Armen Chakmakjian

Apple watch — Man I move fast!

In apple, Random, technology on July 22, 2015 at 6:55 pm

I’m having an interesting problem. The first few weeks, I had success with using the workout app for running and walking. Having my phone in my at all workouts. I always used the “no goal” since I just wanted it to record my stats as I run a fixed loop in the neighborhood and walk a fixed loop at lunch around the buildings. Then 2 days ago something strange started happening. I’d exit the building at lunch, choose outdoor walk – no goal, and hit start. As I began to walk I checked my watch and noticed that after about 6 minutes, I had hit 22.78 miles! I had to cut my walk short of course, I was getting tired after such a long distance in such a short time.
very fast.jpg
I thought this a little odd. So I took these pictures.

very fast

Yesterday, I went out and did the same thing. This time I started walking and kept looking at my watch. 10ft, 20 ft, 50ft, 6.5 miles, 6.6 miles. this was after about a minute of walking. All the other stats seemed reasonable, but the mileage varies.

I stopped the tracking. I deleted it. I went to fixed program of 1.1 miles (which evidently was my longest walk it remembered). I turned that on and walked the mile or so, and it was fine.

This morning I went out for a run (first time in a week) and I started w/no goal. I ran to the end of my street and my watch buzzed and I looked down and I was at 55miles. Call me Flash. I stopped the watch, went to the fixed distance (that I know it is) and hit 2.8 miles as my goal. I ran the rest of my loop. I know the various points along the way that it used to say “buzz…1 mile…buzz 2 miles.” and it did neither. I had run almost the 3/4 of my loop and it said I now was only at .48 miles and when I was done I had only done “50%” of my workout. So I ended up saving that. Mind you the activity app knows that I did something from about 6:30 to about 7:05 at a decent intensity, but the green ring only showed that I did a bit of my workout. sigh.

When I got back home I figured that something was amiss, so I reset erased and re-paired the watch to my iPhone. I restored from backup. Today about 2 I went to do my 1 mile lunch loop and the watched warned me that it needed 20 minutes of activity to calibrate. ok. I set it to the no-goal setting was still a mess after about 50 feet. 11 miles or something like that. I stopped and discarded it, and then I set it to a 1 mile fixed target. it seemed to work ok. unfortunately it hasn’t synced that activity back to the iPhone yet (ya’d think it would be almost immediate). So I looked on my watch and it also says that I only did 3 minutes of exercise (although it does say that I walked 1.09 miles).

While the watch is more functional than my fitbit (heart rate and actual distance instead of just steps), having it go caploo-ey so soon on something that was working fine is disappointing.  I did post this on the Apple community so lets see what kind of response I get there.

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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