The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Standalone smartwatch without smartphone: working out, including swimming

I just revived my fitness club membership, which I had let lapse. It reminded me of one reason why I want to be able to use a smartwatch without a smartphone nearby - one reason why I will probably buy an iPhone X, or at least the new Fitbit Ionic, in the next year: workouts.

I like going to the club and listening to podcasts while doing a variety of exercises. On elliptical and rowing machine a smartwatch slaved to a smartphone isn’t so bad, although it would be nice not to have to carry the phone around. But swimming makes having a waterproof smartwatch independent of the smartphone much more desirable. Locking phone away in a locker while swimming risks theft, while wearing phone in pool in a waterproof bag while swimming, quite literally, drags. Whereas a waterproof smartwatch by itself means that all I need to place in a locker are my shirt, shoes, and towel. Which I am much less afraid of getting stolen.

The main feature I want for exercise is the ability to play podcasts. Both the iPhone X and the Fitbit Ionic can store audio, music, on the watch, connecting to a new Bluetooth headset. The IPhone X almost certainly has better podcast players.

I was about to say “Unfortunately, Bluetooth doesn’t work well in a pool. So I may fall back to using my old waterproof iPod Nano with earplugs - and hence not need the smartwatch to play the podcasts”.  But there are quite a few Waterproof Bluetooth earbuds for swimmers, so that may not be an issue.

=> stand-alone smartwatch with music/podcast playing to Bluetooth waterproof earbuds while doing workouts including swimming. That will be what makes me buy an iPhone X or Fitbit Ionic.

If I can get the “Gentle Wake” app from my old Pebble Classic, all the better.

Exercise and alarm clock: two things smartphones have never been good enough at to make me happy.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Amtrak - Experience - Onboard - Journey with Wi-Fi

Amtrak - Experience - Onboard - Journey with Wi-Fi: "Amtrak offers free basic Wi-Fi service"
I enjoyed using wifi on train from Portland OR to Seattle yesterday. Got much work done.

Unfortunately, on the return trip today the wifi was ... bad.  Intermittent. Slow.  Frustrating.

(Furthermore, as I have noticed before, my Microsoft Surface Book has a habit of crashing when wifi is intermittent.)


Both trains were full.  Yesterday's left Portland circa 3pm.  Today's left Seattle circa 6pm.