dave lee: Read my latest work

dave lee: Oculus Rift may not be the future of gaming – but I really hope it is

Photo credit: Oculus VR

I’ve just got back from E3, where the usual suspects wheeled out their hopes for the next few years. If the punters on the show floor are to be believed, it was a landslide victory for Sony.

But I’m no gamer. In fact, my pre-E3 preparation consisted mostly of swatting up on the latest titles that weren’t Fifa, just so I wasn’t completely out of my depth.

Yet even with my lack of knowledge, I don’t think it’s an unfair judgement to say that nothing on the show floor was really mindblowing. Sure, next-gen has gone up a notch, and yup, games are deeper and more immersive than before.

But in one corner of the LA Convention Centre (and I mean corner – upstairs, next to the toilets, room 517), was one of the most exciting technologies I have ever seen.

Oculus Rift has been doing the rounds a bit – it started as a Kickstarter campaign – but it is now primed and ready to go.

For those not famiiar, it’s a virtual reality headset. In one of those rare instances of science fiction meeting the eventual reality, it looks and feels just like you’d expect it to.

It’s a pair of goggles; you put it over your head; and then you look around.

I first tried Oculus Rift at the Consumer Electronics Show at the start of the year. It was held together with black tape, and my slightly googly eyes (I’m short-sighted) couldn’t really get to grips with it.

What’s more, the demo was basic, an uninterative shell of a world. You could look around, yes, but you were essentially just floating about with nothing to do.

Fast forward to E3, and Oculus Rift has moved on leaps and bounds.

For starters, it’s now HD. In standard definition you were always aware of being in a game, looking at screens. In HD, you’re suddenly transported to a new world.

Essentially, all the headset gives you is the power to look around. Movement and control is still achieved by using a controller, a system that feels like a cop-out until you see the alternative – this stupid treadmill, for example.

I had my go during one of the many briefings the creators were giving to journalists. They were running drastically behind schedule, such was the level of excitement in each briefing – and the makers’ willingness to talk about it at length and with gusto.

While wearning the device, the technology was being explained to me.

I wish I could tell you more about it … but I was distracted by an enormous beast. It looked to be sleeping, but as I edged closer to it, he burst into life – and I legged it.

Which brings me to my main point here: Oculus Rift makes games utterly, utterly terrifying.

Think about it – with today’s titles, you never come face-to-face with anything. The screen always adds that degree of removal, the thing that stops it feeling too real.

But when you’re wearing that headset, it’s deeply (and addictively) unsettling. It changes how you play. It triggers fight or flight immediately, when typically games have only ever managed to inspire fight.

The makers told me that when they’ve observed people playing some demos, they noticed they instinctively smile back when characters smile, and will maintain eye contact if another character is speaking to them. To start looking around – as we often do during dull dialogue in games – would just be rude.

The Rift team had two rooms set up at E3. One for journalists, one for potential clients. The stream of people in and out of both was constant. While I waited (they’re the only company that weren’t able to see the BBC quickly), I observed several teams from major companies arrive for a meeting, as well as an excited man from Epic Games chattering about the big demo session they had arranged for the next day.

While I was having my briefing, a major figure from video gaming turned up at their room keen to discuss business – the identity of which it would be unfair to disclose, lest I scupper a future deal which could have massive implications.

The team is undeniably smart. They’ve built the Oculus Rift with lofty ambitions, but have been able to advance to that goal in positive baby steps.

One early task has been to figure out how to make it as easy as possible to create compatiable games for it, and there seems to be two stages to this: most games will work with the Rift, but to truly make the most of it, games designers will need to code in special optimisation.

To aid this, they’ve taken something of a wholesale approach – working with Epic to get Rift compatiability built-in to Unreal Engine 4, a foundation upon which many brilliant titles are being made.

Games aside, one demonstration placed the wearer in a cinema theatre, watching a movie. Pretty pointless – why not just watch a film on your own screen? – but it did highlight the Rift’s telepresence potential.

I asked them if they had any serious plans in this area – they coyly said they couldn’t talk about it, but were in advanced discussions.

I don’t know if Oculus Rift, or something like it, will change gaming. I just really, really hope it does.

dave lee: The *real* cost of games consoles

Here’s a clever little project from a Dan Emery, a BBC colleague of mine.

He’s compared the costs of games consoles against the UK’s average earnings at the time. Using this method, the original Playstation stands out as being the most expensive of the majorly successful consoles, while Nintendo has launched machines at consistently good value.

(click to enlarge)

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 23.08.26

dave lee: [Updated (again)] A week’s work experience at the New Statesman or the local paper? That’ll be £1000

A couple of weeks ago I was at the lovely Olympics Ball – a fantastic event designed to raise money to support British athletes over the coming years.

There was a silent auction with many impressive lots – an experience here, a dinner there.

But it was lots 75, 76 and 77 that stood out , all with starting bids of £1000.

Each were for a week’s work experience at three different publications.

The first was a week at the New Statesman.

“You will have the chance to contribute your ideas and writing to their hugely popular website,” it promised, adding: “Travel not included.”

Lot 76, a week with FHM. The lucky bidder (or rather, the lucky bidder’s son or daughter, you’d presume) is able to shadow another member of staff and do research.

But it was lot 77 that was arguably the most depressing. £1000 for a week’s experience in sports journalism – with the Cambridge News. The paper will “endeavour to enable the budding writer to attend a live match with one of our journalists to watch how the paper covers sport as it happens”.

That live match would likely be at Cambridge United, a struggling non-league team (I’m allowed to say that – I’ve supported the desperate sods for more than 10 years).

It isn’t the first time opportunities like these have been offered in exchange for cash. But what strikes me here is the type of publications willing to take part.

“Work experience aids success,” wrote a New Statesman editorial back in April.

It made reference to an Ofsted survey of apprenticeships and placements that concluded “employers surveyed said that the number of students they could accommodate on placements was restricted”.

I asked the New Statesman about the placement and was assured that the winning bidder wouldn’t be replacing a non-paying placement position. It would be an additional role.

But cash-for-contacts skews an already elite-heavy industry even further, and it makes me deeply uncomfortable.

Jobs openings in journalism are depressingly finite – and for each person who gets a nose-in thanks to the depth of their family’s pockets, a good, poorer journalist loses out.

If the New Statesman, FHM or Cambridge News wanted to help the British Olympic Association, they should have offered a gesture that wasn’t of harm to the industry.

(And if you’re a student journalist desperate to spend time with the press at Cambridge United, I’d suggest simply asking the club – they’re very accommodating.)

Update: Apparently the FHM placement went for £3,000.

Another update: Those kind (ahem) folks over at Media Guido are giving this the proper treatment. They quote Intern Aware as saying: “Most people can’t afford to work for free and even fewer people can afford to pay thousands of pounds for the privilege of interning. The New Statesman should be ashamed of operating a practice than puts opportunities out of the hands of hardworking and talented young people.”



all posts



2014
February
10Read my latest work


2013
June
18Oculus Rift may not be the future of gaming – but I really hope it is
16The *real* cost of games consoles


2012
December
17[Updated (again)] A week’s work experience at the New Statesman or the local paper? That’ll be £1000
July
1910 ridiculous pictures of “hackers”
May
20When Apple looks back at its history, it will want to forget the iPad 3
March
27Why Friends Reunited might just pull off a comeback


2011
December
30The Verge and The Kernel: Technology journalism’s refreshing new face
29Phonedog boss responds to Twitter lawsuit reaction
5‘I’ve spoken to four journalists in four years’ – Why news publishing CMS development needs a desperate rethink
October
21Meet MuslimF*ckJew, one of the many reasons why we must force Google to get a grip on YouTube
3Beware the spinfographic – the latest weapon in churnalism
September
16Audio: A.N Wilson says ‘bollocks!’ on Today, world doesn’t end
July
29#Oslo’s Twitter troublemakers, and the mysterious BBC ‘appeal’ over WiFi
June
29What Google+ means for news organisations
8Ten BBC tweeters you might not follow yet but should
May
27#BBCSMS: Without the wires, our social media aspirations crumble
13To the UK’s shame, we missed the chance to make our own Huffington Post
April
26Is your impartiality compromised by who you follow on Twitter?
8Tumblr, the sleeping giant for journalists on social media
March
28Bowen and Grammaticas, and why UGC will never replace journalists
24Journalists deserve to be paid for engaging in comments
10Sir John Bond: The man who paid £600 to edit his Wikipedia entry
February
14Serene Branson: The disturbing viral video which exposed us all
January
31Five reasons why the Kindle is possibly my favourite device ever


2010
December
20Audio Slideshow: A heartbreaking night in Brixton (nr Ghana)
10A Facebook story: this WaPo piece will stop you in your tracks
6Five reasons why Facebook Credits will save newspapers
February
8Five things I've learnt about… pay walls
January
29Five things I've learnt about… football writing
275 things


2009
October
21NUJ on BNP: Putting words in journalists' mouths
13Why The Journalist needs Michael Cross as editor
4I'm back! Another new job…
July
16Silence
June
4James Reynolds near Tiananmen Square
1The greatness of social media (with the help of 8 Minute Abs)
May
28Draft post 2
26The passion press: a business model?
21Draft post
1520 practical and innovative ways to introduce micropayments for newspapers
13Why micropayments won't corrupt journalism
13Let's make love, not walls
12Nothing like a bit of passion
111-0 to the Evening Standard
8Three ideas to make newspaper pay walls work
6J-students must stick around and clear up the mess
April
9Gollllllllllaccio! The greatest paper review is back — on the Guardian
9Huff Post UK: Piers Morgan, can you hear me?
6The depressing but inevitable demise of Press Gazette
March
26Twitter to introduce paid pro accounts
25Tipping point: The Big Journalism Bail Out
18Just one example of how a blog can help your career
11Twitter Tales: Euston's choir
9Cuttings: Social media money, Project Canvas, Al-Jazeera brilliance and brandjackers ahoy
8Is the BBC reporting on Twitter too much?
3Video: The end of the Rocky Mountain News
February
23The benefit of hindsight: Saving New Zealand's newspapers
17Not convinced? 10 things to change your mind about Twitter
12NUJ follow up: I'm still not convinced
10Join the NUJ? Why?
8The War on Error: Download Regret the Error's checklist
5Exclusive: ITV in *another* cock-up
4ITV Sport … FAIL
2When webcams go bad: Priceless abuse of BBC Nottingham
January
28Quote of the Day
26Reports of her death are greatly exaggerated
22Twitter: How it can make money
22New York Times on advances in video journalism
20The new way to learn journalism
19Overheard in the Newsroom: My new favourite site!
19AdWords not known for its sensitivities
18The excitement of news
16Awesome cit-journo shot of New York plane
15Video Journalism will save newspapers in 2009
15Google ads on my blog
14Johann Hari on exploited interns and workies
14The Guardian in Katine: An analysis
13The essence of good multimedia journalism
12Blogging gives you cancer
12Keeping on top of the news avalanche with Crisiswire
12Notdailymail_uk saga: Associated Newspapers step in
10(Updated) Two mysteries behind the fake Daily Mail tweeter
9MEN goes mojo and wins
8Huff Post: How Google can help journalism
8Was Cristiano Ronaldo uninsured? (The danger of auto-subtitles)
8Google's Eric Schmidt on saving newspapers
8Flat Earth News: Now out on paperback
7Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent
7Extensive Panorama archive online
7A glitch like this could prove troublesome!
7Whatdotheyknow.com: Freedom of Information in Action
6The Internet: Just a fad
6BBC HD Test card: Link or be useless!
6Full movies on iPlayer — since when?
5Let's decide: Newspapers or democracy?
4Earthquake video back to haunt me


2008
December
18BBC iPlayer Desktop now out for Mac and Linux
18Woolworths selling imitation firearms (erm…)
18Democracy can come alive on Tweetminster
16The mistakes that made 2008
15BBC iPlayer Day — a lesson learned
9More positive work experience tales
9Through the worries of exploitation, positivity shines
8Snapshot of my day
4Justice for exploited journalism students
3I'm using the new WordPress
November
28All bets are… on!
27Mumbai on the web
26Guardian 'Message for Obama' project is published
26Regionals: Online memorials a good start
26D'oh! Facebook phishing protection needs some work
22Regionals must abandon 'one size fits all' attitude to online
22Magic moments
22Guardian: Eastern promise
22Regionals given a lifeline. It's up to them to use it
21From newsroom to mailroom
21Guardian praises the licence fee
20Official Monty Python channel launches on YouTube
20Patience is key to online networking
19Hypocritical BBC viewers must be stopped
19I look forward to meeting you…
10Publisher wanted: The New Blogger's Handbook
9Time-lapse video of NYTimes election night
8I needed some air in my tyres
8Told you it wasn't just me!
8Simon Amstell takes on Davis Cup Tennis
7Internet Explorer fixed
7BBC Internet Blog: How should we use our Twitter?
6Adam Smith: I've changed my mind
6Nick Robinson: Can you, will you… answer the question?
6Mr President
6Birmingham Mail reporter: "I'm a bit of an idiot really"
6BBC Election night: Where it went wrong
4US Election online watcher's guide
1I'd like to make a Google Reader bundle
October
31Show me the money: It's make or break time for Web 2.0
31Just checking a few RSS issues
30Selling the BBC licence fee to the public (and Terry Tibbs)
30Russell Brand: Analysis or overkill?
29My new job at the BBC (and what it means)
28links for 2008-10-27
27What do you call a man hiding in a bush? Russell.
27Twitter Charts: When do you tweet?
27links for 2008-10-26
26links for 2008-10-25
25Blue Square are an embarrassment to football
25Full text on Guardian RSS feeds
25McCain vs Obama — the dance off
22Why I can never trust travel journalism again
22Showing appreciation to Journobiz
21Regionals should get their houses in order before trying to stop others
17My dream job lies with the 'Huffington Experiment'
17TheMoveChannel.com, shame on you
16BBC triumphs with social media covering Obama/McCain debate
16Quote of the day…
11How should we be using Twitter?
3links for 2008-10-03
1links for 2008-09-30
September
30It's time to relieve the stress of RSS. Newspapers, make your own readers!
25Robert Fisk, please start a blog!
24Excuse me, Peter Horrocks, but that's a lie
24Gate Police: Queengate… no no NO!
24Heil Coren!
23Labour conference across the web
21What's the difference between online and broadcast video?
18Robert Fisk: "To hell with the web, it's got no responsibility"
7Web advertising needs to be measured in exposure, not clicks
6The world reports the news, Intelligent Aggregated Editorial reports the world
5The best reporting at the US elections, from an unlikely source
4The Great Journalism Job Drought 2008
3J-school debate: The best route to success?
August
24If only Lamb had an N95: How newspapers can succeed online
19Amazon.co.uk selling used condoms
19Young journalist blog ring now open
8UPDATE: Russia goes to war. Important? Not if you ask the BBC
8Styleguide from 1928
7If you're a football fan, you'll appreciate this
6Guardian: Life after death on Facebook
July
30Sign up now for the young journo blogging ring
24How to be a good journalism student
23Spelling the masthead wrong? We sure feel silly
15The bashing together of young journalism heads
8Introducing NewsWire: If you run a journalism school, you need to do this
7Me on Radio New Zealand's Mediawatch
1Hyper-local is dead. It's time for hyper-personal
1Some queer goings on at OneNewsNow.com
June
30It's the journalism that counts, not the technology
30City AM goes sub-less
29Could the newspaper habit be dying out?
27Thisishowyousortyoursiteout.co.uk/listen!
22Outdated and useless wire services: BE GONE!
6links for 2008-06-06
5Give me advice: How can this Google map involve the Wellington community?
5Queenie explains the table incident further…
4Men behaving badly (on tables)
3Introducing the Guardian's new daily column
3Anyone fancy taking me up on this bet?
2Can you make a great news website for free?
2links for 2008-06-02
1Web 2.Much!
1links for 2008-06-01
1The eagle has landed
May
31links for 2008-05-31
30Ernest Hemingway on blogging
30links for 2008-05-30
22Open debate: OK to endorse Wikipedia for journalism research?
20The earthquake video finally reaches the BBC
7Give all journalists their own '20 per cent time'
5Great timing, my blogging chum!
4Ignore me for a bit…
2AOB: COME ON CAMBRIDGE!
April
22Cocaine campus: What happens next?!
21I'm still alive…
5Sinking
4Twitter overkill: You can only liveblog LIVE events!
3Portfolio Fodder: More from Sky!
March
30Portfolio fodder: More Sky stuff
30[VIDEO] EXCLUSIVE! Behind the scenes at Terminal 5
30Adrian Monck speaks at Cambridge WordFest '08
26Portfolio fodder: YouTube madness, walking on water and a screwdriver attack
25Sky News on HTML
25The Sky's the limit
24And we're back…!
23Calling all journalists: Please help me with my study
235 Years
20*sigh* … Bandwidth problems
20On the look-out for experts on media sources
19[AUDIO] Me on BBC Radio Lincolnshire
18The intrepid Heather Mills reporter
18New kids on the block
16What type of journalist do you want to be?
14Journalism masterclasses
10Nick Davies on "Harry's War"
8Facts and figures behind the earthquake
8My day at Sky
5SJB: YouTube will revolutionise student journalism
4Question: Should I be applying for jobs?
3[AUDIO] Kristine Lowe and I discuss blogging with Siren FM
1What a difference a video makes
February
27[Video] BBC earthquake coverage: A complete and utter shambles
27EARTHQUAKEEEEEE!!!!
16Is that a Student Journalist Multimedia Survival Kit in your pocket?
15How important is Twitter for student journalists?
15Poor chap!
8Five things student editors should do with Facebook in 2008
7This can't happen
4American Football = The worst sport ever created
3Save Pervez
January
24links for 2008-01-24
23The speed of the web
17Nelson! There's being right and there's being nice
17The Student Journalism Blog
17Get the most from training and fast-track your career
17Oh you're just Scrabulous darling
16And here's the Gnooze!
14Carnival of Journalism — What are students doing online?
11Shall we have a quick rehearsal?


2007
December
30Journalism Wanted part 2
28Journalist wanted
26Boxing Day Footie
26links for 2007-12-26
24Merry Christmas from jBlog
20Lunch with Andrew Gilligan
20links for 2007-12-20
19If you're a columnist, look away now!
16The best football interview this year
16Five things that can make a newspaper website absolutely postively wonderfully great
14Free internet for all, courtesy of Google
13Oh god, my ears! My poor ears!
13w00t!
11Look to your left…
11links for 2007-12-11
10"And you can't do that with a Google search!"
8links for 2007-12-08
7links for 2007-12-07
6Insert Headline
6Andy's Road to Wembley
5Gilligan: "He's a good egg"
4links for 2007-12-04
4Death to the Sunday papers!
4In Praise Of… Alan Johnston's book
3What would you ask Andrew Gilligan?
2Why you shouldn't work for free
November
28New Lincoln blogger
28Labour of Love
28links for 2007-11-28
25Burton Albion vs Cambridge United
25links for 2007-11-25
23The Daily Beechams
23Oooh… almost, but not quite
21In Praise of… Sport Journalism at the University of Lincoln
21links for 2007-11-21
20links for 2007-11-20
20fblink.com
19Linda Jones at the University of Lincoln
14Everyone do the Can Can!
125 Ws and an H for the new journalist generation
10links for 2007-11-10
9The coverage that never was
9How will I cope?!
9links for 2007-11-09
9Flood coverage: Who will produce the best?
6links for 2007-11-06
5Cambridge students miss out on May Ball
3links for 2007-11-03
2links for 2007-11-02
1Gate Police: Oh for crying out loud
1links for 2007-11-01
October
31links for 2007-10-31
28links for 2007-10-28
27Survival tactics for dinosaurs
27links for 2007-10-27
27TheLincLIVE: Initial thought on the night
26TheLincLIVE: Sweaty
26links for 2007-10-26
25Ridiculous Comment Award 2007
25TheLincLIVE: Getting ready
24So what is Guardian America then?
24links for 2007-10-24
22Lincoln bloggers
19For Danny
19links for 2007-10-19
17Jeff Jarvis and Roy Greenslade on journalism education (and, er, me!)
17Attention Lincoln students
17links for 2007-10-17
15In Praise of… Productive meetings = the way forward
13Great piece on multi-journalism on The Knowledge
13links for 2007-10-13
12Mindy McAdams advice on liveblog
11Setanta not paying lower league clubs?
10It's just not cricket
7Hooray! It's ShortList Thursday!
4More responses to Jurassic Newsrooms
2Jurassic Newsroom (cont.)
1For those that don't understand social networking and why it's brilliant
1The Good Old Days
September
28Liveblogging the student elections
28links for 2007-09-28
27The Rules of the TV Journalism Class (according to the University of Lincoln)
26Gate Police: Socksgate?! Get out.
26New evening newspaper for Lincolnshire?
25Sports journalism
25Hate to say I told you so…
22links for 2007-09-22
21links for 2007-09-21
17Geezer
16links for 2007-09-16
14Joan Rivers
14Podcast: The Week in News with Danny and Dave
13links for 2007-09-13
12Studio training
11McCann madness brings out the worst in police
11links for 2007-09-11
10links for 2007-09-10
9links for 2007-09-09
8I'm impressed with you, GQ.
8links for 2007-09-08
7The Linc teams up with Siren FM to provide Lincoln news podcast
6Converging the student newsroom
4BBC on your iPod? Don't bother…
August
29Grantham Journal uses Google Maps to track rogue heron
26What to do with a student newspaper website?
22Social hatred
20Football club closes training sessions over citizen journalism
19Pause in posting (maybe, dunno…)
15Cola Conundrum
155 steps for teams producing journalism (aka The Gospel)
14Discuss. How?
14Get wasted with Channel 4
13Guardian Editors' Blog lacking focus
12Good Reads: New-look NME not hitting the right notes
9McCann coverage
9Make money with a 13 year-old
8My Work: Get your hands off my football club, MyFootballClub!
8Journalists could be terrorists too
8Read all about it!
7Chemical Brothers – The Salmon Dance
6Yvonne Ridley
3Facebook saga: Let's put it in perspective
3More Americans than Brits read our online papers
3U's Blog: Missing the Point-on
3No news today
July
30Citizen Journalism: What are we afraid of?
30Good Reads: Has the crisis at the BBC damaged Britain's favourite TV bulletin?
27Top 10… Journalists with Facebook groups dedicated to them
27BBC reversal not the first occurrence
25Give us a Kiss
23Put on your blogging boots
20Not that I'm hinting or anything
18Anywhere but here
15Prince the Pioneer
14Excuse me, Michael Grade, but I think you're wrong
13The Gate Police
4Free at last
June
28Yes, their worries are quite different
26'Think Alan Johnston'
24Sir Wooden
21Murdoch tries to leap off sinking ship
19Apology
1150,000 Guardians… how many more?
7Is this a spoof?
5A sickening logo, and a [sic]kening response
3The Big Bloated Corporation
2Goodbye to Royalty
2Regret
May
30Available for Panto
29jBlog LiveBlog: Springwatch
27Blimey
19In praise of BBC sports journalists…
12Open Day
8Let's have a coffee
7Rape.com?
2Webby Awards
1What is journalism?
April
25Blogging the launch
22A message
20The Linc: Issue 2
19iPod madness
14The Times they are a changin' (their website)
12All kicking off at UCLan
11Evans v United Kingdom
10Cameraman
8Iran Rants
4Have you got a wiki side?
3Revision
3American Pie
March
27Who watches Channel Four News?
26British Press Awards
20Podding along
14A right hungry chap
11Pictures of the Year International
6Boris
5Jambo Number 5
February
27It just can't happen
21My work: Technobile
19Ridley
17Dartboard Confessional
17Me, the serious writer!
6Real, Earth shattering news
5Erm…
January
31Stressful week
25Old Skills
22Semester B
19Please be nice to Jade Goody
19Panda Porn
17More Michael…
17No heroes in journalism anymore
16I need a hero!
15Stuck up old woman
12Updated: Gordon Banksy
10Time Magazine: Photos of 2006
10Smug
8Updated: Chavs
8Citizen Journalism Conference
7Saddam (again)
6I love ya really


2006
December
31Jackson Mourns
30Updated: 'We won't show you any more footage'
29How important is the news?
28Christmas Viewing
24Sun
24Journo Blogs
24Useless
23Free chocolate!
22Compelling BBC, Seattle services, and a boring snuff movie
19My Tornado Hell!
18An Introduction to JBlog

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