Thursday, January 23, 2014

Glassy Eyed

A Tuesday 21 January post at Cannonfire was about a guy hauled out of a movie theatre in Columbus, Ohio, wearing the new Google Glass. He was questioned for 3 hours by men who he later discovered were not FBI as he'd assumed, but Department of Homeland Security officers. Members of this "inquisition" suspected (wrongly) the guy was making a video of the film for some pirate movie outfit.

I can't decide whether to be more shocked, if the story is 100% true, that the DHS was spending time and manpower investigating Google Glass wearers and movie piracy, or whether to be astonished that anyone in their right minds would want to wear Google Glass in everyday life, especially when going to the flicks - or, come to that, at all

Google Glass. I'd had some vague idea that this mini-computer attached to a spectacle-like device was now available. It can, apparently, be incorporated into sunglasses or prescription spectacles, or worn alone. I do acknowledge that there are speciality uses for which it will prove to be invaluable - for surgeons transmitting pictures of "how to do a liver transplant" live to students for instance. In everyday life though, I see Google Glass as an undesirable, though inevitable, development. Not only do we have the NSA recording our every communication, our neighbours or passers-by in the street, if wearing this device, would be free to video or photograph any of our activities without our knowledge.

Drivers wearing Google Glass could become a danger to other motorists and pedestrians. A counter-argument, that watching a navigation/GPS system via Google Glass would be less dangerous than glancing down at a dashboard screen while driving could be persuasive. Yet over-riding that, I believe the average mind cannot be in two places at once....on the road and on a screen whether on dashboard or a secondary eye-level screen. Dang! In the USA the average mind can't even manage to be in one place at once a lot of the time!

This post makes me seem like a consummate Luddite - I never have been, but maybe that is what I've become. Maybe my Aquarius/Uranus bits have stopped working. Maybe I'm right to think that life, as she is lived, is changing at too rapid a pace from how she has been lived up to now. Life is in process of turning into something so very different, that within it I doubt I shall fit with any degree of comfort.

On the other hand maybe, just maybe, Google Glass, after an initial spurt of popularity, and having made a million or two for its manufacturers, will go the way numerous other fancy gadgets have gone in the past: to be stored at the back of a drawer, forgotten.

For more information on Google Glass, I'd recommend an excellent review by Tim Stevens.


DC said...

Interesting term "luddite"...hadn't heard of it before :)

Twilight said...

DC ~ It's probably used more in the UK, birthplace of Ned Ludd, than elsewhere.

mike said...

A morning of mowing and weed pulling here, Twilight...trying to finish chores prior to the arrival of the next vortex fragment. 70* here right sister sent an email this AM stating it had warmed-up to 1* in Kansas.

I'm a very low-tech guy, Twilight. I have great concerns for humanity if we should ever lose the electric grid or batteries...and I have enough concerns for humanity without thinking of the power grid. What would we do?! All would cease. Boredom would lead to huge increases in suicide and murder.

I'm sure Google Glass will be a sensation, if for no other reason than being the latest "it" digital thing to possess (takes the mind off of more pressing local and global issues and ensures a recognition of affluence-status amongst peers). I suppose Google is working on implants for their next surprise reveal.

I can't fathom why the world with all of its wonders is so unappealing that the population withdraws into the digital world deeper each year. And not in an intelligent way either. I often think how the erudite of the past, the most incredible thinkers and scientists of history, how much further they would have gone with a computer. We all have these electronic, digital, computational devices that can perform a million calculations a second, yet utilize them for personal communication, games, shopping, and pornography (OK, maybe astrology websites, too).

The computer chip has found abundant uses in the industrial and manufacturing arenas. I prefer the older, stripped-down versions of microwave has probably 100 things it can do, but I invariably use the time-set and on-off...LOL. I don't want things that "think" for me. I still have a land-line phone sans cell phone...even that conversion threatens my instincts.

Twilight said...

mike ~ The polar air has arrived here - we haven't risen above freezing yet (3.08pm)- somewhere between 23 and 27 I think "real feel 10)". Wind is icy!

I'm low-tech too. We have a land line and just one basic cell phone between us - I never use it, husband rarely uses it unless we're away from home.

I can't be doing with i-tunes and Kindle - I'm happy with CDs and books.

I didn't have a microwave back in England, still am not 100% sure how to us ours - husband knows, thank goodness. I'd never used a dishwasher until I arrived in the USA either - would be happy to do without even now, but Himself likes the sterility he thinks it provides.

I think I hit my optimum techiness around 2002 with the purchase of my first computer, printer, scanner and a digital camera. Most of my generation hadn't even got that far, some still haven't. :-)

I don't understand the rush to more and more withdrawal into a virtual world - which is what it amounts to. Talk about a holographic universe (as we were the other day) - if it isn't one already it's heading in that direction rapidly!

LB said...

Twilight and mike ~ My husband and I are both low-tech too, and the turn our world has taken is actually kind of overwhelming, not to mention potentially isolating!

My husband was just commenting this morning how -after spending at least 20 hours (conservative estimate) on the phone trying to get our Obamacare requirements in place- he now has to scan more documentation to send to the appropriate parties; apparently faxing is too old-fashioned. Thankfully, some kind woman in Kinkos took pity on him and showed him how to do it.

We were both wondering how a lot of older people (and/or those without access to technology) manage it. While it may be second-nature to some, "computer" is a language a lot of us didn't grow up speaking and which doesn't come easily to us, if at all.:(

Wikipedia describes "Google Glass" as being a "wearable computer". What's next, surgically implanted technology???

I can see Google Glass easily becoming a driving/walking hazard, much like texting has become. Thanks Twilight, for another bit of news I wouldn't otherwise have known about.

Twilight said...

LB ~ It surely is going to cause personal isolation and increasing difficulties for lower-tech older people.

I sympathise with your husband in his phone and scanning adventures.

I've had some phone frustration myself recently, trying to clear and close bank accounts and credit card account based in the UK, I'd held on to them for various reasons until now.
I found it impossible to get to speak to anyone who could understand or assist me - even after many tries and expense in trying to get to speak to an actual human being.

Long story long....and not entirely high-tech:
All I was trying to do was to clear a small amount which I'd inadvertently left unpaid on the credit card - after I'd cleared my bank account - so I could only pay the outstanding amount by cheque on my US bank. The first cheque was accepted and cashed but it had been short six UK pounds (due to some unexplained reason - currency exchange or service charge I guess). There was still a debit on my c/c statement when it arrived.
I again sent a cheque with the amount + an additional dollars to cover any "extras" and avoid same thing happening. Sent the cheque in the printed envelope which came with my statement. After a few weeks this was returned to me as "address not known". Dang!

So I returned the unopened letter in a new envelope, with a note, and this time sent it to my old bank in Leeds, UK. This week I got a boilerplate letter chiding me for not paying the outstanding amount - usual warnings.

Don't know what to do now - refuse to spend more money on the phone bill - the only humans there (in India actually) can't help anyway. GRRRRRR!

Surgically implanted technology - yes I bet that'll be on the agenda soon. :-(

LB said...

Twilight ~ Sorry to hear about your issues. It all sounds *very* frustrating! Having been in similar situations myself, I can relate.

One thing I didn't mention in my original comment was that my husband (who's been very conscientious in handling everything) had actually *mailed* all of the required documentation to the address provided earlier last month. Yet for some mysterious reason, they say they never received it.

Apparently it's much easier for *them* to deal with things online. Like I said, I don't know how people without computers or computer knowledge (older and/or low-income folks) manage. Technology can be great, but not when it marginalizes segments of the population.

According to a 2013 Washington Post article:

"Nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults don't use the Internet. That means that roughly 60 million people, many of them elderly, poor and minorities, have no access to technology the rest of us increasingly consider mission-critical to modern life."

In response to some of your other frustrations, I wish more businesses would employ local people rather than outsourcing to other countries.

Good luck straightening everything out.:) Too bad about Mercury retrograde. It was my first thought this morning when my husband told me he'd not only resent information, but that we'd have to send still more.

mike (again) said...


"The Google Glass set he wore had been fitted with prescription lenses and he was watching the movie through them because they corrected his vision.

The MPAA's [Motion Picture Association of America] and ICE's statements are bland and anodyne (ICE says that the interview was "voluntary," though the man's account contradicts this). Neither of them explain how it is that a movie theater employee can call an MPAA hotline, and how the MPAA can then command ICE law-enforcement officials to drop everything and rush down to a multiplex to roust a potential camcorderer and treat him like a presumptive criminal.

The problem for the MPAA of camcordering is that they would like to stagger the release of their films -- first to the theatrical exhibition channel, then to airplanes and hotel rooms, then to pay-per-view and streaming services and DVD, etc. This makes them more profitable, but only if they can keep each channel discrete. Lots of businesses struggle with their profit-maximization strategies, but only the MPAA gets to command the forces of federal law-enforcement in the service of their business-model, putting the cost of that strategy onto the tax-payer."

JD said...

Twilight, I am a Luddite and proud of it! :)
Ned Ludd was right - "hand made is better quality than machine made" and working with your hands in a creative way is good for the soul.
It was never about "machines taking away our jobs" which is what the history books tell us (history is written by the winners, don't forget)

Sorry; what are google glasses?

n.b. - my URL is recently deceased

Twilight said...

LB ~ Thanks. Yes, dealing with stuff online is great - until it isn't! Online and "natural" ought still to be easily available, otherwise if the grid ever went down or had to be severely limited (it'll happen one day), civilisation would cease.Nobody seems to care, or think about, about this eventuality though.

Outsourcing customer service is awkward - though if it gives people jobs in countries where those doing the job would be in even more dire poverty, it's not all bad. Customer service reps in India are usually very nice and helpful, easy to understand but can't help with certain difficulties if not "standard" - to be found in their list of instructions. Customer reps in China or countries in that area are often, for me, difficult to understand and I dread having to deal with them.
The wonders of modern life eh!

Twilight said...

mike ~ Ah, so it wasn't DHS - not that it makes the situation much better.
Big Brother is alive and well and has many siblings!

The story does sound like something from Orwell, even if it has been embroidered a wee bit for our consumption. :-)

Twilight said...

JD ~ Glad to hear it - I'd have expected no less! :-)

Google Glass is a mini computer to wear either as part of a pair of spectacles or on its own in a kind of spectacle skeleton frame. It means a person can watch anything that's available on the internet on a computer or smartphone, take photos or record video, right in front of their eye hardly ever having to use their hands.
:-/ The initial version costs around $1,500 (around 908 pounds British) said to be cheaper soon.

mike (again) said...

Gotta watch for the errant refrigerator, too, Twilight!

"Refrigerator Busted Sending Spam Emails In Massive Cyberattack"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ They're out to get us!
What next? Hairdryer? Washing machine? :-O