Apple, Mobility

Two weeks with the Apple Watch

28 May , 2015  

 Apple WatchA little less than two weeks ago I received my Apple Watch shipment, just the Sport version, with no added frills. Keep in mind that I ordered my watch the moment the Apple Store started taking orders. And it still took that long. The local Apple retail store told me I have the only black sport watch with black band they are aware of, so it’s still uncommon to even have an Apple Watch. I very rarely see someone wearing an Apple Watch. That all adds up to tell you how short the Apple Watch supply really is.
What’s my verdict on the Apple Watch? So far I like it, very much. But the real question is will I still be wearing it 3, 6 or 12 months from now? Here’s what I think of the Apple Watch so far.
Apple Watch Pros
  • Watch Face w/calendar. There are many watch faces to chose from (Mickey Mouse, chronograph, analog, digital, etc.) I immediately found value in using the watch face that displays a combination of info: time, date, temp, activity, and especially current calendar event.  Checking my calendar with just a flick of the wrist (the glance interface) is extremely handy. Net +Timesaver, +Productivity
  • Calendar. Right from the watch face (mentioned above) I can tap the current calendar item to bring up the full calendar display. The list of calendar items, beginning with today’s and out about a week, are vey handy to scroll through and check out. You can drill down into an individual calendar item but I don’t often do this. Net +Timesaver, +Productivity
  • Incoming calls. I love being able see who’s calling, again by just looking at my wrist. I don’t often answer and take the call on my watch (Dick Tracy style) but one of the features I like to use is “Answer on iPhone”. This immediately answers the call (so I don’t lose the caller), puts the call on hold just long enough to get to my phone when it’s not immediately handy. Net +Convenience
  • Texts (iMessage). While I have my struggles with iMessage on the iPhone, getting texts and sending default responses is extremely useful and saves time by not having to always grab my phone. The default responses (the one’s I’ve set) are really useful to quickly respond. I have used Siri on the Apple Watch to craft a text, but not too often. More involved or longer texting conversations happen on the iPhone. Net +Timesaver, +Convenience
  • Notifications. Calendar reminders, voice mails, Lync (IM) messages are all useful to know about via notifications on the Apple Watch. From there, I can chose whether I take any next steps or let the notification pass by. One less reason I need to pull the iPhone out of my pocket, and I like that. Net +Timesaver, +Convenience
Apple Watch Cons
  • Notifications. Some I like, but some I don’t. Every app wants to let you know about whatever it thinks is important. I really don’t need to know someone’s posted to Facebook, or that some game with a watch interface wants me to respond. My recommendation is, as with your iPhone, be very selective about what notifications you let Apple Watch bother you with. Be sure to set the Notifications settings for each watch app using the iPhone’s Watch app. They can be set to stay in sync with whatever that app’s notification settings are on the iPhone, or custom. I say again, I’d recommend being very selective. Net +Time waster, -Annoyance Factor
  • More Sounds. Having your watch start binging, bonging or making some other sound during your meeting or at the movies is not particularly useful. It’s yet another digital device in the meeting that really should be silenced. To help solve the problem, Apple Watch will stay in sync with the mute switch setting on the side of your iPhone. There is also a setting in the iPhone’s Watch app that tells the Apple Watch to stay in sync with whatever the Do Not Disturb setting is on your iPhone. Net -Annoyance Factor
  • Unreliable Glance. Lifting the watch, turning your wrist doesn’t always cause the Apple Watch display to wake up and display the watch face. It reminds me of how the iPhone doesn’t always flip between portrait and landscape when you rotate the phone – it can take a few tries, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I’ve had to press the “digital crown” occasionally to wake up the watch. Net -Annoyance Factor
  • Games. So far I’ve not found games to be that interesting or engaging on the Apple Watch. Maybe someone will create the killer watch game app. Until then I’ll stick to other digital venues for game entertainment. Net -Not fun yet
  • Packaging. The Apple Watch comes in this massive, heavy white box loaded with the typical Apple style layers of packaging. The Apple Watch box is about 2x the size of the box the iPhone comes in. Did I mention the box alone is heavy? It’s heavy. What did they put in this thing? For such a light weight watch, is the packaging trying to make up for other things? Who knows. I was a bit baffled by how over the top all the packaging was just to contain a thin case with an Apple Watch inside. Net -Waste, -Hurts our Planet
There are so many more apps for the Apple Watch, so much so that I’ve had difficulty finding the time to try even all of those I’m interested in. Keep checking back as I’ll post if I find something truly interesting or useful.

 

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Collcaboration

The Fishbowl – Increasing Multi-Site Casual Collaboration

26 Feb , 2015  

How do you close the gap between two work locations separated by 1,275 miles? January 2015 we successfully completed a one year remodel project of 79,000 sq ft of office space. You can read more about it on the CableLabs blog. The remodel occurred on the heels of opening a new office and lab in Sunnyvale, CA, the fall of 2013.

Culture is über important to me and the company for which I work. We asked ourselves; what could we do to make the two work locations feel like one – or – at least bridge the gap and lessen the distance?

New idea – The “fishbowl”

When the Sunnyvale office opened, we set up a desktop video conference unit at each location creating a virtual helpdesk window. One unit is in a small office and the second unit is in the IT help desk team’s cubes. IT customers come up to the screen, see our IT folks at their desk, and get immediate help – the next best thing short of being in the same location.

The fishbowl   fishbowl2
(See more photos of the remodeled office space here.)

The fishbowl is the same idea, just more public and on a larger scale. The fishbowl is set up with larger video conferencing units at each site, in higher foot traffic locations in the office. The fishbowl video connection is on all the time, 24×7. No set up time required, no funky SIP address strings to enter on a handheld remote. It’s always on. I describe it as a portal or wormhole connecting the two offices.

Both sides of the fishbowl are located in a main break area of each office. It’s a natural gathering place for coffee, sodas and lunch. I’m constantly amazed at the different uses people find for it. They walk by, see someone on the other side, wave or stop and have a chat. It’s also easy to have a quick meeting if you don’t mind it happening out in the open with others walking by. Occasionally we’ll meet up with a electrician or wiring technician doing work on site – it’s so much easier to have a conversation over video than trying to explain some wiring concept or problem over the phone. And since the fishbowl is always on, you just walk up and use it. Now you hear the phrase, “lets meet up at the fishbowl.” This same idea is used to interconnect the two labs. Super useful when teams are working on projects and need to easily communicate and collaborate.

It’s not quite the same as being there but the fishbowl concept definitely helps bridge the gap, and increases the frequency and fidelity of communications between offices. I like to call it casual collaboration.

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