One day only sale: become a glasshole for $1,500

Google Glass, without the glass. In much of its marketing materials, Google has been careful to position its users as the opposite of creepy male glassholes.

Ben Marks of Collectors weekly says: "Next Tuesday, for one day only, Google Glass will be available for purchase by the great unwashed masses, which means anyone with 1,500 bucks will have a chance to be a glasshole. To mark this momentous occasion, we spoke to Steve Brown from Intel, David Maidment of ARM, Matthew Woolsey of Barneys, and Jim Wolf of Heritage Auctions about the past, present, and future of wearable technologies, and whether consumers will ultimately make their decisions about Pebbles, Fitbits, and Jawbones based on the functionality of these devices or simply whether they are considered fashionable."

A self-described futurist, Brown looks backward when tackling the fashion-versus-function question. “Wearables are not new,” he says flatly. “What is new is that wearables are now smart and connected. That’s what’s different about them. But people have worn wearable technology—whether it was a sword and shield, a suit of armor, a chatelaine, or a crucifix—for millennia. And they have always been about more than just the utility they provide. A piece of armor, for example, doesn’t just protect you in battle. It also conveys something about your status and who you are. They were fairly ornate pieces of art.”

More recently, in the late 19th century, another ornate wearable technology emerged in the form of the wristwatch. “The first target audience for wristwatches in the late 19th century was women,” says Jim Wolf, who is the director of Watches and Fine Timepieces at Heritage Auctions. The first wristwatch was a Patek Philippe, made in 1868 and sold to Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1876. Soon, women of means across Europe wanted a wristwatch of their own. “The reason behind its popularity was fashion,” Wolf says. “Ladies wristwatches were small, delicate, and could be worn on the wrist without a problem. It was really a dress piece of jewelry, like a bracelet.”

Men favored pocket watches. “In the early 1900s, there was a stigma in the eyes of men about wristwatches. They didn’t believe the small timepiece in a wristwatch could be as accurate as a large pocket watch, and the precision of a timekeeping device was important to them. The only reason to have a watch was to be punctual. Also, because of the popularity of ladies wristwatches, some men considered it effeminate to wear a watch on the wrist.”

Google Glassholes: High-Tech Visionaries or Fashion Victims?

Notable Replies

  1. the dismissive, insulting tone turned me off, especially since the author hasn't even tried them.

  2. Could we maybe not use the presumptive, judgmental and pejorative "glasshole" in a post about Google Glass? I've never tried glass, but it is a high quality device that does a lot of things makers like to do. The only thing not to like is the price.

    Are some people assholes with new technology? Sure, but I don't see similar outrage over, say, DSLRs, quadcopters or cellphones here. They are all tools. I like tools. What people do with them is up to the individual using them, not the tool itself.

  3. Jesus, Mark. Knee-jerk reactionary much? BoingBoing used to get excited about weird gadgets.

  4. Remember three years ago, when augmented reality headsets were a thrilling technological promise that we were all excited about?

    Then Google made the fatal mistake of making them kind of popular, and suddenly the snobs are crawling out of the woodwork to tell us we're not allowed to like them anymore.

    Here's a protip: if you are genuinely worried about the prospect that a random stranger might be filming you without your consent and lying about it, I hope you treat anyone wearing a shirt with the same belligerent paranoia as you do Glass-wearers, because they could just as easily be wearing a buttonhole camera that you'd never even notice.

  5. Jealousy. Classism. I'm sure there are other things thrown in there. BoingBoing playing their part in keeping people pissed off at the techies. (Yeah, I picked that one on purpose.)

    “Check out this thousand dollar piece of machinery that I wear on my face!”

    I remember years ago--probably 20, if not more--seeing a commercial for a luxury car. On this particular commercial, they showed the car sitting in the middle of a frozen lake, and then demonstrated the driver flooring the gas pedal, and instead of the expected donut (some cars were still rear-wheel drive) the car just slowly took off, as if the driver had been especially careful. At the time, I was driving a '79 Monte Carlo that had rear-wheel drive and had had the camshaft replaced with a ground-down Crane cam; you couldn't give the car gas on the ice, or you'd quickly face the other way (and then the engine would die as soon as you let off the gas.) You seriously had to give the car gas to keep it from stalling out, but the act of doing that made me lose control of the car. I assuaged my jealousy by reasoning that someday I might be able to afford such a car (hah!)

    Well, I've never made it to luxury car status, nor do I think I ever will. On the other hand, the Insight sitting in the garage has nearly all the features that that luxury car had, and at a much lower price. And to be honest, my (relatively) economy car has those nice features because they ironed out the kinks in the luxury cars. Someday I'll probably be at a car lot and find an economy car with heated seats, dual climate controls, and self-driving tech.

    Honestly, having the editor-in-chief of Make Magazine dissing new tech is more than a little off-putting.

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