PW-DOS 1.10: #ReadyForPebble2

PW-DOS Command Line Watchface Version 1.5

Wow! Bit of a nostalgic one, this! Although the lack of updates here might not belay it, Pebble development has become one of my greatest passions over the last year and a half. Before Pokemon GO Radar blew up in ways I never could have imagined, before the Ottawa PTR hackathon win, before the Boulder smartstrap hackathon win, before the smartstrap obsession or the PW-DOS smartstrap…there was the lowly PW-DOS Command Line Watchfacemy first publication to the Pebble appstore. It was thus my pleasure to update it for the new Diorite platform and give it pride of place on my wrist, and hopefully on the wrists of other Pebble 2 users! 八( ^□^*)

Coming Soon: the all-new, fully configurable PW-DOS 2.0 with heart rate, battery level, and…I don’t know…HIMEM.SYS or something? (≧o≦)

PW-DOS 1.4 Release Notes

PW-DOS Command Line Watchface Version 1.4

The latest release of PW-DOS Command Line Watchface for Pebble is focused on optimization of existing functionality. All animations have been rewritten around sparing use of timers, vs. the original functionality which was more “clockwork”-like with each visible change corresponding to a second ticking over. Instead of the cursor blinking once per second, and the DIR/refresh being tied to the last few seconds of each minute/first few of the following, everything has been reduced to a single once-per-minute cycle (the display remains static until DIR and the scrolling are triggered at HH:MM:57, yielding significant power savings).

As alluded to above, the cursor no longer blinks once per second. In fact, it no longer blinks at all, unless you ask it to. Given that Pebble watchfaces cannot use the device’s buttons, the classic “shake” gesture is employed to trigger the cursor blink. And a faster, more “realistic” blink has been made possible now that it’s no longer tied to the clock’s second ticks. Enjoy, and please leave any and all feedback in the comments below! □_ヾ(・_・ )

PW-DOS 1.2 Release Notes

PW-DOS Command Line Watchface Version 1.2With a dozen hearts and over 5 dozen installs in under 24 hours, PW-DOS Command Line Watchface for Pebble is taking off in ways I’d never imagined! Version 1.2 brings a new “animated” DIR, simulating an unseen user typing the command in the closing seconds of each minute, followed by the “old” file listing scrolling up and being replaced with the new. □_ヾ(・_・ )

Technically there’s a subtle inaccuracy in the present functionality – if you notice it, let me know in the comments below!  ̄~ ̄

The Elephant on Your Wrist: Evernote for Pebble

The launch of the Pebble appstore has brought Kickstarter’s most funded project of all time dramatically closer to the promise made to backers almost two years ago. With Evernote for Pebble, the wearable evolves from pretty face to legitimate business tool.

Evernote for Pebble allows users to browse Notebooks, Reminders, Checklists, Shortcuts, Tags, “Nearby” Notes (based on current location), and Saved Searches and view basic, raw note text. Formatting is not preserved – this has been problematic for me since I tend to use strikethrough to cross items off of lists – though I may start using more Checklists since these are the one type of content that can be edited right from the Pebble. The app is being marketed as v1.0, but at times feels more like a beta. I have 1000s of Notes, and dozens of Notebooks, so may be an edge case, but I encounter frequent “Loading…” messages while waiting for content to be displayed, and even the occasional “App crashed” – but Pebble users, like any earlier adopters, are used to the occasional hiccup. Such convenient access to the immense body of information that is my Notes is of tremendous value, and less-than-stellar performance and the occasional crash is a small price to pay. Evernote and Pebble are an obvious symbiotic pair, each of whose utility and enjoyment are increased by the other.

I Have Forgiven You Pebble

Almost seventeen months after backing Pebble on Kickstarter, and two and a half after the initial (severely delayed) unit died within hours of arrival, I finally have a working replacement!  The RMA process was actually pretty impressive – a little over a week from filling out the form to holding a replacement in my hand (or…wearing it on my wrist!).  Despite the initial disappointment, I’m quite pleased with the device now – controlling music while driving and being able to see who’s calling when I’m not next to my phone so that I can decide whether or not to run for it is just as good as it was in my imagination for the year and a half during which the Pebble existed as no more than a figment of it.  It still seems rather limited and beta-y, but ignoring the wait and other tribulations, I’m happy enough with its current out-of-the-box functionality, and look forward to finally getting a chance to hack on it! (⌒o⌒)

Disappointing Pebble is Disappointing

My excitement about the Pebble watch had already started to wane long before the unapologetic lump of plastic and disappointment finally made its way to my wrist. I received shipment notification over 13 months after backing the Kickstarter project, yet this was preceded by numerous milestones of disenchantment. The failure to make good on the original September 2012 delivery estimate was to be just the first of many upsets. The device being available for retail purchase in Best Buy before mine had even shipped was perhaps the most bold, in that it required a decision to be made by Pebble to intentionally mistreat original backers (unlike for example OUYA, which I backed a month after Pebble and which I received only 3 months after the original estimated delivery date (over a month before Pebble), and as promised by OUYA, before they started selling in retail stores). It was at that point that I became completely disillusioned with the product and with the team, no longer anticipating the watch’s arrival with excitement, nor bothering to be offended by subsequent delays and other missteps.

When it arrived, I opened the box more out of morbid curiosity than of hope that after Read More…

Sprint/Ting Galaxy S III Jelly Bean Update!

Sprint is the first US carrier to deliver Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S III, which means Ting customers benefit too!  My impression of the S III to date has been that it is an amazing piece of hardware, which brings with it some brilliant innovations, but also many frustrations, primarily in the software layer – after only a short while with the 4.1.1 update, my affection for the device is growing rapidly – in addition to obvious things like the Google Now functionality that I’ve been raving about for ages, there is a comprehensive “blocking mode” (for e.g. preventing notifications and other disturbances while you’re sleeping – except specific important contacts!), better input options, and “Smart Rotation” which rotates the screen based on your eye position rather than the accelerometer (meaning your screen stays the way you want it, even if you’re lying down!)! (ô_ô)

Review: Mobile Development with C#: Building Native iOS, Android, and Windows Phone Applications

Mobile Development with C# is yet another book that I was motivated to purchase by one of O’Reilly’s free webcasts.  The title, Cross-Platform Mobile Development with C#, grabbed my attention, and the presentation itself was one of the most impressive I have seen from O’Reilly’s or any other series.  The webcast is no longer available in its original format, but it is available on YouTube, and I have uploaded the companion slideshow here since it does not appear to be available on the author’s site.  Greg Shackles is emphatic about the fact that he is neither employed nor compensated by Xamarin, the developers of MonoTouch and Mono for Android, which are the tools at the heart of the Cross-Platform Mobile Development strategy – but his proponence of these products is so effective that I hope they at least buy him a craft beer at some point!(^_-)  The book advocates a technique of developing native user interfaces for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7, adhering to each platform’s idioms, yet binding each to a common C# codebase – a codebase which could also be leveraged Read More…

Google Nexus 7 with Google Now: Return of the PDA

There are plenty of reviews enumerating the Google Nexus 7‘s impressive specs, its obvious deficiencies and compromises, and flippant comparisons to the bigger and vastly more expensive iPad. Instead of rehashing these topics, this blog post concentrates on the experience of using the device.

I have carried a computing device of some manner or other about my person for close to two decades. In high school, it was the HP 95LX and 200LX DOS-based palmtops. In college, it was a succession of clamshell and “Palm-size PC” Windows CE devices, which eventually merged what was then called “PDA” functionality with that of a mobile phone. By this time, mobile computing and cell phones were becoming less of a niche, and this gave way to today’s widespread adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other specialty devices.

While a fair amount of software was available for these legacy devices, their utility was not really comparable to modern devices – without a wireless data connection, most would sync to a PC via a wired serial cable for calendar and contact updates – if that.  As such, one of their primary functions was to provide mobile access to so-called “personal data” as a replacement for Read More…

O’Reilly Everywhere: Safari to Go for Android

My dream of cloud-based reading came a step closer today when availability of the Safari To Go Android app was announced on Safari Books Online’s Official Blog.  The Android app was noticeably absent on the July 18th launch date quoted in their July 2012 newsletter (the online version of which appears to have changed to “Later this month”!); Safari Books Online CEO, Andrew Savikas explained the delay in a comment on our earlier post, saying “we uncovered some nasty regression bugs and just couldn’t put it out without fixing them.”  But the bugs appear to have been fixed, since the app is now available for download!

Safari to go for Android is pleasant to use on both phone and tablet form factors; in each case the amount of data being transmitted and displayed seems appropriate, resulting in a snappy, uncluttered UI.  The reading experience on the phone is vastly improved as compared to the mobile version of the site; movement between pages is fluid, with no scrolling required, though a rather disruptive “Retrieving Content…” message pops up on a regular basis – seemingly between sections – which seems like it could be obviated with a logical pre-fetch given the linear nature of reading…i.e. chances are I’m going to be needing that page soon…especially if progress Read More…

Safari Books Online (and off!): Safari to Go for Android, iPhone and iPad

I know that this is not the first post that I have opened with a reference to my O’Reilly addiction.  Yet for some reason, I can’t seem to love Safari like it seems that I should – and I’ve tried numerous times.  First I tried reading a book on my phone with the mobile site – because the content was not constrained by browser height, I found myself scrolling down the page, then advancing to the next page, then having to scroll back up – and given how few words can fit on a phone’s diminutive screen, this action had to be repeated so frequently that it took over focus from the book’s content (oh, and if you get your login wrong, it bounces you to the full site to retry, and doesn’t bounce back after, I just discovered).  I downloaded Safari To Go for iPad the moment it was released – I do not think the iPad makes a very good eReader, but it’s easier to lug around than my desktop, so I gave it a shot.  The videos I tried to watch got stuck, and the book I tried to read worked to a certain point, and then caused the app to crash every time I opened it, at which point I gave up and went back to my ePubs on my Nook Color.  Despite owning most titles that I am interested in as eBooks, I still maintain a Safari subscription – mostly as a way to search across titles that are likely also in my own private collection, and maintain wishlists and to-read lists which the main O’Reilly shop Read More…

OUYA: the $99 Open-Source Android Video Game Console

I’m not sure that any explanation of what OUYA is is necessary – on its first day on Kickstarter, it has already exceeded its goal of $950,000 handily, and broken all sorts of records.  It is being hyped for its potential to disrupt the console space, which is an exciting notion, but while millions of dollars may sound like a lot of money, we’re still only talking tens of thousands of units.  The Nintendo Wii, by comparison, sold 370,000 units in its first two days on sale in Japan.  As much as I look forward to playing whatever games are available for the system at launch, what I’m far more excited about is the notion of a hackable Android device that connects to my TV – as well as the opportunity to create and experience homebrew-style games without voiding any warranties! ( ̄ Д)=3

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