Monday, October 26, 2020

We didn't start the Fire...

My collection of Kindle Fires - one of each size

I have been waiting to use that song lyric/title in SOMETHING on social media. When finally it occurred to me that I have a nice stairstep collection of Kindle Fires, each in a different size and color, I had my subject!

For now, it's also a chance to get back to something in blogging world. Other than my short book reviews, which I have been slow to produce lately too, my posts have dwindled to near zero. My topic of how the fax has played into the pandemic story had appeal, but that's now old news. Likewise, a few other tidbits have made me think blog post, but like with many things during these crazy times, for me at least, they don't get done.

So here it is...a Monday-morning color fest, and a rock-and-roll caption to go with. Does that work?

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Review: Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump

Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump by Michael Cohen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For me, a must read

Having followed current events very closely I felt like I had to read Cohen's story.It was informative and even entertaining, in many places. The story of his growing sycophantic behavior certainly sheds light on others. All the detail on his work to cover up the affairs - money changing (or not) hands and the like - was much more than I needed.

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Review: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great stories on Churchill’s first year as War PM

Erik Larson knows how to spin a tale, and I was delighted to have The Splendid and the Vile to read during these times (2020 coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis and social unrest). The backdrop of people in London carrying on, during the sometimes nightly Nazi bombing raids, is truly inspiring.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Welcome Apple Glass - seriously

One of a number of press coverage - this one from Apple Insider

My choice of this post's title ("Welcome...seriously") reflects a bit of an homage to the famous 1981 Apple advertisement, welcoming IBM to the personal computer market. This time, it's not an upstart company having the nerve to "welcome" the seemingly insurmountable computer giant into their backyard, the nascent "personal computer" market (and I credit IBM with popularizing the "PC" nomenclature). Instead, it's me welcoming Apple into the #smartglasses market. And like 1981, at this stage of the wearable-computing-eyewear market, it's early, with bona fide success for any or all players very much up in the air.

I just posted last month about Amazon's Echo Frames efforts, a product which include many things in common with the rumored Apple product. The big one, it would seem, is that both have the capability to be fitted with prescription lenses, meaning they can be full-time replacements for users' existing glasses.

The speculation about the Apple product's AR/VR functionality may end up winning the day, but to me, the main point of differentiation (at least as anticipated when Apple's product comes to fruition), is their assumed dependence on the companies' different "assistants", Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Apple Siri. It's accurate to say I use both of these technologies on a daily basis, and I view Amazon as having a very large advantage. While Siri manages to use my voice commands make a call or open an app on my iPhone, and Alexa does quite well with managing my home lighting and controlling a few (so far) other smart home functions, when they meet on the same playing field, like requesting information (just for fun, say, "who's birthday is it today?"), it seems Alexa is far more likely to speak back something pleasing ("today is Miles Davis's birthday", followed by a short bio of the late, great jazz great), whereas Siri seems to put the burden back on me ("Sorry, I don't see any matches in your contacts"). 

Like with Amazon Echo Frames, I am happy to keep an eye on this development from Apple. I just don't anticipate beating down the doors for a pair - or is it singular, as in "Glass". That nomenclature did not work so well for Google (with the quickly-coined term "Glasshole" gaining widespread buzz) - we will see for Apple!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Another "Smartglasses" opportunity with Amazon Echo Glasses - guess I will be missing some moments

My chance for a third experience owning a "smartglasses" product has come and gone, for now at least
When Amazon Echo Frames were announced in September 2019, with limited availability, I couldn't resist getting on the waiting list with hopes of being "invited" to buy them sometime in the hopefully near future. I was teeing up a third experience for me with so-called "smartglasses", and with their built-in Alexa capabilities, the promise of Frames seemed to also play well with my ever-growing usage of Amazon's digital assistant/smart speaker technology around home. I was hoping to give these a try by pulling the trigger on the invitation when it came in March of this year.

In terms of my high interest in wearable computing and specifically eyeware, nothing has changed much since the day I tweeted out my Google Glass "application" in 2012. Then, I ended up getting back a qualifying tweet in the Spring and picking them up in August 2013 at Google offices in San Francisco. With fitting and a little training session thrown in, I was out $1500, plus travel expenses, but I fully enjoyed experimenting and being part of the legion of "Glass Explorers". I should add that as a professor of marketing, I was very impressed with Google's ability to craft a beta test program with so much cachet that it could be a money-maker on its own!

I wrote about my Google Glass experiences in a post to this blog back in 2017, and overall, it was worthwhile and enlightening being a #GlassExplorer (that's the hashtag we were encouraged to use as we shared Glass experiences on social media). Their novelty did eventually wear off though, so I resold the gadget on eBay for a reasonable price, and waited for my next wearable opportunity.

Me in my Snapchat Spectacles
That came in the form of Snapchat Spectacles, which I gave a try a few years later. They were an interesting product that offered another memorable marketing rollout, sharing that with Google Glass. Their product's usage model diverged, with Glass being more of an always-on information application with its imaging capability only part of the feature set. Snapchat's product was based on sunglasses, and could be simply described as "sunglasses that take photos". This simplified concept was matched by a much lower price (in the single-digit hundreds rather than the single-digit thousands). I jumped in, but the novelty wore off almost before it began,  for me especially as a  normally infrequent wearer of sunglasses,and I was in and out of Spectacles ownership quite quickly, again with some help from eBay.

It seemed I might be ready for another run at this category, and as already mentioned, my invitation for Echo Frames came through a few weeks ago. Now it was on me to decide if I would take the $180 plunge, in a somewhat urgent fashion - the invitation would expire soon. Part of the decision meant thinking back on my wearables "legacy", which I have briefly recounted here, and that much inspired me to move forward.

But...Echo Frames clearly are aimed at full-time glasses wearers which I am not. I already mentioned that my high interest in this category of products had not changed over the years, but one thing that had changed was a normal, slow downward trend in my eyes' "uncorrected" seeing abilities. I still remain a part-time glasses wearer, though, with off-the-shelf readers supplemented by prescription lenses for intermediate distances, i.e. desktop and laptop screens. 

Also...they are aimed at, and work with, Android phones, with no iOS (iPhone) compatibility. Show stopper for me!

Plus...messing around with getting the frames and then getting prescription lenses elsewhere, which would need more fiddling, and no doubt cost, for getting them installed, just wasn't sounding like a great prospect for me. Echo Frames would set me back $179.99 plus tax, to start, with who knows how much to follow.

I ended up spending under $100 and ordering a new pair of Warby Parkers with my "intermediate/computer" prescription, all "installed" and ready to go! Not "smartglasses", but no muss, no fuss, and very little learning curve!

And those missed moments in the post's title? That is just a play on Amazon's marketing tagline for Echo Frames. Actually, I think I am just fine missing a few, if it comes down to that!

Seems like something we're saying this a lot these days, but my whole little investigation here has led to more questions than answers. For example, what has my full history with Amazon Echo/Alexa and related technologies entailed? Can I find photo examples, specifically how do I search, effectively, for "camera of origin" in Google Photos? What about that "lifelogging" bodycam I tried - does that count? This is just a start, so stay tuned!