iPhone 6s Unboxing with Dyson

December 7th, 2015


Wow, has it really been over 3 months since I’ve posted anything here? I guess things have been pretty busy at work. Thankfully, things are almost under control.

I actually got an iPhone 6s through work in the first week they were released. So I thought, hey, I’ll do one of those “unboxing” videos and put it out there before they’re more readily available. But then there was a big crunch at work (on top of commuting up to 6 hours a day) and I just kept on not having enough time to edit the whole thing. Thankfully, things are getting a little more sane at work so I’m starting to get through a backlog of stuff I’ve been meaning to do, including this video.

Things I learned this time:

  • If you’re going to do an “unboxing” video, you should probably show the act of taking it out of the box.
  • What’s up with the bathrobe? I mean, come on! It takes, like, 5 minutes to put on a shirt. Show some professionalism, man. Well, at least the kid is cute.
  • Making videos with a 5-year-old is very challenging.

PocketMe 3D Portraits

August 29th, 2015

PocketMeFiguresOne of the parents of a friend of Dyson’s started up a company called PocketMe to do 3D portraits. It’s a pretty cool setup. You go to their shop in Berkeley and stand in a cylindrical enclosure surrounded by a bunch of cameras, which all take a picture simultaneously. Then they process it, 3d print it out, and a couple weeks later, you get a little figure of you.

Dyson and I stopped by and did a session and now we have little mini versions of us! They’re very cute. If you happen to be in the area, check them out. They take appointments 7 days a week but they also do drop-ins on Saturday from 1-5pm.

They give you digital versions of the models, too! If you click on the models below, you can actually rotate them around.


Rendering for VR

August 21st, 2015

Last week, I attended SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, a conference on computer graphics. One of the fun things I did was to give a brief talk at the RenderMan Art & Science Fair on using RenderMan to create images for virtual reality. I’ve given similar talks before, but usually for an audience of a few hundred and this one was for nearly 2000. So that was pretty exciting.

People seemed to enjoy my talk and afterwards, someone even wrote an article on uploadvr.com about it! And then someone in France (who wasn’t even there) wrote a French article on frandroid.com about the first article. And now I’m blogging about an article about an article about a talk that I gave last week. So meta. Oh, and there was a Reddit post about the article, too. It’s been a busy week keeping up with everything on top of work!

Anyways, the talk was about a pretty simple idea that other people have implemented before on various platforms, but I hadn’t seen any public information on how to do it for RenderMan so that’s what lead to the talk. You can read all about it on the RenderMan forums. Or you can just download the materials from the talk from this Google Drive folder.

Lego Battlebots

July 18th, 2015


Ever since Dyson did a Lego summer camp a while ago, he’s been really into Lego. He told me about how they built robots to battle each other on tracks. I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about until we ran across a Lego activity center that had the same kind of battling robot setup. So Dyson excitedly challenged me to a duel.

It’s a pretty cool setup. They have an incredible assortment of Lego pieces and they’re all sorted into different buckets. You can build ships, houses, pretty much whatever you want. And when you’re done, you disassemble everything and put them back into the appropriate buckets. But Dyson wanted to build robots so that’s what we did. And then we battled them.

It was fantastic. My brother and I used to make stuff like this out of Lego when we were kids but we were always limited by the number of gears or motors in our sets. But here, the sky was the limit. So I got to design some more fanciful robots, even if they did get occasionally trounced by a five year-old’s.

Google Cardboard for iOS!

May 28th, 2015

I’m at Google I/O today and tomorrow, working the Cardboard booth on the third floor. Theoretically, by the time you read this, they have made the announcement at the keynote that Google Cardboard is now available for iOS! (Man, I hope that link works by the time this post goes live…)

This is what I’ve been working on for the past few months and it’s been intense trying to get something built from scratch with a small team in such a short time frame. And it was really down to the wire. It typically takes about 8 days for an app to go through the review process and we got a build submitted to Apple 10 days ago. Even after that, I was touching up a lot of the content that gets streamed to the app up until yesterday.

In addition to working on the app in general, I did a lot of work on two of the demos in particular:

  • Ported the “Exhibits” demo, which re-used a lot of the code from the Android Cardboard app (although I added a little bonus object at the end).
  • Created the “Kaleidoscope” demo (which is actually what I was working on in this picture from last month).

So if you’ve got an iPhone 5 or 6, check it out! And if you like it, please leave a review.

How to Cut Your Hair

May 26th, 2015


I’ve done quite a few hair videos in my time. This time, I decided to go a little more in depth with the tips and tricks. It just takes practice. And a willingness to shave off all your hair if you mess up. Actually, maybe mostly the latter.

36 Questions to Fall in Love, Part 3

April 5th, 2015

It’s the series finale! Doing these videos has been an intense experience. They’re the most personal videos I’ve ever done and they’re the longest so I wasn’t sure what kind of reception they’d get. But I’m very gratified with the response so thank you to everyone who watched and commented!

It was hard to be this open and personal. But it’s also been very rewarding. I can see how powerful this experience might be to do in real life with another person. I think a big part of that is just the willingness to try it. Life can be pretty amazing if you’re just willing to take that first step.

36 Questions to Fall in Love, Part 2

March 30th, 2015


Surprisingly, a few people actually commented on my last video, asking to see more. So I did part 2. If there’s interest, I’ll finish it off with part 3.

36 Questions to Fall in Love, Part 1

March 23rd, 2015


I saw a neat article a while back about an experiment designed to make people fall in love. My wife wasn’t interested in doing it with me and it seemed like it’d be kiiiinda awkward to do it with anyone else. But I thought it might make for an interesting video, so I tried it out.

Whoo, 36 questions is a lot! I only made it through the first 12 before it started getting pretty late. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but every minute of video basically takes me an hour or two to make. That’s mostly because I keep on messing up. That, and, there’s a lot of editing and post involved. So this was one took a long time to do.

I don’t know if I’ll make another one of these and I doubt that anyone’s going to fall in love watching it but it was fun making this. I can imagine it’d be an intense experience doing this in real life with another person!

Race and Gender Terms

March 14th, 2015


The wife and kid are out of town for a few weeks so I have some time to do stuff! Like making silly videos! Having dinner with friends! And … hopefully some updates to some of my iPhone apps, which are apparently broken or crashing on iOS 8. Gah…

Anyways, for some reason, my white and/or male friends occasionally ask me about race and gender issues. I think I’m like the closest they have to having a Black and/or female friend. And my female friends often talk to me about their boyfriends. Maybe I’ll eventually make a video about that. Why does nobody ever want to talk to me about how sexy Asian males are?! Ah, someday…