November 19, 2018

Lumia 950XL Will Be the Best Looking Phone ever, If It Is Real

cityman_flat

 

A render of supposedly Lumia 950XL from Windows Central makes people excited. It certainly looks great. Greater news is from people who saw the device in person, the image looks like real ones.

That’s good news, since the website claim they have credible sources.

Speaking of looking, Windows Phones have been the best in class, with exception of those made by Samsung. I am sick icraps, not even bother with Samsung garbage hardware, and the ugly user interfaces.

It sounds like this is real, and even have a release date of sometime in October. It’s a long drought for Windows Phone Flagships. 3 months is a long time to wait.

 

How It’s Made: Holographic Videos Viewable by HoloLens

hl

 

I posted a while ago that Microsoft had created Holo-Video studio to capture holographic video to be played on Hololens. Now Microsoft posted a video (embedded below) to show how that works.

 

 

Here is what happens.

In order to mask the surroundings, performance are done on a green stage with green walls. It takes 106 synced RGB and IR cameras to capture the live information.

It first generates 2.7 million per frame point clouds with both RGB and IR info. Then It generates 1 million triangles (finite elements) per frame topology data. After they apply certain logic to determine which area are more important, so increase density of the mesh, which areas are not important to decrease mesh density. The result is 20K per frame triangles. Finally, they wrap it with texture. And then put all information together, compress it, encode it to form a single file, playing at 12Mbits/sec.

The last number is important one. 12 Mega bits/sec is not small. It means a 5 minutes video takes up 360MB storage. It’s big, but not huge. Streaming at 12Mbit/sec is piece of cake on WiFi. Streaming over Internet can be an issue though.

 

 

 

 

Leaked Flagship Windows Phones Sound Great, But Something Is Still Missing

tech-lumia-950-render

 

WindowsCentral had posted a monster leak a few days ago regarding the new Windows Phone flagship devices. Follow the link for details.

To sum it up: very thin (7-8mm), competitive specs, great looking, Windows Hello, Continuum. What else? Do you feel something is missing? I do.

This could very well be the flagships of last holiday. They skipped a year then showed something like this. That’s not what I am hoping for. How do you justified a year without a flagship device?

I had high hope for the new Lumia devices since the unveiling of HoloLens. I thought some really amazing technology must be there with the new Lumia devices.

It’s going to be competitive device on the market, but not even close to what it should be. Who is going to answer this question: why skipped a year no flagship devices?

 

Media Digest: Why HoloLens FOV Doesn’t Matter

 

hololens3

 

Peter Bright has posted a commentary article about his view of HoloLens’ status, past and future. The article is titled: The HoloLens’ limited field of view doesn’t matter, and here’s why.

Before getting started, I want to say, Peter Bright is one of a few tech writers who knows what he is writing. Well, I say that because a half of them don’t.

In the article, Peter has given Microsoft the sharpest criticism  over its handling of HoloLens. I agree with him. I have never seen Microsoft act like this since many years ago. Today’s Microsoft don’t over promise and under deliver. That’s what I see overall, okay you might find exceptions, but they don’t void the rule. HoloLens is a remarkable exceptions. I don’t know what went through people’s minds. I respect Alex Kipman tremendously, but you can’t show people something you can’t do for a couple years. People do not expect an end products be less awesome than its early prototype.

I am hugely disappointed over those actions. You simply can’t do that.

The second point from Peter was: regardless FOV, HoloLens can succeed in business, and positioning HoloLens for enterprises in a good bet. Not only because there are many uses in enterprises, and not only business is a more profitable market, but also because it can give Microsoft time to reach a immersive FOV for the next iteration.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Recommended Read: HoloLens Explained

 

hololens1

 

There is a video created by ColdFustion to explain HoloLens in details. They have really done their homework. That’s basically a consolidation what have been shown and written about HoloLens since January. For savvy readers who know well about HoloLens, some of the explanation may be redundant, but even that, it is refreshing that someone put the things together in a clear, and knowledgeable way. Some of the comments from the video are right to the point. I have embedded the video here, please watch it here. I think you will enjoy it.

 

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

HoloLens Is Part of Windows Strategy

 

hl4

 

Mary Jo has posted an iconic interview.   Go to the article, search HoloLens, you can found at least 18 of them. That tells a lot about importance of HoloLens.

Second thing you will found out is: Microsoft will probably focus on businesses first. That’s not a surprise, since I have said the same thing repeatedly. Also, we have learned from the article that Microsoft have found strong interests in businesses. That’s great news. Generally speaking, enterprise market is far more profitable and lasting than consumer market. If a company use one product, they use it for life.

Another thing to note is, games for HoloLens are still in development. So, it sounds like consumer release is a little off right now, even though the hardware is ready.

 

For sure in the first version, it’s going to be more about developers and enterprise scenarios

In the HoloLens case, when I look at the interest, it’s amazing how many are in hospitals, healthcare, retail. That’s where I’m seeing the interest and we’ll definitely go after it.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

HoloLens Is Demoed Again at WPC

 

hl4

 

WPC is under way right now. HoloLens is demoed again on stage. It was shown working with Autodesk Maya for 3D design and modeling. It’s a recap actually. But important thing to note is: Microsoft is putting great effort on business side for HoloLens. I will update if there is anything new.

 

Please visit WPC website, it is live now.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Will There Be Any Contents about HoloLens in WPC?

 

hl4

 

The recent activities point to an emphasis on business side regarding to HoloLens. So far, the only consumer focused story is Minecraft, and maybe Skype too, but there are more business side stories: from Sidekick to Medical education, to the highlights from Object Theory. Looks like Microsoft is putting great effort on business side for HoloLens.

WPC (Microsoft World Partner Conference) starts Monday July 12. I am very hopeful that there will be HoloLens related contents.

This tweet from Alex Kipman doesn’t necessarily say anything, but I hope it does:

Please visit WPC website in the next a few days, starting today.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

The Frustrations of HoloLens

holo

 

The feelings among the fans over HoloLens have been dramatic: from sudden excitement to sudden frustration. I think I can speak for many people. I want to take look back and try to figure out what happened and what’s going to happen.

There are two reasons for the frustration.

The first is obvious. They had set the expectation too high. Too high that they can’t meet it any time soon. That’s obviously a big mistake, which I still find it hard to understand. In recent years, Microsoft have been following the philosophy of under promise and over deliver. I started to get used to it. That’s why I found it shocking when we find out the FOV issue. The product seems to be very much polished, so for that to turn to today’s form is not months work. I am quite sure they know what they can deliver long before January. But anyways.

The second source of frustration is they don’t share the reason behind this due to competitive reason, that we understand. They can’t even give a vague time line on future plans. Obviously they can’t, they have to sell the current one first. The issue is they have set the expectation too far ahead. It is a problem when the product doesn’t even have a release date, people are already looking at version 2.

The result is: many people who were interested start to watch on the side line. Product like this usually sells to fans first, unless it is very cheap, which is unlikely. There are many business use cases, but business adoption is generally slow.

I don’t know how, but keep fans frustrated is not a good business. At least you should give them something to wait for.
HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Live Webcast: HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program

rfs

 

I posted yesterday that Microsoft Announced HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program. Now we have learned that this grant program will be further discussed on the opening day of Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, which is tomorrow, July 8, starting 8:30am PDT, or 11:30 EDT. Will be live streamed here.

We will demonstrate more ways that HoloLens is helping people create, learn, communicate, collaborate, work and play.

I expect it will be all about the research grant, but with the above comments, I wouldn’t rule out something fresh. So tune in if you would. The fact the Microsoft make it such a big deal, event live stream it (Did they ever live broadcast Microsoft Research Faculty Summit? I don’t remember), deserves more attention from us.

 

 

Microsoft Announced HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program

 

hl4

 

Microsoft have just announced HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program.

 

What Is It?

It is a research grant, to research institutions, mostly Universities. 5 winning applicants will be awarded in approximately $100K each, including monetary and hardware. HoloLens will be provided, of course. Co-funding is welcomed. Also upon completion of the research project, a larger found may or may not continue.

 

Who Is Eligible?

Universities in the US. It doesn’t say it has to be Universities, but they are the main targets. It requires the research project to be non-profit in nature.

 

When to Apply?

Proposals can be submitted right now, and before 11:30 P.M. (Pacific Daylight Time) on September 5, 2015. Follow the above link to find where to submit your RFP (Requestion For Proposal). Also read details from the above linked web page.

 

Who Should Care?

If you are teaching or studying in any of Universities in the US, and your research field matches,  that’s a pretty good fund for a couple of post-grad studies.  You may find a job in Microsoft afterwards, who knows.

 

I have hoped for 50 instead of 5, but still good.
HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

What Is the FOV of the Movie Theaters?

mars

 

I am not talking about home theaters, but the real movie theaters.

This one was not planned. After posting “What Is the FOV of My TV? “, I went to the movie theater with my child, watching a movie called “Inside Out”. Turns out, that’s a good movie. Mostly fun, but at one point, it brought me to tears, really. It’s really an intelligent movie, for children and adults. It tells story about how a little girl’s brain works, why  a child (or a grow-up) act or feel that way. I think it is educational for all of us.

I am not here to promote that movie, but it happened before the movie starts: We got in early, so we picked best seats possible. An idea popped up, why don’t I measure the FOV of the movie screen? So, I did.

I remember the method from doc-ok.org, but since I don’t have HoloLens constraint, so I can measure it easier way. I put my phone in front of my eyes, making it just cover the screen, and I put my finger in front of my eyes, so I know how far away the phone is from my eyeballs. My phone is not exactly same shape as the screen, but I was able to put one finger on top it to make up the difference. When I got home, I measured it up. The result is in the following picture.

fov-2

The view angles (max) from where I sat, that’s a good seat, are 65 x 41 degrees. I want to remind everyone, from last post, I got my TV’s view angles: 19 x 11 degrees, and HoloLens FOV: 30 x 18 degrees.

I venture to guess that the movie screen’s FOV is somewhere in the range of the first HoloLens prototype, which is not prefect, but pretty good.

Hopefully that gives you a perspective of what it’s like wearing the current HoloLens and early prototype HoloLens regarding the FOV.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Check MINECON 2015 This Weekend for HoloLens

Minecon2015

 

More or less, there will be some HoloLens related information in MINECON 2015. It happens this weekend: July 4/5 in London.

Here is live stream info:

Three streams will be live at twitch.tv/minecon throughout the weekend:
· twitch.tv/mojang – The main MINECON stream, from the Studio in the Expo Hall (North Halls)
· twitch.tv/mineconstage – Dedicated Main Stage Stream (South Halls)
· twitch.tv/mineconpanel – Dedicated Panel Room 1 Stream (S1 & S2)

Important times:

Saturday  5:30am  – 6:30am ET – Opening Ceremony (Main Stream and Stage Stream)

Of course you don’t want to get up 5:30 am, then 14:30am ET – 11:30pm ET – Re-stream of content from the day for US audience (all streams)

Full schedule is here.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Recommended Readings: Lego & HoloLens

lego

 

Found an article on Matthew Sekol’s blog called The Most Intriguing Ways Lego Could Leverage the HoloLens. In the article, Matthew talked about how Lego can benefit from leveraging the HoloLens technology. He went into details on how HoloLens can be used in build process, and other business aspects.

The article is very well researched and very well written. I learned a lot from the reading. It was posted on Feb 17, so it is based much on information of the time. However, I think everything written in the article are still valid. Articles like that are timeless. I like it when people really spend time and present something that you don’t see anywhere else.

What I want to add to his points are: When children are done with the building, HoloLens can add characters in the scene to make it alive. The attraction is instantly there. Also, Matthew concerned about discomfort for children. I think Alex Kipman had addressed that briefly during NASA press event last week.

I personally think for Lego to embrace HoloLens is a brilliant idea for Lego’s good. I have no doubt this will happens, because if there is business, someone will do it.

Did I forget about FOV? No, I didn’t. In this case, FOV is irrelevant.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Disney Infinity Is Interested in Building for HoloLens

disn

 

John Vignocchi, VP of production at Disney Interactive shared the idea with Engadget recently.

We’ve had multiple meetings and discussions with Oculus, multiple meetings and discussions with Sony about Morpheus, multiple meetings and discussions with Microsoft about HoloLens. We’re very interested in that space. There’s the socialization problem right now with VR, but augmented reality is very exciting.

You kind of look at Microsoft’s HoloLens stuff where you can kind of see through and that one’s kind of interesting from that perspective because I can see everybody else around me. But yes, we’re absolutely interested in that space because the Toy Box itself is kind of a very interesting concept of ‘I’m in the world I built.’

Disney Infinity is a kind of toy to life style platform. There are many reasons VR doesn’t fit for that beside social isolation. I think the VR is like biggest rollercoaster in the amusement parks, to many children, the thrill doesn’t worth the discomfort.

For HoloLens, that’s wonderful news. Disney is no question another high profile endorsement.

 

 

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

What Is the FOV of My TV?

mars

 

I know that’s a wrong question, but out of curiosity, I want to do something fun and practical. Read on, see if it makes sense.

Over the past a few months, especially last two months, there have been too many talks about HoloLens FOV. I have wrote a ton of posts myself. I thought I have got tired of it already, obviously not.

People say, no matter what exactly the FOV is, I have tried it in person, I know it was small, it must be small, that’s what counts. That’s true, but not the whole truth. There is a limitation in personal experiences, even hundreds of people’s: You have experienced certain set-ups, there are more situations you haven’t seen than you have. Now, I am trying to make a point on that.

Over the week end, I have got an idea: I want to find out what my TV’s FOV is. By that I mean the maximum viewing angles (vertical and horizontal) if I sit at a comfortable viewing distance. I have a 47″ HDTV, medium size of today’s standard at home (not in the market right now). I usually sit 10′ from the screen. A little too close than I want. I can watch it from 15′ without feeling too far away, should my living room be longer. Also I measured the width and height of the TV screen. See the drawings below. For comparison, I did same measurement to my computer with a 20″ monitor (within the brackets). The comfortable distance from my eyes to the screen is 24″ in this case.

fov

With that measurement, I got viewing angles for the TV: 19 x 11 degrees, for the computer: 40 x 23 degrees.

So, what is the HoloLens’ FOV? The most reliable source I find is what was done in doc-ok.org,  which is 30 x 17.5 degrees. It falls between my TV and my computer monitor.

I know people say viewing angles depend on how far away you are standing from the object. That’s true, but what matters is what use cases you are looking at. I have given two typical cases. One is watching TV, video, and playing games. Another is working on textual contents that usually watched close up. The view angles have to be like that, otherwise you wouldn’t feel comfortable and your doctors wouldn’t suggest you to do that.

What my calculation suggests is if you want to be immersed into a large digital scene, HoloLens FOV is certainly not good. But for cases you are OK to watch or play from a distance, or watch smaller objects close up, the current FOV is sufficient. The Minecraft on the table and Skype are two good examples of the latter. That’s why NASA is OK with it.

At the very least, I can guarantee that if you want to get comparable experience to watching TV or playing games on a 50″~60″ TV, HoloLens can certainly do that. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Develop for Hololens? C# and Unity Is All You Need

hl4

 

OK, I said C++ and DirectX, but for game development, C# and Unity might be a better choice.

I have posted Why Is There No HoloLens SDK? two days ago. For developers who are interested in developing for HoloLens, there are many, the answer is still not clear. So, what should I do, go write any UWP application, it will working on HoloLens? Of course not.

You write a universal app, it will run on HoloLens, there is no problem with that, but that’s not what HoloLens’ main attraction. We develop apps for HoloLens, we mean to develop apps that is tailed for HoloLens. We want it to appear 3D, we want it to run in “Reality Mode”.

Developing 3D apps or games is not new to HoloLens. You can go crazy with DirectX 12 and C++. When it runs on a PC or phone, it shows 3D on a 2D monitor, when runs on a HoloLens, it shows 3D mixed reality holograms. However, for two important reasons you don’t want to deal with DirectX directly: 1. Programming DirectX is not an easy task. 2. Lack of ready made libraries, so you have to do many things from scratch. It’s like programing directly on Win32 APIs instead of MFC. MFC has been a massive success because it makes a lot of things easier. Unfortunately, Microsoft decide not to do a MFC equivalent for DirectX. Also .NET doesn’t work directly with DirectX. There are third party packages bridging .NET and DirectX but I am not sure if they are up to task yet. Reading Microsoft’s message, it appears Unity will be a major choice for DirectX programming. That’s why Unity was featured during HoloLens developer demo.

You only need to two things to be a HoloLens developer: C# and Unity. C# is pretty easy, with great intellisense in Visual Studio. Unity is not the only choice, but for the moment it is the only one you can count on.

Make sure to register for the C# and Unity online course from Microsoft Virtual Academy from the following link (it’s tomorrow):

Develop for Hololens? Register for Online Course: “Building Windows 10 Games with Unity 5″

Watch Alex Kipman @ Falcon 9 Rocket Pre-Launch Briefing

alex

NASA posted a video of Falcon 9 rocket pre-launch science and technology briefing yesterday. As part of the briefing, Alex Kipman, along with Jeff Norris of NASA JBL, presented and answered questions about HoloLens and project SideKick. Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch tomorrow 10:21 am ET. Here is the footage of the event (starting at 42:10).

 

 

 

 

HoloLens Goes to the Space: NASA TV Live Coverage Sunday

spaceX

 

This Sunday, June 28, 2015, @ 10:21 am ET SpaceX/Dragon launches to the International Space Station on its seventh commercial resupply mission. NASA TV will cover this event live. Well, the relevance is a pair of HoloLens will be on board as part of NASA and Microsoft joint project called SideKick. The TV coverage actually starts from 9 am ET (all channels).  There is a chance they will talk about HoloLens. In any case, it’s a great event to watch. To know that HoloLens is part of it, makes it more exciting.

You can follow the above link to watch on NASA TV website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Develop for Hololens? Register for Online Course: “Building Windows 10 Games with Unity 5″

 

CIItuPiWIAAUnvz

 

Update: Sorry guys, I made a mistake: Starting time is 12am EDT.
Important for HoloLens developers, or who are interested, Microsoft Virtual Academy has an exciting online course, called “Building Windows 10 Games with Unity 5“. It is important because, my understanding, if you want to develop HoloLens games (apps too), that’s the way to go. Of course, the target audience is any Windows 10 game developers, but it’s particularly important for HoloLens.

(Update: the following line should be PDT, EDT instead of PST, EST.)

It’s June 30, 2015 9am‒5pm PST, 11am-8pm EST (that’s next Tuesday), not good for those of us in eastern time zone, but I will post the recording afterwards (usually takes a week or two).

You need register to get in. Please go here to register now.

I just copy the course outline, not that I know what it means.

Course Outline:

  • Overview and Prototyping the Game
  • Utilizing Unity 5 Features
  • Coding and AI
  • Everything I Wish They Told Me About Cameras
  • Designing a Great UI
  • Building for Windows 10

You don’t need to have prior Unity experience or knowledge, but required C# background. However, I think you need to understand how game programming works at least.

This paragraph give you a better idea:

Take a quick tour of the architecture, see how to get the controls up and running, and explore audio mixing, along with lighting and illumination features. Learn how to create a great-looking 3D game with powerful features: write a game design document, prototype it out in Unity, and write the C# code (including AI). Plus, discover camera modes and effects, as you learn to build for the Windows 10 UWP. Don’t miss this fun-filled 3D day!