RIP Google Glass Explorer Program (2012-2015)

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Shortly after leaving work last night, I received this email:

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My feelings were bittersweet. I’ve been a Google beta tester for a long time, so I know that products and communities I love (*sniff, Google Wave*) might go away with little notice. But I also know that when they do, they often reappear in better, more useful forms (hello, G+!).

I also know that many of the Explorers who joined with the first wave in April 2012 no longer wear their Glass in public. Either because the initial high wore off or because they live in communities where the backlash has been paranoid witch-hunt level (looking at you San Francisco).

I was among the last of those invited to join the Explorer program, so I only got my first set last March. I’m well aware of the physical limitations — I’m on my third set. But I still see so much potential in the technology. For a moment I felt a little adrift. “What does this mean for us?” asked a friend. Google’s email didn’t tell us much past the fact that they were shutting down the community forums on Jan. 19.

Then I found this:

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So Google Glass no longer will bean experimental division, they’ll be their own independent part of Google. That’s promising. I still have a lot of questions: Will they sub out our sets for what they develop as the end consumer product for free? Will we get a sneak preview? Will communities for us to gather and share still exist? If I get my prescription frames filled will they fit with the new headset? Will functionality and Glassware apps stop working?

But I don’t feel as anxious anymore. Another feeling has replaced that: anticipation.

I’m curious: What are your thoughts? How do you feel about the Explorer program ending next week? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Dear Google: This is what I’d like for Christmas

Some people believe in Santa Claus. I believe in Google Glass. So, Google, on behalf of me and the rest of the true believers, this is what I want for Christmas.

#1: More interaction with your Explorers

I love being an early adapter. I enjoy talking with the Glass Guides assigned to take care of my customer service needs. I’ve submitted wish lists in the Glass chatrooms alongside fellow Explorers. But I’ve noticed something kinda weird: There’s next to no feedback or input from you. When I beta-test other products, I have frequent discussions with engineers and designers about what’s working, what’s not and where things could go. At the very least, there’s an infrequent newsletter to tell me what’s, well, new. With Glass, I’ll get the occasional social encouragement, but no news bulletins, no release updates or notifications when things I’ve hoped for or suggested have launched. I kinda have to stumble upon new Glassware. The only news I read about you seems to be written by haters. Next year, I’d love to see more communication from you to your Explorers. After all, we’re your biggest fans. We’d love to know what you’re excited about, what you’re working on and where you’re going. Because we want to be part of it and help spread the word.

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# 2: Hardware upgrades

I’m on my third set of #teamcotton frames. There’s an external piece of foil that tends to warp near moisture or when exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations (like my body after a workout, sadly). I love that Google’s sent me new sets to replace the broken ones because I made a big $1,500 investment in the technology. But every time I unbox and see that piece of foil I know that Glass isn’t ready for prime time yet and I really want it to be. So here’s hoping your engineers find a better solution!

Evidently, this little guy is the reason why most people get new sets of Glass. Extreme heat, sweat or a sudden change of temperature all can warp this orbital pod foil.

Evidently, this little guy is the reason why most people get new sets of Glass. Extreme heat, sweat or a sudden change of temperature all can warp this pod foil.

# 3: Software fixes and app upgrades

Listening to news stories on Glass rocks. Having the audio or video freeze sucks eggs. Uploading interviews I do at conferences directly to YouTube is amazing. But Twitter’s defection from the Glassware store leaves a huge hole. I really miss it, even though half the time the voice recognition made my innocent captions NSFW. I can’t say I don’t get frustrated by GPS drops or apps that don’t register my gestures, but I am an optimist. Please, please tell me that people aren’t going to let 1.0 versions languish and that at least a handful of Glassware developers (and your team) plan to keep improving what they do for Glass.

For some reason, I can give myself a concussion nodding up and DuoLingo still might not read my gesture correctly!

For some reason, I can give myself a concussion nodding up and DuoLingo still might not read my gesture correctly!

#4: For you to tell your story better

What, ultimately, is Google Glass for? Do you ever want to offer it commercially? Or do you prefer to share the technology so other people can create the wearables mass market while you keep Glass an upscale option for training, education and corporate use? Unlike other members of the press, I don’t think Glass is dead. But you certainly don’t seem to be trying to communicate, create or even control your own messaging. I’d love to see a mission statement emerge next year that clarifies what your vision is for Glass. Otherwise, I’ll be stuck with nothing but stories written by people who staunchly refuse to understand how it works, and that’s a drag.

So Google, what do you think? I’ve been a very good girl ….

Google Glass streamlines social moderation during presentations or webcasts.

Love your superfan, @PYMLive

Which #glasshole glossy do you like?

One of my favorite conferences every year is the Social Media Tourism Symposium (SoMeT)  because, although it’s for destination tourism marketers, I always walk away with cool new tech tools and community-building ideas to share with my Plan Your Meetings readers.

Last year, Robert Patterson from MMGNY spoke on Google Glass and passed out signed 8×10 glossy shots like this one.

This signed #glasshole print inspired me to offer my own as an Indiegogo incentive.

This signed #glasshole print inspired me to offer my own as an Indiegogo incentive.

When I ran my Indiegogo campaign to get Glass, I said donors at the $50 and above level would receive a similar shot from me. A couple of weeks after I got Glass, I attended a conference in San Francisco where attendees could get professional headshots done during a break. I couldn’t resist getting one with Glass.

Here are the two he took. Which one do you like best: Option A or Option B?

10 more things no one tells you about Google Glass

I sat down to try and write five things I discovered about Google Glass. I ended up with a list of nearly 20. I shared the first half last week. If you missed them, you can find them here. Here are the other little tips and tricks I’ve figured out wearing Glass every day.

1. Someone always knows where you are (and how fast you’re going).

Until I got this email, I had no idea they knew *exactly* where I was and how fast I was going. (I was in a cab.)

Until I got this email, I had no idea how well they were able to track me. (I was in a cab.)

Of course, Google knows where you are, but you never really think about them tracking you through Glass. At least I know I didn’t until I received the above email. So … if you want to go off the grid, ditch the Glass.

2. You can screencast what you see in real time to others.

I started using the Screencast function rather than letting people try the Glass on when I realized they preferred having the demo at arm's length.

Screencast is great if you’re with someone who prefers to keep Glass at arm’s length.

Using the “Make a vignette” feature, you can share static images of what you’ve seen. But if you want people to see a real-time video feed of what you’re seeing, open up the MyGlass app and select “Screencast.” Follow the prompts and you’ll be able to show people what you’re currently seeing in your display.

** Bonus tip: If you hook your phone up to a projector, you can share the Screencast with a large audience. However, the display will be sideways. At least it will if you’re on an iPhone. Android users: Tell me if it’s sideways for you or if you’re able to get it to project normally in the comments, please! **

*** Bonus trivia: There used to be a way you could video stream your camera feed to people, but it wasn’t a popular feature, so it was scrapped. The Livestream app has largely replaced it. ***

3. You may need to log into a desktop browser before some apps will work.

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It took me a week to realize I needed a computer to subscribe to these workouts. Now I can add them on Glass as I go.

When you add apps through MyGlass there may be additional steps required to activate them, depending on the app. You should be brought to a screen that asks you to sign up or log-in. That’s a pretty recent development and one that I like a lot. Previously, you had to hit “More information” to discover you either needed an account or you had to visit the app developer’s website to get set up.

4. If an app stops working or disappears from your timeline or menu, just turn the app on and off in the MyGlass app.

I've had the CNN app loaded on Glass since Day 1, but it wasn't until I turned it off and back on again a couple of weeks ago that I actually started seeing its feed.

For the first time in five months, I started getting the CNN feed. All I had to do was shut it off for a sec.

Technically you can have as many apps as you want going at one time. But If I add too many apps at the same time, I’ve noticed some of my existing apps may disappear from my menu of options and some of the new ones never load in my timeline. If one drops off or fails to load, I just go to MyGlass -> Active Glassware and turn the missing app off, then on again. When I go back to Glass, it magically reappears.

5. You can scratch (and erode) the silvery stuff at the end of your Glass.

Evidently, this little guy is the reason why most people get new sets of Glass. Extreme heat, sweat or a sudden change of temperature all can warp this orbital pod foil.

Extreme heat, sweat or a sudden change of temperature all can warp this orbital pod foil. I’m on my second set.

I learned this in the silliest of all possible ways. I went for a jog, got really sweaty, then bent over to touch my toes for a good 30 seconds. When I stood up, I noticed the display was kind of foggy looking and the screen was really dim. Examining my Glass, I saw some condensation in what Isaac the Explorer at Basecamp called the “orbital pod.”

Three days later, the condensation was gone, but the display was still dim. That’s when I noticed that the square end of the pod looked wrinkly. I can only assume that getting sweat on the silver adhesive lining the outside of the pod eroded it somehow. Smoothing it down made the display brighter, but it was clearly torn. Lucky for me, this didn’t fit into the user error category and I was given the opportunity to trade my damaged Glass in for a new pair. I definitely pay attention to how I stretch post-workout now, though.

6. If you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, it might take a while for your phone and Glass to reconnect once you walk out of range.

Evidently there’s a bit of a gray area of connectivity when passing in and out of Wi-Fi networks you’ve added to your Glass. Because being charged and on Wi-Fi allows Glass to back up and update software and apps you don’t want to always be tethered to your phone. But be aware that if you walk out of your house and get into your car, things like directions may not be immediately available. If I want them, I sometimes have to physically reconnect your phone to Glass before they’ll work.

7. If you need a new pair of Glass, your old content will load on the new set as soon as you log into your Google account.

When you wear Glass you get really attached to it. I didn’t send back my damaged set until the new pair arrived. I worried a bit that I’d lose some data or functionality, so I backed up the old set to my computer first, unloading all my photos and videos. Once I’d set up the new pair, everything from my timeline was there.

8. You can “meet” the development team

Meet the develop team is the closest thing I've seen to augmented reality on Glass because it truly is a 360-degree panorama.

Meet the develop team is the closest thing I’ve seen to augmented reality on Glass because it truly is a 360-degree panorama. Hi Sergey! Nice shirt.

This truly is an Easter Egg the Glass team has left for those in the know to find in the settings menu. If you want to see a 360-degree panorama image of the people who made this technology possible, go to

Settings -> Device Info -> View licenses

Tap the touchpad nine times (you’ll hear Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do +)

Select “Meet team”

Turn around slowly and take in all the awesome people who made this possible.

Google Glass developers ... they're everywhere!

Google Glass developers … they’re everywhere! You can even see the ceiling and floor. Don’t get dizzy …

9. Every once in a while, you may see something that you won’t see again.

It’s no secret that Google Glass is still in flux. But every once in a while, something will turn up on my timeline that surprises me. Like this little feature …

What is this: Google Now? How can I get this to work all the time? If you know, please tell me in the comment section!

What is this: Google Now? How can I get this to work all the time? If you know, please tell me in the comment section!

I didn’t even care that they got the exact location of my car wrong, I was just psyched to see a where you parked your car feature because I. Need. One!

10. The use of motion detectors within Glass means that you may have to tweak your workout form.

In the end, it is kinda dependent on how you look at it all ...

In the end, it is kinda dependent on how you look at it all … if you want those squats to count.

Some Glassware uses Glass’ built-in motion detectors to register whether you’re doing things that you’re supposed to be doing (like sit-ups). The problem is that the trajectory the app looks for may differ slightly from how you normally move. For example, I’m used to looking up or straight ahead when I do squats or lunges. But for some reason when I do that, the Lynxfit app may not count any of those exercises and taunt me for not working out. To avoid that, I’ve learned to look down on each lunge or squat so they count. If you find yourself frustrated by a workout app not counting the push-ups or other work you’re doing, I recommend you play with where your gaze hits. That may solve the problem.

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Those are some of the cool, unusual and useful things I’ve discovered about Google Glass. Are there things you’d like to add to the list? Please share with me in the comments section!

9 things no one tells you about Google Glass

Google Glass is designed to be intuitive, so the instructions it ships with are minimal. Basically, there’s a diagram with button labels and the directive not to get them wet. Consequently, there are a lot of Glass features, tips and tricks you have to discover for yourself. If you’re feeling lazy, I went ahead and started to write some down.

1. Beta features are hidden in your Settings.

Winking allows for hands-free picture-taking. It's super awesome for capturing family shots or images on the go. Super awkward to do in the bathroom, though.

Enabling “Wink” allows for hands-free picture-taking. It’s super awesome for capturing family shots or images on the go. Super awkward to do in the bathroom, though.

If you scroll your main menu back to front, you’ll arrive at the Settings window, which displays whether you’re connected to a device and battery life. Tap and you’ll be able to scroll through different settings. Near the end of these options are two features I love. The first one is the most dependable (and no longer beta). It’s Wink, as in: Wink to take a photo. The second allows you to calibrate the Glass to your gaze so you can look up to see notifications instead of jerking your head up or tapping the scroll arm. When it works, it’s awesome. When it doesn’t, it’s a sign that you need to recalibrate. It’s worthwhile to scroll through all the settings periodically so you can see new beta features as they become available.

2. You can make a photo vignette showing the Glass’ display screen.

Make sure you're looking at what you want to have in the vignette window before you take the picture. If you wait too long after taking the picture to tap the arm, the option to make a vignette will disappear.

Make sure you’re looking at what you want to have in the vignette window before you take the picture. If you wait too long after taking the picture to tap the arm, the option to make a vignette will disappear.

Wish you could share what you’re seeing on Glass with other people? You can! Take a picture, then immediately tap the scroll arm. The first option you’ll see is to make a vignette. If you didn’t have any apps running, the generic “ok glass” home screen with the time will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the image. If you have an app running or were looking at pictures or other areas of your timeline, an image of that will be featured in the vignette.

3. Backing up images to G+ gives you auto awesome photos, videos and stories.

Auto awesome images take many forms. In addition to enhanced, you also might see mosaics, videos and whole event stories created from your backed-up images.

Auto awesome images take many forms. In addition to enhanced, you also might see mosaics, videos and whole event stories created from your backed-up images.

If the thought of someone going through your photos and randomly enhancing them doesn’t creep you out, then make sure you allow Glass to backup your images to the cloud. From time to time, you’ll receive a notification that there’s a new auto awesome image or video waiting for you. True, it’s done using filters that you could play with too, but there’s something kind of magic about having a video of a major life event already edited and scored with sound that you can share without having done any work other than capture the moments. If you don’t like the images selected for the stories, you can remove and add others as well as titles and captions before publishing and sharing. This feature isn’t recommended for sexters.

4. You can zoom in and out of websites.

If you’re using an app like AP’s news reader that dumps you onto a website rather than gives you a “read aloud” option, you need to know how to scroll and zoom because websites aren’t optimized for Glass yet. To scroll, tap Glass’ arm with two fingers. As you drag your fingers apart from each other, you’ll see the screen get larger. Bring your fingers closer to zoom out. Tap to click on web links. Unfortunately, you might find that you still can’t read the website. That’s the reason why I uninstalled the AP app. Glass has so many news apps that will read you the stories or headlines that there’s no need to use one with a cruddy interface. But as web designers start to code for Glass, I think this feature will become more useful.

5. There is a right way to plug it in.

I have about 20 upside down photos from unplugging my Glass before I realized this is the proper way to charge it.

I have about 20 upside down photos from unplugging my Glass before I realized this is the proper way.

The first few weeks I had Glass, I turned it upside down to charge it because the plug is on the bottom of the arm. But every time I picked the set back up, I accidentally took a picture. I came to find out that Glass is designed to balance right-way up as it charges. Match the white side of the plug to the white side of the arm and black side to black and you’ll always know which way the plug goes in. Look closely at the charger unit and you’ll see it similarly color coordinates to its cord. Unlike other chargers (cough *Apple* cough), it minimizes the space it takes up in a very considerate way on your powerstrip, too.

6. There is a shortcut to taking video.

If you push this silver button down, you'll take a picture. Hold it down and you'll start the video camera. Default length is 10 seconds unless you hit the button a second time. Stop filming by tapping the arm. For some reason, the button doesn't work to end the filming once you've opted to extend it.

If you push this silver button down, you’ll take a picture. Hold it down and you’ll start the video camera. Default length is 10 seconds unless you hit the button a second time. Stop filming by tapping the arm. For some reason, the button doesn’t work to end the filming once you’ve opted to extend it.

There are lots of ways to take a photo: You can select the option off the touch or voice-operated menu, press the camera button over your eye or even wink (if enabled). For the first few days I puzzled over why there were so many shortcuts to take a photo but no video shortcuts. Then I realized that if you hold the camera button down for a couple of seconds, it will start taking video. Touch the scroll arm if you want to extend the filming past the first 10 seconds.

7. You can fast-forward through timeline and menus.

Most Glass users swipe through one option or timeline moment at a time. But try giving the arm a big sweep from back to front or front to back. All of a sudden, the timeline elements pull back and you can skip ahead or back quickly. This is incredibly useful if you’re searching through contacts or want to find something you experienced days (or months) ago.

8. There’s a low-tech way to increase headset volume.

Use your thumb to press the back of Glass to the bone behind your ear. You may have to adjust that pressure and the angle of your fingertips to get the best sound, but it works pretty well once you get the hang of it.

Use your thumb to press the back of Glass to the bone behind your ear. You may have to adjust that pressure and the angle of your fingertips to get the best sound, but it works pretty well once you get the hang of it.

If you forget your ear bud and are somewhere noisy, you can increase the volume by cupping your right ear and pressing Glass to the bone behind it. Just don’t touch the arm in front of your ear, or you’ll pause whatever’s playing.

9. You can download content from Glass to your desktop computer.

It took me a while to figure out that the charger cable also allowed me to connect Glass to my laptop, where it appeared like another camera device. I’m a Mac user, so I worried that I wouldn’t be able to use iPhoto or iMovie, but when those programs were open, I was able to import media easily. Don’t forget to download and delete content frequently. Otherwise your timeline will get unruly, your memory usage will bloat and operating speed will decrease.

** Bonus tip for iPhone users** 

10. You can have more than 10 contacts. 

Being able to text message people from Glass is the coolest feature I can’t use because I’m on an iPhone. In the MyGlass app, I’m also limited to entering 10 people’s profiles that I can share with or call. But that doesn’t mean I can’t access everyone in my phone’s address book. Scroll past those 10 contacts and you’ll start to see your entire contact list appear. You may have to scroll a while, but it’ll give you an excuse to practice your fast-forward swipe.

Do you have any tips or tricks you'd like to share? Post them in the comment section below! I'll share 10 new things no one tells you about Google Glass next week.

Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Post them in the comment section below! I’ll share 10 new things no one tells you about Google Glass in the next post.

With a little help from my friends

My first thought was “Who the hell is Dave Moody?”

I knew a lot of Daves, but this name didn’t ring a bell. Yet there he was: My first Indiegogo sponsor.

It all became clear after a trip to Facebook. My friend Ray Hansen had shared my campaign and then shamed Dave into donating $25 after Mr. Moody comment-bombed his post. What started as a drunken lark actually continued as real support!

MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, GOOGLE GLASS COMMENTED ON MY CAMPAIGN!

MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, GOOGLE GLASS COMMENTED ON MY CAMPAIGN!

The campaign closed 25 hours later and, despite attracting four more donors, I raised less than 10 percent of what I needed to get Google Glass. But then I started getting phone calls. From friends, from work acquaintances, from my new sister-in-law. “Can we still donate?” they asked. Hell, yeah, I said. The next few days, I happily made the handmade art I’d promised my flirts, friends with benefits and lovers.

EVERYONE WHO DONATED RECEIVED A LOVE LETTER WRITTEN WITH QUILL PEN AND INK ON AN ANTIQUE DESK. (I ALSO SPRITZED THEM WITH MY FAVORITE PERFUME.)

EVERYONE WHO DONATED RECEIVED A LOVE LETTER WRITTEN WITH QUILL PEN AND INK ON AN ANTIQUE DESK. (I ALSO SPRITZED THEM WITH MY FAVORITE PERFUME.)

By the time the Indiegogo funds hit my bank account 15 days later, I’d raised a grand total of $850, roughly half of what I needed. A speaking engagement covered the rest.

Google threw in a free pair of Maui Jim shades. I opted to pay an extra $200 for prescription glasses frames.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to pick up my order in San Francisco, where I wanted to get fitted and oriented by Explorers. The one day I was going to be in town was the day Google Explorers were shutting down the store to prepare for a major party. Silver lining was I saved at least $100 paying Georgia sales tax instead of California sales tax and I got my Glass three days earlier.

I placed my order on Friday. On Monday, a suspiciously awesome-looking package arrived. Heart in mouth and digital designer at my heels armed with a camera, this is what I discovered.

I still have trouble attaching the sunglasses, but I’m obviously not that concerned with looking cool.

Indiego-go-go!

Moms don’t get a lot of “me” time. My friends and I laugh that staying up late watching trashy TV is our new form of rebellion. It’s something we can only do when everyone’s asleep. That’s the sole time we’re not needed and can do whatever we like. But by then, we’re too exhausted to do anything but watch TV. 

We used to be wilder — the ones who forced others to stay up all night to see the sunrise, experimenting with all kinds of things we hope our kids don’t do. We used to live creative lives — in theater, dance, comedy, music, art, film. And though we still create, it’s not in the balls-out way we used to aggressively pursue those careers.

KCS' PRE-BABY SINGLE DAZE.

MY PRE-BABY SINGLE DAZE.

Recently, I had brunch with a friend who’s still very much in the film world. Chad and I have known each other since the summer of 1990, when we both gained admission into Georgia’s Governors Honors Program (GHP) in Theatre. After a rigorous audition process, we were among the top 30 high school actors in the state offered a tuition-free summer of education in our major area of expertise as well as a minor area of study (I chose mathematics so I could spend time with my best friend Phoebe, a Spanish major). It was a paradisiacal eight weeks. I was surrounded by the top scientists, writers, artists, dancers, musicians and other scholars my age.

Unlike many of us, Chad still acts, primarily in projects he writes and produces himself. (Check this out, friends.) As we sipped champagne and noshed on omelets, he mentioned how he preferred Indiegogo to Kickstarter as a method of raising money because Indiegogo lets you keep however much you raise, even if you don’t make your goal, whereas Kickstarter only gives you funds if you raise the full amount.

I had a lightbulb moment. Maybe I could use Indiegogo to raise the money I needed to get Google Glass!

Making it rain (sorta)

Every mom with small kids has a nightly ritual. In some order, there’s dinner, a bath and books to read. It’s pretty predictable. Recently, my daughter had started asking for time alone to play in the bath. All of a sudden, there were five, maybe 10 minutes a night I had to myself before I had to resume mommy duty. 

“Tonight’s the night,” I thought, as I gathered everything I might need to create an ad-hoc Indiegogo campaign during her “me-time.” I put the supplies on my nighstand, sudsed the little one up, rinsed her hair and made sure there was a towel she could reach in case of extreme “water in my eye” emergency and hunkered down to Indiego-go-go on my iPad.

SPOILER ALERT: IT'S NOT A GREAT IDEA TO CREATE AN ONLINE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN WHILE THE KIDS ARE IN THE HOUSE.

SPOILER ALERT: IT’S NOT A GREAT IDEA TO CREATE AN ONLINE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN WHILE THE KIDS ARE IN THE HOUSE.

Challenge No. 1: Coming up with a catchy name.

I was about to head to San Francisco for a tech conference. The news was full of headlines of a #glasshole who’d upset patrons in a San Francisco bar. Knowing my bad girl days were behind me, I thought it’d be funny to play off of that trending story. I cheekily named my campaign: “Make me a #glasshole.”

Challenge No. 2: Setting incentive levels.

During GHP, we all had nicknames. My nickname was “The Sex Goddess” — not because I earned it on my back, but because at 16, I was a bit more, ahem, developed than the other girls. (Not that theater boys were into that, but …)

ME AT 16 IN THE GHP THEATRE PROJECT "UNDER MILK WOOD."

ME AT 16 IN THE GHP THEATRE PRODUCTION OF DYLAN THOMAS’ “UNDER MILK WOOD.”

As a nod to Chad, who’d given me the solution to my fundraising woes, I tied incentives for giving to a sexy theme. Here’s the different levels of sponsorship and what people would get for their contributions to my #glasshole campaign.

  Flirts donated $25 in exchange for a handwritten thank you done with quill and ink Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 7.10.09 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 7.10.16 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-22 at 7.10.23 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 7.10.31 PM

Challenge No. 3: Reading (period)

I thought I was pretty clever coming up with all those categories and descriptions in less than 10 minutes, not to mention the plaintive yet tongue-in-cheek “about text.” Unfortunately, just as I reached the pivotal moment of publishing the campaign, my daughter started yelling for me.

I pushed the publish button in a panic. The pop-up warning said: “Are you sure? You can’t edit after you go live.” Heck yeah I was sure! I pushed that puppy and skittered in to rescue the tot from waterlog.

After she was comfortably abed, I snuck a peak at my handiwork and that’s when I realized my campaign was closing in 25 hours. WTF? I thought. Then I did a little backend research and felt like a dolt. I had thought the date-setting area asked, “When do you want to end the campaign?” What it actually asked was, “When do you need to get your payout?” Because I was traveling to San Francisco in a couple of weeks, I chose the Monday before I flew out. So, instead of having a 15-day campaign, I gave myself about a day to raise $2,000. 

Talk about an “Oh schiesser!” moment. I shared and promoted the page as much as I could on my phone, and went to bed feeling like a total moron.

A small phone alert rocketed me awake: I had my first donor! And I had no idea who he was …

The cost of growing up

@JESSICALEVIN WAS THE FIRST EXPLORER I MET FACE TO FACE

@JESSICALEVIN WAS THE FIRST EXPLORER I MET FACE TO FACE.

The first time I met someone with Google Glass, it was at a tech conference in August 2013. She began by saying, “They’re really cool, but they don’t do much.” Over the next three months, I got the chance to try on a pair and talk to a few other Explorers, one of whom was already ready to put his away for good. But the heart wants what it wants. My heart wanted Glass. Even at $1,500 a pair.

When I was 21, I lived in New York, working for Condé Nast, doing graphics for SELF Magazine’s marketing department. My best friend, Phoebe, lived down the street and we often went out together. One afternoon shopping in Century 21, I was fretting over whether or not I could afford to get a skirt I liked. 

“How much is it?” she asked.

“$40,” I replied.

“How much do you make an hour?” she pressed.

“$25,” I said.

“So get it,” she said. “You’ll work it off in less than two hours, and you’ll wear it plenty.”

She was right. At the time, it was a huge purchase because I was used to thrift store shopping. But I was ready to start buying more grown-up clothes. I wore that skirt to pieces.

A few months later, I noticed a pair of heels in Vogue magazine. Working for Condé Nast, we got copies of all the magazines they printed monthly, so I often paged through them as I was waiting for a large file to load or for something to print. I don’t remember what I was waiting for that day, but I remember those heels and how they affected me. They were ankle booties, but the back of the boot was cut away, exposing the heel of the foot in a very sexy way. The look was edgy, unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I was captivated by how something so simple could make you feel so daring.

Before I go on, I should explain that all through high school and college I’d been a Birkenstock/Doc Marten/duck boot/cleats/mouse slippers in public kind of gal — shoes either had to be comfortable or useful. But there was something about those heels. 

Over the next few weeks, I started seeing the shoes on mannequins in store windows. On the way to work from the Metro or on my lunch break, I’d stop to take in how the bootie’s strap bound the ankle, yet left the heel of the foot bare, unencumbered. I liked the shape of the shoe’s heel too: tall, slim, strong, rectangular. It was a nice counterpoint to the toe of the shoe, which was elongated, almost aggressive. On a few occasions, I even went into the shops to get a price, maybe even buy a pair, but the shoes were for display only.

One fateful day, as I was killing time before an audition, wandering aimlessly through Macy’s Herald Square, I found them in the ladies’ shoe department. I picked up the display model and admired its lightness. I fondled the soft black suede like a cautious lover. I probably spent five minutes under its spell before I peaked at the price tag, which was upwards of $200. All of a sudden, I got a giddy “what the hell” kind of feeling. I asked to see a pair in my size. They added three inches to my height, which felt amazing. The suede uppers hugged my feet like a blanket drawn tight against the wind (which only my heels could feel). It was delightful. They looked sophisticated, sexy. The salesman didn’t have to work hard. “When have you ever had a pair of real, grown-up shoes?” I asked myself. That’s what sold me.

20 YEARS OLD AND STILL KICKING!

20 YEARS OLD AND STILL KICKING!

Nearly 20 years has passed and I still love (and wear) those heels. But when I was a single girl, making my own money, paying my own bills, I never had to think about what things cost or how I’d pay for them.

I have a family now. My money isn’t only for my enjoyment or expenses. There are four of us to cover, so it’s like a being part of a very small socialist experiment where there isn’t much that I can truly call my own. That’s true of money as well as time.

Perhaps that’s why I was so determined to get Glass. Having a pair would allow me to capture my thoughts and experiences to archive or share as I wanted, without having to share the medium with anyone else, the way my kids lay claim to my paint and iPad. (Under 18s can’t wear Glass, I read, heart racing.) 

The idea of technology that would allow me to create and discover the world in a new way was intoxicating, freeing. I didn’t see Google Glass everywhere. They were as unusual as those backless boots were in 1999. When compared to how much I get paid per speaking engagement, they were as affordable as the Century 21 skirt.

Only problem was, I didn’t currently have the cash on hand.

#ifihadglass

What a brilliant marketing campaign #ifihadglass was. For weeks, Twitter was filled with the hopes and aspirations of what social mega-users would do if they could get a pair of Google Glass, 140 characters at a time.

Despite rumors that only social media superstars would win a pair, 61 percent had fewer than 1,000 followers. By April Fools Day 2013, 8,000 people received invitations like the one below.

Two weeks after Dan asked me if I wanted an invite into what Google was now calling the Glass Explorers Program, one had yet to make its way to my inbox. I’d already been waiting a year. But it was still hard.

Then one day, there it was:

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I DON’T KNOW WHY ALL THE GLASS MODELS HAVE AWESOME HAIR, BUT THEY DO. AND IT’S ALWAYS BLOWING IN THE WIND.

It all started with this guy

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DAN PARKS: MY SUPER GEEK HERO < CLICK THE LINK. HE KNOWS HOW TO ANIMATE HIS G+ PROFILE PIC!

When I was a cub reporter first learning the meetings industry, Plan Your Meetings sent me to cover a conference of meeting professionals. It was large. I’m terribly introverted. Everybody else seemed to know each other. And I knew nothing about planning meetings.

I knew a lot about theater, had written some and was fresh from spending a year in Amsterdam as a Boom Chicago Comedy Theater cast member. When they hired me from the UCB Theater in New York, they said I’d “be a rock star.” But most of the time, I sat in hotel rooms with three other improv comedians, waiting to entertain people who’d just finished having a whole day of meetings, were about to start a whole slew of meetings or were trying to ignore us as they ate. The only meeting planners I’d ever met were the ones who’d crack open our hotel room (or closet) door, tell us they were ready and then either look happy or pissed as we shuffled off to catch a train.

So here I was, on my first remote assignment, at a three-day conference. Alone.

Then I met Dan Parks and Gloria Nelson. Glo is the kind of ballsy lady who’ll hijack your session if you don’t know your stuff, and the lady I’d come to see speak didn’t. Curious as to who Glo was, I started a conversation with her. She introduced me to Second Life, a virtual world where you could interact using avatars, headsets and chat windows on your computer. Then she called over Dan and the good Dr. James Hogg. I had a camera on me (remember the ones with USB sticks?) so I filmed them giving me a tour of the Meetings Community Mansion. Then they took care of me for the rest of the conference, making sure I was introduced to the right people, went to the right parties.

But more importantly, they introduced me to a world of connective technology that became my passion. Second Life and the MeCo listserve they moderated became my gateway drug. I learned to love the meetings industry.

SERIOUSLY, NOW I LOVE MEETINGS.

SERIOUSLY, NOW I LOVE MEETINGS. < I PLAN ABOUT 12/YR.

Years passed. In February, I got a message from Dan. “I have an invitation for Google Glass,” he wrote. “Do you want one?”

“YES!!!!!” I wrote back.

Then I thought, “F#ck. How the hell will I pay for them?”

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