Shameless review–Metawatch!!!!!!


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OK – so I have to start off by being completely honest. I had to reach out to the MetaWatch support team yesterday because my 1.1 update fialed. They were awesome and got me up and running in about 15 minutes. In the end it was my problem that caused the issue not theirs. For some reason my laptop decided to forget about the USB port.

MetaWatch Review:

photo

Full disclosure I was a huge Microsoft Spot watch user and fan. The guys that were behind a lot of that innovation are the founders of Metawatch so in fairness – they had me at hello! And hello it was – see above the picture of my watch screen. It has my stocks, weather, battery life and of course being a watch the time and date. Over the next couple of software releases they are adding email notification and Facebook/Twitter. But right now today you get SMS and Caller ID. Its really nice when you are in a meeting to look down at your watch (innocent activity) when your phone buzzes. You can see who is calling and determine if you want to take THE CALL.

First things first. You get the watch – the box is pretty cool. It comes with an alligator clip USB charging and updating unit. The watch has a solid look and feel. When you unpack the box you don’t get the sense that anything was left out.

Initial setup takes two steps:

  • Download application for phone (and set phone into Bluetooth receive mode) connect iPhone or android device using the application and setup your screen.
  • For caller ID and SMS notification you have to go into the settings of the phone and pair it with the watch. You need to set Bluetooth to also broadcast all notifications to receive SMS and Caller ID.

They are continuing to work on the software so on occasion you will need to update your unit. They have a simple application and once you have it connected to a working USB port (my problem that delayed my upgrade was this) you are good to go. Version 1.1 of the software is out now and it is an easy update.

Like the old Spot watches you have “multiple” screens you can customize. I’ve only started on the first two screens with stocks and weather. I will add addition widgets as they become available. Their SDK is coming soon and will allow even further customization.

Going to my other blog for a second (http://docandersen.wordpress.com ) I talked about the concept of the screen as a service. The MetaWatch is one of the first implementations of that concept and it is very exciting!

Good:

  • Solid look and feel
  • Easy to connect and setup
  • Battery on my watch lasts longer than my phone
  • Notification screen is easily read – SMS and caller ID
  • Apps are clean and display is solid

Bad

  • You are bound to your phone’s reception. For example the update process can bite you if you want to watch your stocks and you are riding the Metro, there are dead area’s where you get no data on the train so you lose your screen.
  • You have to have a working USB port.

I’ve been wearing my watch for 4 days now. During that time it has become a great tool. As additional applications allow me to push to the new screen from my iPhone this device will continue to get better and better. Overall I would put the MetaWatch in my list with ActiveWords. Tools you don’t realize how much you need until you actually get one. The question is will this stem the tide away from watches?

If you wear a watch and carry either an Android or iPhone – get a METAWATCH.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

To blog or not to blog that is the question


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The why of blogging. I had 160 hits on my blog yesterday. Why? Don’t know. It was an average blog. I had 200 + hits for three straight days with last week’s one less teenager post so I have no clue what it is that drives people.

Normally I have many more hits on my podcasts than on my blog (average) but I post fewer podcasts so while there are higher per podcast downloads the numbers are skewed because I blog almost every day.

A few numbers:

  • Most popular blog ever: Jackie’s 18th birthday post (over 1200 views day of, nearly 2500 views all time)
  • Least popular blog (lots) average about 1 view per roughly 300 blogs
  • Total views both blogs (more than 50,000)
  • Total number of blogs (both blogs) 3000
  • Highest search term: The Cloud Dating Game (more than 400 searches)
  • Largest referring site: Facebook
  • Second highest: Linkedin

Interesting note on the last state – this blog gets most of its referrals from Facebook. My other blog gets most of its referrals from Linked in.

Blogging is an interesting hobby.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

In the quiet of the maddening rush


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On the train of souls

each light turned away

listening to the silence

and following the quiet bouncing ball

that floats up and down

never side to side

never looking

always bouncing

and in the quiet there is little to hear

little to see

no looking

no connection

as the quiet rolls onward

in that quiet when you are alone

you find a measure of solace

and a measure of fear

you take the solace

and you hide from the fear

pulling your coat further around you

remembering that things were never what they were

and listening to the smatters

that shatter the quiet

each one

combined with others

to create the next great play

on the great way…

each one a moment

a compilation

yet filled with songs unwritten

as the trees bend to the wind

and time passes as though not engaged.

 

.doc

The new Kindle Fire


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Two things came last night that I am very excited about. First, Amazon sent me my new Fire. I am a huge Kindle fan (and all my books are available on the Kindle Store except 1). The new Fire is simply amazing.  I was up and running with all my books downloaded in less than 30 minutes. I need to get access to the project Gutenberg books, but I can do that at any point. That is simply a manual download effort.

The second item that arrived was the MetaWatch. MetaWatch is a Kickstarter project (one – if you aren’t playing with Kickstarter its is simply amazing as a way to see what is coming and what may be cool and fund them early). The watch like the pebble is a connected device (a watch form factor that becomes a second screen for your iPhone or Android device). I was up and running with the device in roughly 10 minutes. Now I will admit that I am risking today, because I didn’t take the time to update the firmware – I will do that tonight.

Add that to my favorite time of the year and all is well. Although running down to DC yesterday was a pain, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. This morning is an odark 30 trip due to an early meeting start so we will see if its worse in the early, early am. Its my favorite time of the year because of two people, my Grandfather and my mother. Both of whom spent considerable time making every Christmas special. I love the change in people when they realize Santa is near.

Everyone has adjusted to the transition from T-Mobile to AT&T. I personally enjoy the fact that now my devices all work pretty much everywhere (except, well the basement of the EPA building). Its an early day time to roll!

.doc

Scott Andersen

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Its here, its here


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They call me “Cyber Monday.”

My favorite Christmas decorations in the world? Singapore. Simply beyond description. Drinking a Singapore Sling at the Raffles hotel? Priceless. I was always jealous that my parents got to go there in 1972.

In thinking about Singapore I remember a weekend I spent there. I landed early Saturday and ended up being in town until Tuesday because I had a meeting at the regional HQ on Monday and didn’t have to be in KL until Tuesday am. So I landed a day early to get ready and focused. I rode the Ducks around the town on Sunday. I was thinking how many cities have I been on Ducks? At least 5 that I can think of – and they have Ducks in DC so I can add number 6.

Not sure why that last part popped in my head. I guess its just back to work Monday cobwebs.

I was thinking about great science experiments you can do with your kids. I may have to start a blog series on that. I have a few ideas but they aren’t jelled yet. I will let that one brew and see what comes out.

Heading into this time between the holidays there is much to do and time seems so compressed. The scary thing is I am back to going to work in the dark and getting home in the dark. Walks now are in the dark completely. Dylan doesn’t mind but I need a light. I have one of those headset lights but I feel like a PeeDiddle when I wear it (PeeDiddle, one lighted car).

oh well

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Short and sweet Sunday blog…


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I wonder sometimes how much is too much? When do you know? That you’ve reached that point of known return? It used to be a line that people worried about when flying over the ocean. At what point can we safely stop and turn around still having the fuel to make it safely back. Also a great album from Kansas (Point of Known Return) released in the 70’s.

I am only asking because it is something that I just don’t quite understand.

It got cold yesterday. 44 was the high but the wind was 20 mile per house gusts that made it freaking cold. Dylan didn’t care – for him it was business as usual. For me it was just bloody cold.

Time to get rolling…

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Saturday rambling (and a pitch for ActiveWords)


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My ActiveWords window popped up on my creative machine the other day telling me I have in fact saved over 100 dollars. That was the value of the time I saved in building and generating my blog over the course of a two month period. Virtually everything automated in my blog now except the ramblings of the crazy person.

  • Automation takes many forms:
  • Reduce multistep processes
  • Reduce or remove complexity from a process
  • Remove error from a process
  • Automate tasks that are repetitive

ActiveWords is a great way to automate a number of different tasks on your computer.

Dylan escaped this morning. Somehow the back gate was left open. So we ended up buying both dogs personalized collars with their names and the number to call. They are reflective which will help as it gets dark really early now (5 pm).

We saw Lincoln yesterday. It has to be the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen. It takes him from the time right after his reelection to the end of the war, the 13th amendment and finally his assignation. I highly recommend reading the biography of Lincoln out now. He seems larger than life – and frankly Daniel Day Lewis portrayed him with simply amazing acting. Great movie!!!!!

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The leaves are falling and the sky is gray, but inside the fire is burning and it’s a wonderful day!


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We watched the Jim Carey, Ron Howard epic “The Grinch that stole Christmas” last night as our family movie. It’s the first time we’ve had family movie night in over a year where we didn’t leave the house. Today we are off to see Lincoln. I am really excited about seeing the movie, I read the biography of Lincoln and it changed my opinion of him considerably. I can’t wait to see the big screen version of it.

The biggest holiday movie for me this year is The Hobbit. I read the original English version, not the much changed US version of all four books (the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Red Book of Westmarch or The Hobbit, if you read the original or even the US version you would remember the name “The Red Book of WestMarch” as that is what Bilbo called his memoirs.)

Tolkien was without a doubt a genius and the books simply flowed through me. I read them in roughly three weeks. Absorbing them every night when I got home from BPS. The richness of the story and the wonder of the universe he created remain with me to this day. While I could pick at Peter Jackson’s portrayal of some of the characters of Middle Earth I felt his original three movies were very close to the overall intent of the series. So, The Hobbit is on my must see list. I guess in the end I am a Middle Earth geek.

We had a wonderful family day yesterday – with everyone pitching in to make the meal, eat the meal and then cleanup afterwards. Family is the most important thing.

.doc

A day to be thankful


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I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. It was the most important thing to me for many years. It remains something that I treasure although I would trade writing for being a dad any time.

Today we all cooked Thanksgiving dinner – well we started the process. Jordan, Luke and I got the stuffing made and the bird in the oven. Barb, Luke and Jordan then made the pumpkin pie and a cherry pie to top off the meal. The only things left now are the potatoes, yams and the green bean casserole. Thanksgiving is coming together!

It is sad however, that we couldn’t got back to Indiana. Jordan and Jackie have to work of course on Black Friday. Jordan virtually overnight and Jackie starting at 5 in the morning and then all day. It is the reality of working retail.

Still we get the day as a family. So dinner at 1 pm (missing mom and dad, and my sisters there) and then a family walk. After the family walk (to calm t-Rex) we are having a family movie – The Princess Bride feels like the perfect new Thanksgiving tradition.

I posted what I was thankful for on this day on Facebook – seems the place to post that kind of stuff. To those who serve this country I am thankful for you and your service today as well.

  • Teachers!
  • Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Air force
  • Police and Fire Services

Heroes are those who act bravely in the face of danger. All of you are my heroes.

.doc

Some thoughts on input technology…


 

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Touch screen vs. Wacom vs. tablet (with touch screen) vs. Livescribe or Anoto pen

So, I am a huge fan of touching paper with a pen to produce something. While the tablet experience is close to that I still like the feel of paper. So the feel of a pen is really important. Neither the Livescribe nor the Anoto are small pens. I do like larger pens so that works out for me but I have talked to a number of people over the years who find them to large and therefore unwieldy.

Touch Screens

Good:

  • Easy to use (simply touch)
  • OS Dependent (iOS is better for touch than windows is for example)
  • Great level of interaction

Bad

  • too small to be effective in many cases for taking notes.
  • finger vs stylus when taking notes a stylus remains better
  • requires a computer or tablet

Wacom

Good

  • Very responsive
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Makes any computer a touch sensitive computer

Bad

  • expensive
  • requires a computer or tablet

Tablet

Good

  • Quality is OS dependent
  • can do more than simply interact with users

Bad

  • input screen size is critical
  • expensive

Livescribe or Anoto

Good

  • you don’t simulate paper you use paper
  • Works everywhere
  • Paper size is adjustable by simply switching notebooks.

Bad

  • Requires a computer or tablet
  • requires special paper

 

The reality of this for me? I still can’t determine which works best. There are many situations when each works best. For example in a live meeting having a touch screen is very relevant. In a room filled with no computers, having a pen that takes digital notes is critical. I guess it remains “situationally” dependent until someone fixes the problems on one of the platforms.

.doc