My time in Budapest left me feeling many things - chief among them tired, but beyond that I noticed that many people had smart watches, and I found myself feeling a small amount of envy.
I’ve wanted a smart watch for a while - I liked wearing a watch when I did so years ago, but I stopped when my last one broke (we were not terribly well-off, and I didn’t like wearing one well enough to part with what little bit of money I had left to buy one I liked). My primary concern is battery - I don’t want the damn thing going dead on my wrist at 4pm! I wanted a Pebble for this reason, but it seems they no longer make/support them.
But seeing all those happy folks with Apple watches got me interested enough to research them during my time off (I took a week’s vacation after getting back, primarily to take Duncan to the zoo but in the two days between getting back to Australia and the zoo trip I was utterly lost for something to do).
So the Apple Watch is an absolute no-go for me, as an Android user... they’re apparently exceptionally useless in such cases, which is a shame as if I could at least drive the thing with my Mac and have it get internet from my phone via Bluetooth I reckon I could manage. Plus, the price-tag in Australia was well beyond my pain threshold.
None of the Android Wear watches in the price range I was willing to spend looked worth having, and while I have no love for Samsung as a product manufacturer, their watches seemed okay were it not for the hideous price tags - while in Melbourne for our zoo trip I took a look through JB-Hifi at the watch selection there and grimaced at absolutely every single one of the price tags.
Somewhat serendipitously, I found someone local to where we live selling Samsung’s previous generation watch for basically 1/3rd the price of the brand new unit, which seemed a fairly reasonable price. I resolved to think about it during the trip, but it had sold quite quickly. Bummer.
However on the way home, we stopped in Ballarat for a look around, and I went into Cash Convertors - a vile operation, but the Ballarat location usually has a fair number of old video games and I like to window shop - and they had the exact same model for the exact same price. I decided to pull the trigger, as it was within my “fun money budget”. With the speed at which the other one sold, if I turned out to not like it, I could probably get most of my money back fairly quickly.
First impressions - I absolutely loathe silicone straps, it will have to go. The Tizen OS seems usable enough, not sure I trust the third party apps and there are not too many official apps out there that warrant having - but really all I need is notifications from my phone on my watch, and something to tell the time.
I think the advertised “four day” battery life is unattainable for me, as my phone does not seem to support BTLE and defaults to regular BT… but I still get a good 2.5 days out of it between charges, and after finding the sleep tracking significantly more gimmicky than even Fitbit’s effort, I have taken to not wearing it to bed meaning modulo destroying the battery capacity somehow I shouldn’t have any issues with the battery for some time. I had tried turning off the heart-rate tracking, but that didn’t seem to have any effect on battery life.
I tried out the Samsung Pay (which required a call to my bank, which I’m not entirely upset about… they seem to take my security at least somewhat seriously, though I wish they’d do away with SMS for 2FA) as it’s one of the chief complaints with my phone is my inability to use it for payments. It’s not as useful as I thought it’d be, but it does work for the most part… I may keep it.
The reminders when I’m inactive are nice - I’d forgotten that I’d set that up manually with the Fitbit (having it buzz every hour during my work day to remind me to stretch my legs, as I’m utterly awful at doing it myself).
I adore the bezel ring interaction - it simply makes the most sense for interacting with a watch and limits the number of times I have to put my grubby fingers all over the thing. I also haven’t found a watch-face I like more than the default, but I do have to check out the security implications of buying a watch face from a third-party (it looks like there might be some arbitrary code, as some of them have other features built in?).
Update: I broke down and made two purchases for it: a replacement band, because like the Fitbit, the silicone band gives me the irrits something fierce; and a Fallout-inspired watchface that cost me the princely sum of $1.53. Unfortunately Samsung's website appears to be terrible, so I can't link to the watch-face, but it's called "DT - Model 4000" by DaveAstur Design.
We’d promised to take Duncan to the zoo last school holidays, but unfortunately a coworker’s childbirth was around that time and I didn’t really feel comfortable taking time off until it was well and truly past school holidays, so we didn’t get to go.
I didn’t want to make that mistake again, so I scheduled a week off immediately after the trip to Budapest, coinciding with Duncan’s first week of school holidays, which worked out perfectly (apart from the fact I didn’t know what to do with my time in between that!).
Sabriena booked a motel within walking distance of the zoo, for two nights. We drove down there leaving early on Wednesday, and wandered around Melbourne for the evening before having dinner at the Pancake Parlor. I tell myself that this is OK, because we walked a whopping 11KM that day if Google is to be believed.
To sleep in the motel, for an absolutely shit night’s sleep. I’m not sure if I was still not quite over the jet lag (which hit me much harder this year!) or if something else woke me up, but I absolutely couldn’t sleep for about three hours starting from around 2am, so I felt awful in the morning.
Thankfully some breakfast and a cup of coffee fixed that, and we had a great day at the zoo. Missing last school holidays turned out to be a blessing, as you simply couldn’t have asked for a nicer day weather-wise.
Sabriena and I were both significantly heavier the last time we were at the Melbourne zoo, and it showed. We stayed very late last time, were utterly exhausted, and by no means saw everything. This time around, we finished everything (including the temporary Dinosaur-themed attraction) around 4pm, including the customary stroll through each of the gift shops. Perhaps the cooler weather may have helped also?
Back to the motel again, having walked probably another 7KM, and tried to decide what to have for dinner. The restaurant in the hotel didn’t have terribly promising reviews, I didn’t feel like walking anywhere and I certainly didn’t want to drive in peak-hour traffic in the middle of Melbourne looking for parking.
Borrowing again from my experiences in Budapest, we decided to give one of those food delivery services eventually settling on the burger place “New York Minute” via UberEats. The process was pleasant enough and I didn’t have to leave the room which was excellent - a presumably-student brought it by way of bicycle quite quickly.
Another broken night’s sleep, which I diagnosed at low-confidence as being related to the light outside the room shining in the window around the blackout curtains, and we woke up early ready to head home. Quickly down to the nearest Krispy Kreme shop for a small dose of Americana that Sabriena indulges in every chance we get, and we set off before stopping at Ballarat on the way home.
Since upgrading to Mojave, my Macbook's time machine has refused to backup to the Samba machine. I wasn't sure if it was something they'd done to try convince me to buy a Time Capsule (as if!), or something that went wrong in the upgrade process... so during my time off, I decided to reinstall my Mac and see if that helps.
It did not. :(
Digging in to the inner workings of time machine, it seems that you can browse the time-machine specific logs here (they don't seem to be logged to a plain-text file, looks like everything is going the way systemd is!):
log show --predicate 'subsystem == "com.apple.TimeMachine"' --info
I neglected to save the actual error message, but it was basically a "file not found" error trying to create a file under
/Volumes/com.apple.TimeMachine.timemachine/fwaggle-mbp/, so on a whim I tried:
and surprisingly, it's working now!
It's that time of year (albeit a few months late), where work takes everyone out to Budapest again, all expenses paid. This time I'm in another department, and there are a lot more people. The startup in the other office moved elsewhere, so they rented that one too and turned it all into one big office.
This time around I resolved to take on less activities than last time (narrowly avoiding exhaustion), but things were still fairly hectic. Jet lag hit me a lot harder this time around, with sleeping conditions in the hotel not being that great (it got very stuffy around 2am, something woke me up, and I found it impossible to get back to sleep again for the first couple nights). In addition, I had to share an on-call rotation with my co-admins, which isn't much fun... thankfully it didn't get in the way too much.
I'm sure I'll have put on some weight when I get home, as I'm not behaving myself near as much this time around and money is not as tight as last time I was here either. We shall see!
I've arranged to take a week's vacation immediately after this trip, so I should be able to recover the sleep I'm missing now.