Apple Watch First Impressions

I have used the Apple Watch for a week now and wanted to share my first impressions and observations.  Not going to review specific features or how to's, but just things I have noticed.

First, it is a nice looking watch.  I received the 42mm Stainless Steel model and when I opened the box, my first thought was that it is smaller than expected.  The watch face was smaller and the thickness was thinner than my expectation.  No, I did not go into an Apple Store to view one or try one on before ordering and receiving mine.  My expectation was a big pillow shaped watch.   It is much sleeker than expected.

Screen is amazing.  So clear and bright.  Love the OLED.  The user interface takes a bit of time to get use to.  Thus all of the Apple demo's on their site.  It is not intuitive.   You have to learn new ways of doing things (buttons vs. swipes, etc..).  But it does get easier to use each day and slowly becomes second nature.

Not sure about the utility of most of the apps that can be used from your iPhone.  Certainly not going to read Yahoo News on my watch.  My advice is to select the option to "NOT" install all the apps during setup.  Only install the ones you really want to use as you need them.  That said, some are more convenient on the Watch than on the phone. Checking status of Apple orders on my iPhone Apple Store App requires a lot more work than checking on the Watch.  My package tracking app is quicker and easier on the Watch as well.

Some frustrations has been getting my calendar onto the phone (does not want my Work Outlook Calendar for some reason) which seems to pick and choose at random and receiving appropriate notifications on the watch.  Everything looks set up correctly but it is not working consistently.  Rebooting both phone and watch did help a little.  Even a wipe and start over did not fix the issue completely. Now am syncing one way from Outlook to Google Calendar.  Still a work in progress.   Which brings me to the biggest problem...

Notifications is frustrating since on both my Pebble and Fitbit, it worked perfectly.  In fact, on my Fitbit, I would get the notification there before they popped up on the iPhone screen!  This should be the simplest, most basic thing to work... and it seems hit and miss on the watch.  Some may come 30 seconds after the notification on the phone or not at all.  Over time it seems to be getting better, but still a few issues. What I do like with Messages and notifications is based upon the content of the message, it provides one touch answers.  For example, my wife sent a message asking if I wanted the usual or something new from a restaurant for a to go order.  When I selected “reply”, the first two options to send where “the usual” and “something new”.  One click of “the usual” and response done.

Another big issue is I have 2 Apple ID's.  A main ID that I use for most everything, and another just for iCloud.  The watch will only allow me to use the iCloud ID.  It does not give you the option to put in the username for the ID I want to use, it just pulls it from your phone (I guess) and wants the password.  I have found no work around.  I even deactivated iCloud on my iPhone and reset the watch and installed again.  No change.   I tend to believe this is the source to my calendar and notifications issues?

The watch also seems to be affecting my battery on the iPhone more than expected.  That may be from me in the Watch App customizing everything over and over.  But I will keep an eye out.  But the battery on the Watch itself seems pretty good.  One day it ran for 15 hrs and was still around 40% left, even with fitness activities on the Watch used that day.  

Other abnormalities that have started since pairing the watch with my iphone.  When using some bluetooth headphones, they loose connection all of the time. Coincidence?  I did not have that problem before. 

I can only hope that Apple will fix some of these issues.  I am prepared for them as I know I was getting a 1st generation product and would be a tester.  It was expected.

Has it or will it replace my Fitbit?  Yes and No.  It will replace the Surge, but because the watch can not be used while sleeping, I will go back to a simpler Fitbit model.  I love the Fitbit sleep tracking and alarm feature to wake me in the morning (no noise!).  Also I am so invested in the data from the Fitbit, it is difficult to quit cold turkey.  So yes, I will be one of those nerds with both.

Fun With Installing Windows 7

received my two boxes of Windows 7 Professional Upgrade on Thursday October 22, 2009 as Amazon promised they would.

My first install would be on my MacBook Pro.  I first tried upgrading from Win7RC 64-but to Win7 64-bit Uon my Macbook Pro in Bootcamp.  It would not work for me, as I kept getting an error stating it “could not create the installation folder”.  I had an additional 27GB in the partition, so this could not be due to a space issue.  I even tried another Win7 Upgrade disk in case there was an error on the DVD.  Same result.

So I went into OSX (Snow Leopard) and used the Bootcamp Utility to delete the Windows partition and re-create a new one and go through the clean install process. I was not sure I could use the upgrade DVD on a clean install, but went for it anyway.

I used the “Custom Option” process and formatted the partition and installed. After most of the install process, a couple of reboots, I finally got to the “Type your Windows product key” screen and it kept telling me the product key was invalid.  I tried it a dozen times, even changing a B to an 8 to see if that was the issue.  No luck.

Had to call Microsoft.  First Rep could not give me a case# so I had to call back and get another Rep. who validated that my Key is good, gave me a case number and transfered me to an install technician in India with a strong accent.  Could barely understand her.  Gave her my case number and we went through the same thing as the first rep (what is the case number for if not to tell the technician what the issue is and what has been done by the first rep?).  She activated the key on her end(?), told me to delete the key and move on with the installation without adding a key.  The install process continued & completed.  Inserted my OSX Snow Leopard CD and installed Bootcamp Drivers.  Rebooted, activated and all is well.

So in my case, you could install an upgrade version of Windows 7 on a clean partition without installing Vista first.

Run More than 1 Process on iPhone?

Unfortunately, the Apple iPhone does not allow multiple processes to run at the same time.  This has been a topic since it's origin.  Although this has not been an issue for me since 1.0, now that 3.0 is out and GPS turn by turn directions are becoming available, as well as other dashboard types of applications, this has now become a "possible" hinderence.

Gokivo GPS

I now have a windshield mount for my iPhone and like to run the Heads Up Display app aSmartHUD (this app is so cool, you must check out the website).

But can I run this App at the same time I am listening to a podcast or music?  Well I am happy to say you can!  Will this translate to the upcoming GPS applications (TomTom) or current app (Gokivo)?  I am praying it will.  Certainly let me know if you already know!

How I Use iPhone Slingplayer via 3G

Not only can I use Slingplayer via 3G, any other WiFi required iPhone application I now can use via 3G.

The key is not to use AT&T, but to use Verizon.  But how to use Verizon on the iPhone?  Well, you must have a Verizon data account, then you will need the Verizon MiFi.   The Verizon MiFi takes your 3G and turns it into WiFi.  You just then connect the iPhone to WiFi.

The MiFi is very small, about the size of a credit card.

I just received my Verizon MiFi 2200, plugged into my laptop and connected. Then unconnected the MiFi from laptop and pluged into AC power.  Once connected to the Verizon network, you can unplug the MiFi since it has a battery so you can then unplug and move around. The MiFi only needs to be connected to a computer to initially access the network.  It then runs as a secure WPA wifi network.

I ran the speedtest on my Macbook and am getting 1294 kbps down and 487 kbps.  I also ran the test on my iphone and got 762 (876 max) kbps down and 194 (211 max) kbps up.

My next test was how far away from the MiFi would my iPhone still be connected.  It was about 50ft from my office that I loose connection.  That is through 2 doors and into the lobby of my office.  Much further than expected.

So far I am completely impressed with the MiFi, it works as advertised, and would highly recommend.

How I work in a Multi-OS World

In my computing life, I am OS agnostic with a lean towards OS X. But I work on XP computers (desktop & laptop) at work, I have a Macbook running OS X 10.5, Windows Vista via Bootcamp, Windows XP, Windows 7 & Ubuntu via VMFusion. At home I have a Vista box, a iMac running Os X 10.4, MacMini runing OS X 10.5, and EEEBox running Ubuntu. And finally, I have an iPhone. 

So how does one keep organized in such an environment? I want to simplify my computing as much as possible, so I have been working on this for years. Luckily, I am not the only one with this problem, as solutions have become available to fill this need. Here is a list of what I use and how I use it. 

Passwords: Password syncing can be difficult. I have three different solutions I run at the same time for different purposes. The first solution is my main Password managment system and I use the Open Source software KeePass. KeePass is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. And to keep all of the systems in sync, the encrypted database is stored via encrypted Dropbox folder so any change at one computer, will be changed for all since they all look at the Dropbox folder for the data. The second solution is syncing passwords in Firefox via Foxmarks (now Xmarks). The third solution is with 1Password for my Macs as I store the keychain in Dropbox similar to Keepass. Yes, I know I am being reduntant here as Keepass is really all that is needed for the computers, but I use 1Password to sync to my iPhone. Still waiting for iKeePass App to show in the iTunes store. 

Favorites/Bookmarks: I use Foxmarks (Xmarks). It is available for all Firefox (as Xmarks), IE and Safari, thus works in all 3 Operating Systems. This also stores them via a website, so if I am at my parents computer or anyone elses, I still have access. Working Documents & Shared folders: I have mentioned Dropbox already regarding password database centralization. This is an ideal solution for the day to day files and anything else that may need to be moved or shared between all platforms including access via iPhone


Music and other Media: I use SugarSync for the backing up my digital media from all the platforms (including iPhone) except for Ubuntu. The ability to stream my music from SugarSync on the iPhone or purchase music from any computer and immediately have it available on all my computers is excellent. I did try JungleDisk and S3, but the syncing was slow and not reliable in OS X. It was my first solution for many of these issues, but could not keep up. Granted it was cheaper than SugarSync (only solution listed above that cost$ based upon how I am using it), but SugarSync and Dropbox are both blazing fast and reliable. I also tried MobileMe, but cancelled that mess. One word for MobileMe - CRAP. Related Posts by Me:
Cross Platform Syncing and

To Do Lists

My iPhone Calendar Challenge

My issue was, I wanted to get my work Outlook calendar on my iPhone without attaching my iPhone to the work computer. Nor do I have the option of using Exchange (yet). I also wanted to do it with no intervention on my part. Especially now that it can be done over the air in version 2 of the software using MobileMe. My first try was with free utilities and programs. None worked.

Therefore I decided to spend money. First is getting the Outlook calendar data into Google Calendar. I tried many programs (open source, free, paid), but none worked as well as SyncMyCal. $25

With my Outlook calendar now on Google Calendar, I needed to get it on my Macbook that I sync with the iPhone and Unfortunately, subscribing to a Google Calendar does not sync up to So once again, I tried many but settled on BusySync. $25

Then I used MobileMe to sync onto which pushes onto my iPhone.

It only took trying dozens of programs and $50 to get it done. For most people it may not be worth it, but it is for me. And it works by itself via syncing without me doing anything. Finally. Shouldn't this be easier?

iPhone Syncing between Mac and PC

Here is my situation. Most all I do and want sync'd to the iPhone is on my Macbook. This includes my personal contacts, music, video, podcasts, photos and bookmarks. What is on my work Windows XP computer is my schedule in Outlook.

I have tried multiple solutions. First, I connected to the work network via Entourage on my Macbook and sync'd the calendar via Entourage. Entourage had issues with any Outlook event that was and all day event. It put part of the event the day before and created duplicates. So that did not work.

Next, I tried the new Outlook to Google Calendar sync to get my schedule in Google Calendar and then subscribe to the calendar in iCal. However I could never get the Outlook to Google Calendar Sync to work. I may be due to the corporate firewall.

So I decided to try syncing just the Calendar on the Windows PC. I plugged in the iPhone, made sure no syncing at all would take place. Put a check mark only under syncing Calendar with Outlook and pressed sync. It gave me a notice that the iPhone was paired with another computer and did I want to merge or overwrite the data. I clicked on overwrite and prayed. It worked. I have my Outlook calendar on the iPhone and no other data was messed with.

I then connected the iPhone with my Macbook. I made sure everything was selected correctly EXCEPT the calendar. I also got the merge or overwrite question regarding the contacts and bookmarks. I believe this is due to the calendar, bookmarks and contacts all being on the same tab in iTunes.

Therefore, whenever I move from the Macbook to the Windows PC, it will ask to merge or overwrite. Not the most elegant solution, but it seems to work so far.