At Oculus Connect this past weekend I spent about ten minutes using Gear VR during a late-night reception, testing out a few demos. If you've used either of the two Rift development kits (affectionately termedDK1 and DK2), you already know that's a fairly impressive figure. The Note 4 clicks into the casing with a simple push, and from there it's the same old Rift tradition: Put on Rift, put on headphones, put controller on your lap so you can find it later. That last part is important because Gear VR has one huge feature that I now desperately hope makes it into the consumer Rift modela€”basic controls mounted on the headset.
Gear VR also gives us our first glimpse of the integrated Oculus storefront, here called Oculus Home. I'm a games writer and I went to the Gear VR demo to play games, but surprisingly the thing that stuck with me most was Oculus Cinema.
I didn't watch a full film on the device, if only because there were no full films loaded, but I did watch a dozen or so trailers.
The author, taking a selfie while using the Gear VR in a situation withA utterly terrible lighting. Most of the games I played were games I've already tried on the Rift, such as Lucky's Tale, so I won't bother talking much about them. The Gear VR's optics don't seem quite perfect yet, and I noticed some slight warping of the image at certain angles or when turning my head quickly, almost as if the lenses weren't quite adjusted right. John Carmack opened his keynote the other day talking about what he sees as the device's faults, so in fairness I'll list them here: It only refreshes at 60Hz instead of the 90Hz Oculus sees as a baseline, and there's no position tracking. And finally, the Note 4 gets hot when it's acting as the display and processing brains for the Gear VR. I don't know how long you'd have to run Gear VR for that warning to pop up normallya€”obviously we were using demo units that were running for at least forty minutes before I ever got my hands on them.
PCWorld helps you navigate the PC ecosystem to find the products you want and the advice you need to get the job done. Microsoft is sending its Office clip art to the digital beyond, where it shall rest in glory with Clippy, Zune, and the rest of the Redmond saints. In other words, those wonky, yet charming images that graced countless PowerPoint presentations are in their last days. When you want to add an image to your file, head to the ribbon and click Insert, then Online Pictures.
Microsoft did not indicate when it would exactly be eliminating Office Clip Art, so it could hang around for some timea€”though it didna€™t exactly sound like that in Microsofta€™s memo. Binga€™s Image search is your best option for finding and inserting images inside of an Office file. By default, Bing presents images that are licensed through Creative Commons, meaning their owner allows anyone to use, publish, or redistribute them without a copyright claim. If you use copyrighted images, youa€™re setting yourself up to get a nasty letter from the company or whomever holds the copyright to the images.
If youa€™re all-in with Microsoft then therea€™s a chance youa€™re using OneDrive as your cloud backup service. Therea€™s a reason Google still has the bulk of search market share; ita€™s usually better than the competition at finding exactly what youa€™re looking for.


Yet again you have the ability to make sure youa€™re not violating copyright law by restricting the search to free-to-use images. Once youa€™ve used Bing, OneDrive, or Google search to find pictures youa€™ll forget all about those zany Clip Art images. I've talked a lot of smack about its Gear VR headset, from the day we first heard the rumor that "Samsung is getting into virtual reality." It seemed like a disaster in the makinga€”a desperate cash grab that was going to poison the VR well before Oculus even made it to market. Then I was so impressed I asked Oculus PR to take me back to Gear VR the next day, where I sat and messed around with the headset for another forty minutes. If Samsung's implementation of VR were wrong, I would've lasted five to ten minutes at most before being hit with nausea.
It's basically just a plastic headband with a Galaxy Note 4 phablet strapped to the front, so it feels a lot less cumbersome than the DK2 (though the lighter-feeling Crescent Bay prototype comes close).
DK2 apparently has a bit of this functionalitya€”tapping the side of the headset will shake the sensor in a specific manner and trigger a "confirm" response, but it's far from having full control.
And by stuck with me most I mean "has probably killed movie theaters for me." I've used other movie apps for the DK1 and DK2 and VR Cinema in particular is fantastic. You can watch films in a standard cinema experience, a home theater, or on the friggin' moon with Earth circling above. Other demos allowed me to watch films in super-widescreen, as if I were watching a movie stretched across three computer monitors.
Now, who knows what business model Oculus Cinema will launch with, and how you'll be able to purchase IMAX-quality films, but the Gear VR's 1440 resolution and light weight made it so watching a full film with that device strapped to my face no longer seemed like a fool's errand.
Still, it's a bit worrisome to see that warning pop up, and I can't help but wonder how it'll effect the longevity of the Note 4 considering that's not exactly a cheap device. Far from poisoning the VR well, Samsung's Gear VR might actually be the thing that helps it go mainstream, considering you don't need a fancy PC to run it, you don't need to attach a cable to the side of your head, and you can run many of the most mainstream VR experiences without ever needing to pull it off your face. The good news is that Office already has better options for spicing up your files than relying on the dated and questionable-looking Clip Art. Herea€™s a rundown of your best options for grabbing the clip art thata€™s still therea€”and learning some new strategies for better images. Sure, Bing may not be your search engine of choice but ita€™s actually rather good, especially at finding photos and other types of art to use. This may sound like legalese nonsense at first, but ita€™s actually pretty important, especially if youa€™re presenting your images or publishing a Word document as a flyer or other kind of print version. If ita€™s possible that your work may see public eyes in any form, make sure youa€™re in the clear by sticking with licensed work. If so, then importing your own images into Office is way easier than digging through the Windows file menu. After conducting a search, youa€™ll see different sub categories with previews of other image groups.
Well, some of them are hard to forgeta€”but at least you wona€™t be caught using them again. Back at E3 I even asked Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell whether they were worried at all about Samsung, which seems especially ironic in retrospect considering the two companies are partnering up for Gear VR. Every time you want to do anything outside the Rift (like launch a new demo), you're forced to pull the headset off and mess around on your PC monitor.


There's a touchpad integrated into the side of Gear VR, and navigation is as simple as swiping left and right on the touchpad, aiming your head at the demo you want to play, and tapping to enter. As a result, I played maybe ten or fifteen demos on Gear VR without ever taking the headset off or even using the gamepad.
All feature dynamic lighting reflections, so you get a sense of these settings being realistic from the way light bounces off the seats or lunar rocks. I'm excited for a future where I can load up Netflix in my Rift or Gear VR and watch a film like it's in a private movie theater on the moon. Oculus also showed off a repository of 360 degree videos and photos, such as one where I watched a guy play music in his home studio or a brief clip of a circus performance. There were five songs included in the demo and I ran through every single one of them, just to see more. You won't be seeing a high-end title like Elite: Dangerous on Gear VR anytime soon, but for the low-poly, stylized demos we see quite often on the Rift, Gear VR works great.
For example, Officea€™sA integrated Bing Images search is solid, parsing the web for copyright-free images that you can use to bring some life to the staid world of business presentations. Ita€™ll appear directly in the file, allowing you to re-size and move it anywhere you wish. The latter made me jump when I turned to the left and saw a guy in weird makeup staring right into the camera and waving at me. The visualizer puts you on a cartoony tropical beach, where every single object moves to the beat; for instance, the waves pulse up and down to the rhythm. I shot down planes, I solved part of a locked-room mystery, and I played the arcade classic Breakout in full 3D. It's an awkward shape, not really fitting into my hands comfortably no matter how much I shifted.
One demo even put me in the pilot seat of a Pacific Rim Jaeger, where I duked it out with a Kaiju. Focusing on certain "special objects" then causes them to fill your entire frame of vision, providing a more traditional visualizer experience.
All of this went down without a hitch, and not having a cable tethered to the side of your head makes things like "spinning rapidly in circles in a desk chair" a lot less scary. Instead of analog sticks it uses slidepads that are recessed into the controller, and the D-pad is another circle that halfheartedly tilts slightly to the side when pressed.
Carmack talked during his keynote about how Samsung allows Oculus to effectively run the device at its full processing power for far longer than it would during normal usage, which creates heating problems due to the passive (no fans) cooling of a mobile device. The moon, for instance, becomes a pulsing ball that expands and contracts, while the sun becomes a crazy kaleidoscope of colors.



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