Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Magnifying Glass

It's been far too long since I've posted and it's time to start again.  I've spent the last month really researching and thinking about Glass.  I needed to set it aside and evaluate.  I started using Glass and had it with me everywhere I went.  I wore it at work (arguably the best place for this type of evaluation), I wore it at home and I wore it out in the community.  The whole time I wore it I was talking with people, showing off Glass and generally immersed in the "new tech" side of it.  Many months later, after Glass has passed from person to person, I'm ready for a fresh start.

I found myself in Green Bay yesterday having fun with the kids at Bay Beach Amusement Park.  A combination of carnival rides and, a city park and a small roller coaster, this was a great place to finish off a weekend of camping before heading home.  I didn't bring Glass camping.  Maybe I should have.  There were several times when I thought I wish I had Glass . . .  to capture family moments, video tape my youngest's first roller coaster drop (terrifying . . . we went 7 more times!) and generally be the only one with Glass in the park.  I'm headed to Canada at the end of the week and I'm really torn about bringing it.  I'm going to use a GoPro for action shots (I don't think the Glass battery can make it for all-day fishing) but I'm thinking of Glass for some of the other parts . . . maybe just a head-to-head comparison with the GoPro.

I have to say, after using the GoPro (actually a knock-off version I bought for $40), I'm starting to see the gap between the two.  Boldly, I've made the comparison and questioned if Glass is really that much more special that it's worth the cost.  I mean, the GoPro takes video and pictures and I can mount it just about anywhere.  In the end it comes down to convenience.

Here's an example:  I have a smart phone that does, essentially, what other devices can already do.  If I had a rotary dial phone I could still make calls.  If I had my old bag phone, I could still make calls away from home and in my car.  I can access the Internet on my laptop, desktop and iPad.  I can take pictures with my camera.  Each of these devices does its job well (maybe not so much the bag phone) and very specifically.  I have a smart phone because it does the job better.

In many circumstances, especially where there's a plan and ample time to set it up, using a mounted camera (like the GoPro) makes sense.  Glass is delicate (maybe this is an assumption, at $1500 I'm unwilling to test the limits too much) and the GoPro is tough as nails.  In wet or dangerous situations I'm not willing to put Glass to the test.

This being said, the convenience of Glass -- right there, always ready -- is intriguing and I'm finding many situations that I would have liked to had my camera, phone, computer . . . but I didn't.  Glass is integrated and always ready (OK, the battery could last a little longer).

But I'm doing the evaluation for education, right?  Maybe it's time to stop using the magnifying glass while evaluating it and just start enjoying it.  After all, so many things I've used for education I've discovered in a completely unrelated way.  I'm confident that in the back of my mind I'm always evaluating everything for educational merit anyway.  So, I'm going to start wearing it regularly and finding out what it's capable of outside the "education" realm.

My ongoing task (getting frustrated with this one) is to get other apps on the device.  This "easy" task has been beating me senseless the more I try it.  I'm going to unlock it.  It can't be that hard, many others are already there.  I've followed the instructions online and I'm getting close.  It shouldn't be this hard but, then again, I'm not a programmer so maybe there's something I'm missing.  Actually, this could be the first educational use of the device.  How do you add and write apps for Glass?  Maybe I need to talk to the computer teacher some more.