When Google first showed off Project Glass last year the first reaction on the internet was “Geordi La Forge!” Well, maybe not the entire internet, but a good part of it. After the skydiving stunt at Google I/O, Glass might have been mistaken for the new, action-packed J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” than the eyes of the humble (or miracle working) engineer from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
But social media has a way of keeping interesting conversations around:
For the most part I don’t think Google is creepy. Sometimes I’m amazed at the conclusions the famous algorithms can draw based on my searches and inputted information, but I can usually see the relation in one or two degrees of separation. Some key word in an email that clearly points to the logic behind the ad or suggested content.
This is mind boggling though. I can think of just two obvious scenarios :
1. It’s nearby and Google Now is set to alert me of those. This happens to not be my taste.
Or the better…
2. I listened to Weird Al’s “Polka Face” in my Google Music library. Google knows it’s a parody of Lady Gaga.
Every once in a while, there’s an event so encompassing, only Storify really serves it justice in coverage. Today, that is the expansion of the Glass Explorers.
[<a href=”//storify.com/mikecarlucci/if-i-had-glass” target=”_blank”>View the story “If I Had Glass” on Storify</a>]<h1>If I Had Glass</h1><h2>Today, Google released another video of people using Glass and announced a contest: say (and show) what you would do with Glass and you might get a pair early. Following the Foundry events earlier this month the news shows Glass is getting closer to release. What are people anxious to do with Glass?</h2><p>Storified by <a href=”http://storify.com/mikecarlucci”>Mike Carlucci</a>&middot; Wed, Feb 20 2013 15:12:57</p><div>Com</div><div>In the US &amp; want to test Glass? RT @projectglass Seeking Explorers to help shape the future of Glass #ifihadglass http://goo.gl/zCknoLife at Google</div><div>How It Feels [through Glass]google</div><div>Google Glass UI previewed in new video http://vrge.co/YFOK81The Verge</div><div>Enjoy Google Glass, muggles. It’s probably the closest you’re going to get to magic.The Dark Lord</div><div>RT @LukefromDuke: #ifihadglass I would see more of the world and remember it more clearly. Use tech to expand yourself. @projectglass http://pic.twitter.com/DwCWv71X5IJean Bezivin</div><div>#ifihadglass I would document things around NYC. And build an app that identifies people people near me, so I know who to meet at events.Alex Barbara</div><div>#ifihadglass I would probably run into things frequently #justbeinghonestBrielle Ellsworth</div><div>#ifihadglass I would record a video and take pictures of the awesome experience of being at a Pirate game http://pic.twitter.com/9XNoU2KsORTendai Mwenda™</div><div>#ifihadglass I would definitely pretend to be Iron Man ALL THE TIMEJoy Crelin</div><div>#ifihadglass to make me better looking in everyone else’s ifihadglasses. Also a holographic Gary Busey 10 steps ahead of me at all times.Collective Exile</div><div>@projectglass #ifihadglass I would use glass as phase 1 in becoming a cyborg.Coonan O’Brien</div><div>#ifihadglass I could speak to dogproject_glass_</div><div>Probably not just yet…</div><div>#ifihadglass I’d document street art from Dogpatch to Ocean Beach, from the Silicon Valley to the Marin Headlands… http://pic.twitter.com/R9J5jxJ2EJNick Jones</div><div>#ifihadglass every mountain would be geo tagged with historical dataMEDLette</div><div>Hmm.. best augmented Astronomy reality app ever.. #ifihadglassJohn @ CraicDesign</div><div>I’d wear my Star Trek: The Next Generation outfit #ifihadglassNetSafe NZ</div><div>Geordi? Is that you?</div><div>#ifihadglass it would help me evolve my bowling skills with precision training on the lanes. Record. Search. Improve. http://pic.twitter.com/LjHur919DJBurgers by the Beach</div><div>Show retail wine prices on wine menus in restaurants. #ifihadglassJustin Thomas</div><div>Using the Wizard app no doubt. Also includes a tip calculator.</div><div>#IfiHadGlass i would rename the system &quot;Jarvis&quot;Terr</div><div>#ifihadglass, I would use it in my work place as a server in a restaurant and test its practicality as well as its influence.Jeff Locher</div><div>#ifihadglass I would try to find every fun house in the USA that had a hall of mirrors and moving floors. http://pic.twitter.com/imIoEqE4z6Scott Jones</div><div>Ok, that would look cool.</div><div>RT @scottux: #ifihadglass I’d finally become Geordi La Forge http://pic.twitter.com/VqjFEbOYN9Mark Sheffield</div><div>Now we’re talking. Something about the phase inducers…</div><div>#ifihadglass I would look for undiscovered areas of Pompeii http://pic.twitter.com/Qh0n9hZzddScott Jones</div><div>Or somedaybuild an overlay in Glass of shops, houses, etc. that used to exist in the city. The ruins already feel like new tenants could move in and continue living.<div><br></div><div>The possibilities are endless.</div></div>
(It’s been a bit since I’ve done one of these, not for lack of reading, so hopefully this will get me back in the spirit, and in control of the backlog.)
The Star Wars theme is one of the most iconic musical pieces of the 20th century. Among science fiction novelists, Timothy Zahn’s works are the written equivalent of that music set against the opening crawl of gold words set against the backdrop of space. In the early 1990s, at the bequest of George Lucas, Zahn boldly launched Star Wars in a direction that no author had been allowed to go before: continuing the saga of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca (and more) after the events in Return of the Jedi with his trilogy: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command.
Darth Vader was dead, but the Empire was not yet finished. A new villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn, a tactical genius, replaced the imposing figure of the dark lord with cunning and military prowess. Thrawn’s signature ability was his knack for analyzing a culture based on their art. By understanding of art, he argued, one could better size up his or her enemy. Learn their psyche and defeat them in battle. Anticipate their moves. It was enough to convince me to take a politics and culture class in college and try to understand of the election cycles through the music of NOFX. I didn’t gain the same understanding as Thrawn, but it was an exercise worth pursuing anyway.
Since those first books in the 90s, Zahn has continued to flesh out his corner of the Star Wars universe. In the latest, Star Wars: Scoundrels, readers get to learn a bit more about their favorite smuggler, Han Solo. Set in-between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Han and Chewie have lost the reward money from their Death Star heroics and need to make some quick cash to once again try and pay off Jabba the Hutt.
Sure enough, an opportunity presented itself. A stranger needed help recovering his family fortune and decided that Han fits the bill. Of course, the money is being held by a somewhat to possibly very corrupt well-to-do gentleman with connections (and bribes) in the local and planetary governments and police. And wouldn’t you know, the money was protected by guards, droids, and the most complicated safe ever conceived by man. So, of course Han needed a team of trustworthy thieves to pull off the heist. It just so happened that the window for the robbery was during a big fight, so all the money from the Mirage, the Villagio, and the MGM Grand….wait…wrong story.
But there are actually a lot of nice parallels and references between Scoundrels and classic heist movies, including Ocean’s 11. Because it’s a Timothy Zahn book, a few familiar faces show up who will already be familiar to the reader but not to the other characters. Like a good prequel, Scoundrels combines elements that are old and familiar with those that are new unknown to give the book a flavor of excitement even though (spoiler alert) the reader knows Han Solo can’t die.
If you like Star Wars and have read the other Zahn books (though this can stand on its own and you’ll appreciate the nods to his other books if you decide to read those later), this is a good train to ride. If anything, it’ll get you thinking about 2015, J.J. Abrams and the possibilities for Episode VII. May the force be with you!