Change of watch face

Posted on 2015-10-07 14:57 +0100 in Tech • Tagged with Android Wear, Moto360 • 2 min read

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a creature of habit. Once I get used to something I find it hard to change. In many areas of my life there has to be really compelling reasons to change something. I've found that this is the case with my Android Wear watch.

When I first got it it took me a couple or so days to find a face that I was happy with and, in the end, I went with Pujie Black, along with a colour scheme I set up myself (called RGB, for obvious reasons).

Pujie Black with RGB face

Today though I stumbled on Krona Sunlight. This face really got my interest. Part of the reason is that, while what I'm wearing is normally called a "watch", I don't see it as a watch (just like my phone isn't really a phone). It's a wearable Android device that gives me handy info at a glance and lets me set reminders and things without even having to reach for my phone, tablet, Chromebook or desktop machine.

This face fits perfectly into that.

Krona Sunlight face

While it lacks the battery information (edit to add: it doesn't lack battery information, it's just an option that is off by default), and second time display, that Pujie Black has, it more than makes up for it with the rather fantastic display of weather and sunrise/set information -- especially how it displays temperature.

This was enough to not only have me buy a copy, but also to switch to it. I'm going to be sticking with it for the next couple of days to see how I feel about it and see if I miss any of the other information.

This might be a little bit of change I can cope with.

Wear timer issue fixed, sort of

Posted on 2015-06-26 12:02 +0100 in Tech • Tagged with Google, Android, Wear, Android Wear, Watch, Moto360 • 2 min read

Following on from yesterday's problem with the Android Wear timer I think I now have a solution. It came up while chatting with Mike McLoughlin about the issue.

I got to thinking that this problem felt like one that I've seen a number of times before with Google stuff. One thing that's rather common (in many cases for very obvious reasons -- you can't cover the whole world in one go) with Google is how they struggle to get languages and localisation right. This felt like it was a similar issue. Mike had reported that his watch appeared to be unaffected by the issue (I'm guessing he's on the latest version of Wear -- the conversation headed off in a different direction before that became necessary) so I checked what his language was on his phone. Turns out he was the same as me: British English.

So much for that idea.

But then he suggested switching to US English and back again.

Happy enough to apply a very Microsoft "turn it off and on again" approach to a Google device (really, all big tech companies really are the same and really do suffer the same issues) I switched to en-US on the phone and tried setting a timer in voice on the watch.

It worked!

So then I switched back to en-GB on the phone and...

I appear to have timers working again still worked!

I've tried setting timers in voice on the watch a few times since and it's yet to fail.

It would appear, as odd as it is, that this is the fix. Well, a fix.

Did Google just break Wear timers?

Posted on 2015-06-25 22:27 +0100 in Tech • Tagged with Google, Android, Wear, Android Wear, Watch, Moto360 • 2 min read

I didn't pay too much attention to it when it happened but it looks like Android Wear, on the phone side, got an update in the last 24 hours. Only this evening did I notice that this seems to have broken something I heavily use on my watch: timers.

I find the timer facility on Wear especially useful when I'm cooking, either to ensure that different parts of the cooking process come together at a sensible time, or when I put something on and need to go off and do something else (perhaps come back to the office while and get on with some work as something bakes, etc).

To be clear, the timer app is still there and, if I select to start a timer "by hand" on the watch, it works as it always has done. Also, if I say "OK Google, set a timer for five minutes" it still does the voice recognition thing:

Google still understands the request

It's what happens next that's the problem. Before it would have started a countdown timer. As well as vibrating the watch when the timer runs down the timer app also has the very useful feature of showing the countdown on the watch face. This means you can glance every so often and see how long is left to go.

Instead, as of today (well, this evening when I made dinner was when I first noticed it), it starts an on-watch alarm app instead! This is utterly useless. Sure, it does still vibrate the watch when the alarm time arrives, and the alarm time is the right offset from when the timer was requested, but it lacks the on-face countdown.

It's an alarm.

It's not a timer!

Looking in the Wear app it would appear that the correct application is assigned to the correct action:

Google still understands the request

As such, I'm at a loss on how to fix this. I can't find anything on the watch itself that could be done to change this, and I've tried restarting the watch on the off chance that something went a bit odd.

It turns out too that I'm not alone. I found a thread on reddit where others have the same problem.

What really bugs me about this is that this is very Google. I've run into this sort of thing so many times before, be it on Android, ChromeOS or in their apps in general. They'll change (or screw up) something that's very simple and straightforward and in common use, something that should show up in testing pretty easily. Surely there has to be some way of pushing out an update without screwing up the apps that are assigned to actions?

As much as I really like what Google offer, as much as I value their services and global platform over the other choices, this sort of thing frustrates the hell out of me.

Moto360 updated

Posted on 2015-06-20 14:14 +0100 in Tech • Tagged with Android Wear, Moto360, Android • 2 min read

Yesterday evening I finally got the following notification on my Moto360:

Moto360 Update Notification

Given the charge was quite a way below that I took the watch off and put it on charge and then did the update later.

From what I could tell it all went pretty smooth. After updating it even offered me a little tutorial on some of the new things it's added. So far I've used (or set up) the following:

  • The much better "launcher" Finding and running apps on the watch was always a bit of a pain, so much so that others had even written special launchers for Android Wear. This seems to be pretty much solved now. Pressing and holding the watch's side button will pop up application list, from here you can swipe right to your contacts (them letting you send messages, start calls, etc) and right again for the usual list of actions that you used to go straight into.

The way it's done now makes a lot more sense and seems far cleaner.

  • WiFi I've yet to notice the benefit of this, but I've not paid too much attention yet either. The watch now does WiFi. This is supposed to mean that it can still work with my phone when it's out of Bluetooth range. I say I don't know if it's working yet because I use an app to tell me if my phone is out of range and it still keeps tripping as normal -- but I'm unsure if that means it's simply telling me it's out of BT range but really the watch is now doing its thing over WiFi, or perhaps the phone connection really has been lost despite me having set up the WiFi connection. More testing needs to happen here.

Setting this up was curious: I had to turn it on on the watch and then select the access points I wanted to work with, again on the watch. But to actually connect I had to switch back to my phone to enter the AP passwords (which makes perfect sense of course, nobody wants to type passwords into a watch face).

  • Gestures These needed to be turned on in settings. I've being using them this morning to navigate cards on the watch and it's really well done and really natural. Simply put, you flick your wrist up, or down, to "flick" from one card to another. All it seems to be missing is some method of gesturing that I want to swipe a card out of the way.

Other than the above it's pretty much business as usual. Hopefully there's been some work to improve battery life and all that sort of stuff, and only time will tell if a difference has been made there.