing things” approach. With new elements rumored to be added to the VR experience like touch and smell, soon we will live in a world where real life experiences will compete with the cheaper, safer, and more convenient virtual experiences of the 21st century.

WMac Enthusiasts on Virtual Realityhile much has been achieved to further the advances of VR technology, there are still some aspects that will need to catch up before virtual experiences are to compete with the real life thing. In addition to the full-sensed experience being underdeveloped, we’re still waiting on wireless capabilities to catch up with that of VR capabilities. For now, the best experiences for VR are wired. With movements required to bring the virtual world full-circle, it’s easy to see how a wired device can definitely limit the experience.

Many may wonder where Apple falls within this new technology race. Although their advances have not been public, it is not unknown that Apple has been investing and working on Virtual Reality even before Facebook came to the forefront with Oculus. In 2006, they filed a patent for a Head-Mounted Display that had design more compact than has been seen yet. While Apple is taking their time with their developments, we expect nothing but the best when their advancements are launched in the future.

It’s fair to say that, unlike successful VR endeavors of the past, this generation’s recent attempts at creating stellar content, affordable and widely-available headsets have been a success so far. As more money and time is put into creating better and more realistic forms, more will be able to be done from our couch. With endless applications, it’s safe to say, we’re excited to see how these endeavors turn out.

The Future of the Self Driving Car is Now

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There’s no technology more anticipated than that of the self driving car. Especially for Los Angelenos, driving ourselves to work and home every time alone can be a stressful and time-consuming process. When thinking of the time and energy that could be saves if your car could take over that burden for you, it can make one swoon! While the technology isn’t completely ready for us to completely let the wheel go, there are many companies working furiously to help that to become a reality. Other agencies are also working to keep up. ME self driving car
For now, there are no Federal laws pertaining to driverless cars. It’s up to each state to create their own laws pertaining to the licensing and operating of these futuristic vehicles. The state of California has been the most proactive, offering mandatory instructional classes for those wanting to obtain their “autonomous vehicle testing” permit.
In the course, one learns mostly how not to drive the car. There are special instructions of what to do in case of an emergency and such. This means the “driver” of a driverless car can not fully relax yet. Driverless cars operate almost selectively on the freeway. Once it reaches the end of a highway, or a construction zone (where they cannot drive), the passenger/ “driver” must be alert and take the wheel.
Federal Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, says his department is slated to release more clear guidance for manufacturers and model standards to help guide the beginning of the driverless era. The department intends to spend $4 billion dollars over the next 10 years to incentivize and test more autonomous vehicles.
Many companies are working toward getting their driverless products/ programs out there even earlier. Companies like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Tesla, and Google all have programs dedicated to the cause. Some cars have more driverless capabilities than others. Think of it, many cars on the road today already have the ability to detect other cars in the next lane, self-brake, and even self-park. In the next few years, Audi hopes to have technology out that will allow cars to at least take over heavy traffic “jams.” Although, no car is truly autonomous now, completely autonomous cars are projected to debut in 2019.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, compares the future of cars to that of the elevator, “They used to have elevator operators, and then we developed some simple circuitry to have elevators just come to the floor that you’re at, you just press the button. Nobody needs to operate the elevator. The car is just going to be like that.”ME - self driving car
Besides disrupting the way that individuals travel on their own, self-driving cars could have a major impact on shipping, long-distance travel, and even ride-sharing. Lyft, a main ride-sharing application succeeding right now, hopes to launch their own fleet of driverless taxis in at least one U.S. city by 2017. Although drivers will still be required in the driverless vehicle by law, the person driving your Lyft may not have to lift a finger at all someday. The company is working toward making their entire fleet of drivers obsolete in time.
Although the future seems a little bit scary, the future of an autonomous car has its obvious benefits. A large one being the elimination of human-based error. According to the european company KPMG, driverless cars are projected to save 2,500 lives within the next 15 years.
Although there are great strides being taken to get driverless cars on the road, it will be a very long time before we see them being commonplace. Musk predicts even if all cars became autonomous tomorrow, based on the number of cars there are in the world and at the rate it takes to manufacture them, it would still take 20 years to replace every car already on the road.
Many steps need to happen before that, outside of manufacturing, to get to that place, such as a maturation in technology, solid federal laws governing the operation of such vehicles, and, more practically, a dip in cost. Despite the obstacles, it’s exciting to be witness to such a historical change. Some of us may be the owners of some of the first completely autonomous cars within the next 10 years. That’s a future we’re looking forward to.

10 Exciting, New Features in OS X 10.11 El Capitan

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Hey there, Mac computer users. If you’re up-to-date on Apple products like we are, then you’re probably familiar with the newest OS from Yosemite, El Capitan. If you’re one who takes their time in getting new updates, we at Mac Enthusiasts have gone through and compiled our favorite new features offered in this release for your review. Check it out!

  1. “Find your cursor”: This one might seem simple, but in the thick of it, this tool can be pretty handy. If at any time you can’t find your cursor, just swipe two fingers on the trackpad quickly and the cursor will enlarge enough for you to locate it. Quick and easy, the problem is solved.
  2. AirPlay only videos: Now projecting a video doesn’t have to interrupt your other activities on your computer. Instead of showing your entire browser in AirPlay, you can select to only project the video on a specific device. To enable this option, you’ll want to select AirPlay on the YouTube video and select the device you want to play it on. There, now you can watch and continue to do other things on your computer while it plays.
  3. Split-screen view: This feature makes the best use of full-screen mode by allowing you to split between two fully enlarged apps. This is a great feature for those who are used to working with two screens but might be limited to one during traveling. Hold down the green button on any window for long enough and your screen will split, allowing you to drag the window into the spot desired.
  4. Track flights: Now from Notes, Messages, or Maps, you can track specific flight information like path and arrival times. Just as it now works for dates, when you type in your flight number, El Capitan will recognize it and it will turn into an orange link. From there, you can click the link and it will pop up with all of your specific flight information.
  5. Create checklist in Notes: Many of us use Notes for quick reminders and list-making. Now, El Capitan includes a feature to add checkboxes to your lists in Notes, allowing you not only use Notes as a reminder, but also as an organization tool. Other additions to Notes include the ability to import Maps, photos, and text-formatting.
  6. Get transit directions in Apple Maps: Although on your iPhone, you may be using a different app for this, you can now plan ahead and look through transit directions using Apple Maps. This is unfortunately not yet available in Los Angeles yet, but is for more bustling cities in public trans like San Francisco, New York, and Baltimore.
  7. Mute individual tabs in Safari: Gone are the days where you have to search everything looking for the source of an annoying ad. Now, you also don’t have to mute everything once you find it. Simply tap on a tab of Safari for the option to mute it individually.
  8. Multiple tabs in Mail: If you’ve got a lot going on in Mail usually, it may delight you to find out that you can now have multiple messages you’re composing open at once. In full-screen mode, you can open up new messages with “Command + N.”
  9. Spotlight adds natural language search: Now you can search for things as easily as you can with Siri on iOS. Now you can ask Spotlight for things in a more colloquial way like, “Messages from Mom” or “photos taken last week” to make searching easier.
  10. Swipe to delete Mail: This is the age of junk mail and the added frustration of slowly deleting it all is enough to make your head spin. Thankfully, in El Capitan, Mail has an added feature of “swipe to delete.” With a two-finger swipe over an item, you will be shown a red “delete” option on the side, much like you do in iOS.

If you’ve yet to upgrade to El Capitan, bring your computer into Mac Enthusiasts and we’ll do it for you for only $49. If you decide to do the upgrade yourself, as always, make sure to back up your computer so there’s no risk of losing your precious information during the transition. If you have any questions for us about this update or anything else we offer, feel free to call us at (800)448-1892 or contact us online here.