Apple Watch regrets

"It's also (at least in my case) $700. Given how it looks and feels, and the technical accomplishments that go on inside that shell, is that the right price? I like it, but it's not "hundreds of dollars" like. Maybe I'll love next year's model, or the 2017 edition -- but I'll likely be ill at ease to admit it, because I'll still have the original Apple Watch, depreciated substantially. If anything is going to make smartwatches a mainstream thing, given what's beating inside (and the HealthKit stuff, and Apple's sheer influence when it comes to app developers), Apple will be the one to do it.

But it hasn't yet -- and I wish I hadn't opened my wallet for this first effort. I expected that I'd be using it so much more than I am at the moment. The curse of a new product category, or an Apple product that I don't need in my life? I'll know one way or the other in the next six months. And if I change my mind, when I'm using Glances untold times a day, when the apps are perfectly attuned to a wearable, I'm willing to eat crow and tell you how it all changed..."

The above from engadget feels familiar. I don't regret buying the Apple Watch because it has paid for itself with writing work. If, however, I had bought it because I was excited by it, I would feel pretty downhearted by now. Every time I put my normal watch on it feels like a considered and carefully created product. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, leaves me cold.

Collecting every UK chart hit in history

"A stunning record collection containing every chart single made has been discovered crammed into the terraced house of its late owner.

Single-minded Keith Sivyer bought every new release that entered the UK single charts since their inception in 1952 until his death in February aged 75.

Every week, without fail, Keith visited his local record shop with a copy of Music Week and bought the latest songs that had entered the top 40 before going home and adding them to his archive... More at The Telegraph."

Some may think this to be rather odd behaviour, but I think it's kind of cool

Android Wear 5.1

"Android Wear 5.1 has reduced Google’s emphasis on talking to your wrist, which is a good thing. The new menu system makes it easier to get to apps and settings, and the simple swipe-based interface is intuitive.

The emoji-drawing support is excellent and being able to connect remotely to a smartphone using Wi-Fi is useful for when Bluetooth won’t stretch far enough.

Android Wear’s notification-handling and quick, useful interactions powered by Google Now make it the best smartwatch platform currently available, but only if your life is plugged into Google services such as Gmail, calendar and Play Music."

Looks like it has just got a whole lot better. More at The Guardian.

Undercover Uber driver

This is such a good article which taught me a lot about Uber, but the following two parts stood out for obvious reasons-

Travis Kalanick, the CEO and founder of Uber, said at a conference last year that he’d replace human Uber drivers with a fleet of self-driving cars in a second. “You’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car,” he said. “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.” That, he said, will “bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.”

and

Morake says he doesn’t usually accept requests more than 10 minutes away, because customers tend to get impatient and cancel when he’s halfway there. He finally accepted mine because it was coming from a hospital and seemed desperate. “So it called one time, two times, three times — I said, ‘Maybe this person don’t have nobody else.’”

The contrast is so striking — Morake, who accepted a ride against his own best interests out of human kindness, and Uber, which treats him and so many other drivers as utterly disposable numbers in an equation.

I took the Apple Watch off for 2 days and...

I don't miss it at all.

This is not to say that the device is poor in any way, but that perhaps the need for smart watches at this time (for me) is still not necessary enough to wear one.

It obviously has some advantages such as alerting me to notifications, but at no time has it 'saved my life' and told me something that I needed to know 60 seconds earlier or that my iPhone could not do anyway. 

The fitness tracking is interesting, but not particularly useful to a sloth like me and for all other purposes, there is nothing here that makes me want to wear it, or that gives me the same feeling, over my traditional watch.

I did notice that checking the time on a normal watch suddenly feels like an upgrade without having to wait for the screen to turn on- it's just there and a glance is enough. It looks much nicer and feels more emotional, but that could be down to the fact that I am a watch guy so it's not important.

I am starting to wonder if we are already more than connected enough that a smart watch, in its current iteration, does not offer enough to make people switch. When they can truly do practical things that are beneficial, maybe the market will grow exponentially and even start to take the place of a phone.

Until that time, however, I see the Apple Watch as a curiosity, an example of what can be done in a tiny space and nothing more.

YouTube to the rescue

For several years running, I had to call out a plumber every autumn; the central heating pump would quit shortly after I turned on the system. One year, I had a magnetic filter installed to catch the gunk that kept jamming the pump, but the next year it quit right on schedule. I called the plumber. He cleaned out the magnetic filter, restarted the system, and sent me a bill.


The next year, the annual breakdown of the pump coincided with a warm spell, so I did nothing for a week. One day, while I was staring into space, it occurred to me that YouTube might hold the answer to my problem... More at The Guardian.

I have used YouTube for countless DIY tasks at home and always go there first when a problem occurs. How about you?

$13.6 billion

"CUPERTINO, California—April 27, 2015—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 second quarter ended March 28, 2015. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $58 billion and quarterly net profit of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $45.6 billion and net profit of $10.2 billion, or $1.66 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.8 percent compared to 39.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 69 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2015 third quarter:

revenue between $46 billion and $48 billion
gross margin between 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent
operating expenses between $5.65 billion and $5.75 billion
other income/(expense) of $350 million
tax rate of 26.3 percent"

How long can this go on for? Astonishing numbers...