The Pebble

I have had my Pebble for a couple of months now. And so far I am loving it.  A (very) quick review of it:

The Design:
At first, when you take it out of the box, it does look a trifle big. However, once you strap on your Pebble, that feeling goes away quickly. Somehow it feels just right. Do note that if you wear business shirts it will be hard to hide the Pebble under your sleeve (though I see no reason for doing that). The buttons are big and easy to press but sometimes the top right button seems to offer excessive resistance (as if the button is stuck in its plastic groove). The bezel surrounding the screen is also quite large. I presume if there is going to be a Pebble 2, this would be reduced. The strap is plain and ordinary, but easily replaceable. I love the fact that the Pebble is water proof up to 5 ATM; hopping into the pool is no issue.

The Charger:
It’s awesome that the Pebble team decided to use a magnetically attaching charger, but it still irks me that I need to have a separate cable for this. Also while charging it’s hard to keep the cable attached while pressing any buttons as there is no groove for the charger to slot it. Charging is fairly quick.

The Software:
I can say there is a lot of space for improvement. A lot of things are being reported but what really annoys me is the battery level indicator. The way it is currently supported, leaves me occasionally dry as I am not aware that I am low on juice.  The watch faces currently are limited as the full SDK has not been released yet, but I am pleased to see the various options available so far – my favourite being the text clock. One of the most useful features of the Pebble is to receive phone notifications on it. This is great for office as you don’t have to glance at your phone as it buzzes in your pocket. However, one big limitation is that it shows you only the latest notification – if you receive multiple SMSs , you will see only the latest. The most useful application that I find for the notifications, when I receive bank OTP SMSs. No more unlocking the phone to read the PIN; now you can get your OTP without taking off your hands of the keyboard.

So there you have it: The Pebble is money well spent. The only downside is that it will be very hard for me to switch to back to regular watches.


Town to Town

Before this trip I thought of Morocco having an arid dusty orange-brown feel to its land.  But as I was on the way from Fes to Meknes, I was pleasantly  surprised by the various tones of yellows, greens, browns and greys. Hills, mountains, lakes, clustered towns and shallow valleys all make this landscape come alive. Through it all a single tar road leads into the distance.

It’s times like this that I wish I could write better, because pictures don’t do this scenary justice.

Travel Log: Casablanca ( First impression )

While waiting for Joey here are a few updates:
– Immigration has a very long and complex queue
– Weather is just great so far. Sunny and cool.
– Don’t let anybody push your trolley.  They will ask for chips (read tips).
– Only major currencies are accepted for exchange at the airport. Punnens desperate pleas for Australian Dollars had them shrugging their shoulders.
– I should have paid more attention to my french classes.

Mass Effect 2

** Warning mild spoilers ahead**

I have finished playing Mass Effect 2 and I am impressed. Sure, it doesn’t have the immersive environment that Bioshock had. Also,  it doesn’t feel like playing a Hollywood blockbuster ala Uncharted 2 (that game was a lot of fun).  I love the characters, complex story, moral choices, and how they all gel together.  30 hours of solid gameplay.

I did mostly play as a good fella with a  female Shepard. By the time I launched for the suicide mission, I had all team members loyal to me. Even though I didn’t know it back then, this enabled me to save the entire crew and team.

To achieve the same, you should play all loyalty missions before you acquire the Reaper IFF. This ensures that you can quickly launch your team for the suicide mission,  thus ensuring the survival of your crew.

As for the suicide mission, this is the combo of teams I chose:

First specialist(Valves) : Legion
First Fire team lead: Garrus
First playable team: Grunt, Kasumi

Second specialist (Barrier): Samara
Second Fire team lead: Miranda
Second playable team: Garrus, Jacob

Third specialist (escape): Jack
Third playable team: Zaeed, Jacob.

Just before the suicide mission I was pacing about the room, cussing and excited at the same time. The pace of the suicide mission also helped to keep the whole atmosphere.

Btw, after the whole thing I get Kelly – and boy does she have dance moves🙂

All in all – I am glad that this game made it to the PS3.

Travel Log: Brussels

1. Brussels looks like a ultra modern city when you step out of the main exit from the Gare du Nord. You can see  wide roads and  spacious WTC buildings.

2. If you move toward the other exit of the same station you will see the walls sign of decay. And just as you exit you will be in the red light district. Very similar in concept to the one in Amsterdam, but a lot more shady.

3. They seem to be trying to create the perfect multicultural society out there, with this being the capital  of the EU. This is very evident inside the Atomium, which btw, is an awesome looking construction.

4. Let’s not forget the beers – too many varieties to count, the waffles – sinfully delicious, chocolatiers – who you find all over the place and the french fries. I simple love the french fries which you can dip in yummy mayonnaise or curry ketchup.

Travel Log: Amsterdam

1. Amsterdam is a pretty place with lots of canals, rows of not to tall houses, notorious cyclists and hardly any cars.

1. The red light district is not a shady area as one would imagine it to be. It is packed with tourists milling about and is very close to the Central railway station & Dam square

2. The same applies to the Coffee shops. They are found everywhere and are far from shady. And you can get the distinct smell of the stuff as you walk about at various locations.

3. The food wasn’t too impressive. I mostly saw Argentinian steak houses and the only thing I got to taste that was dutch were the croquettes. Nice, but I don’t consider them a complete meal.

4. For some reason over there, they seem to be obsessed with the penis. You can spot it everywhere and souvenir shops sell mugs with penis shaped handles.

5. Apparently Heinneken is dutch. I didn’t know that.

The goodness that is Frozen Yoghurt.

The Froyo (Android 2.2) release on Nexus One brings a lot of joy. The much-needed speed improvement does wonders to the overall experience using the N1/Android.

Instead of going over the new major features of Froyo, I will go through the little things.

Over the past 4 months or so of extensive N1 usage, I kept track of a few annoyances. Some of them were mentioned here.

  1. Silent mode on home screen does not enable vibrate [Fixed – now when you swipe left the phone goes on silent with vibrate on. ]
  2. Vibrate on message receipt during a call [Not fixed. Still very annoying. ]
  3. Screen doesn’t go to sleep on dismissing an Alarm [Fixed. ]
  4. Call screen freeze – The call screen becomes slow with the swipe motion moving clunky and there is time delay between vibrate and ringtone. [Fixed. I guess because of the overall speed improvement this is not an issue anymore]
  5. Contact list scroll – The contact list on scrolling would not refresh the images of contacts [Fixed. ]
  6. Gmail  address entry – The font as ridiculously huge, thus  not allowing me to see the email id, only the name [Fixed. The font size has been reduced]
  7. Gmail labels – I was missing the colours [Fixed.]
  8. Power Control widget overrides auto adjust background lighting. [Fixed. The power control widget has an “Automatic” setting along with the 3 other brightness levels]
  9. Browser close button/option – I would really like one. [Not necessary anymore. Earlier with the phone slowing down I would have wanted to close the browser. Now the phone’s response is snappy so I really don’t need the button anymore.]
  10. Gallery doesn’t refresh automatically – would like a manual refresh button for it. [Not fixed.  I haven’t come across any refresh issue yet after the upgrade, but I would like the option nonetheless]
  11. Clear SMS messages by age – Apart from just being able to choose a message count limit thread, it would be nice if old message by a configurable limit would get cleared [Not fixed.]
  12. Calendar month view – The thick green bar didn’t really give a visual indication of the occupied time slot in the month view. This should ideally be colour coded according to the calendars [Partial fix. The calendar month view has been cleaned up with a narrow blue bar indicating the time slot. However there is still no colour coding as per calendar]
  13. Maps – custom labels for starred items. [Not fixed. The good news is that this doesn’t require an Android update. A future map update would suffice]

I am one happy N1/Android user.