Apple Announces Metal 2, External GPU Support, and Steam VR at WWDC 2017

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple revealed the new Metal 2 API at WWDC 2017
  • Metal for VR was announced as well
  • Support for Steam VR, Unity, and Unreal was confirmed too

Aside from announcing macOS High Sierra, Apple at WWDC 2017 revealed the new Metal 2 graphics API which the company claims will make code run 10x faster versus last-gen Metal. Also, Metal for VR was announced as well. There are driver optimisations, indirect argument buffers, and sampler arrays to name a few improvements for creators.

Furthermore, Metal will now support external graphics via a Thunderbolt port with the Metal 2 developer kit that ships with the recently announced AMD Radeon RX 580 GPU.

To drive home Apple’s commitment to creators, the company stated that Metal 2 will support the Steam VR SDK as well as Unity and Unreal Engine. Combined with external GPU support, it means you should be able to use HTC Vive on the Mac.

Does this mean Apple’s hardware will actually work with everything in your Steam library as well as it does on a Windows PC? Not really. But it is a statement of intent. Combined with renewed focus on creators, it could have more than enough to give Microsoft and Oculus cause for concern.

“That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it,” Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said last year. He went on to clarify the meaning behind his statement and said it’s down to how Apple doesn’t provide high-end GPUs in its computers, which is essential to running the demanding Oculus Rift VR platform.

“You can buy a $6,000 (Rs. 4,00,000) Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn’t match our recommended specs. So if they prioritise higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it.”

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Doom VFR and Fallout 4 VR Announced at Bethesda E3 2017

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Doom VR is announced as Doom VFR
  • Fallout 4 VR will be out in October
  • No release date for Doom VFR has been given

Doom is getting a VR version. Called Doom VFR it was announced by Bethesda at its E3 2017 conference. In addition to this, the company also revealed Fallout 4 in VR, dubbed as the first open-world game completely made in VR.

Doom VFR will be available on PS VR and HTC Vive. Fallout 4 VR will be available for HTC Vive in October. No date for Doom VFR has been given just yet.

This marks Bethesda first attempt at bringing its IPs to VR. With Fallout and Doom, it seems that VR will get a shot in the arm it so drastically needs.

For what its worth we found Doom to be one of the better games of 2016. Bethesda had the right idea in mind when it brought back Wolfenstein, and reviving Doom back after a prolonged spell in development hell is just as welcome. The game offers more than enough for fans to sink their teeth into, while it injects some purely-optional new ideas to keep in-step with modern games.

How Fallout 4’s dystopia translates to VR would be interesting. With an immersive world, open-ended gameplay options, and so much to do, Fallout 4 is well worth the price of entry. Chances are, you’ll be spending a lot of time in Boston. We know we have and will be in the months to come.

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Google Daydream View VR Headset Launched in India at Rs. 6,499

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Daydream View VR headset available for Rs. 6,499
  • Apps include YouTube VR, Street View, Play Movies and more
  • Daydream supported phones include Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and Moto ZGoogle’s Daydream View VR headset is now available in India priced at Rs. 6,499. The VR headset has been listed on Flipkart and will include the controller as well. The headset was first made available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany back in November last year.

    The headset is being offered on Flipkart with 5 percent off for Axis Bank Buzz Credit Cards and Rs. 300 cash back on payment through PhonePe. EMI options are also available and each pair of headset comes with 1 year of warranty. First 30 customers to buy Google Daydream View VR via Flipkart will also receive Google Chromecast for free, while the first 50 customers will receive a Google Play Store Credit worth Rs. 500.

    The Daydream View VR headset functions along the lines of Samsung’s Gear VR and you will need Daydream-supported smartphones for the headset to work. As of now, the list of phones that support Daydream is small with the likes of Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and Moto Z, to name a few and will also come to Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ soon. So, for those considering to buy the headset in India may want to check they have a Daydream-ready smartphone first.

  • google daydream vr google
  • The Daydream View VR headset is made up of a lightweight fabric for a comfortable feel. The controller lets you interact with the virtual world, letting you take various actions with help of motion and gesture sensors and physical buttons. The Daydream app that houses a collection of apps and games for Daydream-ready phones. The YouTube VR app will let you watch 3D or standard 360-degree videos with the Daydream View headset. The Street View app lets you tour over 150 popular real-world places, while Play Movies offers some VR-ready movies. Third-party developers too provide Daydream-ready content via their apps.

    “Daydream View promises users a mesmerising experience. Swim with a pod of dolphins, stand at the edge of a volcano and even visit Pluto with Daydream View. Users can teleport from virtually anywhere to pretty much everywhere. Our aim is to make the VR experience mobile so that customers can easily carry it anywhere with them. We at Google are also working with developers, smartphone companies, and content creators to make VR accessible to all,” said Clay Bavor, Vice President of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality at Google.

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Data Lakes: Insights From The Deep

Data Lakes: Insights from the Deep

The next generation of big data technology will lead to insights and correlations that reveal new strategies and even new business models.

I recently wrote an article called Data Lakes: Insight from the Deep with SAP Big Data expert John Schitka. It includes best practices for implementing data lakes in your organization, which are complementary to traditional data warehouses:

“There have been so many millions of dollars going to data warehousing over the last two decades. The idea that you’re just going to move it all into a data lake isn’t going to happen” — Mike Ferguson, managing director of Intelligent Business Strategies, a UK analyst firm.

The article includes some real-world examples of Big Data usage and business models.

Prescriptive farming

The Climate Corporation uses a data lake to collect massive amounts of agricultural data and applies machine-learning techniques to help farmers optimize their planting.

Predictive maintenance for trains

SAP Customer CSX is a transportation company in Florida. Previously, raw data from wheel bearings sensors could only be kept for 10 days because of volume restrictions. Using a data lake based on SAP HANA and Hadoop, the company is now able to keep it as long as it likes, and look for deeper correlations with information from other sensors.

Combatting insider trading

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulates broker behavior in the United States. It uses a data lake and algorithms to find the patterns of fraud that human analysts might miss.

For more on these themes — and much, much more, check out the Digitalist Magazine Executive Quarterly, best consumed using the iPhone/Ipad on iTunes or the Android application on Google Play.

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