Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Am a Google Glass Explorer

Today I received an email from the Glass Team about the end of the Explorer Program. It was around this time only a year ago I had purchased Glass. I'm 20. At the time I was 19 when I bought Glass. $1500 for a 19 year old isn't easy to come by. Thankfully, with the help of family and a friend, I was able to buy Google Glass and start the adventure. Little did I know that adventure would bring, but first, let's talk about what I've discovered. I discovered a sense of adventure. I discovered new people. I discovered a new means of communication and brilliant ideas. Glass was a channel where I could be adventurous and fun. It brought an amazing thing to my life. I walked around my college campus with many people staring at me and asking questions. I loved it. All of my friends loved it. So I'm going to share some of the moments it has brought amazing joy to my life.

I met someone who owned Glass once. Besides myself, I've never seen anyone wear Google Glass before. It was a man working at Starbucks and he wore it while working. This was before I owned Glass so I asked about it and we talked. He gave me free coffee, which most of you know, is the only way to my heart. From then on, I decided I needed to have Google Glass.

I skipped the first day of school to be home to sign for Glass. It was very snowy and cold and I stayed home and waited for the FedEx guy to bring it. I met him outside and told him it was Google Glass and he said he had no idea what that was but he said he was happy for me. I waited for everyone in my family to get home and gathered them around the table to open the box. So, I opened it and we spent all day playing with it and thinking of things to do with it.

 I once let a friend of mine use Glass in between class. We both had time to kill and we were sitting around. I told her about the "wink to take a picture" function. About 20 minutes and 30 photos of plants and strangers, Glass overheat and she gave it back. I still have every photo she took and it's a funny moment I'll never forget.

I developed a program to take advantage of Glass' hands-free utility by making a lighting plot available on the heads up display. Now, this didn't work exactly as I wanted it to, but for the most part, it was there. That took hours of learning how to program that I never had the knowledge to do beforehand, but it was a fun experiment that I would have never thought of before Glass.

I love the people that had the balls to ask about Glass. People, I think, are my favorite thing about Glass. The people you meet, the people who stare, and the people who whisper are my favorite things. They're curious folk who are amazed by what technology and innovation have brought to us today. Years to come, Glass is going to get better. As Explorers, our task was to give feedback and explore the possibility of Glass.

So, why'd I stop wearing it?
Time, my friends, got the best of it.

As updates kept pushing on, Glass got worse and worse for me. The software, at one point, would restrict me from even using it at all. Constant resets, constant bugs and constant lag killed it for me. So when a shiny new watch that did it's core functions with little to no issues came along, I was sold. But that doesn't mean I don't love Glass anymore. It has brought me so many moments in my life that I'm so thankful for.

Driving in my 1974 Corvette and recording the feeling of driving with the t-tops off and the summer wind on my face was amazing.
Taking pictures of the sunset as I walked to my car in the winter after my classes were over was comforting.
Meeting strange and brilliant people that shared my passion made me feel at home.

We underestimate the power of things sometimes. Glass was controversial in the sense that people were afraid of their privacy being violated with a camera on our faces. Being able to secretly record you. We were mocked and made fun of and pushed around many times for wearing Glass. But us Explorers stick together. We overcame that and created our own world to mold and shape for the future. Glass is before it's time and that's okay. Down the road we'll look back and know we started the movement into wearables and where they are going.

So even though the Google Glass Explorer Program is ending, I will always be thankful for what it has given me. To everyone who has supported me, talked about me, or given me strange looks in public, this is my story. I look forward to seeing where Google Glass goes next.

Monday, December 22, 2014

I was right

Google Glass has been completely killed by my Moto 360.

I ordered my Moto 360 back when it was released (on release day). Ever since it arrived, Glass has only been worn once or twice. I really don't know what to do with it.

Android Wear, even with it's unfinished interface and lack of features, does what I need it to do. It's a notification pusher. I use it to respond to text messages and make google searches when need be. I barely touch glass. Even when I'm deciding what to use for the day, I always grab my Moto 360.

I would elaborate more, but really it's that simple.

I don't use Glass anymore.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Google Glass killer?

I previously stated that Google Glass has started to bore me. Not so much in the way that it's a boring product, it's just become so buggy and lack-luster that I don't find myself enjoying wearing it. You still meet people and talk about Glass all the time, but I think I just saw something way cooler than Glass.

Moto Hint, a small bluetooth earpiece that can do the Google Now features we have on Glass. Just say the "wake up" command and then ask it to do whatever you want. Post an update, make a phone call, check the weather. No heads up display needed. Now, I can't say anything about battery life, but the charging cradle is awesome because it's a little pouch you put the Hint in and it'll charge the Hint 3 times before you have to plug into a wall. Now that's awesome.

We have Android Wear which is basically Google Now on your wrist. But if we really want to be futuristic with new ideas of what a "wearable" is, I believe this is an awesome venture forward. Oh, and I forgot to mention that it's only $150.

I can say that it's nowhere near what Google Glass is functionally, but I think I like the concept a little more for today's wearable. I'm totally going to buy one.

As for Glass, maybe if they did a wireless earpiece to go along with Glass or really improved the speaker... because I really hate that little earbud. Nothing is more uncomfortable.

So that leaves us with a question, With the lines being blurred between what we want, and what we have... Where does Google Glass sit? We (some) have Google Glass... but when we can do the things we really want seamlessly for MUCH cheaper, what do we choose?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

8 Months In

It's been about 8 months now since I originally bought Google Glass. The functionality of them has died down quite a bit and pretty much all excitement about wearing them has vanished. They're just a typical part of my day now. People still ask about them and I will talk to them, but in reality, it's really nothing special.

It's not because I've been using Glass that makes it tiring. I think because I haven't been using Glass, I find no need for it. Back to the days where I didn't even have Glass, things were once again... clear. I don't know if that makes sense, but I think life was less annoying without Glass.

I barely update this anymore. The excitement has pretty much disappeared.

Maybe I'll start a full tech blog instead.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

XE16 disaster and XE17 is getting better.

For the past month, us Glass Explorers have been going through one wild ride. It's been problem after problem with our Glass and we're starting to get back to where we were. Glass XE16 brought Android 4.4 KitKat to the tablet. It also brought a slue of bugs and glitches that made some of our devices completely unusable. My Glass in specific would restart constantly and would suffer from battery life drains within only a few hours. Some devices were completely bricked, with users having to receive new pairs of Glass. Those were dark times. Now, it's getting better and I'm here to tell you after a series of new updates, I can finally tell you the good of KitKat on Glass.

First, speed has been improved phenomenally. Glass now responds to you faster than ever. Sometimes even before I can finish the command "okay glass." (Also, you can now say "okay Jarvis" in reference to Tony Stark's computer named Jarvis from Iron Man) Searching the web or sending a message is now seamless where as in the past you had to stop your sentence for Glass to register your task. Now you can fluidly just say "okay glass google I'm hungry?" and it'll pick it all up.

Secondly, the apps that have been added since the update are quite useful. Google added the calender app and also some great recipe apps are out there now. But these are just apps, not so much Glass so I'll go back to the native software.

You can now send feedback directly through Glass, sending a debug of your Glass along with a message stating what your bug or problem is. It's quite useful when I kept sending debugs of when my proximity sensor wasn't working properly. Now it's working fine and I'm on XE17.1.

And to keep this short I'm going to end this with the greatest improvement from XE17 and that's being able to backup your photos and videos when you want to. Before you had to wait until Glass would backup your photos and videos that you took that day to the cloud (Google+). Now there's an option in the settings card that allows you to backup your photos whether you're on a data connection or wifi.

Overall, Glass is getting there. Will it be a consumer product anytime soon? I highly doubt that. There are just too many negatives over positives to be able to sell this as it is today. If Google can get their act together, whether it be by the end of the year or not, I think they have a pretty good product on hand.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Glass "One-Day Sale" and The Future

So, for those who don't know, Google Glass went on sale on the 15th for the usual $1500 but for anyone in the United States. I didn't think much of it. Google was probably testing something or seeing how many people were still left willing to buy Glass. They all sold out and now I'm left to think, "What exactly were their intentions?" The only negative thing I could think of them doing is selling off the v2 Glass to make way for the new v3. Which made me think more... there isn't a v3... is there?

Let me explain something, I love Glass the way it is now.
Yes, you look weird if you don't have glasses or sunglasses but I hate wearing glasses and I only wear sunglasses when I have to. I like only having a little box on one side and I enjoy not having to have frames for glasses because it makes me feel like I'm wearing Google Glass. I like that feeling.

So let me go back. v3 of Google Glass. I snooped around the internet until I saw a surprisingly unpopular video from T3 of Ray-Bans Google Glass concept.

Then it hit me... Glass is coming to an end. I completely understand how innovation works blah blah blah. But look at what I'm saying, The weird Google Glass with the giant battery at the end and the glass prism and the camera... that's all ending.

Sure, maybe I don't like change. But if I wanted wayfarers with the magic of the internet... wait, maybe that is what I want... but I don't want to wear glasses. So what is Google going to do for me? And what of the $1500 that all new explorers just dropped on v2?

There are so many questions and so few answers. Check out the video below for the Ray-Ban concept. I don't know how I feel... but I'll tell you this, I don't dig the yellow. (Also I don't understand how you get a prism into a thin glasses lens.)

Sorry this was a pretty poorly written article... I really can't wrap my head around all of this.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Without Glass for a Day

I could see clearly. Yes, that's true. I didn't miss it much at all, to be completely honest. I did, however, find myself tapping my temple to bring up the time... with no prevail. I didn't miss out on anything though. No pictures needed to be taken, no calculations were to be done. Really, having Glass gone for the day was a breath of fresh air. I was doing some programming and didn't want any of my work to be lost in the debug so I left Glass connected to my computer. Another reason I gladly left Glass at home was the nose piece was driving me CRAZY. Google says wear Glass in whatever way, as long as it's comfortable... well no matter how many adjustments I made, Glass was never comfortable. It would squeeze and pinch and pull my nose and I could never find a comfortable position for the nose pads. It wasn't until I put on my normal glasses and matched the exact location of the nose pads did Glass become bearable again.

So I guess just to wrap up this short post, I went a day without Glass... and I was human again.

(Cue Beauty and the Beast music)