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Capturing audio won’t help personal lives

I’ve just been reading about a new wearable called Kapture which is a wearable wristband which will save a 60 second audio clip from within a 5-foot radius on your wrist.

It’s similar to existing smartphone apps but being implemented in a wristband means it’s easier to use and doesn’t flatten your phone battery. It had a successful Kickstarter campaign a couple of years ago and will begin shipping soon.

But I couldn’t help remembering a passage from one of my favourite books, Makers by Cory Doctorow

One of the main characters, Perry, talks about the fact his mum would often change her mind, so he recorded her on a mini tape recorder. Rather than solving the issue

“…she said it didn’t matter what she’d said that morning, she was my mother and I had chores to do and no how was I going anywhere now that I’d started sneaking around the house with a hidden recorder. She took it away and threw it in the trash. And to top it off, she called me ‘J.Edgar’ for a month”

It’s part of a conversation about using RFID tags to remind people about their chores and why it’s not a great idea for a harmonious household.

And having had plenty of disagreements with family members over whether someone said a particular phrase, or how they said it etc, I can testify that the facts don’t matter as much as the perceptions people already have…

Obviously there are useful applications for recorders – business meetings, conferences etc. But I wonder whether it’ll be perceived in the same way as Google Glass if the end result is made public – obviously the big difference is you can record people in secret and they will never know unless you share it somewhere.

Headphones

Incidentally, the pricing on Amazon has long been a subject of debate and discussion when it throws up unusual prices for specific books. And it happened when I was researching the link above: Weird Amazon Pricing for Makers

If you go to the Kindle Edition, the other formats range from 1p for a hardback. But in the search listings, the paperback comes in at £25.25 and the Hardcover is £54.73! And both routes lead to a hardback page with the same October 2009 publication date. Signed and first edition copies are currently less than £20…

The other alternative is to go direct to Cory Doctorow’s site and enjoy the fact his work is usually licensed under Creative Commons. Fortunately, having downloaded a free copy of Makers originally, I bought a few hardcover copies for people as presents, so I just need to retrieve them and apparently cash in!

 

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Worn out on wearables already?

The idea of wearables is great, but the reality is somewhat different. If you’re not already interested in becoming healthy and more active, do you really care about how many steps or miles you’ve taken today?

According to a U.S survey of 3,400 consumers, 85% aren’t ‘in the market for a fitness band’, as reported by Fortune.

Wearable Technology

And then there is Google Glass. Today the BBC led the news that the current version of Glass will be ditched for the time being, along with the Explorer programme for software developers.

All of that comes after famous VC Fred Wilson predicted for 2015:

Another market where the reality will not live up to the hype is wearables. The Apple Watch will not be the homerun product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been. Not everyone will want to wear a computer on their wrist. Eventually, this market will be realized as the personal mesh/personal cloud, but the focus on wearables will be a bit of a headfake and take up a lot of time, energy, and money in 2015 with not a lot of results.

 

The problem isn’t that the technology is still fairly early. Or the fact it makes you potentially look like a wally and can get you attacked, or at least banned from some pubs and cafes.

The problem is the need.

Most of the use cases for wearables are currently niche areas, which can be fulfilled at a lower cost by mobile phones or a pencil and paper.

And taking a photo, or accessing an augmented reality application (Assuming there’s one that provides enough use to be worthwhile) is also socially acceptable on your phone. Who looks twice at someone with their face glued to their phone?

If you’re an athlete, or have a medical condition, then wearables make sense. In some cases, they could be a lifesaver. But for the rest of us, it’s still easier to just walk for 15 minutes, and cut down on cakes rather than spend £100 on a device to tell us.