Farm meet 12th July 2023 – Reflections on VR night, Brighton tourist attractions and PHP musings

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This week the Farm freelancers networking took place in the Shakespeare’s Head pub near Seven Dials in Brighton. 14 people came along.

  • Farm VR night
  • Farm website plans
  • Colour e-ink Android tablet demo (very fancy!)
  • VR and motion sickness
  • Sidequest and streaming content out of VR
  • Tilt Five Augmented Reality – useful or not?
  • The financial crisis
  • Overly firm handshakes at networking events
  • A USB monitor you can link to a phone
  • Changing rooms and the UK’s obsession with decorating
  • Bad Brighton properties
  • The i360 and Brighton Zip Wire
  • London by the Sea
  • Visiting the Rampion wind farm
  • Duolingo teams
  • PHP Brighton on v8.1, .2 and .3
  • Bedrock – WordPress with Composer
  • The WordPress ecosystem is still a mess
  • Finding code from 2013 in your client’s project
  • Using an MVC framework within a WordPress plugin
  • The Threads feed of chaos
  • ActivityPub
  • Trying Pixelfed

The book Brilliant Freelancer resting on a picnic table


VR musings

We had many conversations reflecting on what we experienced using the VR and AR equipment at Wired Sussex’s FuseBox last week.

The isolation of using VR put me off it a bit, with motion sickness putting off several other people. There were still arguments that VR is useful and some people love using it for games and would like to more for work – the infinite desktop idea that Apple is promoting with the Vision Pro is very appealing and something Haze has tried to build already with different equipment, but not achieving what he would like so far.

Some of us liked the Tilt Five AR system which projects onto a reflective material and lets several people see what is going on, and each other, even though you have to wear dark (polarised) glasses to see the simulation. Others weren’t impressed by it as you have to have the room rather dark to see what is being projected clearly. Personally I could see architects and other people who need to present mock ups of things that will become real to clients using it, but I don’t know if the market for the devices is big enough to sustain the company making them.

Linking a USB monitor to a phone

I’ve seen people use portable monitors with their laptops to give them more screen real estate on the go before, Haze has been a big proponent of using them for years. I hadn’t thought of connecting them, and a keyboard and mouse, to a phone. That’s exactly what one of the people along this week does when travelling. It’s amazing how fast and useful phones are now, while I know they are powerful miniature computers, sometimes something new makes you think about them another way.

New social media: Threads and ActivityPub

Some of us have tried the new Twitter-like offshoot of Instagram, The upshot was it feels busy and certainly new, but the feed not having the ability to show only your friends is a major hassle. Will it suck enough traffic away from Twitter to finish it off, and stop Bluesky before it’s really got going? We’re not sure, but I guess we’ll find out over the next year.

Andy is trying Pixelfed as an alternative to Instagram, I’m interested to see how he goes with it. Pixelfed uses ActivityPub, so I’ll be able to follow him from Mastodon. One good thing about Twitter falling apart is it’s driven more people to try ActivityPub using services and that’s great for those of us who were already there.