If you follow technology gossip, you probably saw the fuss kicked up last week by a Seattle resident called Nick Starr, who went into a local 24-hour diner wearing Google Glasses.
Those, in case you missed them, are the creepy streaming-video spectacles from Google that seem to have little practical purpose other than to intrude unrelentingly into the privacy of everyone who comes within eyeshot.
Indeed, the device (which is a nightmare of cardinality to start with, because spectacles are one of those curiously plural English singular nouns, while computers are not) has already spurred the amusingly apposite epithet glasshole.
That word describes those whose self-awarded sense of entitlement to wear their Glasses when out and about greatly exceeds the sense of discomfort and distrust those same Glasses provoke in the people around them.
Anyway, according to reports, Starr not only took exception to the diner’s laudable insistence that he take his Glasses off – for the sake of everyone else, and because, hey, the restaurant isn’t a public place – but went on a glassholic rant on Facebook to urge that the staff member who told him where to go should be sacked.
Starr apparently also ranted that the diner had lost business as a result of its killjoy attitude, because he had now shelved his plans to go there with his partner for Thanksgiving – glassed up, one assumes, so as not to miss a minute of his own self-importance.
We say “according to” and “apparently” because Mr Starr’s Facebook post, to which many stories direct us to learn about his outspoken views on privacy and why we need a lack of it, is not public.
You’ll have to log in to read it:
The Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, Open 24 Hours, on the other hand, is not so coy about its opinion of glassholitude, and has served public notice on Starr and his ilk to show them where to stick their spectacles:
We recently had to ask a rude customer to leave because of their insistence on wearing and operating Google Glasses inside the restaurant. So for the record, here's Our Official Policy on Google Glass:
We kindly ask our customers to refrain from wearing and operating Google Glasses inside Lost Lake. We also ask that you not videotape anyone using any other sort of technology. If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave. And if we ask you to leave, for God's sake, don't start yelling about your "rights". Just shut up and get out before you make things worse.
We imagine that this sort of showdown will become ever more prevalent as always-on recording devices create a digital divide between those who dismiss privacy as outmoded in the 21st century, and those who feel strongly that it should be respected as part of civil society.
So, expect an ongoing argument between the privacy deniers, like Scott McNealy, then CEO of then-company Sun Micrososystems, who famously said, “You have zero privacy…Get over it,” and Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, who respected privacy so much that he banned CNET reporters from Google for 12 months for publishing information about him that they had found using his company’s search engine.
(Indeed, that’s the same Google that makes the Glasses.)
In the meantime, our guts are telling us that the Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, Open 24 Hours, stands to gain much more in the way of publicity and business from unashamedly saying “No” to glassholes than it would from Google Glass users who might otherwise drop in to film themselves eating, say, Blackened Northwest Salmon, grilled with lemon and topped with fresh dill, served with seasonal vegetables and simple green salad, $13.00.
And if you don’t like it (the ban on Google Glasses, not the Blackened Northwest Salmon), then, in the words of Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, Open 24 Hours, Capitol Hill, 1505 Tenth Avenue, Seattle WA, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
Still, it wouldn’t hurt for Lost Lake to put some decent coffees on the menu – espressos and ristrettos, for instance.
Maybe it’s just that I speak British English, but “drip” as an adjective for anything – especially coffee – doesn’t make me want to consume it.