Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for January, 2016|Monthly archive page

Apple Watch Connectivity

In Random on January 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm

For those of you who are on the fence about the Apple Watch, you might want to wait for the next-gen, rumored to be coming out in April. On the other hand, it works pretty good now, so I’m going to recount my morning and tell you how it works even when you don’t have your phone with you:

This morning my watch was on its dock on my nightstand. It’s a pretty nice dock, as it holds the watch up, charging it (the charger is fished through the stand) and makes it feel like it really is an alarm clock. The alarm went off at 6:00am and I tapped the watch face and rolled out of bed. I took the watch and put it on my wrist and tugged the loop band and adjusted it tight because I was going to take a walk. I got the rest of my workout outfit on and stuffed my iPhone 6s plus in the right side pocket of my sweatpants.

I looked at the watch at this point and noting the temperature in the top left corner of the watch face, saw that it was 23 degrees F. I said to myself that I probably ought to fish out my bright orange windbreaker to wear outside my fleece top. I then stepped out my front door, started the activity app for a walk, and began my circuit around the neighborhood.

It was a beautiful morning and several times as I could look east over Boston in that pre-dawn time, with the sky a pink glow from the impending sunrise, I argued with myself if I should take a picture. I decided that that pre-sunrise glow was just for me (sorry). About half way through my timed walk, the watch buzzed at me to let me know it. Then a few minutes later as I crossed a mile, it buzzed me again to mark that distance. I continue to trudge back up the hill through the slush and ice. The sun had yet to appear behind me, but the sky was no longer dark it was a turned light blue. About 2 blocks from my home, the watch buzzed again. I had been at this walk longer than the previous one recorded

I approached my home and when I got to my doorway, I turned my wrist to wake the watch face and ended the workout, then saved it (sometimes I forget this). I proceeded to get ready by showering and dressing and got my things together to depart for work. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I placed my phone on a piece of furniture in our foyer and pulled my coat, hat and gloves out of the closet. I placed the gloves on top of the phone. I grabbed my gloves after adjusting my hat and went out the door.

I drove toward work and stopped at a Starbucks for a cup of coffee on the way as I was slightly on the earlier side and didn’t want to start my formal day just yet. I went in and paid with my watch and sat down to read a chapter of “Baudolino” by Umberto Eco, which I’ve been working through in short spurts this month over coffee about a chapter at a time. I wanted to quickly check my email, and went to grab my phone and it wasn’t there. Hmmm…I looked at the watch, flicked up the status screen and saw that I was connected to the cloud via a familiar network, but I wasn’t sure if I was connected to my phone. I pinged my phone in hopes that it was somewhere in my coat or maybe I had left it on the counter or something. Nope. I walked back out to my car looked around and didn’t see it. I looked at the watch and now it was telling me that I was no longer connected to a network AND I was not connected to the phone. This was curious. I figured out at that point I must have left it at home. I went back into the Starbucks and had a few more sips of the coffee and then got myself upset. I needed a phone so that I could get phone calls. I remembered that I had my “work” phone on my desk (I forward my calls to my personal phone…I use the work iPhone 5s when I travel out of the country). Driving back home was out of the question because that would be into the main traffic going south on Rt 3. I’d never be back in the office at the start of the day. So I started driving the 2 miles to work from the Starbucks.

As I’m driving, my watch buzzes me. I turn my wrist and see that I’m receiving a message from my wife saying that I left my 6s+ as home. I got a message? Oh of course, my Audi has internet connectivity and that is a familiar network for the watch. So I tapped reply and dictated a message acknowledging that I forgot it and then tapped it to send as text. Now that was pretty cool because that was the first time my watch and iPhone were separated by a significant distance but this was the first time the watch still was able to function within iCloud functionality.

I got to work. I was still a bit upset because I knew that at work, in a protected network, the watch wouldn’t connect. Then I remembered that the work iPhone could also be a hotspot. So I went in, reversed the call forwarding between the phones and then turned on the hotspot. Now my watch, while not connected to its primary iPhone, was still able to be connected.

This was all very cool to me. If the subsequent watch (and watchOS update) allows more capability independently of the phone, I’d say we are on the verge of a very useful device.

The main limitation, battery life, will still be a hindrance, but connectivity isn’t now and will be less so in the future.

2015 in review

In Random on January 16, 2016 at 2:43 am

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Armenian Christmas Eve

In Random on January 6, 2016 at 4:49 am

So you can read in many places about why Armenians celebrate Christmas on January 6th. There are many wonderful explanations out there. Yes it is interesting that Armenians celebrate traditional or Orthodox Christmas, but their Easter falls on the same Sunday as the western Easter. At the end of this article I will explain the rough calculation of Easter for those interested.

I’m writing this article on January 5th, 2016, which is Armenian Christmas Eve. Earlier in the evening, I went to Church for the Christmas Vigil Service. I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, and tomorrow would be the Feast of Epiphany at which I’d get doused with water and my throat blessed. My father was Armenian Catholic, and my mother was Armenian Apostolic (for those who don’t know, its sorta like orthodox, but it isn’t…it’s really old though).  The fact that I grew up in the Catholic church did not prevent me from taking part in services at the local Armenian church. In fact I’m one of the few people in the world who, as a child, had his feet washed on Holy Thursday in both churches. One time, I think I was about 7, my uncle brought me to the Armenian church on Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport, CT. I was a bit confused of course why the priest washed my foot with what appeared to be butter in front of lots of grandmotherly people. Later on I had my foot washed on Holy Thursday as an Altar boy in St. Patrick’s Church in Bridgeport…we had some pretty plain white cassocks.  I have an ecumenical foot.

So you see a split behavior in my life: My family, as I was growing up, went to midnight mass on Dec 25 and opened presents on western Christmas day. Armenian Christmas was this other thing that seemed to be more of a religious/cultural event that I recognized and sometimes took part in. When I got married to my wife, she was firmly entrench in the Armenian Church and when we got married I got more involved in our new church home.  Things lined up nicely and I got to have 2 Christmases. My wife’s family exchanged gifts on Western christmas, but my wife’s family made it a point to have little gifts in those socks on the fireplace for the 12 days of Christmas. (yes if you didn’t count, there are 12 days between Western Christmas and Armenian Christmas. That means on Armenian Xmas you are supposed to get the 12 drummers drumming…I suppose they would be playing the dumbek). Then I found out something new.  Evidently Armenians overseas in Armenia proper and in the middle east, exchange gifts on New Years and reserve January 6th as a purely religious holiday. This confuses the issue a bit, so we stick with what we know.

Back to the beginning.  I got to Church tonight just before the badarak (my Catholic side says “mass”).  The Armenian Saturday School students were reading various passages from the old testament that predict the birth of Jesus. Just after the students, the subdeacons got up on the altar and chanted from the book of Daniel (in Armenian) about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the guys who were put in the fire and survived.  That reading is always entertaining.  Then the Church service began and it was beautiful.

Anyway, in a few minutes it will be Armenian Christmas.  Merry Christmas.  Or as the Armenians greet each other

First Person: Քրիստոս ծնաւ և յայտնեցաւ. (Christ was born and revealed)
Second Person: Օրհնեալ է յայտնութիւնն Քրիստոսի՜(Blessed is the revelation of Christ)
One or both: Ձեզի, Մեզի մեծ ավետիս (To you, to us, great tidings)



Easter date explanation: In 325AD the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the Vernal Equinox. Some years Orthodox Easter (Greek for example) happens later than what is celebrated in the west.  Orthodox churches try to maintain the fact that Easter must happen after Passover.  The Armenian Church uses the same calculation that is used in the Western Church.  As far as I can tell this is because there is a disagreement over whether the Church fathers believed that this passover sequencing was strictly recommended at Nicaea.