Another week on planet Earth, and another set of interesting news about drones.
First up, Foreign Policy magazine is reporting that the Pentagon might use a fleet of “underwater drones” to help find Malaysian Airlines flight 370.
Also in the news is Drone Hire, who have recently posted that they’ll be accepting Bitcoins for payment. The company appears to be a loose organization of drone operators willing to rent out their machines and services.
And lastly. DDB Canada/Tribal Worldwide recently released a new spot for Subaru Canada for the WRX. Read more about it on Slashgear.
I think I was as surprised as anyone about the news that Occulus Rift, VR-darling of the indie game community had been acquired by Facebook for $2 billion dollars. Some of the reactions were more interesting than mine, and I’ve captured a few below.
The following comic was the top post on Reddit for a few hours today, and sums up what I think a lot of people’s thoughts about the situation are:
Next up is a post on Reddit’s R/Funny section titled “Well, looks like Simpsons called it again.” Although it does look like the Simpsons are predicting a Virtual Reality version of Farmville, the originally game was actually “Yardwork Simulator.”
The following Tweet is my personal favourite reaction the the news (though it might be lost on those who aren’t fans of the Metal Gear Solid video game series):
And the last, but possibly most important, reaction comes from Notch. The man behind the popular Minecraft game and apparently an early investor in the Oculus rift Tweeted that he thought Facebook was creepy, then followed it up with a lengthy blog post, a highlight of which is below:
Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.
I’ve always thought drones are interesting, so I’m going to start doing a weekly recap of any good drone or quadcopter related news.
First up, there’s a great video of an (in)famous Sydney surf break called Ours. It really takes a drone’s-eye view to understand how little water is left in front of the wave:
Next up is a beautiful few pieces of video of some ice caves, shot by a drone:
And lastly, there’s an interesting article on the Guardian’s site about how China is going to start using drones to investigate pollution in the country. Apparently, it’s possible to tell if an industrial building is polluting by the colour of smoke they’re putting out.
This post originally appeared on the DDB Canada Blog.
Virtual worlds are big and getting bigger: The world of Skyrim is just under 40 square kilometers. Grand Theft Auto V‘s map is 126 square kilometers. DayZ, a recently-released survival game, has a map size of about 230 square kilometers. Middle Earth, the fictional world of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings saga, is about the size of the British Isles and has been recreated virtually.
Developers of the upcoming game ReRoll are dreaming bigger. A lot bigger. Like, 510 million square kilometers bigger.
That’s because 510 million square kilometers is the surface area of the Earth, and they’re planning on using drones to map our entire planet, creating the biggest open-world game ever. It’s an ambitious project, and like a lot of crowd-funded games, might never come to fruition. However, we’re interested in the way that it is further blurring the lines between real and virtual. The Montreal-based team behind the game is funding it via crowdsourcing on their website ReRollGame.com. Their announcement video will help show you just how big this project is going to be.
I originally penned this post for a newsletter of The New Zealand Initiative Think Tank.
In his book, The Great Degeneration, Niall Ferguson describes how the West’s six ‘killer applications’ (competition, science, property rights, medicine, consumerism, and work ethic) are on the decline.
“Our democracies have broken the contract between the generations by heaping IOUs on our children and grandchildren. Our markets are increasingly distorted by over-complex regulations that are in fact the disease of which they purport to be the cure. The rule of law has metamorphosed into the rule of lawyers. And civil society has degenerated into uncivil society, where we lazily expect all our problems to be solved by the state.”
The result is slow growth, strained social systems, complacency, and disinterest.
At the same time, the creative industries were shaken by the principle of crowd funding. Privately owned for-profit websites like Kickstarter allow individuals to pool their money to support projects initiated by other people.
Creators set deadlines and a minimum funding goal, and describe risks and challenges associated with the project. Once the project receives funding, the creators are expected to supply regular progress updates.
According to Wikipedia, since Kickstarter’s launch nearly five million people have funded more than 50,000 projects. Examples include video games, films and a 3D printer. In fact, in 2012, Kickstarter channelled more money into the US arts scene (US$323.6 million) than the Federal Government (US$146 million).
These numbers raise the question of whether the answer to Western society’s ills could lie in adopting this model.
A small percentage of taxes would go into essential services, and what happens with the rest is for the electorate to decide.
Any tax-funded project must justify itself, and it would need to persuade people, give detailed timelines, manage risks, and show that it has the appropriate staff. Any delays and extra costs would have to be communicated and explained immediately. Lobbyism would become more public as it needs to inform a broader audience.
For example, single mothers could choose not to pay for upper class students to attend university. Tax-funded nanny state tendencies based on vocal special interest groups, solely focused on helping themselves to our wallets and freedoms, can be curbed and a sense of personal responsibility re-instilled.
Theoretically, this would lead to less waste, and lower taxes.
Of course, this approach is not without its problems, the biggest being how to make sure that all projects are equally represented and considered by the electorate.
Still, the idea would make for a much more explicit contract between the state and its people that would make for more engagement by appealing to responsibility, and being able to directly influence outcomes. Maybe the West can crowd fund itself back to glory.
While Heather and I were on the island of Maui over the Christmas holidays, we did an amazing hike through Haleakala crater. The following are a few photos from the hike (click through on each one for a larger version).
I’d highly recommend this hike to anyone visiting Maui who wants an experience outside of the usual beach and surf scene. The scenery is unlike anything else you’ll see on the island, and it really gets you away from the crowds. Make sure to pack warm clothes and lots of water and food. We did the 18.5 km hike in a little bit over four hours, but you might want to plan on taking a bit more time than that. The National Parks Service has a great page of information and maps for the area here.
Check out a few of my other blog posts about Hawaii:
Inspired by the awesome blog Unreal Hawaii, I’ve decided
Below are a few photos I took on a hike along The King’s Highway, which is a trail across rough lava rock on the south side of Maui. According to the “Every Trail” website, these lava fields are about 200 years old. There is barely any vegetation growing, and the entire landscape looks like Mars (which is why I like this hike so much). If you give it at try, make sure you bring good walking shoes and lots of water. There’s no shade. I also used the Nike+ App on on my iPhone, so if you want to check out the map of what I hiked you can here.
I know I’ve been a little light on blogging here recently, but that’s because I’ve been busy with a lot of new projects at work.
As part of my new role as Global Program Lead at Tribal Worldwide, I went to Australia to help my colleagues at DDB Sydney with a campaign for one of their clients. The office there was beautiful, but more important were the people: they were welcoming, professional and smart, and they reminded me of why I like working within the DDB network so much.
I also got a chance to connect with Jens Schroeder. Longtime readers of BlogCampaigning may remember him as Schredd, one of the original authors and founders of this site. It was the first time we’d seen each other in about six years, and hopefully I convinced him to do a better job of keeping in touch.
That’s it for today’s update – hopefully I’ll be back soon.
I’m not a coder, developer or even really a hard-core gamer, but if you’ve been reading this blog long enough you know I’ve got an interest in Video Games, and how they fit today’s culture.
That’s why I love Gamer Camp, a yearly and unique Toronto event curated by Jaime Woo. It’s not about showcasing the blockbuster hits, it’s about the spirit and creativity between creating games and playing them.
There will be a board game cafe, an arcade of great indie games, and some great talks by people from different parts of the games industry.
This year, Gamer Camp has also added an extra day, The Interactive and Games Conference, that I’m excited for:
“The Interactive and Game Conference will feature 20 inspiring, useful talks from organizations and individuals bringing fresh looks to both fields in hopes of cross-pollinating and sparking cool, new ideas. (Gamercamp itself, for example, sprung out of drawing inspiration from tech, art, and culture events like TED, Come Up To My Room, and TIFF.)
Attendees can expect interesting takes on the interactive and games space including:
An in-depth session on the game design lessons from DrinkBox Studios’ critically acclaimed Guacamelee (pictured below)
National Film Board producer Gerry Flahive sharing on the award-winning interactive documentary Highrise
Mission Business, the team behind the spooky and successful interactive theatrical experience Visitations at the Drake Hotel, and
A first-look at Stringer, an immersive journalism first person videogame that places you in the middle of an Afghanistan battlefield using the Oculus Rift and Hydra technologies—a collaboration between George Brown College and Cinema Suite
Inspirations from the curator of TIFF’s innovative and popular media experience DigiPlaySpace
Demonstrations on using the creativity tools Lua and ZBrush”
If you’re in Toronto, try and attend. Details are here.
PS: The fashion/video game mashup images that will be displayed at the festival, Double Flawless, are also super cool