STEPHEN BLACK: WHO IS HE AND WHAT IS HE DOING IN NYC?

SB reading Volumetric Scan by Harleigh Shaw @ Scandy

I am definitely attending the Volumetric Filmmakers NYV Meetup on December 12.

I am also hoping to meet media companies, content producers, musicians, visual artists and anyone involved with AR, VR and volumetric filmmaking.

Interview with TIVA at the Video Show

This post was created for the The Video Show in Washington DC on December 4 and 5, 2019. This link will take you to an interview with SB on Facebook. SB works in the visual arts, photography and is a writer, but this post emphasizes video an AR project

As part of the Video Show fun, this unusual ebook guide to AR was on sale!

Oh yes. No one is paying me to have their product or service listed. I am thrilled to say that Novaby is helping me with Bubiko, and that I have spent a little quality time with Tranzient and Scandy, but other than that, I am just sharing info gathered online and at trade shows/events.

SB at ARIA, MIT 2019

Stephen Black is sharing the present and future possibilities between AR, MR, VR and video production.

Bubiko Foodtour amongst the pumpkins in one of the London WeWork offices.

Stephen Black is a consultant/creative director/ bestselling writer/director/producer (Fox, Cartoon Network, CNN, Fuji TV) who’s spoken about AR at MIT, Hong Kong PolyU, TechCrunch Shenzhen, PARIS (Paris Augmented Reality Influencers Show) and the Open Augmented Reality Cloud Symposium (Munich). Beach Road, his VR (360 video) movie was featured at VR festivals in Singapore, Las Vegas and Brisbane. 

360 films
Stephen Black, in the Beach Road, the VR(360 video) film he co-produced with Hiverlab

Also an established visual artist, he has exhibited at art spaces worldwide, including the Singapore Biennale(with Michael Lee), Image Forum Experimental Film and Video Festival (Tokyo), and numerous venues in the legendary art scene of the Rivington School/Lower East Side of New York City.

Office Orchitect by Michael Lee, text by Stephen Black

With Sayuri Okayama, Stephen created Bubiko Foodtour, an AR character who will soon be featured in an app. Bubiko has written a guide to AR, as well as collaborated with: the Tranzient VR electronic music-making software, an AR portal experiment with Green Bean Boy/Hummingbirdsday Studio. Upcoming: collaborations with Six Cats Studio, David Severn, Secret Donut World and NUG TOTH (Natchez)

The 3D version of Bubiko, and her rigging, are by Novaby. Bubiko's 3D AR debut was at Tech in the Tenderloin, generously supported by Niantic.

Bubiko at the Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana.

Stephen is available for creating AR/VR/traditional video content  as well as consulting, creative direction and public speaking opportunities. His latest book, Bubiko Foodtour’s Ununusual Guide to Augmented Reality (reviewed here) is available on Amazon.

PRO TIPS/NEWS STORIES

Geopose. As URL is to the internet, geopose is to AR. Interested? This blog post is a must.

Geopose and GPS virtual sculpture (1st location: Paris) now in production by Vincent Trastour (Flamingo Studios/PARIS event) and Stephen Black.

Scandy: A revolutionary way to create 3D scans with iOS. https://www.scandy.co/


Novaby: 3D model makers experienced with AR, gamemaking and more: https://www.novaby.com/ The CEO of Novaby, Julia Beabout is also heading cutting edge AR/social projects: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tww8aGYV99s

A talk about the amazing Blackhawk Jazz club AR project San Francisco. And soon Julia will be sharing info about her Seattle AR project.

Tech in the Tenderloin is another project Julia is involved with. (So was Bubiko!)

Tranzient: Electronic Musicmaking in VR: http://www.blacksteps.tv/bubiko-meets-tranzient-1-0/ 

https://www.aliveintech.com/

Bubiko Foodtour’s Unusual Guide to Augmented Reality, reviewed on AR Post: https://arpost.co/2019/10/22/bubiko-foodtours-unusual-guide-to-augmented-reality-approachable-introduction-ar-technology/

How augmented reality is being used in weather reporting | ZDNet https://www.zdnet.com/video/how-augmented-reality-is-being-used-in-weather-reporting/

Questions? Use the comment section. Thanks! Looking forward to meeting you!

PS Ask me about the AR Coffee Network!




The Greatest AR Tour in History!

Would you like to support THE GREATEST AR TOUR IN HISTORY? Do you want to learn the latest news from AWE, Austin, Japan, Detroit, Turin, Munich, Shenzhen and Japan!?

Austin, London, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Shenzhen, Tokyo...full tour info at the bottom of this post. http://www.blacksteps.tv/blam-bubiko-foodtour-on-the-road/
(Photographer: Marcha Farley)

Stephen Black and Bubiko Foodtour are about to go global: learning, educating and networking at some of the biggest AR events in the world. We just need a little financial fuel...we are movin’ and groovin, but our app isn’t out yet! Startup blues!

Not a good time to help fund the excitement? We definitely understand, but why not follow this blog where you can read, and comment upon, informative articles like this: http://www.blacksteps.tv/towards-an-understanding-of-ar-cinema-possibilities/

Stephen Black and Bubiko at ARIA, MIT

You’ve got a little extra cash, and want to help? Thank you! PM me, tell me what you do or about your product, or what Bubiko and I can do to help you in anyway.

You're looking for an evangelist? Get in touch so our enthusiastic team can immediately start learning about you and planning to get the word out!

No one paid for this; it's just an example of how excited we get. It was prepared for a presentation at Hong Kong PolyU.

Your company wants to sponsor the greatest AR tour in history? Step right this way!

Bloggers, podcasters, media people... have we got unique and informative stories for you! Happy to share our information-packed adventures with your audience. Here's a sample story about Shenzhen.

Sayuri Okayama, co-creator of Bubiko Foodtour at a hackathon at MIT sponsored by Magic Leap.

Oh! Bubiko wrote an unusual and very informative book about AR: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WQTT22Z Buy one of these, learn a lot and help the tour!

Thanks for reading this far and any positive thoughts that you can provide. Stephen Black and Bubiko Foodtour

Get behind it before it gets past you
Now on tour... Bubiko, Eggy, Ollie and Obasan A! R! Let's go!(Lemme know if you want one of these shirts!)

Austin Startup Week: September 22-25 attendee

London: presentations date to be determined

Berlin: Meetup October 15

Amsterdam: dates to be determined

Munich: presentation at Open Augmented Reality Cloud Symposium Oct 16

Munich: attending AWE October 17/18

Turin attending View October 21-24

Paris: presenting at PARIS October 25

Detroit: Date to be determined. An update of the AR+AV presentation at Collider

2020

MIT Attending ARIA, where Stephen Black presented this year

SXSW2020 Attending, Sayuri Okayama and Stephen Black are possibly presenting:  SB Proposal SO Proposal 

Shenzhen, China: March presenting at Trouble Maker      my article about Shenzhen

Singapore: Biennale November 22, 2019, through March 22, 2020

Shenzhen: March 28/29 attending AWE China

Tokyo: April Tama Art University

Ashiya, Japan: April date to be determined

This post has more tour-related info.


Augmented Reality + Autonomous Vehicles: Stephen Black @ Collider

Bubiko's guide to AR is now available on Amazon!

The following are additions that were not discussed at the Detroit meetup.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/edgarsten/2019/08/12/turning-back-seat-boredom-into-a-virtual-theme-park/#712404fc6019

! https://www.thedrive.com/tech/9548/the-biggest-opportunity-everyone-is-missing-in-self-driving-cars

!! https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/100430 (What Augmented Driving Will Feel Like, a SXSW presentation by Theo Calvin.)

I wish I had known about the projects and gentlemen above before my Detroit talk.

Do read the article by Alex Roy.

Please vote for Teo Calvin's SXSW proposal.

.......................

Presentation

Thank you very much to Jacob, Rahul and Altimetrik for making this happen. It was a blast! A description of the event, and an introduction to Collider is here.

SLIDE 2

Hyperreality by Keiichi Matsuda

https://www.rt.com/news/455341-chinese-hackers-tesla-autopilot/

https://mashable.com/article/nissan-ar-virtual-reality-windshield-display/

The Nissan video features outstanding visuals.

SLIDE 3

https://www.openarcloud.org/reports/sotarc-2019

The above link is a MUST for anyone with a serious investment in AR.

Novaby is the company that did/is doing a great job with Bubiko.

(Yes, all of the research you see is self-funded. If you can help with a donation or a job...get in touch, please. I am also a photographer, artist, videomaker and a writer.

SLIDE 4

You can see all of my adventures with Bubiko elsewhere on this blog. We would be grateful for your votes for two proposals for SXSW.

This is my proposal.

This is the proposal of Sayuri Okayama, my partner.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTE!

SLIDE 5

This book is a "living" book. Meaning if you buy it, you will get the updated editions free.

SLIDE 7

BONNETS! (My Powerpoint looks extremely low tech. As much as I like this look, I have to say I had no choice. I was using my Chromebook , and used the baked in slide show creator. Next time, I might actually have the time to do some design work.)

SLIDE 8

Artivive One of my own Artivive demos is here. Another, here.

Leo

Bubiko Foodtour

Rouvy Augmented Reality Released: First Ride & Explainer.

DC Rainmaker does his usually outstanding job of reviewing a bicycle-related product.Jump into the video at about the 4 minute mark to see some exemplary AR techniques. Click here to see more examples and ideas related to AR+ Bicycles.

Cannondale, for the win! A great example of functional AR in an everyday situation, as opposed to a factory or medical facility.

SLIDE 9

From a presentation I did on AR and bike safety. All of those concepts need to be unified and rethought for the age of AR.

SLIDE 10

Mapillary

LADOT

Superworld

SLIDE 11

The Open Augmented Reality Cloud people are making efforts to establish a geopost standard. If you are serious about AR, follow their efforts, or better join them and let your voice be heard!

What you see is a test I did with Bubiko. While I was in a car, I positioned her in the road ahead. We then drove forward. It is not clear, and I will redo this test.

But what happened is that Bubiko was in front, then she appeared in the car, and then we saw her in the road behind us. She did not move with/in relationship to the car.

This was using Facebook Spark AR. Technical support: the amazing Dana.

Stunt driver: Norm Black.

No AR characters were harmed in the production of this rest.

SLIDE 12

OPEN AUGMENTED REALITY CLOUD

SLIDE 13

The AR Podcast is a must for anyone serious about AR. This is a link to the extremely informative and important interview with four of the people involved with OARC.

SLIDE 14

Thank you Sergei!

https://www.slideshare.net/sergiikozyrev?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

SLIDE 15

One style of point cloud rendering.

SLIDE 16

Another way to render a point cloud. There are many ways to create point clouds and they must be interoperable.

https://www.clarissewiki.com/3.6/creating_a_point_cloud.html

SLIDE 17

An example of an organization that has information that would be useful for AR in Detroit. Geographic Information Services… How much of what is under the road do they have records of? This info would be necessary for many AR services,

How do they make pointclouds-or do they even do this yet?

SLIDE 18

One of Magic Leap's views on how the total AR world might look like.

The layers presented include IoT (the Internet of Things, as well as AI. Photo courtesy of Tony at the Skarred Ghost, another person I suggest serious AR/VR people support and follow.

SLIDE 19

Another presentation from Magic Leap on how the total AR Cloud might look. They use the term "Magicverse".

SLIDE 20

A representation by the OARC on what the layers of the cloud would be. My suggested terms would be REAL1 (R1), REAL2 (R2) and REAL3 (R3). R1=the physical world. R2; the layer with few changes; buildings, landmarks, geography. R3 being the part of the AR cloud that changes the most, and has the most segmentation.

This system also lends itself to further classification. R2C22 , for example, could refer to a specific block in Chicago for example, and R2C22E could be the collective "channel" for all organizations utilizing traffic emergency communications for that area.

SLIDE 21

Microsoft Azure Spatial anchor systems. 'Anchor systems' refers to geoposing. There can be an endless number of clouds. Interoperability... Machines reading the world for humans... A browser...AI assisted browsers.

SLIDE 22

This is from the State of the Open AR Cloud 2019 report by the Open Augmented Reality Cloud group. Already some governing bodies are being formed.

The report is free. Get it here.

SLIDE 24

Ed Garten's article on AV safety, for Forbes magazine.

SLIDE 25

The League of American Bicyclists has an active interest in AR and AV.

https://www.bikeleague.org/content/automated-vehicle-overview-box

SLIDE 27

And the amazing BabbleRabbit! https://twitter.com/BabbleRabbit/status/1115271007315615750

SLIDE 28

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314522858_Supporting_Trust_in_Autonomous_Driving

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333645946_The_Impact_of_Autonomous_Vehicles'_Active_Feedback_on_Trust

SLIDE 30

An AV by May.

SLIDE 33

Shenzhen's celebration used the entire city as a canvas. Something like this could be done in Detroit with AR, for much less cost, and with greater detail. AVs could travel on programmed routes... a new form of musical is born!

My report on the maker culture of Shenzhen is here.

SLIDE 34

The Fox Theatre is one of Detroit's cultural assets that could be utilized. This slide shows some of the layers of creation and co-operation that need to be considered.

SLIDE 35

An example of an urban AR project, this one by Snapchat. This article also raises questions about AR in public spaces.

SLIDE 36

Diego! DIA! https://www.dia.org/art/rivera-court

SLIDE 37

http://amirbaradaran.com/2019/works-pages/fml.html

Go to the "0.52" mark to see the actual AR clip. It is very brief.

The video on this site by Artivive showcases some possibilities in regards to AR + flat art. https://artivive.com/walkietalkie/

SLIDE 38

Apple's AR Art program. https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/07/apple-offers-new-augmented-reality-art-sessions/

SLIDE 39

Back to bROADWAY… and we have "discovered" that the Fox Theater is geofenced. Geofencing is a blocking of AR access. Military bases, sensitive areas...the interior of homes. The Fox Theatre is copyrighted, I believe. In this fictional example, Fox may have geofenced their theater to prevent unauthorized AR usage.

SLIDE 40

MOTOWN!

SLIDE 42

Bose AR

So there ya go! Any questions ask below.

I am available for consultation and all kinds of AR producing, as well as photography, video, art and writing projects. Thank you for any ideas and/or opportunities.

And again, please consider voting for our two SXSW presentations:

XR: bike safety, music and Bubiko Foodtour

and

Augmented Reality and Food

THANKS!

onwARd,

Stephen Black

ARbike

A compilation of posts-and an ebook- related to Augmented Reality, Bicycling and Bicycle Safety.

Stephen Black will be making a presentation at the Great Ohio Bike Adventure in June. About Stephen Black

ARPHABET TOUR

Hello from Austin! For professional and personal reasons, the ARphabet Tour has been postponed. Once the Bubiko Foodtour app is out, we will focus on how to get the ARphabet Tour in motion.

Hi! There will soon be an Indiegogo campaign for the ARphabet Tour.A

The ARphabet Tour is a 100 day tour of the U.S. and Canada by Stephen Black. The ARphabet Tour has three components: AR, Readings and Writing Workshops (based on SB's books) and the Mango Sticky Rice Experience.

The ARphabet Tour starts with a presentation at ARIA @MIT.

Update: Kabaq will be provide the tour with AR Mango Sticky Rice!

What is the ARphabet Tour About?

Support/ Join the ARphabet Tour......................sign up on Indiegogo.

Why is this happening so fast? 

The Augmented Reality aspect is explained here.

The Readings and Workshops aspect is explained here.

The Mango Sticky Rice Experience is explained here.

Eight reasons to SPONSOR the ARphabet Tour

The ARphabet Tour in your town: how to schedule it.

AR Characters: Bubiko Foodtour

AR Characters: Secret Donut WorldA

ARCharacters: The Dundercats

AR Characters: The Doughbots

AR Characters: Green Bean Boy

Friends of the ARphabet Tour

An Open Letter to Magic Leap and ATT

Hi.


This is outdated. For my startup plans, write to me directly at bubikofoodtour at mark gmail.com. Please look for more recent posts. This, for example, is an overview of the first three months of AR activities in 2019. Thank you. SB

.................................

January 21, 2019 Update. Magic Leap/ATT... now that the MIT Virtual RealityHackathon is over, am getting ready to restart this Indiegogo campaign for a tour of AR evangelism... https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-arphabet-tour#/

12/30/18 NEWS ABOUT THE ARPHABET TOUR

Hello Magic Leap and ATT ,

I hope this finds you well.

As tomorrow is the deadline for Magic Leap's Independent Creator Program, I would like to bring my work, research and time investments to your attention.

I believe my project has the potential to be a unicorn.

still a work in progress, but you get the idea... though the mango sticky rice section is missing...

ARPHABET TOUR

100 day tour starting with ARIA/MIT January 14

Two different topics: AR presentations, as well as Readings and Workshops

AR collaboration with Dominique Wu, founder www.hummingbirdsday.com/

AR/book project with Sayuri Okayama, researcher/co-creator of Bubiko Foodtour

Secret Donut World - Characters co-created with David Severn http://david-severn.com/

The Doughbots- - Characters co-created with David Severn

The Dundercats-Collaboration with Six Cat Studios  http://www.thedundercats.com/

Schedule now being determined, planned stops include: Boston MA (ARIA /MIT), NYC, Washington D.C., Rochester NY, Toledo OH, Detroit, Ann Arbor MI, Chicago, Natchez MS, Denver CO, Boulder CO, New Orleans, Austin (SXSW), Los Angeles, San Francisco(GDC)

Sponsorship opportunities now available

Supporters: Trouble Maker https://troublemaker.site/

                   T40GROUP http://www.t40group.com/

                   Book Merah www.blacksteps.tv/book-merah-giveaways-discounts-hong-kong-book-fair/

BUBIKO FOODTOUR SHENZHEN BOOK

The first food guide to Shenzhen, by Bubiko Foodtour, AR character and amateur chef.

Forward by Stephen Black, author of the best seller, i ate tiong bahru

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18142065-i-ate-tiong-bahru

STEPHEN BLACK

Graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, director/writer/producer for Cartoon Network, Fox, Fuji TV and CNN, Stephen Black was involved with a $3.2M gaming startup, from 2002-7. He then became a writer/artist  while waiting for mobile spatial computing(AR/VR) to mature.

That time is now.

www.blacksteps.tv                                     bubikofoodtour  at gmail dot com

www.gallery.sg

The ARphabet Tour will make presentations in large and not-so-large cities;  a great way to develop a market for Magic Leap on the grassroots level.

The ARphabet Tour was prompted by my last minute addition to the ARIA event at MIT next month.

Also, FWIW, I have many years of experience in Singapore, and surely we could arrange  some things there, as well as other cities in Asia.


Thank you very much, Magic Leap,  for your time and consideration. OnwARd,
Stephen Black

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black

AR: a unicorn possibility is real, large, and very near

This post is interesting, valid...and outdated. Contact me at arphabettour at gee mail if you'd like to hear about my latest plans and activities. This post is also informative.

..................................................................

... I will be at ARIA at MIT.

Hello to those who attended my 2018 AR workshops and presentations! And, hello to those who are interested in my AR startup plans! Thanks for stopping by!

The state-of the art AR blog posts of last summer are now ancient history! The following eight blog posts are a glimpse into the latest AR developments and opportunities. 

6D

Whare/Samsung

Magic Leap

Niantic

WakingApp/Vuzixhttps://www.wakingapp.com/blog

Amazon Sumerian

Microsoft Azure + Unity

AR Smartglasses by Facebook +

Now is the time to produce AR content for industry, art and entertainment- and games.


I have been involved with games/spatial computing since 2002, and am now ready to launch an AR startup that involves games, filmmaking and video/content production. If you, or someone you know, is interested in investing, I hope we can talk.

I can share the successful pitch I used at TechCrunch  Shenzhen a week ago. As positive as the response was, it never hurts to share a vision, especially if that vision includes a unicorn. onwARd,
Stephen Black

PS The flyer below is a bit out of date; the startup idea mentioned below includes games.


Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black

This blog has many posts about AR and startup plans, all of which are outdated, but do provide insights. 

AR, VR and Every R in Between (July 7, 2018)

HAPPENING NOW: STEPHEN BLACK'S EBOOKS: FREE AND DISCOUNTED Taking place during the Maker Faire Hong Kong, was AR, VR and Every R in Between, organized by Dr. Ludovic Krundel, of the Digital Entertainment Lab, School of Design at HK PolyU. Here is a link to bios of some of the people who made the day so interesting. Plus, there was Kandao and SnapPop. Photos by Stephen Black and Bubiko Foodtour. 360VR video of the event is here! 360VR video of this is here. Day 2 is here.

Hello!

Hello and welcome. My name is Stephen Black and I work with media, words and art. Media: VR, computer-generated environments,video and photography. Words: articles and books, including Bali Wave Ghost,  I Ate Tiong Bahru (a national bestseller in Singapore), Tiong Bahru Mouth, Obama Search Words and a few others. This post gives you some idea of my current projects. Thank you for stopping by. Stephen Black physical laborers
black and white image of man dropping vase

Ai Wewei, Yesim Agaoglu, Stephen Black, Eugene Soh collaboration in gallery.sg

Jeff Koons Balloon Dog in SPOKEN

Nhung: Floating

low tech in hi tech

Works created with ink

two men smiling

If one person can be said to symbolize the Tiong Bahru Market, it might be this guy in the hat...

SB & 3D (Why I’m excited to be in Eugene Soh’s virtual gallery project)

THIS post was written before SPOKEN started. SPOKEN is a project I am doing with Eugene Soh, an experiment in which art, text, virtual reality and social media intersect. Learn about SPOKEN here.

To enter gallery.sg and experience SPOKEN, click here.

Here is the extremely short version: from 2002 until 2008 I was involved with a visionary virtual reality project that combined educational practices with gamemaking and multimedia. However, the spiritual captain of the project was part Disney, part Microsoft and part Sex Pistols. An unexpected death, treachery, incompetence, inexperience, bureaucratic boondoggles and more made my life "interesting"... I have pages of notes about the events and the spirit of the times. We were doing things like Youtube and Second Life before they started. The project was so close... and yet so far away. (Actually, now that mobile technology has settled down, I hope that the lessons and products of that experience can be revitalized. But that's yet another story.)

In 2006, as a way of showcasing our technology,  I entered a gamemaking hackathon. A theme was given on a Thursday morning and the next day at five the results were judged.The theme was something about healthy eating, I think. Working with my programmer in Hong Kong, we made a game in which the viewer learned about the calorie count of certain foods. The player competed with an AI character.  It was fun to do. However, what I remember most was a team that made an incredible flash game. I don't remember if they won or not, but I do remember two guys on that team very well. George Parel and Eugene Soh were full of energy, knowledge and bursting with creative ideas. They still are.

I've been lucky to work with George and Eugene on a few projects since then. In 2008 I finally had to put the educational gamemaking project on hold while I waited for a programmer and the mobile device situation to stabilize.I put more time into writing and art projects. George and Eugene (that dude from Singapore) however, have kept on doing remarkably creative things with IT, art, design and more.

Virtual reality may seem to be an artificial place, but the gallery Eugene has created fills me with memories and hope. I am honored and very thankful for I Ate Tiong Bahru to be on display in gallery.sg

IATB in virtual gallery Cheers, Eugene! Cheers, George!

Ebooks: Born to Click (1 of 3)

Preface This informal essay is my way of marking the end of a certain era in ebook history. It's part snapshot, part reference materials, part journal.At the end of this post are notes about me, my experiences and my books. Thanks to Doug Rolph for his insights on economics, Eric Hellman for his input and my dad for having taken care of our family by selling books. το πνεύμα του Ιανού After I finish writing eight books, I will begin marketing. Until then, I'll probably study the ebook world less and hopefully do more writing, arting and engaging with Life. When it does comes time for me to contribute to the marketing conversation, I hope I have something to say. For now, I present the following notes, quotes and thoughts as a means of punctuating a phase in the development of ebooks as I have seen and experienced it. This is an exciting time. The ebook delivery platforms are finally stable, self-publishing has proven to have great value and a number of services have recently appeared that shorten the distances between readers and authors. It seems to me that indie ebooks and ebook marketing are about to enter a new era. This blog post makes little mention of traditional publishing. This is simply because, as much as I would like to enjoy the benefits of being a Big 5/6 author, that fruit is not now within my reach. I am however, considering joining the Author's Guild. Although I've done almost no marketing, I have studied the environments in which ebooks are created, presented, bought and sold. Some observations: 1. Except for uploading, nothing about ebooks is easy. Writing is the anti-social social media, full of long, long hours of pressure-filled solitude. Assembling an error-free book is never simple. The social part, finding an audience, is an immense challenge. I respect all of the authors mentioned in this post for they have successfully met these challenges and more.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. Stephen King
Based on my experiences, the work breakdown of an 88,000 word novel looks something like this: 1000 words a day (88 days) or, more likely, 500 words a day (176 days). Call it 200 days to prepare something for a proofreader. Two months for corrections, art, and ebook conversion. So, a book takes about 300 working days to finalize. About... And then there are the thousands of actions needed to connect with readers... The title of Guy Kawasaki's excellent book says it all: APE, meaning Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur This document, by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, is a data-based analysis of the ebook market. Highly recommended, it covers topics important for newbies and veterans. It touches upon issues like word count, pricing, marketing and more. For instance, his research shows that the average bestseller on Smashwords is 100,000 words, and the average romance is 112,195 words. (There are more links to resources at the end of this post.) Very few traditionally published authors became bestsellers; the same is true for ebook publishing. My goal is not to become a bestseller, but to connect with the largest possible community of people who enjoy the art of reading. 2. A great writer or a great marketer... ....or, the frustration of being caught between not doing enough writing and not doing enough marketing. A writer writes, a salesman sells. Self-publishing does not equal self-marketing. Spending money wisely on promotion money means income and time to write. (See the links below) Twitter, Goodreads, FB, LinkedIn and blogging? All have their advantages and disadvantages... 3. There are no independent, hugely successful ebook-only self-publishers. Note: Two days after this post went up, I became aware of this great piece by Dana Beth Weinberg on Digital Book World. Thank you Jacqueline Church! Amazon is huge, Apple is huge, Kobo and Smashwords are very big. Unless you are selling from your own website or the back of your car, you're not truly independent. OK, A bit of an attention grabber there...but the author's need for a partnership with Amazon and ebook distributors is a dependence that cannot be overlooked. These "automatic partners" will always protect their interests first. They call the shots. Amazon is a business, not an author. Amanda Hocking is a hugely successful author. At one point, the average daily sales figure of her self-published ebooks was 9000. Again: average DAILY book sales: nine thousand! Her success was based on hard work, technological first mover advantage and an indirect tie-in with Hollywood. Consider: -the successful and pioneering integration of ebook readers into tablets and mobile as well as the launch of the Kindle (2007) and the iPad(2010) -the large demographic of young women who bought readers and tablets - the fact that, having written many books, Hocking could quickly provide a new and large market with a variety of new titles - writing books about the paranormal when Hollywood is pushing the same cannot hurt. Twilight, the hugely successful series of movies about teen vampires began in 2008. Hocking's first book, My Blood Approves, began selling in 2010. E.L. James' book phenomenon began in the fan fiction chat rooms for Twilight. The characters in Fifty Shades of Grey were originally the characters from Twilight. Could Master of the Universe, as her series was originally called, have achieved its success without an existing network of thousands of Twilight fans? These two women made their mark upon society in two different ways. As shared, collective book-based experiences: WOW! However, the writing is..."not terrible" or worse
I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people like David Dalglish and BV Larson breaking out, and the rest of “genre” fiction soon followed. http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/amazon-makes-life-easier-for-authors-of-historical-literary-fiction/
There are "indie success stories" about authors who "rode into town" on the backs of traditional publishing. Funded by Big 6 money these "indies" were advertised and publicized, sent on book tours and given things like business cards. Possibly, audiobooks were made. Hundreds, if not thousands, of their books were given away, many to reviewers. As the 'first mover'possibilities of the ebook market became clear and realistic, these authors, knighted by the Big 6 and armed with credibility and connections, rode onto a battlefield with little opposition... Undoubtedly hard work was involved, but to label them as indies brings to mind the quip about George Bush: "...was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple." There certainly are "ebook only" indies connecting with many readers and enjoying sales. I just don't know of any. (FOUND SOMEONE: LINDSAY BUROKER Please tell me about others! them! Somewhat related to this, are there any "ebook only" awards? Here, authors talk about their sales experiences. 4. The ebook world evolves to reward the reader; the prepared author benefits from this. Fan fiction. Goodreads. Ebook readers on mobile phones. The mashup between big data and metadata. Entrepreneurs with vision who see ways to connect authors and readers in a new ways. It is an exciting time. Ebooks: Born to Click, Part 2 of 3 visit www.blacksteps.tv for parts 2 and 3 of this post, as well as information on art, books and ebooks  

VIEW 2019 part 3

I used to study moire patterns and halftone printing. So, this image, and others like it, was a treat. This image was taken during a talk by Danny Dimian!

Danny Dimian is a visual effects supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks, most recently supervising the Academy Award-winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE for Sony Pictures Animation.

His presentation was proof that daring art can happen in large institutions. Yes, it can be said that Sony wanted a new stylized look for the Spiderverse movie(s). However, many, many times this desire for a new look results in simply hiring a trendy director/VFX person who then spends the money on the flavor of the month gear/software. The result can look dated very quickly.

Danny's team went retro; they researched old comic books and found the techniques (and flaws) that make them so distinctive. Halftone dots and misaligned printing being two examples. They also collected the words, exclamation points and marks that add impact.

They then used these as the basis for experimentation and also brought in painters to create stylistic possibilities. In short, there was a lot trial and error involved with bringing the look of old printing into the age of 8K.

So, this happened. Looking for a place to quietly check my email; Danny was looking for a place to quietly save the Spiderverse. Or something like that.
Jill Culton shared the inspirations and challenges of Abominable.
The discussion about Women in Animation: Jill Culton, Maureen Fan, Janelle Croshaw Ralla, Angie Wojak, Wieke Schrakamp, Carolyn Giardina and Alex Schwartz. The Facebook Spark app allows Bubiko to be on stage as well, but the photo quality is not great.

The Women in Animation panel was serious, yet insightful and lighthearted. Hopefully the unwanted challenges described will become nonexistent for the next generation of women, and the opportunities will increase.

Paul Debevec What he does for Google Daydream and the University of Southern California is very interesting, but also very difficult to explain. New Yorker magazine profiled him, and explained things nicely.
A photo from Paul Debevec's presentation.

This is the third post of a series.

VIEW 2019 part 2

It was unexpected, suddenly having a brief discussion about cancer treatments with Professor Daniel Zajfman, the President of the Weizmann Institute of Science. Unplanned as well; Professor Zajfman was being interviewed right in front of me. What I happened to overhear was a phrase that went something like this: “Historically, cancer was perceived as one disease. Eventually, we understood that there are many kinds of cancer. Now, we realize that cancer, just like every living being, seems to be unique.”

“Wow,” I thought. I felt that I should share the two cancer treatments that I am very familiar with: the two mushroom-based treatments like agaricus blazei Murrill, and turkey tail ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXHDoROh2hA 8:50 mark), as well as the deuterium-based cancer research  of Dr. Gabor Somlyai.

At first, the presence of Professor Zajfman at VIEW was surprising. The VIEW website is a striking collection of the latest animated movies, CG creations and award-winning Hollywood technical talents. Why would a physicist whose career focuses  on atomic and molecular physics be making a presentation..He seeks to understand the astrophysical conditions found in star-forming regions, as well as working to solve the riddle of star formation. VIEW also focus on exploring the increasingly fluid boundary between real and digital worlds. Professor Zajfman listened attentively, gave me his card, and that was that. Unfortunately, I had no chance to attend his talk which was entitled What is Why and Why is it Important?

A woman warrior riding upon a flying dragon the size of a 747.

A rat who cooks in a three star restaurant in Paris. 

A mouse whose best friends are a dog and a duck.

The tortured soul of a giant robot.

A captured clownfish.

Spiderman.

Animation is the art form in which ideas like these become the foundations of global economic powerhouses.

Besides toys, the animation industry sells food products, books, health products, clothing, banking services and more. At VIEW 2019, I was very fortunate to listen to, and interact with, some of the most successful men and women in contemporary animation.

It is difficult to say who impressed me the most, but Thomas Schelesny would be in the top of the list. His presentation about the dragons created for Game of Thrones was extremely impressive.

However, after his talk he spoke to a few people, including students. He discussed the idea of being an artist. Egos were discussed. Mr. Schelesny did not mention his Emmy. What he did speak about was the professionalism needed to keep things moving. The dragons of GoT were an extremely expensive undertaking that required seamless interaction between a number of companies all over the world. These companies, for the most part, rarely work with other companies. The production schedule was dangerously short.

Mr. Schelesny exemplified the traits that are usually found in the best soldiers fighting the worst wars. He was a leader who stayed focused and thought of all members on his team.

Those watching Game of Thrones saw a beautifully choreographed and realistic battle of flying dragons. Those aware of what was happening behind the scenes , with Thomas and the Image Engine Design, saw a very different battle; one equally thrilling but real.

Bubiko learns from the master.

Espresso, Dub and the Slayer 2.0

The second of a series about the espresso culture at Papi y Papi, a retail shop in Natchez, Mississippi specializing in coffee, cigars and chocolate. The first post is here.

Background of the water used at Papi y Papi

The water of Natchez is tested daily in regards to pH, chlorine and fluoride. In 2013, Natchez Water Works, owned by the City of Natchez, won an award for the  Best Water in Mississippi. The water is from four wells in the Lower Catahoula Formation Aquifer and one well in the Catahoula Formation Aquifer. The water at Papi is naturally low in calcium, which minimizes scaling.
Water is complex, and  rarely possesses the same characteristics over long periods of time. It can change seasonally or because of man-made changes that may not be noticeable unless testing is in place. The water at Papi y Papi was tested and found to be of very good quality, although very slightly alkaline.

Regardless of water quality, every coffee machine requires a filter, and every water filter requires rinsing before it is used. Not doing this important step means that residue or loose fibers can damage the machine and void the warranty. Improper water treatment resulting from poor filtration is the  most frequent cause of espresso machine damage.

Papi uses the SX2-21 Everpure water filter that reduces sediment down to 0.5 microns and reduces chlorine, taste and odor at the rate of 1.5 gpm for 15,000 gallons. Although the water of Natchez is noted for its low calcium-carbonate, Papi also uses a ScaleX2,  is a chemical free technology that inhibits the formation of scale. Untreated scale can build up, making the inside of a machine look like a cave full of white stalagmites and stalactites! 

The Slayer EP Steamer

From the Slayer website:

Unlike the classic paddle system featured in the current Slayer Steam X model to activate volumetrics, what Maico describes as “a programmed electronic dosing of espresso output”, the Steam EP features nine-bar pump extraction with push-button volumetric activation. This is activated with two push buttons that presents four programmable settings per group. Users can customize different volumetric selections, for example a double ristretto and double espresso, or a group head flush and manual extraction. It also includes the option to activate a pre-wetting function. With this setting, much like pre-infusion, users can pre-wet the coffee, like blooming, prior to extraction from zero to four seconds, and determine how long to delay before the extraction starts. This customizable feature allows the barista to control what specific characteristics of the coffee to extract.
From what Dub has said to myself and to customers:

Espresso: the Coffee and the Dosing

Coffee: Honduran lightly roasted

Dosage: 30 grams (subject to change)

Prewet: 4 seconds

Temperature: 201

Extraction time: 35 seconds

The process and specs are constantly being checked and refined. Variables like barometric pressure and humidity require constant monitoring and adjustment.

The Slayer, with its programmable controls and consistent heat controls, allows a barista to finetune variables as efficiently as possible. With the Slayer, a barista can create, as much as possibly, a signature style, and most importantly, do so with consistency.

Espresso, Dub and the Slayer 1.0

This is a collection of notes and technical information about a master coffee maker gaining experience with the Slayer EP Steam, one of the world’s finest espresso machines. This is part documentation of Dub Rogers, part research paper on how to make outstanding espresso. I am not a coffee expert, though I do enjoy researching coffee. I plan on having my own brand of coffee soon. 

This is being written and researched at Papi y Papi, in Natchez, Mississippi.

Papi y Papi Background: Specializing in the highest quality coffee, chocolate and cigars, Papi y Papi is a retail store located in downtown Natchez, Mississippi. The barista at Papi is Dub Rogers. Papi y Papi features Steampunk Roasted Coffee. More than just a retail store, Papi y Papi celebrates and shares the cultures and traditions that gave the world coffee, cigars and chocolate.


Papi y Papi offers the following:

Steampunk Roasted Coffee. Started by Dub Rogers in 2012, Steampunk maintains excellent relationships with a global assortment of growers and distributors. In addition to outlets in Natchez and New Orleans, Steampunk has an online store.  

Before the Slayer arrived, Steampunk’s espresso roasts were calibrated to be made with an Elektra Belle Epoque, a machine in a class all its own.

Dub Rogers, owner, curator and barista at Papi y Papi.

Background of Dub Rogers: Dub Rogers created, and then successfully sold, both Steampunk Espresso Bar, and Smoots Blues Lounge. Both became internationally recognized for their service, their unique and welcoming atmosphere and, of course, for their coffee.

Dub studied the art of espresso in Milan and Seattle, and has won various prizes. He was certified as America's Best Espresso Judge at the 2017 America's Best Espresso Competition.

Before returning to Natchez, his hometown, Dub was a world acclaimed photographer, based in New York City.

Steampunk Coffee Roasters online store
Steampunk on Facebook
Dub Rogers interviewed by Mississippi Museum of Modern Art

The next post in this series is an overview of the procedures that need to be in place before making the first espresso on the Slayer EP Steamer.

Bubiko meets Tranzient 1.0

I met Jim Simons, the force behind Tranzient, at the November 2019 edition of the London Augmenting Reality Meetup. He did a live demo of the Tranzient VR/music making app. The app not only performed beautifully, Jim composed some great little beats; on the spot of course.

The Tranzient app allows musicians to collaborate in VR, in real time. Tranzient is impressive on many levels. I wondered if Jim would be consider adding Bubiko to his "band".

Jim was open to the idea!

What you see above is less than an hour's work. Now that we know Bubiko is functional within Tranzient, we can literally play around.

Tranzient is highly recommended https://www.aliveintech.com/ . I just met Jim, but he is genuinely enthusiastic about making music in VR. If you are a musician and working in VR, you should definitely move on Tranzient. Jim is a bit mysterious about his musical past, but I am sure he was involved with some great projects. He sure makes Bubiko look good!

This version on Bubiko was made by Novaby, art directed by Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama.

VIEW 2019 part 1

I wanted to meet Skarred Ghost.

Tony, Antony Vitillo, is the AR/VR consultant who runs Skarred Ghost, one of the top blogs for VR and AR. I met Tony online in 2016, and we have shared our problems and joys since then. I was invited to speak in Munich and Paris, and hoped that somehow I could finally meet Tony in person, in Europe.

However, Tony was going to be in China until he returned to Italy, to give a presentation at VIEW, in Torino, Italy. I had never heard of VIEW. When I saw it, I immediately wanted to go. But my trip was on a budget far below “low budget”. Perhaps I could volunteer, like I would do at AWE, in Munich. Tony said he would ask the organizers, and that was how we left it.

 I arrived in Turin on the morning of Sunday, October  21. I’d taken an overnight bus from Munich; the city felt both friendly and alien. Two officers in a polizia car asked me if  I knew where I was going. 

“Corso Marconi...”

Though the officers described the bus and train options very well, I didn’t pay too much attention. Bubiko and I were going to walk.

An hour after leaving the bus, this tranquil scene of the River Po.
Man Ray, Man Ray. Will have to dig up my Man Ray story. No, I never met him, but did meet Julia, his wife, twice.

And, walk we did.

The address turned out to be the administrative office for VIEW, not the venue. I was relieved when someone answered the intercom; and happy when Ricardo, a handsome young man walked out. He attentively listened to my volunteering idea and seemed genuinely interested in my Bubiko demo. Like the polizie, Ricardo gave me directions on how to the venue, a place called OGR, which seemed to be near where the bus from Munich had dropped me off. I thanked Ricardo, slung my bag over my shoulder, and began rolling my little suitcase down the road.

 A blonde young woman called out to me! She was the driver for OGR, and she was going to the venue. As she drove me to OGR, we talked. She lived outside of Turin, and told me how beautiful the golds and reds of Autumn were beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

Bamboo! Eco Hostel!
Just down the street from the VIEW administrative office.
Mustafa, whose nice little restaurant is very near to Bamboo Eco Hostel.
Bubiko with a group of very , very talented professional animators!

 We arrived at OGR, once a train station, now an art center.

I didn’t know what would happen inside, but I pretended that I did.

(to be continued)

Turino, 5AM...

PARIS/London AR Meetup @ Microsoft Reactor

This post provides notes on the above Powerpoint. The actual presentation elaborated on the points much more than I do here. Please feel free to ask questions. Also, as always I recommend joining the Open Augmented Reality Cloud. They are working to create open, interoperable standards to encourage the growth, use and understanding of AR.

And yes, another resource is Bubiko Foodtour's Unusual Guide to Augmented Reality, which is reviewed here.

  1. The following presentation uses references from the State of the AR Cloud Report published May 28, 2019 by the Open AR Cloud. All rights reserved. http://stateofthearcloud.com/ With the exception of Novaby, the 3D model making company, I have no relationships with any companies mentioned in this presentation. This research has been self-funded.

2. Stephen Black PARIS + London AR Meetup

  • SB introduction
  • Bubiko Foodtour introduction
  • Geopose

3. Nissan video/ question of geopose https://mashable.com/article/nissan-ar-virtual-reality- windshield-display/

The above link exemplifies a lot of the ideas about the future of AR in general, as well as about the potential applications of AR and AV, Autonomous Vehicles.The entire article is good, but the embedded video is excellent.

4. GEOPOSE

The photos were done as a spur of the moment test. I have done another version, featuring a 1947 Rolls Royce!

The point to be made here is that the model, Bubiko , was placed on the road ahead of the vehicle.the car, then "drove through" Bubiko, and she remained on the road behind us.

This gives us something to think about in terms of creating permanent AR experiences using geoposts.

5. Microsoft Azure Website

An example of how one company illustrates their version of the entirety of AR.

6. from a SlideShare presentation by Sergii Kozyrev

Another illustration of how the entire AR world will look like, this time based on Android.

7. OARC From State of the AR Cloud Report 2019

I cannot recommend the work of the OARC highly enough. Visit their site for the download of the first OARC Symposium Report.

8.  www.blacksteps.tv At least three posts about 'geopose'

Yes, on this blog, I presently have a few posts about 'geopose'.

9. From correspondence with Jan-Erik Vinje, Managing Director of Open Augmented Reality Cloud:

If we are successful in creating such a standard we will in effect have created the equivalent of the URL for real world spatial computing. Allowing the geopose of both real and virtual objects to be universally captured, stored, shared and understood.

This comment by Jan-Erik, and those that follow, are self-explanatory. However, one week ago, at the second OARC Symposium, the definition of 'geopost' was greatly discussed. In fact, the goal of the OARC for the next year is to fcus upon creating a final definition of 'geopost', and to work towards a working model.

10. ○ I liken it to URL because it can be seen as links between the physical world with the digital world. ○ URL links information to more information. Geopose links the world to digital information and digital information to the world.

11. ● It can even be used to create a "persistent portal" between a physical space and a virtual space. Where people from across the world who are experiencing a virtual space can go through such a portal to experience a real space (by streaming realtime reality capture data to all those in the virtual reality space).

12. ● At the same time people in the real world can walk into the virtual reality space or see virtual objects, scenes and avatars of virtual reality users projected into their physical space using AR.

13. Geopost is to AR as URL is to the internet.

14. To create a GEOPOSE 1.Physical space owner 2. AR data/ SLAM spatial location and mapping 3. AR Cloud space 4. End user(s)

This slide features a photo of the Fox Theatre in Detroit. The front of the theatre is copyrighted. Anyway planning to use the front of the Fox would need to obtain permission to do so.

This situation would be true for many buildings, copyrighted or not.

15. How to find the location? (the need for interoperability): Google maps Mapillary Military maps LADOT ebike monitoring maps(eg) Satellite-based maps monitoring floods, snow, ice, fire, crowds etc. City/State/Federal maps Company owned routing maps Bus routes Ride sharing maps Superworld Emergency routes Bike lanes Construction Traffic signals

The companies and organizations listed above would all benefit from an open AR Cloud. A comparison is sometimes made, comparing the present state of the AR Cloud with the early nonstandardized gauges of railroad tracks. Once the railroad tracks became standardized, society benefited.

Once there are interoperable standards for the AR Cloud, groups like those listed above will benefit, as will education, medicine, science and, all of society/

16. https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/08/jeff-koons-augmented-reality-snapchat-artwork-gets-vandalized Jeff Koons/Snapchat

This article shows an instance in which a geopost by Instagram was used by an artist to promote discussion about AR artin public spaces.

17. Geopose and GPS AR sculpture now being planned with Vincent Trastour/Flamingo Filters and others.

Stay tuned!

18. Bubiko and SB are always open to cross-promotions, collaborations, and exchanges!

Art, business or fun, get in touch!

19. Stephen Black LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter Bubiko Foodtour Instagram, Facebook, twitter bubikoworldtour@gmail.com

20. Thank You

(An Easter egg! If you keep clicking you will see my presentation abut AR and Autonomous vehicles.)

Scandy, New Orleans: my first volumetric camera experience

I arrived in New Orleans on the morning of October 1, 2019. The very air-conditioned overnight bus ride from Austin resulted in a bit of a raspy throat, but overall, I was excited. At 9AM, I was to meet with Charles Carriere, the President and CEO of Scandy, a company working with cutting edge 3D ideas, like scanning and volumetric video.

My first volumetric portrait experience.

Charles was friendly and informative. Our conversation was stimulating. At one point he pulled out his iPhone, waved it around me, and then pushed a button. Voila: my first portrait in 3D styleee!

My takeaway: AR will be defined by 3D objects. Yes, I knew this before, but now I have internalized that fact. Scandy's work is hugely important.

What is the difference between Geopose and GPS?

The two previous posts on this blog are the result of trying to create a definition of geopose. I still have not come up with a twenty-word-or-less definition. However, the following is very helpful towards achieving that goal.

What you are about to read is a reply sent to me by Jan-Erik Vinje, the Managing Director of the Open Augmented Reality Cloud. Jan-Erik and I will both be giving presentations at the 2nd Open Augmented Reality Cloud Symposium in Munich on October 16th.

If you are serious about AR, please listen to the AR Show podcast featuring the four" workhorses" of the AR cloud.

Download the First State of the AR Cloud report as well. You can find it here.

Jan-Erik Vinje's thoughts on the differences between GPS and Geopose:

  • GPS is a specific technology. And it is mostly used for obtaining more or less accurate geospatial positions related to a geospatial coordinate reference system. Currently an ellipsoide that approximates the earth is used to as the reference for altitude and longitude. The ellipsoid is a bit crude but it is normally less than 100 meters incorrect as a representation of where the main ocean surface is or would have been.
  • GeoPose is intended to relate to the same type of geospatial reference but adds geospatial orientation to the geospatial position. All real objects on our planet could in principle be said to have both a position and orientation. GPS provides position. If you have a stream of GPS positions you could derive a direction vector that is almost an orientation but not quite. Imagine walking down the street with a smartphone and imagine collecting a GPS location ( lat, lng, alt) every second. You can create a path through space telling you the direction you have moved with phone. What the GPS locations can not give you is the orientation you have held your device. Did you point it towards the ground, to the sky or towards a Wall across the street, and importantly how was your device rotated around that direction?
  • For that you would need another system or set of systems to provide you with your orientation. AR Cloud visual positioning systems can provide both the position and the orientation of your device. This is what we call a pose. If that position and orientation is in a geospatial frame of reference equivalent to the one used for GPS one can call the pose a geopose.
  • (SB:Hmmm that is great, but the last three lines will require a bit of serious thought...I am not 100% clear I understand. When I do, I hope to make educational drawings, or better, 3D models-in AR.)