YipiY team meets the Black Bears in Plovdiv

Visiting our development studio in Plovdiv and working hard to finish our new project – the YipiY news game, a 2.0 version of the NRC nieuwsquiz that we developed a few years ago. In the off-hours testing the Oculus DK2, playing music and computer games.

And we have a company mascot! An owl has settled across our office to keep an eye on us.

Public Wi-Fi networks: use with caution

Using a public Wi-Fi network is a bliss for those who mind their data bundles, want to prevent roaming costs or simply have no other choice.  It is just that a few of us know how little it takes for a hacker with average skills to retrieve our personal information.  Exposed by Maurits Martijn in his article “What we give away when we log on to a public Wi-Fi network“.

What to do then if avoiding public Wi-Fi networks is not an option?  There are a few alternatives as suggested by the author in his other piece “How to safely use a public Wi-Fi network“- setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or using the network of your mobile (telecom) operator.

The Development Abstraction Layer

So, the trick of running a successful software company is not even the flawless code or brilliant marketing multiplied by ambitious sales team. It is what Joel Spoelsky called the Development Abstraction Layer … back in 2006.

Some essential basics for anyone running or wishing to start his own development venture: “Management’s primary responsibility to create the illusion that a software company can be run by writing code, because that’s what programmers do. And while it would be great to have programmers who are also great at sales, graphic design, system administration, and cooking, it’s unrealistic. Like teaching a pig to sing, it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.

Voice is the next big thing in mobile

How big is the chance of a nightmare scenario for mobile operators in which the voice contact points become as free-form as the messaging contact points have become? Think of moving your voice completely to a social app and not just for on-net, e.g. Skype-to-Skype, calls.

Benedict Evans predicts that the chances are big and that it can happen any time soon.

Virtual Reality: Presence in … absence?

This week Donald has been shining as never before. And he has a good reason for it since he has become a lucky owner the Oculus DK2, a headset with the second generation development kit that lets step inside the games and virtual worlds. And while Cees must patiently wait for his exemplar to arrive and Elena has just started to get into the concept, Donald has been enlightening us about the Presence and how addictive it is.

So what is this Presence about? According to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe: “The sense of presence in Virtual Reality is something fundamentally new. For the first time your brain says: o.k. I’ve been comfortable in this environment. I know it is not real but I think it is”.

How they achieve this, is summarized by Ben Lang is his article “Oculus Shares 5 Key Ingredients for Presence in Virtual Reality“. We of course are keen to experience it ourselves – and Donald has promised to bring his Oculus to the office soon!

In the meantime there are more ways to experience the Presence even without the Oculus headset. Check this audio work from QSound Labs! You need to put your headphones on and close your eyes …

Stumble upon a bear: naïve art and music

Black bears are found only in North America so the chance of stumbling upon our mate in nature is pretty small (and to be honest none of us would really want to meet one).  What is really interesting is to see that the creature is being loved not only by our company! So we are starting to collect all (black) bears that we come across.

These postcards are production of the Dutch artist Lieke van der Vorst that Elena has spotted in the cafe “Buutvrij” in Tilburg.

When it comes to music we make an exception an accept all entries that has a ‘bear’ in it (it has be to a plain bear though). In the past weeks we’ve discovered these artists randomly via Spotify: Message to Bears, the musical alias of English composer and multi-instrumentalist Jerome Alexander, and Minus The Bear, an American indie rock band from Seattle, Washington.