A Terminator with Training Wheels

So I was going to treat you to another fiblet today, but when you intersect previously-unposted excerpts with spoiler-free excerpts the overlap drops down into the single digits and the piece I wanted to post still needed a bit of work anyway (too many colons).  Which is what I was working on before this happened:

Yes, that is the Queen & Beaver in the background. Yes, that is a Glass from Google clinging to the bridge of my nose. I am told that they are not yet available in Canada.  It was just my fine luck that Brad Templeton happened to bring his up from the states and wear it to our lunch date.

It was a mixed experience. The display itself was wonderfully crisp — it felt a little like being a terminator on training wheels — but the Queeve has the self-proclaimed Worst Internet Connectivity In The World, so any tactical intel beyond Brad’s own life-log amounted to an icon of a Cloud with a sad face lamenting “WiFi Unavailable”.  On the other hand, it was kind of nice to know that we were lunching in one of the few spots on the planet where the NSA’s grabby grimy fingers couldn’t quite reach. And the control interface, one you got used to sweeping forward to go backward, was a joy.

For all the hype and hate this thing has garnered, though, Brad’s thumbnail description of Glass’s functionality was refreshingly modest: it is, he says, something you use when it’s too much trouble to dig out your cell phone. There’s nothing GG can do at this point that a phone can’t do better (except actually cling to your face, I suppose— and even that advantage would be lost the moment Glass went up against a phone with a bit of duct tape stuck to its back).  There’s a whole volume of commentary embedded in that description — in the implication that we’ll happily spend hundreds of dollars to avoid the onerous inconvenience of actually reaching into our pockets — but then again, that’s just the kind of wry insight you get when you hang out with this guy. (Another example,  less welcome but more necessary, is that something I read in Discover magazine about driverless cars back in 1992 was probably bullshit.  Which means I now have to rewrite a chunk of my Finncon talk for next month. Great.)

Lunch was about four pints long (all mine, surprisingly; how can Brad Templeton not like beer?). After which I had to move up the street to the Duke of Somerset, where the BUG and I have our weekly Writing-and-Wine Thursdays. I was planning on selecting a fiblet during that interval, but somehow we ended up getting drawn into an extended tearful reminiscence over Flea the Raccoon. Then we went home and watched Game of Thrones until we passed out.

So here it is, Friday morning, which means I barely have time to finish the “Golden Showers: Forbidden Lust”  slide for Finncon before I start my final passthrough on Echopraxia.  So let me leave you not with a fiblet, but with an image Fata Libelli just posted to “capture the spirit” of their Peter Watts Interview, Part One:

 

 

I previewed one of those questions a couple of weeks back, here on the crawl.  It was about life.

You can see the connection.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Friday June 14 2013at 06:06 am , filed under interviews, public interface, relevant tech . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

13 Responses to “A Terminator with Training Wheels”

  1. Be careful, we might start thinking you’re a cyberpunk author. 😉

  2. “al calamar supremo”

    That really tickles me, for some reason.

  3. Peter is quite likely a cyberpunk writer, but he’s an advanced model 😉

  4. I’m looking forward to this type of technology becoming more common due to all the cool accessibility technology people will be able to make. Here are thoughts from someone who does live captioning, Preliminary Impressions of Google Glass, and her earlier article, Augmented Reality Captioning.

    augmented reality captioning could be good for people with need assistent with interpersonal interactions, or memory, or other cognitive things as well.

  5. Queeve! I have been there. Your lovely wife introduced me to it.

  6. AR captioning, heck I want complete AR overlays over my entire field of vision! Thats is where this technology is going. Many scifi authors have written about this, most recently I read Existence by David Brin where he had some really cool thought about how AR could shape society. The future is going to be a cool place. Dammit I wish I could get born again in 50 years!

  7. Not buying one of those until there’s an app for it that’d work with infrared handgun laser, count bullets in magazines and outline in neon assholes in need of ventilation …

  8. I have to say that that thing reminds me alot of the device that the Saiyans in DragonBall Z wore to read everyone’s power levels.

    Not sure if you’re familiar with that anime or not, but it would be hilarious if you were to do a quick video exclaiming “It’s over 9,000!!”

    Okay, ridiculous geek reference over.

  9. They would take all of the fun out of having your phone on vibrate and receiving a call.

  10. A certain correspondent of mine, who kindly turned me on to Peter Watts — my friend and I share this penchant for SF where you have vampires and AI mentioned in the same paragraph and it’s actually the storyline rather than some off-the-cuff allusion — has a long career and in fact a PhD in VR. He was initially ecstatic over the announcement of the Google Glass, but has since taken the pose that it’s certainly a huge step forward, but “really, not all of that”.

    Recently I decided that I’d be trying to take it to the road and campsite and kick back and do a little writing, while leaving the laptop at home. The composition platform would be an iPod Touch and a Bluetooth keyboard. Actually, this works better than expected, especially with a RavPower portable unit, a combination of USB power supply and WiFi access point with significant storage attached.

    The drawback? -getting something to hold the display (the iPod Touch) at the right distance and angle. I’m thinking of something made out of wire coat-hangers and perhaps some small wooden dowel. The BT keyboard (AmazonBasics model) can go on one of those strappy things that geek use to dangle their access key-cards.

    My point would be that pretty much everyone would like a nice basic functional Heads-Up Display, but thus far, either they seem to have far too low a resolution, cost far too much for something you’ll eventually sit on, and/or come with a lot of stuff that you might not much want nor need. Google Glass seems to combine all of that with a lack of a simple-HUD mode (so far as I know). If Amazon can come up with something that is basically a face-wear version of a Kindle, that will take input from a BT keyboard, and otherwise let me sit in a chair and watch a 3D movie in good focus and perspective in at least 720p HD, I’m sold.

    @Peter Watts, more directly, who wrote in-part: On the other hand, it was kind of nice to know that we were lunching in one of the few spots on the planet where the NSA’s grabby grimy fingers couldn’t quite reach. […]

    Heh, that’s exactly what they want you to think. Then again, could be some sort of co-operative effort by your friendly northamerican powers to provide a place where people with ideas that really matter, maybe not yet but Real Soon Now, can have a nice brainstorming session without launching another Cold War. Google also for “wilson forbrush dimness” and you may glean my point.

    Yet you’re not the only one bemoaning all of that surveillance leaning in from orbit and worming in via telecomm: “Leave the phone and the GPS/ Satellites haven’t found it yet” are lines in Rascal Flatts’s hit (Till You Hear the) Banjo. Worrisomely, the advertisement preceding the video was for a Hyundai that e-mails Korea about your scheduled maintenance. 😉

  11. Mr Non-Entity,

    Here ya go, Entity, an open source iPod stand. bitpad. via fellow pythonista.

  12. I’m trying desperately not to buy a Google Glass until my Oculus Rift has arrived. After that, though, as a one-time VR programmer I expect that by the time I’m ready people will have figured out how to hack two of the Glass into a proper stereoscopic AR overlay.

    Then again, I’m also reminded of a passage in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash where one of the lead characters turns off his smart overlays in a fight because having a real-time feed with exact technical details of how you’re about to die is rather distracting.

  13. @Sheila: Thanks kindly, however I was thinking more along the lines of adapting a construction hard-hat I have on hand… the iPod Touch is so much smaller than the iPad that the iPad stand that came with the AmazonBasics BT keyboard just won’t work for me. Perhaps something with the hard-hat and a boom mount made out of bamboo or somesuch…

    @Hugh: Yes, the Oculus Rift is what my friend said he thought he’d like to get as a developer. I think he’d like to tie it in with his NAO developing.