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My son has been out in the snow already this year, so we've already been through the, where are the snow boots? Where are the snow pants? Are there any _other_ snow pants? Okay, let's order some more. dance. However, today is the first day where I looked outside and went, hmm, better get some snow pants out for my daughter, because there's at least a chance of outdoor recess today/tomorrow, but not if she doesn't have snow pants.

Of course I had already gotten rid of the potentially appropriate size snow pants from her brother (which is not nuts -- the boys pants fit differently from the girls pants and between that and wanting everything pink, it just rarely works out well. Also, he can be very hard on his clothes.) as Way Too Small (unless I turn them up in the next few weeks, but I think I've already passed them along). And of course last year's snow pants were a little too small for her this year. However, the overalls turned out to work great -- I think those were from K.C. in Seattle, so THANK YOU once again for the lovely things you have passed along to my daughter. I also ordered a pair of pink Marmots, because the overalls are a little short so if she shoots up much more, they won't work for much longer. It was surprisingly difficult to find pink snow pants in her size; I tried REI, Columbia's website, Amazon -- I'd find pairs but they'd be out in her size. Weird.

I did have the presence of mind to put snow boots on her Xmas wish list, and she got them so yay for that.

I got the order of jeans from Lee last night. They have a Flex line of jeans that has four way stretch. My son likes jeans that fit fairly close along his leg, but he does not fit into the waist of many of these jeans. But while husky jeans (+3 inches in the waist and hip) can be belted in to stay on, they don't fit close at all, typically. The Lee husky straight, however, is magical: it fits close along the leg, but is about right in the waist and hip. You can get them at Kohl's, altho I bought them through the Lee website, because when I saw them at Kohl's, they didn't have his size in dark blue, and he hates black which they did have. We had already tried on a dozen or more different pairs of jeans at Kmart, and almost that many at TJMax (both stores in our town) without any luck.

I've been running the software update on my Watch for at least 20 minutes now. This does not make me happy. When is it gonna be done? I need to head out in 10 minutes, and I'd like to take my phone with me.
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You know how I feel about this. This is the first instance I've seen of someone writing an article making this point (I mean, other than me) but I'm sure I've missed dozens and my Dear Readers will point me to them in the comments.

"The word I'd use to describe it is "frictionless.""

I've got that old Erica Jong phrase stuck in my head. Zipless something or other . . .
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Today, I went into the Activity App on the phone and looked at the history there. The _very first_ time I turned on Workout was on May 31. My sense had been that this is where everything broke down, and looking at the Move charts and the calorie bars on the Move charts, it is, in fact, abundantly clear that that is what happened. And I think I know why. I turned on Workout and Outdoor Walk at the top of a hill I had just climbed, and left it on for the remainder of the workout.

I totally fucked up the initial calibration. I'm doing Outdoor Walks with the phone in my hand and Open Goal in the hopes that it will get better, but I'm not sure how much data it is going to need to overcome that initial setting. This time, I tried going for a truly mostly flat walk (my default walk has a nice big hill on it and a couple smaller ones -- I like that, because it is good for intervals), and I convinced it to count 9 out of 20 minutes of that walk as exercise. (Again, 17ish pace for most of the walk, BPM never dropped below 115. It knows my age.) But I forgot to tighten the strap for the walk, and for a while there when I'm quite certain my heart rate was at most 120, it was convinced it was just over 180, which is insane.

I hate the idea of walking around with this thing tight enough for the heart rate monitor to be better -- it'll give me a rash, I'm sure. I'm already having to take it off more to dry off under the band. I'm going to wear it on the inside of my wrist for a few minutes and see if that changes how well the heart rate monitor works.

Nope. It initially looked promising, but no.
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In the spirit of, hey, maybe I just didn't calibrate it right, I did this AFTER I rebooted the Watch (I did not unpair the Watch or restore it to factory settings or anything that drastic).

(1) I cleaned the back of the Watch with water.
(2) I switched the band for the smaller band and made sure it was tight enough I could not slip a finger between the band and my wrist.
(3) I took my phone in my hand. I set the Workout App to "Outdoor Walk". I made sure that System Services location stuff was turned on. I started "Outdoor Walk" with no goal. I started it. I resisted the temptation to walk with my hands in my pockets.
(4) I walked around the long block (a measured mile, and the Watch agreed it was a mile), and since I was still under 20 minutes at that point, I detoured and went around a neighboring, smaller block (about a half mile, and Watch agreed). My pace was consistently below 20 minutes (usually 17 and change sometimes 18 and change). My BPM never dropped below about 118; the Watch thought the overall average was 128.
(5) After 31 minutes, I arrived home, ended the Workout App "Outdoor Walk", hit Save, went to the apps screen, waited a few seconds and then checked "Exercise". It gave me credit for 24 minutes of the walk.

I dunno what the hell the programmers who put this thing together were smoking, but if they think a brisk walk is faster than 3 mph, or they think that a 46 year old should have an average BPM during a brisk walk that is higher than 128, they should just fucking tell us what the real numbers are and make them settable. For the record, I did the mile walk portion of this outing twice earlier in the day (once by myself, once with my walking partner) and got no Exercise minutes towards the goal. Steps are being counted (I'm over 13500 for the day).

Bro. Ken.

What's weird, is it did so much better before I opened up the Workout App the first time, which makes me at least a little suspicious.

Because I believe this should have been a calibrating activity (GPS active and all), I'll update this if I see better behavior, but I'm not feeling a lot of optimism.

Here is a post script on the subject of what a reasonable cardio range would be for someone my age:

220 - 46 = 174

70% of 174 = 122

Nobody thinks 70% of max heart rate is shabby.


208 - (.7 * 46) = 176 max heart rate
70% of 176 is 123

206 - (.88 * 46) = 165ish
70% of 165ish = 116

Why should they not be using Karvonen? Because Karvonen produces higher heart rate goals for people who are in worse shape. Which at a minimum seems like a big bite of liability to be taking on.
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Today I went for a 20 minute walk around the block (a mile), with the Watch and my phone. In the past, this walk (Workout App not on ETA: it occurs to me to mention that I did a 20 minute Workout App on with Outdoor Walk checked around the time these problems started, which is why I suspect calibration may have broken this) has counted at least 15 minutes towards "Exercise". The walk typically takes 20 minutes, altho longer if we've got my walking partner's dog with us. Anyway. It counted _1_ minute towards "Exercise", and I was going, if anything, faster than usual because it was raining and I wanted to get back home. So calibration has occurred and it has made things much, much worse.

After poking around and determining that (a) I'm not alone and (b) Apple is NOT taking this seriously yet, because they think we aren't Doing It Right, I have decided to start actively ignoring the fitness tracker components of the watch other than the step counter and the Stand reminder (and I reserve the option of deciding to ignore the Stand reminder because other people are having trouble with it, too). I took it out of Glances. I turned off all the Notifications and Awards and Summaries. As far as I'm concerned, this thing really is just a snazzier replacement for the Fitbit Flex, the Baby G with the added feature of an outdoor temp and next item on the calendar on the face, which help to make up for the fact that this thing isn't water proof, like the Flex and the Casio. That's basically what I bought it for (that and Apple Pay, which I really should try out some day), and that'll have to be Good Enough.

If you are thinking of buying a Watch as a fitness tracker, you'd better really hate your Garmin or whatever, or you're gonna be disappointed. Maybe they will fix it in a software update.

Oh, and if you reboot your Watch, there's a good chance your Exercise minutes for the day will be erased. Not steps or calories or Stands or whatever -- just the Exercise minutes.
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Short form, I'm increasingly tempted to just quit paying any attention to what the Watch has to say about what I am or am not doing, beyond step counting. I don't think the step counter is particularly inaccurate.

I have tightened the band on the Watch and the heart rate is now looking more or less reasonable during exercise. So that's good. What's _bad_ is how that seems to be interacting with the "Exercise" calculation. Previously, if I walked around the block, the "Exercise" calculation would give me credit for minutes equal to the duration of the walk, minus the first 1-3 minutes, and minus any time I stopped and chit chatted with neighbors, and another minute or so restarting after chit chat. Totes reasonable -- it's supposed to count equal to or great than a brisk walk. I don't walk that fast -- 3 mph, typical.

What is does on the treadmill when I have the Workout app turned on is a whole other matter. I'm not letting it drop below 3 mph (unless I've upped the incline, and I slow down on uphills in the Real World also), and I do minute and a half intervals at a jog. The intervals are reading BPM above 150. The active rest (3 mph with some incline, or 2.8 with more incline) never drops below 135 (average for the duration of the workout, according to the workout app, is 140 bpm, so while I am not watching it constantly, it's average at the end matches my glances).

And yet a 20 minute workout of this sort counts a grand total of _8_ minutes towards exercise.

I have no idea why it has decided that exercise with a more rapid step count and more total steps AND a measured heart rate in some sort of cardio zone (hey, I'm 46 -- averaging 140 bpm for the duration of the workout doesn't suck. It is at least a brisk walk) counts as _less_ exercise (in fact, less than _half_ the exercise_) as a slower, fewer steps, lower heart rate (unmeasured, albeit) walk around the block.

The "Exercise" component of the "Activity" monitor is a piece of shit. It will tell you something is exercise that really isn't -- and it will tell you something else isn't exercise, that is more likely to be so. Which is a pity. I'll take a look around and see if I can find any way to tweak the exercise calculation, but I'm not feeling optimistic (I suppose I could do the treadmill workout and _not tell_ the Watch that? As long as it didn't measure the heart rate -- hey, that might work).

ETA: It gave me credit for 7 out of 10 minutes of same-treadmill-same-behavior-minus-the-hills (because I am tired), with the heart rate meter turned off. PIECE OF SHIT Apple. I hope they fix this at some point. I actually kind of _like_ the heart rate thing, since I got it to sort of work, but I'm gonna have really mixed feelings every time I look at the Exercise App.

ETAYA: It is not just me!


So, "Other" it is, until they fix it, I guess. Ridiculous. (FWIW, I don't hang onto the treadmill when I use it, so the stationary arm is not a possible explanation for what is going on here.)

I guess on the plus side, I got more of a workout indoors than I otherwise might have. Apparently frustration and anger and proving a point are highly motivating for me. My husband will read this at some point and go, "Ya think?"
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It finally penetrated my relatively thick skull (all that stuff about needing milk to build strong bones turns out to be not completely true) that if I wanted heart rate readings from my Watch during and after a walk around the block, I had to start the Workout App. I feel like I am so predictable, that honestly, the Watch ought to be able to figure out, oh, hey, she went for a walk, however, perhaps the differences that seem obvious to me are not so obvious to a collection of accelerometers and software to make sense of their telemetry.

Then I had to _remember_ to start the Workout App on the watch, which yesterday I did at the top of the hill partway through my walk. Today, it is raining, and I've got a kid who would prefer not to be left home alone for 20 minutes, so no outdoor walk for me. I did remember to start the app for 10 minutes on the treadmill (I'm gonna be lazy today, and do a lot of treadmill "snacking", rather than anything resembling even a short Workout -- I figure that way I'll get more chances to remember to start the Workout App and thus get in the habit of it).

And this is the first app on the Watch that has struck me as cumbersome. You have to start it. If you didn't finish out of the previous workout (save or discard, and if you try to discard it goes, are you sure? so it's easier just to save), you have to finish out of that. Then it interrupts you to tell you YOU FINISHED A WORKOUT YAY! All right, Watch, shut the fuck up I'm trying to get on the treadmill here and you are Not Helping, where was I? Oh, yeah. Having finished up from the previous one, then you have to select what kind of workout (Indoor Walk in this case) and then it wants to know if you have a calorie goal, time goal or distance goal. I picked time, and then you have to press on the + until you get to the time, *sigh*. And then you have to press Start. And then the little fucker gives you a 3 2 1 countdown. [ETA: There is a no goal option. I used that when I went around the block. I may just default to using that from now on.]

Are you _kidding me_ Apple?

On the other hand, if this is the worst thing I encounter on the Watch, I will feel it a blissful experience, compared to historical experience with PDAs, GPSes, the Cogito watch, the Palm Centro, the Blackberry Curve, etc.

But it seems a little over the top that I have to go through all that to turn on the heart rate monitoring which is what I _actually_ want from the App.

ETA: I think the Watch just counted 3 minutes of a half hour walk around the block with my daughter towards "Exercise". At least I get credit for the steps?

ETAYA: I rediscovered a bunch of indoor exercise options around the house today. Down to the basement for the recumbent stationary bike. On the treadmill a couple times. I also went around the block a couple times with A. Through all this, the Watch recorded shockingly low exercise minutes -- far fewer than it would on a day when I was walking much, much more slowly. I finally realized -- the second time on the treadmill -- how drastically far off the BPM was when I actually got my heart rate up. Basically, it would read okay up to about 120, maybe 130, but then it would _drop_ to 90 or below, while actually climbing. Possibly missing as much as every other beat. R. said I probably needed to tighten it up a notch, which I did indeed do on the bike later, and that solved the problem. Even tho that was overall a lower intensity workout, it recorded far more of those minutes as "exercise" than the earlier rounds on the treadmill. Learn something new every day, apparently.
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Last teacher conference of the year (I think!). I'll miss A.'s kindergarten teacher. I hope first grade is even half as good. She's been very understanding of A.'s strengths and weaknesses, and very imaginative about handling how they manifest behaviorally. I completely forgot about the conference, but my watch face reminded me when I glanced at it. Possibly the Calendar on the phone would have been more useful to me if I hadn't been quite so aggressive about turning off notifications, altho I will note that notifications on the phone were never reliable for me when the phone was in a pocket or another room.

R. and I went out to an early dinner at Red Raven for my birthday, because we had enough babysitting coverage. This whole date night thing is pretty amazing.

I mailed my FitBit Flex, two bands and charger out yesterday. Wasn't sure I was really going to get around to it, but I did.

I found an App for grocery lists with a Watch app (ListEase -- there area actually several). It works okay, altho it quit letting me check stuff off part way through and I didn't really understand why. Being able to see the list on the Watch is awesome, because it's not going in and out of my pocket constantly and I don't have to keep typing in my passcode, and having it organized by section of the store is convenient.
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I maintain a paper calendar, because I just haven't felt any confidence keeping the family/family impact stuff anywhere else. I'm not happy about it, but that's just kinda how it is.

But I suspect that is about to chance. The Watch face I use includes the next upcoming event on the bottom of the face, and it turns out that is quite awesome. It has motivated me to clean up my online calendar, altho it is still not completely up to date. I feel optimism.

I'm going to try to send my FitBit out to its next owner in tomorrow's mail. Not sure it will really happen, but I'm gonna try.
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If you have one clock, you know what time it is. But if you have two, you don't. Similarly with activity trackers.

Fitbit: 6686 steps, 2.92 miles
Watch: 6731 steps, 3.38 miles

This breaks the usual pattern of, Fitbit counts more steps. Hmmm.
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I'm not sure I approve of the idea of having to install updates on a watch. I'm sure I'll get used to it (we all get used to so many things, after all), but it just seems Weird.

I'm about halfway through _Wild_, because it was on my kindle, and it is next month's pick for book group in Mayberry, NH (<-- not its real name). I read about 40% of it while waiting in line at the park, etc., and grew increasingly suspicious of the author and the story. When I got home last night, very high on the list was finding out whether anyone else had the same reaction, and whether any of the anonymized people in the book had come forward to claim their character.

"Greg"/Roger Carpenter has come forward with confirmation of his part in the story:


Carpenter's story goes a long way to confirming at least components of the tale: Cheryl Strayed definitely hiked parts of the PCT, and at no point (if you are paying attention) does she claim to have through hiked it end to end, so some of the more aggressive people attacking her story are attacking it for claims she did not make. On the other hand, Carpenter's story confirms that there are elements to the story as told that are fairly difficult to believe, and some of these elements are quite noticeably the elements that are in no way fact checkable.

Oprah picked _Wild_ for her book club reboot. While of course we all love Oprah, and Oprah is a perfect proof that the most implausible life stories are sometimes, nevertheless, entirely true, Oprah's choices in book clubs _have_ also rather conspicuously included memoirs that turned out to have not been true in their entirety.

There are a _lot_ of interviews with the author of the book, and people have already dug up the ex-husband "Paul" and gotten confirmation of another component of the book, that the author used heroin and slept with several men, and lied about it at the time. I felt that the drug use in the book was believable (not all critics did), in part because when she later down hikes to get help and meets three men, one of whom gives her a ride back to his house where she cleans up and eats (leave trail, hitch hike, shower and tons of food is a real theme in _Wild_). While she is sitting in his truck, she pokes around and finds his flask of whisky, which she samples, his gun, which she leaves alone. He returns and offers her the whisky, which she does not admit (in the text anyway) to having already found. He also offers her some licorice. I'm actually kind of suspicious of the licorice story, because it seems to be there as the anticlimatic punch line to the entirely-in-her-head story of What Is This Guy About To Do To Me (another theme of the book: Cheryl is alone with a man/men, and wonders whether they are about to do something to her, imagines what she might do with one of them, thinks she isn't cleaned up enough to get laid, etc.). But the rest of it seems entirely in keeping with junkie nature, in that it displays a total lack of respect for someone else's property that is quite startling to anyone who has never participated in that.

So to sum up: I believe her and her ex- in that they say when she was cheating on him and using, she lied like crazy about it and _very believably_. I believe her and her ex-, that she went through a period of time where she was using. (There are these odd interviews, where she talks about high school and dropping below a hundred pounds, but not _really_ having full blown anorexia or bulimia, and she also tells people that she wasn't an _addict_ although she was using daily, etc. There's some reason to believe that she has slightly different understandings of what some words mean than other people think those words mean. See: http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/7-Things-That-Didnt-Make-it-Into-Wild-by-Cheryl-Strayed)

I'm a little more hazy on the promiscuity. I feel like she was quite astonishingly NOT OK with being sexual with other people (used terms like "having an affair", which always just make me laugh, because they sound so wildly out of date -- and this woman is not even a full year older than me, and I was laughing about that term back when the events of this story took place). Like, not okay with it then, and not okay with it now. And yet she got a women's studies degree? I guess I would sort of expect a sort of hippie, women's studies person to be less breathtakingly judgmental about being sexually active with more than one person. (<-- Yeah, that's some poly optimism right there. I need to get a lot more cynical about people, maybe.) True, the lying/cheating thing was a problem, but that didn't seem to be the part that she was not OK with. I also feel like it is kind of difficult to get a sense of just how sexually active she was, versus how sexually active was she in her head. I really felt like she was a pretty low number person, altho perhaps she made it around the knee of the curve, thus past about 20, but perhaps not by much.

She also seemed to have a whole lot of mundane ideas about gender -- she internalized a lot of girl-beliefs that seem very at odds with the life she had growing up and very at odds with deciding to go on a long trip, mostly by herself, mostly on foot (that getting laid involves maintaining a certain standard of dress and grooming, that some sexuality styles are specific to men and others to women). I sort of understand that 1990s era gender studies actually _reinforced_ some gender ideas that we now understand are mostly bullshit, but I'm _the same age_ as this woman, and I grew up around a lot of women who were/are heterosexual and married and had kids and also were tall and strong and did a lot of related amazing things including going out in the wilderness by themselves (or maybe with a dog) for extended periods of time. And these women, for the most part, didn't share this kind of beauty obsession. Maybe it's a PacNW vs Minnesota difference?

A cursory look around the web suggests that while you can get a look at at least some of what is on Cheryl's sister's FB page, the siblings don't seem to have given interviews to the Daily Mail, a la the ex-husband. I also don't see big contributions from characters in the book other than "Greg"/Roger Carpenter.

I guess where I'm at right now is this. (1) It's not the story of One Woman Lone Hiking the PCT End to End. It nowhere claims to be, and it isn't. (2) She clearly did some hiking, including some multi-night through hiking. (3) She describes skipping sections, such as the High Sierras, due to snow pack, and also hiking alternate routes for the same reason. Given the number of times she _describes_ downhiking, hitching a ride, and continuing at some other point on the trail, and given the delay between when she did the hike and when she wrote the book, I think it is safe to say that accurately reconstructing the actual hike is probably impossible at this date, and she may well have created an impression that she hiked more than she actually did. (4) She says, when describing her fears of losing the trail, that she never could make any sense out of navigating (I'm not blaming her for this -- I'm a big believer of staying on marked trails myself), and that she is a story person, instead. It is entirely possible that most of the people in Strayed's life who love her recognize that her stories can get out of line with actual fact a bit more than a typical person's (this happens to everyone, I get that; I'm saying that it happens a bit more with some people and she may be one of those); if there is a future scandal in which _Wild_ is subjected to the same kind of opprobrium that was dished out over Frey's book, we probably shouldn't be too surprised.

The book as a whole is a textbook example of attachment problems. Dad was abusive and Mum yo-yoed about leaving him before she finally did, and part of how she stayed gone was by getting a horse and basically spending enormous amounts of her non-working time with the horse (kids got to play by themselves while she did stable work to pay for the feed etc.). That, in combination with the modern pioneer lifestyle in isolation from their neighbors must have created a godawful attachment environment, where the whole world revolved an insecure attachment to mum -- who then died young of cancer, and the only alternate attachment figures were siblings, who were The Competition for mum's attention. Of course the kids are going to go in search of love and happiness elsewhere as soon as humanly possible and it is no surprise that drugs would be very attractive. Killing the horse suddenly looks unbelievably complex in the story. If only this theme had been developed more consciously? Perhaps it is later in the book.
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I've already posted some partial reviews, but I wore both FitBit and the Apple Watch on a 4 day weekend trip to two regional kiddie amusement parks. One, Santa's Village in Jefferson, NH, has _terrible_ cell service, and what there is is EVDO, IIRC -- it just sucks the life out of your phone. They do have some wifi in the park. Next time, I think I'll just turn cellular off entirely. I did eventually turn off almost everything that I had using cellular data, because my phone just kept running lower and lower on battery, but which I believe, in the end, was the Weather App. The face I use on the Watch will include current temperature based on location and the Apple Weather app, which meant, well, you can imagine. Not Pretty.

The second and third days in the parks were at Storyland, in Glen, NH. Cellular is much better but there is no wifi (that I have been able to find anyway). They have only added digital photo options this year, so I feel optimistic that the future holds wifi altho probably not this year (Santa's Village has an app; to the best of my knowledge, Storyland still does not). No problem with battery life. I remembered to bring my kindle into the park these days, so I had something to do while waiting in line.

Step counts on the Apple Watch and the FitBit are not directly comparable, and I have no idea why. I first thought that it was because I was taking the Watch off to go into the water park, but then I started checking _before_ I took the Watch off (and yes, I put them both on at the same time in the morning -- I can't sleep with the FitBit on so I don't). The FitBit _always_ has a lot more steps than the Watch, even when the distance is the same (or even when the distance is greater on the Watch!!!).

For example, today's steps are 15,062 on the Watch, distance 7.87 miles. Meanwhile, on the FitBit, the steps are 16,801 and the distance is 7.33 miles. I'm assuming this is because the Watch figures stride at a different number than the FitBit (and presumably this can be adjusted altho I don't know how to do it on the Watch and have forgotten how to do it on the FitBit).

I did not find the Activity iPhone app until today, and I didn't find the step counter until partway through the weekend. I was debating whether I was happy with the Watch's summary of activity, which is kind of cool. It uses heart rate and steps to figure minutes of "exercise", in addition to the you-should-stand-up-at-least-one-minute-per-hour and a step counter/active calories meter. Once I found the step counter, I got interested in whether the FitBit and the Watch were the same. I'm not sure how I feel about the difference between the two, however, I don't feel any particular commitment to the FitBit beyond having Friends there to compare to. And I sort of really like the "Exercise" aspect of the Watch, in that it is measuring elevated heart rate.

The headphone pairing situation with the Watch vs. the phone continues to be spectacularly annoying, mostly because my headset wants to pair with the last thing it paired with, so switching back and forth is ... problematic, to say the least.

My son thinks that my Watch should be water proof/immersible. I don't disagree, but I took it off before I went to the water park, because I didn't want to tempt fate.
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Last night, I received my Apple Watch. I then went _slightly_ nuts setting it up. I put LastPass on it, and then thought better and removed it. I created a PlayList and synced it onto the Watch, then paired the Watch with my headphones -- then realized the power-saving needs that motivated a network topology choice that is probably going to drive us all slightly bonkers over time (basically, if you pair your headset with your Watch so you can listen to music while away from your phone, you are going to have to unpair from the Watch and re-pair with the phone when you come back to the phone or you won't be able to receive calls on your headset). I realized that if you put your Dunkin' Donuts card in your Passbook, you don't need a Dunkin' Donuts app on the Watch to pay for stuff using your DD card -- it's right there in Passbook. In fact, it's not at all clear why you need that Starbucks app on your Watch, because the same applies to Starbucks payments. I put a credit card into Apple Pay. I did not have to adjust any notifications, because I've been relentless in reducing notifications on the phone anyway, so they are basically right for the Watch (that was an odd discovery). Big takeaways: the Watch App is the new iTunes application on your computer from Back In the Day. I'm sure we'll all do a lot of cursing over time, altho it is great at the moment. Oh, and if you ever wondered what Passbook was for, well, it truly comes into its own on the Watch.

I eventually went to bed (oh, hey, there's a Mickey Mouse watch face!) and, mind racing from the slightly manic interactions with the Watch, I thought you know, first off, this thing is a lot geekier than I really realized (I foolishly thought that the Watch would make me look less nerdy than the FitBit plus Baby G. Ha! Au contraire, mes amis, au contraire.). And second, how the hell are ordinary people going to set this thing up? I've spent a disgusting amount of time picking apps and setting up accounts and managing login credentials and blah blah bleeping blah. It is not easy for even Aw Shucks I'm Not That Big A Nerd, Am I me to believe that this is going to be simple for a typical purchaser.

Apple, apparently, has concluded something similar. They sent me email. Actually, they've sent me a _lot_ of email lately. Your Apple Watch Will Arrive Soon! It's here already, dear. Schedule a Personal Setup Appointment! Hunh, that would have been pretty interesting to know about before I had run through the whole process myself. Learn How to Get Started Using Apple Pay. Look, I haven't been to the store yet. Give me a sec, alright? Oh, wait, you mean how to enter your cc. Ah. Well. Okay then. Receive messages on your wrist and respond right away with an emoji. Yup, my High Priestess has already received an animated emoji in reply to a message she sent me. I've also called my husband from the phone, Dick Tracy style (wow, that made me feel nerdy. Also, not awesome sound quality. I haven't made a call through the headset and Watch yet). Use the Watch as a remote for your phone's camera. Yup.

I even set up the watch with Apple TV today, and experimented with using it as an Apple TV remote.

As gadgets go, I have to say this is probably the single most awesome gadget experience I have ever had. It beats the phone, because the phone is _so_ useful, I've always thought of it more as a networked supercomputer in my pocket, rather than as Just a Gadget. The Watch is still in the realm of Gadget, tho, and setting it up has been ludicrously straightforward (thank you, all you bloggers who took pictures of every damn thing you did, so I could google you and not even have to _think_ about how to swipe to do something because you were there to tell me and show me).

Also, it's a perfectly acceptable Watch. Still testing the activity tracker.
walkitout: (Default)
If you only recently got your first Apple device (phone or whatever), you don't know about this, but Back in the Bad Old Days, the way you got music on and off your iPod, or anything, for that matter, and then later on your iPhone or iPad as well, was by syncing with a computer that was running iTunes. Sometimes things would crash or get into a bad state. Sometimes you had to reformat the device and start over. It could be horrible.

Over time -- but especially with the launch of iTunes Match (Apple's take on the digital locker service), Apple started emphasizing over-the-air updates and synchronization. Now, we're all used to updating iOS, apps, and getting media onto our iPhones, iPads and iPods (for those who still have them) via wifi or cellular data networks. Some people still use iTunes on their computer, and they spend a lot of time cursing and thinking about switching to Android.

Anyway. A little prediction here. We're eventually going to start feeling that way about the Watch App on the iPhone -- if the Watch is successful. Because the Watch App is how you get everything onto and off of the iPhone, in just the same way iTunes on the computer was how you got stuff onto and off of the iPhone.

La plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. (<-- sorry about the missing marks. I might fix it later. Incoming kid -- gotta pay the babysitter). ETA: fixed that, but wow, seriously mangled it. Sorry!

Further editing to add: Here's an example of tradeoffs that are mildly irritating but actually make sense. Let's say ya got a phone, a watch and a headset. You'd like to be able to receive phone calls and listen to music on the headset. When you have JUST the watch, you'd still like to be able to listen to music on the headset. In that latter instance, you must pair the headset with the watch. But you cannot answer phone calls in that configuration. In fact, even if you have a phone connected to the Watch and the Watch to the headset, and you are listening to music, and receive a call, it won't go to the headset the way it would if the headset was paired directly to the phone.

That is, you cannot take calls in this configuration:

Phone -> Watch -> Headset

But must instead take them in this configuration:

Phone -> Watch AND Phone -> Headset

You can listen to music through the headset in _either_ configuration.

R. says it probably _should_ be this way, because keeping the headset paired to the watch all the time would likely run the charge down on the Watch too fast. But it does mean you'll have to unpair and re-pair every time to separate from your phone.

I'm telling you, things like this -- that make sense and are the _right decision_ -- ultimately will drive users mildly batty.

This is no reason not to get a Watch. It's me attempting to predict the future.
walkitout: (Default)
I've already posted about the sadness of the Seagate Wireless Plus and video DRM from iTunes post upgrade to iOS 8. On to more cheerful things!

Since the initial entertainment plan failed, I fell back on the kindle fire stick, but I wanted to get the upgrade onto it. I looked at the TVs, but couldn't find an open HDMI in until R. told me where it was. Hooked it up, did the upgrade, put it away again. (Wondering what that meant? A Kindle Fire Stick looks kinda like a thumb drive, but it plugs into the input of a TV -- HDMI in -- and also plugs into a power outlet. You then go to the source or input selector on your TV, and pick the HDMI input that you plugged the Stick into. The Stick has wifi, and will connect to your local wifi. You can then stream Amazon Instant Video through your network, into the Stick and thus onto your TV. There is an associated remote. You can also get an upgraded remote that does voice input. It is moderately cool, altho we generally only use it on vacation, since we have other ways to watch Amazon video through our existing setups. It is very small and light.)

I missed my Apple Watch delivery (signature required) while out on a walk. The walk had been rescheduled so I could pick up my son and take him to have his bangs trimmed before he had his picture taken. He balked and wanted to ride the bus home, so I wound up rescheduling the walk and missing the delivery for nothing. :( But it gets better! He agreed that we could comb and brush his hair and we got it looking okay. Sorta mop top/Johnny Tremaine, but that's okay. Photos happened.

Then, the fabulous UPS delivery man we've grown to known and love over a period of years (I hate shopping in person, and there was this one day where I was running errands and kept getting to places right when he was there, so I introduced myself and got his name, because there just comes this point where it's wrong not to know someone's name) was passing the house for a later delivery and stopped to drop it off, even tho the next scheduled attempt was tomorrow. Above and Beyond!

It is sitting on the charger now syncing a playlist so I will have music without having to bring my phone. I've put the LastPass app, the Starbucks app on. I need to set up some cards in Apple Pay, log in to various accounts, etc. And I should make sure my headphones sync, also.

It feels nice on. The haptic thing is cool. The screen is great. I like the default watch face. I haven't looked at the pedometer stuff yet; I figure I'll wear the FitBit for a while overlapping with the Watch to compare and contrast. A more detailed review will follow later.

Oh, I got the regular watch, with a white sport band (but not the Sport watch). I got the larger of the two choices (42 mm?) and I'm wearing the larger of the two bands.

ETA: Activity thingie set up on Watch. Still on the charger at the moment, but apparently it started counting as soon as I put it on earlier -- it didn't wait for setup.

ETA: Paired headphones with Watch. Had some confusion about how to make it play music to the headphones, but figured out about Force Touch on the Watch's Music App (thank goddess for bloggers on the internet amirite?), pick the Watch for the Source and boom. I've got music in my ears coming from my Watch. Ahhhhhh.... Of course, going for a walk without the phone is still problematic from a _parenting_ perspective, but I could do it without giving up the music at least.

ETAYA: Got Apple Pay set up. I also have the Starbucks app on the phone and I put that on the Watch. That was confusing. It wanted me to sign in, and I wasn't clear on how. Turns out running the app on the phone signs it in on the Watch. And then the pay cards aren't in the Starbucks app on the Watch (which is basically a glorified rewards + map, basically), but rather over on Passbook. At that point I realized that you have to explicitly add cards that you have in the Starbucks app on the phone to Passbook (button within the SB phone app) for them to show up on the Watch. So that was interesting. While the SB cards are in Passbook with the CC, they work totally differently. Choosing an SB card to pay generates what looks like a QR code (only not square, oddly -- rectangular). Choosing the cc, it tells you to double click on the oblong side button, and then triggers the NFC stuff. I wonder when Dunkin' Donuts will produce a Watch app?

ETA further: Hey, never noticed that DD supported Passbook! And has since 2013. Wow am I out of date. Anyway. Added my DD card to Passbook and it shows up on the Watch with a square QR code. Maybe I'll try that out tomorrow.

ETAYA: Went into the Watch App, uninstalled the LastPass app. I don't think I have a strong use case for having it on the Watch, and I'm not overjoyed about the security options on the Watch.

ETA: Ok, seriously, time to go to bed now. The big surprise is how useful Passbook suddenly seems on the Watch. I set it up when it came out and was always kind of disappointed that it just didn't do anything I wanted it to (at the time, apps wouldn't let you do a whole family worth of boarding passes for flights; I'm not a coupon clipper/user; I rarely go see movies). But on the Watch, that's now where the Apple Pay cc's live and it's where Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts are. I don't think Wendy's is there, but I'm less certain about McDonald's (I never set up their app -- maybe tomorrow). Also to try tomorrow, there's an Apple TV Remote app on this thing! Kinda cool. I was thinking that I was going to de-nerd a bit, by replacing the Baby-G and the FitBit band with the Apple Watch, but R. has put me straight. This thing is still way, way, way geeky.

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