Be here now goggles
I gave up on the whole Samsung Gear Goggles — the ones that let you watch 360-degree video on apps like the NBC Winter Olympics.
It was a lot of manual fiddling about. I had a hard time getting the phone clicked in without tapping the screen and opening another app. The remote control kept pointing off in weird directions. The data had to be connected and each app update was about a gigabyte. And, once I was immersed in a show, I kept stepping on the cat or bashing my shins on furniture because you can't see where you are.
Yet I am still curious about whether life would be better wearing goggles. There must be some upside.
No surprise then that when I saw a guy on Craigslist Seattle had two mint condition Google Daydreams for sale, I jumped at the chance. It can't be Samsung's fault — they have continuous improvement and cult-like worker loyalty. It has to be my fault.
It took me and Garrett, a nurse, three weeks to get our act together and actually make the transaction. My reluctance was in sending $40 to someone (perhaps a Sounders fan) whom I had no reason to trust. I also don't like PayPal very much because it's too many steps. Admit it, one is the ideal number of steps to do anything anymore. Two at a push.
So, we ignored each other for a while. Eventually Garret made the breakthrough, pointing out that you can attach money to a text by hitting the plus sign, just like you would a photo. He said he and his dad and his brother send money back and forth to each other this way all the time. So, I dispatched a link to my debit card which is on file with Google, and the next day he sent me a photo of the box at the Post Office and the USPS receipt.
Google Daydream is the soft, felt version of VR goggles. Like a Samsung Gear it has Coke bottle lenses so that when you put your phone in it, your eyes can focus on the stereoscopic image an inch away. It's not virtual reality, but it is immersive, in a tread-on-the-kitty way.
I believe that because Google is itself immersive — it knows your calendar, your contacts, your whereabouts and probably even your heart rate — its immersive video or VR experience is likely to be better. More seamless.
The Daydream certainly was. The fabric was soft and light, actually comfortable. I liked that there was not even an attempt at precision in attaching the phone — it's just wedged in there by a little door held closed with a rubber band. One consequence is there's half an inch clearance around my nose. But that's not a bad thing, I can sort of see where my feet are.
The set up was very similar to the Gear. A carousel of video thumbnails floats in front of your eyes, which you select with the remote/laser pointer. Discovery (Channel) VR. YouTube VR. And perhaps my fave, Google Photos. Yes, there before my eyes were photos I'd taken just an hour before, in the supermarket. They'd automatically gone to the cloud, and now they were back. Even better, every panoramic I've taken with my phone, the Pixel 2, started popping up. It's the Google matrix at work. (In setup I'd also been warned that my credit card was now ready for making in-app purchases. Yikes.)
I think the test will be if I can watch a whole movie while playing Words with Friends and checking my work mail. Then, I can relax, knowing I am virtually home.
Hard to believe that Amazon would pay $1.8 billion-with-a-B for a doorbell company. But they did. (Don't you regret not forging ahead with that smart nose hair clippers idea?)
Ring was a Shark Tank reject, but now Shaquille O'Neal's an endorser. Ring is more than just video doorbells, it's a ring of protection. Bad guy in a hoodie with a backpack sneaks up to your side door, and the lights come on, all around the building. Ring captures his face and sends an image to a phone. The ad shows a homeowner forwarding the message to his neighbors which reads "This guy tried to break into my house!" Technically, since Bad Guy is on your property, could you have a semi-automatic weapon lick off a few shots in his direction? Is that legal?