GWK049: What Will New Horizon’s Pluto Fly-By Uncover?

GWK049: What Will New Horizon’s Pluto Fly-By Uncover?

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  1. Jeffrey Miller

    I really had not interest in the Apple Watch at all. I work with a group of Application Developers and all but one of them bought it on day long including my supervisor and his boss. I slowly became more interested, especially after listening to some podcasts regarding day to day use. So when it became available to buy in store I picked up the 42mm sports watch with white band.

    After 3 weeks my impression is very favorable. First off regarding notifications, you get the same ones that would have been on the phone anyway. If you have too many then you have turned on too many notifications. I already was only selectively using notifications so this was not a problem at all. When I do get notified of something ti is nice to instantly deal with it or defer it in much less time it would taken to grab my phone from my pocket, turn on and deal with it. Much less time. Plus if your phone is active with the screen on the watch doesn’t get the notification at all. I have found this super useful, plus of course you get to see any calendar events. Also nice to use calcbot watch app in tip calculator mode. Much less intrusive at a meal than pulling out your watch.

    The most important thing for me has been the health aspects and the aspect that made me decide to get the watch. The three circle indicator is rather brilliant. You know at a glance where you stand regarding daily activities (and yes the stand part is a pun since the watch reminds you to stand if you don’t. As a result over the last 3 weeks I have exercised everyday along with taking walking breaks and parking my car much farther at work. As a prognosticator exercises is usually delayed. This keeps me on focus and more goal oriented. In the Navy when I was on cruise I was pretty good at exercise and would always drop a lot of weight, but as soon as I came home – back to the decline. So I will have to see if this keeps me on track in the long run or not. But so far this has been very good for me.

    I listen to a lot of podcasts and so of course hear the same commercials over and over. I love that I can quickly control whatever audio app I am using to skip, forward, pause with a quick gesture. I totally love this and it becomes quickly natural. I use overcast as my podcast app and they have a well thought out watch app, but usually I can just use the default controls. I also listen to a lot of music so now I can quick see the name of the artist, album title and song title and with a mother click being the album art and other songs on the album.

    Siri is something I haven’t used much on the phone, but I am using it a lot on the watch. Much more convenient to raise your watch and say Hi Siri and issue the command. Setting timers and alarms is quick. Making queries works pretty well also. The killer feature for me is to now use Siri to play an album, artist, or song. First time I tried this is just worked. Even exercising when one album was finished I was able to start playing another. It will be interesting to see if Siri features on iOS9 which will allow Siri commands within apps will work on the watch also.

    So the health aspects are the most important to me. Everything else is pretty cool, but not indispensable. Although it does give you the glimpse of the power of wearables and what Ben Thompson of stratechery calls “continuous computing”. Native apps coming this year will give it more power.

    Which brings me to Apple Music. I’ve used every Music streaming service except Title for extensive periods and there were things I liked about each with RDIO being my feature favorite. The problem is that I have a lot of music I have bought on CDs, iTunes, etc which is not yet licenses to stream. So I was using Google Play Music since it was the only service at the time that let you stream your own content along with content from their library. I was pretty dissatisfied with their UX and slow development, but they were the only game in town that let me use my own content. So finding Apple Music would show both my iTunes content along with what I have ripped into iTunes was an important reason for me to check it out. After over a week I am very happy. Their catalog is much better than Google. Also they stream aac and not MP3 like Google does, even my aging ears noticed the difference which made me search to find out why this was true. Use the iOS app is crowded, but in most cases necessarily so. Still I quickly became adept at using it and adding the thousands of albums I like into it. Dictation work quite well. iTunes itself of course still needs works and we keep hoping for a total rewrite. Still it works and streaming has been flawless, which is something that surprisingly I couldn’t say about Google Music. Still I found it much easier to add albums on my phone or ipad then within iTunes. Still I like the way Apple handles the catalogs of music much better than their competitors. I want to see things arrange by artist and albums in year order.

    The most surprising thing I found about Apple Music was their curated playlists which I found excellent. Now I am mainly a hard rock guy along with a whole bunch of other genres and so far I have found this human created playlists on various topics to be very worthwhile an a good tool for music discovery. So I have found Apple Music to be much better than what I had pessimistically expected. Especially as it does pretty much everything I want and will only get better.

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