These Google Glass recommendations will sound stupid in a few years

As Google Glass — and other eyegear — become commonplace personal and business tools in the near future conventions about their use will rapidly emerge, and as they become more commonplace they will cease to cause head turning and stomach churning.
Google hoped to get out ahead of the Glasshole effect recently by issuing a few recommendations on use. While some are simply smart — like using screen lock, so that in case of losing the eyegear any critical information is secure — others are actually dumb.
For example, this advice:

Ask for permission. Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends. The Glass camera function is no different from a cell phone so behave as you would with your phone and ask permission before taking photos or videos of others.

Why do they say ‘Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends’? Isn’t that what people do at bars and parties everyday with their cellphones?
As many readers are aware, there has been a long history of contention about photography and the rights of photographers and individuals. The law in the US is fairly clear: anyone can take pictures — or video — of anyone or anything in a public place. The premise is that no one can have an expectation of privacy in a public place. And in a private place, you can take pictures unless asked to not do so. Here’s the Ten Legal Commandments of Photography:

I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.
II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.
III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.
IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.
V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.
VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:

  • accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
  • bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
  • industrial facilities, Superfund sites
  • public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
  • children, celebrities, law enforcement officers.
  • UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

VII. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.
VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)
IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.
X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.

So, the problem with asking for permission to take a picture is that people will tell you not to, even when you have the right to do so. Then you are in a bad position, and you are taking an action that will support the erroneous notion that photographers in general need to ask permission to take photos.
Don’t get me wrong: police and security people are going to confiscate eyegear, even though they have no justification, and they don’t know the law.
Another bit of bad advice:

[Don’t] Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.

As stated in the 8th Commandment, you are under no obligation to explain what you are doing with any photographic device when asked. Yes, you do have to turn it off when asked to by a responsible party in a private place, like the management of a museum.
And finally, this recommendation, which will seem odd in ten years:

[Don’t] Glass-out. Glass was built for short bursts of information and interactions that allow you to quickly get back to doing the other things you love. If you find yourself staring off into the prism for long periods of time you’re probably looking pretty weird to the people around you. So don’t read War and Peace on Glass. Things like that are better done on bigger screens.

Perhaps on this generation of eyegear, but as eyegear becomes incorporated into a wide variety of work settings in which ‘larger screens’ are not available or impractical– police, military, construction, retail, and manufacturing, for example — people will be goggling all day, and no one will think it strange in the least.

Coffee shop denizens reveal their top pet peeves

The caffeine may be flowing and the atmosphere comfy at your local coffee shop, but working there isn’t without its annoyances, which is why WorkSnug set out to solicit ideas and develop a ‘Coffee Shop Code of Conduct.’ Now the results are out.

Kvetch about your coffee shop pet peeves, win a smartphone

Even Emily Post would be out of her depth in the world of modern technology, so WorkSnug is asking remote workers on the ground to weigh in with their rules for coffee shop worker etiquette – and offering a prize to the most popular suggestions.

5 golden rules for productive digital collaboration

Many have discussed email etiquette, but for the average web worker, the notion of politesse can seem counterproductive. Here, then, are five golden rules for respectful, productive digital communication, whether you’re using email, IM, video chat, phone, or other communications tools.

If Emily Post Used Twitter

My insight into Twitter etiquette isn’t anything earth-shattering, but as the 140-character microblogging platform has become a daily tool for just about all of us, we’ve developed a loose set of norms when it comes to how we conduct ourselves on the service.

Phone and Computer Etiquette

For those of us who earn our living working online, the always-connected lifestyle can have its benefits and its drawbacks. I spend most of my day at my computer, whether I am in my office or working from other locations. When I step away from the laptop, I rely heavily on my phone as a way to check email, Twitter and RSS feeds, and I use it to look up information or get a map to the location for my next meeting. However, it isn’t always clear when using these devices violates the social rules defining acceptable behavior. In the New York Times, Alex Williams shares his views on the topic of smartphone usage and manners, so I thought that I would try to outline my take on appropriate use of devices in various social situations.

Photo by scriptingnews

Photo by scriptingnews

Conferences and events: For most events, using a laptop or phone falls within the boundaries of acceptable behavior. We use our devices to take notes, blog or tweet about the event, and keep up with our email and other work during these events. Possible exceptions to this rule could be where the event is small and intimate, or where most of the attendees are not computer-savvy and so someone typing on a laptop might seem out of place. Read More about Phone and Computer Etiquette

Talking Politics at Work When the Web is Your Workplace

The Wall Street Journal’s CareerJournal offers tips about talking politics in the workplace, including “If you do want to share your opinions, don’t bash those with whom you disagree” and “Don’t assume people feel the way you think they do.” That’s even more important to keep in mind if your workplace extends onto the web, through tools like blogs. Instead of being heard by three people in the break room, your rant about one presidential candidate or another could be read by thousands and archived for future bosses or clients to see.
But the web is such a great place to discuss political ideas and candidates, you may not want to rule out political discussion online entirely. You may seek authenticity and transparency in the way you conduct yourself online — that’s an attitude common to many web workers — and you may enjoy honestly expressing your opinion about issues that matter. If you do have an urge to join into the political conversation, however, you need to do it in a way that doesn’t create a long-lasting reputation for extremism or rancor.
Do you join into political conversation online? If so, how?