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Frohe Ostern aus dem Norden. Da an Urlaub dieses Jahr nicht wirklich zu denken ist, ist Kreatives gefragt! 
Wie wäre es mit dem Eiertrullern (geht auch im Garten oder in der Sandkiste )
Auf den Ostfriesischen Inseln – speziell auf Norderney – spielen Einheimische und Touristen das Eiertrullern traditionell in den Dünen. Die Mitwirkenden stellen sich dabei auf die Sandseite und lassen die Eier auf planierten Rampen, einer „Lünskebahn“, hinunterkullern, ohne sie dabei zu werfen. 

Sieger ist derjenige, dessen Ei am weitesten kommt und dabei unbeschädigt bleibt. Als Gewinn erhält er das Ei des Gegners. Aus Naturschutzgründen findet das Eiertrullern heutzutage nur noch auf künstlich aufgeschütteten Sanddünen am Strand statt.

English – „Happy Easter from the north. Since vacation this year is not really an option, some creativity is required!

How about the –Eiertrullern– (also works in the garden or in the sandpit)
On the East Frisian Islands – especially on Norderney – locals and tourists traditionally play the –Eiertrullern– in the dunes. The participants stand on the sand side and let the eggs roll down on leveled ramps, a „Lünskebahn“, without throwing them.

The winner is the one whose egg gets the furthest and remains undamaged. As a win he receives the opponent’s egg. For nature conservation reasons, egg trolling now only takes place on artificially raised sand dunes on the beach.“

Ein paar schöne erholsame Tage im Kreis der Familie.
Moin aus Löningen
Alex 

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26. März 2021

Tracking your body in VR

A new passion!

VR is a new passion of mine, that I play with in my freetime, but also explore as a developer and tech enthusiast.

As video quality has evolved a lot in the past 2 years, the big topic now is full body immersion.

What needs to be tracked in VR?

The following things are becoming more important:

  • Hand-Tracking: hand & fingers, touch, grab & place …
  • Eye-Tracking: left & right eye, focus …
  • Lip-Tracking: speech, facial expressions
  • Body-Tracking: arms, legs, hips …
  • Free Locomotion without boundaries
  • Smell & Taste-Tracking
  • Brain & Neural Tracking

I will use this article to collect things that are already available, diy projects, experiments and things that are in their early stages.

Hand Tracking

Hand & finger tracking is already making its way into consumer products. It is still not widely integrated, but has made big jumps the past year.

Eye Tracking

Eye tracking is not only important to make avatars more life-like, but also to track your eye focus and help to reduce processor load.

Lip Tracking

Lip tracking has made a big jump, with the new Vive Lip tracker and is important for social interactions.

Body Tracking

Body tracking is one of the areas, that has so many projects attached to it. There are so many neat solutions out there, that almost anyone can use it by now.

  • KinectToVR – Full-Body Tracking with your Kinect for Xbox 360, Kinect for Xbox One or PlayStation Move + Eye

Free Locomotion Tracking

Free locomotion is one of the biggest challenges in VR right now. You can increase your playarea, but that is still limiting and requires space. Their are VR treadmills, but none of them really reproduces life-like natural movement yet. And those solutions that come close, are still out of your reach. Most of the tracking above is somehow covered and will be available soon, while real locomotion is really the hardest to solve of them all.

  • Natural Locomotion – Natural Locomotion is an application that emulates the controller thumbstick input (to use in any game), to walk, run and jump more naturally moving your arms or your feet. It includes a driver for SteamVR for this purpose.

Tools & Software

  • VirtualHere – allows USB devices to be used remotely over a network just as if they were locally connected!

Avatars

Always crucial to have the right look for yourself in VR :)

Lets get started ….

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21. Dezember 2019

Merry Christmas

Time to slow down and enjoy some time with family & friends.


I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

“Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All the best wishes.

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Manet is a REST API server which allows capturing screenshots of websites using various parameters.

The Node.js server can use SlimerJS or PhantomJS as headless browser engines.

I have build similar with CasperJS, but this is far better for those that want a simple straight solution.

@GitHub

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15. Mai 2019

ZombieLoad Attack

„After Meltdown, Spectre, and Foreshadow, we discovered more critical vulnerabilities in modern processors. The ZombieLoad attack allows stealing sensitive data and keys while the computer accesses them. While programs normally only see their own data, a malicious program can exploit the fill buffers to get hold of secrets currently processed by other running programs. These secrets can be user-level secrets, such as browser history, website content, user keys, and passwords, or system-level secrets, such as disk encryption keys.“ – zombieloadattack.com

There seems to be a new security related story every day. Read about the latest CPU related issues at CPU.fail.

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Since I started in 2002, all iterations of portalZINE have been pure english content websites. You can read about the why on my services page.

I had potential customers in Germany complain about that a lot over the past few years. But your own website often suffers, while your customers get all the attention. That is how it is and how it should be!

Creating Multi – Language websites has been part of my services & portfolio for years, with an extreme application setup handling 13 languages in 2014 for the soccer world cup.

Multi-Language setups have come a long way and it was time to showcase that on my own setup as well. Not only to calm those potential customers, but to testdrive new functionality and possibilities on my own setup. portalZINE has always been my testlab for stability and new feature sets.

Most of my static pages are available in English and German now, the blog itself will remain pure English.

Need help setting up a multi language website, get in touch!

Cheers
Alex

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19. April 2019

Happy Easter 2019

I am taking a small easter break to join up with family and friends. We will have perfect weather up here in the north for the coming days.

I wish you all Happy Easter and many lovely days away from routine business life.

Enjoy
Alex

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21. Dezember 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, 
enjoy your off-time with friends and family, as well as the transition into the new year. Looking forward to our work together in 2019.

Even during this small holiday break, I will be keeping an eye on things :)
Kind regards
Alex

ps. During the christmas holidays,  baked apples are a must-have for me. Quick recipe below:

  1. Core the apples generously with an apple cutter 
  2. Fill the apples as desired, eg. with raisins , almonds or marzipan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven at 200 ° C for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove baked apples from the oven and enjoy while still warm. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. The brave among you, may also use some vanilla sauce ;)

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WordPress WooCommerce Appointments

WooCommerce Appointments is a commercial  booking plugin that allows you to setup appointments with WooCommerce. It has full integration into Google calendar to track appointments of your staff.

Staff availability can be set globally or via each staff members profile. While this is nice, I was looking for an option to actually handle availability via another Google Calendar as well. That was a must have feature for a current project.

What do you do, if that feature is not available yet ? You poke the code!

The magic entry point for the staff availability is the user meta „_wc_appointment_availability„, which is made available through includes/class-wc-product-appointment-staff.php.

A couple of weeks ago I asked support for a simple filter hook to alter the availability on demand from the outside.

The development team added the feature in one of the latest releases, making wc_appointments_staff_availability the entry point for my custom availability changes.

The filter hook

Getting the data

You can either pull Google Calendar Events directly through the Google Calendar API or use the available iCal export option. In this quick example I will use the private calendar iCal export file.

The availability calendar

Lets setup a quick clean calendar, called „Availability“. So simple and catchy :)

  1. Create a new calendar
  2. Create some test events. WooCommerce Appointments supports multiple availability rules, but I am focusing on the time:range option and recurring events for this example. I might be extending on this a bit more in the future ! So for this example:  Friday, timeframe 10:00 – 16:00 and repeating four times.
  3. Go into settings and get the link to the privat ical export file

Parse iCal data

For this example I am using the PHP ICS Parser, but any other parser will do.  Install it via composer: composer require johngrogg/ics-parser.

Lets create a quick little plugin to get us going and save it to /wp-content/plugins/CustomAvailability/smile.php

 

Set the availability

Its time to get the data into the system. I am only pulling and altering the availability for one single user in this example, the user with the USERID „3“. This should provide you with a good starting point.

The example pulls and parses the ics file on every load, use a transient or REDIS to store data and only refresh in certain intervals.

Hope this gets you started! I build a simple interface around it, with a lot of more rule options. This makes the setup for each staff member a brise. Now each of them can setup a calendar easily and provide  me with the ics link  :) WooCommerce Appointments rocks …

Enjoy coding ….

 

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9. Februar 2017

Chrome 56 .. whats new?

With Chrome 56, web apps can now communicate with nearby Bluetooth Low Energy devices using the Web Bluetooth API, position sticky is back – making it easy to create elements that scroll normally until sticking to the top of the viewport. And HTML5 by Default is enabled for all users.

Chrome 56 on iOS also adds the ability to scan QR codes directly within Chrome. So many thought QR-Codes were dead, well not so much !

Google

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