Google Glass photo

Glass Under Pressure

Durham, NC – If you missed the hype about Google Glass coming to Durham, you either are living under a rock, or are not involved in the Triangle Technology Ecosystem. 3,500 people sold-out the event in about 24 hours. Much of what you have read in the press about Google Glass has been developed during private invitation only sessions (many links can be found at the end of this article). As the Technology writer for Cary Citizen, I wanted to witness the Google Glass experience through the crush of people at the Durham event.

Logistics

The event was scheduled from 10 AM to 6 PM at Bay 7 of the American Tobacco Campus. 3,500 people in 8 hours means that the event needed to be set-up for handling 437 people per hour or just over 7 each minute! I was concerned about excessive waits as I was seeing pictures on various social media showing long lines and then about 1 PM I saw the following Tweet from @AmerUnderground

Three hours in and the line keeps growing! #durhamthroughglass #durm pic.twitter.com/AJ3D4Bj50g

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I showed up just before 3pm and the line went just past Bay 9 (shorter than I had seen in pictures). I then found out how well organized the event was. As I arrived in line, we were given a card showing the basics of operation of Google Glass. We were also told that the wait would be 35- 40 minutes (my wait was 32 minutes) and were provided iced water as we waited (thankfully due to the 92F temperature). Inside the event was very well organized; registration went quickly and we were grouped to first have a demonstration of Google Glass, and then moved to another area where we could personally try out Google Glass. Afterwards, we were provided wonderful refreshments by Angus Barn, as we waited for our picture wearing Glass, provided a poster (we now had 3 souvenirs of the day) and the option to give feedback (on a new Chromebook Pixel via Google Docs).  In total it took me about 2 hours.

A well organized Google Glass event in Bay 7.

My Glass Experience

The demo was not going so well. Monty and Jim were giving us a demonstration where we should be able to watch simulcast on a tablet, but the Wi-Fi was overloaded and we were not being able to see what we were told was happening. Many excuses about connectivity problems and the overloaded Wi-Fi. In the loud room, Glass was having trouble understanding verbal commands and the user was basically unable to hear from the device.

Quick look around while in-line for picture at the Durham Google Glass Event - Everyone on their smart phones.

Quick look around while in-line for picture at the Durham Google Glass Event – Everyone on their smart phones! How much Wi-Fi and cell service do you need?

We were now able to try Glass. In the the RSVP confirmation we were told:

Leave your Glasses behind: If you wear glasses or contacts, please put contacts in for the event. If you only wear glasses we’ll do our best to fit Glass over your frames, but your experience will be much better with contacts.

Now I have worn glasses since 5th grade and had given up wearing contacts over 15 years ago. Based on the above suggestion I tried without my glasses (thinking that something close to the eye would be easily visible) but this turned out to be nearly impossible as the image is projected at infinity so it was very fuzzy. I also could not get Glass to be able to find directions to anywhere (which apparently resulted from the device not being synced to GPS due to the Wi-Fi overload or other issue)

My Glass Experience, Part 2

My Cary Citizen Press Credentials were seen by the event promoters, and I was quickly introduced to Devin Buell from Google (Devin was working at the Google Chapel Hill office until he recently joined the Glass team) and given a different Glass that had connectivity. This time I tried the Glass over my glasses and what a difference! I could see the screen clearly (Note to those wearing glasses – definitely use Glass over your glasses).  After a few tries, Glass finally understood where I wanted to go and gave me directions (remember the room was really noisy).  I fumbled through a few navigation steps, but was able to see the promise of this very cool technology.  I was glad to have the press credentials that gave me a second try to be able to evaluate Glass through a few paces.  (I’ll probably follow up with another article about my specific observations and things I have thought of since the demonstration.)

Privacy Invasion with Glass?

There has been much written about invasion of privacy with Google Glass, but after seeing Glass in use, these fears seem to be overblown. The Battery life was given by one of the presenters as 45 minutes watching video, but could ‘last all day’ under normal use (which is normally not on). People wearing Glass have to make obvious gestures on the side of the unit and need to make very clear verbal instructions for the Glass to go through its paces. With the ability of all new cell phones to be recording devices, Glass seems to be a very clumsy and obvious way of invading your privacy.

My Takeaways

Google Glass was clearly playing to their potential early adopter customer base at this event. My estimate is that the average age of attendees was ~35 years old and a smart phone owner. No one seemed to mind the line waits and a ~2 hour experience to get their hands on Glass for maybe 5-10 minutes. The event was very well managed and everyone had the chance to try Glass and even more importantly get their picture taken wearing Glass. Social media was chock full of people sharing their experience, so Google got a huge bang for their buck from hosting this event. I would be interested to see the results of feedback from such a pro-Glass audience and if this is really an indicator of support from the general population.

131005 Ian aI think that Glass provides an interesting presentation of information – kind of like being able to check your rear-view mirror while you are driving. Glass seems to be a good complementary device to your desktop, tablet and smartphone, but would not replace any of these at this point. I’m intrigued and would like to be able to evaluate Glass for a longer time and I look forward to see how Glass continues to develop as part of Google X.

What Was Your Experience?

Did you go to the Google Glass event in Durham? We would be interested in your experience.  Please comment below or E-mail me about your experience with Glass.

News Articles About Glass:

NCDevCon 2013 Logo

Recap of NCDevCon2013

Raleigh, NC – Article contributed by Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana attended NCDevCon2013 and he gave us a summary of his experience:

The talks I attended were very good. The speakers were well versed with vast experience in their field. It was good to learn how others solve problems inside their own teams and companies. The presentations give you perspective and ideas on solving your own problems in a different way or just to validate that you see that you are doing it, in essence, in the same way.

The opening keynote was about Adobe ColdFusion (CF) which is the first time I heard about the product. I know I think I was the only one that didn’t know that NCDevCon history was about CF development, but I didn’t know because most the of the presentations on their website were about HTML 5, JavaScript, and mobile development.

Conference Sessions

Raymond Camden from Adobe gave a two hour workshop on PhoneGap. PhoneGap builds on the open source project Apache Cordova which I’m a contributor. He explained the basic concepts of developing a mobile web App and the ability to package it as a native App for smartphones. Raymond also explained some of the features provided by Adobe PhoneGap Build like remote builds and ability to have your App tested by others.

Adrian Pomilio lives here in North Carolina and is great developer, designer, and speaker. He talked about one of the topics I’m also currently working on “The JavaScript – the Stack”. He gave an overview on how JavaScript can be use on the back end server, command lines tools, and hardware hacking like NodeCopter. He went to explain some of the new JavaScript command line tools that help web developers build Apps faster and be more productive by staying on the same language to accomplish different tasks. Tools like Bower, GruntJS, Yeoman, and Johnny-Five allow developers to use JavaScript for everything.

Steve Keaton gave a talk about the new version of BootStrap 3. Steve presented multiple examples showing the different components and answering questions from audience. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about bootstrap it was a very helpful session. The version of BootStrap 3 is a re-architecture based on best practices for responsive design.  Mostly it uses CSS but it also provides JavaScript components that are also based on responsive design principles. BootStrap 3 is major step forward on better Websites and Mobile Apps, since it takes a mobile first approach. You can read about what’s new on BootStrap 3.

There were more sessions on Cloud, Deployment and User Experience. You can check the topics online on the NCDevCon schedule. All sessions are also free to watch online.

Personal Highlights

My personal highlights:

  • Topics were very relevant to new Web Development technologies and tools
  • Free Beer on networking event
  • Driving distance from home @ NCSU facilities

Definitely I will be attending again next year.

Connect with Carlos on Twitter – @csantanapr

PulsePoint App shown on Phones - Image

Open Data: Give us PulsePoint

Triangle, NC – A GovTech.com post by Yo Yoshida on August 29, 2013 is “A Call for Local, Open Data

In order for all citizens to truly benefit from open data, every city, county, and state needs to make their data more accessible.

One of the promising Apps coming from Open Data is the PulsePoint App. There is more good information in the article, and you should read the full article, but I will stop with PulsePoint.

PulsePoint

Earlier this year, Contra Costa County in California launched the PulsePoint mobile application. The app notifies smartphone users who are trained in CPR when someone nearby may be in need of the lifesaving procedure.

PulsePoint is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to make it much easier for citizens who are trained in CPR to use their life saving skills to do just that…save lives!


PulsePoint App – PSA from Fire Department on Vimeo.

To date, 26 municipalities have adopted PulsePoint.

Bring PulsePoint to the Triangle

In May at CityCamp NC, the Keynote speaker – Adriel Hampton, VP of Community at NationBuilder introduced us to PulsePoint. I am part of a team that wants to bring PulsePoint to the Triangle (See Article).

This seemed to be so easy! The App is available, the foundation exists to support the app long term so all we need to do is to hook into it and turn it on, right?  The members of the team have been making contacts and finding out lots of information.  3 months have passed and we don’t seem to be closer to the goal.

The Triangle is Complex

Rolling out the App in one city requires one Emergency Dispatch service and one municipality to get behind the effort. The Triangle is composed of multiple Counties, Municipalities and Emergency Dispatch Centers.

The municipal boundaries in the Triangle are not so clear to its residents. We may live in Raleigh, work in Morrisville, eat in Durham and attend a sporting event in Cary, all in one day (well maybe, but you get the idea). So everyone needs to be on board to bring PulsePoint to the Triangle.

Our ecosystem is ripe for PulsePoint. The Triangle is full of people who are civically minded. Lots of us are CPR trained and want to help. Many municipalities and counties have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) inventory as part of their strategic plans. How cool would it be to leverage the Technology we carry constantly and help to save lives!

How Can I Help?

Contact your elected officials and let them know that you think that bringing PulsePoint to the Triangle is important.

Let Ian Henshaw know that you want to join in the team effort.

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JouleBug Improves Sustainability for Communities

Cary, NC – I first heard of JouleBug in November 2012 at the Entrepreneurs Lecture Series held by the NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative. Grant Williard was giving his advice on the most important things to do when you are standing up a new start-up company, and he showed off his new venture – JouleBug.

What is JouleBug?

JouleBug is a playful mobile app that encourages you to improve your sustainability habits at home, work, and play. By competing with your Facebook and Twitter friends to earn badges and pins, you can lower energy bills, reduce waste, and make a big impact on the planet.

JouleBug is a free app available in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play Store. Communities subscribe and pay for service to get their citizens involved in sustainability activities.

130821 JouleBug badge RaleighJouleBug Adoption in the Triangle

In October 2012, Raleigh partnered with JouleBug and the custom “Sustainable Raleigh” badge was released making Raleigh the first municipality in the nation with a City badge  (More details are in the Raleigh Press Release). The JouleBug Sustainable Raleigh badge is available to users who earn enough points and pins by accomplishing various tasks unique to Raleigh such as:

  • Downtown Walkaround – Complete the Downtown Raleigh Sustainability Walking Tour
  • Raleigh Rocket – Ride an R-Line bus
  • Juice Box – Use a Raleigh electric vehicle charging station
  • Solar Squisher – Use a BigBelly solar recycle station
  • The City of Spokes – Exercise along one of the City’s sustainable parks or greenways
  • Hometown Hero – Volunteer eight hours of community service within the City

130821 JouleBug badgeToday, the Town of Cary announced a partnership with JouleBug with an exclusive “Cary It Green” badge which highlights conservation activities and programs offered by the Town of Cary (More details are in the Cary Press Release). The release of the mobile app to convey sustainable practices in Cary comes on the heels of the Town’s recently expanded Cary It Green Facebook page. The JouleBug “Cary It Green” badge is available to users who earn enough points and pins by accomplishing various tasks unique to Cary such as:

  • Trash to Treasure – Donate an item instead of throwing it away
  • Aquastar – Log into your online Aquastar account
  • Spruce It Up – Volunteer for a green volunteer project
  • Park Place – Walk or bike a Cary greenway

What Powers JouleBug? Competition

In May 3, 2013, WRAL ran a story on the JouleBug adoption in Raleigh. John Williard, the JouleBug Creative Director stated “We found that people are more than 10 times more engaged when they’re actively playing and competing with each other.”

Raleigh ran a competition with the winner will receiving prize worth $200. Employees at I-Cubed, a software engineering firm on Centennial Campus in Raleigh, who have been using the app and competing with each other stated that the JouleBug app has provided “the little bit of motivation that you need [to participate in sustainable activities]”

What Do You Think?

  • What do you think about JouleBug? Will you download the app?
  • Is competition or ‘gamification’ required to get people to participate in sustainable activities?
  • What other activities do you think need to be added to the badges? What ideas do you have for new badges?
NCDevCon 2013 Logo

NCDevCon Returns in September

Raleigh, NC – NCDevCon, associates, and sponsors are organizing the NCDevCon 2013 Conference (NCDevCon) to be held September 21-22, 2013 on the Centennial Campus of NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. The conference will cover a wide variety of web development and design topics including HTML5, Mobile, JavaScript, ColdFusion and CSS.

Registration for the event will be $200 which includes:

  • Entry to the weekend event and all presentations
  • Lunch (both days)
  • Coffee, drinks and snacks (both days)
  • Conference shirt
  • Saturday evening networking event

NCDevCon will be held at the College of Textiles on the Centennial Campus, NC State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Conference schedule

  • Saturday 8AM – 9AM – Registration
  • Saturday 9AM – 6PM Sessions
  • Saturday 6PM – 9PM Afterparty at the conference location
  • Sunday 8AM-9AM – Registration
  • Sunday 9AM – 4PM Sessions

Check the NCDevCon website for more details and register for the event now to save your spot!

Pulse Point logo

Pulse Point for the Triangle

Raleigh, NC – CityCamp NC and the National Day of Civic Hacking took up most of the end of my week, but it was time well spent.

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The Keynote speaker, Adriel Hampton, VP of Community at NationBuilder, presented Pulse Point as a valuable community app to save lives.

One session of the CityCamp NC unconference I attended on Thursday focused on Pulse Point. The group was diverse, well connected and we felt that we could bring Pulse Point to the Triangle.

What is Pulse Point?

Pulse Point is an app that notifies citizens trained in CPR of a nearby emergency that requires their expertise. Those within a half-mile radius, who have downloaded the app will receive a text message informing them of the incident. A notice appears with the location or address if in a public place. If the event occurs at a private residence, only the street name is displayed.

The app works in conjunction with 911 technologies. This is done in a continued effort to minimize the time between the sudden cardiac arrest events and the start of CPR. The hope is to increase survival rates. Locations of AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators) are shown on the app.

The Statistics

The chance of surviving an heart attack decreases by 10% for every minute that passes without defibrillation. Brain damage starts at ~6 minutes. The average national response time for emergency services is ~7 minutes.

Only about one quarter of Sudden Cardiac Arrest victims receive bystander CPR, and public access Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are used less than 3% of the time when needed and available.

The Team Forms

On Friday, a few of the people from the unconference session gathered to see what we could do with Pulse Point. Chris Mathews from Wake County IS brought a view from inside the 911 Emergency Center from a technology perspective. Brett Husbands, the CEO of Firmstep had been involved with the adoption of Pulse Point in California, and brought the resources of his company to the team.

Chris contacted Dr. Brent Myers, EMS Director for Wake County and found that Brent had seen the Pulse Point implementation in Columbus, OH and in his words “EMS readily endorses implementation of this application [Pulse Point]”, but resource issues prevent Wake County from implementing Pulse Point at present. Chris spent quite a lot of time looking into what it would take to integrate the Pulse Point API into the Wake County/Raleigh CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system .

Brett took on the task of developing a nationwide AED map that could be used by any agency that would implement the Pulse Point app.

We were joined by Dana Magliola from BaerPoint Communications to help us put together a presentation, Ben Berkowitz from SeeClickFix who modified the SeeClickFix interface to allow geolocation of AED’s and Ian Cillay who took the information from SeeClickFix to input the locations into the Triangle Wiki.

The Presentation

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We competed against 6 teams and took 3rd place in the CityCamp NC competition.

The members of the team – Brett, Chris and myself feel that Pulse Point is needed in the Triangle and we are committed to bringing Pulse Point to the Triangle. The winnings from the event have been put into a seed fund to assist the adoption of this life-saving technology.

What is Next?

We need partners!

  • Counties – Wake, Durham, Orange, etc.
  • 911 Dispatch agencies in the Triangle
  • Hospitals – UNC, Wake, Duke
  • Chambers of Commerce – Raleigh, Cary, Durham, etc.
  • Non-Profits – American Heart Association, etc.

Look for Pulse Point to come to the Triangle area soon!

RGreenway Image

RGreenway Expands to Include Cary

Cary, NC – There is good news today for everyone in the Triangle. The RGreenway App has been updated to include all of the 68-miles of greenways in Cary.

Previous to today only the Raleigh greenways were shown and the Raleigh boundaries were like the end of the word for greenway users. Now the greenways are continuous on the App all over Raleigh and Cary. This is a great step forward. We look forward to all the Triangle area greenways being added over time.

RGreenway Development

RGreenway was the winning proposal of CityCamp Raleigh in 2012. The application is not a product of the City of Raleigh. It was created by the RGreenway team and was built using open data available through the official Raleigh Geoportal.

RGreenway is available for iPhone, iPad and Android. It’s free. Visit RGreenway and get the app for yourself. If you already have the RGreenway App, then you will need to update to version 2.0 to see the Cary greenways.

What is CityCamp?

From the CityCamp Website we find the following:

CityCamp is an unconference focused on innovation for municipal governments and community organizations. As an unconference, content for CityCamp is not programmed for a passive audience. Instead, content is created and organized by participants and coordinated by facilitators. Participants are expected to play active roles in sessions. This provides an excellent format for creative, open exchange geared toward action.

When is the next CityCamp in NC?

CityCamp Raleigh has recently become CityCamp NC to be more of a state wide initiative. The next CityCamp NC is scheduled for May 30-31, 2013.

If you have the skills and interest you will not want to miss the upcoming CityCamp NC so register today. Who knows what new cool Apps will come out of CityCamp this Year!

Tech New Logo - Creative Commons from zebtron

May 4 is a Busy Day for Tech in NC

This coming Saturday, there is an Analytics event in Durham, NC and a Code Camp in Charlotte, NC. Both events still have space available.

AnalyticsCamp 2013 – Saturday, May 4, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT) in Durham, NC. AnalyticsCamp is a free day of networking and learning for folks interested in any kind of analytics.

Carolina Code Camp 2013 – Saturday, May 4, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT) in Matthews, NC (Charlotte). Get in-depth exposure to exciting new developer technologies. Sessions will range from presentations, to hands on labs, to informal “chalk talks”. We will have a mix of speakers including Microsoft MVPs, authors, and most importantly, local developers just like you! Carolina Code Camp also includes a Builder Faire. Tech Tank Fellows Ian Cillay and Jamie Dixon are presenting sessions at the Code Camp.

May 4th is a busy day for Tech in NC with many options for those that do not watch the Kentucky Derby… If you go to either event, let us know what you learned.

Picture under creative commons from zebtron

Cisco forecasts staggering growth for mobile

The Coming Mobile Explosion

Cary, NC – The WRALtechwire article “Data-to-go: Cisco forecasts staggering growth for mobile“, reports a compound annual growth rate of 66 percent for mobile traffic.

“During the 2012 to 2017 forecast period, Cisco anticipates that global mobile data traffic will outpace global fixed data traffic by a factor of three.”

Wow!

As a municipality or business are you planning your technology infrastructure to handle this explosion of mobile traffic? Are your website properties responsive?

Technology Tank has looked in detail at policies and implementation strategies for Mobile. Please contact Ian Henshaw for more information.

QR Code

QR Codes – Novel Municipal Use

In Rio de Janeiro they are embedding QR codes as mosaics into sidewalks to give visitors a way to find out a wealth of information about their surroundings.

Read more about it in the AP Article Brazil: bar codes on sidewalks give tourist info