Glass Explorers Stop Exploring

at the Wired Offices

At the Wired offices

As Google Glass closes its Explorer program everything I have to say about wearing a computer on your head, I did for WIRED in 2013. Like the other explorers I know, I stopped wearing it after several uncomfortable moments and my family refused to engage with me when I had it on. I did capture interesting POV videos and photos with it, and shared most of those on G+, like this Strip ride. The creative workflow for a blogger was remarkable and Google did an excellent job with the Explorers themselves, it failed because…it was a computer on your head.

Socially, a little silver box recording video is OK and I’d recommended in my article and to Google that they redirect the design to action cams and do something absolutely remarkable, like voice-activated, hands-free POV, and maybe that’s what they’re doing. In their email to Explorers, they promised us the next version at some time in the future.

During an adrenaline-rush moment on a Park City trail, I was pedaling downhill on a thin strip of single track with hip-high grass pulling at the handlebars. Don’t look right, lean left, pedal. And breathe. Getting through that section unhurt and alive, I paused and said, “Ok, Glass. Take a picture.”

I’m sure the reactions to Glass were very frustrating to the Explorer dev team. It was Google tech built for people, instead of machines, and intended to stop us from looking down constantly at our phones.

The technology was supposed to liberate us, but I ultimately felt trapped by it because the distraction was too great, even when I was in a city like London where Glass hadn’t launched yet.

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A view of London through Glass

They likely made a marketing error also by launching it first with alpha geeks, not realizing that consumers don’t aspire to or want to look like Robert Scoble. The team later got Glass on the runway and into the hands and on the heads of celebrities. The Explorer program certainly did achieve the goals of getting different perspectives, stabilizing, and socializing the tech.

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Glass with Cap

The world just wasn’t ready and isn’t likely to accept the computer on your head form factor. What I hope isn’t lost and we’ll see again in another more discrete form is the OS – what I called glanceable computing. So much of what’s on our phones now is distracting instead of enhancing our days, and I have little interest in the current crop of wearables.

We’ll see what Apple does with their watch and if it’s more than a satellite of your phone. More media I made with Glass:

Palladian Hotel: Bike Friendly, Rock-n-Roll


We had a lot of fun with hoteliers last night at the soft launch of the Palladian Hotel in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. Quite a story there, with more to come, when they open next month. As I said on Twitter, the Palladian is the first new Seattle Kimpton property in 20 years. It’s also bike-friendly, as all Kimpton properties are, and brings a much needed, rock-n-roll theme to Seattle.

I Vined the tour and edited those with pictures into this Huggacast short – the audio is from Heels to the Hardwood who entertained the guests with music from the debut album. If the icons in the lobby don’t draw you in, the private Hive room (we suspect it’s haunted) with Madame Curie and Nikola Telsa looking on surely will, and each guest room has a portrait pillow.

I unsuccessfully tried to steal the David Bowie one…

Kimptons feature a fleet of Public bikes in each lobby AND the staff are more than happy to valet your own bike after a ride. That’s just one of the reasons we stay there when we travel. Now, we’ve got a new hotel to recommend in Seattle.

Sedona

Public bikes are Kimpton’s Sedona property

Harry Pop Kramer Bicycle Tricks Newsreel


Popular again on social networks, via many different sources, is a bicycle tricks newsreel of Harry Pop Kramer and from Appalachian History, we learn…

He was a vaudeville trick-cyclist who performed along the Appalachian mountains. He designed and fabricated his own trick bicycles and unicycles. He could ride his bicycle while standing on his head or jump rope while riding on a buggy wheel. Pop also built a bicycle on which the front wheel could be detached from the rear while in motion. But most importantly, he could hold the attention of an audience. My cousin Cheri boasts, “Pop dazzled people with his dare devil antics.”

The commentary is as entertaining as the tricks. Pop was the Danny MacAskill of his day and reminds us that the bike has entertained audiences since it’s invention, a century ago. Also see another vaudeville performer, the Golden Ballerina on a Bicycle, who also dazzled audiences…she’d take her bike apart as she rode it.

CX Nats: Resumption of Racing


Racing resumes today after being cancelled yesterday and I recapped how CXNats Disappoints in the Medium Bicycles collection. Also don’t miss the saddest Freebird ever played in Texas….

CXNats Disappoints

In issue 20, before all the drama in Austin, Shawn O’Keefe wrote about the single speed race for us.

Mudageddon in Austin: CX Natz Canceled

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Muddy course and in those trees, roots getting exposed, Photo: DBC

In case you missed it, it was Mudageddon in Austin after heavy rains and the last day of CX Natz was canceled to prevent more park damage to heritage trees.

As James Huang said on his Facebook.

If I understand correctly, it’s effectively considered an honor to have a ‘cross course permanently burned into your land in Belgium.

In the US, following this fiasco, an environmental impact statement is gonna be required.

I’m hearing lots of reaction and blame. While a developing story, what I understand at this time is that running thousands of racers on back to back days was/is the issue. 2-3 courses are required for events like this, in precious city parks, and unusual, biblical rain. Providence spent $50k on AstroTurf to protect the trees before the cancellation. The rain also shut down a weekend of events, besides racing.

I’m not there, but contributors Matt Hill, Shawn O’Keefe, and Dennis Crane are reporting for us. On Friday, issue 20 dropped and included a report and gallery from the single speed races.

The general cluelessness of USA Cycling in Austin reminds me of this one time when the TT course at road Natz was on the shoulder of an Interstate. Just like CrossVegas and also shared in issue 20, “Was Steve Johnson there?”

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