- Čeština: Stránka o mě v češtině.
- English: You are at the correct page. Read on! :)
We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things… but there are times when we stop. We sit sill. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper. - James Carroll
Hi, I’m Jan Vrsinsky and welcome my blog where I write about my experiments in life, travel, photography, talking to stones, games, quantum physics, etc. Greetings to all companions of our collaborative dream world which we are changing into reality through our connected minds.
I worked for huge corporations like Disney but I also co-founded small startups and even invested in one. In January 2012, after the birth of my first son, I decided to stop doing things that I didn’t like and fill my life only with stuff I really love. I’m still amazed today how rewarding that is and easy to implement it all was.
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
I Love Photography
I love capturing and sharing the awesomeness of the collaborative dream world around us and sharing it with people. I’ve loved doing that since childhood. I even developed my own black&white film rolls in a private photo lab. If you are older you probably don’t find it interesting and if you are younger, you probably don’t know what the heck I’m talking about anyway. Ok, let’s skip this chapter and move on :)
I’m not a professional photographer (so please don’t call me that)
I’m not a professional photographer and I’ve never been one. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever be. I think I’d lose a part of myself if I let that happen. Taking pictures never generated most of my income (that’s the definition of a professional anyway). Of course I like to get paid for my work, I don’t work for free, but I’ve always managed to generate more income in some indirect ways through what I did around photography than through the actual shooting of pictures. OK, I lied, I sometimes work for free. I occasionally shoot panoramas for non-for-profit projects (link goes to an article in Czech).
My obsession with panoramic photography
In 2003 I discovered the new dimension of panoramic photography and interactive images thanks to the panorama mode on his new digital compact camera. Since 2008 I’ve been intensively focused on 360° panoramas and virtual tours. I’ve gathered extensive experience with spherical panoramas thanks to my contract photography work, in my job at 360cities.net and during my travels around the world.
My experience ranges from photographing hotel resorts, blue chip companies in Czech Republic such as Skoda Auto, Unilever, Crocodille, KPMG, Prague Airport and others. I’ve taken photos in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, The Republic of South Africa, Italy, Sardinia, Portugal, Azores Islands and other countries. I’ve also created literally hundreds of leisure spherical panoramas during my travels.
More about my panorama experience can be found in Czech language at jakfotit360.cz/projekt.
How To Shoot 360° Panoramas
In the year 2011 I decided to launch a new experiment and to share my panoramic photography knowledge with others to put it to better use. I started organizing various workshops, panoramic photography photowalks and founded howtoshoot360.com and jakfotit360.cz (the latter is in Czech and is more active). This websites’ goal is to explain and promote 360-degree photography via online tutorials and hands-on workshops in Prague, Czech Republic and worldwide.
The sites feature how-to sections, videos, guides for total beginners and other great pieces of information. 360° panoramas allow you to look around in them and therefore you are not constrained by the view defined by the photographer. I believe that panoramic photography and virtual tours are fun to create and that they can be produced by anybody, at any moment and with any equipment you currently own.
I’m an investor and a long term consultant at 360Cities.net. Others also used to call me the Product Manager, the User Advocate, the Jan, the Czech guy, etc. whatever felt appropriate at the time. :) 360Cities is an amazing virtual tour of the planet Earth created by thousands of brilliant photographers featuring tens of thousands top-of-the-art immersive, interactive panoramas of hundreds of locations around the globe. Think of it as a mix between Google’s Street View, Youtube and Flickr. 360Cities features top-quality content from all imaginable places like volcanos, restaurants, top of skyscrapers, factories and even the insides of peoples’ fridges and washing machines. There are even many underwater photos of fish and coral reefs and aerial photos of people skydiving and flying helicopters. 360Cities is prominently featured in Google Earth.
iPhone Panorama Viewer
In 2009, inspired by the work of waine a. lee and Ryan Scherf, the author of jSwipe, I created the first-ever useful iPhone panorama viewer using CSS 3D HTML5 transformations that featured automatic rotations, inertia and iphone 3G support. There were other viewers available before that but they weren’t any good. Since then, this viewer has been widely adapted (and hugely improved) by many people in the panoramic photography industry, and it has been reworked and implemented also on 360Cities as an iPad viewer and the same technology was used later in krpano for mobile (although probably completely re-worked).
Science Café evenings in Czech Republic
During the years 2009 and 2010 I helped to launch various activities and to organize evenings for sciencecafe.cz. Science Cafés are informal and friendly evenings for allowing people from general public to meet top scientists in respective fields, listen to their newest findings and to ask them questions about what they want to know. The evenings were broadcasted by the Czech Public Radio (Cesky Rozhlas) every month.
The most successful pool game on Facebook
When I was working for geewa.com – an awesome Czech startup social/multiplayer gaming company -, I ported one of the most popular games on Geewa’s portal to Facebook, and designed the Facebook UX, of course with a huge help and support of the core Geewa team. It turned up to be the most successful pool game on Facebook for some time, and in August 2011 it achieved 0.5 million daily active users. Update May 2012: The game is now among the top 10 games on Facebook! (it’s nice to know I was at the inception of this coolness!).
The first-ever Disney ad-funded game and a game with in-app purchases
Working at Disney was one of the most interesting experiences in my life. A lot of creativity, awesome company, and also a lot of people and caveats of huge corporations. I was a Tech Lead for the online team in the Disney Mobile Games Studio. Among other things, I took care of adding online features to existing games, e.g. level downloading, in-app purchases, etc. I also overlooked the process of adding 3rd-party advertisement systems to existing games to enable free downloads by users. I’ll never forget those drawers in the QA offices with hundreds of different devices they needed for testing :)
The first-ever massive multiplayer mobile game with a persistent world
In 2002, I started working in a subdivision of Illusion Softworks (creators of Mafia computer game), and later formed a separate team called DolphinGames, and launched a massively multiplayer game Sky in Fire for mobile web browsers and later for Java. It was, believe it or not, a flight simulator with ammo, fuel and unlimited number of simultaneously connected enemies. These were ages of super-expensive mobile connection rates from which we would get a provision from carriers and super-long page load times (up to 30 seconds) with a tiny image on them (as small as 70 pixels wide), and yet we managed to create a persistent-world massive multiplayer games on top of that. Those were innocent and exciting times.
The first-ever mobile banking software for mobile phones
Back in the old days, when the mobile internet was very raw, and cell phones sloppy, I worked in the internet banking team of a small company in Czech Republic called BSC to enable bank clients to access their account via a technology called WAP. It worked very well at that time.
School, fun and games
Psst. Don’t tell anyone. Back at high school, a long time before the year 2000, and in the age of ancient computers, and no internet, Jan created a network packet encryption system with a dynamic key allocation that allowed students to play networked computer games on our school’s network without the risk of being detected by evil network sniffers that would alert teachers. I was very proud of this achievement at the time. :)