Sunday, June 16, 2013

My "wearable computer" set up, June 2013

I don't (yet) have a Google Glass, but I wear computers, and it's great. Currently I have:
- Android phone (Nexus 4, if you must know)
- Pebble wristwatch
- LG Tone headphones
- Fitbit Ultra (no longer made; replaced by the Fitbit One)

The Fitbit counts my steps, and that's all. The neat thing about that is that I can compare days.
I know what it's like when my friend tells me she had an 8000-step day.
I know dancing for a couple hours is usually a good 10k steps at least.
I know that my 30k-step day in Dublin was seriously a lot of walking.
I haven't figured out why it's useful to know these things. Just cool.

The Android/Pebble combo gives me texts on my wrist. This is cool. I've received, understood, and dismissed a message on a bike. Yes, you can do this safely. I've received, understood, and dismissed a message in mid sentence. Yes, you can do this politely. (trust me; your conversational partner will mind much less than if you get your phone out and fiddle with it.)

Is it good that you can do these things? Good question.

But the Android/Pebble/Tone combo! This is the coolest part. Connect everything and start my music app, and then I can start/stop/forward/back the music from either my Pebble or the main Tone hardware. AND I can see the title of the currently playing song on my Pebble. I can almost-fully control my music on my bike. (yes, I can do this safely.)

The fact that it used to take ~25 seconds to start listening to music (unwind headphones, plug in, etc), and it now takes 3, means I listen to a lot more music. The fact that I can see the song playing means I remember it a lot better.

Is it good that I am listening to more music? Good question. But as a Real Actual DJ, who's constantly trying to take in new music, I appreciate it.

What do I take from this? Not a lot, because it's just me. Nevertheless:
- reducing the time it takes to do something really does make me do it more.
- I have no idea if there are negative effects from, say, the fact that I rarely walk more than 5 minutes in silence anymore. I have no idea how to measure this.
- the form factor has to be good and sort of invisible, but it doesn't have to be all that invisible, if there's clear benefit. (the Tone is a new one; it's "around-the-neck" style, and noticeable but usually not problematic.)
- we have enough ways to control music.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Voice of the Coffeepot

Well, this was kind of fun:

A class project. Used a force sensor to tell when the carafe was present/empty/full/being pressed, and either thanked you for refilling the coffee or wished you to enjoy your coffee via a text-to-speech chip and speakers. Enjoy your weekend!