Buying the Apple Watch Series 3 in 2019.

The difference between thinking and knowing what you want.

Why do I want to talk about a two year old piece of tech? Well I bought one of these as they were just lowered in price last week by Apple with the release of the Series 5 Apple Watch and I feel as a layperson, my views on the Series 3 today in 2019 might be of interest to those reading and haven’t bought one yet themselves, but might want to.

I’ve held off buying an Apple Watch ever since they were first announced, the watch never felt capable. In the ideals of ideals I would prefer a digital watch of this caliber to last at least a week on a single charge, and I’ve always thought the Apple Watch was conservative in its design. I don’t mind if it were bigger, even the Series 5 still isn’t my ideal watch size, make it bigger! Heck give me that wrist device Leela has from Futurama, a device that comes with a larger interface,bigger battery and assumingly, more body function trackers please. A man however with expectations can dream.

I bought the Series 3 not just for the lower price, but also to temper my expectations, I allowed myself and this is ridiculous; to be disappointed with a $200 dollar purchase as opposed to an even more expensive purchase towards a later Series watch and expecting it to do more.

Go figure with that logic. But it’s working.

Because I paid less, I knew it could do less, and with expectations set to low, somewhere down the road of ownership I’d be also eventually surprised by its utility. I figured if the Series 6 came out next year, it would be an even greater improvement of course over the S5 and I’d have a better idea of how a future watch could serve me because I’m now in the ecosystem. Getting into this purchase for example, it didn’t bother me when in the Apple Store; I found out I can’t listen to podcasts locally on the watch. It only has remote functions. That means I can’t take just my headphones and Apple watch for simple supermarket journeys where I thought I could leave the iPhone at home.

Next time I guess? I know the sim version is more autonomous, but wifi in HK is so prevalent here there really is no need to buy that model.

I’ll allow the Apple Watch to disappoint this one time then. Nothing is perfect. 

Since getting this watch, let me tell you a few things I’ve realised and that I like about it.

First I don’t know what tech bloggers are talking about when they say they can shower and the watch is almost fully charged again, and charging the Apple watch everyday isn’t actually an issue for them. Because of the slow charging times on the watch, I’m left wondering how long does it take for tech bloggers to shower? It must take a long time to wash the lies and the tall tales of Apple cum off their bodies. I find the charging to be incredibly slow and the charging cable too long. Also the box is a silly shape. Sorry, I slipped a few negatives in there (the box isn’t really a big deal).

Currently while working at my computer or sitting down with a student are the best times to charge the watch. I’m moving around the least during those times so the Watch summaries at the end of each day are more inline with reality.

The Apple Watch lasts more than 18 hours a day.

I’m really happy with this. That’s Apple’s rated battery life. I’m finding I’m charging it every other day, and that’s with me sleeping with it; turning the watch to airplane mode. It makes a huge difference to the battery life. First night I slept with it, it drained by 60%, then realising my error, I changed the settings and its just a 2% drop in charge. I don’t have a fixed schedule for charging, I’ll just try and run it down to 5%-10% whenever and then charge it back up.

Never being a hard core watch owner myself, I don’t care about the delay in moving my wrist to see the time for when the screen turns on. So I’m quite comfortable with the delay, which really isn’t a delay. I think that perceived negative to be overblown.

<rant>

Sometimes I think the mainstream tech bloggers lose sight or perspective on some things us lay people will live happily with. Okay, you have a series of classical watches because you’re a nerd, but most of us don’t care they tell the time instantly when you glance at it, and if your boss gets upset because you’re checking your watch in a meeting then its his/her ego that is the problem, not the watch’s inability to tell you the time on the sly.

Instead of buying the Series 5 with its always on screen, why not be not passive in meetings and admit the meetings are too damn long. Suggest the stand up meetings thing, we all know stand up meetings are far productive and you’ll get closer to completing the Move circle on your watches. Also the boss isn’t a true capitalist either if his/her ego is getting in the way of a succinct meeting so you can all get back to work.

</rant>

Normally for me when checking the time I do one of three things, I ask someone ask for the time, I have to look at the top of the computer screen for the time or I tap my iPhone’s screen for it to tell me the time, compared to those three things, the watch is actually faster, and it’s always on my wrist!

I don’t even have to go to the computer or look for my phone or talk to anyone anymore. Life is good.

For some perspective, I haven’t owned a watch since the 00’s.

I don’t even remember the last watch I wore, because once I owned my first iPhone, the phone could be utilised in so many ways, I’m simply downsized what I owned, out went the clock, the radio, cd player, calculator and of course any ambition of wearing a watch.

What I do remember were the straps that came with the watch being part of the deal. Customising watch straps was never a consideration.

I’ve never bought a watch strap separate for a watch in my life and the idea to customise a watch with my perfect strap to complete me, sounds like a joke. I will never accessorise this Apple watch with another strap. Seriously I cringe when tech bloggers lament about the more expensive varieties of straps out there. Fuck off. #beyondinsanefirstworldproblemswhiletheamazonisburning

When I was in the Apple Store I could choose either a black Nike strap or a white one, fine. I’m happy with either, I’m not going to get caught up in #straplife.

I do have nice things to say about the strap itself however, it feels great on the skin and the strap is so cleverly put together, how did watch companies settle for the current strap solution for this long? I like how the strap tucks under itself 

The fitness functions and ergo the date to be gleaned; the actual things I felt were worth the asking price alone are amazing to have, I can see why “all your data belong to us Mark Zuckerberg” wants you in his ecosystem, it is truly empowering to know so much about oneself. Since owning an Apple watch, I’ve already skipped on taking the bus for a few journeys and avoided eating a cookie or two in order to be a better me.

In addition to that I’m actually taking note of all the journeys I don’t take, and deducting the savings against what I spent for the watch, in a way to prove that this thing can justify itself beyond the data collection. I love knowing how long I’m standing for, the calories I’m burning and just talking into a text message instead of typing it out.

The Move tracker however is something I’d like to adjust upwards, why is it only a 30 minute minimum? The minimums are also too easy to achieve. I’ve realised I can walk to the nearest MTR station to my house, burn a ton of calories, have the watch tell me that I’m technically doing a workout (or one time it says I’m on the elliptical) and include that “workout” into my minimum of 30 minutes of exercising.

The bar the watch sets, is so low, but Apple know the lifestyles of millions of people, so maybe the bar has to be low in order to encourage everyone to consider living the healthier lifestyle so they live for longer and buy later series of Apple Watches. I’d like to though increase in increments, the physical activity I can do.

One hesitation I did have with ownership of an Apple Watch was being interrupted directly on the wrist as I go about my day. That isn’t turning out to be the case because I only ever really talk to one person on iMessages and thankfully Facebook via WhatsApp doesn’t have a complication for the Watch. WhatsApp users aren’t able to badge me. There is a 3rd party company offering a complication, but you have to pay. That’s a good incentive to not install it.

Upon setting up the watch, the iPhone side loads all the complications it can related to the apps you have on the phone. “Oh you have it on the phone here, the watch can have it too”.

You have to consider everything that was installed, but it takes two minutes. iMessage functionality is a nice bonus however with Siri perfectly composing my spoken words into text.

This purchase really is about understanding what is going on with me body wise. I have a digital scale, I use a sleep tracker on my phone and I felt the Apple Watch would compliment those devices to fill out my profile. I just need the watch to prick me now and again for free blood testing as opposed to going to the doctors. A foot massage or a handjob would be welcome also. You can see I really wanted this watch for body tracking and to measure me. 

<zerowaste mention>

I did originally want to buy a secondhand Apple Watch to save a bit more money but the prices are fluctuating and are trading fast online so much I saved myself the stress and bought new. Also these batteries don’t last long either, so any savings I made by buying second hand would catch up with me probably a little later on with an expensive battery swap.

</zerowaste mention>

Some final tidbits, I got to say I like the ability to ping my phone, the ability to automatically unlock my Mac, Spotify is something I can see myself using more of because of the watch, the remote functions with Castro, the camera app and its overall functionality are helpful. Importantly and oddly, it really does feel like a watch instead of a computer. The computering stuff just gets out of the way, keypresses are at a minimum. As for the screen size itself, now having used it for nearly a week, it isn’t *that* bad, it makes me happier I bought the Series 3 even over the discounted Series 4 that are still in stock. I can deal with it and I’m actually content with this until something that can justify the need for a larger screen is released.

This is the first time I’ve bought a serious bit of tech with a clear understanding how it can serve me and how long I would expect to use it for. I think I choose correctly. For the moment though, this is a really cool piece of tech. If you’re considering one, I hope my opinion helps.

— — — — —

This article is actually the written script for episode #76 of the Loose Rants Podcast. If you fancy listening instead of reading, then look for ‘Loose Rants” on Spotify or iTunes or go to www.jonathanjk.com/podcasts.

My Month and a Bit “Doing Airbnb”.

The Good — Free Money and Quick Resolutions!

Before we start, I just want to point out that Airbnb aren’t the bad guys in this story, I’m not railing against the platform (further down I mention the review system), it’s the guests and whether it was worth ‘doing Airbnb’.

So let’s get the good stuff out of the way. First, an issue with two bookings where without asking, but having had the issues raised with Airbnb, Airbnb gave me half the value of the bookings from guests who thankfully, didn’t stay with me.

Read More

First Month with Squarespace

Note - This is the written version of episode 36 of the JPG Podcast, except without the music, the improvisation or the Logic Pro X dicussion, but this written version includes a few nuggets of extra info.

Introduction

Anybody who consumes even the slightest number of podcasts will have listened to an advert from Squarespace. They are almost everywhere.

I bought a Squarespace account because I wanted to to merge my original and ageing WordPress blog with my Viewbook website which hosted my photography portfolio (btw nothing wrong with Viewbook, I never had a problem with them ever so I still recommend them if that's what you want). Getting a Squarespace account though meant I could merge these two sites together, that was important to me now.

Now before we get into this, I didn't intend to podcast with Squarespace in the beginning as I didn't realise it offered podcasting as one of its features. I think I know why though because it seems from the advertising and for the good publicity that they have, the podcasting part is somewhat underdeveloped, but it is free, anyway these are the things I found annoying and awkward with the podcast service

Podcasting

Space is limited on the basic account, you get 2 GB. This is *okay* for the show I use it with because I don't recording high-quality episodes and 2GB will last awhile and the show I’m making has a set life span. But other users might want more eventually, (which costs more) for example my other show JPG is between 60MB is 100MB in size at 128kbps so if I used Squarespace I’d only get 20 episodes out of the space offered. That's less than half a year of service before I start deleting episodes or upgrading. The space is manageable for me, but you need to know.

The second thing you maybe not didn’t know is you have to generate a second RSS feed. I say second because you might already use an RSS feed for your blog. This also means you need another tab at the top of your site, for a minimalist like me it's eating at me, but it does simplify things for visitors.

Hello Internet do this for their Squarespace site, but they don’t have a blog so it’s fine for them. Im trying to give you another example aside from my personal experience. 

Okay a little bit about automation with podcasting. Whenever you create a podcast with Squarespace you have to specify the minutes of the podcast, upload the artwork and subtitle the show. With a service such as Libsyn it’s done for you, the process is more streamlined to get your work online. I can't automate the things I took for granted using Libsyn (like uploading artwork). It's very odd and not as advanced, even though the interface is nicer than Libsyn. If I'm not clear, I have to upload artwork for each episode, whereas Libsyn will save it and apply it to future episodes.

With Squarespace you can push updates to any social sites you own. Twitter and Facebook work fine, but Tumblr doesn’t get all the information, even though Tumblr explicitly states it pushes a blog post in its entirety. It took a while for we to realise when I checked out the state of my tumblr site and noticed the audio file wasn't attached without explanation. There's no fix I've found so people were being made aware of a podcast update, but couldn't listen to anything. At the moment I include a link back to iTunes.

There are no stats with podcasting via Squarespace. Instead I have to use Podtrac. Again a little disappointing.

In summary, I will still use this service, it’s not exactly perfect, but it is free to me because I didn't realise Squarespace offered this service upfront. When I first found out they did, I was thinking I could move all three of my shows to square space, but then having 3 extra rss feeds and tabs at the top of the site could be a problem. I just use it for one of my shows to save money.

So that's podcasting for me at the moment. Maybe in my ‘My Year With Squarespace’, I’ll have something else to say about this service. It will be renewal time after all.

Photography (and blogging)

Now photography and blogging which was the original reason why I got Squarespace in the first place, blogging is much better than WordPress, much much better, the interface is kinder, more dynamic, less techie looking and faster. Templates are kinder on the eyes and much more manageable. There's nothing more to say, blogging is so much easier than before.

But, I had greater expectations with the photography templates. I would expect the templates to take my text files and image files and just plug them into the new template I selected. But it doesn't, you have to remove all the demo stuff that came with the template then add your own. I'd rather the service showed me the demo and upon transitioning to the template, it removed everything and inserted all my stuff. It makes setting up a site longer. That aside I haven't found a single Squarespace template that allows for full screen images that don't crop images. It's like Squarespace doesn’t understand photographers when we want to maintain the integrity of our photos by keeping them how we intended. I'm thinking of the Momentum template that caused me no end of pain as a bad example of this. I currently use the Forte template now because it doesn't crop my photography, but I don't get full screen images either.

This is something Viewbook understands as I did have full screen images, shame it didn't have a blogging features. Another downside with the Forte template, is that you get all your photos in diptychs and the caption text is present without the option to hide the text.

Stats

Blogging stats while they are extensive (more than Wordpress) only makes me want to find out more and I'm being suffocated, take subscribers for example, all you get is a number, there's no other way to relate with the information, all I know is I have some and it changes dramatically at the end of each week, I don't know whether they are coming from the blog or the podcast. It's the same with Facebook’s, you can get subscribers from there, but you don’t know who or how.

Positive Notes

  • Square space provides really good apps for free with their service. They are a blogging app and a stats app. The blogging app is very clean, very minimal and I've used it while I've been making commutes around Hong Kong, stats are great, but againI want to know what is behind the information.
  • Cheaper, though it does feel this is the main reason why I've been passive to some of its shortcomings.
  • It has done the job of merging two sites into one.
  • The online help service. The help service is amazing and that’s the truest part from the advertisements. Many times I’ve needed their help and they answer in a short space of time without you waiting that long. They even send links to video explainers which show you how to navigate to that part of the site you need to be in order to tweak something or switch something on.

In summary the service works, even if it isn't as effortless as they say. Especially with setting up templates, that could be much easier.

Going forward I’d like to see updates to fix the lack of automation with podcasting or just work harder on that part as it is a bargain for what it is, it could be a major selling point. I would also like to see square space develop better photography templates. They really need to create some genuinely dedicated photography templates.

Link to the podcast discussing this topic here.