Monday, August 19, 2013

Google Glass on stage

I had a nice break last week meeting my parents at the Alaskan cruise. As all of you might have known, they always have a bunch of shows happening every night during a cruise, like Broadway shows and such.

One of the acts was David Klinkenberg. He is a very talented violinist and an awesome entertainer. After his first show, an idea occurred in my mind. I want him to wear Glass and record the performance from his point of view. After the show ended, I approached him and start chatting. I took my Glass off and asked if he know what it is. His eyes widen and replied 'Is that Google Glass?' and quickly swiped it from my hand and tried it on himself.

He was so impressed with Glass that it didn't really take a long time to convince him to go ahead with my plan. After that I talked to the cruise director to make sure it's okay for David to wear my Glass. She was even more excited.

You can see his performance below.

I found that it's cool to be able to see a musician's point a view during the performance. I feel that there will be some other benefits, but I just don't know what. What do you guys think? 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Glass at early JOBS movie screening!

So you might wonder why there's a movie review on a blog that's supposed to cover Glass related activities. Short answer is that I wouldn't have a chance to attend this screening as a non-Glass owner. Someone from the Glass community (thanks again +Jayson Oertel !) was able to get some of us Glass Explorers tickets to the exclusive event, so we went!

The movie is planned to be released on most cinemas on August 16th, so we had quite a head start. On top of that, +Ashton Kutcher, the actor that plays Steve Jobs, was also present for a Q & A session after the end of the movie. I won't post any spoilers to the movie, although it won't really matter for those that have read his book, or have watched Pirates_of_Silicon_Valley before.

Ashton Kutcher duing Q & A session

The movie itself feels like it's following closely on Walter Isaacson's book. That's why I was quite surprised when it was revealed that there's another Steve Jobs movie in development that will be officially based on the book. It will be published by Sony, and +Steve Wozniak is serving as a consultant of the movie. I actually came without any prior information about the movie, other than the fact that Kutcher will play Jobs, and Wozniak thought that the movie is fun and entertaining, but in no way reflect what really happened.

The movie started with a scene that reflects one of the most important moments in Apple history. Maybe even one of the most memorable moments in tech industry. It's funny since I had this conversation a few nights ago with one of my friends during our group video conference. We were talking about how Google Glass is making an impact on the current state of technology. I compared Glass to the first portable phone ever invented. The first portable phone was big, clunky, and drew attention to the users wherever they go. Libby thought the introduction of Glass resembles more to the product Jobs introduced during the first scene of the movie. And to be honest, I think her argument is better than mine.

After that, the scene followed by the young Steve Jobs waking up at Reed college, still auditing classes even after he dropped out. Thus begun his journey to finally lead one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Some people might have disagreed with me, but I think Kutcher captured Jobs' character pretty well. The way he walks, the way he speaks, even his facial expressions, I can see the resemblance to the Steve Jobs I saw on footages, videos and clips. Most people know that Jobs wasn't the nicest guy in the world. He's not a people pleaser. There was a lot of screaming, anger, frustration. There was plenty of emotional moments that will make you think. What exactly was his intention by behaving that way? Was it just because he never satisfied with other people's work? Was he just trying to vent his anger? Was it his way of pushing others to the limit? Or maybe that was the only way he know in terms of giving attention to people?

So yeah, I don't know how accurate the movie is to what actually happened. All I know was that it was a good movie, and followed quite closely to what I've read on his book. During one of conversations with Walter Isaacson, Jobs said that he wasn't going to read the biography until it comes out (source: Jobs' Biography: Thoughts On Life, Death And Apple) because there will be 'things that he won't like'. That must be saying something.

After the the Q & A ended, there was someone from the press taking photos of people wearing Glass. She asked and recorded our names, so it seems it will be featured somewhere. I don't know which publication, but I'll make sure to update this article once I found out.

Posing for the press!

We also had a chance met the director of the movie, Joshua Michael Stern. He was accompanying Kutcher during the Q & A session. Sadly, Kutcher had a hard stop and had to leave to the airport right after the Q & A ended. The director asked some questions about Google Glass, and some of us even gave a quick demo to him. He didn't sound too convinced, but I believe with sooner or later he will be.

The director, Joshua Michael Stern
So now come the big question. Should you watch it? If you love technology, the answer would be yes. It doesn't matter whether you're using an iPhone, Android, Windows or anything else. This movie is not about that loyalty to a certain brand. It's about something much bigger than that. And I'm not saying that everything will be a positive experience, but that's the interesting part.

Actually, you should decide yourself what it is about. JOBS coming to theaters August 16th, 2013.

Kutcher in action.

Half empty theater for the private screening.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Excuse me, but is that Glass?

So I finally experienced my first 'Is that Glass?' moment. It happened during my flight back from Philadelphia to San Francisco on Friday. I wore my Glass during the flight and the girl next to me asked if I was wearing Glass. The funny part was that she only noticed me wearing one only when I was taking it off and shutting it down before the plane take off. I explained to her some basic functionalities and promised to give her a live demo once we're airborne. She liked the design of Glass and how subtle it is. She also told me it's the first time she has seen Glass in person,

A few minutes later one of the flight attendants walked by and noticed me wearing Glass.

Him: Is that Google Glass?
Me: It's already off. I promised it's off. (I panicked. Don't know why)
Him: (laughed) Oh, I actually want to see how it works. It's the first time I've seen it in person.
Me: Oh..

A few minutes after that, they announced that they're not ready to take off just yet. Apparently the pilot was still on his way driving to the airport, and this is after a two hour delay. Go figure. So I turned my Glass back on and show the girl sitting next to me how it works. I showed her some basic functionalities like how the time cards work, and how to take photos with voice command. I even let her tried Glass herself, but since she wears specs, it was quite hard to see the screen. She was hoping that Glass will have solutions for people that wears specs and don't want to resort by wearing contact lenses.

Showing her how to use voice command to take photos

So far, I haven't had any negative experience with Glass. I've had a few more encounters during the Segway tour on Saturday, but most of them were just curious and want to know how it works. I'm hoping it stays that way.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Flying with Glass

After going back and forth a few times, I decided to bring Glass for my trip to Pennsylvania this week. There were a few concerns. I was worried how TSA would handle Glass, and what would people on the plane and airport would react.

To my surprise, there were no problems at the TSA line at all. I was even allowed to wear it through the scanner. The machine beeped, but then I realized that I still have my wallet in my pocket. I took my wallet and Glass through the scanner and the machine didn't beep. I regret not just putting my wallet through the scanner and keep wearing Glass. Curious of how that will turn out. Looks like my Glass' camera accidently went off as well while in the scanner.

Want to know what's inside an airport scanner?
After that, nobody really paid attention of Glass. I did catch a few people staring at me before turning their heads the other way, but nobody really said anything. After I got to my seat, I quickly closed my eyes hoping to get a quick nap (it was an early flight). Then I remember hearing a man saying 'Hey, that's Google Glass!' to (what sounds like) his son, which he responded  'Oooh!!'. On a separate note, this is the first time I'm flying on a United metal that has Wi-Fi. $8 for a 5 hour flight? Definitely worth it.

Wi-Fi on United metal! That's a first.

I started wearing Glass in the morning, and kept it on most of the times, except when putting it through scanner and when I went to the bathroom. I had to take it off at some point during the flight because it got too uncomfortable. The behind of my right ear was starting to hurt. This might not happen to everyone, and might just specific to my case. It doesn't look like Glass is currently suitable for a long time usage.

After the end of the night, I took off Glass and found marks on the top of my nose, where the nose buds were placed. It doesn't hurt, but it never happened with my prescription glasses. I might need to play around with the bigger nose buds.

Marks on top of my nose after a full day wearing Glass

All in all, I survived my first flight with Glass. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tennis with Glass

Today was the first time I took my Glass out in public. I decided to wear it while playing tennis with +Stephen Cia . Stephen is my regular tennis buddy, and we usually play together almost every week. I'm using the term 'regular' quite loosely here since we both haven't actually played tennis for months. Stephen just had a baby recently and he actually had to sneak out for a bit to play with me. (thanks dude!)

Sorry we suck.

Playing tennis with Glass is not something really new. I've seen a few people wearing it to record their sessions. I really wanted to try it out though, and see if Glass can help my game in any way.

So here are some things that I learned:
  • I'm really out of shape.
  • I drag my feet a lot when chasing balls.
  • I don't turn my body enough when hitting the balls.
  • I'm really out of shape. Did I mention that?
  • I don't hit the ball with enough spin. 

All in all, I think this is a great way to analyze my game. Tennis instructors can use the videos to analyze where players are looking during matches. They also can look at players' habits with regards to shot selections. I wasn't able to exactly look at my hands, but I could tell by the result of my shot and the sound of the ball of hit, whether I was hitting the ball correctly or not.

I am comfortable with wearing Glass since it's very rare for me to get hit in the head while playing tennis. I can't imagine the same with soccer, basketball, or other contact sports.

Bringing my Glass to the tennis court means I had to go through several public places on the way. I went to the gas station before driving to the court, the room where we paid for our court, court's public bathroom, and the restaurant where I pick up my dinner. I didn't take off Glass even once, even in the bathroom (nobody was there, so cannot really judge the reaction).

I consider myself an introvert, and hate being the center of attention. Most of the time I ended up looking away from people's faces. During the few times I saw their faces, I noticed most of them were staring at me with puzzled looks, but nobody said anything. It was very weird and interesting in some way.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

You paid, HOW much?

Google Glass is not cheap.

Well, for now anyway. Do I think Glass is worth $1500? No. Did I regret my purchase? Absolutely not. As for now, Google NEED to sell Glass at this cost. And they NEED people to come to one of their offices to pick up Glass. I will present my argument in a bit.

Photo courtesy of +Noble Ackerson

Consider this. You just got back home from picking up Glass. After taking hundreds of photos of the Google campus, taking videos during the Google Campus tour, being told that you can't take videos during the Google tour Campus, you went home. On your way home you're excited by the navigation feature on Glass.

Oh wait, that's just my experience.

Anyway, you got back to your apartment, plugged your Glass into your laptop, and then do an evil laugh to all the #glasswaiters in Google+ (That's not what I did, I promise).

After a while, you took the charger off and realized that Glass is currently updating. Remembering what the Glass Guide said (not to remove the charger while Glass is updating), you plug the it back into the laptop. Some time later Glass finished updating, and after putting them on, you see the following screen.

First of all, this is not really what I was seeing. It is a screenshot of the Android Clockwork Recovery. Mine was showing the default Android Recovery. I wasn't able to take screenshot, because the device basically was frozen. The touch pad on the frame doesn't work.

Let's say that you know nothing about Android Recovery. I'm pretty sure you'll panic and freak out by the idea of seeing something similar to BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) on Windows, and the fact that you can't do anything about it. You started cursing how you just spent $1500 for a broken product. 

Fortunately, this screen is familiar to me since I've been doing some rooting on my Galaxy Nexus phone. I knew it was nothing serious. All I had to do was just hard resetting the device.

Glass at its current state is definitely not ready for public release. They need to sell the device at $1500 because they want developers and people that really have passion about Glass to use them. These two groups will try to do whatever they can to justify the price of the device. Imagine Glass being sold for, say, $300 at its current state. Most people (non-developers/enthusiast) will just play with it for a little bit, realized that Glass doesn't do much, and let it dust in the corner.

Developers can easily justify their purchase if they're planning to develop for Glass. They can't charge money or put ads for Glassware (apps for Glass) yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll be able in the future.

The second target will be people that have been following the development of Glass. Most will be tech savvy, and understand the disadvantage of Glass as a prototype. They understand the fact that they're sacrificing features to be early adopters.

Google never hid the fact that Glass is still in a prototype. When I pick up the device, my Guide continuously reminded me about that fact whenever I point to Glass' weaknesses. So even after all that, why are they still willing to spend that much money for Glass? I really think being an early adopter plays a big part in this case. Other than that, they're just excited about the technology, and want to be the first of using Glass for their activities. There are other occupations, of course, like photographers/bloggers/journalist/movie makers that can benefit from having a Glass, even at the current state.

The mandatory pickup was also an important process. They really want you to be comfortable with how you wear Glass and knowing how to do basic tasks before you go home with Glass. They want you to be satisfied with your purchase. They also want good publicity of course, since happy customers will spread positive messages. They probably allow I/O pre-orders to have their devices shipped since they think most people attending Google I/O will be able to figure out the device by themselves (we know a lot of them just came for the goodies).

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Please feel free to agree/disagree in the comment :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Finally, Glass!

So the day has finally arrived. After much contemplations and thinking, I finally decided to go ahead and pick up Google Glass today. I arrived at the Google HQ in Mountain View about 15 minutes before my appointment at 3 PM. Finding the place was quite easy. I have been to the campus for quite a few times, even dined at their cafetaria for several occasions, so I know my way around the campus. 

Thanks to +Libby Chang and +Keith Achorn , I even know where the Glass building is :)

I was greeted by a Glass Guide, who will be my Glass informant for the day. I feel bad for this, but I totally forgot her name. She was really friendly and was able to get me up to speed with operating Glass in no time. 

Before any of that, the first thing she offered me to do was to select the color of my Glass. I already picked Charcoal (Black) during my registration, but I could still try all of them in case I changed my mind. Just for fun, I tried the Tangerine (Orange).
You can try all the colors before bringing home one.'s actually not too bad..
After I confirmed to her I'm sticking with Charcoal, she brought me a sealed copy of Glass. The first thing I needed to do after unboxing the device is to register it at the MyGlass website. It was a simple process, where I was able to register basic functionalities of Glass. After that, the glass need to be adjusted so it sits well in my head.

The basic idea is not to have the prism obstructing your view while looking straight. You want to only be able to look at the screen while looking up. Not sure why, but it took my Glass Guide a while to finally able to adjust the Glass so it fits well in my head. We even had to replace the nose buds to make it comfortable.

My Glass Guide busy adjusting my Glass
Now here comes the coolest part. While playing with Glass, I noticed there's a dead pixel somewhere in the middle screen. Then I noticed another one. I told my Glass Guide about it and she told me unless it's  five pixels of more, she can't do anything. I told her for $1500 I want to make sure my Glass is in a perfect condition. I could tell she felt really bad, but then emphasized how this is still a prototype product, and these kind of things are expected. 

I played with the device for a bit more, and in the mean time, she decided to escalate my situation with her manager. Her manager then checked my Glass and noticed the same dead pixels. To my surprise, he told me it probably would be better if I just get another pair of Glass. So there were two things that impressed me regarding this. They were lenient about their dead pixels policy, and allowed me to get another pair. The second is that the they weren't trying to hide the fact that what we're getting is a prototype product.

So after asking her to get me white-listed for the Mirror API, and what the secret packages I/O Explorer  received this past week (it's just a small gift of appreciation, she said), I'm off to my campus tour!

Too bad I couldn't bring the badge home

Ok, here's the thing. If you're scheduled to pick up Glass in the near future and have never been to the Google campus before, then you're in for a treat. I was joined by Carlos and Jessica for the tour. They actually lived in LA, and despite the fact that they had the option to pick up Glass in LA, they decided to visit the HQ and Mountain View for the experience. You can totally see their excitement during the whole trip.  I've been on the campus a few times before, so while it's still cool to see all of the things, it just doesn't feel that special anymore. +Albert Lee you made the right decision to skip being my guest for today. You're in for a treat my friend :)

Alright, so the next section will be photo heavy. I figure pictures speak louder than words anyways. All of the images were taken with Glass. 

Carlos posing in front of the Android status with the tour guide
Google bikes. Someone found one of these during 'Burning Man'
Only in Google..

Giant Google Earth

Main campus

Another shot of main campus

For context, Google/ Wiki 'Chade-Meng Tan'
It was a quick, but fun tour. After returning my badge, I headed home. I decided to immediately test the GPS on Glass. I was still not used to the interface, so it took me quite a while to finally able to input my  address. The navigation was not bad, but it definitely wasn't refined. The information displayed isn't as descriptive as the Android phone version, but pretty understandable. At the end of my trip, I decided to try the video. All I had to do was to tilt my head up (more on this later), then say 'Ok, Glass, record a video'. Below is the result.

So with that, my adventure is finished for the day. Ok, actually that's not true. There are several interesting things that happened straight after I brought my Glass home, but more on that later :)

P.S. I apologize for any grammatical/ spelling errors in this post. Not much time between the time I finished this post and my flight tomorrow morning.