Why I Hate Google Glass

If you thought people with Bluetooth headsets were annoying, I can’t imagine how you’re going to feel about Google Glass’ers. Walking around, talking to their fancy high-tech monocle. Mr. Peanut would roll over in his grave. (Is Mr. Peanut even dead?)

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Look at the terror in that kid’s eyes. His dad has clearly become a Skynet deathbot, and he’s connected to everything we know and love.

What It Does 

Sure, you can check out the OFFICIAL “What It Does” page, but the pictures don’t really explain a whole lot. Basically, Google Glass is a headband with a piece of glass that floats in front of your eye, and listens to your every command. Think “Siri meets sunglasses.”

While you’re stumbling around with this piece of glass obstructing your vision, you can talk to it. Start by saying “okay, glass,” and it will wait for a command like “search” “record video” or “start hangout.” This is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, especially if it works. After you’ve given a command, it does whatever you’d told it to do. It takes a picture of what you see (ish). It records a video from your point of view. It begins video chatting your friends, showing them what you see.

Why I Hate It

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Okay, I don’t really hate IT. I hate the idea of it, and this has nothing to do with my undying love for Apple and its products. I actually have my reasons, and here they are:

  1. You’re wearing a headband with a piece of glass in front of your face! Not only do I hate wearing sunglasses for the same reason, I’d be talking to said piece of glass. It’s distracting, and it’s unsightly. You look like those Dragon Ball Z guys.
  2. Data. In order for it to do anything remotely cool, it needs a data connection. And if you’re going to be running around having Google Hangouts and uploading videos to the YouTube, you’re going to need a lot of it. The world isn’t entirely wireless enabled yet, and most networks aren’t open to the public. You’ll need to purchase a monthly data plan for the thing. Knowing how much it costs to have a data plan on an iPad that’s probably connected to WiFi most of the time, this could get pricey.
  3. The camera is going to suck. It’s not actually going to take a picture of whatever you see. It’ll be distorted. It’ll be distorted because the camera isn’t directly in front of your eye, and it won’t move with your eye movement either. Sure, you can see a preview of the picture, but you have to move and tilt your head to line it up correctly. Quick snapshot? Sure. Would I use it to take family photo? No.
  4. Streaming video. Anything that I would do that would be worth streaming to my friends is probably too dangerous to do while wearing the thing. Am I going to ski down a mountain at Mach 6 and half? No. Would I go bridge jumping into a river? Definitely not. Besides, I want people to see ME doing those things, not what I’m seeing. And if I’m going to record someone/thing else, I’d rather be able to move the camera with my hands, not my neck.

Okay, so maybe this is the direction the world is going. We’re becoming more and more connected. It might look silly now, but once everyone has one, you’ll look silly without it. I still think it’s a long way off before it’s mainstream, and I have no problem waiting until then. Feel free to disagree with me, I’m just saying I won’t be getting one anytime soon.

(Ah, who am I kidding? I’ll get one just to say I have it.)

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Jailbreak, the legal* way

While I don’t consider myself a “power-user” by any stretch of imagination, I do consider myself a bit more savvy than the average iOS user. I’ve recently decided to wander into the land of the jailbreak, with a little help from our friends over at evasi0n. Some like having full control over their phone, adding themes, widgets, and custom lock sliders. I, on the other hand, love the overall look of iOS and only installed some minor tweaks which I’m going to share with you …

Evasi0n

Evasi0n is the latest tool for jailbreaking iPhones, iPods, and iPads. It works for any device running iOS 6.0 through 6.1, and it works magnificently. Here’s how it works: You download it. You plug in your phone. You press go, and tap the jailbreak button when it tells you to. That’s it, literally. (I do recommend reading the rest of the directions on the website, though.)

Once the jailbreak is complete, you can open up Cydia, let it do its thing, and start downloading tweaks and stuff.

SwitcherActivator

Activator gives you a slew of new options to activate (title line, eh eh?) different functions of your phone. Among these options include swipes from different parts of the screen, pinches, spreads, volume button presses, status bar taps, and the list goes on. You can use these gestures to launch apps, close apps, change the volume, open a new text or email, and again, the list goes on. A lot of other tweaks require Activator in order to function. It’s kind of a big deal.

I, personally, use it for one main reason: the App Switcher (shows above). We all know iPhones aren’t perfect, and I’ve had more trouble with home buttons than I care to admit, so this is my solution. Instead of jamming the home button twice to open the switcher, I’d much rather simply swipe up from the bottom. I’m really not sure why this isn’t the standard feature to begin with, but I guess some cars still have manual transmissions, too.

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Aside from that, I use a swipe across the status bar to launch the Tweet composer. It’s really nice when I think of something incredibly witty to Tweet and I don’t want to forget it between the home screen and the Tweetbot composer. (It happens more often than you think. Probably why I don’t seem that funny.) It’s a simple little tweak I could probably live without, but hey, I like it.

Oh, I also use a 3-finger-pinch to launch Cydia, which I’ve hidden using Springtomize.

Springtomize ($2.99)

It’s described as the only jailbreak tool you’ll need, and it’s pretty close. You can use it to customize most aspects of the UI. You can change the speed of animations, the look of the dock and lock-screen, the size of the icons and labels, and what appears on the status bar.

IMG_0003For me, I changed the size of the icons, and how many appear on a line. I don’t like swiping through pages or folders if I don’t have to, so having more icons on the homescreen is nice. I also hid some of the apps that I don’t use or ever want to see ever again (like Newsstand), and the carrier from the status bar to make more room for notification icons.

If you don’t feel like shelling out just under $3 for a custom look and feel, you can always install Winterboard and test out a couple of the hundreds of free themes.

OpenNotifier

This little gem brings neat little icons to your status bar to remind you if you have missed calls, email, or messages waiting for you. While the Notification Center has taken care of most of the issues with missing emails and texts, these icons are a perfect safety valve.

IMG_0004You can customize which icons show up for which notifications. Some make sense, like the envelope for emails, the chat bubble for messages, and the phone for missed calls. There is also an exclamation point (!) that you can set to anything you’d like, and a little bell with a slash through it for when your phone is on silent/vibrate.

Dietbar

Since the iPhone has no “back” button, most apps require a navigation bar to get around. This takes up screen space (which is already limited because it’s SO SMALL) that could be used for something else.

IMG_0006Before

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After

I know, it’s not a huge difference, but I like the skinny (ah, Diet, get it?) look of the dieted bars, and I don’t mind the extra 20 pixels of screen space either.

Others

Those are the major tweaks I’ve installed, but there’s some other smaller ones that I think are worth mentioning briefly as well.

  • PasswordPilot allows you to enter your AppleID password once, and not have to worry about it again. When you go to install a new app, and the annoying little window pops up, BAM, your password is already there.
  • MapsOpener will open addresses in the Google Maps app instead of the default Apple Maps app. Simple.
  • ShowCase is a keyboard tweak. When typing, your keyboard will show capital letters when you’re typing capitals and lowercase letters when you’re typing lowercase.

Jailbreaking is a great way to take some control of your phone back from Apple’s closed system. Just a few simple additions and you’ll have the added function and customized look you’ve always dreamed of.

If you have any other tweaks or apps you think are worth mentioning, feel free to add them in the comments.

*Jailbreaking is apparently legal for phones, but not for tablets. I don’t know the details, I’m not a lawyer, so I’d double check before doing anything if you’re worried. I also take no responsibility for any problems you have with your phone due to jailbreaking. I’ve never had any, and there’s a safe mode just in case, but I don’t want a lawsuit or anything.

 

Are we anti-social? or hyper-social?

My friends and I play a game when we go out to bars, restaurants, or even if we’re just sitting in the same room together. Maybe you’ve heard of it, or seen it on Pinterest or something. We don’t really have a name for it, but I’m going to call it ‘Basket Master’ for the sake of this post. Basically, one person takes everyone’s cell phones and puts them in a basket, and the first person to touch their phone (with certain exceptions) has to buy a round or some other kind of punishment. The purpose of this is to get us to interact with each other instead of our phones.

This got me thinking, which is sometimes dangerous. We live in this connectivity-age where everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and most of us are probably using them on mobile, too. We’re constantly on these ‘social’ networks, having chats, catching up on gossip, liking cat pictures, and being, well … social. At the same time, we laugh and criticize ourselves for being so attached to our phones that we’re reluctant to put them away for an hour while in the company of the people we’d probably be checking up on anyway.

So here’s where my thought process got caught in an infinite loop. Are we (‘we’ meaning everyone on these networks) anti-social because we are sit and home on Facebook instead of actually going out a lot, or are we hyper-social? I’m leaning towards hyper-social, and here’s why.

We go out and party, play sports, eat fancy food, see movies, and go to classes. These are the things that drive the Facebook and the Twitter. If we didn’t do these things, we’d have nothing to talk about. When we’re done with those activities, we go back to our phones and laptops, and we tell everyone about it! After we’re done being social, we go have some more social with some social on the side.

We’re social creatures, and we crave that interaction. We’ve spent decades developing these new mediums to connect to each other with. It’s one of those characteristics that sets us apart from reptiles, mosquitoes, and amoebas. It is what we do, and we’re making ourselves more accustomed to being connected all the time, so we fill those very small voids.

So, next time you’re hanging out with your friends and you take a 2 minute Twitter break, don’t laugh at yourself. Don’t feel guilty for ignoring your friends. Tell the world how much fun you’re having, or check that game score. Just remember to put it away at some point, and go get the next round. 😉

Pilot

Pilot is what they called the first ever episode of every TV series, right? I guess that makes sense. Anyway, this Pilot post is merely informational. I’m not going to make any promises about how often I’m going to post, or give you some kind of awesome incentive to read like prizes or whatever. I’m going to write about my two favorite things: techy gadgety things and social media chit chat.

I like to think I’m a fairly informed source of information, especially when it comes to Apple, cell phones, computers, and other consumer electronic stuff. I’m not an expert, but I listen to the experts and form my own opinions. A lot of times, I regurgitate what they say in a more simple way for my friends who aren’t quite as savvy.

I was also that kid that slept next to his AOL Instant Messenger so he didn’t miss a message. Getting booted off in the middle of the night and losing those super important IM’s from a crush was arguably one of the worst experiences of my childhood. Now I just sleep with my cellphone. It’s a lot easier that way.

So, feel free to follow along with my thoughts and opinions on this stuff. It’s important to me, and seemingly to plenty of others as well.

Cheers.