Tag Archives: Apple_Watch

No One Needs an Apple Watch


I saw the article “A year after its launch, it’s now clear that pretty much no one needs an Apple Watch” today, and I agree no one needs an Apple Watch – at least not yet. I’ve had an Apple Watch now for almost a year. I had stopped wearing a watch, relying on my iPhone, but since getting the Apple Watch I am back to wearing a watch every day!

I have been asked by others if they should buy an Apple Watch. That is a hard thing to answer. It really depends on what they want to use it for. I do not feel there are compelling Apps right now. I do find it useful – glancing at the latest Slack and Messages updates, seeing how I am progressing in daily exercise, occasionally using Just Press Record to note something down for later reference and YES simply checking what time it is.

I don’t need my Apple Watch, but I certainly like it!

Product Review – GearTies


I learned about these useful accessories from my wife. She had ordered some through her place of work and had found them to be very useful binding up the various cables she carries in her computer bag.

I went to Amazon and found both 4 x  3″ (multi-colored as pictured above) and 2 x 6″ (black) packages available for $2.98 each. I ordered several packages of each and have found them to be very effective in managing charging cables, headsets . . . anything with wires.

Using one of these I can carry around my iPhone earbuds now in my pocket without them getting all tangled up. I have also used these to bind up the power cables I need when traveling (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch,) to keep them from tangling as well.


  • Inexpensive
  • Reusable



  • No mixed length packages that I could find
  • No choice of colors


These have become an essential part of packing for any trip and for simply keeping my day-to-day cables manageable. Anyone with electronics should get a few packages of both sizes.

See my other iOS and OS X articles



USA, Texas, Round Rock – Lamppost Coffee


Lamppost Coffee is a local, neighborhood coffee shop. Located a 1205 Round Rock Ave Ste 129 (Lake Creek Dr), Round Rock, TX  across the street from Round Rock High School, Lamppost Coffee has been open since December of 2014. I had been in a few months ago to
pick up a to-go cup of coffee. This morning, since I was out of my supply of coffee beans to grind, I decided to give Lamppost a try.

In addition to coffee drinks, they serve breakfast items which was perfect for my 0700 visit. Conveniently it opens at 6AM weekdays and 7AM weekends. It stays open till 9PM except for Friday and Saturday when it is open until 10PM.

This morning I tried one of their bacon, cheese and onion omelettes and while it was simple, it was good. So was their untained (i.e. black) medium roast coffee. The atmosphere was casual with several tables for dining and sofas for more relaxed chatting with friends. The price was reasonable at about $14 including breakfast, coffee and tip. An added benefit was the ability to use Apple Pay through my Apple Watch.

I am glad that I stopped in and plan to go back occasionally. I would recommend it for coffee or a quick, simple breakfast if you are on the west side of Round Rock.

See my other Food and Locations articles

iOS Tip – Save a Little iPhone Battery Power


We live and die today with the strength of our iPhone batteries. One of the features added in iOS 9 helps save your battery, at least a little. That feature is called “Facedown detection” and what it does is to disable the display of notifications when your iPhone is face down on a table. This, in turn, saves a little power from being drained from your battery for each notification.

The built in proximity and ambient light sensors detect when the iPhone is facing down and deactivate the display. Note that this feature only works with the iPhone 5s and later models. While the earlier iPhone models have the right sensors, only the iPhone 5s and
later models have the needed motion co-processor. The “Facedown detection” works if you set your iPhone facing down on any surface including a glass table top.

iOS Facedown Detection

You do have to have Fitness Tracking enabled on your iPhone for this to work. Go to Settings >> Privacy >> Motion & Fitness and make sure “Fitness Tracking” is on.

This isn’t going to make a huge difference to the life of your battery charge, but then sometimes every little bit helps. So the next time you are in one of those all day meetings, lay your iPhone face down in front of you. That may just keep it operating all day! If must see every one of those notifications, then an Apple Watch is a good investment.

See my other iOS articles

Review of Slack

Updated 3/11/16


What is Slack? Slack is a collaboration tool for groups that was developed under the leadership of Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield. It allows for synchronous communications from a variety of devices. Messages can be sent to groups or individuals
on a Slack Team. The groups are collected in ‘Channels’ and any message posted to the Channel is readable by any member of the Channel. The Channel members can also scroll back to see what messages have been exchanged in the past.

Channels are organized into both public and private categories, with the private Channels restricting members to be added by invitation only. One-on-one communications between individual Slack Team members are private. The tool allows messages, files,
images, links . . . a variety of information to be shared. Messages are searchable so past posts can easily be found.

Every Slack Team has a ‘general’ channel which all Team members are automatically a member of. Additional channels can be created as needed by the Team. The @ character can be used when writing a message to alert an individual, or all of the members of a given channel of the new message.

Multi Device Group

Slack is a cross platform solution:

  • Web interface from any browser
  • Apps for mobile devices running iOS, Android and Windows Phone
  • Apps for OS X (10.9+), Windows (7+) and Linux

Pricing of the service is available at three levels:

  • Free
  • Standard $8/mo. – unlimited integrations, unlimited searches
  • Plus $12/mo.  – more features above Standard

I have been using the Free account for a few months now and find it to be extremely useful. The Free account is limited to browsing and searching only the last 10,000 most recent messages, but that is more than enough for my use cases. I particularly like that I receive notifications on my Apple Watch when a new post has been made. It is much quicker and easier to glance at my watch instead of getting my iPhone out.

Several of us within the IEEE Central Texas Section have been using the tool and it has been very helpful in planning events. The Capital Macintosh User Group (CapMac) has recently begun using it as well. Even though I was out of town last weekend, Slack let me interact with other on the CapMac board to plan our last meeting. Once you begin to use Slack you may want to reach out to other established, public Teams. You can visit Slofile and there search their database of public Slack communities.

Slack has good information for new users on how they can get started including a brief video tour. Slack can be set up to allow any to join, allow any from a give set of email URLs to join, or join by invitation only.


  • Has a Free level of service
  • Supports multiple Slack Teams
  • Cross platform
  • Use of ‘channels’ to voluntarily collect similar posts
  • Good ‘Getting Started’ resources
  • Flexibility in controlling participation
  • Large and growing list of public Slack Teams
  • Works with Apple Watch


  • Wish more integrations were available for the Free level
  • no conversation ‘threads’

I highly recommend this App and service. Whether you choose to use it for your business, club or just your extended family, it is a great and easy way to communicate.


  1. What Slack is doing to our offices—and our minds – added 3/11/16

See my other iOS, OS X and Web Tools articles

Do you Need an Apple Watch?

 Do you need to rush out and buy an Apple Watch? Well, I would say there is no compelling reason . . . at the moment. Having said that, I have an Apple Watch and have worn it every day for a few months now and I love it.

Why do I like my Apple Watch?

  • I like to use it for monitoring activity – I used to have a Nike Fuelband to count steps and measure calories burned, but it died. Using the Apple Watch fills that gap now. I like that the Watch has the ability to specify using an elliptical.
  • I use it to pay using Apple Pay
  • I use my Watch occasionally to set timers using Siri – timing exercise on the elliptical, or how long burgers are on the grill
  • I occasionally will answer my phone using my Watch and talk “Dick Tracy Style” when I am not near my iPhone when it rings
  • I check my calendar for appointments
  • I have a ‘complication’ showing the current temperature

These are not exactly critical, compelling applications, but I like my Apple Watch. I’m glad I bought it and will continue to wear it every day. I had given up wearing a watch some years ago, relying on my cell phone for that function. Now with my Apple Watch it seems natural to glance at my wrist again.

The Apple Watch is not for everyone, but I am glad I have mine!