Learning from my previous tries at taking video of SXSW sessions with Google Glass, I took a seat this afternoon in the very first row at the Sheraton Austin for a session titled “Glassholes: The Cultural Dissonance of Technology.” Two of the panelists were wearing Glass, along with about a dozen of us in the audience. I was impressed with the Google representative on the panel, Timothy Jordan, staff developer associate. He had a calm way of talking about his company’s baby and did not get defensive when privacy and other concerns were raised. He said he uses Glass whenever he goes biking, but he didn’t specify which apps he uses. Probably he can use turn-by-turn directions and maybe some exercise metrics.
After the session, a guy came up to me and asked how I liked Glass. I let him try mine on and told him I am enjoying experimenting with it. Which is true. I love feeling my way toward usefulness with this bold invention. The battery life is a problem; I couldn’t even video the entire session before the “Low Battery” warning scared me off and I stopped recording. I didn’t want to lose the whole thing by keeping it running until Glass turned itself off. I’m also not rock solid on how to share the video. I thought I was sending it to Google Plus, but later in the day it ended up on YouTube.
Seeing how great the turquoise Glass looked on Timothy Jordan, I found myself a little sad that I chose the comparatively plain white color for mine. If you’re going to wear one of these crazy contraptions, you might as well choose your favorite color!
I began the day in church with my cousin Peter Tighe, who is a long-time member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin . We started out at a cozy book discussion group in the library, followed by the second of the morning’s two worship services. I was impressed with the sermon delivered by the Rev. Meg Barnhouse, who spoke on the Second Commandment. Her wry introduction put the UU congregants on notice that she does, in fact, preach from the Bible about once a month, since she spent three years at Princeton Theological Seminary learning about it. Today’s sermon is not up at the church’s website yet but probably will be in a week or so. Try here if you’re interested.
I ended the day far from church, on Sixth Street in downtown Austin, where music blared from each side of the closed-off street, and revelry replaced reflection up and down the road. At a country and western bar where I was the only one wearing a bright orange SXSW lanyard and nametag, I fell in love with a dark-haired singer-guitarist named Melissa Brooke, who was belting out an hour of heart-breaking songs as SXSW Music got under way. My favorite was “Can’t Hide in a Small Town,” a rousing number with strong help from Brooke’s drummer, bass player and virtuoso lead guitarist.
I had a late supper at an outside table next to a van selling hearty Peruvian fare. Very tasty, and close enough to 6th Street that I could still hear the music. Since I’d left my rental car at the Sheraton, I ended up hopping in a Car2Go Smart Car for the ride back, glad my Car2Go card works in Austin as well as Denver.
“I’ve been away a while, and nothing much has changed,” Melissa Brooke sings. That’s not an accurate description of Austin, Texas, which these days is a long way from being a small town where you can’t hide. But why would you want to?