Apple Watch

So tomorrow more information about this subject. Will it be a step forward or a step backward?

When I was younger I used to wear a watch all the time. From the simple digital one with calculation function to the analog one with just the time and date display. The most expensive one that I got was one from “Kinetic” with the special function that it charges itself with my body movements. Which was really cool at the time.

But then came the mobile phone. The nineties. A lot of different phones then from Ericsson to Motorola flip phone. The main reason I stopped wearing a watch was because the mobile phone then. When I wanted the time I just pull out my phone to see the time.

Then came the iPhone. The smart phone era. Still no watch. Pull out my iPhone to see the time and also the added bonus to see other information. Like incoming mail, appointments, weather and other information. Or simply ask Siri when you have your headphones one.

So tomorrow… 2015. A step backward or forward? I’m wondering. The conservative me, is asking the question: what will the added bonus of a watch bring me? Additional body measurement sensors for heartbeat, step counter, blood pressure and some more. This seems interesting at a certain point. But do you really need it? Yeah. Do you? For health reasons, it’s nice to know. But I wonder. How save the info will be? As in at first it’s my info and I do believe that Apple will have safety measures in place for controlling access to it. What I wonder is when it get mainstream and every one have them. Then the big and scary picture. Government and healthcare access. Required access to your information for healthcare policies and billing. As in pay more when you have a high blood pressure, or something like it.

More  accurate movement tracking. With just some clicks, you’ll know where you are. Where you have been. And where you are going to… that’s the scary part. The prediction of where you are going to based on time and your current location. I certainly don’t want location based ads or discount pop-ups.

Apple Pay with the watch. Hmm interesting…no need for a wallet anymore. The era of the digital currency. No more paper money or metal coins. My wallet is already getting smaller with my ATM card and credit card. Actually I have a BookBook case as my wallet. It just has room for my iPhone, a couple of plastic cards openings and that’s it. There is no room for coins. Which is not really a problem to be honest. Spare change, just goes into my pants pockets. Hmm how will the future look like? Oops you can’t pay for that item because your phone or watch is out of battery power. Please find a charging point before continuing or chose an alternate payment option. I can already see this happening to me in the future.

So do you need it?

 

The consumer part of me, is wondering if it’s another hype product. A must have thing with a certain logo of a fruit. With mass consumerism now a days, there is a blurry line between having something for the functionality and ease of life versus having something for status and the point of just owning it.

Like having a car and the freedom to drive to where ever you want. Or choosing not to own a car, because you can do the same thing with public transport and your bicycle. It’s healthier for your body and good for the nature.

It’s a choice. A life style choice. The choice of landline vs broadband. A simple LCD phone vs a smart phone. So smart watch? A thing? Or not a thing?

You know what? I’m now thinking about a pocket watch. Yeah that’s also a perfect choice…

Pocket Watch

Sleep Widget

Sleep Widget is a simple app that helps you track your sleep habit using HealthKit.

All you have to do is enable the widget function of the app in the today view (that’s when you swipe down on the home screen). When you go to bed, press the “Start” button.

Sleep. Zzz.

When you  wake up, press the “Stop” button.

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And for the last part, adjust the fall in sleep time & press save to HealthKit.

Friday the 13th…

So did something bad happen today? Ehm nope still the same. Nothing special. Was I extra special in everything that I did? I don’t think so.

I do wonder why it’s considered a bad day for most when you mention Friday the 13th or the number 13. Maybe I should look into it. Unlucky numbers.

My lucky number is 14. Why? Ehm I guess I was born on the 14th. Or that I have some good association with the number 14. It’s all about the memories that I linked to this number. And it would or could be another number I was born on a different day. Number 4 is also a good number for me. Anyways tomorrow it’s the 14th. The 14th of February….which means Valentine’s day. The day of bloody hearts. You know Saint Valentine and bloody sacrifices.

Back to number 13 then or Friday, the end of the week… what to do? What to do indeed. For me it’s not really weekend. Or more to the point I don’t really have a real work week. So everyday is a weekend or workday for me, when you work at home. To be honest I’ve been kinda lazy these couple of days. I didn’t do any coding at all. What I did do was read some books about Swift. Which can be considered studying, right? Maybe not. It was like read something and play Hearthstone. Read some more and do something else. Read it again and got distracted by another thing. Key word “Distraction”.

Not much more to say to be honest. I’m still waiting for a review response from Apple. I made a small widget app and submitted it at the beginning of January. It got rejected because I didn’t include a privacy policy link. So included it in website. And now a couple of weeks later the app is still in review. Sigh. And that’s partly why I’m not really in the coding mood. Because part of me want to know the result, before I can move on to something else. It’s like I’m stuck in a “for loop” and the only way to get out of it is a “break” statement from Apple.

Hmm looking at the above. I think I need to “switch” things up, instead of waiting for…

 

Digital Hoarder

So I’m subscribed to a lot of RSS feeds. When Google stopped their support to it… that was a sad day. But when Feedly picked that up… it was a good day. Currently using the Newsify app in my iPhone to read through all my RSS feeds.

When I analyse my habit using Newsify. Most of the time I just skim through an article to see if it’s interesting or not. When it seems so I read it, but when its a long one. I just use the quick share option and sent it to Pocket (formerly Read It Later). I’ve been doing this for years now. Also have the Pocket app of course. And when I have more time I use that to read those articles of interest. Nothing wrong with this habit. Or this way of gathering news and information. Seems faster then manually visiting all those websites one by one.

So when I got the new MacBook, one of the first app I installed was Pocket for OSX. Smooth download and install. But what shocked me was when I launched the app…so many unread articles…(in the thousands…) At that point I realised I was being a digital article hoarder! I’ve really gathered a lot of articles in these years that I wanted to read and never had the time to really read them.

So the last couple of days… no weeks… I’ve read a lot. Article after article. It feels good. To finally do the things I wanted to do. But at some point I also realise that most of the old articles where out of date and at no more interest. But still read them, so wasting time and energy right? Anyways there where also some articles, where I had real doubt on why I like them in the first place? Because when I read them… I really didn’t like them at all and putting them in the trash can was the right thing to do.

I ask myself now is: why did I chose to Pocket those articles at the first place? Was it my skimming habit of reading the headline and the first few sentences? Or is it something else? That’s the me at that thought it was interesting. And the me now…doesn’t see it at interesting at all. So did I changed that much? I guess so. Perspective changes in time. With habits, preferences and way of thinking all being malleable and not a solid unworkable metal thing.

So looking to my future self and asking what will happen or will I be doing next year? Or the year after it? Hello nice to meet you future me. This is the current me. What advice would you give me? Not that I would take it, because the me I know is kinda stubborn. Hmm topic went to a weird place. But to be honest would you take advice from your future self? Don’t do thing “A” because it will lead to thing “B”. But what about thing “C” the experience that you get from that decision? The thing called life, feelings and memories. So in this line of thinking, would you go back in time to change certain decisions that you made when you were younger? What impact would it have on the current you? I don’t know to be honest. I have some regrets on certain things. But then again those regrets led to some other things and decisions which where good. As it turns out. Anyways my advice to the current and future me: don’t skim through to much articles and auto Pocket them. Try to read them now, when they are current and relevant. I saves time and energy in the long way…

So what now? The current me is going to read some more “pocketed” articles. My aim is to finish them all. One way or another.

 

Free to play video games

Is free to play really free to play? That’s a good question. Some are and some are certainly not. When I open the AppStore app on my iPhone I always look at the “Top Charts” and browse through the top “Paid”, “Free” and “Grossing” chart. It’s interesting and it also gives you a picture of what’s in and what’s out.

And some people may know that the top grossing app is marketed as a free to play app (actually the top three). How can a free app make so much money? The key word: In-App purchases. Depending on the game you can literally buy anything from gold as game currency, booster weapons & armour, continues or extra power ups.

The question is why would anyone buy those items? Or more to the point: exchange real money for digital bites & bytes. That’s what they are. Nothing more and nothing less. Just some line of code that gives your game character extra power and options. I read somewhere once that most free to play games makes their money from just 3% of their player base. Those are the hardcore game addicts (who also have the money to pay for it, or kids with access to their parents credit cards).

So how do they get addicted to those games? The first step: get them to download it. Advertisement, marketing, mouth to mouth, paid reviews etc.

The second step: give them an accomplished feeling when ever they achieve an objective in the game. Item and gold rewards. This gives them the ability to complete the game objectives faster and better. Plus when they get a faster time, give them start & medals. Who doesn’t like to feel like a winner?

The third step: introduce an online competition. This can be a leaderboard system showing high game scores. Or a battle arena where they can fight other people with their game character to see who is the stronger one. There can only be one at the top, right? Even when it’s a fictional one.

The fourth step: is give daily bonus rewards. This motivates them to play the game each day.

During step 2 and 3, give them hints and pushes for some premium options in the game that they can only get now with in-app purchases and…. gotcha (the 3%).

But I do wonder if those 3% will ever stop and think why they play the game in the first place? That’s play the game as a form of enjoyment. Something to pass the time with. You know the limited 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. 52 weeks a year. The years you have to live. I guess those 3% lost track of this and only see the game objective to be on the top, get a better score or a faster time.

Anyways this is what I ask myself whenever I feel that I’ve been playing a certain game to much. You know: I like everyone else have an expiration date, that’s… when you die. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time doing something else that’s more fulfilling and accomplished then… playing a video game. Which you can delete in seconds with a tap of your finger. And then what do you have…?

Being slow…

So the last couple of days I’ve been kinda slow. Or more the feeling of low in energy. I think it’s the weather. Nothing but rain, cold and wind. Which will make anyone feel…ehm I want to say depressed. But then again the word “depressed” has so many other meanings from a light meaning of feeling down to a heavy meaning of depression itself. So I’ll say slow then. Like an amphibian, getting slow and inactive when it’s cold (active when it’s warm). Btw not saying I’m cold-blooded.

Anyways the effect on me is doing all kind on my iMac workstation, which can be labelled as PROCRASTINATION. You know surfing the web and playing games. On of the game (or actually only game I play on the iMac) is Hearthstone. Yeah played Magic the Gathering, when I was young / in high school, so got hooked on Hearthstone pretty quick. Note I’m in the free to play category. Which means I can’t ever play “wallet warrior” or other big and expensive decks. But recently I did got to craft a good GvG card: Dr Boom.

Dr Boom

And so far he’s doing wonders. My main deck is Hunter of course. Currently as mid-hunter card he’s the best, next to the two savannah highmanes. I still need other cards like Sylvannas and Ragnaros to make a real control hunter. Or go the way of the control player. Anyways….this is Hearthstone. If you don’t know the game. The above post will sound like blabla….

But the point is that every time I start the game I get greeted by the welcoming text of

“It’s cold outside.”

“It’s sure warm in here, come and play a game at the fireside.”

This is funny and feels true somehow. The correct situation and it feels like that the game knows that you’ll gladly accept the invitation :)

The other game I play is Injustice on the iOS. So just two games for me. I could do more of course. But’s that would me more distractions and a time consuming habit that I can’t afford.

My other procrastination habit is watching tv episodes of…. not naming them … but I guess you can guess what they are.

And with these habits time really flies. You wake up in the morning. Do some stuff. Play a game of Hearthstone. Do some more stuff. Lunch time. Do some other stuff. Surf the web when distracted (this part depends on situation, but lately new GvG deck builds for Hearthstone). Back to doing some stuff. And it’s evening (dark at 17:30 now). So time to stop doing stuff. Time to watch some shows and play more Hearthstone. And then to bed, tomorrow the same routine again.

The question I ask myself now is: is that really my average day? I guess so. “Some stuff” is ideally programming or code research. But lately that’s not really true. So I guess it’s time to evaluate my life and see where I need to make some changes. As Steve would say: “Look in the mirror and ask yourself if today was the last day of your life, would you still do the things that you are going to do?”. Hmm yes or no?

A dreadful blue envelope…

So every year around April you have to do taxes, here in the Netherlands. And then a couple of months later (most of the time in June) you get a letter with the result. That’s pay extra taxes or you get money back. Getting money back is nice… but that’s not always the case of course.

This year I got a blue envelope (that the signature sign of the tax envelope here), a little earlier then usual. So I opened it and… yeah I have to pay pre taxes for 2015. But I haven’t submitted my taxes yet for this year. Sigh… who is in money trouble? Me or the government? With I big sigh I wired the money. Note it’s January the 9th.

And then next to this letter, there was another letter inside the envelope asking me if a wanted to fill in an automatic access permission to my bank account for the IRS. With that they (the IRS) can withdraw money from my account. In the letter they literally say to make things easier for both of us. The example they gave was: say if I don’t pay in time you have to pay extra late fees. So with automatic access you’ll avoid those fees. Ehm I don’t know if there are people who would accept this reason and fill in the form. But for me that’s kind of a hard line to cross. No thanks I don’t want to give access to my account. I did rather get the letter and see what I have to pay. And beside most of the time when people don’t pay in time is because of one simple reason: they don’t have the money. Or are clumsy and absent minded to forget about paying the bills.

Seriously only in the Netherlands: give us access to your bank account. No way! This is just a big, big NO for me. Look it’s not that I don’t trust the government / IRS / or what ever, but giving access to automatic payment withdrawal should only be for services provided. Like a subscription to the newspaper, phone bills or rent even. But automatic payment withdrawal for the government… what kind of a service do I get from them? Beside more bills to pay?

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Something new :)

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So I bought something new today. What could it be…

A new MacBook Pro 13 Retina. I still ask myself the question: Why? Do you need it? It’s a big purchase and to be honest money is tight. But then my iMac (current main working station is running slower by the day) is having trouble running X-code. And with the new iPhone 6 plus screen size….certainly not an optimum viewing experience when I try to code something using story board. So that my cognitive resonance talking and convincing me to buy a new MacBook Pro.

Any how my first impression is wow…. love the Retina display. Old iMac is 21 inch from 2000. So certainly a big improvement. Currently typing this blog on the MacBook and the keyboard is also nice. Backlight on the keyboard…is again… impressed. I wonder where the light sensor is. Will it be on all the time or is there a time out thing? Have to look into that.

So next to this also an update and a new years resolution: that’s to write more in this blog. But the question is how often? Every day seems a bit to much to be honest. And knowing me….not achievable. And also don’t want to spam the blog post with content about who knows what. In the end I decided to do a weekly post. This is doable. One post a week. 4 post a month. 52 post a year. The next thing…is set a day? No that’s setting a deadline and more pressure (or something like it). A random day in the week then.

What now? What to write now? I’ve worked and a small sleep widget app using the HealthKit. Submitted it last week. So I should hear something from Apple this week. Wether it’s approved or not. I had to do a privacy thing and I don’t know if I did it right or not. The main thing about the app was recording the sleep time and writing it into Healthkit. The app itself doesn’t store any data. So a simple privacy policy in one sentence. I wonder if it would be accepted.

The new HealthKit api is kinda amazing. Certainly lots of new and interesting things that you can do with it. One idea is that I would integrate Vitamin 101 with it. So somewhere in the future I’ll be adding a small data entry tool that enable the user to add all the vitamins and mineral info of their food item consumption to it. With the last Vitamin 101 I kinda reworked the whole food data base under the hood. So it should be doable.

That’s all I guess for now. Writing my thoughts down. It’s kinda weird. I do have a dairy app (Day One). But that’s more personal stuff and more free flowing thoughts. Writing a blog is different.