Category Archives: Google Glass

The Last Resort – Finding the MAC Address of Google Glass [UPDATED]

UPDATE: The Glass Team have recently made this a whole lot easier (I guess in response to a lot of requests).  Your MAC address is now available on the MyGlass page.  Just visit, and click on “Device info”.  It’s listed below:

Finding the MAC Address of Google Glass

Finding the MAC Address of Google Glass

Original post:

So, today I needed to find the MAC address of my Google Glass so I could get an exception made on a Firewall for screen casting at an upcoming conference (Venturefest York). This was more difficult than expected (partly because of Glass, partly because of my situation), so I thought I’d explain the method that’ll reliably work for people in a similar situation.

Jump to the solution, or read what I tried first:

On most pieces of technology with networking functions, the MAC address is printed on the side of the packaging.  Saying that, I can’t think of a piece of technology where this hasn’t been the case for me.  Unfortunately, in this age of ‘Unboxing is Theatre’ and minimalistic packaging, Google omitted this on the Explorer Edition.

So, the first normal step then would be to go to the Settings app (if on a desktop or mobile device) or the control panel (if it’s a networking device) and find it there, but since Glass has such a (beautiful) minimalistic design, information not vital to the day-to-day operation of Glass is hidden.

Next, you’d normally look in your router’s control panel and find a connected device with a name matching the name of your Glass.  Unfortunately, I’m on a large organisation network without access to this kind of control panel.  I experimented with creating a personal hotspot from my phone for Glass and a Laptop, but then when I queried Glass for it’s MAC address with the arp utility it returned nonsense.

So, the solution.  You’ll need to open a shell on the device and execute the Android Network Configuration application.  To do this:

  1. You’ll need the ‘adb’ utility – download the Android SDK if you don’t have it.
  2. Enable dev/debug Mode on your Glass (Settings -> Device Info -> Turn on debug).
  3. Plug Glass into the computer you’ve got adb installed on.
  4. Run the following in your terminal:
adb shell

and the output will include the MAC address of your Glass:

[email protected]:/ $ netcfg
lo       UP        0x00000049 00:00:00:00:00:00
ifb0     DOWN      0x00000082 ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
ifb1     DOWN      0x00000082 ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
sit0     DOWN      0x00000080 00:00:00:00:00:00
ip6tnl0  DOWN      0x00000080 ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
wlan0    UP       0x00001043 ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

(where ff represents obscured values)

So there we are!  Easy once you’ve found how to do it.

My Last Few Weeks at Google

Note: This was actually written in October, but it took a while for me to get around to editing and publishing it.

So, my internship is over (though you’d never believe it from the small number of posts I have written).  Various parts of this were written at different points over the last few weeks.

Project Really Getting Underway

As you know, Noogler training took up a large proportion of the first two weeks.  Once that was out of the way, I was able to start looking at my project.  It quickly became apparent that I didn’t know enough to start work on the project immediately – I needed to learn more C++ and how to use some specific Google technologies.  Of course, this wasn’t a problem, since a large part of the STEP (Summer Trainee Engineering Program) is about learning, so I spent 3 weeks increasing my C++ knowledge from Objective-C and learning the technologies.

By the second week in August, I was working directly on my project.  It felt like I was making slow progress, and the code was some of the most complicated I have worked with, but I got to a good point by the end of my internship.

Preparing for Interview

A major part of the last 3 weeks of my time at Google was preparing for my interview.  STEP Interns have go through (and pass) a somewhat reduced re-recruitment process to be selected for another Internship (this time a full internship).  I got the interview notification two weeks before the interview, which brought an end to the weekends spent hiking (below).  What did surprise me was how the interview revision guide provided by my recruiter was an almost 1:1 matching of the ‘Theory and Practise of Programming’ (TPOP) module from my course the year before.  It was certainly a surprising jump to go back to the fundamentals after working on stuff that was so far away from them for the whole summer, but it didn’t take long to get back to memorising pseudocode for some algorithms like Merge sort.  I mostly used, but also made sure I could write basic algorithms for what was on the preparation guide.


One of the great things about working at Google was the T-shirts.  Sure, it wasn’t like it apparently used to be with the ‘help yourself closet’, but there were still lots free ones, and discounts to buy your own.  I think by the end I had about 25 pieces of Google clothing, which I’ll enjoy wearing around my CS department.



As previously mentioned, the mentality at Google is really fun.  Whilst I was there, there were two team off-sites – the first was for the YouTube Analytics team to go Zip Wiring in Bern, which was fantastic fun.  It was fairly close to the start of our internships, so gave us Interns a chance to get to know each other a bit better ahead of working quite closely together for the coming weeks (since the three of us went around together on the zip lines and bridges).  It was certainly a lot of fun, and a new experience for me.

The second off-site was a little more ‘Google-Scale’.  All of YouTube in Europe got on a coach to go to the village of Alpbach in Austria for a two day trip, including a murder mystery and mini-hike around the mountains.  The murder mystery was incredibly well organised – a large amount of the village was taking part and the plot twisted and turned, going deeply into the community (visits to the local estate agent, a guy in a tractor, the local vicar and the hairdresser were necessary).  The hike in the morning was incredible – it was really interesting to notice the little differences between the Swiss mountain villages and the Austrian ones.  By coincidence I was also walking with some very experienced managers from the Zurich office and got the opportunity to chat and learn from them.

Google Glass

I also had the opportunity to try Google Glass upon our return from Alpbach, which was really awesome.  This has spawned a few ideas for Glassware that I’d like to build over my next year at University to help people with disabilities – there may be a post to follow about this.  Update: first post on this here.  A post with more details about the Glassware I decided to develop will be following soon.

Me with Glass

Me with Glass

Zermatt and Liechtenstein

Whilst in Switzerland I had the fantastic opportunity to hike in the mountains every weekend – a really nice change from University, where there is stuff to do in the weekends (although I’m not saying I didn’t make the odd office visit at a weekend).  There were three trips that really stood out – a trip to Vals to visit the famous Therme (after hiking there from the Dam), a trip to Liechtenstein to hike Rappenstein and a trip to Zermatt to hike around the Matterhorn for two days.  A small selection of photos included below.

Click on a photo to view larger

Final Days

The final few days were quite a rush.  A piece of code I had been working on for several weeks was still not quite finished and it needed documenting.  As well as sorting out my de-registration from the city of Zurich, I also wanted to spend some time in the last days of my internship reading and learning as much as possible from Google’s internal and very high quality teaching resources.

So, three questions remain.

Is it like the film?  Not really – we had a showing of the film – a cinema full of Googlers made it quite funny.  Some parts of the film are surprisingly accurate, whilst others couldn’t be further away (Interns, for example, do not compete with each other for jobs).

What do I feel I got out of everything?  Where do I start?  Both Engineering and Meta-skill wise, I learned a lot.  From how to use various Google technologies (both external and internal ones) to how they work, and from how a project is started to how it comes to fruition.  I also learnt a lot about how projects are developed in teams and about large scale development, as well as just how much fun work can be, and how true ‘work hard, play hard’ is.

I also learned a lot about myself – after arriving and realising the wealth of activities and opportunities, I made a deal with myself that I would say ‘Yes’ to every opportunity that presented itself to me.  I couldn’t be more glad that I did that – it meant I forced myself into things I would never have done before like, from a ‘Via ferrata’, to some all-day single-peak hikes, to hiking around the Matterhorn.

Doing the Via Ferrata in Zermatt

Doing the Via Ferrata in Zermatt

Would I do it again?  Definitely.  Without question.  For the sense of satisfaction and achievement I got from writing code at Google and for the amazing working environment.

Six Weeks On – Review of Google Glass in an Academic Environment

I have been lucky enough to have been a Google Glass Explorer since mid-October, and have been using Glass in my day-to-day life at University since then.  So, how am I getting along with it?

Me With Glass

Me With Glass

Let’s get the whole “it’s a new product and people stare” thing out of the way first.  Yes, it is a new product, and most people are either not aware of it or have never seen one before, so wearing it does attract an unfortunate amount of attention and excitement.  It’s great to be able to share the experience with people, most of the time.  So I find myself wearing it only whilst I am in my flat, my CS department or in an outdoors situation where I feel totally safe (i.e. day light in central London).

What’s the Device Like?

From a technological perspective, it’s really awesome.  Let’s start with the one potential flaw though – the Interface.

The Interface is one of the most confusing parts about Glass at first – many of you will have seen the voice interaction but less of you will have seen the touch pad on the side, and this is where the interaction problems lie.  Let’s take a mobile phone as an example.  It doesn’t take long when getting a new mobile phone to build a ‘map’ of the menus in your mind (a tree structure of menus and submenus, all containing functions you may wish to use).  Contrary to this, on Glass it takes a longer time to build this structure.  One way this shows itself is when you give demonstrations.  Almost immediately after someone puts Glass on, they are lost in a menu somewhere, despite having given them a description of the 4 gestures that can be performed on the touch pad.

I’d like to make it clear that after the first day or so of using it, Glass is just as intuitive and natural to use as your phone (actually, I’d argue more so) because you have built this structure of the menus in your mind.  I believe that the extra time it takes to build up this structure is because of how different Glass is from platforms that we might have used before rather than how intuitive it is to use, but I don’t know how I could actually show this in a feasible experiment.

The screen (“prism”) is one part of Glass that the Glass team have done themselves proud on.  Whilst it’s off, you can see right through it and barely notice it is there, but when it is on it’s very bright (if necessary) and the colours are vivid.  The resolution is also very good (you can’t discern individual pixels) and the refresh rate seems to only be limited by the graphics power of Glass (i.e. it’s very good, ignoring the rare occasion when Glass is doing something intensive in the background, when it becomes choppy).

The battery life is, in my opinion, also something the Glass team have done really well with.  There have been lots of complains in reviews so far that the battery life doesn’t hold out for the whole day it is meant to.  The story here is a little more complicated than they tend to make out however.  Once you’ve got used to Glass (i.e. you’ve stopped browsing through every single menu card and novelty of saying “OK Glass, take a picture” has worn off) and stopped wearing down the battery by having the screen constantly on, the battery life dramatically increases.  This is because most of the time Glass is on your head in standby mode – it’s only when you wake it up to read an email, hangout with someone or Google a fact that it starts draining the battery, and though that’s quite often it never takes long so Glass can quickly go back to sleep.

In an academic situation, you spend a significant number of hour chunks in lectures / practicals etc, and only interact with Glass in the bits in-between.  This works very well with the battery – whilst walking from one lecture to another for example, I can go through all the emails I received in the time in-between (and not walk into a lamp post because my head isn’t angled at the phone in my hand), and then the battery gets an hours rest!

I should point out that demos consume an awful lot of power.  A good demo where you give someone a really comprehensive idea of what it is like using Glass day-to-day takes up to 10 minutes, so if you do a few of them back to back you can easily loose 80% battery in an hour.


My Glass is becoming more and more accepted by lecturers as they get more used to me wearing it.  At first I was asked a couple of times whether I was recording them whilst having a conversation, but after giving yet more demos everyone seems happy.

Glass really comes into it’s own whilst doing mundane research.  I am taking a Software Engineering module at the moment where we as a team design and create an Air Traffic Control game in Java.  Glass is really coming into it’s own when we have a quick question to ask or need some information retrieving – questions like ‘Does Java support multiple Inheritance’, ‘How far must aeroplanes be apart from each other whilst cruising’ and ‘What’s the circumference of a circle with radius 15’ are answered immediately by Glass, before I’d even have opened my Laptop lid.

Glass is also incredibly useful when you need to be able to constantly refer to something.  Taking the above example again – whilst designing Class structures, it was incredibly useful to have the UML diagram of one segment of our application right in front of me rather than having to keep turning around / refer to a printed copy.

The camera in Glass is another thing the Glass team have just done staggeringly well with.  The colours are bright and saturated (I guess due to some HDR magic), images are crisp and there’s very little noise in them, even in evening shots.  I’ve included a small gallery below of shots taken from Glass and a pair of videos recorded from it (note how stable the video is whilst I was walking).


Am I glad to have Glass and do I prefer to be wearing it than not wearing it?  Definitely.  Having all these features right on your face, and not causing any distraction or obstruction whilst they are not in use is just incredibly useful and I can’t wait for this technology to progress even further!