Tag Archive: speculative fiction

5 reasons I care about Google Glass

1. I’m a nerd. (Duh; have we met?)

Thus, of course I was attracted to Google’s #ifihadglass program: a chance for a few thousand consumers (read: NOT developers) to get an exclusive sneak preview and beta tester status for Google Glass wearable technology and its “Glassware” apps/platform. Up to that point, only developers who’d attended last year’s Google i/O conference had gotten a chance to preorder it.

2. I’m a techthusiast.

I took Computer Science classes in high school, but my techthusiasm didn’t fully develop until I began to work for digital marketing firm Critical Mass in 2007. As a Senior Copywriter there, I’ve gotten the chance to brainstorm websites and apps for clients from Pampers to United Airlines, and even a project for Google. Dreaming up these solutions made me realize how smart and helpful technology could be. This work also showed me that I could help shape its future. Awesome, in the truest sense of the word.

My first #throughglass pic

My first #throughglass pic

3. I make up worlds with different technologies – for fun.

In 2009, I wrote the first draft of my young-adult speculative fiction manuscript 30 Decibels. The technology in the story stems from a separate set of circumstances: in a future society, only some people can talk and the rest have to whisper. These “Whisper Rules” took effect after social media-triggered food shortage riots killed half the world. Tech and social media are as regulated as possible, and each person’s volume signifies their level of access. Whisperers use a few devices for text-based messages while Leaders still have all the networks and devices we do – and more.

4. Glass seemed so familiar…

30 Decibels is set in the year 2123, and the tech is well removed from ours. Or so I thought. See for yourself, with a quick excerpt where main character Ava sends a message to her best friend:

Maybe I should warn Michele. I hold down a button on my specs ’ponder and sweep my eyes left to bring up a list of who’s around. After selecting “Robby,” I type the rest using gestures along my left temple. My movements are well-versed enough that most people probably don’t notice – including Robby – but my heart races anyway. Holding down all the buttons sends my message:


More on ‘ponders (“transponders”): To create messages, you’d use your voice, mouth movements, or combo of touch, eye tracking, and location-based info. Security “scentsors” identify you by your unique smell, so your ‘ponder only retrieves your data when you’re the one wearing it.

As you can probably guess, when I first read about Google’s plans to introduce Glass, I geeked out. Sure, the “specs ’ponder” described above works a little differently – for instance, Glass’s user interface doesn’t use an eye-tracking interface (yet), and gestures are made on the right side rather than the left. But, I’ll be honest; I sure felt smart.

5. Google picked me (nerd-girl Margo!) to try it.

My #ifihadglass entry, submitted via Google+ in February, wasn’t groundbreaking; I listed a few primary ways I’d use it on a regular basis: hands-free navigation while riding my bike (my only wheels), recording new ideas on the spot (also hands-free), and showing my son what my Los Angeles life is like between visits back to Chicago. Frankly, I expected nothing to come of the entry.

On March 27, Google invited me to be a Glass Explorer.

Hearing the news set my heart on overdrive, not only for all the ubernerdy reasons above and because I wanted to get my hands on Glass, but also – admittedly – because it meant the judging panel may have considered me savvy with the social medias… the Facebooks, Twitters, YouTubes, the G+es. I’d heard the selection process would consider applicants’ influence through social networks. (Note: A few peculiar Glass invites early on triggered speculation about Google’s judging process, but most of that has been cleared up.)

My career as a copywriter in the digital space often has me thinking in the languages of social media and branding, at levels ranging from mom ‘n pop to conglomerate. I can’t guess how many research abstracts, insight briefs, and articles I’ve read on the subjects in my 14 years of ad & marketing experience.

The philosophy I try to follow with self-branding is to spend only the time with it that’s enjoyable, and no more. Case in point, to SO many people, I am the WORST EVER blogger because I don’t write posts at least once a week. Sue me; I’m too busy writing for other brands – United, HP, USAA, for instance. (Now; if only I’d put that writing into blog posts. Sure I’d get into HUGE trouble with work clients, but man would I look prolific!)

An invite to Project Glass meant my online “presence” may’ve had an impact – and that made me glad and proud I’d taken personal branding (at least semi-) seriously. Professionally, receiving the invite was a bit like receiving the ultimate LinkedIn recommendation – from effing Google! Pardon my effing French.

I picked up Glass at the Google office in Venice, CA. The experience is well-documented here, in the LA Times. Fair warning: nerd-girl appears throughout the featured video.

Google Glass through the eyes of an early adopter [LA Times]

Google Glass through the eyes of an early adopter [LA Times]

Read the follow-up post: 7 things I’ve learned #throughglass.

Like 68,928 other people, I backed the future: Pebble.

Well, the future is running a tad late.

Pebble’s Kickstarter project promises a glimpse of Tomorrowland: a watch you can customize with apps that access your smartphone through a Bluetooth connection. It will be the first “smartwatch” that works perfectly with both Android and iPhone. The Pebble is much smaller and lighter than similar devices, but the stand-out differentiator – for nerdies like me – is its high-res ePaper display. That means this thing will look totally sharp in direct sunlight. Hear, hear (if you hadn’t already)!

The team had projected they’d be shipping Pebbles (including my chosen color, “Arctic White”), by last month. Unfortunately, manufacturing is still underway. The Pebble, in "Arctic White"

After I finally get my Pebble (by mid-next year, they’ve assured), I plan to check texts from it, see who’s calling, control my favorite Pandora channels, keep stats on running and bike-riding, see my notifications, and probably a bunch more cool stuff – hands-free.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Pebble is the Open SDK the company will offer alongside it. That means smart people everywhere (shouts again, to my nerdies!) can develop apps for the Pebble. When I heard this, my mind bee-lined to the implications for my young-adult speculative fiction novel Thirty Decibels. In the story, both classes (Whisperers and Leaders) use devices called ’ponders – they’re within eyeglasses, contact lenses, desks, mirrors, and windows, but they’re primarily worn on the wrist like a Pebble. A ’ponder makes use of more native technology than a Pebble, but I bet we’ll soon see these developments. I believe Pebble’s SDK and its open-source philosophy will make it possible.

Pebble’s Kickstarter project has ended, but you can still pre-order Pebble.

Are you a developer interested in building a Pebble app? Let’s talk. Drop me a line by leaving a comment below or clicking my picture on the top right corner.

Check out these choice quotes about Pebble:

“Kickstart [a] nice e-paper watch! Your Backer, e pluribus unum!”
– William Gibson

“Smartwatches haven’t really caught on with mainstream buyers – but that might change with Allerta’s new wrist-worn creation”
– Wired Gadget Lab

“Proven track record…Incredibly useful product”
– Forbes

%d bloggers like this: