Working in VR, meeting notes from 21st February 2024

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On 21st February, 13 freelancers met in the Battle of Trafalgar, Brighton, to talk business, tech, and random nonsense.

This is the topics I managed to note down:

  • Insight Time meditation app
  • Politics and the economy
  • Work levels
  • Focusing down the services you offer
  • The Rose Hill Tavern
  • How disturbing are phone calls in coworking spaces?
  • Doing solid days of work
  • Netflix increasing charges – the unsubscribe option
  • Michael Flanagan films
  • Rokid AR glasses vs the Apple Vision Pro
  • Working using AR glasses
  • Vision Pro return rates hit 40%
  • Potential projects
  • Rebuilding cars
  • It was a good Superbowl
  • Brewing beer well
  • The various coworking spaces in Brighton
  • Universities as businesses
  • Properly scaling WordPress to mitigate DDOS attacks


Working in VR/AR

The Apple VR/AR headset the Vision Pro launched a couple of weeks ago, although only in the States. Several Farm members are regular users of virtual reality (VR), and Hazlitt brought his Rokid AR glasses along to a meet up for us to try last summer.

As mentioned in the notes, the Vision Pro return rate has got to roughly 40%. This appears to be a combination of lack of a reason to have such an expensive machine, headaches experienced by some people using it, and facial pain caused by fitment issues.

We talked about working in virtual reality. Hazlitt has worked many times wearing his Rokid augmented reality (AR) glasses, including while on the bus. He likes that it gives him a screen that can’t be overlooked, and that is very convenient – the Rokid unit is just like wearing a pair of glasses and they are much lighter than a full VR headset. Although far from perfect, the convenience and relatively cheap price made him a very satisfied user for work and play. He kindly let me try them and while I found them much more usable than I expected once I got used to how I needed to look through/at them, and I was impressed they could deal with my poor eyesight with simple adjustments on the glasses, I found having only a screen visible (apart from dialling it down and being able to see reality through it) a bit claustrophobic.

While it will be possible to work wearing a Vision Pro (once they’re easier to get in the UK) the idea of spending $3,500+ to do so did not appeal to anyone on this evening. The Rokid glasses, being a tenth of the price (depending on model) were easier to bear if you’re interested their use case. For myself, I have a very big monitor and everything I generally need to work fits on it easily, I don’t need to have all of my vision covered in screen in order to concentrate or organise my programmes. I’ve discovered being able to look away, and easily walk away and think, is more valuable to me than a bit more screen real estate. Being sat in a headset does not appeal.

That said, if a friend gets an Apple Vision Pro when they’re released in the UK, I’ll be very interested in trying it out, if it’s possible to wear my glasses within it. I’m sure they’re wonderful devices, but I currently can’t see where they’d fit in my life, and apparently neither can almost half of the people who’ve tried them.