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The Race to Augmented Reality Glasses

Let’s start out by ignoring how stupid augmented reality glasses look. No amount of fitting them on attractive male and female models can do anything but make them look like rejects from a cyberpunk movie from the mid 90’s that plays at 3 AM on the SyFy channel.

What’s at stake with augmented reality glasses? Besides the title of Best Dressed Early Adopter Dork?google-glasses

Everyone wants to steal a jump on Apple and kick off a product line before Apple plants its flag. Google, which has played catch up with Android, wants to be there first with Google Glass. Olympus, which knows actual lenses, is jumping into the game too.

Now there are reports that Apple may be working on augmented reality glasses. Or it may just be filing patents. Steve Jobs would never have approved of augmented reality glasses and even without him, Apple needs to make them look cool. But that may not be doable.

What’s the problem?

Let’s start with the experience. The glasses Olympus is showing off allow 2 hours of continuous display. Google Glass probably won’t do much better. So don’t expect to go bouncing your hipster goggles around while listening to music all day, stalking friends and playing the ukelele for your girlfriend with camera vision. You won’t be doing it for long.

Battery power will get better, but limited display and power means that the cooler overlay possibilities that make augmented reality interesting aren’t going to be here yet. And is it really worth wearing Cyberpunk D4000xz glasses just to be able to see your email and Facebook updates without having to flip out your mobile device?

Forget the iPod. It’s likely that the augmented reality glasses that will first show up will be more like the Newton, interesting in concept, rich with possibilities, but not ready for prime time.

Setting the Bar for Provocative Opinions Really Low…

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, no stranger to provocative opinions, is at it again. During a recent interview in Toronto, Gladwell said that people a half-century from now will revere Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates but will have no clear memory of his longtime tech rival, Apple chief Steve Jobs.

Is that really a provocative opinion?

Does anyone really think Steve Jobs is going to be remembered 50 years from now? I wouldn’t bet too hard on him being remembered 25 years from now.

Gladwell thinks that Bill Gates might be remembered for his philanthropy. Not too likely. Philanthropists don’t get remembered. Not unless they put their names on buildings and even then it’s a wash. How many people use Carnegie libraries and have any idea what that means. There were philanthropists who did much more to fight disease and aren’t remembered.

“We need to be clear when we venerate entrepreneurs what we are venerating,” Gladwell said in Toronto. “They are not moral leaders. If they were moral leaders, they wouldn’t be great businessmen.” AJDTZGU26Q7E

Aren’t moral leaders just people who promoted themselves really well? Isn’t Gladwell just a guy who promotes himself really well?

The same things that can be said about Jobs and Gates apply to most public personalities. They’re overrated, they’re sharp at seizing opportunities and they picked the right moment to get ahead.

The J.J. Abrams Cloverfield Mystery

Cloverfield film posterOne thing Lost and Star Trek 11 have certainly demonstrated, J.J. Abrams has almost as good a facility as Steve Jobs for turning a non-event into an event with mysterious websites and teasers and hints and clues all meant to generate discussion about what might be happening which usually turns out to be more interesting than what actually is happening.

Cloverfield is a case in point. It’s certainly worked. The new website EthanHaasWasRight.Com (a decidedly Lost concept) is generating plenty of interest, the messages are being discussed and CNBC has already covered the non-teaser teaser aired before Transformers. But of course is there anything even worth discussing?

That’s the problem with viral hype, it’s completely insubstantial. It’s based on a mystery, much like Lost, which may or may not be entirely hollow. There’s no discussion over the valid material but over wacky speculation over what it might be. Cloverfield may be something interest or not. I have no idea. Neither does anyone discussing it. I know mysteries are fun but mysteries without content are simply a waste of time.

Show me a box. There might be anything in the box. Write Cloverfield on the box. There still might be something interesting in the box. Or not. I have no idea. Neither does anyone but the people who put the something in the box. And that’s what these campaigns come down to.

A Cthulhu movie is an intriguing possibility but at this point meaningless. Without real information, there’s nothing to discuss.

Behold the Murderous Rage of the iGeeks

Most AT&T stores are expecting less than 40 iPhones per store upon launch, according to information provided by financial services firm WR Hambrecht + Co as seen by AppleInsider.

Well Apple is once again cynically creating artificial shortages to ensure long lines, panicked shoppers and scammers buying up as much as they can to resell on EBay. That strategy didn’t work for Microsoft with the X-Box 360… at least not much. It didn’t work for Sony with the PS3 but they don’t have what Apple has– a fanatical legion of worshipers that can be reliably depended on to claw each other’s eyes out for the privilege of buying an overpriced and an overrated non-3G phone that may or may not be any good– as its first adopters will be the first to find out.

But on the bright side, the rest of us won’t need to spend 1200 dollars to watch iGeeks beating each other over the head with their iBooks and using their iPods as throwing darts while trying to strangle each other with the trademark iPod earbuds. It’s good clean fun and there can be lots of hair pulling expected too as they battle to be the first to buy and then 24 hours later return their defective iPhone back to the Steve Jobs which spawned it.

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