Adventures in forecasting

My wife got me a weather station last Christmas and I’ve been putting it to use gardening and keeping an eye on the smart Nest thermostat, which isn’t very smart when it comes to desert evening temperature change.

I decided I’d share the data log & related programming on GitHub:

What I’d like to see in Glass XE14

It appears Google did decide to skip the 13th floor. What could we be waiting for?

A scenario-friendly Bluetooth proximity API. It seems that with freedom of motion Glass’ APIs could offer direction to nearest beacon by combining signal strength with accelerometer/compass. But in lieu of that, Android 4.4’s support for BLE proximity would be great for a project I’m working on.

Less picky head-on. I’ve resorted to turning off head detection every time I have people try scenarios because Glass simply won’t turn on for them. And if I forget to turn it back on, I accumulate a fabulous collection of upside down pictures & videos of my desk. There should be a middle ground.

Hands-freeish, voice-free. Google’s recent “don’t be a glasshole” PR work reminds us they designed Glass to use with voice. But there are times when barking a command just doesn’t work (like when I wanted to live-tweet at Hackfort.)

I’d like Glass to ship with a small pocket keypad, like a screenless Blackberry, for touch-typing into the timeline.

Preparing for the alternative hardware story. I believe wearables’ future is in software and services, not this early hardware that has poor battery life, is uncomfortable, can’t  be used with your own sunglasses, jacks facial symmetry, and is legitimately made fun of on SNL.

But the software is visionary, and, like Android proper, could work on many devices that target certain industries, situations, fashions, and needs. I think we’ll start to see this affect the software (i.e.. builds of the OS that run on spec/VM instead of XE hardware specifically) soon.

Using Google Glass with Windows Phone

Here’s how you get the most bang for your buck with Google Glass if you use Windows Phone.

Windows Phone works with Glass for “explorer” & developer scenarios certainly — you can use Glass to understand the UX & opportunity without anything but a Windows Phone, and while the Glass disables directions & SMS in this combination, you can try directions with a temporary no-commitment Android device.

I tested Glass XE11 with a Lumia 920, Windows Phone 8 Update 3 on AT&T. My data plan allows use of Internet Sharing — this is required.

Setup

You set up Glass at the MyGlass site on the web.

Glass supports “any Bluetooth-capable phone”… what’s that mean?

Google says Glass is compatible with “Any Bluetooth-capable phone”.  Glass can pair to Windows Phone by Bluetooth, so yes, I suppose it’s compatible, but all you get is a fancy voice earpiece out of the deal. Caveat emptor.

But there’s a  way to enable more than the voice headset features.

Internet anywhere using Internet Sharing

Glass works quite well with Windows Phone’s Internet Sharing.

You have to toggle Internet Sharing on/off manually* on the phone. But once on, Glass has internet connectivity wherever you go, instead of only at Wi-Fi access points. (To configure a Wi-Fi access point, including the Internet Sharing access point, go to the MyGlass site.)

Internet Sharing stays on permanently in this configuration, which is good (less hand-in-pocket) and bad (it burns my phone battery down 10%-15%/hour even with light use, vs. typical 5%.) So keep an eye on battery, and thank goodness for wireless charging** of phones.

Directions and SMS messaging

Glass doesn’t do GPS and SMS without a device in the picture — “Get Directions” and “Send a Message” are disabled by default. Unfortunately as of XE11 that device has to be an Android device running the MyGlass app.

But the device doesn’t have to be a phone, or replace your Windows Phone. If you have a no-commitment Android device that does GPS (low-end SKU Nexus 7 tablet is what I tried), you can get directions whenever the device is “in your bag” by:

  1. Bluetooth pairing the tablet to Glass
  2. Installing & configuring the MyGlass app on the tablet
  3. (Configure the tablet  to connect to your phone’s Internet Sharing while you’re at it.)

SMS  is also enabled in this configuration for some reason — I think it’s a bug , as Glass let me send several texts, then told me one of the texts failed delivery… but all failed. Anyone know what’s going on here?

Conclusion

Yes, you can get the best of the HUD and phone worlds!

Still, I’m looking forward to a MyGlass app for Windows Phone*** that enables direction & SMS capability, as my time with the Nexus is coming to an end.

*Has Microsoft shared the protocol used to kick Wi-Fi Internet Sharing on through Bluetooth in Windows Phone 8 Update 3? If so, I’d think Android/Glass could include it, and this would address battery problems on the phone somewhat.

** Glass  hardware needs wireless charging. It has a micro USB connector that’s almost certainly going to get broken. I’d forgotten how janky those pins are!

*** @googleglass let me know on Twitter they don’t have anything specific to announce with respect to MyGlass on Windows Phone. Given the state of Bluetooth connectivity & background apps on Windows Phone, it seems unlikely it could happen until Windows Phone 8.1+, never mind Google’s agenda.