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Pebble App Update: Reliable but delayed notifications

pebble113updatePebble app for iOS received an update yesterday which now allows support for third-party app notifications on your Pebble smartwatch. Pebble smartwatch also received a simultaneous update to support new notification features introduced on the iOS app.

What changed?

An additional functionality to support notifications from other 3rd party apps including Facebook, Twitter, Fantastical, Whatsapp, etc. was added. A simple feature that all Pebble iOS users were eagerly waiting for since the release of iOS7 is finally live.

How can I get it?

After updating Pebble iOS app, app requests users to update watch firmware to v1.13 which supports this new notifications functionality on Pebble watch. Pebble watch can be purchased for $150 at retailers like Best Buy and also online at www.getpebble.com

Conclusion

Pebble announced something which was already available for other smart watches (e.g. Metawatch) since the release of iOS 7. Pebble development is too slow and the company doesn’t seem to care about it. I bought Pebble right after I upgraded to iOS7 last month. SInce then, there were multiple times that I thought of switching to Metawatch or even Galaxy Gear (for Galaxy Gear I also considered switching back to my Galaxy S4) just because these delays in app development. Nevertheless, I still find Pebble better in terms of battery and it’s simplicity than other watches and prefer iPhone over S4 and Note 3.

After updating to firmware v1.13 I am getting reliable connection to phone for my notifications except that, now all these notifications are delayed for about 5-6 seconds. Probably I am now used to instant notifications directly from iOS notification center. Still I’m glad that fingerdance has come to an end for all iOS Pebblers.

Pebble Smart Watch: Information on your wrist

Pebble is an accessory to your smart phone. Think of it like a ‘notification center on the go’.

Do I need a smart watch?

If you use your phone for messaging and checking your work emails you do probably need a smart watch to make your life easy. Not all your notifications are urgent or important, a smart watch can help you avoid taking your phone out of your pocket for non urgent or unimportant notifications. With twist of your wrist you can just check what the message is and then decide if you want to respond to it or just dismiss it right off your smart watch. This saves a lot of time and efforts.

Custom watch face installed on pebble shows next meeting, date, time, phone battery and current weather condition with temperature

That’s not ONLY what it does!

Usually smart watches let you control your phone up to some extent without violating rules and regulations of the OS on your phone. In Pebble’s case, it lets you control certain things on your iPhone. However, you can take total control of your Android device or a jailbroken iOS device because they are way much lenient on restrictions. You can control music on your phone with native Pebble app on the watch. With custom apps you can control several things on your phone such as, view calendar and appointments, get weather information, set alarms, get GPS location (with some apps maps too), get notifications from all the apps (iOS7, little buggy until next app update), http requests, change watch faces and look, Twitter and Facebook feeds, volume control, use pebble as camera remote, phone battery status, access to your iPod library including playlists etc. Also, there are many other things you can do which are only available on Android or jailbroken iPhones like, sending predefined text messages to predefined contacts, initiating calls to predefined contacts, invoke settings on phone like turning on/off WiFi with your Pebble.

Following are some apps available on AppStore which will help you improve your performance with Pebble.

  1. Pebble: Official Pebble app, lets you configure email push for Gmail and other IMAP email providers. Also enables caller ID function on your watch. Equired for firmware updates and installing watch faces.
  2. StartWatch+: Allows use of custom watchapps and faces that shows you weather and appointment information at a glance along with custom music player controls. Has app pages for stock, exchange rates, GPS location, camera remote, calendars, reminders, detailed weather, FindMyPhone and HTTP requests.
  3. SmartWatchPro: Similar to SmartWatch+ but gives you additional functionality of viewing Twitter feeds; has no custom watchfaces or apps other than this app provides.
  4. Pebble Faces: This app allows Pebble users to download watch faces, apps and games directly on your phone and onto your Pebble via official Pebble app.
  5. httpebble: App that handles all the HTTP requests in a WiFi network. SmartWatch+ and SmartWatchPro also support this feature but httpebble is required for specially made weather watch faces.
  6. pebbleremote: aka Peapod, gives you total control over iPod library including all the custom and smart playlists, artists, albums and volume/play control.
  7. PebbGPS: Shows GPS location spotted by your phone onto your Pebble. This app allows users to change zoom level on the watch and also shows approximate address of current location.

There are a few other apps which you can find in AppStore just by searching ‘pebble watch’.

Why to buy Pebble over other watches?

My simple answer would be longer battery and simple operation. There are many smart watches in the market including the very recent Samsung Galaxy Gear. All other watches are great with what they do except for they are packed with so many unnecessary features which make them a separate device than accessory to your cell phone. For me I needed only to see my notifications without taking my phone out so that, I can decide which one to respond.

Advantages of buying other smart watches over Pebble:

  • Large color displays
  • Touch screens
  • More actions to respond with

Advantages of buying Pebble over other smart watches:

  • E-Paper display which allows you to see the screen in bright sunlight
  • Always ON display allows you to check time or notifications without touching the watch when it’s lying on your desk
  • SDK which enables 3rd party apps to integrate with Pebble
  • Longer battery life
  • Compatibility with iPhones and Androids gives you flexibility of changing your device if you wish to.

Revolutionary idea as it is, Pebble meets it’s expectations with a few more reasons of using it alongside Android or jailbroken iOS than iOS. But this will change as more and more developers will build their apps to take full advantage of new pebble SDK, iOS7 or Android KitKat.

Internet: Use it wisely

In·ter·net[in-ter-net] noun
A vast computer network linking smaller computer networks worldwide (usually preceded by the ; ). The Internet includes commercial, educational, governmental, and other networks, all of which use the same set of communications protocols. [dictionary.com]

It is a very powerful tool and yet very easy to access. Internet started as an expensive accessory only used as a status symbol in 90s. It was not very easy to get online like we do today with only a swipe on your smartphone or just a click on your computer. Only major cities like New York, London, Munich, etc. had a telephone network that could support this new traffic of data. Wait a second! Did I just say telephone?? Yes, I did. In the beginning telephone companies used to provide special connection to your home which then connected your personal computer.

We started with emails, commercial websites (the .com boom), blogs and now social network websites. We have evolved from using internet only for sending private messages to expressing our views out loud in public over this world wide web. This change in behavior is not new, this is just like old times, whenever people felt the need of expressing themselves to the public they started meeting at city or town halls, public places like schools, libraries and shared their views in front of their audience. In early 1900s the only way to spread news was public announcements from town hall balconies and newspapers. Then came radio and television. But, even today we know that the news on TV and radio is mostly filtered and controlled by governments and that in a way is Good and Bad just like a coin it has it’s two sides.

Similarly there are incidences where Internet and social sites have been used wisely and wrongly. The medium is so easily accessible now that practically anyone in the world can type anything that they want. Because of Internet many people around the world could tack their loved ones and their situations during Japanese Tsunami crisis even if they were half the way around the globe. Many disastrous recovery organizations created a crisis database of emergency camps to track survivors and made it available to general public. Also, many people used social networks like Twitter and Facebook to convert messages to people around the world. But, as we speak about benefits of Internet there is a downside. It was Internet that enabled coordinated riots of London in last decade. It was On Internet where people shared fake picture of rape victim in India.

Internet is a big pool of information and if people don’t take it seriously, it might aid to our destruction one day. It is a source of truthful information as well as it’s a message board for individuals and companies who make profit by deceiving the community. What to believe and what not to is individual’s decision.

Internet is very powerful, USE IT WISELY!

Facebook Chat on Mac Messages

mac-messages-facebook

If you like using messages on your Mac. Especially if you are up to date with Mac Mountain Lion and like the new notification center already then there is a very good news for you. There is a way to do Facebook chat from your Messages App. Yes! no need to login to Facebook to chat with your friends. Here’s how you do it…

First, find your Facebook username by going to http://www.facebook.com/your_user/. Next, Open iChat, then select iChat » Preferences and click on the Accounts tab.

Click on the + (plus) sign to add a new account, with these settings:

Account Type is Jabber Account
Account name is your_user@chat.facebook.com, and enter your password
Click the drop-down arrow to reveal Server options. Enter chat.facebook.com as the server name.
Enter 5222 as the port and click Done. Check the screenshot below.

Click Done again, and you are good to go.