At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: Apple Watch Series 4

Essential Tech I Use and Why

Here’s my list of ten technology purchases I’ve made that creates my foundation for living and working in today’s digital world.

I see myself as an everyman (person) who successfully uses his tech (usually) throughout most days in life. I’ve done my research and also have a decent track record on my specific gear choices. While I’m hardly an authority… I’d like to think I offer an informed point of view.

There is also an ever-increasing amount of choice out there, and figuring it all out can be a complete time suck. The ‘best choice’ is an elusive and always-changing equation. So, my strategy has always been to find what works (at a competitive price where possible) and stick to brands that hold up over time.

Most of all: Keep it simple…

If you think that reading about the essential tech I’ve chosen (or covet) for myself might be useful towards your own tech-selection process, then I’ve got a little list to share…

Ten Technology Choices to Help Get You through Your Day

1.  Smartphone

I upgraded from my old iPhone 6 Plus and finally convinced myself there was no need to supersize it to 512GB. So far so good…

2.  iPhone XS Max Case

It’s tough and looks like it comes from the alternate universe in the TV series, “Fringe.”

Plus, I like saying it’s made with Kevlar.
Holding My Pelican Shield Case for iPhone XS Max

Enough said.

$41.73 on Amazon Prime

3.  Watch

After three years of self-control, I couldn’t stand not trying one of these out. It was an instant success… Not only have I been loving my Apple Watch, it’s also focused me on ‘getting my steps in.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, I don’t have to think about what watch I’m going to wear tomorrow!

4.  Computer

I began using Macs fifteen years ago due to the advanced multimedia applications, and I never looked back.

Do I feel the need to upgrade to the 2019 model?
Nope. Not yet… I’m doing fine with what I have.

5.  Back-Up Drive for your Computer

I’m a big fan of G-Technology Drives (now owned by Western Digital).

The G-Technology 4TB G-Drive USB 3.0 goes for $129.95 on Amazon Prime.

It’s what I use for my iMac’s Time Machine backups…

6.  Portable Back-Up Drives

  • G-Drive Mobile USB-C

Yes, I’m sticking with G-Technology again…
My go-to choice is the G-Drive Mobile USB-C.

I always grin and shake my head at how digital-storage pricing continues to drop…

7.  Cloud Backup

You do have a cloud backup plan in addition to your local backups, right?

I’ve been using Backblaze after CrashPlan broke up with me.

Offsite backup should always be a part of your strategy…

8.  Premium Point-and-Shoot Camera

Compact cameras that use 1-inch-type sensors can capture better photos than your smartphone…especially in low light.

Being able to freeze that July 4th fireworks moment is priceless!

Yes, these premium compact cameras are expensive, but if you’re serious about capturing great photos without blur and don’t want to carry around a big DSLR, this is the camera category for you…

I use Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-LX10. It’s a couple of years old, but still on the market and now at a discount…
$497.99 on Amazon Prime

I enjoy using my LX10, but If you’d like to know the camera I really covet, and what I’d buy today…
It’s the Sony DSC-RX100 VA… $898 on Amazon Prime.
(No… not the newer VI model. That’s because even though the VA has a smaller zoom, it‘s got a faster lens that can better capture action in low light.)

This is my friend’s new Sony DSC-RX100 VA.

The RX100 series has always seemed to set the gold standard for this category. Yes, it’s expensive, but I think it’s worth it.

9.  Action Camera

I picked up a GoPro last year as a family vacation camera, and I found that it really can enhance your vacation’s fun. A GoPro is small, durable and waterproof… so you can take it to the beach without worrying about a grain of sand crippling a retractable zoom lens. Plus you can snap great underwater shots!

It’s also incredibly fun to use during pool time!

The GoPro HERO7 Black is $343.68 on Amazon Prime.

10.  Wireless Mesh Router

When I replaced my old Apple AirPort Extreme WiFi router, I went with the two-unit mesh WiFi system made by Netgear Orbi.

The Orbi RBK50 (next to my Sonos speaker) costs $279.79 on Amazon Prime.

Mesh WiFi is a game changer… bringing new meaning to the idea of whole-house WiFi.
(I highly recommend it.)

If It Fits Your Budget…
I imagine some of you might be questioning whether all of this gear appropriately belongs on an ‘essential’ list.

While it would certainly be difficult today to operate without a smartphone or computer… does anyone really need the always more-expensive devices made by Apple? Of course not.

But I would also add that there’s value in working within one digital ecosystem. And not that you couldn’t also do that with other brands… but, hey… Apple’s always been a good bet… Period.

And no, you don’t specifically need home WiFi or a GoPro to survive, but I think it’s fair to say they’ve contributed to maintaining a level of digital homeostasis in my life.

That’s a fragile equation and always worth acknowledging… and enjoying when you can.

Diary of a New Apple Watch User

I’ve joined the growing crowd and strapped an Apple Watch to my wrist. Now, I’ve just got to figure out how it works! Here’s my experience so far…

I was in a meeting at work, and I must have leaned on my new Apple Watch. Suddenly, Siri loudly proclaimed, “Is there something I can help you with?” The whole meeting stopped, and everyone looked at me.

I apologized for Siri, (literally) and we continued.

I’m not exactly sure what happened, but let’s just chalk it up to human error.

Wearing HAL on Your Wrist?
It’s moments like these which remind me that wearing my Apple Watch Series 4 takes some getting used to. It’s not difficult to figure out the basics, but I’ve definitely had to go through a learning curve as a first-time Apple Watch user (GPS-only model).

Case in point:
I like displaying the weather complication that shows off the day’s predicted temperature range. But I’ve realized when you travel to another city… the watch’s complication doesn’t automatically update its location. Sure, you can easily select the new city to check out the weather, but my Apple Watch always defaults back to my ‘home city.’

I discovered this little frustration when I traveled to Orlando last week. I figured the fix had to be buried in the settings somewhere. It was… but not in the Apple Watch. It was in the Apple Watch app on my iPhone…

  • Scroll down and tap on ‘Weather’
  • Tap ‘Default City’
  • Choose your town!

Easy, right?
Well, it is…now.

Prepare for Impact
My biggest problem has centered around my fear of accidentally whacking my wrist against a wall’s edge or a door handle and scratching up my precious Apple Watch. I know the thing is supposed to be impervious to daily bumps and bruises, but I’ve read enough online commentary to know it will eventually show wear and tear just like any watch.

I’ve definitely banged up some of my other watches over the years. So, I know it’s just a matter of time for my Apple Watch.

Over these early weeks, I’ve found myself consciously leading with my body’s right half to protect my left wrist.

That’s kind of silly, right?

So, I made the decision to Frankenstein my Apple Watch and give it a little armor with ‘bumper’ protection. I know that kind of move totally destroys the beautiful design of the Apple Watch, but I figured any hideous add-ons could be discarded as training wheels down the road.

As I looked on Amazon to review my choices, I realized there weren’t many options available yet due to the slightly different sizing of the Apple Watch Series 4. All of the existing third-party Apple Watch cases and bumpers had to be redesigned and rushed into production.

I went with a “Shock Resistant Bumper Cover” From Alritz.
$9.90 on Amazon

It’s a plastic bumper that’s rigid in some parts and rubbery in others. It covers the watch’s sides and also sports a raised bezel, which for me is the key. I’m figuring the greatest dangers to my Apple Watch will come from side or edge impacts as opposed to a direct assault to the screen.
(That said, I know I can always add on a screen protector to further shield my Apple Watch from life’s dangers.)

And how would I rate my Alritz bumper…?
It’s absolutely fine…
(In Amazon speak, I’d give it 4 stars.)

I wouldn’t exactly call it a design triumph, although I do like its raised bezel. The bumper fits properly, and blends in with my Apple Watch’s form factor.

Most importantly, it’s given me a whole lot more peace of mind.
I’d say that’s worth ten bucks.

Down the line, I’m sure there will be other choices to considering buying.
For now, I’m happy.

Technology That’s Good for You
One other realization I quickly discovered is how many other people are wearing Apple Watches or other fitness trackers. It’s not at all something unusual anymore.

What makes it special is how you integrate it into your own life. And yes, I’m paying a little more attention now to my fitness and how many steps I’m taking every day. And yes, I’m pleased when I hit my ‘Move’ goal for the day.

So, I’m enjoying my Apple Watch, and it helps me to be healthier. I’d say that’s worth the price right there!

…Now, I’ve just got to figure out how to make Siri behave when I’m at work!

Ode to Apple Watch Series 4

Here I am sporting my first Apple Watch in the Stamford Apple Store. My Series 4 is still activating, but I couldn’t wait to snap the photo. So excited, it’s time to write another poem!

ODE TO APPLE WATCH SERIES 4

Friday night I entered the Store
The first day of the release
I don’t know what I was thinking
Just searching for inner peace?

Aluminum was fine for me
GPS and Wi-Fi too
Silver or space grey choice was tough
I felt like I had the flu

But the black sport band was so cool
It made the verdict easy
Though I wish there were more options
I was no longer queasy

I approached an Apple Genius
What could still be left in stock?
Then, he peered into his iPad
There it was! He did not mock.

Apple Watch Series 4 for me
I felt a chill of delight
Hardly an early adopter
I’m three years late, so not quite

Still, the thrill of four on day one
It is something hard to beat
I can barely contain myself
So, I will dance in the streets

But first there were some steps to take
To bring Apple Watch to life
iOS 12 for my iPhone
Then ran home to show the wife

Next, I’ve got more choices to make
So many watch bands around
The Apple models are costly
But third-party styles abound

Then, I worry about damage
If I whack my precious screen
AppleCare rejects all scratches
So, all I can do is scream!

A recourse is plastic armor
Don’t tell Apple of my aim
‘Cause it’s a Frankenstein approach
And I know that is it lame

A problem for another time
Today I am just smiling
Happy in my new Appleness
And apparently rhyming

But, I’m not suddenly on some
higher plain of existence
This need is marketing driven
Designed to break resistance

But then, what is true happiness?
If not a sense of wholeness
And if some tech helps you get there
Then, I say it’s a bonus

You can call this phenom the Force
Or whatever makes you free
I am one with my Apple Watch
And it is now one with me

If for some unknown reason you’ve enjoyed my particular style of ‘poetry,’
please feel free to check out my other tech-inspired odes:

Ode to Tech Geeks on Father’s Day
Ode to iPhone 7
Ode to iPhone 6 Plus
Ode to iPhone 5

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