Tag Archives: google

Glassholes

Earlier today, I tweeted:

 

Which seemed to me to be a pretty non-radical point to make. But given the responses I’ve garnered, it looks like a brief expansion of the thought might be worth it on my part. So here’s my take on it:

I find the term dismissive, and moreover, deliberately insulting. “Glasshole” seems to be used as a hand-waving way of not actually discussing the technology behind Glass and instead relying on ad hominem in its place. Full disclosure: I’m fascinated by the possibilities, and given a pair, I’d happily wear Glass around and see where it was useful, how it could enhance or detract from my interactions with information and technology. But I simply do not grok the casual dismissal of them for their appearance or even for the privacy concerns that many have regarding them. It looks to me like the obvious next-step of the ever-more-personal technologies of the last 2 decades, just like it seems pretty obvious that wearable computing is a natural result of Moore’s law when combined with ubiquitous networking.

I am a technological determinist when it comes to the progress of hardware, I fully admit. Technology will continue to get faster, smaller, cheaper, and it will continue to use less and less power to do these things. This results in strange and unusual things, some of which will be wearable things that communicate with us and the world around us in ways that may seem foreign to us here and now. But so did walking down the street talking on the phone at one point in our near-past technological history.

Clay Shirky said in Here Comes Everybody that “Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.” Right now, Glass is technologically interesting. Yes, it will have social implications, but the really interesting bits (the bits that I think are worth talking about) are emergent after the technology is already in place. We didn’t get the Arab Spring without a bit of a perfect storm of technologies that had become commonplace…the cellular phone, SMS, Twitter. Glass is one tiny, tiny step towards truly immersive connectivity. What will that do to society, to interactions, to information? Will we end up with Strange Days or with Rainbows End? Or with the corporatized information future that William Gibson warned us about? I just don’t know. But I’m incredibly uncomfortable seeing a term used that denigrates the user of a technology, especially a brand new technology, when we’ve got no idea how it’s going to turn out to be useful, or not. I’m never going to be ok with insulting another human being as a part of a discussion.

HP makes WebOS Open Source

HP announced today that they are going to be Open Sourcing the underlying code for WebOS. I had hoped this would happen, but never actually expected it. This is really, really good news for consumers, I think. From the Press Release:

"HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.

HP will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project under a set of operating principles:

The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
Software will be provided as a pure open source project
HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space."

Hat tip to The Verge for breaking this (http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/9/2623943/webos-being-open-sourced-says-hp). They are doing awesome reporting these days.

#patrec

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HP to Contribute webOS to Open Source
HP today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community.

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Scooby Doo as Skeptic Vector

Totally awesome analysis of Scooby Doo teaching kids to be thoughtful and skeptical. Best pull quote:

"The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it's up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. And the way that you win isn't through supernatural powers, or even through fighting. The way that you win is by doing the most dangerous thing that any person being lied to by someone in power can do: You think."

#patrec

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Ask Chris #81: Scooby-Doo and Secular Humanism – ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews
Here at ComicsAlliance, we value our readership and are always open to what the masses of Internet readers have to say. That's why every week,

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Rooting the Kindle Fire

After a couple of days with my Kindle Fire, I decided to start playing with sideloading apps, and eventually ran into the limitation of not having the Android Market available on the Fire. I was mainly interested in having the dedicated Google apps (Mail, Maps, Docs, Google+). So I started reading, and found a handful of good tutorials:

Google Apps on the Kindle Fire: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1349902
Review Horizon: http://reviewhorizon.com/2011/11/how-to-install-google-android-market-on-kindle-fire/
How to Root the Kindle Fire in One Click: http://www.redmondpie.com/how-to-root-amazon-kindle-fire-in-one-click/

And a piece of software that makes part of the process easier, Root Explorer:

http://www.apktop.com/root-explorer-file-manager-2-17-1.html

It’s a little tricky at times, I had to reinstall the Android SDK a couple of times to get the right pieces in place. But moving through the steps slowly got me to the point where I have a working Kindle Fire with the Android Market installed. I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter, although I did root before the Market installation and then unroot afterwards using SuperOneClick. After unrooting, it’s just like before…but better. Everything seems to work. #patrec

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Living in the Cyberpunk Present

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen:

*The rise of synthetic recreational drugs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_cannabis)
*The rebellion by the public against the multinational banks that have an overabundance of the wealth of the world (http://occupywallst.org/)
*A pocket computer that can have a conversation with you (http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/siri.html)
*The slow decline of the United States as a world power
*The rise of China and India as economic centers of the world
*The second largest company in the world is one that makes computer hardware (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=largest+market+cap)
*A human had his eye replaced with a camera (http://eyeborgblog.com/)
*Military and police are using focused-energy weapons regularly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_Denial_System)
*We have cars that drive themselves (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-were-driving-at.html)
*Some people have hardware in their bodies that are vulnerable to being hacked (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/25/us-medtronic-cybersecurity-idUSTRE79O8EP20111025)

We are living the cyberpunk future that William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and others told us about. Some days it feels like we’re minutes away from being in Blade Runner.

#patrec

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It’s Official: Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

Just a few minutes after I posted about the WSJ’s reporting on the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, Amazon formally announced it via press release. The Amazon page for the service is live (http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?docId=1000739811), and details are pretty clear:

  • One book at a time
  • One book a month
  • “Thousands of books”
  • Only available for Kindle hardware, not for software (iOS apps, Android app, etc)
  • Available for Amazon Prime members

#patrec

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Amazon Media Room: Press Releases

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Crazy Customer Service, or Creepy Invasive Sales Call?

Because of the increasing insanity of some American banks and the random charging of fees like we owe them their current profit margin, I'm looking for another place for my money. After some research online, it looked like I had a couple of good choices that had no fee checking with Bill Pay, online access, and a robust mobile app. I decided to give Schwab a try, and opened an account and began moving my "business" account over. (EDIT: It appears as if most banks are backing away from this service fee, my current bank included…the below experience ensures that I’m still moving my accounts).

Well, that went so well that after a couple of weeks I was ready to make the move and move my personal account as well. The one non-standard bit about Schwab is that because they are primarily an investment company, they require a brokerage account to be attached to the checking account. You don’t have to fund it, you don’t ever have to do anything with it…it’s just the way they’ve structured things. What wasn’t clear to me was whether it was a 1-to-1 relationship. That is, you had to have a brokerage account for every checking account, or whether you could have multiple checking accounts hanging off of one brokerage.

So in an effort to get the answer, I signed in to my existing account and started poking around the “create a new account” link. It appeared like it was a 1-to-1 thing, and I wasn’t sure how having multiple brokerage accounts would work, so I just closed that browser window and thought to myself “I’ll give them a call sometime and ask”. I wasn’t in a hurry, so it wasn’t no big deal to me.

Cue two days later, I got a phone call from someone at Schwab. He left a message on my phone letting me know that they had noticed that I stopped part of the way through the account creation process, and was curious if I’d had problems or had any questions that he could answer. He was very polite and professional and left his direct phone number in case I wanted to follow up. I called back, and he answered the phone in 4 rings. I introduced myself, and he was able to pull up my account and the record of calling me in seconds. None of the typical “let me put you on hold while I look this up” or “can you verify the following 57 pieces of information for me by pushing buttons on the phone when you could very well be calling and driving at the same time” stuff. Nope, just a simple human interaction. And he answered my questions thoroughly and without trying to sell me a single thing that I wasn’t asking about.

Let’s examine this from the POV of a library, shall we? I guarantee that there isn’t a library anywhere that’s monitoring failed searches in their catalog and following up with the individuals to see if they can help. Moreover, I think most librarians would consider this a breach of professional ethics, as it would require tying searches to a person and seeing what books they were searching for.

It was exceptional customer service, and it was performed effectively and efficiently. It set a new level of expectation for me that I’m not sure other services will live up to. Certainly they haven’t in my past experience. So I’m moving my accounts, and am happy to do so. Excellent work, Schwab. Now don’t screw it up. :-)

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Amazon to start lending eBooks

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kindle is set to launch its own lending library this Thursday, without the support of any of the Big 6 Publishers (Hachette, Harper-Collins, McMillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster). Very, very interesting, but incredibly limited. It's a foot in the door. Limiting it to just native Kindles is brilliant marketing.

From the WSJ:

"The new program, called Kindle Owners' Lending Library, cannot be accessed via apps on other devices, which means it won't work on Apple Inc.'s iPad or iPhone, even though people can read Kindle books on both devices. This restriction is intended to drive Kindle device sales, says Amazon.

The program, which is effective Thursday, comes a few weeks before Amazon ships the Kindle Fire tablet on Nov. 15, which is a direct competitor with the iPad."

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Amazon, Now a Book Lender
Amazon is launching a digital-book lending library that will be available only to owners of its Kindle and Kindle Fire devices who are also subscribers to its $79-a-year Amazon Prime program.

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