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Facebook to sell portable headset for virtual reality

REUTERS
Reuters

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By David Ingram

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Reuters) – Facebook is launching a new virtual reality headset that does not require a separate computer to operate, allowing more mobile uses than the company’s existing Oculus Rift product, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg, speaking at a conference for virtual reality developers, said the “Oculus Go” device would cost $199 and ship early next year, too late for this year’s holiday shopping season but likely ahead of rivals.

Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality hardware in hopes the technology, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of faraway or imaginary spaces, will move from a niche interest to a widely used platform for gaming, communication and business applications.

In 2014, Facebook paid $3 billion to acquire Oculus and retain its employees.

The Oculus Go is billed as simpler than the Rift, which went on sale last year, or the Vive system made by HTC Corp. Both of those require desktop computers to operate.

“I think you’re going to see these a lot on airplanes, because it’s way better than the back-of-the-seat monitor or my phone,” Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, said in an interview.

Schroepfer said the device is aimed at people who do not have Samsung smartphones. Oculus and Samsung Electronics Co.; already sell a device, named Gear VR, that when paired with certain Samsung phones is similar to Oculus Go.

Alphabet Inc. offers a rival headset, Google Daydream, that works with yet more smartphones.

“The Oculus Go has potential to be a huge driver of growth,” if people like the titles and apps on it, Stephanie Llamas, vice president of research at Super Data, said in an email.

Facebook will permanently cut the price of the Rift system to $399 from $499, the company said.

Facebook is expected to ship 213,000 Rift systems this year, while HTC is expected to ship 305,000 Vive systems, according to Super Data research.

Beyond price cuts and new products, Facebook is trying different ways to attract people to the virtual-reality medium.

The company is developing software known as Facebook Spaces that allows friends to meet in virtual rooms, and it said it will soon integrate live video.

On Wednesday, the company said it was releasing technology to create better, customized facial images, or avatars, and would soon add the ability to use playing cards in Facebook Spaces, in addition to the dice it already has.

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Pickledelphia Rescheduled for October, See You There

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Shit weather put Philly’s first-ever pickle festival in, well, a pickle. The rain washed away plans for the food fest to take place earlier this month, but a new day has been chosen: Sunday, October 14.

The festival will still go down at The Piazza at Schmidt’s Commons when it unites pickle lovers this fall.

In case this is the first time you’re hearing about Pickledelphia, here’s what to expect: More than a dozen food vendors, plus 15 pickle companies, who’ll be selling themed edibles such as pickle-flavored ice cream, pickle creme brûlée, and pickle pizza.

Pickledelphia even partnered with Jameson for a pickle back bar. Yeah, they’re not fucking around. Pickle Bloody Mary’s. Pickle margaritas. This is not a drill.

Better than the Weekend will have a tent set up with some giveaways, so be sure to say hi.

Information on the event, presented by Studio 27 Print & Design and Digital Force Agency, can be found by visiting their website: phillypicklefest.com.

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Inside Performix House: The Gym That’s Harder to Get In than an Ivy League School

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Welcome to Performix House — if they’ll let you in. This is New York’s latest elite fitness establishment and it’s where the most driven, fit, influential, able-bodied minds unite to achieve the ultimate Instagram-worthy body. With a 13 percent acceptance rate, it’s easier to get accepted to an Ivy League university such as Cornell.

The fitness incubator is an extension of Performix, a sports performance supplement brand available for sale in GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe.

The lowest tier of membership begins at $249 per month, which does not include independent gym access: members must have a scheduled personal training session with one of Performix House’s trainers to use the fitness facility. For $899 each month, members enjoy the luxury of unlimited access to Performix House’s premium amenities, including massages and cryotherapy.

One month of top-tier membership could allow someone to work out at Planet Fitness for seven-and-a-half years. It would even cost less to lease a 2018 Maserati than it would to be a member at Performix House.

Their personal trainers, who they refer to as collaborators instead of employees, have access to Performix House’s professional video production team to create the best fitness content. videographer and editor to create content. “We’re helping them connect with their consumers and grow their following,” says Hesse.

Devon Levesque is among their training collaborators. He has more than 80,000 Instagram followers.

The dude is a beast.

Matt Hesse, founder and CEO of Performix House, accepted about 230 members out of roughly 1800 applicants.

Hesse told Forbes membership isn’t unobtainable. He wants to bring together a community of driven individuals. Each applicant is given the opportunity to answer one testing question: What do you do to own every day?

After hearing that, my new goal is to work out at Performix House.

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Scranton Artists: Here’s Why We Need Art

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Some jackasses, a.k.a. policy-makers and school boards, just don’t seem to f#&%ing get the importance of art enough to secure its funding and need to have its influence spelled out.

The Electric City is about to get more eclectic thanks to a group of artists banding together — basically for the good of mankind — to host a series of inventive workshops placing priority on connecting the community through creative expression during one of the most politically and culturally divisive climates in modern America. Among the artists, a wine glass painter who helps looking at the emptiness following the last sip of boxed Franzia (we all drink it) a little less depressing. Another makes flashy hats — the kind you saw posh guests wear to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They’re called fascinators. Then there’s a young woman who crafts dreamcatchers and alters books from their original form to turn them into something eye-catching and display-worthy. A graphic designer is even in the mix.

The workshops will initiate this fall at the new Eclectic City Studio inside Jeff D’Angelo’s Design Group HQ at 631 Prospect Ave.

Each artist will have sign-ups for their debut workshop, while displaying and selling their art, at Bogart Court, the brick alley nestled behind Lackawanna Ave., during First Friday Scranton from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 7. They’ll set up outside AOS Metals, which sells handmade jewelry and a collection of items from local handmade artists, and The Velvet Elvis, a kitschy vintage shop that looks like every crazy rich dead aunt’s estate sale. You’ll find something there that you’ll be glad wasn’t willed to your sister.

The Eclectic Studio founder, Jeff D’Angelo, will feature handmade props throughout Bogart Court — including a display in honor of The Office outside Better than the Weekend’s HQ and a Jurassic Park exhibit and photo booth inside.

Before escaping to the remote Isla Nublar from Jurassic Park — through Jeff D’Angelo’s handmade props — here’s a reminder of why we need art in all of our lives from the artists behind the Eclectic City Studio:

Melanie DiPietro, Painted Wine Glasses by Melanie

“Expression. Not everyone communicates or comprehends the same way. I am a visual person, so colors, shapes, sounds, and movement all speak to me. There’s nothing else in the world that can compare to this type of expression. What a bland place the world would be without art.”

Photographed by Justin Adam Brown, Better than the Weekend, August 2018

Aubrey McClintock, A Daily Obsession

“Life is better decorated. My fascinators are meant to make people smile and are not to be taken terribly seriously. While not everyone is willing to wear a towering french fry sculpture on their head, they can still enjoy that such a thing exists and that there are people out there who will happily sport such a concoction.”

Photographed by Justin Adam Brown, Better than the Weekend, August 2018

Maddesen Paige Wright , DIY Dreamcatchers & Altered Book Art

“Art gives people an outlet; a field to be uncensored and irrevocably themselves.”

Photographed by Justin Adam Brown, Better than the Weekend, August 2018

Kristy Jamison, Two Tree Design Co.

“Our modern world is connected in ways that past generations could only dream of. Art helps us communicate, reflect on, and express our cultures and beliefs. Art can be a powerful, passionate tool that allows us to shout messages about politics and human rights issues across language and cultural barriers. Art — whether it’s drawing, painting, music, words or performance — can also be a meditative and healing outlet, releasing uncensored emotions in a natural and rewarding way. Art feeds our economy and enriches our lives.”

Photographed by Justin Adam Brown, Better than the Weekend, August 2018

Jeff D’Angelo, Jeff D’Angelo Design Group

“Art is truly the purest form of creative expression. People can use art to make their mark on the world and, in turn, promote further growth and interaction with others.”

Photographed by Justin Adam Brown, Better than the Weekend, August 2018

More information on the artists and their First Friday Scranton visit at Bogart Court can be found here.

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