Category Archives: Computers

The Rich Recruiter? Things Have Gone Terribly Wrong!

I just ran across this book out on Amazon Unlimited.

The Rich Recruiter

When you check it out, you will also find lots of other books on how to get rich in the placement business.  In particular, this occupation has risen up take its share of the money being thrown around in the information technology field.  What money?  Exactly.  Back in the late nineties, lots of things emerged from the shortage of IT guys most companies were facing.  The web was taking off, the Y2K disaster was looming and the nasdaq was soaring.  There just were not enough computer geeks to go around.  In response, lots of barriers to foreign workers were brought down, contracting rates went through the roof and the staffing business grew in to a monster.  Of course, like all bubbles, this one burst.  Nothing much came of Y2K, all of the workers brought in to fill IT positions stayed on to depress contracting rates and we have more people out there than ever looking to get rich off  of the poor, socially inept, cubical dwelling computer guy.  IT wages are not nearly what they were 15 years ago though.  In 1998, it was nothing for a database programmer to make $150/hr.  Just for locating one, a recruiter could often charge another 25-50$ on top of that.  Well, times have changed, yet the recruiter has stayed on.  It’s a lot harder to get rich in the placement game than it used to be, but, as this book describes, if you are persistent in your efforts to wedge yourself in between employers and employees, you can still extract quite a hefty economic inefficiency for yourself in today’s market.  As a developer, you are likely familiar with how this business effects our business.  Say you are finishing up a contract and would like another one.  It would seem reasonable that you would put your resume out for potential employers to see.  You might even look for a job listing and submit your paper via email.  But wait…the listings you see are not for jobs, well, at least not directly.  They are recruiters.  They may have a job in mind, or they may just be trying to build up their list of contacts.  They live and die by this database of people that can actually do work.  Matching on keywords that they really do not understand or even much care to, they laboriously filter and sort resumes against listings looking for opportunities.  When a match is found, they call the developer, call the employer, arrange a meeting and then, if all goes well and employment results, they sit back and collect 20k, 30k, maybe even 50k each year that the employment lasts.  Yes, you can still get rich in the recruitment game.  Very rich in fact.  While not as lucrative as in the past, the big players still report 10’s of millions in annual income, all based on matching people to jobs.  My question is, given that wages are no longer inflated and the market is no longer experiencing a shortage of workers, do we still need to be bringing in new people from other countries to fill our tech jobs?  Marco Rubio thinks so.  He believes the number of h1visas approved each year should be increased 4 times to somewhere around 240 thousand a year.  What will this do to the wages of American citizens who work in IT?  Will it make them go up?  Seriously, Rubio is running for president.  Who is he planning on working for?  Why would I vote for anyone who wants to use the Presidency to depress American wages further?  And while information technology wages are 1/2 to 1/3 of their past glory, have staffing company margins declined likewise?  Even if the answer is yes, should there even be any margin in the first place?  Recently, a job for a MongoDB dev/admin position opened up some where in Georgia.  Within 2 days, I had been contacted by no less than 10 different recruiters, all with very personal form letters, none residing in Georgia themselves (mostly New Jersey residents), asking me if I would be interested in moving 1000 miles to take the position.  Funny thing is, very often the same thing happens when a .NET position opens up in St. Louis.  I am not a .NET programmer.  These guys aren’t even reading the resumes any more.   It is a numbers game for them and that’s about it.  It is actually kindof insulting.  You can press the spam button in gmail but does this really do anything?   For fun, call them all back.  One will insist that he can offer no more than 60/hr while another will offer 70 right off the bat.  You are not negotiating with a potential employer, you are negotiating with a person who has imposed himself between you and the employer and he/she is deciding how much they want to make next year off of your labor.  Whether it be 10k, 20k or 30k, I believe it is 100% too much.  What does that come out to by the time you have moved in to your Atlanta based cubicle?  5 thousand dollars a phone call?  100 bucks per spoken word?  Are you really so frightened by the job search process that you are willing to give up half your pay next year to have someone hold your hand?  Is getting a job in a field you know really such a revolutionary idea that you should pay someone 10’s of thousands of dollars for suggesting it?  No, No, NO!  If I want to move to Georgia to work on a Mongo database, I will look for the employer myself and split the difference with them.  In today’s economy, that is how we should all do things.  After all, isn’t this the way other jobs work?  So how do we fix this?  You really should not be able to Get Rich recruiting in today’s economy.  Actually, the solution is simple.  Managers, do your jobs.  When you need an employee, post the position.  Add the line “Please No Recruiters, Only Applicants” to the bottom of your listing.  When responding to ads for employment, do your best to only respond to those from real employers.  Keep your spam folder empty and don’t make the mistake of posting your resume out there on the boards.  If you do, add the same type of line to it.  And be adamant about this policy.  You do not, i repeat :), You do not need to pay someone 30k a year for the opportunity to make 100k a year doing your job.  Job boards, clean up your act too.  I know you get paid for listings, but isn’t the quality of the listing part of your value proposition?

Anyone else out there tired of giving away half their pay check?  Employers, doesn’t it make you ill having to pay 2 people for every 1 programmer you hire?  It is high time we put an end to all of this.

Play Framework 2.4.3 – Problems Building Example Templates in Activator


If you have downloaded the Play Framework version 2.4.3 code lately and are “playing” with Activator, you will probably notice that most of the examples will not build successfully.  The error you encounter will look something like this:

(*:update) sbt.ResolveException: unresolved dependency:;2.3.6: not found

Here is the fix that worked for me:

You need to load a more current sbt-plugin.  Wish there was a cleaner way to demo Play as I do like it a lot so far.  Go to “code” and select Project.  Select the “plugins.sbt” file and edit the line under “//The Play Plugin” to read:

addSbtPlugin("" % "sbt-plugin" % "2.3.9")

Then, in the same directory level, either edit the “play-fork-run.sbt” file to match changing the version number to 2.3.9 or you may even be able to delete it as it usually will be rebuilt when the project is built again.  I would suggest editing it as I’ve seen a few projects that die during the build because they are looking for it.  Not sure why as I am not an expert on this build system yet 🙂  At this point, if you have activator set to a”compile on file change” it should already be working.  If not, click compile and everything should work for you now. Have fun with play!

Disable Automatic Startup of MySQL on Ubuntu

After installing MySQL or MariaDB on your Ubuntu machine, you will notice that it is configure to automatically start.  The install sets rc.d up for it on all runtime levels.  While a running database server isn’t a huge strain on the machine, why waste memory when you don’t have to.  I generally disable this the way you would any init.d service that you don’t use all the time.  Simply type this at a command prompt

sudo update-rc.d mysql disable

and your development machine will no longer start the database automatically.  If you are going to be using MySQL a lot and want to re-enable automatic start, simply type the same changing disable to enable.  With auto-start disabled, you can start/stop your database service by typing

/etc/init.d/mysql start

/etc/init.d/mysql stop

/etc/init.d/mysql restart

Simple enough but I had to look it up the first time 🙂

Problems Installing Mariadb 5.5, 10.1 on Ubuntu 12, 13, 14.04 etc.

Just a quick note to help anyone who runs in to the same thing I normally do when installing mariadb on a dev machine.  Without going in to all the hows and whys of the problem, when installing maria on ubuntu, it is highly likely that you will run in to some problems related to the mysql client stuff already on your machine.  As you go back an forth updating and upgrading to try and get your machine back to a state in which it will install any software at all, you will likely end up with apt reporting duplicate sources or some sort of conflict between the maria stuff you’ve tried to install and the mysql stuff that was already there.  In the end, the whole upgrade process is messed up and you still don’t have a working database.  For me, the simple way out given that I’ve managed to do this to myself again is to purge both clients and try the install once more.  Hopefully this will work for you.

First, completely get rid of the two conflicting clients:

sudo apt-get –purge remove libmariadbclient1

sudo apt-get –purge remove libmysqlclient18

and then try the mariadb install again.  It should work now.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server-10.1

Finally try a

sudo apt-get upgrade

to see that everything is back in order.

All should be back to normal on your Ubuntu 14.04 trusty machine.  Have fun with the best MySQL fork!

Not Apple Compatible… Not My Problem

First I would like to point out the time capsule.  One of my favorite items in the Apple ecosystem, the time capsule, comes in at $359 on Amazon for the new, 3TB version.  What is the time capsule?   It’s an external hard drive.  That is basically it.  It is not an ssd or 15k rpm sas drive either.  It is a standard 7200 rpm sata platter drive.  It could be a heavy duty one but as I’ve seen no mention of this, I highly doubt it.  I believe it comes with backup software.  I’m used to getting this for free in my OS so I can hardly consider that much of a bonus.  While the time capsule is a strange shape, it is an attractive enough box and if that is hugely important to you, it definitely looks different than competing options.  Where it really differs though is price.  You won’t have to look hard to find a wireless 3tb hard drive for under 150$, even for a mac compatible one.  I’ve seen them as low as 100$.  So what is the exta $259 for?  No wonder Microsoft is trying to copy everything Apple does lately?  Well, if you want to spend nearly 400 bucks on an external hard drive for your laptop, that’s your business.  What has really been annoying me lately is the number of one line reviews I see on Amazon written by frustrated Mac owners.  I, like most of America, shop on Amazon.  I shop their a lot.  If I need Q-Tips, I am likely to pop open a browser tab and drop them in my Amazon shopping cart real quick.  I love what Amazon has done to make shopping easier.  One of the most useful things about shopping there is the review system.  It is easy to make product choices primarily because other Amazon customers do such a good job of sharing their product experiences through this excellent system.  Once in a while you will see an unhelpful one written by a troll who has never even seen the product they are discussing.  This is rare though and i found most of the information volunteered to be very helpful.  What is far more common is simple 1 line review accompanied by a 1 star rating like that which I saw this morning researching projectors.  It read something like “Not compatible with my mac.”  ?????  Are you kidding me?  I use Linux.  Would there be any point in me going through the entire Amazon catalog, one starring every single piece of software and hardware that did not work right with my esoteric operating system choice?  Absolutely not.  In the case this morning, this pointless review was buried by so many 5 stars that it had no affect on the average score.  Had there only been 10-20 reviews, a one star would have dropped the average for absolutely no reason.  I can understand the person’s frustration.  He bought an expensive machine and now is having trouble with the fact most others have opted for less expensive ones.  After spending all that money, he is stuck buying other expensive items to ensure compatibility with the original choice; items like the aforementioned time capsule.  In the case of the projector, I know of no available option from Apple.  I’m sure something out there will work with it.  This particular projector apparently did not.  My point is, this is no reason for a one star rating. From the other reviews, this looked to be a great product.  If you bought the projector and it broke 2 times, give it a 1 star.  If you were giving a presentation, it started smoking and then burst in to flames, give it a 1 star.  If it doesn’t work with your mac, get something else, but don’t ruin such a useful system as Amazon reviews because of your personal problem.  You deserve 1 star not the product.

Purchasing/Renting Land in Second Life is Annoying

If you have ever bought or rented Second Life property, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  The land search tool offered through your viewer is practically worthless.  It is not worthless by design.  Most all the important data should be there in columns.  Price, area, price per meter, etc. are most everything you need to compare properties and identify those you would like to visit.   In addition, columns such as lindens per prim or some intensity of use rating would be helpful, however, given the way in which the existing columns are misused and ignored, what would be the point of adding them.  It is actually hard to find a listing for which the seller has bothered to fill out any of this stuff accurately or honestly.  The listings returned by a search can be sorted by these columns.   The default price now seems to be just 1L, entered this way i can only presume so as to not end up placed at the bottom of a sort on price.  Undoubtedly, if only a few people did this, those that did would get better placement.  Now that everyone does, the entire column is useless along with the L per meter one.  All information regarding price, size and prims is now reported in the description(name) field where it cannot be sorted upon or automatically plugged in to revealing calculated ratios.    Each “name” reads something like “Land Sale DSE Res L$2062wk/1406p/6144m Aloha Pearl (SE)”.   To compare competing properties based on price per unit, you must enter this data manually into your own spreadsheet.  When you finally narrow your choices in this laborious way and  go to visit the properties you have selected, you often find that a lot of your calculated price per prim and price per meter numbers are wrong.  Whether this is a deliberate “bait and switch” or simple data entry error, it definitely adds to my growing frustration with the whole process.   Would it be so bad to make it easy for people to compare properties on metrics such as price per unit?  The system is already set up to work like this.   Yet the last I checked there was not one seller who had bothered to provide the correct information in the correct fields.    Just as in some rl markets which require regulation to create reasonable and efficient pricing, I believe that the only way this situation will change for the better will be through some sort of Linden edict.  If I can come up with a market driven solution, I will happily share it, however for now I am pretty much at a loss.  This probably has to come from the top.  Please fix this.  Land is potentially the most important part of the entire SL economy.  It should be much easier to make a good purchasing decision than it currently is.

Incidentally, SL land ownership is at its lowest point in 8 years.

Windows 10

I’ve gotta say, the direction Microsoft is going with their OS is really messed up.  Windows 7 was a good operating system.  Functionally, 7 and Ubuntu are really close.  It was stable, powerful, the best windows yet.  Kindof like NT used to be.  Then came windows 8.  The Microsoft guys didn’t really get what Apple was doing but you could tell they really wanted to.  Or else, they were directed to.  I, for one, wish they would stop all this.  Without getting too much in to the specific functionality decisions that resulted in crappy products such as the new Windows Mail, i would have to say nothing about this strategy makes any sense to me.  Sure, Apple has been gaining market share.  Apple software works in a way, is marketed in a way and is distributed in a way that appeals to their customer base.  This does not mean that it is better.  It just turns out that there are people out there that do like it better and have switched from what used to be the only option, Windows.  This does not mean that everyone likes it better and will eventually switch.  In fact, I would think that the Apple model of dumbed down, optionless, over priced, scrutinized by big brother computing products may never achieve better than the market share they currently enjoy.  Meanwhile, those who like windows have been suffering as Microsoft flounders to duplicate the success of the Apple ecosystem.  Quit it.  If we wanted an Apple, we would have bought one in the first place.


Apple #$&(*

Building up to a master list of things that I hate and things that I don’t I wanted to take a moment out to talk about my second generation Ipad and my experiences with it in 2015.  Yes, it’s an old tablet.  I got the thing used when it was the current model.  At the time, I also had an Iphone (4 or 4s maybe) and was still open to the idea of adding even more apple products to my life.  Remember the logo at the top of this page?  This was the apple I grew up with.  I got my start on an Apple IIe with a 1mhz processor 64k of ram and a floppy drive.  This was before hard drives, multi-core cpus and multi-tasking.  The machine ran would run 1 program at a time which was limited to what could be stored in the 64k or accessed from the 5 1/4″ floppy.  While a lot of kids were playing with logo, i started with applesoft basic, a fairly capable (for the time) interpreted language which sufficed for most typical programming tasks.  From this I graduated to assembly language and macro(lumping several commands together in to one call) assembler.  The big rivalry at the time was between the Apple II and the IBM pc.  Up against the monolithic IBM, Apple was anything but the choice of the conformist.  For the time, the II was a great machine; the perfect way to explore computing at home.  It was a high end solution for sure with  a price tag many times that of it’s less capable competition.  However, you did get what you paid for.  I was blessed to have gotten such an introduction to the field as provided by this (for my parents, oddly extravagant) purchase.  My how times have changed.  Well, eventually I got tired of my Iphone.  It had a terrible habit of hanging up on people when it touched my face, had a screen so small that most of it’s “smart” capabilities were difficult to use and, as with most apple products, had a price tag much higher than competing products.  When it was time for a new phone, it just did not make sense to pay 600-800$ for something I could get for under $200 running android.  In the meantime I also had a chance to try out a macbook air for a few months while on a contract job.  The hardware was great and the build quality unmatched.  It was amazingly portable and felt very durable due to it’s forged aluminium frame.  Unfortunately, I was never able to get used to it’s shoddy, pieced together OS.  I can’t understand how osx is viewed as “easier” by so many people.  Most standard tasks (installing a program for example) seemed to take several more steps than in windows or linux.  These additional steps were never that intuitive to me either.  While I don’t use windows that often and spend most of my time in linux, when I do boot up to windows, most everything makes sense.  When I don’t know something, I can usually click around and figure it out.  Not so in osx.  It feels like things have been made simpler by removing important options.  When you still want to control options that have been deemed superfluous by Apple and thus removed or hidden, you usually have to do a lot of digging.  It is like having a stereo for which the manufacturer has simplified the front panel by deciding what volume you should listen at and removing the knob.  Other people hit the power button and all listen at volume 7.  They rejoice in the simplicity of no longer having to decide what volume is best for them and having to adjust it with an antiquated knob.  I, on the other hand, break out my screwdriver and sort through schematics until I finally find the tiny rheostat hidden behind the transformer, change the volume to 8 and then put things back together, leaving the screws out so that I can with less trouble go in and modify the configuration again.  In fact, even on a day when volume 7 would have been my choice, I still cannot accept it.  I will still disassemble my Apple stereo so as not to have to listen at a volume that has been imposed upon me.  Meanwhile, the confused folks at Microsoft, as baffled as I am that the market is embracing the Steve Jobs’ edict of less options for more money, are scrambling to duplicate Apple’s success by removing options themselves.  They are having a tough time as they, like me, really just don’t get it.  The results can be seen in clicking the mail icon in windows 10.  It is a mail client, at least it is part of a mail client.  It has a very clean interface whether you are looking at your inbox or its sparse configuration panel.  How have they achieved this?  They have removed options.  In fact, they have removed almost all of them.  It sends and receives mail and that’s about it.  Gone is all the confusing flexibility of a typical modern email client, the panels of configuration options that only a few people might need to do their job, and the pages of help necessary to describe all of this annoying functionality.  There is a frightening paradigm emerging here.  A product that does less and offers less choice is now somehow better.  Is this the future?  God I hope not.  For Apple though, it appears to be working.  People will stand in line at the release of each shiny new brick, rejoicing over it’s simplicity of design and embracing the revelation that we are all pretty much the same.  It’s kindof like high school fashion.  If you all choose to not conform in the same way what do you have?  This pretty much sums it up.  And it is working really well for them.  They definitely seem to understand the consumer better than they understand themselves.  Otherwise selling $200 pieces of hardware for $400 simply by removing most of the buttons and painting an apple on them would be impossible.  The one thing I do appreciate about Apple products is the quality of this overpriced hardware.  And this brings me to my final issue.  The macbook air was a great machine from a hardware perspective.  So is my Ipad 2.  They are both lighter and more durable than the competition.  The one thing you do get for your money when buying a high priced Apple product is excellent build quality and design.  After years of abuse, my Ipad still turns on and the battery still lasts quite a long time.  This has created an issue for Apple and they are working to resolve it.  For me, as long as my tablet serves my needs, I see little need to replace it.  It still works great so why get a new one.  Apple hasn’t come up with any new ideas that would compel me to upgrade so how will they get me, and the millions of others happy with their Ipad 2, to consider making another $800 purchase in the near future.  Apparently, the retina display wasn’t quite a big enough change to elicit the buying response they were looking for.  One thing they could have done would have been to not continue to upgrade the operating system on older models.  They could have abandoned the Ipad II as being too old, end of life.  For me, this would have been fine.  I still would have been able to web surf for a few more years and the major pieces of software I use (like kindle) would have been upgraded regularly for the older OS regardless.  Instead, Apple does continue to send new operating system updates.  And here in lies my final problem with an Apple product.  With each of these updates, my Ipad gets slower and slower.  This is not unheard of in the computer industry.  Typically, this has been an acceptable way of encouraging people to upgrade their hardware.  It is simple.  People don’t replace things unless they have to.  With a product that has moving parts, like a car for example, these parts are engineered to wear out at a certain time which eventually leads to a new car purchase.  It would seem though that Apple Ipad customers were not responding to the slowing down of their tablet by replacing it at an interval that fit with revenue projections.  They were just dealing with it.  Waiting longer for something they clicked to do something, setting it down and going to get a cup of coffee while it started up, etc.  Basically, the company needed for something to break, for example, wifi.  And this gets to why the only Apple product that worked for me, no longer does and has been replaced by a non Apple product.  If you have an Ipad 2 and innocently upgraded to OS 8 or 8.1 or something about a year ago, you may have noticed that your wifi performance has become unacceptable.  Whatever was done to the code that previously worked since you bought the thing has made it perform terribly.  Mine drops the connection if i am farther than 20 feet from the router.  Even in the same room it can have trouble holding a connection.  I am not sure what specific decision was made in regards to compatibility with certain routers and certain wifi technologies.  That is, I don’t know what the specific excuse was for no longer allowing the wifi hardware of the Ipad 2 to communicate with certain routers effectively.  However, apparently something has changed and as of my upgrade to OS 9.1 last night, it still hasn’t been repaired.  Whether or not this bug was inadvertent at first or not, from the online chatter it is clear that a lot of people are experiencing it and that nothing has been done to resolve it.  My complaint is not that Apple should still be supporting my old Ipad with bug fixes but that they should not introduce a bug that was not there when new that effectively cripples the device and then not revert to the working code or supply a patch.  If you are having this problem, don’t bother with the answers you find online.  Short of a solution that involves jailbreaking the tablet and hacking the drivers, nothing works.  I’ve wasted time turning it on and off, airplane mode, reseting wifi, resetting the whole OS, etc etc.  There is nothing you can do within the confines of the standard operating system to resolve this bug that has for whatever reason been deployed to your machine and maintained through several updates spanning over a year.  I really wanted to like Apple.  Hell, I started on one.  Even though most of their products simply do not work for me, the one that did, my tablet, worked great for me.  I even tried to overlook some of their questionable business decisions such as their requirement of mac ownership to deploy ios apps or their attempt to crush adobe by not implementing flash on their mobile products.  However, this recent move to eol of my otherwise perfectly functional Ipad is unacceptable.  I can only think of one motivation for installing a crippling bug on your customer’s tablets and not bothering to repair it and I refuse to play along.  I bought a kindle.


My Impending VR Headset Purchase

The wait is almost over. Most of the vr headset companies out there plan to have a commercial product released in the last few months of 2015 or first quarter 2016. I have been so tempted to grab a dev kit in the past year but have held off as I don’t believe I will be doing anything with vr commercially and the consumer editions are likely to be different. That being said, I still am not sure which consumer edition(s) I will end up with when they do come out.

Samsung VR Gear:

I tried this just a few days after the innovator edition became available.  A new 99$ consumer edition is on its way this november 2015.  It is definitely amazing (as I expect all the vr products to be) but likely not nearly as capable as dedicated hardware. I was using it with the galaxy note. At the time there was not a lot of content available but the demos that were really showed the potential of the product. The main weakness that I could see was the phone. With prolonged use, the galaxy note was just not up to the task and would over heat. It made for a fun demonstration but probably not sufficient for anyone looking to view lots of vr content (like an entire movie). It definitely worked though. Since its release, google put out a design for a phone holder made of cardboard that does much the same thing. No-name chinese factories are churning out thousands of headsets already based on this design. At the end of the day, this route will never be anything but sub-par because of the phone. If producing vr content cooked a note 2, i can only imagine what it would do to my lg volt. I don’t think i will be using my phone for vr any more than i use it as a gaming device. However, some people will.

Oculus Rift:

This is the one that got the ball rolling. It looks to offer both proprietary content as well as compatibility with open source options. How much compatibility is the question. The company has recently partnered with microsoft as the xbox needed a vr option to compete with the one coming from the ps4 folks. While it may be nice to have for the pc, I have a playstation not an xbox. I am not counting on the open source capability being any more than a hack as it is now as they might find themselves in the market position of being able to stay proprietary. This xbox partnership makes this more likely.

Here are the oculus rift system requirements recently released.  Looks like even with my 770 gtx I am a bit behind.  I’m sure this is not just the oculus.  Basically this is saying, if you want to do vr right, you probably need a nasty graphics card.  I guess I will sli in another 770 and hope that does the trick

NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
2x USB 3.0 ports
Windows 7 SP1 or newer

SteamVR, HTC Hive:

This one looks interesting. I expect it to be released before the oculus and sony options. The steam market should make it a solid choice. Controllers are available and I can imagine there will be a lot of game support early on. Their api is open source but not sure how this relates to the osvr project. Technology wise, it includes positional tracking which I am not sure is the case with the other products. This is accomplished with “base stations” that allow tracking to the millimetre. It looks like it will have some very impressive technical specs over all.

Sony Morpheus, Playstation VR:

Project morpheus but now going as Playstation VR. This is likely to be just a solution for the gaming console at first. I would expect hacks allowing use with the pc to come out but Sony has historically worked hard to thwart hacking efforts. This is likely to be a great product like most stuff sony does. I just don’t know if it makes sense to spend 300-500 bucks on something that only works with the playstation.

Razer OSVR:

My favorite mouse and keyboard company is working hard on osvr which should develop in to the vr open source standard. You can now order something they call a hacker dev kit and it looks great. The company insists that they are just interested in making vr a reality and that their ultimate focus will be controllers.  Consistent with this statment, the headsets will be sold as kits and no consumer version has been announced or is planned. Different features such as infra-red tracking are modularized and optional. Ultimately, the design should be produced by a lot of different companies which will be great from a pricing standpoint. If the model works, it should offer quite an amazing alternative to closed source efforts like the Oculus.

Microsoft HoloLens:

This is a different type of product all together. Kindof a mix between vr and google glass. It looks like a neat idea, however, the winner here will be determined by the availability of content. Microsoft is big enough to force the issue but as seen with the windows phone, its not always enough.  Sometime by the end of this year you should be able to get a developer edition for around 3k… really $3000 bucks.  I’m out haha but i guess some companies will spring for it.  Don’t expect to see a consumer level product before july of 2016 though.


So far they seem to be staying out of this. Is the whole idea of vr beneath those that frequent the apple ecosystem? Who knows? What is certain is that if they do come up with a product, it will possess a feature or re-brand a feature in a way to make it seem unique. Consider the apple time machine which is a 2-3tb usb hard drive costing between 3-4 hundred bucks. Need I say more? Whatever they build will be completely proprietary no matter how late to market they are. Oh, and it will probably be white, cost over $600 and will become annoyingly prevalent at coffee shops in no time.

While I can’t say I will never toss my phone into a $20 holder and see how it does, I am definitely going to grab a dedicated headset some time soon. The only real options at the moment are the oculus, the htc/steam, morpheus(playstationvr) and razer’s osvr. Whether or not I at some time get the sony product depends totally on the content that is released. This will most definitely not be my first headset. Even if it is eventually capable of working with my pc and osvr or the hive stuff, this is likely months away and I won’t be able to wait. For xbox one owners, the oculus is probably a no brainer. If I did not have a game system already I might even be persuaded to go xbox given the fact the oculus should work with both it and the pc.  The xbox is without much argument technically inferior to the playstation and I am kindof glad I didn’t know when i was making that decision. Whether or not I consider the oculus then now depends on how proprietary it ends up being. I am fully expecting them to feel that their microsoft partnership is going to allow them to corner the market. It’s only fair, after all, wasn’t this whole thing their idea in the first place? I am already preparing myself to be irritated by this company and that’s not good 🙂 So, it looks like my first headset is coming from razer or htc. With these two, I will just have to wait and see. The steam marketplace is quite an advantage, however, both vendors are pursuing an open source route and there will likely be a lot of interoperability. Another thing consideration for me is that I primarily use linux. It will be interesting to see which of these products has the best initial linux support. This will not be important to most people of course but could really narrow things down for me. Price is not likely to be an issue as I expect both of these products to come in at around $300. Actually, the osvr stuff could end up much cheaper than this when produced by no-name factories later on in the year. It could even come down to a comparison of hardware specs or just which one becomes available first.

Distributed Processing Test Server

My SUN server is back up.  It is an x4600 m2 with 8 – 4 core opterons and 64 gig of ram.  Just 2 146 gig 10k SAS drives so will be adding more local storage soon.  Last week I played around with doing a bare metal install of openstack.  After running into a few annoying problems with the UAR i have finally decided to just use virtualbox on top of Solaris 11.3 for distributed processing tests.  Probably not near the performance of a bare metal install but should be plenty adequate to test systems before deploying into production elsewhere.  These machines are an incredible bargain nowadays.  You can grab one off ebay for under 500$ all day long.  The SUN software repository is gone now.  If you want to run linux native you will have to scam the appropriate drivers somewhere else or purchase an oracle support contract.  Seems kinda lame that they want to charge the new owner for this.  A paid support contract makes sense when you are buying hardware like this new at 50k+ a pop.  Not so much when grabbing off of ebay for the price of a crappy laptop.  Fortunately, this doesn’t force the thing into retirement as Solaris installs just fine.  I will typically set up 6 virtualboxes running Ubuntu 14.04 lts each with 8 gigs to play with.  This is perfect for testing clustered projects (Galera, SPARK, Scattersphere).  While it won’t keep up with my i-7 desktop for single core, it is amazingly quick even running virtuals for problems distributed correctly across it’s resources.  Its awesome having something like this to work with at home.  Would have made a hell of a game server back in the day.  Additionally I might add some NAS and host me some opensim.  The little server on top running FreeNAS will do the trick.