Let’s say you are planning to be in California on Monday and New York on Tuesday. You have a meeting in California on Monday at 1pm local time (Pacific) and a meeting in New York on Tuesday at 2pm local time (Eastern time). Do you think of the first meeting as happening at 1pm Pacific time and your second meeting as happening at 11am Pacific time? Or perhaps you first meeting as happening at 4pm Eastern and your second meeting as happening at 2pm Eastern?
Neither! You think of those meetings as happening at 1pm and 2pm in *local times*. People think in local times. So the calendar software should reflect a shift in time zones when the user is planning to switch time zones (presumably, fly across the country). In other words, everything on calendars should be shown in local time, where local time is determined by where ever the imagined future calendar person is at that time.
Smalltalk, something of an indie darling among programming languages, is to mainstream languages such as Java what J R R Tolkien’s Elvish is to English. You don’t actually expect to encounter it in real life, let alone in the context of critical production infrastructure, any more than you expect to hear Elvish spoken in Congressional debates.
With the advent of A&P stores, consumerism began its 150-year journey from real farmers’ markets in small towns to fake farmers’ markets inside metropolitan grocery stores. Through the course of that journey, retailing would discover its natural psychological purpose: transforming the output of industrial-scale production into the human-scale experience we call shopping.
There is a company called Pantone that for a long time had a healthy business creating books that listed colors along with a “Pantone number” for each color. Their books became a standard in industries that communicated using colors. So, for example, if a clothing designer wanted to tell an overseas manufacturer what color they wanted, they’d use the Pantone color. This forced everyone to buy their books.
Imagine if one day Pantone switched from their arbitrary numbering system to some non-arbitrary system, like RGB. Now I could skip buying the book and just use a computer to figure out the color. Hence, you had to buy the books precisely because the numbering system was arbitrary.
The same logic applies to protocols, operating systems, APIs, web metrics, etc. There is inherent tension between what is optimal for the ecosystem and what is optimal for the business who controls the standards.
Consider, for example, systems that try to measure a person’s “social influence” across Twitter, Facebook, etc. Arguably, the optimal way to measure social influence is with a pretty straightforward mathematical formula. But it would be hard to build a business on a formula that is so easy to replicate. So instead the tendency is to add arbitrary, undisclosed inputs to the formula, thereby making it proprietary.
Wearing a set of goggles that distorts reality isn’t the first thing to come to mind when I imagine freedom.
Make no mistake, Google Glass is a fascinating innovation that has serious transformative power. Hopefully it can have significant benefits for the world that are both fun and educational.
Still, hearing the suggestion of “a future where you spend more time focused on the people you are with and the experiences you are having” seems entirely incongruent with the product being discussed. When spending time with people, isn’t it easier to focus on being with them when you are actually with them?
As for experiences, not everyone is obsessed with their mobile phones when they live their day-to-day lives. Plenty of us actually spend time doing things without being tethered to our devices all day. I know it’s hard for some that are immersed in tech to comprehend this, but it’s true. Seriously, I have friends that do all sorts of things that don’t even involve a plug. Crazy, I know.
To be clear, I’m no luddite. I love technology. I’m especially enamored with it’s abilities to empower people to spread information and unify around common ideals. That said, I fear this quote represents a darker side to the future we are headed towards. One in which we are disconnected from each other, and as a result, humanity. Maybe it’s not either/or… one can only hope.
“Glass represents a future of freedom. A future where you spend more time focused on the people you are with and the experiences you are having, rather than focused on your mobile device. Glass brings you the important information, context, and moments when you need them most.”
I do believe that Google Glass will change the way people interact with their world but to claim that something strapped to your face will be less distracting to others than a phone you can put away is absurd.