• Prepping for the Apple Watch

    My friend Greg is working hard to get his Untappd client, Tappd That, ready for the Apple Watch launch. I’m looking forward to using it and seeing if I get yelled at less for logging my beers that way than when I take out my phone to do it at the bar.

  • Dictating on Mac from iPhone

    I think that dictating on the iPhone is amazing. For example, this was dictated in a crowded bar at 9 PM on Friday evening1. It was really loud in here with the band and all:

    For some reason, dictating to the Mac in a quiet office room doesn’t work well at all. So if I ever have something I do want to dictate, I will do so on the iPhone and then transfer it.

    At the request of others, here is a video of how I do so using the apps Drafts and Command–C.

    1. Yes. I’m a nerd. I go to a bar to write blog posts.

  • My Apple Watch questions

    The second Apple Watch event is today. I’m personally excited about the watch because I am a fanboy, I am a stock holder, and I enjoyed the wrist notifications when using the Pebble, but hated everything else about it. I will be getting one, but I have a few outstanding questions.

    How waterproof/resistant is it?

    One of the promises of so-called smart watches if their ability to track activity, including exercise. Most of my sports are done on the water: sailing and stand up paddleboarding. I don’t plan on swimming or diving with it, but I’m not going wear a watch that will die the first time I fall overboard.

    What is the battery life?

    This is one of the big questions everyone has. Seems to be “a day” use will be gotten from each charge with 5 hours of active use. That is a bit annoying, but current science and physics likely limits any more than that. I think a better question is…

    How fast does it recharge?

    Since the battery is small due to size constraints, perhaps it will be able to charge rapidly, i.e. the reverse of how slow the iPad charges? This would allow one to wear the watch 24 hours a day except for a short time (20 minutes?) when showering. The last rumors I heard say 2 hours. That’ll be disappointing if so, because any sleep monitoring functions or alarm functions will be useless.

    Can you use any watch band on any watch?

    It was implied from the unveiling that the bands were quickly and easily interchangable, leading many to assume you could buy a low end watch and a higher end band, but on Apple’s site, only certain watches appear to be available for certain levels of watches. Some have speculated that only certain bands will be available for certain watches and that you will not be able to buy the higher level bands separately. Does this mean one band cannot work on a different level watch? That seems ridiculous as you would have to have different mechanisms, increasing complexity. I’d expect this behaviour from any other company, but not Apple. Will you just not be able to buy certain bands with certain watches right from the start, but you can always buy an additional band at any level? This seems the most likely to me. Someone suggested that maybe you’d have to show your watch that you were buying the band for, in order to prove you are able to buy that level of watch. This seems ridiculous to me. Way too much manual effort and elitism involved.

    Price

    This is going to be a first generation device and I assume a better one that I will want more will come out every year, so it is unlikely that I will spend much more than the minimum entry price. At this time, this means that although I will hate giving up on a sapphire face, I will get the Sport with the blue band. If money was no object, I would choose the steel with Milanese band, and then get a blue sport band for sailing (if it is more waterproof than reported). I do not think it is realistic that a Steel band with Milanese loop and extra blue sport band will be available for less than $700, so I will be out of luck.

    I might be willing to go double the price of the entry level to get my primary choice, so ultimately the price question will have a lot to do with my choice. I would be willing to pay $150 more for a sapphire face, so if the Steel is $500, I might go for that. I’d be willing to pay $200 more for the Milanese loop, so if that is all it costs and you can buy it separately, I would get the Sport and blue the Milanese loop additionally for a total of $550.

    Update: Sport with blue band plus Milanese loop bought as an accessory: $550. =)

  • 3.9.2015 event predictions

    • Wrong: Will be only about the Apple WatchHBO NowResearch Kit
    • Will spend a lot of time with devs showing their apps1
    • Wrong: Will not announce any other major or minor hardware productsApple TVNew Macbook/Air
    • Correct: Will give firm launch dates in the US
    • Correct: Will give firm pricing information on all models
    • Correct: Will not give firm waterproof information
    • Wrong: Will not give firm battery data informationHere
    • Wrong: Will not give firm information about band/watch combination options or if able to separately buy different level bandsHere.
    1. I’ll define “a lot” as three or more developers on stage.

  • Using labels for alarms with Siri

    When you create an alarm in iOS1, it is given the default label Alarm. I find it useful to change this for two reasons. First, it reminds me why I set the alarm in the first place. This may not be confusing if the alarm is waking me up in the morning, but I might also set multiple alarms during the day for different tasks. These levels remind me what I need to do next:

    • push wash into dryer
    • check on sump pump progress
    • verify boy cleaned his room

    This is easily done with Siri: Set an alarm for 54 minutes labeled 'put wash in the dryer'.

    .

    The other benefit of labeling alarms is that you can edit them by their label using Siri: Change the alarm labeled 'wake up call' to 530am.

    1. iOS 8 as if this post.

  • What is our purpose?

    With insurance companies determining what treatments are allowed, patients self-diagnosing on Google, and non-practicing surgeons being the most popular source of professional medical advice, I think the only reason physicians still exist is so there is someone to sue when it all falls apart.

    …and to prescribe “medical” marijuana in states that don’t have the balls to legalized it completely.

  • Dealing with the devil

    Boy (aged 8): Do you like meat better than rice?
    Me: Yes.
    Boy: I’ll trade you my meat for your rice?
    Me: Deal.

    I’m not sure he’s mine, but I’m going to keep him anyway.

  • I do not miss voice mail

    From the New Tech City podcast:

    Voicemail is a default archive of your life. You would miss it if it were gone

    Voice mail is terrible. It’s just another form of spam. I hate it. I also hate phone calls. I’d decline to answer a phone call from someone (everyone) I didn’t want to talk to, and then I’d immediately have another message from them that I needed to deal with.

    You said “you would miss [voice mail] if it were gone”. Wrong. Absolutely wrong. And I know.

    A few years ago I was at my carrier’s store dealing with something and when they finished they asked if there was anything else they could help me with. Without really thinking, I said “yes, get rid of my voice mail account”. She looked shocked, and perhaps a bit concerned about my sanity. She didn’t know if it was possible to do but got on the phone with corporate. I myself didn’t think it was going to be possible, either because of a technical issue, or just a lack of knowledge from the low level tech support I’m use to getting, but only a few minutes I was told I no longer had a voice mail account.

    It’s been amazing. If you call me, my phone will just ring and ring like an old land line. If I decline your call, you get cut off. It is one less inbox I have to check. One less “to do” list cluttering up my already too cluttered life. My life is so much more peaceful.

    If only I could get rid of my USPS address.

  • Shopping cycle

    1. Search internet for reviews of certain product I need.
    2. Based on reviews and my specific need, determine product I want.
    3. Check if product is on Amazon.
    4. If so, victory. Fin.
    5. If not, go to company’s website.
    6. Struggle through a horribly designed check out process, declining to create an account and sign up for their newsletter.
    7. Two weeks later, use PaperKarma to unsubscribe from their snail mail magazine.
    8. Hate myself for ordering something not from Amazon.
  • It's about ethics in web browsing

    I do not have a problem with advertising. I have a problem with loud, grotesque, ugly, distracting, and insulting advertising. A testimonial ad for Backblaze on a tech podcast by a fussy developer who uses Backblaze is great. A loud, obnoxious, misleading, and outright dishonest advertisement for colloidal silver is disgusting.

    I choose to avoid all such advertising. In the cesspool of the internet, one tool I use for this is an ad blocker. I should not have to go to a webpage and see the ugly ads before choosing to close the webpage as the damage is already done. I also don’t wait for someone to steal from me before putting a password on my computer. Pre-emptive is an acceptable policy position.1

    I completely understand if a content generator says he would rather I don’t view his website if I am using an ad blocker. In such a case, I will either choose to turn off the ad blocker, or not view his website. I know of at least two websites that do test for ad blockers and will not display their content if one is detected.2 I respect that. One of those sites, I have white listed. The other I have not.

    Preferring to pay for content and only be exposed to tasteful advertisements is a logical, consistent, and respectful way to live.

    Update: A friend sent me this:

    Sometimes OkCupid runs this ad for free users using adblockers. Only other way to block ads is to sign up for the monthly pro service. There are some “pro” features but you can get by forever with free.

    This is totally fair. I have no idea what the normal ads are on Ok Cupid, so I don’t know if I’d prefer the ads or not, but if I was in the dating world, which hopefully will never, ever, happen again, I’d pay the money.

    Update 2: He sent me a follow up:

    I think the ads on OkCupid were pretty awful, which is probably why I got an adblocker in the first place.

    1. One Twitter user tested my consistency by querying if I watch TV and subscribe to magazines. I do not subscribe and do not have cable, but I do not understand the connection. Who doesn’t use the commercials to grab a drink or snack, or go to the bathroom. I do not think starting to watch a TV show is a contract to sit chained to the couch and watch each ad intently.

    2. Unfortunately, I’ve had Hulu repeatedly tell me I’m using an ad blocker when I’m not. I browse the web with Safari, which has the ad blocker, and watch Hulu with Chrome, which doesn’t.