Apr 282016
 

About a month ago, I was contacted by the Kano team and was offered an awesome chance to try out their amazing Kano Computer kit.

I received it earlier this month but didn’t get to play with it until now, but as they say, patience is a virtue!
But without further ado, lets start having a look at the Kano Computer Kit.
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Apr 232016
 

For those who actually do follow my blog, you may have noticed the lack of posts recently. This has been because I’ve moved house!
But I do have some posts that I really do need to get to, and also still need to try and set up my workspace so I can get back to putting up quality posts.

For those who would like to check out what I have coming up, keep reading!
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Mar 082016
 

This post is more of a note to myself on how to install the proprietary nVidia drivers on a fresh Debian install as I keep forgetting which packages I need!

After recently reinstalling Jessie onto a computer with an older Geforce card, I had to install an older version of the drivers (340.96).

From a fresh install, I needed to install the following packages:

gcc
make
linux-headers-3.16.0-4-amd64

# apt-get install gcc make linux-headers-3.16.0-4-amd64

The kernel version above will change as time goes on, so you can substitute the version number with $(uname -r) – e.g. apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Once the packages are installed, you need to make sure the gcc version that your kernel was compiled with matches your current compiler.
You can find out what version your kernel was compiled with by checking the contents of /proc/version
# cat /proc/version
Linux version 3.16.0-4-amd64 (debian-kernel@lists.debian.org) (gcc version 4.8.4 (Debian 4.8.4-1) ) #1 SMP Debian 3.16.7-ckt20-1+deb8u4 (2016-02-29)

In my case, my kernel was compiled with gcc-4.8, so I had to also install gcc-4.8.
# apt-get install gcc-4.8

Once the compiler was installed, I also need to set the CC environment variable so that the correct compiler is used to compile the nVidia driver.
# export CC=gcc-4.8

Now that everything is setup, I can run the nVidia installer to install the drivers.

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Feb 172016
 

Since I found out about Google Cardboard, I’d always wanted to try it out, however could never bring myself to spend over $20 AUD for what was essentially some cardboard bits and pieces and lenses, or spend over $40 to get a pair of VR Goggles that may or may not accommodate my glasses.

However, the people over at GearBest have got me covered again!
They’ve kindly sent me a pair of BOBOVR Z3 Goggles to try out, and safe to say I’m impressed.

Getting it

The package arrived in a cardboard box with the logo and goggles inscribed on the outside.

My new toy!

My new toy!

When I opened the package, I found the goggles, the English and Chinese Instruction booklet, a cleaning cloth, and a warranty Certificate (I assume. It’s in Chinese and my Chinese is very very rusty…).

Opening my new toy!

Opening my new toy!

Everything that came with my new toy.

Everything that came with my new toy.

Using it

The Goggles are big enough to fit up to a 6″ Phone, which means that my Sony Xperia Z2 fits snugly inside it.
Adjusting the goggles is very easy as the straps are secured with Velcro, however the stitching may not hold up if the goggles are repeatedly adjusted.
Lens adjustment is also extremely easy with the knobs on either side to adjust focal distance, and a roller on top to adjust the distance between your eyes.

Putting the goggles on was easy for me. I must have an average sized head as the goggles needed little adjustment to fit comfortably. The padding that seals your face against the goggles is comfortably soft, however it feels like the sort of padding that may start flaking after a few years of wear.

The goggles aren’t extremely heavy, but you can definitely feel the weight on your face when you put them on.
The goggles weigh about 300 grams empty, so adding a phone into that could bring the weight up to ~600 grams.
Wearing these for a long time while sitting up might give you a sore neck, but if you’re sitting in a comfortable chair and leaning back, you probably wouldn’t notice the extra weight.

The goggles also compensate for my short-sighted eyes as I don’t need my glasses at all when wearing these goggles! While this is useful for myself, users with other eye disorders that require glasses may not be able to use these goggles as glasses are not compatible.

Phoning it

Opening the goggles to fit the phone in requires a little bit of force as the magnet that holds the lid shut is quite strong, which is probably a good thing if you’re flinging your head around when you play VR games.

There are big slots on either end of the goggles, and some vents on the front. The slots are for headphone cabling and probably also to accommodate phones with speakers.

You can see through the big slots here

You can see through the big slots here

Cons

Cooling on these goggles isn’t the best, however you will find that all goggles that seal a phone within a compartment will likely have the same issue. My Xperia Z2 was a little toasty after riding a virtual roller coaster for about 10 minutes.
The headset also doesn’t include the magnetic button to interact with the phone while it’s sitting in the goggles, necessitating an external input device of some sort. Unfortunately the bluetooth joystick/remote is sold separately to the goggles.

Overview

For slightly under $27 AUD at the time of writing, these goggles are a bargain in my opinion.
They’re comfortable to wear, and as a bonus for myself – I don’t need glasses to use these, unlike the Oculus rift (though the Rift I tried out was the developer kit).
The goggles feel solidly built, and don’t rattle too much when you fling your head around.
If you’re a fan of Google Cardboard or VR, do yourself a favour and pick up a set of these goggles!

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