WIMM One – Developer Preview

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a sucker for gadgets. Doesn’t matter if it’s an AR Drone, Android powered car stereo, or in this case a smart watch.

I first heard about the WIMM One last year, shortly after the announcement of the then vaporware “I’m Watch” (although, as of the time I’m writing this I don’t know a single person who has received their pre-order unit…), and I thought it looked like a great product, despite the fact that the fit and finish of the I’m Watch looked nicer. Plus, you could actually order one! And at $199 (available now through Amazon) how could you pass up living in the future?

Wimm one

I’d like to note that I haven’t worn a watch in at least three years, since I always have my cell phone on me. This little gadget changed that though, now I don’t leave home without it.

The Good

Apps. You can’t bill this as the WIMM’s most compelling feature, since their “Mirco App Store” how has about 30 apps in it. However, I’m still counting it as a plus, since this is after all a developer preview that’s designed to inspire people to build apps for it. And also, my old Casio watch didn’t have any “apps”.

Near silent OTA updates. I’d had my watch for about a week when I saw the folks at WIMM tweet about a new firmware, I went to check for the update on my watch and it had already downloaded and installed. Never skipped a beat.

LCD. The screen on this unit is surprisingly easy to read even with the backlight off (in most conditions), and in direct sunlight it (backlight on) it still worked well.

Call/text notifications. The best thing about this unit is the Bluetooth pairing to your smart phone. With an iPhone, currently you only get call notifications, but it displays the caller ID and optionally vibrates, beeps, or both to alert you of a call. With the companion app for Android, you can not only get call notifications, but read your text messages as well.

Calendar app. Using the developer website, you can add either an Exchange Calendar, or Google Calendar to your watch. Notifications of upcoming events will then popup on your watch, also depending on which watch face you use, you can preview upcoming events without having to load the calendar app.

Weather app. I know, I know, it’s just a weather app. But it actually displays the current temp on the app icon, something that Apple has yet to grace us iPhone users with.

Wimm one weather

The So-So

The touchscreen takes a bit of getting used to, mostly because of lag issues. Often the WIMM One doesn’t register my initial swipe, or it misinterprets a single tap for a double tap. This isn’t an iPhone quality touch experience by any means, but the performance has been optimized slightly through software updates, so I’m holding out hope that the final release will work better.

Battery life. There are days where I get a solid twenty hours of battery life, but the more regular occurrence is I get closer to eight hours. WIMM does say that if you experience poor battery life, you should disable third party apps and then reenable them one by one until you pinpoint which app is killing your battery. Honestly though, 8hrs gets me through the work day at least.

Wimm one watchfaces

The Bad

Size. It’s a bit chunky, and took some getting used to for my tiny nerd wrists.

Disabled GPS chip. Apparently the unit ships with a GPS chip, but it’s currently disabled due to “performance issues”.

Device management. This isn’t that big of an issue, especially once you get the device setup to your liking. Currently there are certain settings that can only be configured through their website and then have to be synced back down to the watch.

The Bottomline

It’s a sweet, albeit nerdy accessory. Sure both you and I could live without this device, but if you’re half as gadget obsessed as I am you’ll pick one of these up.

Wimm one watchface

Kindle Lighted Leather Case: In Brief

At first it seemed silly to spend $60 on a case for my $79 Kindle, scratch that, it is silly. Regardless of the silliness index of the idea, I bought a Kindle Lighted Leather case for my Kindle a couple weeks ago and despite it taking two weeks to ship I didn’t cancel my order.

The real reason I bought it was because I happen to enjoy a lovely book while suffering from near debilitating insomnia (okay, it’s actually quite minor these days), however, my wife does not enjoy the bedside lamp required for me to do so with my Kindle (so very nostalgic, just like a real book). Being the complete and utter tool I am I skipped the cheap clip-on light and I ordered Amazon’s own solution for the problem.

Kindle Lighted Case in a dark room

The Good:
Kindle snaps in and fits very snugly in the case. Page buttons are easily accessible.

The light is powered off the Kindle’s battery, so you only need to charge one device. Plus no added bulk.

It does a great job of lighting the entire page (one would assume this to be true, but I was pleasantly surprised nonetheless).

The Bad:

The quality of the leather is so-so, the very first thing I thought of was the cheap leather briefcase my father used to carry around. It also seems to be sadly lacking in the durability department.

Front flap feels rather flimsy.

Call me crazy, but when I purchase a case for a product I tend to want something that protects the screen, and while the Amazon case does have a front flap, it doesn’t offer a magnetic clasp, elastic band, or even a friction based mechanism for securing the flap closed.  The $29 Marware case I bought for my Kindle Fire even has that.

The Bottom Line

This is a great case despite being $60. And in all fairness, the price isn’t that outrageous. I wanted a light and I needed a case either way, so when comparing this to $20 for a clip-on light and $20 for a case it doesn’t seem that crazy.

Hijinks Reviews: Parrot AR Drone

Yes, the Parrot AR Drone is finally shipping! And we of course couldn’t pass up using Hijinks Inc. as an excuse to test out the AR Drone ourselves (since we’re not cool enough to go to CES). Our ceremonial unboxing pictures can be found here.

In case you’re unfamiliar with how the AR Drone works, it broadcasts a wireless signal (802.11 b/g) and you connect your iDevice to it via WiFi. Basically just an ad-hoc wireless network. In our tests we had problems switching between multiple devices, our iPhone connected/disconnected fine, but when we went to try it out with an iPad we couldn’t lease an IP. Un-pairing the drone didn’t help, nor did restarting it entirely. Hard coding an IP address on the iPad also yielding no results.
Continue reading Hijinks Reviews: Parrot AR Drone

Hulu Plus – The Good. The Bad. And the WTF?!

Hulu PlusAfter an agonizingly long few days of waiting, Hulu has let me into the preview for Hulu Plus. Cue the trumpets! Is it all I dreamed it would be and more? Frankly, no.

Here’s the basics of what you need to know. First off, the preview period is more of a 30 day free trail. You have to provide a credit card in order to qualify and are warned that you’ll be charged if you don’t cancel before your 30 days are up.

Spoiler alert! Continue reading Hulu Plus – The Good. The Bad. And the WTF?!

Hijinks TV Reviews: The Good Guys

I mentioned The Good Guys in my recent post as a show that I had downloaded but hadn’t watched yet. The debut season is now 4 episodes in and I took the opportunity to get caught up this week. I went into it with very modest expectations, because I hadn’t heard wonderful things about it, but I must say, I came away pleasantly surprised.

The Good Guys is created by Matt Nix, the same guy who brings us Burn Notice. Although this is a bit of a different show as it is more in the buddy cop vein, whereas Burn Notice is more spy vs spy. You get the occasional laugh from Burn Notice, but overall, it’s a bit more of a serious show, it’s a lot of fun, but not really in the ‘comedy’ sense. The Good Guys is definitely out for the laughs.

Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks are the stars of the show, playing Detectives Dan Stark and Jack Bailey respectively. Dan Stark and Jack Bailey… pretty basic straight-forward detective names. One of them is more by the book and the other breaks all the rules… pretty straight-forward roles. They open each show with the climax of the episode and then flash back to how we got here, again, pretty standard fare here. Long story short, The Good Guys is nothing you haven’t seen before, it’s all been done a million times before, but it’s done well enough, and with enough funny stuff thrown in that it’s worth the ride. Continue reading Hijinks TV Reviews: The Good Guys