Oct 172017

TimefireVR Crew 2017

Diversity, camaraderie, dedication, commitment, loyalty, and an effort beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. That is what best describes this group photo of the team that I had assembled.

The majority of these amazing people have had to go on to explore other opportunities but I am forever grateful for what they gave to a dream that had been percolating in my imagination for over 25 years. This summer just after the 4th of July holiday I had to do something that was the single most isolating and distressing thing I’ve had to do as the founder of a company; I had to let them all go.

It has taken me more than 90 days to bring myself to look at these faces and seeing them again simultaneously warms my heart and strikes me in the gut with how much I miss them. I can never fully explain the profound disappointment I felt and continue to feel that on the verge of trying to find our place in the world we ran out of options and money and were no longer able to keep them employed. While we had all the growing pains one would expect from a startup that was simultaneously trying to invent and innovate, on the whole we had an awesome team.

There are a few people not in the photo, notably my co-founder Jeffrey and myself. In the days this photo was taken we were scrambling looking for options to make payroll. The hoped for bump in sales or attracting a partner with deep pockets never materialized. This was especially difficult for us, as we were in active conversations with some larger players following our favorable press comparing us to being the “Virtual Minecraft meets Facebook.”

Doors started opening but funds to meaningfully engage in those conversations were greatly inhibited. Over the course of the summer we were able to maintain a skeleton crew that not only kept the platform alive but have revamped many things that have put us in the position to release our title anew and are we are now compatible with not only the HTC Vive but the Oculus Rift from Facebook too.

The old adage “A dollar short and day late” certainly applies here, though that doesn’t absolve me of the guilt I feel in letting these people down.

I do not know how to repay them or even honor them. Along the way I have felt a lot of gratitude and a fair share of outright hostility and hatred for how I chose to do things or how things were done due to the compromises that comes with spending other people’s money, but life goes on or at least it should.

My ambition was large and enthusiasm great as a group of mostly amateurs strove to create something I hoped would be beneficial to society by not diving into the tropes of violence, misogyny, winners and losers.

Oct 162017

A Glimpse At Some Of Hypatia From TimefireVR

Sometimes, in an effort to create something extraordinary, we take chances on unproven markets and ideas that have no precedence; this is the path to innovation. We are in an age that demands participation from better educated populations on a global scale. We cannot allow geographic and/or economic isolation to limit our being able to enjoy the benefit of what deep cultural integration and a strong education can bring. We must all be afforded the opportunity to be the right person in the right place at the right time. Our world now more than ever requires our innovation and ability to develop workable solutions that do not rely on outdated technology. We cannot survive in isolation and ignorance. We truly are living in the future many of us have dreamed of and must learn to live accordingly.

TimefireVR through Hypatia has been a labor of love that has been toiled on for more than three years. Through a million lessons learned and a host of methods explored on how not to create a VR title we finally reached the point this summer that we thought we were ready to test the waters. The only problem was that by then our funding was running thin and we would have to try to find customers without a marketing budget and being limited by being “ready” for just one platform; the HTC Vive.

Stumbling blocks were encountered shortly after our early release, as happens in many small companies still in the startup phase; but with a reduced crew we have endeavored to correct some of our shortcomings and are close to being able to roll out an update to Hypatia.

First of all, we are making changes to our pricing model for Hypatia and a BIG surprise is around the corner. In order to help with this change we have worked over the summer to bring a trade and commerce model to Hypatia that will allow better economic participation with our city.

Next, we have been updating our map for easier navigation, updated the entry into the world, updated the avatars, and have been making a ton of improvements for an all-around better experience while people visit, play, and learn in Hypatia.

Finally, we are just about ready to launch in support of the Oculus Rift.

For those of you who have been our early adopters we offer you thanks for trying to help us create an early economic model that was hoped to help bring visibility to our efforts. We have something in mind to reward you for your participation and will discuss that in a future blog post. Again, thanks for your contribution.

[Edit: I posted this as a blog entry on my other website: http://www.timefirevr.com/ as an update to what has happened to our company over the summer]

Apr 192006

My apologies but there will be no new postings to my Photo of the Day blog as the wife and I are taking off to Hawaii for nearly two weeks. With snorkel gear in hand we are ready for checking out the fishies, going to the Merrie Monarch Festival to get our fill of some serious hula dancing on the Big Island of Hawaii, where we will be staying up near the rim of the Volcanos National Park. After a few days we’ll be on our way to Maui for more snorkeling and a 31-mile downhill bike ride from a volcano to the beach. Next stop will come after a yacht delivers us to Molokai for a day and a half where we’ll take in some kayaking and of course, more snorkeling. Another night on Maui and then a short flight to Kauai, I’m sure you guessed by now what we’ll be doing – that’s right we are going to botanical gardens and doing some hiking on the Napali coast. Check back in early May for the continuation and infill of my photos.

 Posted by at 9:22 am
Nov 142005

After a long period of forgotten dreams, where for months I have been lucky to wake up with but the smallest of fragments of what I had just been dreaming still floating in my head, I awoke this morning with the better part of a quite peculiar dream intact.

I am on my way to Missouri. The year is sometime in the future. I am a genetic mutation. I know a place in Missouri where I can make a few extra bucks at a bootleg operation. The farm isn’t making alcohol, they are not taking kidneys, but what they do is clandestine. They are making cheese. Not just any cheese although at most times this is just a normal farm and cheese is a part of the repertoire of products they produce but today upon my arrival they will switch gears and secretly change the recipe.

My mutation is that I am one of the one in 500 men who have developed teats near our hips. I produce man-milk. The farm I am visiting makes man-cheese. The product is illegal but most would agree that this cheese has no competition. Due to our rareness and since  this mutation to our species is new and not yet thoroughly researched, there is a concern that ‘this’ version of a genetically modified organism may produce undesirable results from consumption, and so man-cheese is illegal. My dream didn’t tell me if it was illegal in France, too.

A strange side effect of being milked is that there is a correlating relationship to how much urine is produced and so typically after milking I have the most extraordinary lengthy urinations one could imagine, lasting minutes. It was during this act of disposal that I think someone reported the operation. We were alerted that the police were responding, and it was time to get away fast.

I grabbed a couple Wigglers, threw one to my traveling companion, told him how to ride it, and we were off. A Wiggler is a genetically designed muscular creature about the size of a Frisbee that is three pronged, or Y-shaped. The top two prongs are handles for the rider to hold on to. These muscle bound handles are attached through a brawny jumble of thick central muscles to a foot reminiscent of a kangaroo foot, only much smaller. To ride the Wiggler, you grab the two handles close to your chest and get on the ground face down. The foot of the Wiggler will keep your torso and face about six inches off the surface but this requires that the rider wear hard rubber pads on the knees, hips, and elbows, so as you glide over the street you don’t get road rash.

To get moving, pull up on the two arms or handles, and you go forward, push both, and you slow to a stop. Pull one, push the other to turn, do the opposite and turn the other way. As the Wiggler flexes its powerful muscle and its foot begins the action for which it was named, the rider is propelled to a speed of nearly 15 miles per hour. The Wiggler is fast enough to evade anyone on foot and nimble enough to move in tight spaces to avoid vehicles.

As the police approach from behind a hill we have the opportunity to pull around the corner of a house just as the policeman in chase comes into view, fortunately for us, we are no longer visible but quietly we hide hoping we have escaped the long arm of the law.

 Posted by at 8:43 am
Aug 172005

Somewhere in the future, not sure if I am in China or America. It is the time of the Olympics and China is the host. The opening ceremonies are getting underway to much fanfare, but strangely American citizens are becoming horribly ill and are discretely trying to return to their rooms. I follow a couple back into their room to determine what is happening; the woman all of a sudden came down with stomach problems.

In a second the authorities are at the door, and they are looking for me, the spy. I need to get out unseen. Using a finger-shaped stone and a pencil-thick inch-and-a-half long thing that looks like a quill, I am able to change form. I rapidly change from the image I have of myself as John into a series of shapes and devices that create enough confusion to allow me to throw myself out of the door which the authorities have blocked to apprehend me.

The ability to change form has been taught to me by a Shaman as the physical world is under assault and I am one of the people who are trying bring our senses back to a simpler reality.

Mankind has learned to alter reality by creating a programmable viral life form whose substrate is shared with the space occupied by oxygen, the skies. This genetically designed organism takes on the form and shape of any other organic form it is assigned to mimic. The effect doesn’t last long as the life span of the organism isn’t stable yet, but in the time that it does exist, it is enough to create severe problems.

Thus it may be that the people becoming ill did not eat what they thought, but actually something quite putrid or poisonous wrapped in a programmed layer of what appeared to be common or known to the victim.

My role is to understand and report back what I am finding regarding this mutation. For now though I am quick to disappear. Back in Washington someone has pulled a pirate veil over the city which is an illegal façade blanketing a space, used for making a protest, entertainment, or terrorism. Today’s veil is a time lapse of Washington over the ages; buildings rise, weather, and are disappear. Scenes of public hangings come on and fade quickly. The changes in transportation are a blur of progress forward.

While this hijacking of reality takes place, finding your destination can prove difficult and often impossible. When I arrive at the building I am looking for, I see Ronald Reagan tending to a state event and then realize that the people or things chasing me are back. With a rub of the stone and quill I shift form and am quickly going up the center of the building, finding an exit near the top. My escape was timely as the building was being flooded, or was it? Was it just another part of the reality distortion? As Reagan had been out of office for many years and was obviously another part of the veil, so too was the rest of the imagery. The problem with these charades and illusions is that panic and adrenalin push the senses to accept the altered reality as actual reality even when the rational mind knows what it is seeing is not real. Under these circumstances one might get tricked into doing dangerous things which could lead to accidents or worse.

While I am pursued, a new, previously unknown element has been added to the organism, it is now communicating between forms. This raises the question whether the hackers who are altering these life forms are giving them logic ability. Will they spawn new entities inheriting the knowledge to replicate forms with increasing intelligence, possibly to disrupt life as we know it? But then, how much of this is mutation, how much is programmed, and how far and how fast can it go on before spinning out of control? The alarm sounds and I awake.

 Posted by at 11:21 am