So, I’ve had my Pebble for a while now, and I still like it. The vibration works great for waking me up. I never had a wrist watch that could do that with sound. More exciting though, is that things are finally happening at the apps front. The watch face SDK was released a few weeks ago, and boy was there a pent up need to produce watch faces!
Most are crap of course, but some are really good. I am currently using Revolution, which is a excellent. Huge display of hours and minutes, so even I can see it. But it also shows seconds and date. Also, some user written apps are showing up – still far fewer that watch faces though. I am using Timer occasionally. It is a simple but useful countdown timer that really should have been built-in. And to show what is possible, we have a Hex Editor no less! Yes, it allows you to totally screw up the watch OS and other apps. Weird, but why not.
And of course, the RunKeeper app has finally appeared! Woot! This was announced already when the Kickstarter project was set up, and was probably the main reason why many decided to get a Pebble. The current version only displays distance/speed in miles. Hoping for a fix to that asap …
Well, that’s not quite true. But I have stopped using a separate Windows computer, and instead run Windows 7 in a virtual machine on my Mac. I am currently using Parallels 8.0 which works brilliantly. I have switched back and forth a bit between Parallels and VMWare Fusion. I’d say that they are quite similar functionality wise, at least for the things I use them for, which is almost exclusively to compile and debug with Visual Studio. Anyhow, the less Windows the better so I’m happy with this setup for now.
I have had my pebble for a few weeks now, and I actually like it a lot, even with it’s current limitations. There is a small uproar going on in the Pebble community because all the promised watch apps and the developer SDK has failed to appear yet. And I agree – I too would like to try writing cool apps for the watch. However, I do believe that will be available at a later point, and the watch is actually quite usable even as it is.
My favorite function is a very simple one. The motion sensor in the watch turns the backlight on at a flick of the wrist. This is so useful that all electronic watches should have it.
The main functions the watch has right now (apart from telling time) is SMS and mail notifications. SMS is flawless, mail works most of the time but not always. This is apparently a problem with the iOS API and the Pebble guys are working on it – or so they say. The watch also works fine as an iTunes controller.
A big drawback is unfortunately a severely diminished battery life on the iPhone due to the increased Bluetooth traffic. I used to get at least two days out of my iPhone before Pebble, and now I get barely one day. Irritating, but not really Pebble’s fault.
W00t11! My Pebble watch has finally arrived after an exciting trip through Kazakhstan of all places. I thought for sure that it would never be passed through because Borat wanted it for himself, but it all worked out for the best.
I have read a lot of horror stories in the Pebble forums about bad displays and other malfunctions in the new watches, but mine seems to be fine (touch on wood). We’ll see how things work out after I have used it for a while.
And for your viewing pleasure, here are the obligatory unboxing pictures.
OK, now I have used the new Unicomp keyboard a little while, both on Windows and on OS X. Very happy with it so far. One little thing I was afraid would be bothersome is that the Trackpoint control only has two mouse buttons. I am, as are most users nowdays, spoiled with using a pointing device with a scroll wheel. That function is often activated by the third mouse button to toggle scroll lock mode when you don’t have an actual scroll wheel.
So what to do? I first looked for a solution using AutoHotkey to toggle scroll lock mode with some key combination. That is probably the best solution, since I use the program anyways, but I didn’t find a good solution right away. So instead I am now using X-Mouse Button Control set to toggle scroll lock with a right click. I then use the context menu key on the keyboard to get the normal right click functionality. Works great.
As for OS X, I have been using a trackpad for a long time now, so of course I’ll be losing all the multi-touch gestures. But that’s ok I think. It was possible to live without them before, so it should be possible again. At least the context menu key works as function key on the Mac without any extra configuration. That was actually unexpected, since it doesn’t either on Das Keyboard or on my Realtek. So, all in all good stuff.
I have always been a keyboard freak, trying this and that hoping that I finally have found the ultimate keyboard that will improve my typing and remove all strain. Maybe I finally have …
A week ago, I ordered not one, but two, Endura Pro keyboards from Unicomp, Inc. These are mechanically the same as the original IBM Model M keyboard, as delivered with the original IBM PC. This is arguably the best keyboard ever made – it is certainly the most durable with many still in daily use after almost 30 years.
The Endura Pro model has an additional feature – a built in Trackpoint mouse control. So now I can throw my mouse in the bin … Maybe.
Anyways, I am typing away on it now, and so far it feels great. It has a very distinct click, and the key press is stiff, but not too hard. It is quite loud though, so I hope my collegues will not object to my clicking and clacking.
Here are some images from the unboxing. Enjoy!
My new job is forcing me to use Windows. Yes, it sucks a bit, but to make the best of the situation I try to set it up as similar to my Mac environment as I can. My primary editor is SublimeText 2, which is available on both platforms, so that works fine. I have set it up with all package files in Dropbox, so they are automatically shared. More on that later.
A code editor such as that relies heavily on keyboard shortcuts. And those tend to work best with an American keyboard layout. I switched over several years ago on the Mac, and use a keyboard macro program to type all the necessary national characters without having to resort to cumbersome dead key combinations and such.
So when I started using Windows, I immediately looked for a suitable program, and I can really recommend AutoHotkey (http://www.autohotkey.com). It is free, incredibly capable, as it actually contains a full programming language and can create arbitrarily complex GUI widgets. I currently use just a small part of it, but intend to look at more use cases later. Anyhow, here’s my national characters macros. They may come in handy for someone else.
To type åäö for instance, I actually key
.aa.ae.oe. That may look like a lot of work, but it becomes second nature very quickly. I also use this system for a bunch of other Unicode characters that are sometimes useful. Here are my current AutoHotkey definitions:
There. No more lying around on the sofa all day. Starting Monday, I will be working full time at Textalk with various programming and design tasks. Initially, I’ll be doing C++ application programming with Qt, so I’m getting away from the web for a while.
I have just created a simple Github User Page to describe my stuff on Github a little bit. It is still quite minimal, and will probably stay that way. But you never know.
Anyhow, here it is: http://svenax.github.com/. Enjoy!
Sublime Text is a fantastic text editor, but it does not let you print. Personally, I don’t mind – I only print very seldom. But there are many entertaining discussions on the discussion forum where people who have bought the program months ago suddenly realize that it does not print, and then make as if the sky has fallen down or some such. Anyhow, Svenax to the rescue!
I started on a very simple plugin last april that just sends the document of the current view to an external command line program for printing. I naturally put the plugin on Github and promoted it a bit in the forum. Nothing much happened for a while, until I got a merge request with substantial enhancements from another Githubber. After having merged that, I took another look at the code and decided to rewrite it pretty much from scratch to clean it up and remove code duplication.
This new plugin has been submitted to Package Control, the semi-official package manager for Sublime Text extensions. Looking at the merge request queue, it seems to take about two weeks before requests get integrated. Until then you can install directly by selecting Package Control: Add Repository and adding https://github.com/svenax/SublimePrint. Happy printing!
ETA: It is now available in Package Control under the name Simple Print Function.