Don't Bring Google Glass to a Bullfight

Photo taken by my iPhone, NOT by Google Glass

"So who's the 'Glasshole' who tried to wear Google Glass to a bullfight?"  

Ah, yours truly.

I've been returning to Sevilla, Spain, nearly every year since I spent a semester there as a student, living with a Spanish family.  I learned from that experience that bullfights aren't a tourist gimmick.  They are a deep, albeit divisive, part of Spanish history and culture.  (As an aside, while I still respect the courage and discipline of the bullfight participants, my latest visit made me conclude that I can no longer be a bullfight spectator.  The cruelty to the animals is too obvious and prolonged, even in the best of fights.)

A long weekend brought me back to Spain.  

Heading out the door of my hotel room, I grabbed my Google Glass fitted with sunglasses.  I soon discovered that though I had them "recharging" overnight, they hadn't.  (Double "Glasshole!") (Problem with the outlet, not with the Glass.)  It was too late for me to head back to the hotel.

Even inoperable, Glass still works quite nicely as a very comfortable, uber-expensive pair of sunglasses.  

The problem would've been averted if I had just brought my portable battery pack with me and my Glass recharging cord.  But, why bother lugging a portable charger when I had a Mophie battery pack for my iPhone and a seven-hour charge on my Glass?

I bought my tickets at the bullring, Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza.  I wasn't wearing my Glass when I bought the ticket.   I put them on when I got to my seat.  Though I was sitting in “la sombra,” the shaded side of the ring, sunglasses still made sense.

I watched the first fight uninterrupted.  Immediately upon it ending, however, a uniformed security officer was at my side as I stood up. Eyebrows furrowed, he leaned close to me, pointed to my Glass, and wagged his finger.  I immediately removed the Glass and tucked them in my shirt.

"Wow!  What about everyone else taking pictures and videos with their cameras and smartphones?!"

House rules.

As the second bullfight began, I wondered what might happen next.  I had no intention of putting the Glass back on, but, I wondered if I would be accosted in some way by the management as I left the ring, demanding…?  I considered how unbelievable it would be for me to assure them that my high-powered “glasses” were unpowered – literally.  That issue did not become an issue because, it appears, my removing my Glass ended THE issue.

(I wonder if Hemingway would have tried to wear Glass to a bullfight....I'm inclined to think that he would've wanted the pictures and wouldn't have cared how silly he might've looked.)

  • Don't wear Glass to a bullfight.  (At least not in Seville, Spain.)
  • Don't be a double Glasshole and create a second problem by not abiding by house rules when informed of them.
  • Don't be rude when asking someone in your establishment to remove their Glass.  (This gentleman was NOT; he was simply firm in conveying that his command wasn't going to be subject to a debate.)
  • Always bring a back-up charger when you really want to use your tech.
  • Stay cool whenever you’re confronted and it’s likely nobody gets too excited or demanding.
  • Remember, it’s house rules.
  • This one's for Google Glass or an entrepreneur - develop a keychain device that gives me a quick, even modest recharge of my Glass. 

Comments?  Go ahead, toss your banderillas!  

And, join me on Twitter!  @GlenGilmore 

Fitbit Beats Google Glass in User Experience...

Comparing fitbit with Google Glass...
Comparing Apples with Oranges

I am a "Google Glass Explorer" (translation: I coughed up $1,500 to get Glass early, in beta).  I understand that it's not really fair to compare a simple activity tracker, fitbit, with a "ask-it-to-do-anything" wearable device like Google Glass, but, here it is.

I have been wearing Google Glass for about a year now.  I only recently got a fitbit (and a Pepple smartwatch).  I have waxed poetic in the past about my problems with Glass, but, also, just found improved connectivity with my Glass which, I hope, means a whole new, possibly positive experience with Glass.

But, back to my assertion that fitbit beats Google Glass in user experience.  It's the simple things that count.  Glass has created an online "Explorer" community where we Explorers can share our experiences, network, and the like.  That's a part of the Glass user experience and it's a positive one.  Yet, what I am talking about, is something more proactive, small, but, big.

Like I said, I am new to fitbit.  So, I was delighted to receive the following email from fitbit:

The "Little Things" Are Generally "the Big Things" in User Experience

So, yes, I'm excited about a stupid, little reminder I got telling me that the battery level on my fitbit is low.  "Big deal!"

To me, it is a big deal, because as a new user the email just helped me continue my daily tracking that would have been interrupted if I hadn't gotten the friendly reminder.  I also like how the email walks me through the process of recharging my fitbit.  And, there is an unsubscribe link for when I become more fluent in my fitbit use.

A while ago, my experience with Glass improved when Google Glass finally created an iPhone app that comes with some very friendly walk-through videos.  Still, I don't recall every having received a very simple email like this from Glass on anything.

For example, since it seems that I was alone in complaining about Google Glass connectivity, it would have been really nice to have gotten an email from Glass saying, "Hey, we've heard that more than a few of you have been having problems with Glass connectivity.  Here's what we're doing to try and address this....  And, here are some suggestions on what you might do in the meantime to improve your Glass connectivity:  outline the steps like fitbit outlined the recharging instructions.

The More Complicated Your Wearable Device Is, the More You'll Need to Pay Attention to "the  Little Things"

If you are putting together a really ambitious, do-everything wearable device, please don't forget "the little things" in helping your would-be loyalists through the baby steps.

UPDATE:  Nice Social Response from @GoogleGlass   

So, I tweeted this post and got a really nice response from Google Glass via Twitter:

Kudos to Glass for being social, gracious, and responsive.

Here's to "the Crazy Ones" - and to the MVP

Despite my very public venting when it comes to Glass, I do maintain an abiding faith that Glass WILL only get better with time and, eventually, be the sort of wearable tech that most will want.

Why do I say this?  Simply, because the people at Google are really smart and passionate about innovation and product improvement.

It is crazy for Google to come out so early, even in beta, with a heads-up wearable tech device when that device so obviously needs numerous improvements...Or, is it.

It's finally dawning on this Glass Explorer that Google is merely heeding Eric Ries', Lean Startup model that counsels innovators to launch their MVP (minimum viable product) and start collecting "the maximum amount of validated learning" from customers to quicken improved iterations of the product.  It's certainly not the neatest way to launch a product, but, it is a way to quicken the learning curve for developers by providing them with a bounty of feedback from users -- users who clearly understood when they signed up for the program that they were signing up for a beta product, an MVP....

So, as a tweet from Glass has made me ponder a little bit more about my relationship with Glass, I think I've had an epiphany that makes me feel a bit better about the whole process.  Who says a tech giant can't also be a lean startup?!

If you'd like, please join me on Twitter!  @GlenGilmore 

A Pleasant Walk with #GoogleGlass

Google Glass Has Potential!

I have vented more than a few times about my disappointment with Google Glass.  Most recently, I wrote a blog post, Why Can't Google Fix #GoogleGlass.  My biggest complaint has been about the unreliability of wifi connectivity that enables the features of Glass, beyond picture taking and videos - despite my carrying with me a mobile wifi hotspot device.

This morning, I took a walk wearing my Google Glass, mobile wifi device in my jacket - and I stayed connected with Glass for the entire walk.  It was a pleasant walk with Google Glass.

I was actually surprised to find that I was connected and stayed connected for the entirety of my half-hour or so walk.  In the past, connectivity would be spotty.  This morning it was steady.  The results?

"Glass, Listen to 'Imagine Dragons'"

Giving it a command to play some music worked like a charm.  Within half a moment an album cover of "Imagine Dragons" appeared in the tiny, but easily-readable screen and the music begins.  A tap to the side of the Glass and the music paused.  Playing the music (still tinny sounding, though I wasn't using the earbud that has been provided with the updated version, version two of Glass), I thought I'd give a test of the "Wink" app I had maligned in my last post.

While Listening to "Imagine Dragons," I "Winked" and Took a Picture - Several, In Fact!

Literally, you can just wink and take a picture, using an application for Glass that calibrates to your "wink" when you first download the app.  Once downloaded and calibrated, it will take a photo for you anytime you give a hard wink, versus a blink.  (I noted in my last post that while on a trolly in San Francisco, recently, I found that a single wink was followed by several photos being taken - I suspect, now, that this was not the "wink" app, but, another motion sensitivity of the Glass.)

During my walk, I took several photos using the wink app.  The photo above is one such photo.  There was never any hesitancy in the photo being taken when I gave a hard wink and no unwanted photos from blinks.  Now that's pretty cool....And, yes, I'm still able to take photos "the old-fashioned way," by saying, "Ok, Glass, take a picture."

"Ok, Glass, add an event to my calendar at 3:00 p.m. today...."

While walking my dog, without having to fumble with my phone, I tilt my head back with a little bit of a snap to activate Glass and verbally tell Glass to add an event to my calendar.  It does.  Pretty cool.

"OK, Glass, what's the weather going to be like tomorrow?"

I don't have to tell Glass where I am, because, it knows where I am.  In a second or so it tells me what the weather will be like and also gives me a screen view.  Again, no fumbling for a phone.  Head ups. No having to repeat myself.

I tell it to take a video, it does (sorry, it's not an exciting video, so I decided to skip it)

Long and Short of It:  There's Still Hope for Google Glass

The worth of any wearable tech is in its functionality.  It is being useful.  Is it making my life easier or more enjoyable.  Now that connectivity seems to have been improved, I will once again work on playing with Glass more.  I hope it continues to improve.

(Let me also respond to those who are always quick to point out all the cool stuff Glass is already doing in the world of medicine.  I think that's especially exciting.  My obligation, however, as a Google Glass Explorer, is simply to share my experience of wearing Glass as I have found it to be.  For better or worse, that's what I've tried to do.)

Comfort?  "A" for Comfort

Despite Glass' harsh, Terminator-like appearance, it is actually very light-weight and hardly noticeable when you wear it.  It seems to me more comfortable than you average pair of glasses.  Not sure why, but, it just is.

That's it for now!  Thanks.

Please feel free to join me on Twitter at:

@GlenGilmore  and @GlassExploring