Smart House

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

Aside from my day job, I do a little side hustle in the form of dog- and house-sitting for neighbors and friends. More so for the comfort of the animals, I stay at their homes instead of having them at my house or even just popping in on them a couple of times a day. Besides enjoying my time with the pets, it’s fun being in a different house for a little while.

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Anybody remember that movie from the Disney channel, Smart House? It was about a family — single dad, two kids, a dog — that won a contest that gave them a completely automated house. This was released in 1999, way before the likes of Amazon’s Alexa devices or Google Home. I remember being completely fascinated by the “technology” — rather, the special effects — of Smart House and wondered what it would be like to live in such a house.

In Smart House, the programming had its own room and this giant computer-like device for all the commands. Nowadays, you can have a smart home with a couple of voice-activated devices, subtler way to help make you feel like you were on the bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek.

At the time of this post, I am actually dog- and house-sitting for a neighbor and, honestly, their house is the closest thing to Disney’s Smart House that I’ve ever seen. They have several Alexa devices in the house, many responding to different names (including one using the wake-word “Computer,” for that Star Trek effect), and most of the lights and other electronics are connected to them somehow. Their security system is also not something to be trifled with. Completely modern, I am always eager to see what kind of tech upgrades were done to the house in between my dog-sitting sessions.

On the flip-side, there’s another family that I have dog- and house-sat for once before (and will again in the winter), and they have a beautiful house. However, their house is also older and much more old-fashioned. They have some beautiful, original architecture and, unlike the house I’m in now, gets their heat from naked radiators rather than having central air and heat.

The two houses are polar opposites of each other, but each are beautiful in their own ways. Yet, it also makes me wonder what other kinds of home advancements will be made in the future?

Do you remember Disney’s Smart House? What do you think of smart homes? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Google’s Project Stream

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

While every gamer has their favorite console, PC games and services that help to stream the games to computers have always been a contender in the “console wars” as well.

djgooglestream

Google is joining the streaming field with a little thing called Project Stream. It aims to be able to successfully run any game on any laptop or PC. It’s in beta mode at the moment and only runs Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but if it works like it promises, it could be yet another platform to play games.

Has anyone tried out Google’s Project Stream? I’ll admit that I haven’t. The writer of the article that I saw about it found it favorable, though. It’ll definitely be an interesting option when it comes to playing video games. We have Steam to help keep our PC games all together, but just going onto our browser to play a game may be the simpler way to go.

How would this change the home console scene? If we could just stream games from our laptop browsers, would home consoles become obsolete? Not only that, but more and more games are coming to mobile. In fact, Microsoft is starting a project as well that will bring AAA games to mobile, helping to broaden where and when players play their games.

It’s a wonder how browser streams will effect the home consoles.

Have you tried Google’s Project Stream? What do you think of browser streams for video games?

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VR Pitfalls

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, folks!

Talking again about virtual reality, this post is mainly about my reservations about this section of the video game market. Virtual reality is amazing, but there is definitely room for improvement…

Google has joined the smart phone race with their new Pixel phone. I think it looks pretty good, and I’m not ruling it out the next time I need to upgrade my phone, but I also realized that Google has a VR headset — called Daydream — to go with the Pixel.

It made me realize that there’s quite a few VR sets out there on the market. The Vive, the Playstation VR, Samsung Gear VR, Google’s Daydream… As a kid, virtual reality was a distant dream. Now, we suddenly have all these options, all these companies vying for a piece of the action.

Virtual Reality headsets are, more or less, special goggles that go right in front of your eyes. As a kid, Mom and Dad constantly told me not to sit so close to the television lest my eyes get ruined (and now I wear glasses for distance — coincidence?). The VR headsets just toss that piece of advice out the window.

With that said, do these VR headsets have a time limit? Being immersed in a video game such as that for so long isn’t healthy at all. If the headsets have, say, an hour time limit, that may be good. Perhaps that’s why the Batman: Arkham VR is only about an hour long.

The wires and set up can be dangerous as well. Virtual Reality games tend not to have the player move much, avoiding the danger of tripping over wires and speakers, but the immersion aspect is ruined. Maybe one day there will be a VR set that has a treadmill-like mat, one that allows the player to walk around in place.

Overall, I would still love to try out virtual reality games, but I’m also eager to see how this particular corner of the video game market will improve over time.