So I was looking something up on the http://www.coolcomponents.co.uk/ site. And I noticed that they had some Pebble watches for sale. They must have backed the Kickstarter at an early stage. Anyhoo, I’ve always liked different watches, and so I placed an order. And today it arrived. And very nice it is too. Very light, but not at all flimsy. And supposed to be very waterproof. You can see what’s inside here.
The watch uses a digital paper screen, rather like the ones in e-Readers. This allows it to display high contrast, high resolution (for a watch) black and white images very well indeed. It comes with a bunch of different watch faces which you can choose from. I like the big text one above. There is also a watch face SDK which you can use to make your own faces using a C program.
Obligatory unboxing picture.
I’ve got the watch paired with my Nexus 7. It uses the Bluetooth connection to display emails and appointments and it works a treat. I’ve not got a great feel for battery life yet, but it went through the day without breaking a sweat.
What I really, really, really want to do is make it work with my Windows Phone. I’ve a horrible feeling that this will be rather tricky, even if I pair it with the phone and send data I’ll need to know what the protocol is. This is one of the very rare occasions where I wish I had an Apple or an Android phone, as it works with both of them. Maybe in the future it will be made to work with my lovely Lumia, For now I’m happy with what I get via the Nexus, but a phone connection would be awesome.
They say that Apple and maybe even Microsoft are working on watches like this at the moment. I can see why. I had a Spot watch a while back and I loved it (although you couldn’t really use it in the UK). A well connected, micro framework powered, version of the Pebble would be awesome. As it is, if you fancy something geeky but probably even useful, you should take a look.
I think that more software projects fail because of misunderstandings about the specification than for any other reason. The developer makes loads of assumptions about what the program needs to do and the customer can’t be bothered to keep an eye on what is being produced.
I was reminded of this when I was marking the first year coursework today. We set a tightly specified set of deliverables and then each student has 15 minutes to show what they have made. This is a lot of work. It takes five of us two and a half days to work through everyone. And then I have to spend at least two days going through the marked sheets and making sure that all the marks line up.
This year we set some quite complex deliverables and it was very pleasing to see that many students had risen to the challenge and produced some lovely stuff. But some of them had made really nice solutions to the wrong problem, because they had not read the specification in detail. They’d just read enough to convince themselves that they knew what was needed and then gone off and built it. And in many cases they needed to do more work to make their version than they would have needed to make the one that was required. Oh well.
Of course in a teaching situation this is not a huge problem. Folks lost a few marks and we moved on. And hopefully a lesson was learned, which is what it is all about.
One year I’m going to produce a huge, complex piece of coursework with a long and highly detailed description which has, right at the end, the phrase “Please ignore all the above. Just make me a program that prints “Hello World” in large friendly letters.”…
The LensBaby composer is a lens mounted on a ball and socket arrangement which you can twist to change the way that it focuses the light onto the camera sensor.
I bought one a while back and every now and then I get it out and have a play. It is quite fun. Very old school, in that it is basically a single lens in a sliding tube. There is no auto focus and you adjust the aperture (the size of the hole the light comes through) by dropping in and out little metal masks that are held in place with magnets. A bit fiddly to use, but the lens itself is pretty darned sharp, and you can get results that would be very difficult to get any other way.
If you have a digital SLR and you fancy spending some time doing things the hard way, and never being quite sure how the pictures will come out, they are kind of fun.