The Tweets
The Tweets
Wednesday
May062015

My week with Apple Watch

After spending just over a week with the Apple Watch, I decided to put together a little overview of my first 7 (ok, 8... sort of) days with this new device just to see if I could come up with something real and un gush-y. Truth be told, for all of my gadgetry, this is the first completely new product category I've been the earliest of adopters for--the next closest being the first iPod after owning a Sony MiniDisk Player and picking up the iPhone 3GS the day it launched in Canada.

I'm not too ashamed to admit that after I got confirmation on the Apple Store app, I was a bit obsessive in checking the order status to watch it go from Processing to Preparing for Shipment. I'll even say that I was "losing hope" that I'd be one of the lucky ones to receive one on April 24th, although honestly, that's way to grandiose a term for what is really just a new toy, not anything to "lose hope" over. The fact that it got delivered on April 27, just three days after launch day was pretty cool.

With that said, here we go:

Day 1:

After confirming that the security guard at my building was actually at his desk to sign for the package, I impatiently commuted home on public transit, eager to pick up the box and take it upstairs. I hoped that I wouldn't be one of those to document the unboxing, but deep down inside I knew better. Of course, upon arriving home, there was no delivery tag on my mailbox; thankfully I have a good relationship with the afternoon guard and after explaining that I got an email confirmation of delivery, seconds later he emerged from the package room carrying a long rectangular box with--literally--my name on it.

Getting back into the apartment, the world continued to delay my geek out session as my poor cat decided to pick that very day for a puke session. A quick cleanup of the carpet and the animal and it was time to pay attention to a box within a box...within a box.

After fully documenting the unboxing with photos--I wasn't going to go as far as to capture this moment in video--I was pleased to see that there was enough of a charge to start wearing the watch immediately. This being a first gen edition of a relatively new product category--sorry Pebble, I loved you but this is another league--I was a little taken aback by the learning curve to get comfortable playing around in the OS, but once a few brain cells clicked into place things started to make sense. Minor issues like a long boot time, the need to restart the device after 30 seconds and a definite lag for third party apps to load bring me down to Earth a bit. I can admit that I don't NEED this device, although I still very much want it.

Once my wife gets home and laughs sufficiently at how lame I am, she texts her sister to continue the fun making, but the tables get turned. Once my sister in law hears that I can receive calls on the phone, she decides to call me to see what it's all about. Sound quality is quite good, impressing everyone in the room. Very Inspector Gadget she calls it; a nice departure from all the Dick Tracy references (although that's probably just the age gap talking).

Day 2:

Well the one and only choice of an alarm chime annoys the wife, so I need to figure out something. Maybe a twice daily charging schedule on weekdays so I can wear it to bed and use the silent Taptic Engine to wake me silently like the old Pebble used to do? One simple alarm test confirms that this is possible.

Tried to access the Transit app on the way to the bus stop, but another necessary reboot takes longer than expected, another first gen reminder. Works flawlessly the rest of the day, however.

While Siri understands me shockingly well, I'm still a bit paranoid about asking her to play music in public due to fear of judgement by others (thanks Overheards segment from Stop Podcasting Yourself).

One person at work noticed and decided to actually say something to me today; I've been tasked with giving an update as to how well I enjoy the watch after a couple weeks.

At the end of the day, I head to the Apple Store to see about purchasing a second charging cable--in keeping with the possible twice daily charging solution. No dice, but I was able to commiserate with an employee who saw my Bluetooth earbuds (Outdoor Technology Orcas) and we bonded over small ear canals, got over jealousy that I had received the Apple Watch before her and bonded over being public transit/bike people and how much the watch will help us in our day to day lives... thus bringing people together over positivity (kind of the opposite of the Internet). After all that, I forgot to ask about AppleCare+. I guess a trip back is in my future.

All day battery life is true to form: at 50% after twelve hours (5:15AM to 5:15PM); iPhone was in my pocket for most of the day except for major texting sessions and browsing. Oh, and the phone call handoff from watch to iPhone is seamless.

Time to set it on a charger a couple hours before bed so I can wear it to sleep

Day 3:

Woke up silently with an 89% charge. Normally I'm very obsessive about battery percentage on my devices and if Apple Watch makes me less so, it's worth the price alone.

85% charge at 7:00AM (packed my lone charging cable just in case); transit app still slow to load in the morning; was fine yesterday afternoon for whatever reason.

57% at 4:00PM even after playing around with it on the bus. Got a couple of looks from people, but strangely only when my arm was at my side and not when I was swiping around the watch face. I feel like kind of a jerk using it to pay at Starbucks, but I have to push through because I didn't pay this much money to not use the features I paid this much money for.

My iPhone is getting really comfortable in my pocket--and I must say the watch is incredibly comfortable on my wrist. When I get distracted from KNOWING I have an Apple Watch on, I barely even feel it.

I love the lack of double notifications when you're actually using the unlocked iPhone... I just need to figure out if I need to adjust anything when it comes to my Macbook Pro and iPad as those notifications still come through no matter what.

55% at 5:00PM; looking good for a pre-sleep charge.

Day 4:

88% charge as I wake up silently once again. Bravely left my charging cable at home today. Baby steps.

82% at 7:55AM - at some point, maybe I should remove the battery complication from the watch face. Again, baby steps.

57% at 3:55PM which seems to be right on track again. I won't be home until later today, and I might have some more communicating/playing on the watch so we'll see. The coward in me can't wait for the portable battery coming in June--thanks Nomad!

I'm not sure what this means exactly, but after a few days, the novelty of using the watch is still there, even more so than with a new iPhone. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that it's the closest thing to a new tech category I've experienced in years. Whatever the reason, I like it.

Random thought at some point during the day: I wonder if this will be an answer to the alleged "everybody just stares at their phone" problem? The best and most comfortable way to interact with Apple Watch is with "microtransactons." You only need--and quite honestly want--to interact with it in terms of seconds as opposed to falling into an iPhone rabbit hole. Not to mention that with daily charging, although it's enough to get you through the day--so far--you still have to be careful about draining too much of the battery before you have access to a plug or USB port.

50% at 5:30PM. I can definitely deal with a half charge to start the evening, especially if it was on my wrist all night.

Day 5:

91% on waking, but due to texting on the bus--presumably--it's at 84% at 7:00AM, again staying fairly consistent. We'll see what happens when the Spy Watch experiment begins later today.

The novelty continues, but at the same time Apple Watch has integrated into my life so seamlessly--and quickly. That says a lot about the things it can do, and how it does them. I was never concerned about an overload of notifications because as a Pebble user, I was used to ignoring what I could, and now that I can tailor exactly what goes to the watch, I'm in control of how much--or how little--I get distracted by all the taps throughout the day. Despite what I've read elsewhere, it's not so challenging to be the boss and ignore taps if you're in the middle of a meeting or engaging conversation.

I do, however, keep thinking about "Halo" from Continuum when I look at Apple Watch

I had to force a restart; no third party apps would open. No battery drain, but boot time is still longer than is comfortable.

The third "in the wild" conversation about the watch today, this time at Starbucks. I still feel weird about paying with it, but I'm getting less self conscious. It's interesting that I'm not going out of my way to hide OR display it in public. I'll admit that I get a little charge knowing I'm one of the few in my city that has one on (as horribly self involved as that is). That seems to be enough for me though. I don't NEED to have people see it (I could write a whole other thing about that--internal feelings of being cool vs. external attempts at being cool).

I live in a world--of my own design--that relies on charging: Macbook Pro, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6, Bluetooth Keyboard, portable batteries (2) TWO Bluetooth headphones (in ear and over ear) and now Apple Watch. Cables are practially always on hand and I've learned to live with this and schedule my life so that charging is almost always a possibility if need be.

54% at 4:45PM; still on track to be as consistent as the rest of the week has been even with some Spy Watch gaming.

41% at 10:05PM after getting multiple updates over dinner and various time checks. Looks like weekend overnight charging is the ideal setup so far. I'm curious and excited to try it out on my first run with it tomorrow and to see how that fits into the battery life situation.

Day 6:

90% after an overnight charge and a 15 minute, 2.5K run WITH music playing from the watch. That's not bad, but man oh man do I need to get back in shape.

Apple Watch is making it more easy to both disappoint and be proud of myself when it comes to working out. Everything is logged in one place and almost automatically so it's painfully obvious if/when I miss a workout or decide to be lazy on the couch for three hours and not move--the taps to stand up are phenominal by the way, especially when you have an office job.

66% at 6:00 (oooh, 666) after running errands, a quick voice call in the car and a Siri assisted text message along with the usual notification checks. Apple Watch being the "Answer to a problem not everyone has (or is aware of)" is probably the best definition of the device so far.

I never wanted to game on the Pebble, and I was only mildly curious about Apple Watch. After a few days, Spy Watch is still intriguing, but I might eventually tire of it as well. It might actually get me back into Trivia Crack though... less than 30 second bursts of activity isn't just ideal for a casual gamer when it comes to Apple Watch, it's a necessity.

Day 7:

Woke up early at 6:30AM due to some more cat related cleanup but I didn't put the watch on until 9:30 because I was lounging on the couch doing practically nothing. Still at 100% at 10:20AM

After a Sunday afternoon consisting of walking, errands, a bit of Spy Watching and hanging out near the water, we're at 82%. It's definitely a device that has plenty of battery power for the average user once you get over having to play with it every five minutes.

Day 8:

This watch is the picture of consistency after one week: 92% on waking. I may actually remove the battery complication for a week just to see how that goes (update: I lasted half a day).

Just to see, and because I haven't had to yet, I enabled Power Reserve. All it shows is a green digital display of the time at the top right of the screen. One annoyance is that you need to reboot to turn it off and get back to full use mode.

Another Starbucks interaction with the watch (called iWatch by the barista). Those who know what it is seem impressed with how it looks in real life compared to pictures and video online, even if they don't feel they need to own one just yet.

It seems I was destined for one last test today: As I was walking home from a bus stop far enough removed from my condo--so that I could successfully complete both my Stand and Exercise goals for the day--it started raining. It was a fairly light one so I chose to forego the umbrella and test the water resistance at the same time. Once again, as advertised, it continued to work while wet and I was also able to swipe across the screen and respond to notifications even with huge droplets of water on the screen.

As I start to wind down in the final hours of week 1, my opinion remains largely unchanged. I don't need Apple Watch, but it is actually finding a way into my life with relative ease and I'm already seeing improvements in both productivity and pushing/shaming me into being healthier. With full integration with the Health app, all my activities are gathered which makes it so much easier to stay on track with a change in my eating and workout lifestyle.

Is Apple Watch for everyone? No. Is it for me? Definitely.

 

******One small update RE: Battery Life: After an afternoon run early in week 2 of my life with Apple Watch, I did get down to 21% by the time I was going to do my pre-bedtime charge so I did end up leaving it on to charge through the night. The alarm was slightly less annoying to my wife, so I guess it's still TBC on exactly what the charging schedule will be although the 18 hour estimate by Apple is still very conservative with how I use the watch (oh, and I did pick up an extra charging cable when I purchased AppleCare+ on day 10... just in case)******

Thursday
Apr302015

Two days in a row? Let's get excited after the 10 000 hours, shall we?

So I'm back in the wild, with another rye and ginger next to me--sadly, no visit from a best friend is imminent this time. One big change is that thee is no sow anywhere in sight, and I'm outside. Theres also the little piece of technology sitting on my wrist, tapping me ever so delightfully every few minutes, but as I said yesterday, a full report is forthcoming.

Today, is just another stretch before the run, so to speak. I happen to have an hour to kill, and a patio table free, so I figured why not start a good habit for once--other than a slight cheating on my new eating style--NOT a diet. I don't even really have a whole lot to say, and there are things I really should be doing, but this is better than finding yet another show to watch and tune out the rest of my life with.

When you have so many good things happening in your life, it's easy to accept the bad things as "the price you pay." I'm starting to wonder if that's true. I'm not saying that everything will always be great, but I'm not sure if you need to accept sub-par life conditions because you owe it to anyone/anything/anywhere due to finding something amazing amongst the garbage.

...so much for the hour. 25 minutes and I'm done. At least I'll get to enjoy the rest of my drink before heading off to the next thing.

Wednesday
Apr292015

My mom says I'm cool (or "am I finally figuring things out?")

Originally written on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 at 4:27 PM

Walking home from the bus stop, listening to music for the first time in forever (damn you podcasts!), I had a weird realization. I don't think that this blog is really doing what I wanted it to do. I mean forget the lack of reguar updates, or that I haven't convinced any of my friends to contribute; I really mean that this was supposed to chronicle my greatest fear--becoming an old man who's out of touch with everything--and my struggle to maintain at least an understanding of relevance.

To wit, here is take 138:

I may have already attempted to make this point before, and this may start out a bit dollar store philosophical, but "coolness" doesn't exist (anymore). Full disclosure: I wasn't exactly the most popular kid in school, but this isn't going to turn into a loser's ranting about society. If there's one thing I've noticed in my years of taking public transit, it's that we all laugh at each other. In 2015, there is no pinacle of coolness that is untouchable; there are no safe havens. Nerds mock the jocks, jocks mock the suits, the suits mock the punks, the punks mock... you get the point. So, why do I feel more confident now, at 35(!) than I've ever felt before? I guess the easy answer is confidence, but I don't think it's quite that simple.

...so it's about two weeks later (April 29) and I guess it's take 139. I'm leaving the above in, albeit in strikethrough because 1) I still think there's a good point in there somewhere and 2) I'm sure I've tried to say it at least once before in this same blog.

My biggest flaw is my fear of looking ridiculous in front of people I respect. In fact, it's so large of a fear that I end up giving up before really trying. I even try to remove my--many--false starts from existence. Not this time. If I won't turn a corner organically, I'm going to through myself around it, Fight Club style.

The main point still stands. This blog isn't doing what it's supposed to. So I'm going to force myself to throw stuff against the virtual wall until something finally sticks and I can mold it into a reasonable facimile of what's in my brain. That starts with clearly defined categories, crappy ideas, so-so ideas, and--hopefully-- a few great ideas.

It's 2015; I can't complain about not having the tools anymore, especially after my latest purchase--a blog about that is forthcoming. I can only blame myself. My life is about to undergo some rather drastic changes recently, and my future happiness and success depends on how I'm able to react and adjust, so why not start here?

I've been so afraid of my image that I don't have one. Time to change that too.

Wednesday
Mar182015

The storm before the calm

After a few months (if I'm being generous to myself) of false starts, I'm finally taking the first steps into the complete transformation of my life - professionally; socially; social medially and geographically. The enormity of the task is really starting to hit me all at once as I try to figure out exactly what to do. It's like Project Management 101 and thankfully I have experience with this at both my current job; not to mention my wife (my wiiife, sorry), who doesn't just have more experience than I do, but she's currently in the middle of getting certified.

All this means that an incredible amount of my life is spent compartmentalizing. It's much more stressful than I thought, but at least it's making what I have to do a bit more clear. I've been a minor list maker in the past, but I seem to be on another level now: lists, and sub lists, and categories abound both in my head and on a screen. To paraphrase a song that's currently playing I'm [not] bored and excited.

Today was supposed to be about actual work, but when it turns out the mountain is actually K2, I think I need to spend a bit more time at base camp. I need to make the calendar become my friend and I actually need to decide on priorties.

Distractions are actually starting to become just that, and my perceived ### are finally getting me to a breaking point for real (Not to mention the stranger beside me who told me I'm in a cult because of the technology I have with me won't stop glancing over at the screen).

So with that, it's back to figuring out exactly what do do with the rest of the day without getting lost in the potential of what I CAN do.

Wednesday
Feb042015

Can't find my classroom; I feel like a freshman all over again, except not as fresh

I still don't know if I'm better off staying at home trying to avoid technological (and adorable animal) distractions or being out in the world trying to avoid the disctractions of society. Part of the issue is that I'm never completely alone at home for long enough to give it the old college try. I'll have the opportunity a week from now, and--hopefully--after that, I'll be able to get back in the swing of this whole self teaching thing.

Until then, I'm still in organizing mode. I'm slowy digging through website (not mine) content, I think I've finally found project management software to help with the other four projects I (want to) have going at the same time.

I guess just the fact that there are semi regular posts here is a step in the right direction. If nothing else it's getting me back into listening to music again. Podcasts are too distracting. Hopefully by next week I'll have finished wandering around the Quad and will finally make it into the building.

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