Various & Sundry, 6/25/14

Because I want to hit several subjects in a very quick fashion:

1. Yay! Warrants for cell phones! I’m not always 100% pleased with the Supreme Court these days, but this decision — unanimous — is spot on. It’s already been noted that requiring a warrant these days means very little when warrants are dispensed like Pez (and that the NSA doesn’t give a crap about warrants anyway), but you know what, I’m going to take victories where they come. Plus the kicker at the end of the decision is pretty sweet.

2. Yay! Same sex marriages begin in Indiana and the 10th Circuit Court punts Utah’s ban as unconstitutional, a decision that as I understand it has implications for all the states in the circuit! I’m not gonna lie, I like being on the right side of history on this one, and it’s all happening much quicker than I would have suspected — which means still too slow but even so. In the meantime, congratulations Indiana, and as for Utah and the 10th Circuit, which is on hold pending appeals, here’s hoping that appeals basically, say, yes, that ruling was totally correct.

3. Over on Metafilter there’s a discussion of whether writers not taking coffee with aspiring writers (or alternately charging them for their time) constitutes an abdication of the concept of mentoring, with this article being the ground zero for the discussion. I think I’m a little confused, since I don’t take an invitation for coffee in exchange for a brain picking to be a request for “mentoring,” just a bit of brain picking. “Mentoring,” to my mind, involves a more or less continual (informal or otherwise) relationship with the person you’re giving advice to, over a certain amount of time.

For the record, I’ve been asked for one-time advice a lot of times (over coffee or just in e-mail, and lots of things inbetween) and my usual deciding factor as to whether I offer it or not is whether I have enough time at the moment. If I do, then sure. If I don’t, then no. Mind you, most of the time I just link to something that I’ve already written and posted here, so it may be easier for me to do than other writers. I think the suggestion that asking for money for your time in this specific instance is a little weird; just learn to say “thanks, no,” for God’s sake.

4. Today’s hot new trend I’m pretty sure I will never ever see the point of: Smart watches. Google’s officially announcing their version today, and I as I have been before, I’m underwhelmed. One, they’re all kind of ugly at this point; maybe other people like the 1977 Casio esthetic, but it’s not for me. Two, I don’t wear watches in any event. I stopped wearing them when I realized that if I didn’t take one off before I started typing, I’d end up with carpal tunnel. That was roughly 20 years ago. Before the advent of smartphones, if I ever needed to know the time, I’d just ask someone with a watch. These days I look at my smartphone. Three, I’m so used to simply looking at my smartphone at this point I’m not sure what the advantage in readjusting my brainflow to look at a watch instead will do.

Basically: Meh. Just don’t see the point. Tell me I’m not alone on this (or, you know, all gang up on me and point and laugh because I am so behind the times in an old-man-yelling-at-clouds sort of way).

81 thoughts on “Various & Sundry, 6/25/14

  1. John, have you seen pix of the Moto 360 yet? It’s the only smartwatch that looks decent. It looks MORE than decent, in fact, at least to me.

  2. Man, I *really* look forward to a public same sex marriage, legally solemnized, and held right out front of the big Mormon Temple in SLC.

    Totally deserved given how hard the church worked to fund Prop8.

  3. I stopped wearing a watch for basically the same reason, and m phone also became my timepiece of choice.

    If I ever become stupidly rich, I may pick up one of those stupidly expensive exposed gear works watches, simply because they are gorgeous and I have a real weakness for intricate, tiny, insanely well-engineered things. I’m still going to type, so I probably wouldn’t wear it, but hey, it would be stupid-money.

  4. I was happy with the SCOTUS decision on cell phones too; and I like the comment about (paraphrasing) “It would be letter if the lawmakers would do their jobs… “

  5. About watches — I can count at least 7 clocks that are always nearby at some point during the day:

    1) Smart Phone
    2) Desk Phone
    2) Computer
    3) Car
    4) Oven
    5) Microwave
    6) Bedside alarm clock
    7) Analog wall clock

    At this point, a wristwatch is not only redundant, but verging on obsolete.

  6. My father lost a lot of money at one point many years ago investing in dick tracy watch stock…

    My husband has a calculator watch. I think it’s adorable.

  7. Also agreed on smart watches. I just… don’t see the value.

    One of their big claims to value, though, is this idea that it’s sort of shorthand for your cell phone – “You can read text messages on your wrist instead of pulling out your phone!

    Which I need or even want… why?

  8. Watches are coming back as jewelry and fashion accessories, simply because they AREN’T necessary. It’s a wealth thing, I think: Look, I’m wearing this expensive time piece and everyone knows I don’t need it.

  9. I still wear a watch sometimes but that is when I don’t want my phone around. Anyway, another device to charge every day just makes me go Ugh.

  10. If the watch can provide the LTE connection for voice and data and “hot spot” for my tablet, I would probably ditch my smartphone for a smart watch. Post iPad I do very little computing on my phone.

  11. John – speaking of mentoring, could you someday post something about how you determine ROI for all your trips, and how you’ve seen your trips build your audience? Travel is very expensive, money wise and time wise, and although I think I’ve definitely expanded my audience some through giving talks, I don’t think it’s been by much. To be clear, I LOVE traveling and speaking so I’d be happy to do more of it. But I can’t figure out how to make it work, especially as the logistics also tend to take a lot of time. Thanks!

  12. SCOTUSblog’s excellent coverage of Riley v. California’s journey to the Supreme Court:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/riley-v-california/

    If you’re not reading SCOTUSblog, you’re missing out on some of the absolutely best Supreme Court coverage in the country.

    I think the unanimity of this decision points to our need for a much more diverse court. Here, in a decision that affects each one of them, they all voted in favor of their own turf and understandings. In other cases, there’s been a decided lack of understanding or empathy or even minimal prognostication (I’m looking at you Shelby County vs. Holder voting rights decision).

  13. I suppose a smart watch might be helpful if I received so many calls and texts that I wanted to screen them before I decided to reach for my phone. I do not, so I don’t see a great deal of need for a smart watch, but I don’t see a huge liability in wearing one, since I wear a watch anyway.

    As for not wearing a watch at all, it looks to me like you stand with the cool kids while I’m the cane-shaking old man.

    I think wrist watches are useful things. When I was single, I didn’t hang a wall clock; what is the point when you can look at your watch (or the VCR). I do tend to use the car clock and the computer clock (or eBook clock) in preference to the wristwatch because in those two circumstances that requires less work. Is getting repetitive stress injury from typing with a wristwatch a thing? I do a fair amount of typing and I’ve never felt the urge to remove my watch.

    When I see kids without watches reaching for their phones to see what time it is, I am baffled. We invented the wristwatch so we wouldn’t have to keep reaching for a pocket watch. Why do we now desire to go back to a very high-tech pocket watch? Maybe we should make vests with a phone pocket and keep phones on fob chains. Admittedly, some people never actually put their phones in a pocket; they carry them around and set them down where they can see them. I’ve become old fashioned because carrying a phone around to read the time strikes me as old fashioned.

  14. Actually I think the smartwatches will do okay, and here’s why: because we are not interested in them (and by “we,” I mean “middle aged dudes and dudettes”), and there is a whole generation of consumers coming up the ranks who are going to want some way to differentiate themselves from the old farts.

  15. John, re writing advice, have you thought of collecting your work on the subject and doing a book? If not dead-tree then maybe an e-book?

  16. I wear one (a Pebble). I got it primarily because I don’t like loud ringtones and I can’t always feel vibrate mode on my phone. Vibrate on my wrist I can always feel. I can then glance at Caller ID and deny or ignore without pulling out my phone. It also displays reminders for meetings which is nice. I sometimes read short texts on it but that’s really not why I have it and it’s not all that good at that. I’ve used the music controls on it when streaming to my speakers and my phone’s on the dock charging I can pause/resume. And I do use the watch part surprisingly a lot more than I thought I would.

  17. My Pebble (which, just in case you don’t know, is a smartwatch) is my favorite piece of technology I’ve purchased since my original smartphone, and I don’t ever want to not have one on again. Now, fair warning: I can’t *not* wear a watch. I’ve tried to pull that move before because there’s a phone in my pocket, which just led to days and days of looking at my wrist and then feeling stupid and never getting past not wearing one.

    That said: the day I bought my Pebble, I muted my cell, and it hasn’t made a sound since unless the Pebble was charging. And you know what? It’s bloody wonderful. Nobody but me and people close by (because the vibration isn’t perfectly quiet, obviously) hears notifications. A quick glance at my wrist lets me know immediately whether I care about whatever the buzz was. I can do it in mid-conversation and people don’t even *notice*. It makes listening to Pandora in the car more convenient since there’s a Pandora app. And, while I’ll admit that getting used to wearing a watch to bed took a while, I don’t ever want to be awakened by an alarm, ever again. Vibration is smoother (in that I’m not “slammed” out of sleep) and doesn’t wake my wife up. Win, win, win.

    More, slightly redundant thoughts here: http://infinitefreetime.com/2013/12/01/in-which-i-like-things/

  18. For a long time, I stopped wearing a watch and resorted to looking at a computer or smartphone. I finally went back to wearing a watch because my son got into Boy Scouts and got our family back into hiking and camping. When I’m out in the woods, it’s a lot easier to look at my wrist (and hit the light button if it is nighttime) than try to dig my smartphone out. For me, the benefits outweighed the hassle of retraining my habits.

  19. I went several years without a wristwatch and coped OK, but then when back to it a few years ago with a simple analogue Seiko with a steel strap costing about £75. A bit similar to this one, but not solar. And more importantly, it looks pretty similar to the first Seiko I was given back in 1967 when I was 9, though I think I had to wind that one up. I guess my taste in design hasn’t changed that much. And I don’t see the appeal of spending £25K or £4K or even £300.

    So I suppose I might have a wristphone at some point. If it defaulted to an analogue hands display. My current smartphone I keep in a pocket in a protective cover, so it is a bit of a palaver to get out, get out, fire up, slide open and then check, compared with simply looking at my wrist.

  20. I’m looking forward to some of the new health aware smartwatches which will be coming out. One of the technologies which I’m really excited about is the bloodless glucometer that’s supposed to be incorporated. As a type 2 diabetic I’d love to not deal with the logistics, and the expense of having to do the whole lancet/test strip thing. Plus the data geek side of me would love to see what kind of metrics I’d see based on bloodsugar samples every 20 minutes.

  21. I remember Bill Gates touting the new Microsoft watches that would communicate with your PC about 15 years ago at CES. Those obviously never caught on. Maybe with the Google name on them they might do something. The description of the Pebble does make it sound useful. I’m not likely to get one, though for many of the same reasons John mentioned.

  22. I don’t wear any jewelry. It’s uncomfortable, although I wore a wristwatch when I was a USAF pilot because it was necessary. What I see coming though is an increased connectivity between one’s body and the world. We won’t need a visible device to find out where we are. Rumors are that the iWatch has a bunch of sensors that do things such as keep our pulse rate. That is a direction that is coming from those sensors that Grandma wore to tell us when she fell down to a future where someone can know his blood sugar and blood pressure (and lots more) instantly and ubiquitously. (Privacy issues should be talked about now).

  23. Keranih, yes. I think it is excreteable rent seeking and a travesty, but off topic for this blog entry.

  24. The one situation Google Glass might come in handy pertains largely to single-and-looking people. To wit:

    The problem with dating online is meeting up and finding you have no chemistry.
    The problem with dating in person is getting all attracted and then finding out they’re an Objectivist or something.

    So it might be nice if, when I spot a hot guy at a party, I could run a search and find out that he’s got an OKC profile where he says he’s looking for “a real girl.” Then I could move on to the drinks cooler and not waste my time.

    On the other hand, that’s a very specific situation, and I’d look dumb as hell wearing the current model.

  25. I stopped wearing a watch when I realized that I don’t really give a shit what time it is.

  26. I don’t wear jewelry either, so no smart watch for me. But then, I still have a flip phone, so I may not be the best example to use.

  27. I have no interest in wearing a wristwatch for time-telling or even notifications or alarms, and have not done so since I got my first pocket cellphone. But the new generation of smart watches contain various biosensors, including a pedometer, and various flavors of sensors claiming to detect sleep patterns and duration, and I read that they will soon also have glucometers (I’m a diabetic) and oximeters. Interesting things coming down the pike, even if the current models are undewhelming.

  28. I’m currently wearing a smart watch (Qualcomm Toq) for one reason: I find cell phone ring tones generally annoying (both on my own phone and on others), and I often don’t notice vibration alerts when the phone is in my pocket.
    A smart watch shows me notifications where I actually notice them, without disrupting or annoying others, and gives me enough information to know whether I should bother to pull out my phone.

  29. I don’t wear a watch either. But it’s probably worth noting that in 10 years, watches will bear as much resemblance to what you think of as a watch today as today’s phones resemble those of 10 years ago.

  30. About the marriage rulings for the 10th Circuit: the county clerk for Boulder County in Colorado has decided that the stay only applies to Utah and Oklahoma (the two states involved in the two cases that were joined for today’s ruling), not to the other states in the circuit (Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico.) As such, she has already started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Apparently, several other county clerks in Colorado will be joining her tomorrow, despite the state Attorney General having a hissy fit.

  31. I’ve *mostly* stopped wearing a watch the last few years, but I still put one on for conventions and other events where I’m walking around a lot and need to keep track of a schedule. It’s just so much easier to glance at my wrist than stop and pull out my phone first. (Though with my phone slowly replacing my camera at these things, it’s becoming less of a problem.)

    A few months back I was reading about wearable computing around the time of Comic-Con registration, and tried to figure out what I might use a smartwatch for at a con. I decided it would be better than the phone alone for messaging and schedule reminders: glance at your wrist to decide whether you need to reply now or it can wait. I’m not sure if any of the watches on the market right now supports this, but a wi-fi hotspot detector would also be really useful.

    Admittedly, the *best* use I came up with was cosplaying as Dick Tracy.

  32. I started carrying a pocket watch when I was 14 or 15 (my Dad gave me his spare). The only time I’ve worn a watch was in 1993, when Burger King gave away Nightmare Before Christmas and Jurassic Park watches in their kids meals. I was 30, but they were cool. Shut up.

    I have zero interest in any smart watch and pray Apple isn’t really wasting time and resources coming up with one.

  33. I bought a Pebble smartwatch last year pretty much for one reason: at some point my brain decided it was perfectly natural to glance at my wristwatch to check the weather. I didn’t own a smartwatch. I’d never gotten to use one in person. At the point my brain was assuming functionality on devices, I figured it was ubiquitous enough to invest. And I’ve been happy with it ever since. It works like a fitibit, and I run a lot, so it saved me having to buy one of those. It gives me that weather (and a nice sunset/sunrise clock). And I don’t have to tug my phone out of my pocket all the time to check the time or see if texts are important or not.

    And before that I carried a pocketwatch most of the time. I only started using a wristwatch again when I started teaching, because (like the soldiers before me who popularized the wristwatch over the pocket watch originally) I found it faster and less distracting to check the time left in class. I’m honestly surprised, though, that no one’s making smart pocket watches. They could even get away with being bigger that way.

  34. I have a jawbone. It’s like a fitbit. Nit exactly a smart watch. It has changed my life. It has made me neurotic to hit my 10k steps per day. If I under I pace at night. Then again I am down 30 pounds this year so there is a trade off.

    I’d get a smart watch if it had a heart rate monitor monitor and the features of the jawbone. The early generations out now are lousy. Probably a few years away.

    Get a fitbit john then you can join a team with other crazy sf writers and neorotic together. But you may lose weight,

  35. Wristwatches are very useful while doing fieldwork. It’s good to have a timekeeping device strapped to my arm and not taking up one of my hands, that is also waterproof.

  36. I can’t stand wearing a watch, or anything else on my wrists – I have several very pretty bracelets I never wear that my husband bought before he absorbed that fact. Smart watches just don’t make sense to me when you have higher functionality from the phone in your pocket.

  37. I’m a Luddite; not only do I not have a smartphone, I have an analog watch. And I like it!

  38. I’m looking forward to all sorts of life augmentation that will come 20 years down the line after the glasses and watches and other accessories they will develop start to have more sci-fi features.

    But as for now, pointless other than to the hipsters or those willing to spend the money for one or two additional functionalities.

  39. I think the “better than smart phone” point of smart watches is that they are attached to a part of your body so: (a) you always know where they are — attached to the end of your arm. (b) they’re a bit harder to put down and go off and leave. (c) It’s harder to drop it accidentally, although you can knock it against things, or fall and land on it.

  40. @Zero, Is there any reason to buy Google Glass other than to show off your disposable income? It’s all silliness to me.

  41. Yay for more and more US states granting marriage equality! Wish Australia would get its act together, but we’ll have to wait until that repulsive bigot in Canberra’s been given the boot.

    Smart watches … nope, not happening. I don’t even want a smart phone. I’ve used Swatch watches for years because they keep accurate time, important when you’re catching public transport! But I couldn’t resist this Edward Gorey watch I bought in Chicago, even though it gives me the heebie jeebies not having the numbers marked. Kitty power trumps all.

  42. Smart watches will be cool when Apple releases one.

    We’ll see if that’s true now that Jobs is gone. Same thing with Google Glass like wearables.

  43. @lumi: Actually, yes. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/10/22/google-glass-aids-disabled/3006827/

    This is where i get frustrated with the narrative that Glass is simply a toy, and that people who use it deserve to have it shut off at a whim (such as the people who write software to kick Glass off of open wifi if they find it, a la this guy: http://macdailynews.com/2014/06/04/google-glass-detector-app-cuts-off-glassholes-wi-fi/ ); it’s been a huge help to disabled folks, who are the furthest thing from a ‘glasshole’ you can find.

    (I also have a friend who’s a motorcyclist, and she found the heads up display to be amazingly useful when trying to navigate the Bay Area. She felt it was much safer than glancing down at a GPS.)

    Back to the watch conversation: I’m a nurse, so i’ll likely wear a wristwatch at least until i retire. You’ve got to be able to time yourself when you push IV medications, and phones aren’t allowed on the floor, at least where i work. (I’m actually wondering if a smartwatch would be allowed or not. Probably not, if anyone actually realized what it was.)

  44. Thanks for that article, k8. I sometimes miss my privilege zooming past me and it helps to have those checks on my perspective. I’m always happy to see technology actually improving lives.

  45. I have a watch that I got as a volunteer award. If I get another one, it will probably be another piece of mechanical clockwork. Smart watches might get around to doing something I care about, the same way smart phones eventually got around to doing what I wanted, but I’ll forgo this iteration.

  46. I wore my last watch for a few years until the strap pins broke; then I carried it in my shirt pocket until the time-setting buttons failed (couldn’t switch to summer time); then I stopped using watches. Time still seems to go by.

    Will

  47. Like several other commenters, I have a Pebble and have been enjoying the heck out of it. Flipping my wrist to see who is calling/texting/emailing is far less obtrusive than hauling my phone out of my pocket when I’m in the middle of a meeting or conversation, and I also have been known to miss a vibrating phone in my pocket — a vibrating wrist is much harder to overlook. It’s also handy at home, where I can set my phone down to charge, walk around the house, and be sure I’m not missing any calls or texts.

    Is it necessary? Definitely not. Is it useful? Definitely so.

  48. Smart watch: if it’s something that looks as good as the Moto360, sign me up. If it’s pretty much anything Samsung designed…not so much. Those guys just don’t seem to get that for those of us that wear a watch, it’s not just function, it’s form *and* function.

    I wear a watch for the sake of efficiency, primarily. The looks of it come into play, but my primary reason is I want something that gives me the time and date at a glance without the need to fumble around pulling something out of my pocket – there is, after all, a reason that pocket watches faded from use. With a smart watch, I get the 2 primary functions I’ve always wanted plus notifications – I can see text messages, emails pending, and even who’s calling me without ever pulling my phone out of my pocket. Very handy in my view.

    Additionally, they’ll be loading these things up with all kinds of sensors that can keep track of things like your pulse over time and such. Personally, I’d pay a small fortune for one that could tell me blood sugar without drawing blood – putting holes in myself repeatedly is annoying as hell. Not sure it’s possible to do that, but still, I’d pay real money for it.

    Of course, if someone comes out with one that’s a super-duper health meter and calls it “Halo” I think I’ll pass… (see: TV series Continuum).

  49. Thank you for #4. Just heard a story about smart watches on NPR this morning and my response was much the same as yours (and I am even a watch wearer). I guess they may appeal to some people, and that is cool and all, but they really seem kind of unnecessary. Makes me wonder if it is just the tech companies wanting to confirm a product of science fiction.

  50. Actual post!

    I’m 31, and I don’t know that I’ve ever worn a watch for more than a month or two. I got one as a present for graduating eighth grade, but for me, something you have to put on every morning and take off every night was too much of a hassle. And then there were cell phones, and also I generally never needed to know exactly what time it was, or I was in a place with a lot of clocks.

    Still am–and I don’t have the kind of meetings that compel me to surreptitiously check the time, thank God–so I don’t see getting any kind of watch. Besides, wearing something on my wrist makes typing a pain.

  51. Oooh, Smart Watch I want you! I quit wearing a watch years ago but now that I’m a college lecturer I need to keep track of how much time is left in class and the wall clocks are always BEHIND me. So I started wearing a watch again and it’s soooo much easier to glance at my wrist than dig my phone out of a bag and unlock it to check the time. I’m not one of those glued to a phone so I can see some real advantages to wearing it on my wrist.

  52. This is a fine looking (and expensive) smart watch. iOS only, I think.

    I wear a Timex Expedition wristwatch. I don’t have to put on my reading glasses to tell the time, and I can wear it while surfing, riding the bicycle, etc.

  53. My issue with watches is that I live in Tennessee, which, for those of you who are not familiar with its climate, is a tropical country. I sweat. A lot. Anything I wear regularly next to my skin that I can’t also *wash* regularly starts to stink. After a few months it really gets intrusive. Most watches can’t be washed, and removing a watch from a watch band is a royal pain. For a long time I got by with a watch designed to be clipped to my belt loop. It worked and didn’t stink, but it swung when I moved and tended to clack on things which was annoying. Shortly after I got an iPod Touch (to replace the PDA that had been carrying my contacts and calendar). I realized that every time I pulled it out it showed me the time before I’d even swiped it on. That was the day I put my watch away.

  54. I wear a watch because (a) it’s quicker than fishing in my pocket for a smart phone; (2) it has sentimental value (a Seiko automatic that belonged to my favorite uncle); and (iii) I can tell what time it is when I wake up in the middle of the night and worry how much time I have to try to fall asleep again before I have to get up.

    Other than that, who needs one?

  55. Oh, and it has a second hand in case I really want to time a three-minute egg. But so does my kitchen clock, so no.

  56. Warrants: The only thing missing from the kicker at the end is a “duh.”

    Marriage: I understand the USDA and the FAA are lobbying for a stay based on too many flying pigs in sub-zero conditions.

    Watches? I took my watch off when I got out of the Navy in 1995. For the ten years before I got a cell phone, I just made do. Bob knows there are enough clocks, time pieces, time & temp signs, microwave ovens, etc everywhere. These days, I have a digital for times when a phone just won’t do (riding motorcycle) and a pocket watch for fancy occasions, and now that my new motorcycle has a dashboard clock, I may get rid of the digital.

  57. I routinely wear a wristwatch even though I have absolutely no need for one (I work in an office and the time is displayed on my computer screen). I think of watches as jewelry (and have quite an array) since I basically don’t wear anything else aside from my wedding ring.

    So I would only add a smartwatch to the collection if it were also uniquely beautiful. But somehow I doubt the “smart” builders will ever make anything that looks like this: http://www.ernestborel.ch/en/wristwatch/automatic/cocktail_collection/#LGR8080_28291WH

  58. And it is equally exciting to see the SCOTUS has ruled against Obama’s illegal use of power.

  59. I am wearing a watch right now. Even though I have an iPhone near me at all times, I get more use from the wristwatch for it’s core competencies. Why? It has fantastically longer battery life, is always present and quick to access, delivers the time/date info I want from it with one button press in the dark or none in the light and is far more rugged and far less expensive than my iPhone. Getting a device that extends the iPhones functionality seems like a nice upgrade: getting text messages, emails and caller ID on the phone is a big deal to me. It’s not for everyone, but I think the idea that the only reason someone would still use a wristwatch is some luddite is silly.

    The smartwatch is not unlike the bluetooth headset; it’s not entirely necessary, but it enhances the user experience, offering greater convenience and functionality for some users. Fifteen years ago, many people didn’t own cell phones. Ten years ago, no one saw a need for Facebook. Five years ago, no one could see the need for a tablet (“It’s just a giant cell phone! I already HAVE a laptop!”). I’m not saying the smartwatch is the next iPad…but I’m saying that ruling it out as superfluous or s status symbol because you don’t immediately envision your use case might be shortsighted.

  60. I’ve never been able to wear a watch for any length of time without developing an allergy to it. Doesn’t matter what the strap is made of. I always wind up with a red, swollen welt all the way around my wrist. That last time, I thought it would leave a scar.

    Personal issues aside, my initial impression is that this is another Google+. In other words, a cool-sounding thing that a few people will jump onto because it sounds neat, but that doesn’t offer anything ground-breaking. Without some must-have feature that makes this superior to a cellphone or a watch, I don’t see this catching on.

  61. The reason I’m interested in a smart watch is because I miss calls and text messages when my phone is on silent, or when it is on vibrate and I’m walking around, or if it is on make a noise to get my attention mode and I’m in a noisy environment or wearing hearing protection. I haven’t gotten one yet because they are ugly, or expensive (The Kairos is lovely).

  62. So far as watches go what I want is a tattoo on my wrist that gives me the time and date and maybe the weekday (I can usually remember the year) that is powered by my pulse.
    I’d have trouble losing that.

  63. Yeah, I’m 100% on board with your smartwatch opinion and for pretty much 100% of the same reasons. I’ve got a smartphone anyway, I have it all the time, what’s an ugly watch gonna do for me when I (for the same reasons as you) haven’t worn a dumb watch in over a decade.

    Of course, I’m even older than you are, so there’s that, too.

  64. Also of note, St. Louis was able to have 4 same sex marriages yesterday http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/battle-over-same-sex-marriages-in-st-louis-headed-to/article_7fe77475-63f4-5d44-8c25-87aa4449946f.html, before the state AG decided to shut them down http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/missouri-attorney-general-sues-st-louis-to-stop-same-sex/article_a22ca364-c80b-52af-817d-a434764120c4.html It was a good thought while it lasted STL, now let’s hope the rest of the state jumps on board.

  65. Re: Wearable technology. I’m not sure what’s generational and what’s not. I’m nearly 70, started messing with computers before some posters here were born, spent a couple decades as a tech-biz journalist, built a couple of my early PCs, own but rarely carry a dumb cell phone, have never sent a text*, find Twitter an irrelevance, and have worn a wristwatch every waking minute that I wasn’t swimming or in the shower since approximately 1957. Every room in our house has at least one clock (four in view from this keyboard), but I still wear my watch. I was particularly pleased when calendar watches got cheap (though I could do without the weekday window on mine.) I was even more pleased to give up stocking 377 batteries after I discovered the Citizen Eco-Drive line. (I’d still be wearing the 1943 stainless-steel Wittnauer military watch my father gave me more than fifty years ago if I could find a competent repairman to recondition and time it. It’s almost as hard as finding a hatter or shoe repairman.)

    On the other hand, I do have near-contemporaries who fish out their phones to check the time–unless they notice that I’m wearing a watch and ask me.

    * If it weren’t for TracFone’s marketing people and some stray spam, I would never have received one, either.

  66. My Pebble is flat out the best tech I have ever purchased. It lets me be less connected to my phone and more connected to people I care about. My phone now sits in my pocket/bag the vast majority of my day and only comes out when I need it. Controlling some things from my wrist instead of having to pull my phone out and taking longer to do things, icing on the cake. Also on a freezing Chicago day (this winter comes to mind) knowing when I need to be at the bus stop from my wrist without taking mittens off, pretty dam nifty.

  67. So it’s a violation of your right to privacy for Police to search your cell phone without a warrant but it’s OK for the N.S.A. to capture all of your data – phone and internet – without a warrant!!

    Just another example of the fool’s paradise we live in!

    Freedom is never free!

    Those who would surrender a little freedom, for a little extra security, will deserve neither and loose both. Benjamin Franklin

  68. This discussion makes me wonder if “smart watch” is another transitional technology like “smart mobile phones” (two generations of tech in one name!), or for that matter “horseless carriages”. The concept is in the future: small, personal sensors integrated with information display, but the current implementation, and our language for describing it, is tied to older metaphors and habits. Perhaps in 5-10 years we’ll have more updated devices and names for whatever this new sensor/display thing turns out to be.

  69. The last time I wore a watch was for a few months in high school. But then I started reacting to the nickel. This was way before smart phones so I got very good at knowing where every clock was in my day to day life.

    That particular allergy has gotten to the point where I will react after about half an hour of contact. (I even react to the very tiny percentage of nickel that’s in sterling silver) It would take some doing, but I’m sure I could find a watch made of a metal I’m not allergic to, but why bother?

  70. Dick Tracy got his wrist radio in 1946, years before I was born. It’s a must-have indicator that the future has finally arrived, just like the flying car. Tracy was content to have an antenna taped to his arm, we can’t tolerate that. I don’t interact with my current phone via voice command, and pushing some virtual buttons on a 1-inch touchpad seems silly. But for those who can handle the voice interface, talking to your wrist is less crazy-appearing to bystanders than shouting at thin air. And at least you’ll be able to drive with both hands when talking to your smartwatch rather than trying to drive one-handed while using the other to hold your phone up to your ear.

  71. There’s a killer app for smartwatches that phones can’t do yet: body sensors. Not just fitbit style stuff, but temperature, skin conductivity, heart rate. There are even companies working on detecting blood sugar levels using light through the skin.

    Imagine a person with diabetes being able to look at the watch to check their blood sugar level. Meanwhile their phone is tracking it in an app. This is kind of an edge case, but the more varied kinds of sensor devices like this get, but more varied kinds of apps can be built from them. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Just from the sensors I mentioned above you could get auto dialing emergency when people are hurt or when a person at risk for heart attacks has arrhythmia.

    You might not find them attractive, but your doctor may prescribe one for you anyway!

  72. I’ve seen smart watches be very useful in a dance studio. Instructors are using their phones and other devices for playing music but they have to walk back and forth across the studio to start the music. Having a smart watch means they don’t have to do that every time they need to restart the music. It seems like a simple thing, but after the first instructor got one in my studio, everyone ran out to get one. Ugly or no, it makes teaching easier.

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