My First Day with the Apple Watch

My watch arrived late Friday afternoon. That setup required about 10 minutes. Saturday was my first full day of usage.


Unboxing the watch

General Impressions

The watch is comfortable. I purchased the 42mm Sport model with the white band. The size of the watch is similar to my Pebble but looks much nicer.

Battery life

I put the watch on at 7:30AM with a 99% charge and took it off at 11:30PM with 35% remaining. Interestingly it seems to drain the battery on my iPhone 5s faster than normal. I charged the phone for about 30 minutes in the afternoon as a result and that got me through the day.

Initial setup

The initial setup copied all of the compatible apps on my iPhone to the Apple Watch. Setup required about 10 minutes.

What I like

I had notifications turned-on for everthing. I discovered that wasn’t a good idea for the majority of my iPhone applications. In the early afternoon I turned-off all notifications with the exception of text messages, Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, and my sport score feeds (NBA & NHL).

Text messages

The watch is great for reading and responding to text messages. Siri on the watch work well for responding to text messages.


Responding to Tweet notificaitons and messages also works well.

To do list items

Wunderlist’s first try at the Apple Watch provides a good way to look-up list times but lacks a way (that I’ve found) to easily add new items. I assume Wunderlist will add that feature in a future release. Until then, I’ll use the Draft’s watch app to record new actions and my iPhone to sync them to my Wunderlist later.

The fitness app

I use the Fitbit but I like the way the Apple Watch fitness application works. It taps you to get up every hour and move around. This is a nice reminder if you work at a desk for long periods of time (I do when I’m writing). All of the settings are customizable. For a first edition the software is well-done. I’m sure that it will improve over time and I’m hopeful that Fitbit will create a good watch application.

What I don’t like

While the Apple Watch itself had plenty of juice but it did increase the battery drain on my iPhone. This was mostly due to increased usage because I was fiddling with the “My Watch” settings on my iPhone 5S. My phone usage way beyond normal. I didn’t time it but I’m sure I spent at least an hour more than normal on my iPhone Saturday morning.

What I’ll learn next week

I’m heading to San Jose to participate in a conference. This will provide a real-world test of the Apple Watch with my favorite travel apps. I’ll be using the Delta check-in application, Tripit, and Uber on my Apple Watch. I try both Apple Maps and Googlemap,Tripadvisor, and the Open Table (reservation) applications. My usage patterns be more typical of how I will use the watch over the long haul. I’ll report on my battery life and user experience at the end of next week.

Early Impressions

I was an early supporter of the Pebble Watch on Kickstarter. Pebble is a better option if you don’t want to charge your watch every day. I can count on  7-days of usage per charge on my Pebble. The Apple Watch requires daily charging. Because Apple didn’t skimp on the length of the recharging cable, this isn’t a problem.

I also like the way the Apple Watch notifications work. Both Pebble and Apple Watch offer audible notification. I tend to use turn off the audible notification and rely on haptic notificaitons. The Apple Watch’s haptic feedback is better than the Pebble. My Pebble’s buzz is somewhat annoying. I prefer the more subtle tap that the Apple Watch provides.

Reading or responding to long emails on the Apple Watch isn’t practical. The screen to too small for longer responses and emails are truncated on the watch. I like using Drafts on the Apple Watch for quickly capturing voice notes that are transcribed to text. These notes are immediatley availabe to the Drafts app on my iPhone and from there I can share them to a large variety of other applications-like Evernote. I don’t like Evenote’s Apple Watch application because it takes forever to load. The Drafts loads very quickly.

The heart rate monitor is fun. My resting heartbeat when I get up in the morning is between 55-62 BPM. During the day I seem to hover between 64-70BPM. I look forward to charting my heart rate after I’ve been using the watch for a couple of months to learn what my normal BPM range is for different times during the day.

It’s cool that I can use Apple Pay on my watch even though I have an older iPhone 5S. I’m looking forward to trying that feature. I’m also planning to test the Starbucks app this week to pay for a cup of coffee.

So far I’m happy that I purchased the Apple Watch Sport. It is light and comfortable and don’t look as dorky as the Pebble. The $400 price is reasonable considering the robust infrastructure provided by Apple and variety of apps supporting the watch.


Test WordPress Post

Test Post for WordPress

This is a test. I want to see how Desk will post this to my old site. Does it do image files? Let me post one just below here.

Next I’m going to continue below. I want to test a webpage link. Now that I’ve done a few basic things lets try some more. Here’s a bold. Now an italic. How about an underline? All of that seems to be working. I’m not sure that I enjoy the WYSIWIG. No problem. I can switch to Markdown whenever I want.

This is a numbered list view

  1. First item
  2. Second item
  3. Third item

This is an unnumbered list view

  • First random item
  • Second random item
  • Third randon item

That concludes this blog post test. Now I’ll try to publish it using the Desk app.

10 Reasons I love my Kindle 3

Kindle 31. Cost savings – I read a lot and Kindle book prices generally range from $9.99 to $14.99 for brand new releases. Amazon has a large selection of free public domain material. My breakeven point is about 10 books. Unfortunately – I’ll buy more books because it’s so easy to buy them. 🙂

2. Storage Capacity – The Kindle can hold a ton of reading material – I currently have about 20 full books and 30 book sample chapters. You will never run out of space.

3. Dictionary – Need to lookup a word – a dictionary comes with the Kindle and no web required. Nice.

4. Note taking & highlighting – I write all over the books I buy (especially non-fiction). What’s really nice about the Kindle is that you can highlight, bookmark and make notes on passages – then export those as text to you PC for future reference. The keyboard on the Kindle isn’t great – but it’s good enough for short text entries.

Kindle 3 back

5. Book previewing – Amazon makes it really easy to download a free book chapter and read it to see if you like it. Very handy. You can download 10 books that might be of interest, scan the chapters then buy only what you triggers your interest.

6. Size and Weight– Kindle fits in my brief case easily, weights less than a paperback and is the equivalent of having a full library at you disposal at all times. I made a cheap carrying case out of old bubble wrap. The Kindle took 3 pounds of weight out of my laptop bag. My back is thanking me.

7. Battery life – Turning on wifi only when using it and you’ll easily get 2 weeks of battery life out of a single charge. Because I download free content almost daily – I use the wifi more than necessary. If your frugal you should get longer battery life.

8. Book reading feature – Kindle can read books to you. Pretty slick. I don’t use it often but can imagine driving to work and letting the Kindle read books to me. The battery might be excessive but if you drive to an office every day (I don’t) the reading feature might be worth the drain.

Kindle 3 Side9. Public Domain Content – Amazon has a lot of good public domain books that you can download to Kindle. You don’t have to break the bank to stock your kindle library with books. I have over 40 books on my Kindle and 37 are public domain.

10. Multiple Devices & Backup – Maybe you don’t always have your Kindle available. Amazon has multiple Kindle editions. When you read on one of the editions the Kindle software updates every edition. In addition, Amazon archives all your digital books online so if you lose your Kindle you can re-stock your replacement in a snap.

Worried about a book addiction run wild with the Kindle? Cancel your cable TV service, sign-up for a Hulu premium account and you’ll have the budget for around (4) monthly book purchases. You may even come out ahead. Reading more in your spare time is never a bad idea.

This is a test post

VizNeato_1I’m testing Windows Live Writer 2011 with this post.  Just want to try some of the optional setting and see how the program behaves.  I like the relatively simple menu bar and the controls. In addition, there are a decent number of plug-ins that provide for additional functionality.

What I want is a blogging environment that will allow me to efficiently create blog posts when I don’t have a live web connection. 

Readability: Enhance Reading by Removing Clutter

Are you distracted by flashing banner adds?  Would you like a way to eliminate the non-essential clutter on blogs and websites?  A recent post by David Pogue lead me to this neat application created by ARC90 Labs called Readability.  What a great little tool this is.

Define the style, font size and margin width and drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar. You are ready to go.  Just surf to your favor blog and click the Readability bookmarklet.  All the junk is removed.

I tried Readability this morning on a variety of blogs and websites.  It worked flawlessly.  On sites that had mostly image content–as part of the content–it even warned me that I may not want to use Readability for that particular post.  Even embedded & scrolling content was converted and fully displayed.

This short video explains the configuration and setup.  Highly recommended.

Full Disclosure:  I have no relationship with ARC90 Labs and received no remuneration for this post.

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My 10 Favorite Tech Things of 2009, Plus a New One

Drill through hole picture

Flickr Creative Commons by Cayusa

My friend, Deepak Ghodke of Tableau Software, asked me what new technology I was using this year.  So Deepak, here are my list of favorites for for 2009.

Most are web applications–the only exception being the excellent shareware text editor WriteMonkey.

1. Evernote:  The jack-of-all-trades of capture tools.  I actually broke-down and purchased a premium license ($45.00/year) having exhausted the 40mb/month of storage that the free edition provides.  Evernote is combination web, desktop and cell phone note capture system–keeping all in sync.  Want to remember a restaurant name or the menu?  Just snap a picture with your phone and sync.  Evernote indexes the text inside images and makes them search able.  Scan and upload your handwritten journals and notes to Evernote making them fully search able and available anywhere.  Don’t miss the invaluable Firefox or Chrome web clipper extensions which make adding to your Evernote files a single-click operation.

2. ReQall:    ReQall allows you to leave voice notes to yourself.  The application converts these to text and will integrate with Evernote.  I don’t use the voice mode often but I love being able to capture quick text notes on my phone.  ReQall syncs your phone notes with the its website.  Standard accounts are free and are acceptably featured.  If you want more advanced features like automatic location recognition, push notification for the iPhone or the ability to add notes via email that will set you back $24.99/year.

3. Ubertwitter:  A very full-featured Twitter client for your cell phone.  Ubertwitter allows you to filter for Tweets in your area only, look at tweeter’s home pages, filter on your DM’s or @ messages or view trending topics.  I also use Ubertwitter to drill into the favorites of the people I follow.  This has yielded many informative websites that I don’t think I would have found any other way.  Freeware.

4. Google Reader (RSS):  While the technorati say that RSS is fading and that social media tools are replacing it, I can’t imagine living without  my RSS reader.  I follow nearly 300 blogs & websites via Google Reader. Most (non-tech) people I know haven’t even heard of RSS and don’t use it.  If your one of those people spend an hour learning how to use Google Reader.  RSS is an efficient way to monitor many sites.  It’s simple, it’s efficient and it’s free.

5. Think of Diigo as Delicious but with annotation added.  Highlight text on any web page. Add your own notes. Bookmark sites.  From that point forward any time you go back to that page your notes and highlights will be there. Share your annotations with specific people, groups or keep them private. Free.

6. Zotero:  This Firefox add-in allows you to save detailed bibliographical information for books, websites, papers, pod casts, or other media with a single click of your mouse.  Zotero also provides a very slick facility for embedding the bibliographic material into your writing tool and will do so in many different formats. Free.

7. You Send It:  Have you ever had a really large file that you needed to share that was just too large for email?  You Send It provides a very simple way to send these files. No training required.  The basic process–upload your file to You Send It.  Then, You Send It forwards a message with a download link to the receiver.  Couldn’t be simpler.  Your file size limit is 100MG.  The free version works fine for me.  More fully featured plans start at $9.99/month.

8. DropBox:  A virtual hard disk for holding up to 2GB of personal data on the web for free.  Use Dropbox to transfer files or backup critical documents you create on a borrowed computer.  Dead simple.  DropBox looks like another hard disk on your computer. A simple and efficient way to add flexible storage.  50GB of storage cost $9.99/month.  100GB is $19.99/month.

9. Google Chrome:  The fastest browser in the land, now with extensions.  And, it’s amazing how many neat one’s there are already with more being added daily.  I still use Firefox as my primary browser for leisure but Chrome has become my speedy browser of choice at work.  Free.

10.  WriteMonkey:  This shareware program is the best pure writing tool I’ve discovered in over 10 years.  A simple text editor with a clean interface, WriteMonkey has a surprising feature set just a right-click away. I particularly like old typewriter sound option. It makes you “feel” like a writer.  The program downloads & installs in under 60 seconds.  It has become my primary text editing tool.  Highly recommended.  The author, Iztok Stržinar, accepts donations accepts via Paypal.

11. Dabbleboard: A virtual white board which allows you to collaborate via the web.  I just discovered this tool and have not conducted any web meetings with it. Yet, I feel it is easy enough to use that I may try it out in that context soon.  I also think it’s a great way to create illustrations which can then be embedded in blog posts or emails.  The free version seems very good.  Pro plans start at $8.00/month and offer unlimited private drawings & meetings, SSL/https encrypted access, embedding your own logo and priority support.

What new technology have you discovered this year?  Are you using any of these tools?  How are you using them?

Full Disclosure:  I’m not affiliated with any of the companies or people who created these tools.

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