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Magic Leap’s bad week, “Planet of the Apps” and more

What We're Reading

Welcome to another edition of What We’re Reading, Marxent’s weekly series featuring staff members highlighting the best articles, videos, music and more they saw over the prior 7 days. This week, those finds included stories from PC Magazine, Gizmodo, The Verge, Fortune and many more. Up first, it’s …

The Best Thing We Read This Week …

It’s been a rough few weeks for Magic Leap, the secretive South Florida start-up that raised billions of dollars in venture capital investment with an Augmented Reality solution touted as a technological breakthrough that is light years ahead of the competition. The only problem: No one not under a strict NDA has seen the tech, and there have been grumblings that Magic Leap is wildly over-promising. Those grumblings became full-throated roars this week, after Business Insider posted a pic of what it described as a “prototype” of Magic Leap’s device. Magic Leap’s CEO tweeted out a denial, saying the device in the picture was an “R&D test rig,” and did not represent a prototype. Then to make matters worse, the company was hit with accusations of creating a hostile work environment for women — the claims coming from a former executive and not easily dismissed. Is it safe to call Magic Leap “embattled” yet?

The Best Book We Read This Week …

Human Resource Manager Megan Gray has been paging through a book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown. “It’s fantastic!” she says. “The book talks about how many of us put our energy into a lot of different tasks each day, feeling stretched thin and unaccomplished — even though we accomplished many small things. It discusses how we need to question every task given to us and learn to politely decline tasks that aren’t important — aka cut through the bullshit tasks the world is throwing at us each day. I’m only a few chapters in, but I really love and highly recommend it!”

The Best Game We Played This Week …

Marketing Creative Director Joe Johnson has been off battling prehistoric lizards of late, but returned to file this report: “Yes, it’s Minecraft with Dinosaurs. Yes, the developers are occasionally on the shady side. And yes, it absolutely will eat up every spare second of your life if you let it. ‘Ark: Survival Evolved‘ is a survival game with a well-crafted character growth arc that leaves you always a little short of what you need to make it to your self-directed goals, always pushing you juuuust a little more to take a risk to get the resources you need to build, fight and craft your way to the top of your island’s food chain,” Joe raves. “With VR headset support, and a truly gorgeous environment, ARK transports you to a savage world that makes you laugh and swear in equal measures.”

But wait, there’s more …

Sales Director Marcus Athari has visions of VR weather dancing in his head, put there by a particularly fascinating article from New Scientist. “Interesting article on efforts to add elements like weather effects like wind and temperature to the VR experience,” Marcus says. “Smells and haptics are next!”

VR directly through the Internet? Why not, especially now that Google has added support for VR directly to Chrome.

Ever wonder what’s going on inside the trailers you see on most large job sites? takes readers inside the “21st-century job site trailer,” finding everything from vending machines to virtual reality.

Attention real estate obsessives: Virtual reality home-buying is officially on the horizon.

WATCH: Always Sunny in Philadelphia in VR is totally and completely badass.

Which set-top box will reign supreme? Apple TV? Amazon Fire TV? Roku? How about the Caavo streaming box? The what? The Caavo streaming box, which is built “on game-changing machine vision for TV.” You’ll want one.

Is there anything Amazon isn’t doing? Cross video conferencing off the list, as the online retail giant is now challenging Microsoft and Cisco with a new service called Chime.

Speaking of Microsoft, this week the company unveiled “Spectator View,” which shows off what HoloLens users see from third-person perspective.

And Finally …

Apple is used to the media heaping praise on any and every new product it unveils. This track record made the largely negative response to the unveiling of”Planet of the Apps,” the Cupertino giant’s first original content production, all the more fascinating. Short version: People HATED the trailer. “Apple’s first TV show looks like a cry for help,” said Gizmodo. “Apple fans and employees are ‘ashamed’ of Apple’s new reality show,” reported Business Insider. Ouch. Hopefully the tears of the Apple faithful were mitigated some by the record price hit by the company’s stock.

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