VR is not always just fun and games.

(Source: DESTEK)

If you’re a Virtual Reality (VR) developer, engineer, designer, tester, or another business professional who needs to use head-mounted displays (HMDs) for extended periods, hours in the headset quickly add up. Especially in the time crunch before a software release! If you’re not careful, these cumulative hours can take a toll on your eye health and vision long-term, which may start affecting your work, not to mention your general life quality. Thus, we must be informed on how this technology affects our health to avoid harm and continue our work and lives.

The Display Problem: VA Conflict


And yes, you can do it, too.

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Prior to the lockdowns of 2020, I enjoyed cooking, but I didn’t do it that often. I had a long commute home from work, so my husband who already worked from home had two choices: (1) wait for me to get home from my long commute to cook dinner or (2) start preparing the meal while I was on my way. Usually, he chose the latter. And he’s actually a pretty talented cook, so it was no problem.

I was never “bad” at cooking; I usually made simple enough meals that were hard…


Graphic made with Tableau by Melissa Schmitz | View live on Tableau Public

Tableau has a built-in function to recognize the names of major cities. But what if the cities you need for your visualization are not automatically recognized by Tableau?

If you only have a handful of cities, it might be faster to Google the latitude and longitude values manually and add it into your data table. But for anything more than that, you’ll definitely want to save time with a script.

This Python script is generalized, so you can use it over and over again for any project that requires geolocations, not just for the above Tableau visual.

Plus, security is…


Technology is not as objective as we like to believe.

Photo by Fábio Lucas on Unsplash

When you think of the future, what does it look like? Maybe flying cars? Glass cities? Holographic advertisements? Going to school or work in virtual reality? Robots and AI assistants?

You likely didn’t imagine the people behind those innovations.

All of the technology we have today is a result of human invention and ingenuity. We have computers to help, but ultimately, even those tools were created by us. We cannot escape the simple fact that tech is, fundamentally, a human enterprise.

How that human enterprise develops to help or harm…


Create more space for focus.

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

A Deceptively Simple Methodology

Inbox Zero is a productivity methodology referring to the practice of maintaining an empty inbox. While this is most commonly applied to email, it can also apply to other “stuff” like desk papers, snail mail, or even phone notifications.

In this digital world, we are more consumed by information than ever. If you don’t have a system to manage all the information coming at you on a daily basis, you’re likely lose track of important information and get behind on what truly needs to be done. Especially in this work from home era where everything…


It’s The Dress all over again.

Design © Melissa Schmitz on Behance (Source Image: Nike)

Twas another socially-distanced Saturday night in 2020. Billie Eilish was on Instagram answering fan questions when someone brought up The Dress and asked her what color it was.

“I’m about to prove this to you, but I can’t stress this enough… It is blue and gold. That’s what it is. Blue and gold. Watch.”

In an instant, we see an image of the infamous dress where Billie has painted the colors of the dress onto the screen using the Instagram color picker. Clearly, this is a bulletproof method, right?


Mëso shqip me mua!

(Photo by George Kourounis on Unsplash)

Why am I learning Albanian? Because it is the native language of my SO. My goal is to be fluent enough to be conversationally fluent at our wedding, so I can speak with his relatives and have a better connection with them. I’ve been to North Macedonia and Kosovo, which both speak Albanian, for months at a time to visit his family. Living there with barely even a toddler’s grasp at the language was difficult and isolating. …


Lass uns gemeinsam Deutsch lernen!

(Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash)

Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Germany for a week-long trip to visit a friend who was studying there. I’ve always been fascinated by the language, but I didn’t have the opportunity to study it in school until college. And let’s be honest, I was a STEM major, so I wasn’t as focused in that class as I was for, say, organic chemistry.

Luckily, I’ve had more time since I graduated and there are plenty of resources for this language available (unlike something like Albanian)! …


There are so many out there. Find the right ones for your learning journey.

(Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash)

What makes for a good language app, anyway?

There are many unique features that could make a language app particularly successful. However, there are a few that are more important than others. You might not find what’s listed below in a single app, but it will guide you in your decision making.

  • Keeps your interest. If the content is boring, you won’t be motivated to continue. Simple as that. Not every minute of learning a language will be fun, as it is a challenging skill to obtain. …


Make the most of all of your experiences. You don’t have to be a unicorn to make it in tech.

(Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash)

Just as I was about to graduate college after studying physics and chemistry, I had shelved the idea of graduate school until I decided what I really wanted to study. I spent most of college doing purely academic activities, meaning research instead of internships. And like many students, my interests constantly evolved during college, so as I graduated, I realized how much I enjoyed coding. …

Melissa Schmitz

Emerging technologies research engineer in XR and data science. I write about topics including science, tech, languages, culture, and productivity.

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