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Monday, July 28, 2014

11 Myths about Google Glass and other Random Tidbits #throughglass

Oh, Google Glass, one of the more recent darlings of the tech world to come under public fire.  I would actually argue that Google Glass is fading out of the limelight, and drones are the current targets.  This is not uncommon when a new gadgets come out.  When the first iPhone came out in 2007, I received one as a gift.  The reaction to my spanking new iPhone in 2007 was actually much worse than the reaction I get with my Google Glass.  I was questioned repeatedly why I had to have such an expensive phone and why I couldn't live without checking my email. It was so bad I always had to preface pulling my phone out with "it was a gift."  My cell phone before that was a flip phone I got free with a $20 a month plan.  It didn't even have color, and I don't remember if I even had texting turned on.  It is probably hard to believe that people were so hostile about iPhones back in the day.  

Here's some Glass fun at Disney.  I wasn't the one doing the screaming.  I was mostly laughing. 

I've found the news coverage of Google Glass has been so dramaticized that it is comical. Please.  Do you need traffic that badly that you need to use fear and drama to get a click through?  Is everyone turning into the Onion or Buzzfeed?  Get a Glass first before you start speculating on what they can or cannot do. 
Here's some random tidbits about Google Glass before we jump into the myths. 

Tidbit1: You get a ton of selfies and really blurry pictures.  See below.  I used to never have photos of myself because I'm holding the camera.  Now that I let people play with my Glass, I have tons of accidental photos of myself demonstrating the camera function to others. I also have random photos of other people looking at my Glass when I'm demonstrating the camera feature. 

Tidbit 2: It is a great conversation starter.  Many people are genuinely interested in the Google Glass, and you can chat with random strangers about it.  It does take quite a bit of time, so if I'm in a rush, I keep it in my purse or hidden until I arrive at my location.

Tidbit 3: You get really good at being totally okay pretending not to hear when people are talking about you behind your back or your face.  Some people are not so subtle when they are alerting their friends that there is a Google Glass in person - and they are all too chicken to come up to talk to you about it.  If they make eye contact, sometimes I'll start the conversation.  But mostly, I generally ignore them. 

Tidbit 4: You wind up with a ton of photos of people you meet. It helps when you forget what they look like if you connect in the future.  This guy was interested in integrating Google Glass into their medical imaging research.  Now I will be able to remember what he looks like.  Win for me.

Tidbit 5: You can take photos without using your hands.  I find this really useful when handling the dogs.  Here's @Mousethedog at 12 years old at Meet the Breed at the Houston Reliant Show (above).  And here's a video of Mouse fetching a bumping at the lake filmed with Google Glass.

Here come the myths.

1. MYTH: That people are scared and fear for their privacy.  My experience having had Google Glass for nearly ten months in many different cities all over the United States (New Orleans, New York City, Atlanta, San Jose, and Austin to name a few) is that people are NOT scared.  99.99% of the people who see me with the Google Glass either don't care or they are curious.  If they aren't in one of the aforementioned categories, they are still polite and ask things like "I heard XYZ about Google Glass.  Is it true?

I have yet have anyone run away screaming in fear or becoming violent.  However, I am pretty intimidating in person with my mad ninja skills.  Perhaps people know better than to behave erratically around me. 
This brings me to a theory that someone with deep experience in the Bay area presented to me.  All the "stories" (more like telephone game hearsay) about hostility around Google Glass are only occurring in areas where gentrification has created severe tension with the tech community.  In these areas, the Google Glass (and probably a host of other physical cues) is like rubbing salt in the wounds of gentrification.  It isn't that residents of the area are fearful or hate Google Glass specifically, they have a problem with all things tech related.  Outside of these areas, there is little to no hostility towards Glass reported.  In conclusion: Dear blog writer who needs to jack up web traffic and the Google Glass seems like an easy target, Quit being such a drama queen and find a real story.  
Here's a video made with Google Glass and my iPhone at the Austin Food and Wine Festival in 2014Ming Tsai plays ping pong.  He's so Asian.  You already know. 

2. MYTH: It is dangerous to wear in public.  See myth 1.  I don't feel any more at risk when I do or don't wear it.  That said, I haven't worn it in the gentrifying places of the Bay Area.

3. MYTH: That it looks through clothes.  First, some people look way better with clothes on.  No, it doesn't look through clothes.  Please put your pants back on.  No really, I don't want to see your reproductive organs ever.  Also, I didn't bring a magnifying glass.  No pun intended. 

4. MYTH: You're scanning my face for the FBI.  The Glass is almost always "off," much like your phone if you are not actively using it. It doesn't have enough storage to record video or take that photos nonstop, and it certainly doesn't have enough battery life to be scanning.  And quite frankly with the problems of big data, do you really think a government entity would know what to do with random blurry photos?

5a. MYTH: What are you looking at all the time?  Dead people.  Just kidding.  The answer is nothing.  It is almost always off unless I'm using it.  Remember that thing about short battery life?

5b. MYTH: You'll get pulled over for wearing Google Glass while driving. It is such a distraction because it is always on.  I don't wear Google Glass if I'm not actively using it.  It doesn't have much battery life when I'm using it for photos and videos.  Also, given there are just over 10,000 Google Glass owners (estimated as of Summer 2014) in the world and the Glass is almost always off, I have a hard time believing that Google Glass is more of a distraction than a phone.  Sure, people may get pulled over.  But the raw numbers are pretty low given there aren't even that many Glass owners in the world. 

6. MYTH: Do you get to download and watch pornographic movies?  See the references to storage and battery life.  And no, I wouldn't anyways.  The screen is too small. 

7a. MYTH: You work for Google.  No. I don't work for Google.  They couldn't afford me.   

7b. MYTH: My name is Google.  While I answer to many names, I don't answer to "Hey Google!"  

8. MYTH: You got it that day everyone got it (April 5th, 2014)?  No.  I got in late Oct. 2013.  Do I look like everyone else?  

9. MYTH: I can stop you Glasshole.  I'll just cut off your wifi access.  I only connect mine to wifi when I'm at home.  I can connect it to my phone via bluetooth.  It is such a pain to connect it to a wifi network that I do not do it outside of my home.  Also, I don't need wifi to use the video and camera function.  That is just about the lamest thing I have heard about Google Glass.  Perhaps the person should have learned how Google Glass connects to wifi before wasting their time trying to block it.  

10. MYTH: You're going to pirate movies at the theatre.  This one is beyond hilarious.  Again, I reference the storage space and the battery issue.  If you have ever seen a video recorded on Google Glass, it is very difficult to record things that are remotely discernable.  I've posted several for your entertainment pleasure.  Trying to record with Google Glass is like trying to get a non-blurry photo of yourself herding cats while riding on an angry rhinoceros.  I've gotten pretty good at it, but not for more than a few minutes at a time.  If someone is really interested in a recording a movie, Google Glass is probably the last device to be considered.

Here's an example of a blurry Glass photo.  Really?  You're going to pirate a movie like that?

1. RARELY DISCUSSED: People actually use them for good.  There are many ways Google Glass can be good.  I used it for recording adventures at Disney (see above). 
Using it to streamline employee training, specifically in the fast food industry :
Taking sick kids to the Houston Zoo:
To track your fitness:
Another one on healthcare:
And another on healthcare:
Just for kicks, here's a video of a private ZZ Top concert in Austin #throughglass.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Republic Tequila Dinner at Chavez Restaurant

Let's talk about tequila.  Not taking shots of it, but enjoying the flavor and body nuances.  I was invited to a tequila dinner hosted by Republic Tequila at Chavez Restaurant.  Their product, along with the others out there are evidence of a changing approach to this lively spirit.  It isn't just for mixing anymore (though that is perfectly acceptable). It is can also be enjoyed by itself, to really get to the essence of the tequila.

Republic tequila is sold in their iconic bottles on Texas shelves.  They may come in other types of bottles in other areas of the country.

As with any other adult beverages, tequila is a complex character.  Variations by yeast used and aging process are just two variables that give different types of tequila its flavor.

Tequilas are generally split into lowland and highland tequilas, which indicates the regions.  Republic Tequila is a lowland tequila, garnering its flavor profile from the minerally volanic rocks found in the terrorr.  We had the Republic Plata (same thing as a blanco or silver) with these nibble-sized fried oyster tacos with habanero sauce.

I just wanted to say that the green bean sides were really delicious.  I'd get these again.

Here's the quail that was marinated in tequila with a tequila mole sauce.  Each dish was paired with a cocktail, but I enjoyed sipping the tequilas first with the food.  Sipping the tequila as opposed to having it with cocktails let the tequila flavors shine through more spectacularly without being blended with with the cocktail flavors.  Also, if you tried cooking poultry in tequila, it is delicious!  If making a chicken breast, make sure to pound it flat with a mallet first, and then brown until crispy after you have marinated it.  The flavors of tequila and other types of spirits give an additional dimension to food that is difficult to replicate.

We were also served three very delicious cocktails made with Republic Tequila.  The sage blossom with reposado was my favorite, and quite possible the best one I've had in a while.  It had earthy notes from the herbacious sage.  I'd probably get lost in that one.

It is 1.5 oz Republic Reposado, 1.5 oz pomegranate-sage shrub, and .5 oz lemon juice.  The shrub recipe was 1 part apple cider vinegar, 2 parts POM pomegranate juice, and 3 parts sage simple syrup (1 part sugar 1 part hot water, and 1 handful spanked sage allowed to steep overnight).    Shake and serve in a highball on the rocks garnished with spanked sage leaf. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Epic tasting at Eleven Madison Park, New York City

You probably think I'm a little spoiled.  That is true.  When in New York City, I had the great fortune to meet up with the talented chef Tim Dornon for dinner at Hanjan, and then a quick happy hour to check out his new establishment, Eleven Madison Park.  EMP is can only be described as grand and epic.  I mean EPIC.  Take a look below to get a full understanding of epic. 

This is a photo of the luggage check tab.  I took a photo of it because I'm partial to the Swiss shield.  I happen to have Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, so I feel partially Swiss.  My house is already decorated with Swiss items. 

This bread looks beautiful on the outside.  You can see the delicate layers from the top, and if you could feel it, the outside is like a fragile faberge egg.  Once you break into the bread, you'll discover that it is like butter meets clouds.  That is the only accurate way to describe it.  The bread was already epic, and it was the first thing I devoured. 

Before we jump into the next dishes, order some cocktails.  They are exceptional.  This one is the Prince of Humbugs. 

Next up was the foie gras with pear and balsamic.  This is one rich, yet incredibly balanced and interesting dish. 

I really don't think that words do this dish or the following dishes any justice. 

Lobster salad, razor clams, kale, sea urchin, and gelee. 
The pristine presentation is a beautiful piece of art. 

The lobster salad inside was sealed in the claw with lobster custard.  If there was anything that might make me feel as spoiled as the characters of Downton Abbey, this would be it. 

Poached lobster and razor clams in sea urchin foam and kale. 

The attention to detail and obvious high level of execution here is mind blowing.  Also, morphing familiar flavors into different textures in both of the seafood dishes was an interesting treat.  This dish was layers of ocean flavors in a variety of mediums - poached with meaty textures and elegant foam.  Yes.  This was epic.  

And here's a view of the inside of Eleven Madison Park.  It is beautiful.

And Grand.  A big thanks to Chef Tim Dornon for making my visit to NYC extra epic!