Armen Chakmakjian

A couple of days with the Apple Watch

In Random on June 25, 2015 at 2:05 am

This was a gift for Father’s day from my children and wife. It was a surprise to me when they took me to an apple store on Saturday to pick one out (this was before I found one of course) and of course they were out of everything. We were all disappointed.

Next we tried online. I’d like to say that the crazy reserve your time in the store thing with the obviously planned supply constraint was ridiculous. I tried several times to see if one was available and no dice. Then one was and while I went through the multiple text and code sequences invented in a Dan Brown novel, I was too late and the world ended. At one point when I failed again it told me that the only watch sport in the color I wanted was available in a single state 3000 miles away. Mid-day, on a lark I found that one was available across state that hadn’t been available in the morning. So we drove out there, and the friendly attendant congratulated me on getting in there and I was in business.

I didn’t need no stinkin’ instructions and none were provided. I powered it up, knew the watch app was on my iPhone and within a minute the device was being configured and then apps were being downloaded. Easy enough for me, would have been slightly frustrating for a novice. After maybe 15 minutes the watch came on and I played with the configuration on the iPhone to immediately turn off most notification mirroring except messages, calendar, Starbucks and WSJ. Since I had read several reviews of people having their hands fall off from the twisting motion all day, I figured I’d start with the bare minimum notifications I cared about and would add things as I went along. Works great this way.

I almost immediately began to choose a different watch face. The standard one, with the digital clock and several mini statuses made it feel like a bad version of the notifications slide out on MacOS. I know this was highly touted by Tim, but nah.

The first struggle I had, since I wasn’t going to read about how to use it was that I could see the little red notification dot on the top of the classic watch face I had chosen, but I could not figure out why it did nothing when I pressed it, like all the other mini-widgets (called complications ??? what the hell kind of name is that???) and got nothing except to activate the customize screen for the watch face. I got quickly upset and asked myself, what would steve do. So I swiped down from the red dot and voi la, notifications. This was now a learned response. I get it now.

Using it as an extension to receive a call is a bit awkward. If you are walking in a busy mall and get a call and are too lazy to pull your phone out of your pocket or purse, you will now do the awkward Dick Tracy calling back to headquarters motion. Plus the ambient noise is just too much in a mall so you say “What? What?” a few times. I’ve relegated this to an emergency answer than a primary function.

Texting was mostly ok. It’s easy to send an emoji, but to send text using the recorder is again the weird Dick Tracy motion. I suppose it is no weirder than walking and typing texts, but it is as unsafe. I will admit it was less weird than the Google Glass head snap and talking into the crystal, but with only one eye engaged on GG you wouldn’t necessarily bump into someone or fall over an obstacle.

Receiving texts is nice, and when pictures are included it’s a nice thing to quickly glance at. Works for me.

I’ve set up the activity app, and have gotten several “stand up” messages when I’m not at work. At work, I am at a standing desk and I pace a lot, so I rarely get the message there. When I am at a community board meeting and the conversation goes on and on and suddenly – bing bing and ~~haptic~~ – it’s a bit strange when you suddenly stand up for no clear reason. :-) The other updates are good, I still have to play with the exercise portion. I’ve got it set up for medium activity/calories and it’s celebrated my activity a few times.

Setting things up on the watch face “complications” was another not intuitive operation. My instinct in the customize screen was to tap on it to activate the “complications” edit, but then I was stuck enabling then disabling it by tapping it again. I tried to hard press it, that didn’t do anything but shake the display. I’m not sure why I did it, but rolled the crown and when “OHHHH” as I went through the selections for the world clock. I have to say that having the clock app on my phone with the 6 time zones I have people working for me in be accessible on the phone is probably as useful a feature as any other. Why should I pull out my phone to do it. I should be able to do it on my watch and there it is.

The WSJ app was cute, and if were stuck someplace, like on a subway train and my left arm was up already to hold a handrail as the train progressed, I could see reading the headline there. The option to swipe up the iPhone to see the rest of the article is cute, but I’m not sure how often I would do this. Knowing me I unlock the phone without swiping and then activate the app…I could learn this too.

Photos was cute and the discovery was seconds to figure out how to look at pictures then a little more complex to learn how to get back to the main grid…after some experimentation it was the crown. The only weird thing was that all landscape pictures defaulted to fill screen – which for me the mental jury is still out.

Not sure about the Mint app. eh…

The camera app will be REALLY useful. I can tell already. no more timer needed. set it up, run over and hit the watch. Very cool.

The remote app setup worked like a charm with my mac mini. But for the apple tv, I struggled and will have to look through the web to find a solution. The apple tv thinks it is paired by the apple watch app doesn’t see it after pairing.

Evernote on the watch could be useful or not, trying to figure it out. I suppose logging dictations is useful…just trying to figure out when I’d do it and not look awkward. :-)

I’ll play with it more of course, but these are my first impressions.

Father’s Day…

In Random on June 21, 2015 at 1:57 am

Armen Chakmakjian:

Thinking about this…

Originally posted on The Urtaru Chronicles:

We called my father “Baba”.  This being amusing to the other kids we grew up with, some of them took to calling him “Baba” since that was easier than “Mr. Chakmakjian”.  I remember, he called his own father “Baba” also.

In some ways, my father was “Baba”  to all of whom he crossed paths.  He was always fixing something, trying to sort out the mechanical hindrances of the American lifestyle he adopted.  He spent a lot of time in flannel shirts.  But there was something else he talked about infrequently.  A lifestyle he gave up years before in order to pursue the American Dream.  Whenever I see that picture, I crack up.   He had this “David Niven” thing going.  He told me that the Arabs he worked with in Palestine and Jordan when he was growing up said he was like the British, cool as a cucumber.  It wasn’t…

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25 years? Like the blink of an eye…

In Random on May 7, 2015 at 1:15 am

To try and give this context I thought about this

  • Blackham School 9 years
  • Fairfield Prep 4 years
  • RIT 5 years
  • Altar Boy 5 years
  • Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts 6 years
  • Bentley 5 years
  • Current house 21 years
  • Bridgeport 18 years
  • Fatherhood 23 years
  • DEC 11 years
  • Teradyne 11 years
  • Intuit 3.5 years
  • Taught Sunday School 14 years
  • Constant Contact 3.5 years

Tonight I celebrate 25 years of marriage to Esther.  It’s in fact the longest engagement of anything I’ve done. If marriage were only to be a contractual merger of interests, I got the better deal. Esther was the full package when I met her, I was (and still am) a work in progress.  I must be getting better due to our 25 year collaboration because I’ve been told that at a minimum I clean up well. :-)

I’m not going to give anyone specific advice on what you need to do or not do.  I will only offer this: It’s not luck, it’s not a game – it’s hard work for both people…sometimes it’s sheer joy and other times its tough disagreements…However, both people have to always assume positive intent, even when you disagree. That is what worked for us.  That’s as much as I’ve learned — after that you have to figure it out for yourself.

I’m a very fortunate person to have married my best friend; that makes it easy to enjoy the same stuff (except Science fiction, Lord of the Rings, and British humor… especially Monty Python – NO WAY it ain’t gonna happen).

I’m also so proud of the events of the next two days – our older son is about to graduate from Northeastern with more accolades than proud parents can hope for. I attribute the excellent young men both of our sons have become to her singularly tireless efforts over the years.  I had a few kick-saves here and there, but she kept the puck on the other end of the ice always looking for a shot on goal.

I wish you all as much happiness as I have had, and thank God for the blessing of marrying her 25 years ago.

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