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Google Glass: 10 Days In (Glass and the Barcodes)
Brenda Cooper   Jan 1, 2014   brenda-cooper.com  

A few people have asked me how it’s going with Glass.  So here’s a report (and there is a story about barcodes – hang on, it’s at the end).  The pictures are all #throughglass.

I did get the turn by turn directions working and used them on a route I knew in a low traffic time.  Less distracting than using the iPhone Google Maps and looking down all of the time,  but I think there may need to a be a mode you can drop Glass into that says “Turn by turn directions and camera only – no other interruptions” to avoid the temptation to look up at Glass very often while driving.  

I don’t really want texts or email shoved in my face while I’m driving. So better than a phone, but still with a distraction factor.  The safest map to use in the car is the built in one in the dash, except that it’s wholly out of date after 6 years and updates cost more than a new phone.  So I’m not doing them.  Shouldn’t our cars be as configurable as our phones? But that’s a side-issue….

I FINALLY figured out the send problem (Glass kept saying it had sent things but they never arrived anywhere).  I tried reconfiguring EVERYTHING for HOURS and was about to throw Glass through the window.  I even broke down and sent a note to Google support which didn’t get answered.  So I went back in last night and dutifully searched the Glass support and finally found a thread that was useful.  Apparently when Glass sets up a contact, it defaults to send everything to a Hangout.  WTF?  I didn’t even know you could send things to a hangout.  I’ve only used hangouts a few times (Skype is far more pervasive – it crosses OS ecosystems).  

I still have no idea how you get something that was sent to a hangout if you aren’t IN a hangout. Maybe this is the result of being in my fifties and trying new things.  I was reading my friend Stepto’s book, “A Microsoft Life,”  and he talked about a condition he called the “Redmond Reality Distortion Field” where developers live in an artificially techno world and think everyone else does, too.  I suspect Google developers use hangouts like the rest of us use phones or email.  This also reminds me of my first iPod, where it took me hours to figure out how to change the volume.  Maybe I’m just slow.

Some additional impressions.

1.  For the things Glass is good at (Taking pictures, turn by turn directions, fast replies to simple emails, simple Google searches) it’s awesome.

2.  I remain convinced the big deal is being hands-free.  The possible and useful applications are mind-boggling.

3. There actually aren’t many places in today’s society to wear Glass in company.  It’s more of a separator than a uniter.  Meetings and meals become about Glass, which is just silly.  That may change over time – it’s early and most people I know are seeing Glass for the first time when they see me wearing it.

4.  I still can’t wink with my right eye.

5. Nancy Kress was right.  We need to be able to name our Glass.  Walking around repeating the mantra “Ok Glass” gets pretty stupid sounding after a while.  I  really want to say, “OK Thor,” or “OK Minerva” or even, “OK Dad.”

6.  There is a warning about Lasik that I found buried in the support menus.  I have no idea how seriously to take the warning.  Hasn’t 50% of the population or so had Lasik by now? I have – like a decade a go.  All it says is that the flap on the cornea never heals so Glass is more dangerous for wearers who have had Lasik. How much more dangerous?  Do I have to worry about the dogs pulling me over while walking, about tripping, about daily stuff?  Or just about getting a face full of airbag?  If I wear the clear shades, does that provide adequate protection?  No real information seems to be easily available on the web.

And now on to the barcode story….I was driving into work, contemplating whether or not to keep Glass.  It’s cool tech and I like having it, but it utility is pretty low for me other than ego-boost of having it.  There’s some utility, and a lot of fun, but is it more useful than the new computer I would buy with the money if I turn my Glass in?  

Remember I work the equivalent of two and a half jobs or so, and thus adding a thing that takes time to troubleshoot and play with is not irrelevant, and spending $1500 to leave something in a drawer is just plain stupid.  And the Lasik warning is a little scary.  Glass is NOT worth losing my vision over. Don’t take this as me not liking Glass – I like it a lot.  But there are reasons for me to question it.  So I go in to get my morning latte at LLadro, and they have a questions of the day up.  ”What was the first use of the barcode?”

I have no idea.  I guess inventory, although I’m sure I’m wrong.  But it’s worth a free cup of coffee.  The barrista says, “No.  It was railroad cars.  And you know?  People hated them.  The guy who invented bar codes said they would be all over everything, and no one believed him. I guess that’s how it is with new technology.”

I suspect that’s how it will be with Glass.

Note that I checked the Barrista’s story, and I found that trains did in fact sport the first bar-code like identifiers.

Brenda Cooper is a science fiction writer, a futurist, and a technology professional. Her website is at www.brenda-cooper.com and she can be followed on Twitter @brendacooper and FaceBook at BrendaJCooper.



COMMENTS

“Glass is NOT worth losing my vision over”

Yet what if Glass can actually help blind people see?

“A low-cost sonification system to assist the blind: An improved assistive technology system for the blind that… “
bit.ly/K1QBnU

via Twitter @KurzweilAINews

Glass may have the ability to transform audio-visual experience of the world for the blind, as well as transform bar codes into realtime shopping?

 

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