Week in Tech: SATA Express At Last, Not Google Glass

By Jeremy Laird on May 1st, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

And lo, on the first day of the fifth month during the year of Our Lord numbering two thousand and fourteen, verily did the first motherboard with SATA Express arrive. Well, it’s the first I’ve seen sitting in front of me outside a show floor or PR event. The board in question is a new Asus Z97 beastie. Now, by some metrics, plain old SATA has been a speed bottleneck for SSDs and in turn PCs for a while. And these new interfaces will definitely release the solid-state hounds in terms of raw data throughput. But will that actually make your PC feel faster or make any difference for games? Meanwhile, I’ve decided I’m definitely going to buy an Oculus Rift DK2 and oddly it’s Google’s Glass that’s convinced me to pull the trigger.

First, some basics. We’ve touched on this before so I won’t get too granular, but SATA Express kinda combines the best bits of SATA and PCI Express to deliver faster storage performance along with backwards compatibility with existing SATA drives.

Speeds will develop over time. The complicated bit is that SATA Express uses your PC’s PCI Express lanes. And these days, they’re located on the CPU itself.

Now, any lanes you use for your storage obviously can’t also be available for other devices. For most people, most of the time, this won’t matter. But for anyone running multi-GPU systems, this could be an issue.

Anyway, SATA Express performance will be a factor of the number and type (PCIe 2 or 3, in other words) of lanes being used. Asus’s first SATA Express boards will apparently support sequential read and write speeds of 745MB/s and 809MB/s which translates into single-lane configuration.

Give it up for the first SATA Express board from Asus.

According to Asus’s marketing spiel, that’s fast enough to copy a 10GB HD movie in ‘around 10 seconds’. The maths obviously suggest something closer to 7.5GB in 10 seconds. And even that is likely theoretical. I’ve never seen higher than around 350MB/s for actual drive-to-drive transfers on existing SATA drives which deliver 550MB/s of benchmark throughput.

In other words, this first iteration of SATA Express a la Asus is a healthy but not earth-shattering improvement. What’s more, it’s arguably random access or dealing with itty-bitty slices of data rather than shunting huge lumps of sequential data that makes a PC ‘feel’ fast.

Now, I’m not 100% clear on this next bit. But I don’t think SATA Express has any immediate implications for improving random access performance in a very strict sense. Everything about my understanding of how solid state drives operate – for whatever that is worth – tells me that random access performance is limited by the SSD controller chipset and how many I/O operations it can crunch per second.

However, with SATA Express comes a new control protocol to replace AHCI, known as NVMe. This is pretty desiccated stuff as light reading goes, but the thing to grasp is that AHCI was really designed for old-school magnetic disks. NVMe is designed for SSDs and is claimed to slash latencies by 50 per cent and generally ditch all that magnetic drive baggage. What will this mean in practice? I have no idea, but there’s got to be a chance it will deliver that thing that matters most – tangibly more responsive PCs.

It’s also true that sequentials do matter moderately for game level loads, so more basic bandwidth is likely to be a bit of a boon if not a gaming life-altering experience.

M.2 what? OK, this is getting confusing.

Two final points to finish this off are drive availability and the M.2 thing. For the first, I haven’t seen too much noise about SATA Express drive availability, but I assume things will pick up now that boards are becoming available.

As for M.2, it’s a bit confusing. It’s another new drive interface that involves small plug in boards with exposed components rather than enclosed drives like SATA SSDs. In simple terms it’s sort of a purer PCI Express based alternative that doesn’t bother with SATA Express’s backwards compatibility with plain old SATA. For me, it’s more of a mobile tech perhaps than a desktop tech as there are practical limitation though boards with both standards will become fairly common. Perhaps you’ll have your main super-fast boot drive as M.2 and then plug in secondary SSDs over SATA Express.

For now, the TL;DR summary goes like this. SATA Express has been a long time coming and it may not be be earth-shattering in the first iteration. But it does bring more than just more dumb bandwidth and it’s essential for enabling much faster drives in the future.

Irrelevant comparison? Perhaps, but Oculus Rift DK2 for $350 looks very cheap next to $1,500 Google Glass.

As for the Oculus Rift thing, allow me a little leeway here. I can’t help but notice the value delta between the upcoming DK2 kit and Google’s Glass. I happened to spend a morning with Google recently at the swanky Manhattan facility where the chosen few are invited to collect their Google Glass units and are schooled in the finer points of usage and operation (this mainly involves squawking ‘OK, Glass’ repeatedly as the futility gradually washes over you).

To cut a long story short, I thought Glass was fundamentally crap. For sure, it’s a tantalising glimpse of what will one day be possible. But in its current state, I personally decree it painful to use and pretty much pointless.

And yet somehow, Google is charging $1,500 for the privilege of buying what feels like a bit of kit in early beta at best and in many regards more like alpha. Anyway, that makes the Rift DK2 for $350 look like utterly spectacular value. For my money – and fully in the knowledge that the comparison is largely irrelevant – DK2 is a bazillion times more hardware than Google Glass and while it (DK2) is obviously not going to be the final retail experience, I have a hunch it will be much more worthwhile than Glass.

Glass is fun for about five minutes, after which you’ve seen enough and more importantly had enough. DK2 doubtless will have some rough edges, but I fancy it will be worth putting up with them. Here’s hoping.

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38 Comments »

  1. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I ordered a DK2 recently too. VEE ARR BEST VRIENDS 4EVR????
    VR. Do you see?
    But seriously. The friends thing. *stalker face*
    Talking of unbridled fear, the horror awaits you (the game, not a Markiplier video. He’s ok really)

  2. Tiberius says:

    Ugh, I was getting ready to buy a new motherboard, but now maybe I should wait for a SATA X unit. The worst part about buying PC parts is that that moment you get something, there’s already something good around the corner.

    As for Oculus 2.0, it’s definitely a better value simply because there are already developers dedicated to making actual software for it.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Well, depends.

      Unless you’re working in some sector that requires linear speed, you’re not buying an SSD for it, you’re buying it for the IOPS and in general the different agility inherent to moving electrons instead of spring loaded mechanical arms on a disk.

      I’m bottlenecked with SATA3, but i could be bottlenecked with SATA2 and i wouldn’t see a difference in my usage, as even he far less important linear performance would still be WAY over a normal HDD. So yeah, it depends.

      I personally will wait a little bit more and go for DDR4 aswell, which is another thing that is not really that relevant nowadays ( for most uses ) but i simply can’t wait too many years before upgrades!

      • bp_968 says:

        This is 100% truth. I have a ZFS based file server and have my desktops connected to it with Infinaband 10Gb/s networking. Between both arrays on the server (7200RPM 12 drive RAID6/Z2 and a 10K 8 disk RAID10) and an sata3 intel SSD I managed to get roughly 400MB/s with large ISO files as a test. An IOPS style test was peachy with the SSD and fun with the 10K RAID10. It’s was awful with the RAID6/Z2 (for reasons specific to ZFS). Regardless, the perform ac gains that you really feel come from IOPS not really from raw throughput.

        If your curious I did test that Infinaband connection to see how close to true 10GB/s it is. Between two RAM disks on two different computers I managed to pull 618MB/s which if I remember correctly is about as good as you’ll see with TCP/IP over 10Gb Infinaband. Considering the fact that you can setup an IB network for less then 40$ a node I’d say its a high speed bargain.

  3. hatseflats says:

    I was really stoked for the Oculus Rift. Was, because Facebook isn’t getting my money. I’ll just have to wait for one of the rival products. Sony has made some nice gadgets lately (mostly some brilliant smartphones) and OR shouldn’t be too difficult to build for a big company, especially not considering the rival’s product can easily be reverse engineered.

    Why Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion is beyond me, and unfortunately not only their loss, but also ours.

    • Premium User Badge

      Clavus says:

      Most of the Oculus community has long moved past the early knee-jerk reactions and analysed that the FB deal was something that was going to happen in any case, and that in the end, it’s actually a good thing it did.

      Big companies were going to buy themselves into VR soon anyway, because VR makes converts on contact. Anyone that used it can tell you it has massive potential to become something big. Now out of the big companies, you have only a limited amount of choices. Did we want Microsoft or Apple to take over Oculus? You can’t argue Oculus should’ve stayed independent, because they already ‘lost’ their independence when they took nearly a 100M of early investor money. A Kickstarter wasn’t going to keep the company running. Plus if they didn’t join a bigger company, they’d have a hard time growing and competing later.

      Facebook might seem like an odd choice, but they actually have several open software and hardware projects which set a nice precedent for the Rift to remain open to developers. FB is at its peak, and it knows it needs to diversify to survive in the future. That’s why they’re buying companies like Instagram, Whatsapp, and now Oculus. So far they haven’t been sticking any FB branding on any of those companies, because it’s quite obvious that there’s no need to and it could potentially hurt the services. FB might not have such a great reputation amongst techies and gamers in general, mainly because of the privacy issues, but beyond that it hasn’t proven itself to be completely terrible. It might actually be just the backing VR needs to flourish.

      • Bahlof says:

        Well said.

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        AngelTear says:

        The difference is that, Facebook always feels like an evil corporation in a much deeper way than any company like Sony does. It may actually be a mislead perception, but considering how cloudy some events are, when it comes to what goes on behind the curtains of these companies, that’s all we have to go on.

        (In my head, they rank Sony > Microsoft > Apple > Facebook)

        If we had more choices, none of these companies would be ideal, but since this is the pool of possibilities… There is “bad”, and then there is “Please, for the love of God, No!”

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Playstation 2 and coltan from The Democratic Republic of Congo. Gaming’s blood diamonds.

        • DrManhatten says:

          Let me rerank this for you
          Microsoft > Sony > Apple > Google > Facebook

      • Premium User Badge

        Hypocee says:

        Well, I’ve spent the last hour trying to find the quote I wanted – it’s drowned out by the FB announcement, but something like 48 hours before the news was released – the 21st or 22nd March – Luckey gave an interview stating something along the lines that a traditional app storefront wouldn’t cut it, Oculus was looking for a much more involved end-to-end content delivery system. Finding it as I did in retrospect, it’s hard not to read it as an indicator of FB’s intended involvement level given that the deal was obviously done.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          How is Facebook going to be an “end to end delivery system” for the Rift? And why would I want such a thing? I don’t need, or want any “end to end delivery system”. It’s a bad sign.

      • hatseflats says:

        The thing is, there is nothing “knee-jerk” about genuinely not liking the idea of not giving your money to a company you don’t like.

        You’re presenting us with a false dilemma here. The choice was never between working with Facebook or struggling on its own. Out of all the tech companies, Facebook is by far the worst choice in my view, as it can bring little to the table apart from money. In addition, it doesn’t immediately benefit from having this product in its portfolio, which means they will have to try to force social media on the Oculus Rift at some point. Sony, Razer or Asus, even Google, Apple or Microsoft would have been a better choice. But by far the best thing, and the most moral decision given that they raised money through Kickstarter, would’ve been to stay independent and do a joint venture with one of those companies.

      • El_Emmental says:

        FB might not have such a great reputation amongst techies and gamers in general, mainly because of the privacy issues, but beyond that it hasn’t proven itself to be completely terrible.

        It’s much more than just, “uh, privacy I guess”, it’s not about FB knowing you like latte and sending you latte-related ads (Google already does that, even by reading your Gmail emails), it’s about an entire business made solely around personal-data data-mining.

        Facebook only business experience, what their executives, investors, managers and programmers know to do is data-mining, spying on their users with incredibly smart, efficient and intelligent methods and tools, combining databases and selling these information products to marketing and profiling companies (whose work now is about manipulating people to trigger impulse purchases, not about studying the current market to meet its current actual needs like marketing initially was).

        What do you think the ~4 000 FB employees and investors will do with that 2 billion purchase ? Suddenly throw away their entire business model, their entire expertise in data-mining and marketing, their entire professional customers/associates (in the advertising, marketing and profiling business) ?

        They simply won’t, it would be risking the survival of their business with a completely new and unproven business with employees not experienced in the hardware/VR field at all – no investor or executive will ever allow that to happen.

        If you listen to the conference call they made regarding that purchase, you’ll realize they plan on fully using the Oculus as a platform to sell a wide range of experiences and services, through their own walled-garden, with the same approach to turning a technology/platform (social network for Facebook) into a “free2play” business model based on data-mining, profiling and marketing – they’ll work with the same business partners, they won’t go out of the data-mining sector and suddenly embrace hardware tech.

        nb: it should also be noted that VR and eye-tracking cameras are being used by marketing/profiling companies for several years now, to study people’s reactions to shape, forms, colours, movements, sounds, messages. Facebook’s Rift will allow them to track head movement (+ smaller head movements easily indicate reaction-based eye movements), compiling data on thousands of users.

        Like someone said elsewhere, knowing exactly how 100 000+ young teenagers react to advertisements (depending on their interests/age/social class/revenues/location – all of which can be deduced easily from other data, with very high accuracy) and what makes them purchase products/services depending on their reactions, then selling these information to unscrupulous companies, is extremely worrying. It’s very likely most VR services/experiences provided by Facebook and its partners will be “free” with such data-mining, with a purchasable opt-out option at best.

        That’s why the Oculus being bought by Facebook IS very different from being bought by a tech company already experienced in the hardware/entertainment business and not solely focused on data-mining.

        -

        Also, Facebook do not share any of the values of the techies, because they only see value (commercial value) in exploiting people’s ignorance and lack of curiosity (if people knew the full consequences of being on Facebook, many of them wouldn’t be giving away so much of their personal data).

        Unlike techies, they don’t see any value in providing a new tech that would allows users (the ones who are willing to learn and are curious) to have a better control over their digital experience.

        -

        Facebook is also rejected by gamers because it’s teaching people to over-value their IRL existence, IRL social status, IRL social rules, over any other existence/status/rules that could exist in an online community, a forum or a game.

        When you play online, you have a nickname, you follow different rules, you can much more freely talk about personal subjects and share personal opinions, without having to worry about building the IRL social image you would need to satisfy your family, friends and employers.

        Example 1: I find tax evasion the most worrying and important (long term) crime in our western societies, white collar crime should be our main priority – I can’t share that opinion IRL if I ever want a job (all large companies do that) or befriend people (half of them are doing tax “optimization” through real estate using state-sponsored mortgages).

        Example 2: Same with under-funding prisons and rehabilitation programs, punishing inmates with rape and mental+social destruction simply because we can and have a strong desire to harm someone (as a scapegoat pinata), revenge over justice (for all), death penalty, etc. Never disclose that in public, they’ll call you a rapist/child molester apologist, a psycho that should be locked up in prison with no mental disorder treatment (because crazy people are crazy and deserve all of our wrath – a shame we can no longer exterminate them because it’s “bad” according to “some” people).

        Facebook is teaching all the new generations that the IRL world is like the online world (with the same social rules), that everything online should be fully public and searchable, all that being linked to your IRL identity.

        -

        The real threat to VR that the Facebook buyout represents is regarding the Oculus’ technology, the VR sector and the Oculus platform.

        1) On the technology, Facebook now fully owns the Oculus intellectual property, from patents to software (in several countries, software are covered by copyright and not patents) – they can use that to set up a monopoly, to prevent a small startup from making its own VR headset, to prevent developers from making their own solutions, experiences or hardware improvement kits.

        Facebook haven’t released a legally-binding statement regarding their stance on it (and they won’t), they briefly said they’ll stay “open”. You know, “open”, like Apple is “open”.

        2) On the VR sector, Oculus got a massive head start in the sector, thanks to the KS backers + Rift pre-orders (millions of dollars) + VR developers + VR enthusiasts, who proved to the tech sector that the tech AND the population was ready for the VR rebirth, by doing several millions of dollars worth of experience development / marketing/PR promotion (FOR FREE !) of the VR tech and the Oculus Rift (through free VR experiences, demoing it at conferences/public events, online videos showing the reactions of the users, spreading the word around them to 10-15 people and more, etc). No one ever did that for the Zune or Facebook, there’s very good reasons why it was specifically done with the Oculus.

        That massive support, done for free by the VR community, was only given to Oculus because it was independent enough that it would set an open and dynamic standard in the new VR sector – helping Oculus becoming the leading actor would prevent the large companies, hostile to innovation and changes, from crippling down the market to maximize their short term profits.

        Now that Facebook 100% own Oculus, the spearhead just went to a very large company relying on a speculation bubble (social networks have a rather short life expectancy – see myspace and all the others we already forgotten – that’s why they bought Instagram & co), that will have to recoup the cost and increase cash flow in the very short term to simply survive (as a large tech company – they’re no longer a startup).

        It wouldn’t be a problem, if they weren’t the ones actually shaping the new VR sector: what they’ll do will define how we monetize/sell/buy/build/share in the VR sector – and that definition will be done by data-miners and marketers, not tech enthusiasts who have their own values and philosophy regarding VR and technology.

        The norm will be written by the hands of people who see no problem in building entire profiles on your online browsing, interests and social interactions, mimicking the intelligence agencies (exact same methods), to sell it to manipulative marketing/profiling agencies (who proved countless times that they are completely amoral).

        It will not be written by people who read sci-fi, Asimov & the likes, who discussed and debated about technology, society, life and humanity on a daily basis and for several decades. See the massive difference ?

        3) It’s pretty obvious the Oculus’ head start + Facebook financial and business/marketing support will put it as the central platform for anything related to VR, at least for the next 3-4 years. It will shape the VR world, and Facebook will be in charge of the main platform. They’ll be the one deciding who can commercially survive on it, and who can’t.

        We already saw how it works with the Apple Store, where competition (regarding Apple’s products) is mercilessly crushed and “american” values on sexuality/religion/politics are strictly enforced.

        Sure, they won’t fully ban something they don’t approve (at least not on the first few versions of the Rift) with a DRM encryption chip, and people will very likely be able to jailbreak it anyway – but it will leave 99% of the potential audience out of the loop, if you ever disobey Facebook’s rules regarding VR.

        “Think of the children” and you can’t deliver war/violent/torture/politically charged/accusatory experiences on the Oculus platform. Or if you ever want to launch your own VR service, that happens to be directly competing with a VR service Facebook is about to release 6 months later, you won’t be able to do that. Same if you want to build a VR social network (less crippled with ads), or a VR extension that blocks data-mining (through various means, some perfectly legal and allowed by the EULA) in Facebook’ VR services.

        Games/interactive stories like the ones Molleindustria are doing, could very likely be banned from the main platform because it’s too shocking to denounce US/Europe-backed UAV strikes, child labour or modern economical colonialism. Same with the intelligence agencies torture centers around the world, the worrying issues related to the data-mining sector, the tax evasion of large tech companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, etc) – any topic that would start political troubles in the western world would have to stay outside (the middle-east political troubles are okay as long as it’s approved by the US/Europe world – not so much with Africa, we need our dictators to keep the ore mines running, to feed the tech industry for example).

        That’s something most people won’t care about because all they want is 3D Call of Duty and 3D Candy Crush, and that’s also something Facebook doesn’t care about (since it doesn’t bring profits or positive market visibility of their platform) – the only people who would care about such “details” are techies, the only people who understand the importance of the philosophy of a platform, its openness, and the difference between “free” (as in freedom) and “open” software/hardware/development.

        That’s the main thing that was lost when the Oculus founders sold the company to Facebook, actual fundamental values, and that’s why there’s still people genuinely worried about the future of VR and the Oculus platform.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          What he said. The Oculus Rift is dead to me. There will be better choices for VR headsets.

        • DrManhatten says:

          Major kudus for an excellent analysis on the problem and for drawing the right conclusions! Well done!

  4. Moraven says:

    Think my laptop has two mSATA slots. Seems M.2 is an updated version of it that allows more on the same space. downside is not having a place in my PC to be able to use mSATA/M.2 if I want to switch out and use old drives. Hopefully that changes.

    Soon your hard drive bay will look like those server blade that you see in movies where the good guy has to switch out the chips quickly to save the day and stop the Doomsday device.

    • Sakkura says:

      SATA Express is a successor to SATA.
      M.2 is (sort of) a successor to mSATA.

      The difference being that SATA Express is backwards compatible, M.2 isn’t.

      There are already a few desktop motherboards with M.2 support, and many more right around the corner with Intel’s 9 series chipsets.

      • Insurgence says:

        With out the extra baggage of a cover/case, the mSATA and M.2 form factors are also primarily for smaller form factors not larger. That does not preclude them from being used on larger more spacious form factors, it just makes it less beneficial. So the best place for mSATA and M.2 to be used are going to be cramped PC form factors like mATX, mITX and laptops, set-top boxes, or mobile devices.

        Although I personally like the idea of having a mSATA or M.2 device as my primary OS drive, and using the other connectors as secondary. Not sure why, but I get kind of hard at that thought. I think it’s part of my OCD personality.

  5. DanMan says:

    They’re calling the people wearing them Glassholes already. ‘Nuff said. It’s a privacy right nightmare which I don’t support.

    • Phier says:

      You realize that its trivial to buy a “spy cam” that either is on glasses or a pen for about $100-$50? The privacy thing with G glasses is sort of a silly point. If someone wants to record you, they can.

      • Premium User Badge

        AngelTear says:

        Yeah, but with a spy cam, you actually need a physical person to put it in the right place etc, and still, what you acquire is for “personal use”; if you wear GoogleGlasses it feels like you’re actually an agent working for Google, you may be spying on your friends on their behalf (with all that it entails, in terms of cataloguing people and using that information against them) and not even knowing you are doing it.

        Too conspirational?

      • Premium User Badge

        slerbal says:

        That spycam comment is disingenuous and is like saying “Why worry about being stabbed in the eye when some guy can stab you in the throat?” Personally, I’d rather not be stabbed at all…

        • Phier says:

          You can buy WEARABLE spy cams for glasses, hats, pens etc. At least with GG you know you might be being recorded. I’m not worried about my privacy because its been gone for a long time now.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            That’s a pure theorycrafting. Yes, you can, but noone besides few weirdos and proffesionals buys them. Oh… And an important, gigantic difference that you totally don’t understand: these just record, while GGlass actively analyses picture, cad do a facial recognition and send all the data it wants to google or any of the US agencies entitled to gain access.

          • frightlever says:

            “theorycrafting”

            Insert Princess bride quotation here.

          • Phier says:

            *Sigh* Luckily for you guys, I hear you can protect yourself from this with a thin layer of tinfoil.

          • PopeRatzo says:

            No, you’re privacy is not gone. You wanna give it away, go ahead, but don’t pretend it’s “been gone a long time”.

            You don’t want to know what having no privacy feels like.

      • Jools says:

        You understand that the problem is what’s considered socially acceptable, right? If you found out that the guy you just met at the bar was wearing a spy camera and recording you, well, you’d be rightfully creeped out. You’d probably be weirded out by someone holding their phone up in your face all the time. Google Glass is a product which by design makes it seem like you’re recording the people around you, even if you’re not. There’s nothing wrong with people having a negative reaction to that.

        • Geebs says:

          On the social acceptability scale, Glass is just above having really, really shiny toe caps on your shoes. Buying a spycam is creepy enough that most people would only do it if they had a specific motive; Glass is there all the time.

          If we are making some slightly forced comparisons between the rift and glass, however, I propose to offer 20 quid to anybody willing to walk down the street wearing the rift. For scientific purposes, obviously.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            I’ll do it if you give me a guide dog

          • El_Emmental says:

            Lend me a Rift, I’ll hook it up to my laptop in my backpack, duct tape two webcam on each sides of the Rift et voila !

            (I would seriously do that… a shame I will never give my money to Facebook :/)

            You know what would make it socially acceptable ? Put a popular tech/luxury brand name on it, people will accept anything that is upper-class or tech-trendy.

          • PopeRatzo says:

            OK, I’ve actually seen someone wearing an Oculus Rift on the street. I think there was some kind of party across the street from my house, and I’m walking the dog, and I see a twenty-something with the Rift propped up on his head (not covering his eyes, obv). It’s about nine at night and I had to make sure. I asked him, “Is that an Oculus Rift?” and he proudly said, “Yep” and probably wondered how the old man knew what an Oculus Rift was and whether this meant is was not going to be cool much longer.

            Joke’s on him. It’s already not cool.

      • Insurgence says:

        Honestly, I’m not to worried about privacy from glass like devices. I do find it funny that there is so much drama over it. If you actually take a look at a few laws in some states that have laws against recording of people without consent. This could actually put glass users at risk if they do not use due dilligence when publishing any form of photo, video or audio taken with the device.

        I do believe that with the increased available of smaller, more concealable recording devices that laws do need to be update to properly protect our privacy nation wide (not necessarily federally, but each state needs to), but beyond that, I am not to worked up about it. I just look at most of them and think douche bag like I do with those people who walk around with their bluetooth headsets on all the time, even when not using them. Then I quickly hope they get brain cancer and forget about them.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Every time I see or hear of Google Glass I can’t help but think of the Black Mirror episode “The Entire History Of You”. Gulp.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Hypocee says:

    In response to that admittedly irrelevant comparison of the value proposition of a wearable computer and waveguide information HUD versus a dumb full VR display, I’m going to indulge in one more notification that there’s a choice available to split the difference at worst, and get the best of both worlds at best: CastAR. USD300 for surface AR, surface-free AR and full VR from light, comfortable, efficient, eyeglasses-compatible hardware.

    By itself it’s the same dumb display and tracker proposition as the Rift, with the addition of a 3D physical manipulator if you want it. However it’s just USB and HDMI, and TI is targeting Android. I have dreams of ARM Linux on a hundred bucks’ worth of busted/obsolete 3D-equipped Android handset, maybe with a Raspberry Pi strapped on to speak USB, forming a sub-$600 total, fully custom, full AR wearable rig. Now that’s a bit of a joke, given that I’m currently bashing my brains out against a simple Access database design, but you know what, I still intend to give it a try and there’s always a good chance that someone smarter than me shares my tastes.

    I’ve cast a fairly comprehensive eye over the HMD world lately; there are also the Spaceglasses from Meta, or possibly vice versa, which provide a fairly serious AR display and wearable system…with a nasty Leap/Kinect interface and no VR function, for $4000. The website is utterly sexy and fun to look at, though.

  7. DrManhatten says:

    Problem is the same hold true for Occulus Rift it is fun for 5-10 minutes and then the crap resolution really gets on your nerves. Dk2 isn’t that much better it is HD but that still is not enough. And it will not get any better than this in the near future.

    • james___uk says:

      Well the resolution is bad on the first one but on the second one, whilst you can slightly see the pixels still it’s a massive improvement, to complain about the resolution then from my experience is going overboard, if you don’t like the oculus even with the higher resolution then VR just isnt for you. I thought it was fantastic