"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Google Glass, Geezer and Gosh

Brinkman with the Glass, plus sunglasses
“Glass, take picture.”
Lillie-Beth Brinkman of The Oklahoman stood in front of about 50 students at the UCO Media Ethics conference last week.
The photo of the class she was looking at appeared on the TV screen behind her, as though you were seeing it through her eyes. And she showed a video clip of what it looked like from her eyes to zip line on vacation a few weeks ago.
She was wearing the new-fangled Google Glass inventions, explaining its use and possibilities as a journalistic tool.
Brinkman is one of about 8,000 people in the U.S. who were selected to “beta test” the gizmo before release. It fits around your head like a pair of glasses, with a camera, prism and computer located above your right eye sightline. 
As assistant features editor, she writes The Oklahoman’s “Get-App-y” blog, exploring new computer apps and technology that affect people’s everyday lives. She showed us how it works for video, photos and more, some with voice commands, some with tapping on the side, swiping, etc. Here’s the link to her column.

A student scopes it out.
She sees it as another journalistic tool, one that would help readers be on the scene with reporters. It can obviously record interviews while they’re being conducted.
“I think it’s like a smart phone up here, like a flash drive,” she said, adding that journalists who eventually get them need to decide what you’re going to do with it first. She sees applications in medicine and mechanics, for example, as with doctors wearing them in surgery to show others what is going on.
There are drawbacks. Battery life is only about six hours, and you’re pretty well tethered to a smart phone, or the “cloud” for storage. It has 16 MB of storage. 

"Geezer and Glass"
Is it distracting? She said you tend to forget it’s up there, but people certainly notice it and wonder about it. Hers are in a bright baby blue, but she had choices of tangerine, black, white, gray.  She can clip in sunglasses. More apps are coming for it, naturally, and the developers at The Oklahoman have been exploring it for possibilities. Brinkman’s colleague Clytie Bunyan wore it to church one day. Here’s a blog post, “20-40-60 Etiquette,” about her reactions and others.  There are certainly ethical questions about its use, including those of privacy. 
It’s not due for release until next year, and the current price is about $1,500, but release price will drop, perhaps to $300, and with competition, you know it'll go down more.
Another journalist who has used it to live stream protests in Istanbul is Tim Pool. He has it wired to a battery pack. Here’s the link to his Story.  If you want more information, here’s the Google Website.
Gosh, is this where the world is going? Not for geezers like me, but I think you better bet on it. Several years ago, an Enid newspaper woman  pulled our her phone, and said, “This is our future.” (Pre-twitter). Look how fast that has changed.
My students live on their phones, get news on their phones. We asked the how many of the students attending the session checked their phones the first thing in the morning? Every hand went up. Time will come, it'll be the Google Glass or something like it.
I think once the price goes down, almost everyone will have these, instead of phones. That was predicted several years ago by scientist and science fiction writer David Brin, most notably in his novel Existence, set just a few years from now, where all people wear computer  “Specs.” See his web page;   and his evaluation of the reality in an article in “Variety”:  and my blog post on “Coffee with Clark,” in February. I'm indebted to colleague Yvette Walker for the photo of me with the Glass...makes me look cool and up-to-date, or at least as close as this Geezer can get. Walker is the Ethics chair of the department and organized the Ethics Conference. More posts on that later.
There’s competition coming, of course. Check ReconJet’s version.  And Apple surely won’t be far behind. Or go even further, and enter the Matrix world of virtual and alternative reality with the swim-goggle gizmo from Oculus.   Scary.
I know, I know, those are a lot of links to check. Those links, and The Glass, just show  what I’ve said, that journalism has always been a child of technology. This prediction may be laughable five years from now for being so slow, but I think in five years, these things will be as common, or more common, than hand-held cell phones.
Which means, that instead of me dying in a head-on collision with somebody texting, it’ll be somebody hitting me while they're telling their  computer glasses to take a picture.


1 comment:

  1. I think your predictions are right on. I know that when they lower the price to the $300 level or so I'll have a pair.

    ReplyDelete