thoughts on glass minus one week to go

So one week from today, i’ll have Google Glass in my possession. for those of you that don’t know the story about how this all came about, here it is.

Sometime in Februrary, google announced a contest for their Glass Explorers program. People on twitter and google plus put out a hashtag for #ifihadglass, and the top x entries would get invited to be part of the explorer program. The contest wasn’t set up to “win” the device – anyone who became a part of the program would have to pick it up at one of four locations and pay $1500 to have it.

The whole thing was something that i was interested in but not enough to feel like it justified the cost. For one thing, i’ve never been much of an early adopter kind of guy – i don’t feel like i need to have the newest toys or see a movie on opening day or any of that sort of business. it took me forever to decide to get a facebook account, something i got only because my friend Micah worked there at the time. I was a late adopter to the mobile phone as well as a late adopter to the smartphone.

I had no intention of entering the contest, but people around me on g+ were posting up what they would do #iftheyhadglass, so i decided to post a couple of my own, with the full intention of them being joke answers that wouldn’t be taken seriously. One of my answers was something like “i’d put it on an unborn foetus and have it record a birth from the inside perspective.” My other answer was “#ifihadglass, i’d set it to record what was happening live and then play it back 0.25s later with a 50-75% opacity overlay on what was actually happening so i can live life “in reverb.” Don’t get me wrong – the second one is something i’d love to do, but i knew that it wouldn’t actually be possible, and i figured that, you know, realism would factor into who they would select.

Then, about one month later, this happened:

ifihadglass

when i first got the notification, i thought it was a prank. I never win contests. my answer was a joke answer. there’s no way this was legit.

Except that it was. And now i had this decision to make, if i was going to throw down $1500 to buy this piece of technology.

A couple of weeks later, Glass announced that there were a few entries that slipped through the cracks that didn’t qualify for the program. I couldn’t tell if they did this as a mass notification or if they were only notifying those who didn’t qualify – it seemed that for a few reasons it could apply to me. There were a few other entries that i had read about from twitter that were things like “#ifihadglass i’d drunk punch whoo doggy!” or other such nonsense that i bet got thrown out, and i figured that even though mine was more intelligent than that, the fact that it wasn’t actually possible could have tossed me out too.

A couple of months went by, and i kept on seeing things on my stream of people playing with their Glass. I didn’t get anything else from Glass, and so i figured that the entry got thrown out. In the meantime, life happened – i moved into a new place, i bought an expensive bed to try to help with my back issues, i bought the plane tickets for my big trip out to the west coast and vegas for the last couple of week of july.

And of course, maybe three days after i had bought all of my travel tickets, Project Glass sent me a notification that said it was ready to pick up.

So again, i was faced with a decision: is this something i want to throw money at, especially since i’ve already thrown so much at my new apartment and my travel?

There were a few things that stacked against me getting it. One was the aforementioned “i’ve never been one to be an early adopter” mentality. I don’t like new things just because they’re new, and i don’t covet technology for the sake of technology. Second was the aforementioned price. I’m already in the state where i want to stop spending money, yet i’m not quite done spending to get my apartment set up the way that i want. I’m not strapped for cash, but i’m ready to start saving again for the long-term plan of hopefully buying a new car in the next 5-10 years and not having to pay a stupid interest rate in order to do it. Third, I generally don’t like drawing attention to myself. I don’t mind bringing myself to the foreground if someone reaches out to me, like when people ask about the watch that i wear that doesn’t look like it’s an actual watch because it doesn’t display anything unless you tap or swipe it, but wearing this thing on my head attracts attention in a way that is counterintuitive to the way that i generally live my life.

What ultimately swayed me to get it despite it not being quite a fit for my personality was for its potential use in some of my creative endeavors and also with my job. It may not be possible to live my life in reverb using Glass, but between Glass and the Leap Motion that i’m going to be getting very soon, i think there’s some interesting things that i want to explore with some sort of electronic performance piece or installation. On top of that, i want to give it to my students to wear on the marching band field during rehearsals and maybe even performances and see how well it functions as a drum cam or instrument cam, and if there’s any possibility of getting reception during Mardi Gras, have it on during that for a Hangout. It also opens up possibilities as it relates to our live google hangout concert broadcasts – i have a smattering of loyal parents who watch those broadcasts, and this offers up a new slew of opportunities for live performance aspects and documentary aspects that are part of what we’re trying to do more and more with the organization.

What i doubt i’ll do is wear it on any sort of regular basis. Sure, i may wear it out every now and again and see what people say about it once in a while at the casino when i’m playing poker, but i can’t really picture myself working at the office or running every marching band rehearsal with this thing on my head.

But we’ll see what happens. So much of this is speculation only until i actually get my hands on it. Then i’ll get to absorb what it can do and see how it evolves, and once i get done with all of the other more pressing projects that i’m trying to finish, i can see what sort of magic i can do with it.

I do know that one of the first things i plan on doing with it is taking a picture of myself wearing it, but using a digital or disposable camera to do it just to be snarky.

Mendel Lee

I'm a composer, musician, and music educator residing in New Orleans, LA.

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