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VR eSports marries competitive gaming and VR tech

(TECHNOLOGY) VR is nothing new, but people paying to watch others play together competitively in an arena IS new. And fascinating!

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Virtual reality eSports are a thing! The marriage between competitive gaming and VR is now official and they’ve put a ring on it. But let’s be honest, we could see this coming with or without an Oculus Rift.

Helping lead the charge is MassVR, a premier virtual reality gaming company in Chicago, who has opened a massive 32,000 square foot space dedicated to eSports. Additionally, the facilities have banquet rooms to accommodate large parties and special events.

Participants engage in player vs. player matches in one of the four 8,000 square foot arenas. Players rent a VR headset, a backpack, and a controller to play in 8-person team first-person shooter matches. Concerned about motion sickness? The game runs through Unreal Engine 4 and allows players to experience sensations of flying via jetback and teleporting without all the nausea.

Think it’d be cool to compete in front of a crowd? There’s that too! VR League, in partnership with ESL Gaming Network, is the first and biggest VR esports league, catering to one of the fastest growing sports on the globe.

VR League hosts three different levels: Open, Challenger, and Masters where anyone from beginners to pros can have a chance to compete. The organization also hosts tournaments and events.

VR eSports is putting to bed one of the primary complaints against video games – that players don’t get off the couch and get enough exercise.

Well, news flash, the future is here and it’s bound to get your adrenaline up. Whether you are a veteran gamer or someone looking for a fun team-building activity, there’s plenty of gaming to go around. So, grab your Oculus Rift and some friends, and get ready to have a good time.

Staff Writer, Allison Yano is an artist and writer based in LA. She holds a BFA in Applied Visual Arts and Minor in Writing from Oregon State University, and an MFA in Fine Art from Pratt Institute. Her waking hours are filled with an insatiable love of storytelling, science, and soy lattes.

Tech News

Integrate language learning into daily browsing with this new extension

(TECH NEWS) Interested in learning a second language but struggling to find the time? This new extension helps you learn French with no added time commitment.

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Woman seated on couch with laptop open to Fluent, a language learning extension on Chrome.

Language education software has long struggled to help students who don’t have sufficient time to study and practice. Sparing ten minutes a day on Duolingo for language learning is a really big commitment for some folks, even during a quarantine (but hey, no judgement here). Fortunately, Fluent has arrived to eliminate your remaining excuses for being monolingual.

Fluent is a new browser extension that helps you practice French while you browse the web. By replacing words in your native language with vocabulary in your target language, everything that you read through your web browser becomes a tiny bit bilingual. Slowly, Fluent acclimates your brain to seeing and translating foreign words automatically by teaching them through contexts that you’re already familiar with. Right now it’s only available in French, but new language offerings are already in the works.

On their producthunt.com page, co-founder Ara Ghougassian says that Fluent “helps by removing the friction to practice; you install Fluent and instantly you’re learning new vocabulary right inside your browser. No apps, no notifications, no setting time aside to study.”

As a language learner myself, I love the idea of seamlessly integrating my studies into daily life. There’s nothing quite like being able to read in your target language. With Fluent, users are able to do that right away. Drills and flashcards are okay, but straight-up memorization isn’t a very engaging or intuitive way to learn.

That being said, if you’re serious about learning a language, it’s worth giving yourself a reality check here: There is no singular, effortless, or fast way to become proficient. There’s no avoiding the fact that real fluency does take considerable time and effort. Language learning is just like building up your muscles: You have to consistently exercise if you want to get stronger.

So while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you rely on Fluent alone to study, the extension is a great introduction to developing those habits in your language learning. This particularly helps folks who find the idea of picking up a new language from scratch intimidating. But if you’re just curious about French, you’ll love its bite-sized approach to learning new words (not to mention, the hint of French on every webpage means you’ll feel a little bit posh while you’re surfing the web)!

Language skills are a wonderful way to invest in yourself, expand your career prospects, and unlock doors to new cultures; Fluent makes it easy to get started on your journey. Bonne chance!

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Tech News

Goal-based project management tool simplifies your work life

(TECH NEWS) If you are struggling to keep tasks straight then this new tool Qoals allows for a simpler and more straightforward way to accomplish goals as a team.

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Qoals pitch

We all have goals – whether they be personal, professional, financial, etc. Anyone can set a goal, all it takes is having a thought and assigning it a certain level of importance. However, not everyone completes their goals due to the oft difficulties and confusions associated with execution.

Like anything else, if there’s a will, there’s a way. A new way has been found in the form of Qoals – a simple and straightforward tool that helps you to get aligned around business goals instead of an endless wall of tasks.

The ability to complete goals is done through: setting goals, adding tasks, collecting things, and tracking progress. With this, everyone on your team has access to this information to keep tabs on what’s happening.

With setting goals, you create and prioritize your goals, letting your team members know which ones are most important at that time. Goals can be prioritized with tabs such as: long term, short term, and urgent. By adding tasks, you can add and assign tasks to set a clear path in order to complete set goals.

In collecting things, you collect resources related to your goal and keep them in one safe place (again, this is accessible to your whole team). This doesn’t require uploading files, but simply including links to resources to keep everything easily accessible. Finally, by tracking progress, everyone on the team can see where you’re at with your goals – which saves time with the follow ups of “how’s Goal X going?”

Why did Qoals develop this goal-oriented approach? “It’s about time we simplify things,” according to the official website. “Get aligned around goals and let everyone know what’s important for the business. Add goals under various projects and start adding tasks and resources to make that goal happen.”

Additionally, Qoals boasts that this provides users with a birds-eye view of what’s happening with their team, allowing them to be more human-centric. You can create unlimited projects, set and track your goals, collected everything related to said goal, keep the discussion relevant, access your tasks with one click, stay connected to your team, and see what’s going on at a glance.
Qoals is currently in beta.

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Tech News

If focus is a struggle for you, try this exploding to do list

(TECH NEWS) Nearly 90 percent of people who make to-do lists don’t finish them; can timed explosions fix that? Exploding To Do gives you productive chaos.

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I’m a to-do list guy. I can’t remember the last time I started a day without one; indeed, an average day for me entails several to-do lists written on anything from scraps of yellow legal pad paper to my phone’s built-in Reminders app. There’s only one problem: I rarely make it through one list, to say nothing of the numerous one-offs I create as the day wears on.

According to Huffington Post, nearly 90 percent of people who make to-do lists doom their bulleted entries to the same fate—and, while many point to daily interruptions as the culprit, it’s clear that a sheer lack of urgency is the problem for anyone regularly struggling to check that last box (or ten).

But what if your to-do list…exploded? That’s a question that Exploding To Do wants desperately to answer for you.

Explosive urgency is the idea behind the company’s titular app. Citing decision fatigue as a major contributor to unfinished business, Exploding To Do seeks to cut down on your long-term planning in favor of manageable, daily tasks—and, even then, only the important ones.

After all, you don’t have much time. At the end of the day, your to-do list “explodes”, and while you can relegate entries to future dates or review combusted days of the past, the current day’s events are over; through this somewhat dramatic approach, Exploding To Do hopes to foster your “selective focus” so that you can make the most out of your day—and maybe finish a to-do list along the way.

From a presentation standpoint, Exploding To Do offers a fairly minimal presentation—something akin to a pen-and-paper approach—but the company behind it confirms that users will be able to track data, access to-do lists of days past, and create a back-log of ideas and actions for use at any time without having to detract from the day’s work.

Decision fatigue is a beast, especially in an age of neon lights and 60-hour work weeks. It’s refreshing to see something minimal and task-oriented grace the market—even if that product promises to explode daily.

You can sign up for Exploding To Do’s wait list on their website.

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