Thank you for your patience

Hey all. Thank you for coming to our humble abode. It seems we have been spending more time in the studio and less time here. So, we do want to thank you for your patience as we are working on a facelift in between studio sessions (and video production). Thank you so much, Michael & Deborah Anderson

Deciding what you need, when it comes to hardware, for a Virtual Reality (VR) system, is like deciding what car parts you need for the car you are about to buy.

See, it is helpful if you either already have the car, or you have decided why type of car you will be buying. Otherwise, you could be getting VW (Volkswagen) parts for a Rolls Royce or something else, just as ludicrous.

As an example, if you are building (or putting together) an Oculus Rift system, you will need a system that has a halfway decent graphics card. Examples of graphics cards that will work for this set up may include GeForce GTX 970 (affiliate) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (affiliate).

There are certainly better graphics cards that are available, but you will want to do at least a minimum of research and ensure that you are able to obtain the best graphics card that you are able to afford. At the same time, you will want to ensure that it (i.e. the graphics card) is the correct one for your system and compatible with what you are putting together for your VR system.

The hardware choices may not be an inexpensive path to follow. Granted, it is less expensive if you choose to use your smartphone technology and something like Google Cardboard.

Because of this, many VR newbies start with the do-it-yourself Google Cardboard route before choosing to invest their hard-earned money into a more expensive VR system setup.

For those of you who understand computer systems, you know the challenges.

For example, you know that with a high-end graphics card comes the need for a decent amount of memory. Without a decent amount of memory, your system will crash and burn. At best, you will not have very functional 3D virtual reality characters and engagements. For any basic computer system, even running Microsoft Word, you will want at least 8GB of memory. In reality, if you are able to get more than that, it is that much better and your VR experience will benefit.

Also, you will want to ensure that you have the basics. Those basics include USB ports, wireless access, video ports, microphone, and camera-capability (if not already built into the system). You will want to ensure that the core CPU can handle all that you have to throw at it.

Similar to choosing that car and then buying the parts, you will want to decide what type of system you are building and then do your homework. Research what it is that you need. Use online review systems like Amazon’s rating system and discussion forums, for starters, when it comes to starting your research process.

In addition to the online resources, be sure to avail yourself of your friends and family, especially if they are into VR as well. Likely you have some who are interested in virtual reality. Maybe you all meet up at the pool house at the end of a busy week or you meet online. If so, use the opportunity to ask questions. Be sure to ask the hard questions and find out what it is that you need for your VR system.

Remember this. Hardware is hard. In other words, you will need to dish out some cash for that decision. Also, be prepared for a high price tag. Or, go for the smaller one, by way of the smartphone inserted into the more economical viewer. That option is easier. Also, going “small” is a great option to follow while taking the time to decide what system it is that you will ultimately want to build with your hard earned money.

In times past, students used to take field trips. These excursions would allow them some time away from the classroom. It also allowed them to have meaningful experiences, as well as educational experiences.

During these field trips, they learned important lessons about life. Also, they learned about how specific aspects of life function.

Some forms of field trips were what was called, “Career Days.” These would allow students to be mentored by those people of a chosen profession.

Times Change

Funds have not always been readily flowing for all schools. This means that providing for exciting field trips may be difficult. With minimal funding for student exploration, there are also increases in technological careers which could use the exposure. These two aspects create even more difficulties in funding the very experience that would benefit the students the most.

Virtual Reality for the Education World

Welcome to Virtual Reality (VR) for education. This provides an opportunity for students to experience something that is similar to a field trip. It is similar to what would be experienced outside the classroom. In this case, it offers the ability to save money by not traveling beyond a few feet from the classroom itself.

This is a great opportunity for the school to save money. It is also a great educational benefit for the students, fellow classmates, instructors, school administration, school board, and the community as a whole.

And, for smaller schools, private schools, or even homeschooling, the VR educational experience provides an opportunity that may not have been available in decades past, in the traditional methods.

It Isn’t Just Field Trips (What About the Problem Solving Program?)

Another program that used to be available in the academic world is problem-solving. It was not as common as the field trips and may not have been offered at all schools. Regardless of its popularity, it is something that can now be presented via virtual reality. The students read about specific problems and use virtual reality to test and implement solutions for those problems. Also, situational debates (even between schools) can give the students the virtual environment to take action. This prepares them for future careers and opportunities.

These fields, as well as others, like medicine, architecture, and science, allow for the students to practice their skills. It allows them to hone their skills in ways that benefit them, benefit their academic growth, and benefit the community. This is something that VR makes possible by dropping the learners into the environment. As a result, it is an environment in which they can practice and apply those skills.

More on the Topic of Field Trips

Fortunately, an emulated field trip can be handled in different ways. The curriculum for the educational program, as well as the objectives, dictate the plans. For example, it may be possible to track where the student is in the process. Of course, it depends on the VR software. The student(s) participates in an event with a movie box or panoramic view (3D). The instructor provides additional information. This provides a full-circle instructional event. That event translates into learning.

An academic test may be used in addition to the VR experience and it involves scoring. The scoring determines the progress of the student. In this similar fashion, virtual reality provides opportunities for grading. It doesn’t have to entirely replace the other teaching methods, but instead, it can enhance those methods, providing the interactive environment the students need.

While it may be advantageous to purchase your virtual reality (VR) equipment and devices brand new, if you are tight on money, buying used may be something you want to consider.

There are several sites that may be used for swapping equipment. In many cases, VR players (as in the people) want to upgrade their equipment and they are ready to sell their older equipment and gear to those who are just starting out in VR. Maybe they just want to help out another player who wants to save a buck or two.

Proceeding with Caution, but Armed with Information

While no particular site can be recommended over another and each VR player needs to proceed with caution, a basic understanding that scams do occur is a helpful place to start. Also, there are some sites out there that have been around for a while and have built up some level of credibility.

Still, be sure to do your own research and don’t take just anyone’s opinion as absolute, without your own research and opinion.

There are no warranties for the following listed sites and no recommendations to use these sites. They are simply listed because they exist on the internet and may be of interest to you. Along with that comes the familiar advice of “Buyer Beware.”

There are a few things that you will want to keep in mind, regardless of where you buy your used VR equipment, or from whom you buy it.

You will want to ensure that the vendor or the person from whom you are buying the equipment is credible and trustworthy. Fortunately, sites like Amazon and eBay include opportunities to rate the sellers (and the buyers).

It is nice if we, as members of the global community, do our duty and rate the products with which we have experience. Even in cases where the product (or service) is inferior, we are being kind to those who read the review and for those who are considering the next purchase. We are helping them to be able to make an informed decision.

The Importance of the Ratings (and Reviews) of Others

So, as that future buyer, be sure to read the ratings for your vendor and read the ratings carefully. Look at the numbers, but also look at the comments. This is very important so you will want to read the details of how the situation was handled. This is helpful when you find write-ups that are a bit confusing. This should give you an idea of what type of person you are dealing with before you enter into this future transaction.

If you are not sure about all that you are reading (or the product itself), contact the seller. Also, observe how quickly that seller gets back to you. Pay attention to how kind (or not kind) he or she is, and how helpful they are. If you have any bad vibes about the communication process, you may want to consider going somewhere else for your transaction. If you decide to move forward with this seller, assess the potential for loss and identify whether or not you are able to absorb that loss if the vendor/seller turns out to be a poor risk.

Ensure that you are purchasing the right equipment, that it is functional, and that it is clean. Check to see that there is a warranty for the equipment and gear. Sometimes the sellers mean well, but they accidentally pass on equipment that is non-functional. You want to ensure that the seller has some sort of guarantee that has you covered if that should happen.

This list should get you started and help you as you accumulate more gear. You will become more experienced in this area. Soon, it will be YOU who will be the one offering the expert advice.

Just when it seems that you have all of the gear and devices for Virtual Reality (VR) figured out and then something throws you off your game.

What is this Remote Controller and what does it do? There is a remote controller listed at Amazon (affiliate), with a three-star rating (not as high as we would like) but it does allow us to figure out a bit of what it does for us in the VR world.

The remote controller is said to be multifunctional. From the listing, it appears to do quite a bit. One would wonder, “Does it take the dog outside to do his or her business, too?”

If you know anything about virtual reality, you know that VR headsets or viewers come in handy in order to see what is going on in your VR experience. So, the question may be what this remote control does. Does it control your glasses? Why is it listed as a remote controller that is wireless and yet also a VR headset, other than the fact that it is multifunctional?

The gear boasts of being convenient, light, and easy to transport. That makes it convenient for those business trips where you want to do something that helps you to unwind, whether you are unwinding during the traveling or after you have settled into your place for the evening.

Part of what makes this VR gear so convenient and versatile is its ability to function in two different modes. One mode is the game mode, allowing you to use it in the virtual reality mode. It functions as a gamepad, in that mode. In the second mode, it is able to function as a camera and handle the music that is stored in the smartphone. In other words, you have the multi-function of the game functionality and the smartphone functionality.

This is a convenient design, allowing for efficiency within one unit. It takes up a smaller footprint and still allows the use of your phone. However, it appears, based on the reviews, that there is still some room for growth on this multifunction device and that until it has arrived at success, that you may want to consider the standby units that do a little better in the ratings.

This unit does still appear to include the viewer. The viewer would be needed in order to view the 3D virtual reality panoramic scene and experience it. However, similar to a television remote control, the multifunctional remote controller seems to be the hub, when it comes to control. That hub allows the bundle of gear to switch between gaming and functionality. That is why this bundle is so easy to picture as something that is convenient in a business travel situation.

The Oculus Rift is a big deal, in more ways than one. For many people, it is life changing in the virtual reality (VR) world. It is also expensive enough to cost as much as a mortgage payment.

For those who have experienced the Oculus Rift (affiliate), now owned by Facebook, for no small investment amount, they are bragging about how lifelike the experience is. When one realizes that the experiences that they have in real life can be transferred to that of a virtual reality experience, that tells you something about just how lifelike the VR really is, especially with this Oculus Rift.

The Oculus Rift is not only big in experience and price, but it takes up a bit of your living room as you are unpacking it and setting it up, with all of the cables and necessary gear. For most geeks, it is an easy enough installation along the lines of a computer installation, but for those who are not comfortable with techie things, there may be a need for some help in the Oculus Rift VR installation department. Likely, you have a friend or family member who is willing to help you, especially if they get a turn at the virtual reality experience as well.

The Pros and Cons

In deciphering the pros and cons of the VR platform, there are interesting outcomes. The main cons fall in the area of confusion (i.e. installation), and of course, the price. However, for those who have the money and the geeky know-how, there are the pros. Those pros and bragging level of the virtual reality experience seem to be through the roof. It appears that that may make VR worth every penny for those addicted to that VR experience.

One could hope that over time, this platform becomes a little more affordable and maybe a little less clunky. After all, even Facebook has improved in those areas, hasn’t it?

For the observer, looking at the Oculus Rift setup on their friend’ss face, in their home, it may seem odd. It may be a case of seeing the friend with the funny-looking viewer on their face. This may seem to be the strangest thing they have ever experienced. But, as Oculus Rift declares on their home page, that all is well. Simply step into the Oculus Rift and it is an entirely different experience. There are also many different types of experiences from which to choose, all of which provide some level of realism.

Does it really matter how funny-looking a viewer may appear to be, from the outside? Afterall, when looking through the viewer takes you to worlds that were previously unknown, that is all that matters, right? You are entering a place that used to be the stuff of dreams and the ingenuity of science and science-fiction. And, it was the fodder for Hollywood scriptwriters. Now is the opportunity to experience what the world was meant to be, at least that of the Virtual Reality world.