Category Archives for "general"

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Paul McCartney embraces virtual reality to recall the Beatles’ best recordings

Pure McCartney VR, a joint project with virtual reality app Jaunt, puts viewers in the room with him as he tells the story behind some of his best-known songs

When we think of the Beatles, we think of black-and-white television footage, 45s playing on a turntable, and their reluctance to embrace streaming. Its ironic then that Paul McCartney, of all people, is helping to launch virtual reality to the masses.

With the help of VR app Jaunt, McCartney is in the process of broadcasting the six-part VR documentary series Pure McCartney VR, which began on 24 May with the first two episodes and will continue weekly until 10 June. The latest segment, Early Years which focuses on the recording of Love Me Do and when Paul, John, and George met Ringo for the first time launched this week.

The noted music video director Tony Kaye (best known for directing American History X) filmed McCartney telling the stories behind some of his most famous singles while hanging out and playing instruments in his home studio. Viewers can watch online at Jaunts website, but to get the full experience they should download the app and either watch on a cellphone with a Google Cardboard or fancier VR headsets.

Each clip, which ranges from three to six minutes, is filmed in 360 degrees. When watched with the app, viewers can swivel their head around and change directions to see all the details around the room. In all the clips there are little bits of animation such as a magic light pen drawing pictures of the Beatles, or diagrams of chord progressions that appear and disappear that are sprinkled throughout the environment.

Kaye works some wonders with the technology, though viewers will have to get over the idea that if theyre looking at one part of the room (or even the floor) theyre going to miss what is going on somewhere else. Just like Twitter, there is no way to witness everything that is going on at once and give it proper attention.

Right now the real wow factor is in the technology, not in the content. Being in the room with McCartney is less like 90s VR movie The Lawnmower Man and more like living in the David Bowie Is exhibition that the V&A mounted in 2013. There are old movies and bits of effluvia sprinkled about while McCartney tells us about how he played all the instruments for the song Coming Up, or how a chance encounter with a mandolin in a London shop led to composing Dance Tonight.

There have been few people in contemporary culture who have been as filmed, interviewed and examined as McCartney. These cute anecdotes are the slightly amusing things you might hear from a celebrity at a dinner party, but there is nothing especially new or insightful about his life or creative process that is revealed.

Instead, what newcomers to VR can experience is just what the medium is capable of: the way that even these slightly boring tales can be rendered with mind-bending immediacy as suddenly their entire view is taken over by black-and-white images of stringed instruments or strange scarlet drawings of John Lennon.

Virtual reality is set to become a billion-dollar industry. Most young people are going to be introduced to its wonders through videogames (or, more likely, porn) but this series might be just the thing to get baby boomers to strap on some goggles for the first time and figure out how this new-fangled technology works. And once this excites them, like playing Love Me Do once did on a phonograph, just wait until they get their hands on something really good.

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Turn lifes biggest challenges into defining moments

Two life coaches share their tips for turning unexpected crises into golden opportunities

No one ever wants to hear the words you have cancer. But in 1994, Tracy Fitzpatricks doctor broke the bad news to her. At the time, Fitzpatrick was a Boston-area consultant in her early 40s. Her youngest daughter was just 18 months old.

It was, believe me, a very hard and scary time, she recalls.

Fast forward to the present. Fitzpatrick is cancer-free and feeling more fulfilled than ever, she says. Her road to recovery, as well as her background in labor policy and workplace rights, inspired her to become a professionally certified, full-time career and life coach. Shes channeling her energy into empowering fellow cancer survivors and others to turn obstacles into opportunities.

I saw how these proactive, self-reflective tools helped me recover from my own shock as a result of having cancer, and I longed to share these tools with others, Fitzpatrick says.

Whether youre faced with a health crisis or an issue in your relationship or career, its possible to emerge feeling stronger, happier and with a clearer purpose. Heres how to do it.

Step 1: face reality

Before pushing forward from any challenge, pause to accept whats happening and to process your feelings, says Melisa Alaba, the CEO and founder of the Elevate Me Global Network and the author of Live Out Loud: 52 Ways to Reawaken Your Spirit and Live a Life of Purpose.

In other words, its OK to stop and have a good cry. If you dont give yourself time to grieve your loss, its going to be harder to move on, Alaba says. You may be doing things, but emotionally, youll still be stuck.

Step 2: acknowledge your strengths

After the acceptance stage, its time to home in on your strengths when handling hardship.

Ill often ask [clients]: Whats been helping you through this so far? How have you handled adversity in the past, and would that work for you now? Fitzpatrick says. They begin to see that even when theyre feeling terrified, theyre not just a victim [of] the circumstance theyre an empowered actor.

Reflect on what youve learned and gained from the experience. For example, if youre going through a divorce, write down all of the gifts that remain from the marriage, such as your children and also what being separated allows you to do.

Alaba did this exercise after splitting from her husband. I realized I was resilient and that I could take care of myself, she says. I also realized there were some big dreams that I had not been able to pursue in that relationship, like travel and building a business. Now I have the freedom to do these things.

Step 3: set goals

Think about who you are now, where your passions lie and how you envision the next chapter of your life. What really brings you alive? It can be little day-to-day things, or it can be new areas of learning, Fitzpatrick says.

Writing in a journal can help you figure this out. Watch your life with a magnifying glass for just a couple of weeks, and it will become evident what really engages you, she says.

Next, its time to integrate the things you love into your life. Some people choose to channel them into their work, while others pursue activities such as volunteering. Theres no one answer, and each person has to figure it out themselves, Fitzpatrick stresses, noting that most of her clients decide on a career move.

For one of Fitzpatricks clients, this exercise revealed that she enjoyed doing puzzles. That led the former homemaker to start a business advising high school students and their families on college choices. Shes putting together puzzles, but in a different way, Fitzpatrick explains. She puts together who the students are, what theyre looking for in their next step and what school is right for them.

Step 4: reframe doubts into good questions

Setting goals is one thing; acting on them is another. The biggest barriers to getting through challenges and achieving goals are often internal, Fitzpatrick says. For example, receiving treatment for a serious illness or being laid off can stir up overwhelming feelings of anger, fear and uncertainty.

Fitzpatrick suggests reframing doubts into good questions. Are you assuming you arent qualified for that new position you saw advertised, or do you know for a fact? Instead of presuming you dont have the right experience, first ask what experience is needed. Fear can freeze us in place, Fitzpatrick says. Be proactive about finding answers.

Step 5: assess the risks

Gather as much information as possible about the path you wish to take. If its a career change, set up informational interviews and speak with as many people as possible in the profession.

Someone once said to me: Its the difference between buying something online and going into a store and trying it on, Fitzpatrick says. What would it be like to be a screenwriter? What would your days be like? What would be the route to success?

Think about what transferrable skills you have and if your financial situation can support the change then build a support group around them.

Plant the seeds and eventually some of them will grow, says Fitzpatrick.

Step 6: pull a Beyonc and make lemonade

Make no mistake there will be ups and downs along the way.

Richard Bolles, who wrote the What Color Is Your Parachute books, points out that the process goes: no, no, no, no, no, no, yes, Fitzpatrick says. It doesnt become easy as soon as you decide to be proactive. It takes a lot of persistence to continue through to that yes.

Alaba adds, When you decide to make the shift, the first thing thats going to happen is, all hell is going to break lose. Its really the universes way of asking, do you really want this change?

For Alaba, who faced a recent bout with cancer, the answer was a resounding yes. When you realize what your purpose is, you start living on purpose. Its a total gamechanger, she says.

Fitzpatrick shares this sentiment. I look back on where I was 20 years ago, and my life is richly better now, she says. Its not easy to recover from cancer. Its not easy to find a new career. But that doesnt mean you cant be completely in charge of that process. You can make life good again, and its within your power to do so.

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This content is paid for by Principal

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