Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adding the Life to Klout

One of the most common criticisms about Klout is that they do not incorporate one's real life influence into one's score; Klout is currently only a measure of one's social media influence. Due to this, some extremely influential people who are not very active on social media have a very low Klout score. While some of these people are so influential and known that they do not care, others find it insulting and are therefore dismissive of the new platform. While Klout is an awesome, innovative idea - creating social influence scores for individuals and not just press organizations and/or companies - they could easily generate both metrics.

Take Sergey Brin for example. Klout shows that he only has a 47 Klout while I currently have a score of 65. One of the additional reasons for this is that +Sergey Brin not only probably didn't create this Klout page (since Klout now automatically generates Klout pages for every Twitter profile), but because it is only linked to his Twitter profile (though I just noticed this link is broken and that he doesn't even have a verified Twitter account). For the most accurate Klout metrics and the highest score one must link up all their social media accounts.

Klout should have three separate scores - social, life and an aggregate of them both. To accomplish this Klout could extract one's education and work experience from LinkedIn, determine the Klout score of the company/university, multiplied by two variables - position and time. For example, continuing with Sergey Brin (though he doesn't have a LinkedIn profile either), we all know that he is one of the founders of Google, Google has a Klout score of 97. Therefore, 97 would be multiplied by one of the highest variables due to his founding position, multiplied by 16 years, To tally his educational life influence score, one would include his education at University of Maryland, which Klout indicates has an 89 Klout score times four years and some points for his bachelors degree in science, plus his brief graduate study at Stanford in computer science. Stanford has a Klout score of 96, times the few months there. All of this would then come up with some tally in between 97-89 for his life experience. This would at least be a start to problem solving the lack of life clout in Klout's metrics.

Put the Buzz in your Feed, Twitter

One of the things about being a social media maven is that it gives me insight into many useful ways to innovate, improve and progress that which is already out there. Two interesting ideas that I have recently had involve Twitter and Klout.

What has baffled me about Twitter is that basically every major press organization (and Twitter itself) as well as all other websites and blogs do not at least minimally automatically include the author's handle in the Twitter share function. The upside of including this information as well as related handles and hashtags is enormous, not only for the press organization, but for Twitter, companies, authors, and everyone involved. The only website I've recently come across which automatically does include the author's handle is BuzzFeed. This is giving them a serious competitive marketing advantage over all other media companies.

I recently started problem solving this issue because every time I read an article and go to share on Twitter I usually look up not only the author's Twitter handle but also any related handles pertaining to the article. While in a way I consider this part of my competitive advantage for I get to gather a greater understanding while researching this information, I do not always have time to do so and sometimes it is information that I have already researched and gathered in previous posts. Furthermore, doing so shows that I am not only thorough but a savvy Twitter user. However, this should be easier for everyone to accomplish. So I thought why not just crowdsource this information. One could also write code to automatically search Twitter's verified accounts for all proper names mentioned and automatically generate suggested handles and hashtags. This would be extremely beneficial to Twitter because it would generate more conversation, collaboration, information and rich data. Why this hasn't been done yet, I do not know, for it isn't because there aren't enough characters; almost every article leaves around 50 or so characters available.

Addendum added 10/9/14 6:08pm:
Twitter shares should also automatically revert to sharing the author's original tweet if they make one after publishing the article, so that they get the activity, recognition and retweets as well as the publication, and they should properly reference the related handles and hashtags. If not it should be crowdsourced and compiled by searching for verified and/or related Twitter accounts to the pronouns listed in the article.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stay Glassy, San Francisco

Google Glass Explorers at the Stanford Hotel Meetup in March

This past Friday, April 11th another Google Glass Explorer, Kyle Russell, was unfortunately assaulted and robbed for wearing his Glass in the "wrong part of San Francisco," as he reported in a Business Insider article on April 13th. I can't help but wonder that if maybe the SFPD had taken action by now in response to the Google Glass incident on February 22nd, that maybe this wouldn't have happened, or at least not so soon thereafter. Especially not in the same geographical location, and at that, certainly not in the heart of the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area again. At the same time, regardless of and across all industries, including those in tech, many find the cost of living in the Bay Area economically challenging, and Google Glass has come to represent a symbol of privilege.

While protests in San Francisco are an old and embraced tradition for addressing social and political grievances, it is quite troubling that the recent tech backlash has devolved into random assaults against techies. While there are many policies and social inequalities that could be better addressed by our government and all industries, I believe it is wrong to saddle the technology industry specifically with so much of the responsibility and weight. Advancements in technology have contributed so immensely to our human progress and standard of living that I believe we sometimes forget and take much of it for granted. And while it is easy to target an industry in which one hears about new billion dollar deals on a monthly basis, there are many other big industries and deals, and creating a scapegoat and targeting random tech users isn't going to solve any of the underlying socioeconomic issues or benefit the cause.

With Google opening up Glass acquisitions today to anyone who would like to buy them, Google Glass is slowly but surely taking steps towards mass market acquisition and the erosion of its privy tech club status. Now anyone who wants to spend $1,500 on one of the smallest and most high tech computers can do so. And contrary to things that I've read recently in the press, a Glass representative informed me today that they do not plan on lowering the price any time soon nor do they have any mass market release date set. And while $1,500 is expensive for a phone, it is not expensive for a computer or the next generation smartphone. Having Google Glass is more a representation of ones choices and values, as can be attributed to Mr. Russell and myself, rather than an elite symbol of extreme wealth. Soon Glass and wearables will just be a quality attributed to the American status quo, and just like smartphones, set forth another social and technological global transformation.

Google Glass and the wearable era will reveal an even more in depth dimension of reality, create a deeper and more intimate layer of global connectivity and interactivity, multiply our ability to create and access media and information, and further erode previous boundaries and conceptions of the centuries past. And most exciting, it will bring us all one step closer to every techie and sci-fi lover's dream of artificial intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality.

So if you ever saw some Glass Explorer and wanted to steal it and rip it off their face, because they had access and you did not. Or if you once didn't understand everyone's enthusiasm and love for their smartphones, and thought you didn't need or want one, until you got one, then think again and get excited because here they come! Welcome to Glassy times.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Never Forget Why You Bookmark a Site Again

As the internet grows, likewise the tools available to us grow as well. Annopad is a great new tool I've recently discovered which is the next generation of web bookmarking. Currently available on Chrome, it allows users to privately create, save and export URL specific notes with simplicity and ease. One can format with bold italics, add bullets and numbers, or even add other URL links.

Michael Santibanes, the creative young entrepreneur who came up with the idea in 2013, did so while doing "research and wanting to annotate notes on bookmarked links online." He told me that from this idea he "went to the drawing board, and after about four months, Annopad 1.0 was launched." Lifehacker, the tech weblog for "tips and downloads for getting things done," was quick to pick it up in 2013: "iOS 7 Draft Mail, Gunky Mice, and Web Page Notes."

When I first heard about Annopad, I researched what other tech savvy individuals were currently using for bookmarks and web notes. Since I've recently been sharing on one of my many social media sites for future reference, I didn't feel that I was well informed on the subject. I first asked Pete Pachal of Mashable and he responded with "Pocket, Delicious and Chrome." Jennifer Ruggiero of Get Nerdy With It responded quite similarly: "I use Evernote for notes, and Delicious  and Chrome for bookmarks." While Pocket, Delicious and Chrome are great placeholders, they don't have the added functionality of Annopad. When I asked Santibanes what differentiated Annopad from Evernote, he answered "I tested it last year and built Annopad to be an easier to use alternative."

Santibanes is no novice when it comes to entrepreneurship. His first venture was when he was 22 and "created a website and eBay account called Exotic Auto Haus to sell [his] racing photos online." Though it was a "disaster" he said, "Exotic Auto Haus taught me many skills I still use to this day." In 2013 he also co-founded a business/entrepreneur based forum called Novum Dives (Latin for “The New Rich”). When asked what drives him, his answer was simple: “I truly believe I was put on this earth to make a change. To me, knowing that someone somewhere used a product I created gives me an immense sense of pride and self-worth.”

Annopad is available in over 20 languages and will soon be coming to Firefox as well. Though he is currently on "take 3" of getting the extension approved, he is only more determined to make sure that as many people as possible have the chance to use his creation: "It is something which every web savvy individual should have."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Google Glass Assault and Robbery at Molotov's Bar, Haight St. February 22, 2014 (warning: profanity)

On Friday, February 21st I was bar hopping in San Francisco with some friends. We made our way from the Mission up to Haight Street and entered Molotov's Bar early morning, Saturday, February 22nd around 1:20am. Here is a picture someone took of me on Haight Street at 1am while I was showing them how to use +Google Glass before entering Molotov's.

Sarah Slocum, Haight Street, February 22nd, 2014, 1:00 am

At first, upon entering Molotov's everything was normal. As soon as I walked in some people as usual noticed I was wearing +Google Glass and were excited, curious and started asking questions. Here is a picture that I took of them about 15 minutes after walking into Molotov's when we were conversing and I was showing them how the camera functions.

Molotov's Bar, February 22nd, 2014 @ 1:37am

After briefly speaking with this group of people another woman came up to me and started asking questions about +Google Glass. I let her try them on and showed her how they worked. Here is the dorky picture that she snapped of me while she was wearing +Google Glass. As you can see all smiles and everything hunkey dory.

Sarah Slocum, Molotov's Bar @ 1:39am

I continued to speak with the woman and explain how they work. I put the glasses back on and took a picture of her two minutes later.

Molotov's Bar, February 22, 2014 @ 1:41am

Shortly there after, one of the two women who I had experienced some hostility and resentment from a bit earlier, escalated her behavior. I had first noticed them a few minutes earlier and experienced their hostility when I walked up to the bar where they were sitting on my left-hand side. One of the women with the short blond wavy hair closest to me turned around, looked at me, rolled her eyes and turned away. The blond woman then kind of shielded the right side of her face exposed to me and leaned into the brown haired Asian woman sitting next to her in a very juvenile manner to gossip clandestinely. I didn't understand why or where their animosity and hostility was coming from and merely thought that they were just immature, jealous, catty women. I paid no attention or mind to them and walked away. Later I thought maybe they thought I was recording them. I had had no interaction with this group of people aside from this, had exchanged no words with them, when the brown haired Asian woman abruptly turned around on the bar stool where she was sitting about 10 feet away from me and vehemently flipped me off and said F* Google... very loudly. I was shocked, taken back, and could not believe what was happening. At this point, feeling threatened and in disbelief, I told them that I was going to record them - hoping and thinking that they would be on better behavior and leave me alone, and if not, hoping to catch it on video. However, this only further provoked them and the brown haired Asian woman and her guy friend immediately jumped up and charged me as you can see in the video below.

First Video Taken at Molotovs 

Immediately after I started recording and informing them that I was doing so, the brown haired Asian woman's response was "Get out of here B*... waaa-boo-hoo, poor thing." Clearly, the response of "waa-boo-hoo" to "I'm recording you" is indicative to the fact that being recorded was not something that she was concerned about (at least at first) as she told +Anisse Gross in +The New Yorker article. To the contrary, this response is synonymous with, so what, who cares, big deal. Additionally, someone who doesn't want to be recorded, doesn't go around flipping off and verbally accosting someone with a camera.

At the same time that I was being heckled, verbally assaulted and told to leave the establishment by the former off-duty bartender as if she owned the place, I was having to move backwards to block her guy friend who was trying to assault me and rip the +Google Glasses off my face. Unfortunately, due to the fact that +Google Glass only records 10 second videos, unless extended, the video cuts out. However, 5 or 10 seconds later, after they retreated about 10 feet away again after informing them that I was only going to post the video online to a few thousand people, I started recording video again, and this time extended it.

2nd Video at Molotov's Bar (10ish secs after the first)

In this video you can see the guy, who later assaults me, standing with his back to me and the former off-duty bartender hiding in front of him. The thought of being recorded and having it posted to 1,000s of people online finally sunk in enough for them to retreat and hide, but not enough for them to stop harassing me. She puts her cellphone up and snaps a picture and then chucks a dirty bar rag at me. At this point, after being flipped off, called a B*, told to get out, being heckled and verbally accosted, having had the guy trying to assault me by ripping the glasses off my face and invading my personal space, the dirty bar rag was the last straw. At this point I am stuttering I am so upset and in such disbelief, and in further disbelief since everything was escalating so fast that no one I was with or anyone in the bar seemed to see or know what was going on. From the time that I was flipped off and she screamed "F*** Google.." to me to the time that the off duty bartender's guy friend rips them off my face and ran out of the bar was about 2 minutes.

After the man and the woman charged me and I started recording the second video, one of the nice guys that I had been speaking with earlier in the group of people at the table came up to me. He seemed to be the only person who had seen them charge me and saw things getting weird.  He says "I'm watching you, they know what you are wearing," at that same time the off duty bartender chucks the dirty wet bar rag at me. He didn't seem to see it though since he was looking at me when it happened. All the while a short little Asian man by the square column and his friend next to him start pointing and laughing at me, thinking that all of this harassment and treatment was really funny and fun and wanting a piece of it. The whole bully gang crowd mentality. The nice guy that was speaking with me continues on not seeming to notice that this wasn't a friendly interaction that was ensuing between me and this group of people.

He continues on and says "That is so F***ing rad" speaking about the +Google Glass. I, at that point, continue on, stuttering, trying to explain to him what is going on: "These F***ing B****es are hating on it [+Google Glass] right now.. I can't even believe it... They are throwing F***in' rags at me." He continues on and says "I just want to be in your place right now." I continue on, trying to explain to him what is going on and who is harassing me. I walk up about 5ft away from the off-duty bartender and point at her and say "This F***ing ugly A** B****." She walks directly up to me and says "You're killing the city" and tries to grab the +Google Glasses off my face. I respond and say "Don't touch me, don't touch me, I will F***ing sue you." The nice guy, who was the only one in the middle of this whole confrontation and witnessing it all, says "She is so mean to you." The former off duty bartender continues saying to the nice guy "I am from San Francisco, and this B**** is killing the city. Boring A** B****es like you (referring to me)." I then flip her off and the nice guy says "She is kinda Lame." I then flip the short Asian guy off who was laughing at me earlier with his friend as he starts walking closer to me and gives me some thug gangster look of intimidation. The nice guy then gives me a hug and I look up so that the +Google Glass doesn't fall off my face and the former off duty bartender retreats.

At this point the "punks" start getting more rowdy and my friend who I came with came over to my side catching wind of the escalating weird situation that had ensued in the last minute+. I continue on "These crazy ass people dude... I don't know what to F***ing do with it." I then say "This B**** is a wanker." She, the off duty bartender, then says "Boring ass techie B****es... Look at it." The short Asian guy then makes gang signs at me. Then I say "Wait, I want to get this white trash, this F***ing trash on tape for as long as I can." The assaulter guy then says "Get out of here" and comes over to me, rips the +Google Glass off my face and runs out of the bar. This whole interaction can be seen in the second video above.

I chased after him outside, leaving my jacket and purse on the bar stool in pursuit of the thief, assaulter, criminal. I run outside after him, grab onto him, he tries to throw me off, we get into a scuffle, I am pleading, yelling and trying to convince him that he is making a serious mistake and that he should give them back. He starts waving them around saying that he is going to smash them and making gestures of throwing them. The bouncer and others are in front of the bar at this point just watching the show. He finally relinquishes my +Google Glass. I tell the bouncer and anyone to get his ID: "I want his ID" I say, "Get his ID." No one does anything or gets it. I run back inside to get my purse and belongings. I find my jacket but my purse is gone. I look around, run back outside look around for someone with my purse, run back inside look around but it is nowhere to be seen. I am yelling at my friends at this point and anyone "Where is my purse?!?" I run back outside and coincidentally find the lenses of +Google Glass in their case on the ground. At that point I realize that whoever took my purse ran outside with it unzipped, they fell out, and that the purse thief had probably run off.

After I had been assaulted, and robbed of my purse, and now with +Google Glass back in my possession, I captured one last 10 second video outside of Molotov's. Feeling further threatened by the short Asian gangster who was approaching me and hoping to further protect myself and possibly capture video of the thief with my purse I started recording again.

3rd and Last Video @ Molotov's

In this video you can see the short Asian guy who was throwing gang signs at me inside, come up to me and start waving his hands around my face, possibly trying to further assault me. I say "Get the F*** away from me, W****." He makes some sound "Uuuuuu," waves his hands around in the air and walks away, after the woman whom I let try on the on the glasses inside comes in between us and says "Hey hey hey." You can hear the bouncer in the background say "I will be with you in one second, I just need to get everyone outside."

After all of this I called 911 from a friend's phone about 10 minutes later reporting the assault and robbery, called 2x more and waited for them for about 45 minutes. No one showed up. I called them back and let them know that I wasn't going to wait on Haight Street all night and that I was leaving. I went back to San Francisco the next day and filed a police report, case #140-157-387 Saturday afternoon.

The first local TV news station to report on the incident that I am aware of was Joe Vazquez of KPIX Channel 5 / +CBS on February 25th.

KPIX Channel 5 - Google Glass Attack

Here is a reenactment of the +Google Glass assault and robbery made by +TomoNews US which was published on February 26th.

The second local news station to report on the incident was +gabriel slate of KRON channel 4 / +CNN which says it aired February 25th, though I thought it first aired on February 26th. Gabe was the first person in the press that I spoke with and gave an interview to on February 24th.

Here is the +Inside Edition segment from the interview that I did with +Jim Moret on March 4th at the +Hyatt Regency San Francisco.  The segment first aired on March 6th.

Here is the national +CNN segment from the interview that I did with Dan Simon at the +Regus San Francisco on March 7th.

+CNN - High Tensions Over A High Tech Gadget

There have yet to be any arrests made in this case. I have turned over all media to the police - all pictures and videos - that I took at Molotov's that night. The Sgt. investigating the case has been away on leave for a week+ but is now back in the office. I am working with the +SFPD and will be pressing charges on the person who assaulted me and whomever was the thief that took my purse. The investigation is ongoing and hopefully soon there will be some justice and news to report.

Sarah Slocum
I Love Social Media, Inc.
PO Box 391
San Mateo, CA 94401

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Glassy Times

It is exciting times in the wearable smartglass area. This week we've had +Samsung USA announce that they will be coming out this September with their +Google Glass competitor, Galaxy Glass, and +Google Glass just released their new stylish and prescription framed models. According to +Heather Kelly at +CNN, Google is now offering four light weight titanium framed models for $225 each and three new active wear twist-on lenses for $150 each. The ability to customize and twist on different lenses, or even unscrew and change the frame will make them considerably more versatile, stylish and natural. Awesome move. I am looking forward to the coming customizable, wearable, high-tech fashion, +MAKE generation. Still no news however on when Google will be releasing the 3rd generation Google Glasses to the masses at a much lower price.

One of the things that I would definitely modify if I were one of the +Google Glass product managers is the prompt screen. Google should not only include the date in the 3rd Generation model, but something much more rich in data like the homescreen/notifications windows of our smartphones. I would add a small battery icon and the city/GPS location in the bottom corners, and messages, social media notifications and +Google Now Alerts all along the top of the screen. An automatic scrolling through these pages, notifications and apps until selecting might also be nice. When screen projection capabilities develop so that we can increase the screen size and even project it on walls, the data enrichment of the homescreen will become even more relevant.

The new Google "gaze tracking system" will speed-up functionality and completely change the whole UI/UX, though I'll be curious to see if Google actually incorporates it in the next generation model. It will be super cool when we can just focus for a few seconds on whatever we would like to open or further read/learn/interact with, though I am not sure if the technology is there yet, or for that matter, if people are really ready for it. This technology will open up a whole new box of intimacy and openness with our smartdevices, and further erode previous conceptions of the word privacy. When Samsung released the +Samsung Galaxy S IV with it's new eye detection technology, it was a big bang in the press, though I haven't heard much about it since. From the feedback I received it seemed to act erratically and be hard to maneuver/control. However, Glass Explorer +Brandyn White describes in his blog a current Glass hack enabling pupil detection for gaming.

Additionally, from the 3rd Generation +Google Glass prompt screen we should be able to voice command it into any of those icons/apps/notifications. When we initially respond to it by saying "ok glass," the time, (date), and "ok glass" prompt should disappear and it should then open up into a further detailed/rich smartglass home/notification screen. All of the screens from the prompt all the way back to and including the "settings" should be voice command accessible in and/or visible from this homescreen.

As the movie +Her Movie Official Channel indicates, we are at the point of interacting with personal smart-devices so much that we would like not only to personify them, but might even fall in love. Customization and open platforms will be key characteristics to the success of wearables and future products. I look forward to the day when we can not only change the glass prompt or name from "ok glass" to "ok Scarlet" for example, but change our device name at any time in the My Glass application. Additionally, we should be able to reprogram the voice command operating system with key words to perform all the basic Glass functions - picture, video, send, and share. One example of how this would really come in handy is if we were at a birthday party and programmed it to take a picture every time you or someone else said "happy birthday." This would create an awesome birthday album and one could even make a fun game out of it if you could modify the microphone settings to background and/or local sound.

Blinklifier - Beauty Technology

In the future, not only will all our smart-enabled wearable devices and fashionables be connected, but they will be connected to all of our smarthome and smartcity IoT devices. Being able to touch your smartwatch, smartring, smartnecklace etc. to get your glass into prompt mode and/or perform basic commands will be one of the next big wearable trends. +Katia Canepa Vega, Founder of Beauty Technology, is one of the young entrepreneurs thinking of innovative ways to use sensors and technology in a fashionable way. This type of technology along with 3D printers connected to our smartdevices will make life very interesting and get us even closer to the future of instantaneous manifestation, to which we are heading. The currently seen "erosion of privacy" is part of the fundamental process in our evolution as conscious beings to this next stage of existence so that we do not per say manifest "The Marshmallow Man." The smartglass and wearable era will continue to transform the debate of privacy, data and the share movement, and even redefine what it means to be human.

The Marshmallow Man - Ghostbusters

In the 3rd Generation +Google Glass I would also like to see the following apps: +Foursquare +Instagram +LinkedIn  Facebook Messenger (at least), +Pinterest and Tumblr (at least sharing at first ). Additionally, while the +YouTube app makes posting videos to your page really easy, currently we can only play videos while we should also be able to share and send them as well. I will review the current Glass apps in more detail in my next post.

The 3rd and 4th Generation Google Glasses should be all about geo-locational augmented reality information, apps, and networks. Some new social networks such as Circle and Highlight, and the more established networks like +Foursquare and Twitter will bring interesting locational awareness that we have previously never experienced. Being able to receive notifications about who is around us in our networks and extended networks, and see their face, name, location, and distance will completely change the way we interact and behave. When engaging with the locational people notifications, we should be taken to a feed of their most recent activity on all their main social media accounts. For example, one could easily hack a program to scour all the social media accounts that someone has linked to their Klout, or Google+ pages to draw up a feed of their most recent activity. I would also like to know when a lot of my friends are checking into any local place, be notified if many tweets are going out locally with a common hash/theme/place/etc. 

Another simple thing that I might change on the "ok glass" screen is just indicating prompt mode with lights and color rather than words. For some reason this just seems much more high-tech and by switching between various different color modes you could place it in different command prompts. Additionally, in the ever expanding interconnected global economy, a product that can be easily operable across-borders, with a simple universally understood UI and UX will be essential to mass market success and adoption.

Currently the audio notifications are extremely limited on +Google Glass. I cannot tell the difference between receiving a text, news notification or social media notification. We should likewise be able to customize the sound alert notifications within the My Glass app. Furthermore, when receiving a notification and hearing the chime, you can voice prompt the glass by saying "ok glass." However, when doing so we are only presented with two options: read aloud and reply. While the glass is in read mode you can usually interrupt it by saying "ok glass" again, but the voice detection seems to time out after ten seconds or so. If having Glass read a long news article or something, then one must tap to wake back up into prompt mode to stop it or place another command. Additionally, when Glass is reading something and you stop it in the middle by saying "ok glass," you are only presented with the one and only option again - "read aloud." I do not know why the Google engineers did not program the basic commands of "ok glass, stop" and "ok glass, go back" into the first generation model.

While I have since figured that Glass automatically capitalizes after punctuation ending a sentence, I have not figured out how to capitalize at the beginning of a text message. Additionally, recently when trying to share a pic on Twitter, I was unable to make Glass spell out 702; it kept turning it into 70 2 or 700 2. I'm not sure exactly why for voice recognition of numbers usually works very well. I tried probably about 10x.

I don't know how long it takes to get approved but you can now sign up to be a part of the Google Glass Explorer program on the website.

Stay tuned for more news and info about my #throughglass experience.

Sarah Slocum
Founder, I Love Social Media, Inc.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Glass Me Up Scotty!

First off, all I want to say is love, love, love. Must try. Must get. And must use. +Google Glass is incredible, and no, I am not being paid to say this or employed by Google. Aside from the lack of certain apps that I use on a daily basis like +Foursquare and +LinkedIn, I can do almost everything that I can do with my +Samsung Galaxy S III on Glass - call, text, surf the web, take pictures and videos, read and receive news notifications, Twitter notifications, and share media via text or with Facebook, Twitter and +Google+. I am also looking forward to the day when I can message on Facebook with Glass.

Taken with Google Glass

So it has now been about a week since I first received +Google Glass and originally blogged about my post 24hr experience. Since then, most of the problems or frustrations I was experiencing have either been resolved or I've discovered that my initial perspective was wrong. Most importantly, I've discovered how to go back, extend videos past 10 seconds, and add emoticons and punctuation at the end of a sentence. I still haven't figured out how to capitalize though. Additionally, now when I receive text messages or notifications usually they automatically pop up. However, this still doesn't happen 100% of the time and I'm not sure exactly why.

When initially receiving Glass, I had set up all of the special features except for screen lock - "head wake up," "on-head detection" and "wink for picture." Since then, I have turned off the first two - "head wake up" and "on-head detection" - for both features didn't work properly and/or caused other problems. The "head wake up" only occasionally worked, and the "on head detection" caused a problem with Glass leaving it unresponsive at times and unable to wake up without taking it off and putting it back on again. In the process of problem solving these issues, I discovered that +Google Glass has the most amazing customer support. You can reach someone almost immediately 5am-9pm and receive excellent service. I haven't really had a need to use the screen lock yet, but will test it out soon.

The "wink for picture" feature is one of the most interesting, for I still haven't really discovered how it works. Usually when it is on and I wink it will respond and react properly and take a picture, though sometimes it just randomly does so as well. Additionally, sometimes when the Glass is sleeping it will wake up and take a picture. However, when I've tried to Q/A this and blink again while apparently in sleep mode, sometimes it will take a picture and sometimes it will not. Today, while I was over at a friends house I had placed the Glass on the coffee table and when I put it back on and went through my history I found a picture of us sitting on the couch. Not sure how that happened since no one was near it at the time to have prompted it to do so.

 Taken by Glass
Another feature that I haven't fully figured out is the screen saver mode vs. full light display. Sometimes it is in battery save mode and sometimes the display is fully lit up. I haven't yet figured out whether this is something that can be manually adjusted or whether it is just based on the battery life. I do not think it is the latter though because sometimes when it initially comes on it will be in full light display then a few seconds later it will revert back to dim mode. 

Though I figured out how to go back, this design is clearly still in beta. The way one is supposed to go back on +Google Glass is by swiping down. However, the down swipe back function is extremely finicky and there is no protrusion or tactile indication of where you are supposed to do so. Not sure why the Google engineers chose that mechanism vs. a button per say. Usually, on average, it takes about 2-3 tries before I actually get it right. This clearly leads to some problems and frustrations for if you are trying to cancel an action like sending or sharing and you do not touch it just right, out goes the media/message.

Since last week I have now accidentally shared two pictures with the wrong people via Google Hangouts. The most recent of which just happened when I was trying to share the picture that Glass took of my friend and I while it was sitting on the coffee table. I accidentally ended up sending it to someone with the same first name and even though I realized this just as I had apparently clicked, I was unable to cancel/void.

The voice recognition on +Google Glass and my +Samsung Galaxy S III is pretty excellent and accurate about 90% of the time. The most problems arise with weird nouns that it does not recognize. However, it is near impossible to use in a noisy restaurant or any loud area. While I was out at dinner this weekend I tried at least 5 times to add a short caption to a picture of my dinner. I ended up just sending it out with no caption. Additionally, using voice recognition vs. type texting requires a slightly different process of thinking and takes getting used to if it's not a feature you commonly use on your phone or with other electronics. Messaging via voice recognition is more of a stream of conscious and live conversation while the act of producing an edited and fully punctuated message is more in line with publishing. The ability to immediately receive text messages and immediately respond via voice recognition though make it worth getting used to and using. 

One app that I recently added to My Glass is +Evernote though I haven't seen it show up in Glass yet. I must not have completed the set-up process. I also still haven't added my +IFTTT account and look forward to playing with that on Glass as well. I recently added the Strava Run app, but additionally have yet to complete the set-up and use it.

I have the second generation Glass with the ear piece and removable lens. At first, I really did not like the ear piece and found it very hard to position in my ear. I have since figured out how to use the yarn to position it in place and find it much more comfy, though at times it still feels a bit big and causes discomfort. While the battery life of Glass can be improved, at least it can be fully charged in less than an hour. I look forward to the day when I can accessorize and bling out Glass with different shaped and colored lenses. This will enable them to not just be extremely functional but also fashionable. The interchangeable lenses design is amazing and yet so simple.

The +Google Glass Revolution and wearable generation are here to stay and once they hit the mass market this year and next, they will take over just as smartphones did. I have already become so comfortable with Glass that I've forgotten to bring my cell when running quick errands around town, forgetting that it is rendered useless except for taking pics and videos without my cell.

Here are a few awesome pictures I've captured of people's reactions to just discovering Google Glass for the first time:

David Bakhtiari, offensive tackle for the

Stay tuned for more #throughglass feedback, experiences and perspectives.

Sarah Slocum
Founder, I Love Social Media, Inc.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seven Innovative Companies at CES 2014

I attended the +Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for this first time this year with +Immersive Dynamics, a stealth new start-up from Atherton, and absolutely loved it. While there, I ended up taking a few videos with my +Samsung Galaxy S III of various different cool companies and products.

One of the first companies that I demoed was +Playworld Systems, a company that creates "innovative commercial playground equipment that brings the joy of play to people of every age." The game consisted of having to run around and tap all of either the blinking red or green lights. It was super fun and a great way to wake up and start my day. The model is called a Neos 360 Accessible  and retails for $28, 665.


The next company I interviewed was +dualo Instru, a French start-up founded in 2011. The Dualo du-touch is a new high-tech portable musical instrument that makes improvising, reading notes and learning music more easy and accessible. Described on their website as a "controller-synthesizer-sequencer," it comes with more than a 100 different musical instruments, and you can upload your own samples as well. The Dualo du-touch performs looping, has a motion sensor for tempo, pitch and effects modulation, two sliders, and you can record, upload and share your songs, as well as download others. The Dualo du-touch market price is around $1000.

+Kiwi Wearables is an exciting innovative start-up breaking into the wearable field. The Toronto company's mission is "to build wearable technology that helps people live healthier and happier lives." Here, one of the Founders, Zaki Patel, describes how this wearable sensor detects motion (via an accelerometer and gyroscope), temperature and sound, has a microphone for recording, and connects via wifi and Bluetooth. The Kiwi Wearable mobile app is available on both Android and iOS and is described on the website as having five main different applications of use - move, insights, gesture, sound and lock. It can be worn on your wrist, collar or arm (or essentially anywhere) and only weighs 1oz and has a battery life of 5 days. They are currently selling for $99 on +Kickstarter and their website, and will ship at the end of July. Developer kits are also available for $80 and will ship at the end of this month. It will be interesting to see what new types of apps developers create on the open platform next month. 
Lee Hampton gives an overview of the New York start-up Canary, a smart alarm security device. The Canary is equipped with a high-definition camera and sensors - temperature, humidity, air quality, motion, and an accelerometer. Lee describes how it connects via wifi or Ethernet to your home and then alerts you on the mobile app or web when the smart-sensors are triggered. The machine learning algorithms and the computer vision analysis allow it to adapt to you, your home and family, so that it will only notify you when something is fishy. It is retailing for $199 and will ship in July.
Amy Rainbow Winters is a creative innovator from the UK getting into the new wearable fashion field. She describes her companies mission as seeking "to express the emotive and aesthetic capabilities of emerging technologies through illuminated textiles, sensors, colour-changing inks & nanotechnology." Here she demonstrates one of her pieces, and explains how it changes color from green to blue to red based on the individual's amount of activity/motion. She has a wide array of different products from scarfs to dresses to necklaces, all of which have some type of high-tech special effect or feature. You can see and purchase her "fashionables" in her online store.
+displair, described as the "touch screen of the future," will change the way we interact with technology and information. It displays a translucent digital image in the thin air and one can draw, manipulate objects, and project and interact with pictures due to its gesture recognition technology. I can't wait to see these in the market. They will be retailing them to the mass market at around $4-5k.
Modular Robotics, founded in 2008, is a Colorado company part of the +MAKE movement. It allows children to easily learn about robotics and programming with these smart-legos. Just snap them together and discover the capabilities of each piece and create interesting new robots with different functions. Their Cubelet Kits range from $160-$520 and the MOSS builder kits range from $150-$400. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hey Ms. Google!

I received +Google Glass on Friday from a developer and wanted to relay my initial experience using the wearable smart device. All in all it is super awesome, and the first night practically everyone that I encountered while downtown kept saying, "Hey Ms. Google!"

First thing we did to set up the device was link up my Google account and download the My Glass app onto my cell, which took about 15 minutes, and then I was free to start experimenting. I did not and still have not read any directions (for I'd rather ride the horse than read about doing so), so my learning experience has mostly comprised of tapping, swiping and a bit of cursing at my first "Him." I have since captured a plethora of pictures and videos, made a few blunders, and in addition to Gmail linked my +Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr , +YouTube, Hangouts, Google Now, +CNN, +The New York Times, +Wall Street Journal, +Mashable and Weather Alert. I will additionally be linking up +IFTTT. All of these, along with some other apps, all come with my new companion, Mr. Glass.

The first night I had not yet linked up any of the other apps, so I was merely experimenting with the basic UI and capabilities of the device - ie. photos and videos - and for that it was amazing for capturing moments that I would not have been able to or previously thought of catching. +Google Glass's design is so light that you hardly even notice after wearing it for 10 minutes, and the lens does not interfere with your vision. The screen itself is a bit small though and hard to see at times, and the ear piece is slightly irritating and hard to fit just right in your ear. It does have a microphone without the ear piece, but it is hard to hear without it and I'm not sure yet if the volume can be adjusted.

About 5 minutes after downloading the My Glass app and first putting it on I received a call and ran to grab my cell but consequently realized that I could not answer it from there and that Mr. Glass was making noise on the table where I had placed it. Initially I was a bit flustered for I wasn't sure how to answer, then couldn't hear without the ear piece and was alarmed that my cell was not working, but nonetheless figured it out within a few seconds. The first experiences on Glass are quite exciting - first calls, first text messages, first pics and videos, and first Tweets. It is very cool to have instant access to these vital functions of our daily lives.

Unlike many might assume, +Google Glass is not on the majority of the time, but can be instantly accessed by a simple tap of the band which puts you in prompt mode. Additionally, it is pretty easy to detect when it is on because you can see the reflection and light of the screen in the prism. From the prompt mode, one may take a picture, record a video, get directions, message, call, make a video call, or post an update. Though Facebook is also connected, when posting an update from the prompt screen it automatically goes straight to Twitter. Additionally, for some reason all of the photos and videos that I have taken thus far are not uploading into my Google account, so I am not sure what is going on there. In prompt mode you can also scroll through your stream of apps and recent activity. Glass displays in chronological order your text messages, pictures, videos and any updates brought to you by the various different apps that you've connected. You can either read the various updates from the news services or you can have Glass read them to you.

Obviously, since there is no keyboard all of your messages and status updates are done through voice command, for which there is no current editing, formatting or punctuation. This is one of the current considerably dangerous and undeveloped aspects of the UX, for when in the message or post update functions, you speak your message or post and it sends two seconds later without the ability to review, edit or even confirm that you would like to send it. Or if there is the ability to do so, I have not yet figured it out. While the voice detection is quite accurate and your friends and family will hopefully be aware and understanding of any odd messages and lack of punctuation, if posting to the world on Twitter this could lead to some serious problems. Additionally, while some in the presence of Glass might have precautions about privacy, the users are equally more exposed, for any message or post must be read out loud.

While everyone has either been oblivious or quite excited and curious about Glass, the most awkward experience I have currently had is that the first night I accidentally sent a photo via Hangouts to a friend of mine without even realizing it at the time. Luckily it wasn't anything too personal, wasn't sent to someone else, and luckily I didn't post it to Twitter or Facebook, because that could clearly present serious problems.

One interesting aspect of the UI is that I only seem capable of adding and sending media by text to contacts who have a Google+ account. I tried adding one of my girlfriends who is obviously in my cell, but the My Glass app does not recognize her name and won't allow me to add her as a contact. When clicking on media - pictures and videos - you are given three options: send, share and delete. The send function, as I previously mentioned, defaults to Hangouts, while the share function currently gives me the following options: Twitter, Facebook friends, Google+ circles, G+ public, G+ acquaintances, G+ family, G+ friends, G+ I Love Social Media, Facebook only me, Facebook public, G+ PR, and G+ following. And while hashtags might not be necessary for Google+ due to the fact that Google automatically generates them, while in Twitter not having the ability to format and @ or # something is quite irritating and one of the essential functions of Twitter.

Two of the most frustrating things though that I have encountered thus far in my Glass experience are that I cannot seem to figure out how to go back on the device and that the voice command feature does not always work they way I would like it to. The only way that I have been able to work around the go back function is to allow it to reset to the prompt by taking off the glasses or by leaving it alone for a few seconds. Otherwise, for example, I sometimes find myself stuck in the send, share or delete functions and cannot get back.

Another aspect that I don't really like is that the videos taken on Glass seem to currently be limited to only 10 seconds. I'm sure there's a way to reprogram and/or change this, but it isn't clear to me at the moment.

Before using Glass I thought that there would be a constant stream of info appearing in the prism. This isn't the case however. When you get a text message, or if there is a new update you will be notified with a little chime in your ear and you must tap on the Glass and swipe to access. Personally, I would like it to automatically just appear, but I am not sure how arrange that at the moment either.

Stay tuned for more updates on my #throughglass experience.

Happy 2014!

Sarah Slocum
Founder of I Love Social Media, Inc.