Step counters can be fooled!

I recently saw an article that stated that step counters on fitbits and watches could be fooled using certain methods by lazy people. All they had to do was to attach the device to the pet dog or cat but I suppose any animal would do, or even a any child but not a lazy cat!

A few weeks ago I thought that I would try the fitness thingy on my pebble. This worked fine when I was interested in how much I was walking. Mostly to check that I was actually getting enough exercise during the day. The result so far is yes in most cases and that I found that low step counts coincided with days of feeling low energy, the more steps the better I felt. However, here’s the good bit. I found that when I was at work digging with a trowel (archaeology stuff), my watch still counted the trowelling movements and I could generally not move much and still gained alot steps on the counter thus following the health activity sensors.

Also on the pebble is the sleep thingy, I really don’t have much use for this so turned it off. Who actually wears a watch to bed? Seems a bit silly and awkward feeling  to me. The other thing is these step counters aren’t much good during the week if I’m at home because generally I have the phone in one location with the watch sat next to it. Mostly because when I’m home I see no point carrying the phone around while at the same time not really caring what the time is. But then that just me



Its Time to Move Forward

A lot has happened in the past few months hence and the biggest attack on my time as been work which as been really busy topped with helping my parents. In that time a new toy has arrived. Remember my pebble? Well, I backed the Kickstarter campaign for the pebble time and a few months back it arrived (have I really had it that long?). No, I didn’t do it just to stick my middle finger up at the apple watch, well sort off, I just wanted to back what I thought was a better product. In the time that I have come to depend on it. I am sure that my phone battery has been lasting longer because an average day I hardly touch it unless an important email comes through. Work breaks mean the phone gets used although thinking about it several recent changes have also improved the battery live but more that later.

With the pebble time improvements and new features come out with each app/system upgrade. The battery life on this thing is great, I have had up to 7 days but has it is used for all sorts of things a little less some weeks. I have come to rely on a handful of apps, compass, music boss, pebble communicator, watchnote just to name the top ones but others are also handy like javaplay (starbucks). I also have a couple of other apps I am trying out to get more out of the thing. The main project at the moment is Tasker which seems to be doing what I want and with pebble tasker a little bit more (another post will deal with this).

In the past couple of weeks pebble has also announced the pebble round which looks really good but I doubt I will go for it has in my opinion, it’s for people with small wrists but mostly because I love what I have. I still have the original pebble, its connected to my nexus 7 for a project which I am hoping to develop…


Pebble Gets Update With New Functions

Most nights sees me checking my phone for updates, largely so that I can do the updates at home on wifi (and no, I am still not doing the gmail update on my phone because I still think it totally sucks!).

When I checked last night I found a new Beta was available so downloaded it to try out the new features. The biggest of these was the ability to reply with simple emoji’s as well as other functions for dealing with emails. Text messages seem to just have reply and no other option which really isn’t much use although I suspect that this will change. Although this functionality is welcome it is somewhat limited compared to Awear with its pre done replies (still a limitation but is still useful). The functions that are bow available are dismiss (as before), and then there are more. Now delete has been added (always be careful with this one!), reply with emoji’s only. These replies are OK but I am really not keen on them. I prefer the written word! I am sure there are other functions and stuff but I haven’t found these yet.

Yet, despite the limitations it is hoped that they can be further developed to allow the user to add there own pre-written replies that they use most often. Yet, despite the features added, the Pebble watch remains remains a watch and not a wrist computer (like all the more expensive ones). To be honest, I don’t see these new functions making it that awear becomes obsolete as awear still as so much more to offer (but only when it is able to reliably connect to google which is the main issue at the moment).

I was also recently pleasantly surprised to see pebbles appear in Currys when I stopped by for something else. It was hinted that accessories where also going to be stocked but we will have to wait and see. There was only one watch and display with all the other suspects as well and it was the one that had the most easily read screen!


Update: after some more use and getting used to the newer functions I have found that there are preset replies but these still are somewhat restrictive and to improve there needs to be some way add more personal ones that are more suited to the user.


App of the Month- Awear (pebble app).

I started this about a month ago but put on hold until now. The previous post may have given hints as to why but it basically boiled down to two things. The first, which affected nearly all my pebble apps, was a communication issue with the pebble/pebble app which mostly those running android 4.2.2. yes, I know its been updated since but now updates have come through for my phone and to be honest I don’t want them because I want the permissions to be available which have gone with recent update (so much for user control, Google we want this back !!! I am currently considering my next phone which I hope to install a custom ROM on.

The second problem lay with Awear itself, as hinted at before, there was a problem with the Gmail side of things but thankfully it is now back and fixed. Now bare in mind that this app is still in Beta so it may not be perfect but it works and is very useful. I regard it as the next step up from Glance which I still use occasionally because it still as features that I like. The app requires a phone companion app which is no problem because it helps with the settings.

The settings are nice and simple but its one of those things that you need to check carefully. I missed the bit in the email settings that said about what email alerts you require. I found on double checking that you can select all or set it to curtain tags. Mine was on tags and nothing was selected! Which was why no email alerts came through when everything else worked. Its now set right and I get to delete boring emails or ones that I can read on my wrist with out taking the phone out.

The app also allows you to reply to texts but only with preset ones. OK if its texts that you can repeat or simple answers but otherwise its out with the phone. This is fine but if you want to send a simple text that is not a reply to a alert text then you are stuck ( one thing that glance did allow). I am currently testing a different app which may cover texting from the watch.

The app has a web site

And forums can be found here

This has become my mainly used pebble app and gives me what I expect out of a smart watch. Personnally I see the pebble competing favourably against the google OS watches for several reasons, cost, battery charge time and most of all, you can see the screen in daylight!




Pebble app missed something!

Since I got my pebble watch I have become somewhat attached to it and now find myself dependant on it. However, in the past couple of weeks I have received as couple of updates which, while dealing with some issues and given improvements and other cosmetics have failed in one area. To be honest, I think the updates have taken the watch in a backwards move. I am talking about the blue tooth situation. When I first had the watch I had very few disconnections but in the past couple of weeks it has got more frequent. I was hoping that last nights update might deal with the situation but so far I see no improvement. Will this stop me from saying how much I like the device? No, I love it to much to leave it at home but the issue needs to be addressed before users get fed up with this issue and go else where.

One more thing, did anyone notice (unless its my eye sight), the version number for the app has gone down.

As ever I welcome comments.


Pebble Progress

I’ve been using my Pebble for a couple of weeks now and what a difference. First I had to get used to wearing a watch again, which I still don’t all the time such as when I am at home. One of the first questions that came to mind was: How much of a drain on phone power is it? In my experience very little, in fact the battery seems to be lasting longer during the day because I’m not checking the phone for the time or checking messages. The battery on the watch last roughly 4 to 5 days depending on use.

The support for the watch, as in instructions seems some what basic if at all available and use of the watch relies on the user finding out what the buttons do on their own. The website seems more for selling but a lot of information can be found in the forums and help pages. The apps pages seem somewhat bare but this is understandable seeing as though many are just starting out. I’ve tried 3 or 4 apps and 2 have already been uninstalled due to a user unfriendly attitude! I haven’t had much of a chance to check many of the available apps out but over the next few weeks I will.

Only one app has past the one week test, Notifier. Seems a lot better that the notification alerts that came with the watch and has meant that I don’t need to look at the phone all the time because it displays all or most of the messages or alerts from apps which matter such as email, twitter (Talon in my case) and SMS. I haven’t really had much time to play around with it but it does come with some form of instruction…which buttons do what. Within the app check out Help and it show a picture of the watch and the buttons are labeled. I have just discovered reqallable which is going to be tested over the next week or two. But thats for another time.

Even though I’ve had the watch for a short time I can see great potential for it, depending on what apps are used. Yes, compared to the next generation of smart watches its basic but the Pebble is all I really need.  Currently I really don’t see the point of having loads of functions such as calling on a watch. Really, I don’t want to look like an idiot talking to my wrist, nearly as bad as using a tablet to take pictures out side!