My Week Without a Smartwatch…

qualcomm toq activity tracker update smartwatchI’ve been super critical of the smartwatch. I make no effort to hide the fact that I hope people will move directly to heads up displays soon. I think they’re an evolutionary midpoint, a convenient way to continue the conversation on wearable computing started by Bluetooth headsets. Having worn watches like the Toq, Martian, and Pebble for a couple months now though, my opinion on smartwatches has changed a bit, and lately I’ve been more positive on the experience.

During my recent trip to Vancouver, I opted for a Windows Phone instead of an Android. It provided me a better camera and the ability to store maps for offline use, handy as data was something of a premium on my pre-pay SIM. Unfortunately this meant no smartwatch support. I was surprised by how much I missed wearing one… Continue reading “My Week Without a Smartwatch…”

For the Traveling Geek trying to pack light… ish…

On our recent vacation to Vancouver, I wanted to pack as minimally as possible. I have a rep in my family for packing an obscene gadget backpack, and using very little of the gear I bring. I wanted to see how minimally I could pack and still participate digitally.

Goodbye backpack.

WP_20140413_20_42_05_ProMy first task was whittling down the bag I travel with. Instead of my normal Canon backpack, or one of my Booq pro bags, I opted for a small travel camera sling. I love all the pockets and dividers you get with a camera bag, even though I wasn’t packing my DSLR.

The nice thing about a sling, it keeps everything cinched down pretty tight, while allowing me to have the use of both of my arms. I’ve started using them over my old messenger bags when I’m on the go.

Only ONE phone?!?!?

WP_20140413_20_45_04_ProEven near home I tend to have two phones on me at any given time, so leaving the country with only one phone already had me feeling a little vulnerable. I opted for the Nokia Lumia Icon for a couple reasons. Even though it’s a Verizon phone, it’s completely unlocked. It also allowed me to leave my point and shoot camera at home, as the only compromise I’d have to make is not having a zoom lens.

After landing I grabbed a Virgin Mobile SIM card with a meager amount of data, but I pretty much relied on WiFi during my visit. Using a Nokia worked well for travel as I was able to download maps directly to my phone and use them offline with HERE Maps to get around town.

Only my Google+ usage suffered because stupid Google still won’t let us Windows Phone users upload pics and videos or use Hangouts. Pretty much every other social network was included in my touristy food pic uploads, even VK. No Google+, but I could upload to VK. How messed up is that… Continue reading “For the Traveling Geek trying to pack light… ish…”

Field Trip Day coming to Pasadena, California September 15

field trip day flagField Trip is an app which helps users discover fun and interesting things to see in their general vicinity. Chock full of trivia and restaurant reviews, it can be a pretty handy guide aiding, you in your local adventures.

Field Trip Day is coming to Pasadena on September 15th! What is Field Trip Day you might ask? It’s a day where people get together and use Field Trip. Together. Here’s how the Field Trip folks explain it:

Field Trip Day is an afternoon of local discovery, challenges, one-day-only opportunities, and hidden surprises. Armed with the Field Trip app and your wits, an afternoon’s adventure will reveal Pasadena’s secrets – from rocket launches to peanut butter soda, from the man who broke baseball’s color barrier to the man who revolutionized chewing gum, from auditioning for the role of Stanley in “Streetcar Named Desire” to learning the truth about a religious cult… explore Pasadena like never before.

The event is free to participate, but space is limited, so head over to the Field Tripper site to sign up! Who knows… I might even go…

The State of Commercial Air Travel: Paying extra to not be hassled.

airline travel technology seatbelt light somegadgetguyI’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. I wont be surprising anyone with this editorial. We’re all aware. The current state of commercial air travel for the most part is pretty miserable. The last several trips I’ve taken, I’ve been struck by how bad the experience has become. It’s been difficult. There are certain institutions we look to, things we expect will remain in operation forever, yet they’ve been degrading so rapidly I don’t know how they’ll be around by the time I have grand kids (movie theaters are another such institution, but I digress).

The most recent flight I took was a comedy of errors, and the saddest aspect of the story happens to be that everything went completely according to plan. The flight went exactly right.

See, I’m still at that age where, though I’m traveling more, I still have to be somewhat frugal about how my trips are planned. I rarely get to splurge on nicer accommodations, and I’m young enough still that I don’t quite see the cost benefit. Most of the time though, it really will come down between flying “poor” or not going at all. That’s not really a choice if you know what I mean.

The frustration of doing this often comes down to the fact that I don’t see much benefit to paying more, but spend less and you’re punished. Let me rephrase: You don’t get better service for spending more, you just get hassled less. Continue reading “The State of Commercial Air Travel: Paying extra to not be hassled.”