Dustin Curtis on Google Glass

[An interesting and thoughtful set of observations] about Google Glass from Dustin Curtis. The overall impression is one that confirms my guess that it will never be a mainstream product. Especially:

If you don’t say “ok glass” within a very short amount of time–way too short, I think–it turns back off. This led me to be constantly nodding my head up and down while saying “ok glass” over and over with my eyes pointing up and to the right. Someone watching commented that it looked like I was having a seizure.


All fashion issues aside–and there are many, of course, because the device looks kind of ridiculous to the uninitiated–it is extremely unnerving to be conversing with someone who has a camera and microphone on their face, pointed directly at you, with the ability to record. In the presence of someone wearing Glass, you can never have privacy. I had anticipated a feeling of uneasiness, but after experiencing it, I am surprised by how much it bothered me on a visceral level.

If Apple does indeed intend to build a watch as its first foray into “wearables”, it’s a much more natural formfactor. You don’t feel stupid wearing it, as you would a computer that has to be strapped ot your face, and integrating a quality color display is much more straightforward. The most important question by far is what can the software do? Is it a standalone device, or must it be tethered to a smartphone, like Glass? If the former, can it completely replace a smartphone? If the latter, what’s the value proposition for someone who already has a smartphone and doesn’t feel like pulling it out of his pocket a significant burden?

12-year-old girl: I don’t want kids when I grow up.
Society: You’ll change your mind when you get older. You’re only 12. You’re too young to know what you want.
16-year-old girl: I’m pregnant.
Society: How could you be so stupid? Do you know anything about safe sex? You should be ashamed.
20-year-old woman: I’m a single mother with an infant son.
Society: You should’ve gone to college first. You need a stable career before you can support a child.
33-year-old woman: I’m married and my spouse and I both have stable careers. I have two young daughters now.
Society: You’re not staying home? Who’s going to take care of them? You’re just going to put them in day care while you work? That’s selfish of you. You can’t expect to raise decent kids with a full-time job.
45-year-old woman: I just had my first child.
Society: Why would you have a child when you’re that old? Do you realize the health risks of being pregnant at your age? When your kid is a teenager you’ll be a senior citizen. That’s inconsiderate of you.
60-year-old woman: I haven’t had any children.
Society: Your life must be so unfulfilling. Is there something wrong with you? Why didn’t you want kids? How strange.

I have three boys ages 5 and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week, when Isaac told my sister-in-law that, “My daddy has hair all over.” Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared, “Daddy! I have a beard just like you!” Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, “Daddy and Ben time.”

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I’m going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.

To Parents of Small Children: Let Me Be the One Who Says It Out Loud

Any parent who denies this is true is a liar (or perhaps in the case of parents who offload the lion’s share of parenting to their spouse, ignorant). And yet in this day and age when people share more about their kids than ever before, 99% of what’s put out there are the happy and cute moments. It paints a selective picture of what parenthood is really like, and it also has the perverse side effect of making other parents feel bad about their own private dark moments.

Forget about trying to iron out your weaknesses. Don’t even try to get good at stuff you suck at today. All you will become is mediocre or decent (at best) at these things.

Instead focus on getting completely awesome at the stuff you’re already good at.

Modules with LLVM

Modules with LLVM

From Google’s perspective, Google is not a social network meant to compete with Facebook. Rather, it’s an identity system that follows you everywhere.

Think about it: what is more valuable? Inane chatter, memes, and baby photos, or every single activity you do online (and increasingly offline)? Google is about unifying all of Google’s services under a single log-in which can be tracked across the Internet on every site that serves Google ads, uses Google sign-in, or utilizes Google analytics.

Ben Thompson, The Tragic Beauty of Google. Emphasis in the original.