Augmented vs. virtual

November 6, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

What a world we live in.

I have been working with a company that provides some really cool services that will someday allow our community members to better explore our products in the comfort of their homes without ever receiving them. Those services are virtual meaning they don’t really exist.

And yet.

So, I got corrected when I used the term Virtual Reality. “No, no,” wrote the customer success manager, “’tis not virtual but rather it is augmented.”

Still pleased with myself for having figured out that a customer success manager was the same as a customer service manager, I wrote, “So, what you’re telling me is that the reality we’re discussing isn’t totally fake, it’s just sort of fake.” I could feel the smile of success on the face of that manager come right through the email exchange.

Virtually, of course.


Wasn’t it a 90 something-year-old Captain James T. Kirk that just flew into space?

What a world we live in.

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52 comments on “Augmented vs. virtual”

  1. Tomato / Tomarto.

    I would hardly call being a tiny 32 miles above
    the Earth’s surface as ‘flying into space’.
    Warp-speed to the edge of the atmosphere? 😉

    1. Yeah, I agree FR. We really need to get further out than that to understand the predicament mankind is in. Or, as my grandfather used to say, we’re in a pickle.

  2. I’m reassured that also native speakers understood little, but what I concluded is, PSA will sometimes provide an augmented, virtual placement of speakers in the home.

    Please give a note when a virtual listening check can be managed, that would be a game changer 😉

  3. Reality augmented by ‘virtual’. Kinda like a 2ch audio phantom center channel. It’s really an illusion but….

    So is the idea more for visual placement, size comparisons, how does it look in my settings…, or is it main purpose to give ‘how it sounds’ approximations?

    Customer Success manager 😉 (How big is the business that comes up with new titles?) Is that a new name for sales manager, service manager, or customer support manager? Same old jobs, just a new title that someone or some organization thinks elevates them.

    Or is it a small organization where one person is wearing all the management hats?

    1. I think he means “salesman”, but I like the idea of calling after-sales people “customer failure manager”, for when the s*%t hits the fan.

      1. Grab this one
        After months of poor and inadequate service from audio manufacturer I was sent a rather poorly written apology and

        Provided with a 33% “ secret “discount on their goods! I was told not to tell anyone of this “special” provision!

        I just guess they think everyone is stupid and will go along with the “snow job”

        Again “ I am haunted by humans”

        1. Every day in every way the Internet is being used to defraud, frustrate, provide terrible customer service, remove corporate phone numbers so that there is zero personal contact which angers most of us and it’s getting worse and worse. Virtual has become a very appropriate term. Can’t even read the news without pop-ups of inane products and services so that we can’t even get through a short story without being interrupted at least three to five times. The newest one that I have seen constantly is beautifully written websites or products Third-party sellers on Amazon that look so real that I purchased two only to find out after the sale is made and several days later I receive a shipping notification that the product is coming from China even though there is no indication of this point of shipping. I think that the USPS would call this mail fraud.

          1. They (Amazon and Ebay) are pretty good about giving expected shipping times. If you pay attention to those you can tell if what you order is coming from China. I ordered a phone wallet for my wife that was listed as free prime shipping, which once meant 2 day delivery, it was a bit of a surprise when I realized it was going to take up to 3 weeks to get to us. I cancelled the order and found one she wanted that we could get in a reasonable amount of time. Of course there are many things that are made in China and warehoused here so the estimated shipping time doesn’t entirely solve the problem if you want to avoid buying Chinese goods altogether. And yes, that does seem a lot like mail fraud to me too.

            1. Believe it or not, I am not posting about what you’re referring to. I see those ads all the time and then it’s my decision Whether to purchase or not. My issue is with both American Companies both independent and Amazon and intentional third-party Amazon sellers. Amazon knows that this is going on. With regard to the American sellers who work out of tiny warehouses, I get mixed results about the quality of the products, miss leading product descriptions and trying to get a refund.
              With the Chinese masquerading as American companies because their websites or descriptions look so real I have called on many occasions to complain about what I consider fraud and was immediately told that I would get a refund ASAP and depending on the cost of the item I would either keep it or Amazon would send me a shipping label to return the product. They always refunded the money much quicker with this type of seller. Amazon just does not have the room to sell everything from their own warehouses And does not want bad publicity so they are willing to take in third-party sellers and not even care about where the products are coming from or their or customer service hoping that most people won’t bother complaining especially on lower-cost items.

              I even had an incident with another community member on PSA where I gave this person a 30 day trial on an inexpensive headphone amplifier which he loved but never paid me for And now refuses to pay me Orei turn the item telling me that God will punish me and that I will wind up in hell. There’s just too much nonsense happening on the web right now and it’s just going to get worse.

              1. Dear Stimpy2
                It is quite shameful that you have not resolved your problem with a member you sent your headphone amp to and the audacity of telling you God will punish you. I know this is the second time you have called out this member.
                For the member who believes in God, ask him whatever happens to ” thou shall not steal or covet your neighbour’s property”(paraphrasing here)

                1. This person is a grifter I love that I had no idea one I tried to start a one on one online friendship with him. You know the rest of the story and I am not a religious person so sometimes a person has to walk away from an ugly situation because I expect that I will never see one penny of the agreed-upon price or get my headphone amplifier back. It’s time for me to move on. What really upset me was when this person posted on this site one morning that his new desktop speakers had arrived which threw me into a rage of a person who only thinks of themselves. That’s what I’d like to leave this because it’s been discussed to death and it’s not right to air dirty laundry on Paul‘s website. Thanks for posting your reply

      2. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “it’s not the product, it’s the poor choice of customers”

        BTW. – ‘salesman’ is no longer politically correct – I hope you don’t need training in the proper terminology to reflect todays societal gender neutral push…. 😀 ✌️

        1. Poor choice of customers, really! I can certainly believe that because things can cut both ways. I can only say that when I ran my retail stores these issues never happened. There was a real relationship between my staff and my customers and most of them felt happy when they visited my stores because they knew they were going to find a friend who could help them with their issues. It’s not going to happen in the future.

      3. On my way home from Capital Audio Fest this evening, I stopped at a rest area on the Interstate in Pennsylvania and saw a janitor cleaning up the men’s room in a high visibility vest with writing on the back labeling him as a “Human Services Technician”. It made me wonder if homo sapiens are indeed evolving. Perhaps there is hope.

    2. Yes, if companies spent less time dreaming up fancy job titles and more time answering the telephone, instead of repeatedly telling you how important your call is, they’d end up with happier customers.

      1. Companies aren’t dreaming up the new titles. They’re paying some outsourced entity for that.

        As far as service goes, as things become more global and everything from production to phone contacts are outsourced to the cheapest bidder, things will never get better.

        Send an e-mail it is easily ignored. Send a letter, there is no longer a mail room – place a call you may get someone, or you may get a robot that wants you to leave all the details again so they can be ignored.

        This is the society we all built….

      2. When it comes to Audio, if you call most dealers or even many of the companies you get a really great service, advice and a lot of conversation sometimes from the owners. I just purchased a full complement of XLR interconnects and there was one special order where the owner of the store in Sarasota Florida spent over 1/2 hour speaking to me about how long it would take for the mfg to construct and send the cables while he had a full staff packing up a truck to drive up to a Washington DC audio function of some sorts. We were gabbing about our history of experiences like we were friends. That’s the way I would like to see transactions in the future.

        1. Some people like to talk. Others have built a business on cultivating new and existing customers.
          Some of it has to do with the customer approach. Some of the “cold shoulder” has to do with the nameless faceless internet that allows as much troll behavior as genuine interest.

          In the last month or so I was actively pursuing a new preamp. Calls – messages – e-mails. I’ve heard back from 2, guess which ones are on the short list.

          Same thing with cables / interconnects. Only One was very responsive and has followed up. Guess where I’m headed? 😀

          After doing Field Based Service and Engineering for the last 35 years the concept of customer service is simple. (Listen) Where it can fall apart and be hard to put a money figure on is when management looks at it using spreadsheets.

          1. Very well put Mike. You covered just about the entire gamut of what goes on in buyer seller relationships. People came into my store because everyone of my sales people knew what they were talking about in terms of helping dog and cat parents take care of their animals properly and stop listening to the BS from the Veterinarians. I cannot tell you how many times a customer came into my store after spending five to $10,000 on veterinary testing with no results only to walk into my store and leave with a product that cost between 10 and $40 and come back to see me in a few days telling me that their animal was perfectly well now. You need to know what you’re talking about and you need to instill confidence in your customers that if you cannot help them you can find someone who probably will be able to. I always got back to my customers when I did not have a proper answer, always. Word of mouth spread in New York City about my stores in a very short period of time I stopped advertising after the fifth year in business. I would run down to the dog parks with samples of new treats and other kinds of goodies for the dogs between 5 and 7 PM on some evenings just to let everyone know that I wanted to help them keep their animals healthy with nutrition, exercise and proper behavioral therapy. If a customer lost their job or they were a little short on money I just gave them a bag of food and told them to be on their way. It’s about the long-term relationship not about the short term fleecing or disregard for a customer just because you’re doing well in business. It was a long time ago but I can tell you that two of my friends weathered the storm from 2008 and are still doing fine fighting the online competition.

  4. One can change the name but if customer service is poor ,especially from a person who is in command of the business , it’s called a desperate snow job!
    My latest experience with customer service, in audio, has been pathetic!
    Poor knowledge of their products, passing off in problems and sad excuses prevail!
    I was so disappointed and disgusted with recent audio customer service that I sold the gear and moved on to another product line! I got very lucky with service and with product!

  5. Interestingly, i spoke with service before I purchased to see the level of support and product knowledge !
    I was v v v pleased!
    BTW the new product sounds better than the one that was sold

    1. Names larryro2, we need names 🙂 but I appreciate it might put you in an awkward position to post them. No harm in recommending a good brand though.

  6. One of Paul’s more abstract posts and not that easy to follow, but plenty to think about. Augmented and virtual seem virtually interchangeable when ‘reality’ is tagged on the end of them, but there are differences. A bit like the difference between science fiction and science fantasy.

    Those headsets make audiophiles appear normal 🙂

  7. I haven’t tried any of the current generation of virtual reality headsets but I bought one of the earlier models. I don’t like it, the headset I have gives me a headache and I have blurry vision for up to an hour after using it for more than 15 minutes. Maybe the first gen ones weren’t meant for old farts like me. I’ll eventually get around to trying a newer headset but I’m not in any hurry.

    I don’t think auditioning a pair of speakers with augmented or virtual reality will be a true experience. Sure, you’ll get to see what the speakers look like in your room but you won’t be able to experience what they sound like. Sound quality is going to be limited by whatever headphones or speakers you’re listening with.

  8. “Still pleased with myself for having figured out that a customer success manager was the same as a customer service manager”

    I think this is funny, and I agree with you that you should be pleased with yourself for figuring this out!

    New euphemisms are sometimes not intuitively obvious. I did not realize instantly that “right sizing” was a euphemism for helping your company by being terminated.

  9. I like to augment the virtual reality of musical performers through system design and tweeks. Just like cleaning a mirror augments the virtual image of a candle in a mirror. The candle is reality. The reflection of the candle is virtual reality. Increases in the clarity and quality of the reflective surface is augmentation.

    1. Mathematics itself is virtual reality. In theoretical physics mathematics is only an abstract tool to predict the unexplainable. Take electricity and gravity for example. Nobody knows how those work. They use mathematical formulas to model physical behavior and then try to confirm the predicted outcomes in experiments. Mathematicians even had to invent imaginary numbers and multidimensional arrays to make their most complex formulas work.

    1. In this day and age, it’s best to ask them how they would like to be referred to. I have a grandson and a granddaughter who are not so much “confused” as they are “undecided.” 😎

  10. This is all true. Modern Dota 2 betting already provides an incredible number of alternative opportunities and develops more intensively every year. New patches change the game meta, generate new tactics and strategies, and turn familiar heroes upside down. Watching how teams adapt to the constant dynamic development of the game is exciting. It’s even more fun to watch the tournaments if you support your favorite team with your bets.

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