Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pebble Steel

A few weeks ago I bought a Pebble Steel and absolutely love it.  I've watched the wearables market for some time now but as long as the fancy watch my wife gave me years ago when we were dating was working it was hard to make the switch. When it finally gave up the ghost earlier in the summer (and was going to cost as much to repair as it did new) I finally started seriously looking at smartwatches. As much as I wanted an Apple Watch due to already being heavily invested in the Apple eco-system it was far more than I wanted to spend and the battery life by all accounts just isn't that good.

The main thing I wanted in a watch along with telling time was the ability to get notifications on my wrist since I tend to miss them in loud places or when my phone is in my pocket on vibrate at work. A longer battery life and not needing to charge it every day was a plus as well. I'd briefly considered pairing the Vybe bracelet with a regular watch but a coworker got one a few months back in their first round of shipping and it was far larger than I expected. (Along with being one additional device to wear.)

Enter Pebble. I didn't care much for the look of the plastic original but I was impressed with the black Steel model especially paired with the metal band. (And the newest color Pebble Time was more than I wanted to spend.) A few weeks back I went to Best Buy and picked one up along with ordering the band off Amazon since no where local had it in stock. Since then the only time it's only left my wrist has been at night when I sleep.

It's worked perfectly for what I needed. At $149 the price was perfect although I got it a little cheaper via an open-box model. It provides my notifications and the battery life has been fantastic even with the screen being always-on. I've been charging it on average every four days but could probably get an extra day out of it if need be. I've read some complaints about it not maintaining the Bluetooth connecting with the iPhone and while I've had a few issues here and there (mostly first thing in the morning for whatever reason) it otherwise hasn't been a problem. 

If there is one complaint I have about it however it was swapping out the included leather band for the metal one. It includes a little screwdriver to do it yourself but the screws were in there tight (secured with Loctite according to accounts I read online) and I ended up having to take it to a local jeweler that charged me $10 to swap them.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blogger Walkthrough

The principal of one of my schools has asked that all teachers have a website by early in the year. While I plan to do a pre-school workshop on it I also put together a guide on Blogger for teachers that want to get a jump start on it using the most excellent screenshot/guide app, Clarify 2.

In the email I sent to my teachers I mentioned that while they were free to use any website creator site or software they wish (and I know several of them are already using Wordpress, Weebly, and others) I personally like Blogger and think it works best for the following reasons:

1. It's easy to use and very customizable if you so choose. I've covered the basics in the guide but I encouraged my staff to explore it and check out all of the other functionality that's available.

2. While they will need to use a personal Gmail account to access it (it's currently blocked under our work accounts) when it becomes available within those accounts it will be very easy to move it over from personal to work and access everything from one place.

3. By using Blogger teachers can post an entry at the beginning of each week that covers the upcoming assignments, assessments, SOL objectives, etc. This not only covers the principal's requirement that they have a page for alerts and updates but perhaps best of all it gives parents and students the ability to sign up for email notifications when entries are posted.