The next thing in technology: OK, Glass

There’s been a lot of coverage about Google Glass the past week. It’s wearable technology that let’s you do all the things you do on your smartphone through a pair of glasses (get research, directions, take photos, take video among other things).

I thought when the iPhone came up with Siri, that was a big deal. Now, Siri is, “So 2011.”

But Google Glass has a hefty price tag. Up to $1,500. Probably will be available for Christmas. For a few people.

You see, Google’s pulling one of these limited release marketing scams, having “a few” people write a brief essay on what they would do with the technology, and if it likes the answer, that person gets a pair. For $1,500.

The old “only special people can have this” routine. Which means it isn’t going to, let’s say, the 90% of America that can’t afford an expensive tech toy.

Here’s the deal (Yes, this now makes me an unpaid advertising shill for Google):

How to apply

We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass. We’d love to make everyone an Explorer, but we’re starting off a bit smaller. We’re still in the early stages, and while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting.

Using Google+ or Twitter, tell us what you would do if you had Glass, starting with the hashtag #ifihadglass.

  • Your application must be 50 words or less

  • You must include #ifihadglass in your application

  • You can include up to 5 photos with your application

  • You can include a short video (15 secs max)

  • Be sure to follow us on Google+ (+ProjectGlass) or Twitter (@projectglass) so that we can contact you directly

  • You must be at least 18 years old and live in the U.S. to apply

    What happens next?

    The deadline for applications is February 27th. If you are chosen, we will reach out to you with an invitation to become a Glass Explorer (please remember to follow us so that we can contact you directly). Explorers will each need to pre-order a Glass Explorer Edition for $1500 plus tax and attend a special pick-up experience, in person, in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

  • For more details, please see our full Terms and FAQ

So, you have to write an essay. Send Google $1,500. Then, if you’re one of the chosen few, you get to fly out to NYC, SF or LA, on your own dime, to pick up your glasses? For something that in a couple of years is going to come down in price about 60% and will be available at the Mall at St. Matthews in the Louisville suburbs?

I can wait.

Steve Jobs dies at 56: Changed the world

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

Image via Wikipedia

Steve Jobs, the chairman of Apple Inc. who resigned as CEO in August because of health problems, died today at 56. This from the Los Angeles Times:

Steven P. Jobs, the charismatic technology pioneer who co-founded Apple Inc. and transformed one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies, has died. He was 56.

Apple announced the death of Jobs — whose legacy included the Apple II, Macintosh, iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Any one of the above listed products can be considered a great achievement in technological hardware. But combine that with the Apple operating systems, which predated the overused Windows operating system by years, or look at his contribution to the entertainment world with Pixar studios, and you realize you’ve witnessed the passing of a legendary figure.

The New York Times has an interactive graphic of his 317 patents. Spend a few minutes here to see how much of his innovation has become a part of how the world works today.

Steve Jobs and Pat Summitt: legends and mortality

Two big stories today on two legendary figures in business and sports: one man, one woman. Each revolutionized their fields. Each will be studied for generations to come. And both reveal the sadness that greatness does not mean immortality.

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Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple. He has been on medical leave since January, having gone through pancreatic cancer and undergoing a liver transplant just two years ago. His resignation letter was brief:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

It’s clear from this letter that his health is getting worse, but he remains Apple’s chairman.

This is a man who has simply changed the world. When I was a kid, I wondered what the future would be like. Jobs has brought the world beyond my imagination.

Fifty years ago, a computer was a giant machine that took up multiple rooms. Jobs has made the computer a household appliance. The computers used in the Apollo space program to put men on the moon were less powerful than the machine I’m using now to type this post. I’m working on a mini-Mac, something I can carry in a backpack.

Back in the mid-1960s, the most advanced technology offered in television science fiction included a hand held communicator that Captain Kirk would use to contact the USS Enterprise from the surface of a planet. Spock carried a device that could give data at the touch of a button. In comic strips, the detective Dick Tracy had a two way wrist television as a communications device. That’s all those inventions did.

I have an iPhone, and it does thousands of things more than those concepts of the future ever could.

In the “olden days,” people kept thousands of albums that filled bookcases, milk crates, cabinets and shelves, taking up walls of space.

I have an iPod that does the same thing, but I don’t use it much because my iPhone also holds the music that would take up a room.

A little less than a decade ago, Tom Cruise was in a movie where he had a touch screen device that contained data, records, video and could call up any information imaginable.

I have an iPad. It doesn’t predict the future, but really, how far off can that be.

These are products that Steve Jobs brought to the world. More surprising, he did it after the company that fired him asked him to come back.

I haven’t even gotten into how he changed the music industry with iTunes. Or how he revolutionized animation with Pixar.

Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal explains how Steve Jobs is a historical figure here.

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Pat Summitt, the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball team announced she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Summitt is simply the greatest living basketball coach today. Her record at Tennessee says it all: 1,037 wins to 196 losses, 18 Final Four appearances; and eight national championships.

Some will dismiss that, saying she’s just a women’s coach, but that isn’t fair. Her success at Tennessee has made women’s sports viable. The Volunteer women constantly sell out their arena. Her program is stronger than the Tennessee men’s program. If you’re a middle-school or high-school girl who’s a star at basketball, there are two places you’d want to go: Connecticut and Tennessee.

Summitt has proved women are competitors, and that influence carries into other team sports: soccer, softball, track and field, even ice hockey. Girls watched Tennessee women tear up their competitors and realized they, too, could excel at whatever sport they chose.

The coach is a legend, and, according to Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, her encounter with mortality is a painful one:

“I just felt something was different,” she says. “And at the time I didn’t know what I was dealing with. Until I went to Mayo, I couldn’t know for sure. But I can remember trying to coach and trying to figure out schemes and whatever and it just wasn’t coming to me, like, I would typically say, ‘We’re gonna do this, and run that.’ And it probably caused me to second-guess.”

A brilliant basketball mind is being destroyed by an irreversible degenerative brain disease. Summitt’s interview with Sally Jenkins is here.

She’ll still be coach at Tennessee. Jenkins’s story indicates Summitt wants to stick around another three years. It’s possible she’ll win another national championship. That would be great to see.

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We have no immortals. But we have legends. And for now, they’re still with us.

iThink therefore iAm (if iPaid attention)

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I remember when Apple Inc. was considered to be on its deathbed and was selling for less than $5 a share in 1997. Then Steve Jobs came back, and today it’s selling for more than $300 a share.

But I didn’t realize the company had gotten this powerful:

The second quarter ends in less than two weeks. When it does, I expect Apple will have over $70 billion in Cash, Cash Equivalents, Short-term marketable securities and long-term Marketable Securities. That figure has been growing predictably.

Also predictable has been the decline in value of Apple’s mobile phone competitors. Most spectacularly Nokia and RIM. …

Given the current valuations, it would not be difficult for Apple to acquire every phone vendor except for Samsung with cash alone.

The more remarkable thing is that as market values of phone vendors continue to decline, Apple’s cash will continue to grow dramatically. Indeed, a time may soon come when Apple’s cash will be worth more than the entire phone industry.

Apple can by the phone industry. And the company is now so enormous, it doesn’t even have to, because the iPhone is doing well enough on its own.

This is why I’ll never be rich. I don’t see these stock buying opportunities when they’re just lying there for anyone to grab.

Techno junkie

I’m on the road, headed for a new job, and as I settle in temporary housing, I realize what a techno junkie I’ve become.

I brought a computer, an iPad, an iPhone, HDMI cables and assorted keyboards, mice and chargers, totally set to blog and surf the web.

But the temporary housing is a couple of years behind me. I was all set to use the television here as a monitor, but it doesn’t have an HDMI port. That is so 2005.

My fallback was to use the iPad, but there’s no wireless Internet in this apartment. (paying more money to AT&T for a 3G connection is out of the question)

So here I am, typing out a post on the iPhone’s tiny keyboard.

Now that’s desperation. Gotta get a blog fix somehow.

Band on the rail

A group of musicians in New York lost their instruments to thieves, but they all had iPhones. So the band, Atomic Tom, hopped on the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and performed the following song using apps they downloaded to their phones.

I was skeptical on the ability to perform a complete song between two subway stations, but this is the line I used to take when I lived in Brooklyn, and I see they’re going over the Manhattan bridge, so this is doable.

The performance was captured by their friends, who were using iPhones. It would be interesting to know if some Apple PR guy was behind it all.

One other thought: This is also the disadvantage of living in New York. You’ve had a rough day at work. You just want to get on the train and chill on your way home, then some band gets in your subway car and starts performing. I was in the city a couple of days ago and three breakdancers with a boom box got in my subway car and started spinning on the floor. It’s a wonder I didn’t get kicked in the mouth.

Putting things in perspective

I wrote about my travel nightmare a couple of days ago.

Then I realized how ridiculous my complaints were when saw this YouTube clip of Louis C.K. on Conan O’Brien’s show from earlier this year:

Yes, things are amazing. I took a round trip from Louisville to Washington in a day. How cool is that?

And as Louis says, technology is amazing.

When I was a kid, the truly impressive thing in the comic strips was Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio, that eventually became a two-way wrist TV.

Other elaborate bits of hand-carried technology they could come up with in science fiction were the communicators and tricorders in “Star Trek.” One allowed you to talk to another person thousands of miles away, while the other gave you directions to any place on the planet you were on. Now, I’ve got an iPhone, which does all that and contains my album collection, books and games, and lets me watch television and movies. Not to mention that it functions like Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist TV.

As idiotic as things seem sometimes, these are the days of miracle and wonder.