Oculus' Palmer Luckey on the Motorola StarTAC and living in the meatspace

Billy Steele
B. Steele|04.26.13

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Oculus' Palmer Luckey on the Motorola StarTAC and living in the meatspace

Every week, a new and interesting human being tackles our decidedly geeky take on the Proustian Q&A. This is the Engadget Questionnaire.

Oculus VR founder and designer Palmer Luckey has a go at our weekly set of questions while chatting perception modification and the importance of a meatspace presence. Join us beyond the jump in order to peruse the full collection of responses.

Oculus' Palmer Luckey on What gadget do you depend on most?
My Galaxy S III.

Which do you look back upon most fondly?
My Nokia N800. Amazing device, so ahead of its time! Video chat, front- and back-facing camera, Flash support, an App store, Linux-based OS, dual SD card slots; that thing was a dream device.

Which company does the most to push the industry?
Google. They have their fingers in a lot of pies, and more often than not, the industry moves forward in those spaces.

What is your operating system of choice?
Windows 7 Ultimate for desktops, stripped-down Windows XP Pro for laptops, Android for mobile devices.

What are your favorite gadget names?
The "OpenPandora" hand-held game console had a sweet name; the idea that it was disrupting the game industry by opening a Pandora's box of incredible features. Unfortunate that the only thing disrupted was its launch schedule.

What are your least favorite?
The Samsung :). Naming a gadget with an emoticon makes little sense.

Which app do you depend on most?
Google Voice.

What traits do you most deplore in a smartphone?
Capacitive buttons, exaggerated display specifications and OS skinning.

Which do you most admire?
Physical buttons and expandable storage.

What is your idea of the perfect device?
The perfect device would allow me to experience, capture and modify my perception of and interaction with the world at will. Augmented reality is going to make it possible someday!

"Intuitive interfaces make for a good first impression, but a functional interface is much better in the long run."

What is your earliest gadget memory?
I remember being fascinated by my mother's Motorola StarTAC. At the time, it was the smallest phone on the market, and I got it for myself when she upgraded several years later.

What technological advancement do you most admire?
Publicly viewable asynchronous communication systems in general. Forums and mailing lists stockpile an incredible amount of information for passive users, and an accessible platform for active users to communicate with the entire world.

Which do you most despise?
Electronic echo chambers. The way that blogging, news and social media systems are built makes it all too easy for people to only interact with media and people that perfectly mesh with their world views and opinions, and block out anything that might possibly challenge them.

What fault are you most tolerant of in a gadget?
Steep learning curves. Intuitive interfaces make for a good first impression, but a functional interface is much better in the long run.

Which are you most intolerant of?
Updates and features that are promised, but never come. So many devices add features that barely work to meet the list of bullet points that marketing guys think they need, and then don't get basic software updates.

When has your smartphone been of the most help?
Someone dropped me off in the wrong part of LA by accident one time, and my phone let me safely navigate my way out. Thank you, Google Transit beta!

Oculus' Palmer Luckey on the Motorola StarTAC and living in the meatspace

What device do you covet most?
Sennheiser Orpheus headphones. I have HD800s, and those are nice, but the Orpheus is just gorgeous. Pity that so few were made!

If you could change one thing about your phone what would it be?
Better battery life. I am very willing to carry a thicker device in exchange for better battery life, and extended battery packs generally waste a lot of space.

What does being connected mean to you?
Connected means that people can get in touch with me whenever they want, and that I can have access to whatever information I need.

When are you least likely to reply to an email?
When I am driving. It boggles my mind that so many people text and email while piloting a high-velocity chunk of steel through populated areas!

When did you last disconnect?
Months ago, before I started Oculus. Being connected is actually not something I do because I want to; it is because I have to. For years, I would keep my phone turned off unless I actively needed to use it. Making yourself constantly available to everyone in your social circle can be exhausting; better that you live in meatspace sometimes!

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