Links 2017-10-23

October 2017 ยท 3 minute read

John Carmack Oculus Keynote 2017

This is the second year I’ve watched John Carmack’s keynote. I only understand about 60% of what he is talking about, but I love the insane level of detail he dives into. It seems like an unscripted 2 hour brain dump of the state of VR, and I have no doubt he could go on for another couple of hours and have no trouble finding interesting things to talk about.

I was also surprised to finally understand the why behind his focus on Gear VR (and now Go) as opposed to the top-of-the-line Oculus head sets. His goal, and seemingly that of the entire company, is to get VR into as many hands as possible. He is very correct that the set of people willing (or able) to run a high-powered PC-based VR rig is pretty limited. We just don’t live in that world anymore.

The space station gets a new supercomputer

This might be a little heavy on marketing copy, but the overall story is pretty cool. Computer power in space is quite limited. For computers to be reliable, they have to be heavily shielded, and this requires a lot of testing. Lots of testing means lots of time and expense. The result is we mostly rely on ground-based computers, and then a bunch of laptops for non-critical system. Also, fun fact, there are over 100 laptops on the ISS, and most are broken.

So HP is going to try to put a modern, off-the-shelf “supercomputer” on the ISS with some software tweaks to help with radiation protection. Radiation protection via software… think about that…

A QBasic game for the 21st Century

I end up mentioning something game related here way more often than I expect. But due to my early years as a QBasic-head, this article was pretty interesting. Turns out, you can still build new QBasic games, and they run really really slowly.

Here is the quote:

The game, at the moment, requires about 2.6GHz on a single core to run good. It’s just about unacceptable for a game that looks like it was made in the 90s. I just have to do my best with my abilities and ship what I can at the end of the day.”

Colony: A Platform for Open Organizations

Here is a software platform for running a decentralized project management team. Projects are owned by who makes the most valuable contributions. Meritocracy! Blockchain! ICO!

This is totally nuts. My favorite part about this entire scheme is how in the book Walkaway, this is basically the scheme the bad guys came up with to battle against the commie-burner heros.


Although the unfortunate reality of regulatory attitudes to token sales has led us to postpone the Colony Token sale until next year

Ok, so I don’t really like this idea that much, but I do love that people are experimenting with this stuff. I continue to think using software to toy with organizational patterns will eventually prove valuable.