Teaching challenge

Suppose you are giving a lecture on a favorite topic of your choice. You and everybody else in the room are wearing XR glasses, so that you can make anything at all magically appear for everybody to see and hear, as though it were actually in the room.

What would you choose as your lecture topic? And what would your audio-visuals be?

Live theater with XR

I am in the lobby of a theater right now, waiting to see a play. Fortunately, it doesn’t bother the ushers that I am sitting in a corner typing away on my computer while I wait for the house to open.

My recent experience with the Meta Quest 3 has gotten me thinking: Imagine live theater with every audience member wearing XR glasses. The computer would not replace the live performance, but would rather provide scenery and lighting cues and special effects that complement the actors’ performances.

What would that be like? I guess the best way to find out would be like is to try it.

Maybe I will do just that. 🙂

I forgot my glasses

Most of the time these days, the only way I can get out of endless meetings and rounds of emails is to have a plausible reason to not be near my phone. This is not a good thing.

There is something freeing about leaving my phone at home. All of a sudden I have gone dark, cybernetically invisible, off the grid.

At such times, nobody can reach me except the person I am physically with, and therefore I can be completely in the moment. It’s odd to realize that until a mere three decades ago, this was our usual state of being.

As smart glasses gradually replace smart phones, there will be times when we will wish we didn’t have them. Yes, our smart glasses will let us experience infinite worlds. But something that can liberate you can also bind you.

Sometimes I will simply want to be away from all those endless ways to connect. If anybody later asks me why they couldn’t find me, I might just say “I forgot my glasses.”

Vision Quest

There seems to be a lot of debate these days about which is “better” — the Apple Vision Pro or the Meta Quest 3. To me it seems odd to compare a $3500 device and a $500 device.

On the other hand, there is an argument to be made that the low end device is categorically more important than the high end device. Consider a rough analogy.

In the 1950s one could ask which was “better” — a new-fangled high end stereo hi-fi system or a new-fangled transistor radio. Both were technologies for delivering music to music lovers, but other than that, they couldn’t have been more different.

To me the answer is obvious. One was a fancy toy for rich people. The other got into the hands of young people everywhere, and changed everything.

Budget airline

I usually travel on a budget airline. You can get in-flight Internet, but you need to pay for it. I never do.

If the Internet were free, I would likely spend the entire time answering emails and working on various on-line documents. Most of the time this is an obligation, and not particularly enjoyable.

So instead, since I am off the grid for a few hours, I program, which is something I really love to do. I usually end up creating something cool and fun, and also productive, in that uninterrupted alone time.

What I save by taking a budget airline cannot be counted in dollars. Having time free from obligations is in many ways more valuable than money.

As Thoreau said, “The world is too much with us.” And he didn’t even have the Internet.


Three great writers — P.G. Wodehouse, Mario Puzo and Italo Calvino — were all born on this day, October 15. All were brilliant, yet they were as different as different could be.

Which gets me to wondering: If the three of them had collaborated, what novelistic work of mad genius would they have produced together?

The irony is not lost on me

The irony is not lost on me. While my current research is in mixed reality, I spent most of today happily organizing the literally thousands of books in my new office — books that I have accumulated over the course of decades.

Yet it will all come together in future reality. One day, not too long from now, I will be looking at all of those books on my bookshelves, while wearing my mixed reality glasses.

I will be able to mention an author, or topic, or favorite literary phrase, or an abstract concept. And then I will see various books on the shelf light up in response, letting me know that they contain the answers I seek.

I will have the option to take a book down from the shelf and flip to the page that my A.I. assistant suggests. Or I can opt to simply see the relevant contents of the book floating in front of me, perhaps in the form of an A.I. created animation.

This will all seem perfectly normal. And we will wonder how people in earlier times managed to live without it.

Friday the 13th

The 13th of Friday’s supposed to be spooky
But the whole superstition is just kind of kooky
Why should a day of the week like a Friday
Be treated like it’s something special like PI Day?
My Fridays are chill, they are kind of like Sundays
The scariest days of my work week are Mondays
Being scared of a Friday is just not my scene
I think I will wait till we reach Halloween

Circumstance reveals character

Today I thought of two classic movies. In A Face in the Crowd the true character of Lonesome Rhodes is eventually revealed, and the world discovers what a shallow, egotistical, self-centered jerk their hero is.

In The Dead Zone we eventually learn that charismatic presidential candidate Greg Stillson is a coward. In both cases, it took a situation of crisis for the truth to come out.

The horrific mass slaughter of civilians in Israel by Hamas this week seems to have had a similar effect of revealing true character here in the United States. President Joe Biden rose to the occasion with sensitivity and intelligence, delivering a brilliant speech of support for our ally in the Middle East, and following it up with action.

The former guy, not so much. Trump’s response was ugly, divisive, sneeringly insulting, and shockingly tone deaf, given the horror and tragedy of the situation.

It was as though he was auditioning for the role of Lonesome Rhodes. Then again, he’s been doing that for years.

The events of the last week in Israel were horrific and tragic. Yet in the way that they revealed the true character of these U.S. presidential candidates, they may also very well swing the outcome of our own coming election.

XR at home

This evening I started developing on the Quest 3 at home. Seeing virtual objects in my apartment, with decent video passthrough, was a revelation.

As I walked around my living room, I could see the things that I had created from all different directions. From a sensory perspective, this definitely kicked things up a notch.

I can easily imagine a time, not too long from now, when virtual things will simply live with us at home. We will take for granted that they are there, the way we take for granted that our couch or bookshelf is there.

And then the possibilities will be endless. It’s going to be a whole new ballgame.