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This site is infrequently updated. In the mean time, I write about things & stuff via tinyletter.
things and stuff. and nyc.
I just said, out loud to my empty apartment, “Echo, turn the living room light to 50%”. Then my living room light dimmed. Of course I said Thank You to this Internet of Things technology. Somehow I have come to rely on it. Although that was not intentional. As I regularly ask my Amazon Echo for the time, and turn my lights on remotely, it was only a matter of time I decided to add WiFi Sunglasses to my collection of things-i-dont-need-but-use-every-day-and-love.
Snapchat is an app that I truly love. Why? Because I love story telling. After all, I have been telling stories on this blog since 2009. I love telling stories via writing, audio, photos, drawing, and now thanks to Snapchat, video. It is just another medium used for long-form story telling. Though it is ultimately temporary. (Isn’t everything?) My username is lintacious, follow me!
A few years ago, I wrote a guide to using Snapchat. Recent interface changes and upgrades have made that slightly outdated. I still use the photo/video app daily to tell stories. Maybe these stories are pointless but they are my stories. My story of buying a bagel in Manhattan is different from your story of buying a bagel elsewhere.
Before Snapchat featured more corporate Discover stories, I truly believed it was the pinnacle of the shared experience. At a time, I thought Snapchat was what the Internet was designed for. I still think that for the most part.
Whether you are taking a photo of your cats, a video of your vacation, or yourself ranting, sharing every day first-hand experiences is a great way to give others a fresh perspective.
Spectacles are a hardware product by Snap,inc. (Snapchat’s parent company). They are the first product created by Snap. Considering, this is the first piece of hardware from a software company, it really is a feat in design, use, and of course, marketing.
By design, Snapchat is an app. There is not a web-based version of it. You can download your snaps (photos/videos) and post them elsewhere. But you can only use Snapchat itself on a phone. Up until now, you needed a phone to take a photo or video.
Simply put, Spectacles are sunglasses equipped with a camera allowing you to take 10-30-second videos. These videos are uploaded into Snapchat via Bluetooth or WiFi. Then you can share your first-hand hands-free experiences with your friends. The lens provides not only a truly first-person experience but also peripheral sight.
A camera’s limitation is framing. It is difficult to show the expanse of a mountain range or urban skyline because a photo is abruptly cut off. Even a panoramic shot does not give a reliable scope. With a 115-degree camera, Spectacles provide an all-around perspective similar to that of vision. Honestly, the videos feel surreal and take some getting used to.
Purchasing the Spectacles is an experience in itself. I know how “sucker” I sound right now. I know some millenial advertising exec is very happy to read this. That’s okay. I pick and choose my capitalistic battle and will let myself get sucked into this one. Anyway, the shopping experience for buying Spectacles in NYC was really… cool.
In many other cities, Snapchat has used vending machines placed in not-obvious locations. Once people hear word, the lines start and never end. It is a really good gimmick. In NYC, the purchasing experience was a little different.
NYC has a Spectacles pop-up store! Well, at least until New Year’s day. (The time of this writing is 12/22). The scarcity of the product is intentional and genius.
The way the store works is in two parts:
1) Show up to the store between 4-7p to receive a wrist-band with a time slot. This is the time you are to come back to the store to make your purchase. The last time slot is 9:30-10p. The wristbands will likely be gone by 8p.
2) Come back at your assigned time slot. You are then let into the store where there are 3 Spectacles vending machines. You are allowed/encouraged to document the experience (via Snapchat of course). At the machine, pick your color Spectacles, put in your Credit Card ($130/each), then get your tube, and you’re done! Limit 2 per customer.
This was by far the least stressful tech-buying experience I’ve encountered. No crowded store. Only the people buying Spectacles were allowed inside. No tourists inside taking lots of pictures but not buying anything. Very minimal. Super easy process all around. I got to the store right from work, so about 6:30pm and got a wristband for 9pm. Killing time wasn’t too terrible in midtown.
Currently, the Snapchat pop up store is located at 59th st and 5th avenue. Directly across from the Apple Store Cube.
My Snapchat stories aren’t always the most interesting. But I am one of those people who love seeing “day in the life” experiences. It’s the typical every day stuff that can be intriguing to watch. Also, I live in NYC. To a lot of people, it is a whole other world. Many people have only seen it in movies. I like being able to give a slightly more realistic view of what it’s like to live here. Even if most of the time I sit in my Brooklyn apartment with my cats. Hey, that’s real life too.
At $130, I am fine with the price point. I have been considering a go-pro off and on the past few years. Mostly to use while running half marathons and maybe during an event. But those action cameras are really expensive. At about $400 not including accessories, it’s been difficult to justify. Comparatively, the Spectacles are much easier to justify. Even if I don’t have a use-case for them right now. I am sure over time I will get my moneys worth out of them.
It is surreal knowing that everything I see is recording and could possibly be shared. But I also love that about it. It’s providing context to the world. Instead of looking at this perfectly framed photo of my curated coffee table that I rearranged meticulously and is not practical for every day use, you can see the entire room in all of it’s imperfect glory. That feels more real. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, yet, but for now I like it.
Let’s get right to business. How do these Snapchat sunglasses work!
Snapchat Spectacles are video-recording-enabled sunglasses debuted by Snap,inc exclusively for use with Snapchat. They retail for $130 and are only sold at Snapchat vending machines.
My username is lintacious, follow me!
Yes I love technology.
Every year I re-watch some of my favorite Christmas & holiday-themed movies in the month of December. Thankfully, many of these are available on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime so everyone can enjoy them!
I added a winter movie on this list, The Cutting Edge, currently streaming on Hulu. It is not specifically Christmas themed, although there is a Christmas scene. But it is about ice skating (and hockey!) and I watch it every winter. I’ve shared this favorite movie of mine with lots of friends over the years and everyone has enjoyed it. I’m happy to see it finally streaming.
Also included in the lists are both versions of Miracle on 34th Street. I don’t mind the remake, honestly, so I recommend giving them both a watch.
There are many more Christmas-themed movies available streaming but I’ve narrowed down the list below to ones I regularly enjoy year over year. Also, some of them are really really bad. I promise only good ones below.
I hope everyone can get into the holiday spirit this month and enjoy watching some Christmas movie favorites!
Updated 12/25/2016 to add The Santa Clause (Netflix).
as of 12/25/2016
Scott Adams is the creator of the comic Dilbert. As a successful entrepreneur, he wrote this memoir/business/self-help book to provide examples of life strategies that might help others. The book starts out strong with helpful advice about business strategy. The ending becomes preachy as he turns to habits & lifestyles. Leslie Rating: 2/5
I initially enjoyed reading How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. The best piece of advice from him is to use systems not goals. This is exactly how I’ve been looking at life for the past few years. Goals are for losers. You need to have systems. Without a system in place, you will fall back into the old routine. He is definitely on point there.
Adams also has a lot of optimism and focus. I like the idea of a forward focus. Being optimistic means learning from failures rather than becoming stagnant from them. His attitude is upbeat and the book starts out as an enjoyable read. The beginning of the book is very memoir so it is interesting to learn about someone else. However, from there the book is just him telling us how to live our lives.
Moving into business, the tone definitely changes and he starts to sound a little bit like an asshole. His business strategy is to always be an entrepreneur and sell a product, never selling his own time. He makes it clear that his comics are a business; he is not an artist. So if he will earn more money by changing something in the comic, he does not have the limitation of artistic integrity. This is a product so it must be designed for those willing to buy it. It also is simple so it can be easily recreated and mass produced. That way he is making the most money in the least amount of time. This is likely the type of attitude it takes to be really rich (and Adams is really rich, really really rich, and he won’t let you forget that fact).
From Business advice, he turns to straight-up life advice. This is the asshole bit. Because these things worked for him, he is certain they are key to everyone’s success. Yes, it is that preachy and self righteous. He states that this might not work for everyone but his attitude is clearly that it will. This section also has a Dale Carnegie feel to it. Which is no surprise because one of his Life Tips is to learn how to manipulate others. Sure, you’ll get other people to like you. And I guess when you’re asking people for money in the business world that is important. But it just feels so icky to me. (Clearly I am not cut out for the business world).
Another of his Life Tips is to drink coffee for the energy boost. Yes, that is a pro-tip. He also has a huge section on Daily Affirmations. But the whole idea is such a joke I’m ignoring it.
The few takeaways the book has can be found in other places. The rest of the book has a know-it-all tone that does not seem helpful. The more I thought of the book after, the less I liked it. I give it a 2/5 because the information is nothing new and his explanation of it is unnecessarily condescending.