Wednesday May 15th, 2013
Back in April 18th 2012, I had backed a project on Kickstarter that took the tech industry by storm. It was the Pebble watch. Wind on a year and a month later, the watch finally arrived via Singapore. Now I won’t write an article like Robert Scoble’s craziness of using Google Glass in the shower and spewing everything what is great about it. A lot of people rated the Pebble highly in their reviews which looks like a one day review and never go beyond.
Let me tell you what went on from the average joe’s point of view.
After parting with £25 to the post office which smarts me to this very day, the box was sparse and packed away inside nicely was the Pebble watch and the USB charger. Word to the wise, do not lose this cable otherwise you will be for a fair bit of a wait for your replacement.
Let’s see how this little game changer works. Upon turning it on with the mushy buttons, it asked to sync with the iPhone to get Pebble’s software up to date. After failing for the first time, a quick factory reset and sync again with the Bluetooth connection and we are sorted.
Ping! Messages coming through nicely. Ping! Emails coming in… Eh, no… That’s another message. I’m confused what is coming in. There is a lack of explanation of what is what. Scrolling up and down seems a nuisance due to the mushy buttons. I have to press the bloody thing hard to get an reaction from the small screen even in the music app. Speaking about that app, it’s limited.
From the look of jet black colour and the snugly wrist strap, it does look good if not bulky. Shaking the wrist or tapping (hard!) causes the screen to wake up and fade. These features can be modified in the settings. I am not sure if this is a great party piece!
From the choices of default watch faces, I would have to say the Big Text is my favourite and if the defaults is not your cup of tea, you can head over to My Pebble Faces to download your favourite. You have been warned though because they are untested and can cause the battery to run down or any little issues.
I have recently took up running and love using RunKeeper to track my activities. This is where Pebble steps in to show the statistics of your journey. However, that is all there is. You cannot pause or stop the activities on the watch at all and syncing from the app to connect to the watch is an absolute ball ache because of the recent version of RunKeeper no longer can tell Pebble to display the app. A few reboots on the watch and nothing was happening.
There are some bizarre issues with the watch.
Charger is flimsy to connect and it isn’t fashionable. I am having a hard time looking at this design.
Battery life? I have no idea the watch will alert me that it is going to be out of power.
Watch faces lose the fonts after nearly three days of uptime. A reboot fixed the issues or for the extreme, restore to factory settings.
- SDK is in very early stages with the announcement of two ways communication coming soon. Right now, all the watch faces “apps” on My Pebble Faces are treated at your own risk. It seems a long way off until the app market appears?
Is it worth buying one today? Do you want to have tomorrow tech on your wrist? Like Stephen Hackett said that it feels like Model A. I see this like the first iPod that Apple brought out, although they made it completely polished and ready to go.
I feel that Pebble is in a very early stage that should have everything ready properly at launch. Apps are the key for functionality for people to use. It’s barely there and they are still shipping them in batches.
I wish I could say you should buy this today. For now, I would wait and think carefully if the watch can make inroads with your lifestyle.
Thursday April 25th, 2013
Welcome to the second part of the series of yours truly spilling the beans (oh get you!) on depression. Right now, my mind is battling on the following:
“Do you really need to publish this bullshit?”
“PUBLISH! PUBLISH! PUBLISH!”
There is no doubt that the left and right hemisphere of the brain/mind/outer limits are battling this out. Ladies and gentlemen, get your popcorn ready. It’s a roll up of a matinée!
Three weeks has passed by and I am safe to say that things are slowly improving. It is stated that the first two weeks will be experiencing the worst of the anti-depressant drug before things gets better.
There are no shortcuts here.
You can’t cheat yourself out of this one Mr. B.
As soon the first tablet was taken, my sleep pattern took a beating along with my 7 1/2 months old son suffering from teething. “Hey” I thought “this is probably a one off”.
Are you kidding?
I was placed into the central command inside of my head strapped in the chair with eyes wide open with memory zombies coming in thick and fast as I sleep. Some of it was from when I was five, eight or ten. Why? What’s buried in the storage tank? The final dream I had was a TV set almost tuned in connected to the Spectrum ZX loading something. A hint of the mind rebooting with a slow load?
I never felt so uncomfortable when I woke up that morning. My body didn’t want to function to get out of the bed. The mind burning out its circuit which was repairable only by a kiss from Hannah, a cup of tea and a joyful bounce by Ollie. Suddenly, I wept and I was beating myself up for that. Why was I crying? Was it an attempt to win emotional man of the year? It is part of the rebuild process and I have to allow myself to feel, reconnect and understand how everything works again. A small fire was set and it is down to me to keep that going into a steady flame.
Here’s a useful tip. When you wake up, it is nice to roll around in bed or the occasional morning of making hay (how can you put this right?), however with depression, it is the opposite. You are nearly glued to the mattress and it feel like a mud bath to pull yourself from.
Just sit upright, do it. No question about it. Sit upright, lift that head of yours no matter what is on your mind and start giving yourself a small pep talk.
Of course, none of this sounds easy. I know it and it is hard work. It’s a bastard and you have to defeat it day by day. You have to allow to give yourself the right to be happy. Whatever you have dealt in the past has no place today. It is the most simple fact and you are the only person to allow yourself to be happy.
I tell myself this.
It is better to do.
Everything that I do are routine. Get up, shower, have breakfast, play with Ollie, drink tea and look for jobs. I end up distracting myself on social media like twitter and Instagram. Was that a good call? Not really. It is all too easy to be in this vulnerable stage and look at everybody’s lives. The dreaded feeling creeps in too quickly.
“Everyone is having a better time”
“They are all doing what they want to do”
The list becomes a tumbling spiral of utter made up crap. The mind is all too easily focused on the negatives.
Enough! Stop wasting energy on this tirade of crap. The problem with social media is that it is a huge unwanted amplifier. We need to learn to nurture and control the way we do things (within good boundaries). Everybody is getting on with their lives and why should I stop?
It’s perfectly okay to take a back burner to recover. You can get back into the swings of things from a renewed angle.
The first two weeks was out of my control. I couldn’t deal with the flashbacks, my personal hell, the lack of sleep, the embarrassment from leaving my new job, my weird horny middle of the night stiffies (Don’t laugh, try and deal with it standing up for a while. Hannah finds it funny…) and constant worrying about living. All because I got this unwanted dark shadow.
I broke my own set of rules. I have to tell people what’s going on with me, I need support, I need familiarities, I am so determined to get myself out of this situation even it means changing everything that I do.
And that is what I did.
Thursday April 25th, 2013
On the home screen:
- Newsstand (subscribed to The Magazine)
- iA Writer
- Day One
- BBC iPlayer
- Google Maps
- Game Center
- Random casual games that comes and goes.
As much I like to shove everything on the phone. I don’t want to spend time looking at it. Boredom is a great thing to dream up new ideas, stories, write, snap etc because being minimal helps you to focus.
Thursday April 18th, 2013
This is a small part of myself declaring having depression and it’s about time to expose this to the online world. What I am going to write is personal and a mixture of fiction/non-fiction. Rest assured, I try not to go off the rails (Lordy… Did that happen already?)
Discovering that I have depression is like finding the lost holy grail, you know you are aware of it but where to put the dull thing? On top of the mantel piece? Next to the book case? Or is it going to be shoved in the back of the drawer and forget it.
No. It has to be drawn out to be displayed like a trophy cabinet perhaps hidden off the main section for people to discover. It’s there. Right in front of me, in a gloop of black sticky tar. It sticks and the only way to deal with it is to tackle it head on.
I was prescribed citalopram, the de-facto common drug, of 10mg. A tiny dosage that will bring unpredictable side effects. Word to the wise, don’t read the instructions for the drug. The mind boggled at the fascination of it all. My wife, Hannah, who is a staff nurse recognised the drug and is prepared to deal whatever come her way. May it be myself having to dress down to my boxer shorts screaming “THIS IS MY NUTS!” to weepy Craig of “OH GOD, I CAN’T MAKE A SIMPLE CUP OF TEA”. Stephen Fry, eat your heart out.
Please be aware dear readers, Hannah will not take on the full brunt of this madness as I have a counsellor booked whom I will offload in a neutral battlefields with prongs. Zombies will be wandering around this walking into them. I see them as memories that can be perished for good. Having a wife who loves me unconditionally is something I cannot explain and I’m protecting her from my madness. Nobody should deal with this alone.
Depression and anxiety are two different peas in a pod. Both can affect each other, bounce off each other, love each other and hate each other. It’s a relationship that they crave to feed off among the emotions and mentality state.
Stay tuned for part two where I encountered the first couple of weeks that turned my life upside down…
Thursday April 4th, 2013
Staring at the flashing cursor on the iPad and taking stock what has happened in the past few months of this year. It was a pressing time and contains a lot of small emotional time bombs ready to go off. “When? When? When?” danced around my mind.
I want to talk about a taboo subject that we are still shedding lights from.
Depression and anxiety.
Why, oh, why do we turn a blind eye to these subjects? Why nobody can speak up and say “I need help”.
It takes three words for someone to say it.
It takes someone to look, step up and talk to them. You would be amazed how much it would take to get someone to talk to you within ease. In the world we are in today, we are sufferers and sometimes silent sufferers. The typical British stiffer upper lips kicks in and we don’t ever speak up.
It is utter crap that people nowadays on the streets doesn’t think twice about everyone else because of this “me me me” culture spawned by the media and it is a shit stirrer. Look at magazines of airbrushed models of both sexes, how is that going to clamour the mind of teenagers wanting to look like them? Never mind that, what about TV like EastEnders, Hollyoaks, The Only Way Is Up Your Arse (sorry fakers, you are all so mindlessly dull on the screen, is that a tumbleweed in your mind?) and many wasted talent shows that does not inspire a nation.
What brought up this subject?
1) I used to suffer from anxiety. My method for coping with this was helped by a wee tiny low dosage and give up control by saying Yes to things. Believe me, that journey was from the simple, the crazy and the downright bizarre. Maybe I will write my…err… ‘findings’ purely for research.
2) Recently, depression got the better of me and I’m dealing with it remarkably well. That’s a positive approach and rightly so. My wife and my beautiful son Ollie are the two main cores to my life where I am still functioning for them. My friends and family are rallying behind me. It is good to have that support.
The only thing is that I have to deal with this myself and the only way out is to go through the tunnel. The tablets are not the end and be all, it is about my life, my family, friends, working life and the determination to be better, mentally stronger, confidence gaining. It is a spring cleaning of my mind, body and soul. Putting everything back in the right place, developing a thicker skin and ignoring the naysayers out there.
If anyone you know are going through depression/anxiety or exhibiting signs of it without themselves realising it, please talk to them. There is nothing wrong with this act and your kindness will shine through because you are helping them.
For more chock-a-block of information, check out Time To Change .