On the Importance of UX in Decentralized Applications

July 29th, 2018

Have you heard of Mastodon? It’s a decentralized and open source twitter-like platform using open standards such as ActivityPub to function. Among many other features, it has no ads and a chronological order feed. In short, it’s awesome. I’ve tried to explain to my wife the concept of Mastodon. “It’s like Twitter, but you can install it on your own machine. And you are not isolated, if somebody installs their own Twitter, my Twitter can communicate with their Twitter”. Her reaction was like: […]

First VR Toy Project – Katana and Scabbard

June 19th, 2018

As an Aikido practitioner, I find the possibilities of VR very interesting for introducing new people to Japanese martial arts. Here’s a toy demo made in two hours. I’m hopeful I’ll find some time to expand this into a full game at some point in the future…

Open Source Software and the Constructal Law, or why the FOSS is strong

June 16th, 2018

For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it. (Adrian Bejan) If you’ve never heard of the Constructal Law, a good place to start is Wikipedia. While we can criticize at length its universal validity as a “law”, there’s some pretty good evidence that it applies well to human-made processes and designs. And software is a human-made design. How […]

GIS Icons, Maple Project

May 22nd, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve designed some icons. I’ve based some of them out of the IcoMoon dataset, made some from scratch and colored them to match a palette. These are going to be available as part of VirtualGIS‘s first Maple release. Stay tuned.

Hacking Mapbox Unity SDK to Get Sub-Meter Coordinates Accuracy in iOS

May 11th, 2018

AR is a particularly interesting technology when combined with geospatial. AR provides an intuitive interface to navigate and understand the world in 3D. Some geospatial applications need precision. Consumer phones and tablets’ GPS units are not particularly accurate, so this is often not a concern. If we encode latitude and longitude data using single precision floats, we can expect to be off. How off? So if we need sub-meter accuracy, we need to exercise care. Mapbox Unity SDK makes it easy […]

Oculus Rift – First Thoughts

May 6th, 2018

I bought an Oculus Rift. Like with most technologies, I’m usually a “late adopter” (for developer standards) since I enjoy more tested products and lower prices. I was quite impressed. Although the video resolution is still far from HD, you are tethered via cable and need several tutorials to get the hang of the touch controllers, the experience is amazing. No doubt, this is the future of videogaming. If you can fork out the money to buy a serious gaming […]

Yes, productivity goes up when working remotely

April 5th, 2018

I’m not going to write a long post about the debate on whether people working from home are more productive. I’ll let this article about a 2-year Stanford controlled study do it: https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/a-2-year-stanford-study-shows-astonishing-productivity-boost-of-working-from-home.html In short: 500 employees were divided into two groups One group working at the office, the other at home Telecommuters worked the equivalent of an extra full day of work, attrition decreased by 50 percent, they took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, and took less time off. […]

Denial Phase of Crypto

March 15th, 2018

I heard about Bitcoin and started accepting donations for some of my projects sometimes around 2011. The page about PokerMuck still reports the 0.53 BTC that were raised to support it (a little less than $30 dollars at the time). I mined about another 0.5 BTC during that time, which I all lost in the Mt.Gox hack. In hindsight it’s been amazing to witness the life of cryptocurrencies. I wasn’t old enough to remember the craze of the dotcom era, but […]

Running ROS on Arch Linux (The Easy Way with Docker)

February 24th, 2018

Installing ROS on Arch is a pain in the rear. The fact that Arch is a rolling release distro makes it difficult to compile most of ROS dependencies. Even if you eventually manage to compile everything, you will find yourself running into all sorts of trouble compiling third party libraries, fixing problems between Python 3 and Python 2 and don’t even ask what happens when you do a system update. Save yourself the trouble and use docker. You will be up […]

Two Technologies To Try in 2018

November 28th, 2017

I try to keep up with technology (emphasis on the try). Here are two that I personally think are worth exploring: 1. ARKit and ARCore Apple’s ARKit is what Project Tango should have been from day one. I’m genuinely impressed at Apple’s implementation of AR and the fluidity of the user experience. ARCore will likely catch up in the next year or two and I expect AR to open new opportunities in the interaction of 3D worlds and objects. Keep an […]