Apple Watch Update

Complications work much better with WatchOS 2 (I’m on 2.2). No more rebooting the watch to get the sunset time.


Apps are still slow.

WatchOS 2 brought color to the complications on the Utility face. Most complications look nice with color, but the Sunrise, Stopwatch, and Timer are a hideous orange, which forces me to set the second hand to match. So instead of using my favorite yellow second hand:


I have to use an orange one, when I have the Stopwatch or Timer complication on the face:


New Routines

I’m more comfortable with some of the watch faces now, and I have set up three Utility faces, a Chronograph face, a Simple face, and a Modular face to be switched to at will. The various faces leverage the complications for Stocks, World Clock, Carrot Weather, Fantastical, Activity, Moon Phase, and even mean-old-orange Stopwatch, Timer, and Sunset.


My normal, “during the day” setup is to use one of my Utility faces. The first has Stocks along the bottom, the second, Carrot Weather, and the third features Fantastical in the bottom slot.

In the top two complication slots, I’ll switch between any of the Carrot, Fantastical, Timer, Stopwatch, Sunrise/sunset, Activity, Moon Phase, or World Clock, depending on what I need that day.


My typical Utility Stock setup (with New York City showing on World Clock so I know when the market has closed at 4:30):


Examples of Utility without Stocks:



In the evening, I’ve taken to using the Simple watch face more than I expected. Its refreshingly monochrome complications balance its infuriating over-abundance of tick marks:



Setting the Chronograph face to a white background allows the second hand to remain visible while running the chronograph, plus other complications are monochrome. Anytime I expect to use the Stopwatch a lot (like grilling or timing things at work), I can use the chronograph face again. Plus it matches the gauges in my car!



Because of using Sleep++ to track my sleep, I’ve set up a modular face, in red, to preserve night vision. The Battery complication makes its only appearance here!


I still use the yelow modular face for travelling, or if i need to pack maximum data onto the screen.



The Complications are, by far, the biggest use of my watch. I do sometimes use apps, but only sparingly, since they are so slow as to usually not be worth the bother.

I use Evernote as a reference, while playing cards or anytime I’m short on hands but want to refer to data:


Nearly essential are TimeOfYourLife for multiple stopwatches and Due for multiple countdown timers. Scandalous, Apple Watch only shipping with one of each!


Sometimes I use Fantastical to show my shared grocery list from the Reminders app to lessen my fear of dropping my phone while pushing the cart in the grocery store.


And yes I can start my car from my watch!



the Apple Watch is worth it and makes a great reference and tool due to the complications. Apps are good too if you have the patience. 

The Apple Watch

After five weeks with apple watch, here are some thoughts on the various faces. 

Note: when I refer to a half complication, below, I’m talking about the one which will only show the date, the day of the week and the date, or nothing.


The chronograph face allows four-and-a-half complications and is one of my favorite faces, thanks to discretely small hour-indicator numbers, beautiful hands and layout, and one-tap access to start the chronograph (which is mission-critical on my wrist!). Unfortunately the second hand is mostly useless because of its small size and how often it’s obscured by the main hands. 

Further, when the chronograph is running, you can’t see the notifications indicator. Or any other complications for that matter!

I’ve never seen the normal second hand on the watch while chronograph was running until I looked at this screen shot! In real life it’s invisible when chronograph is running. 

It sounds like I have more to complain about than like with the chronograph face. I have not yet talked about how much I love the way it looks though, and how well it satisfies my technical/engineering sensibilities. Returning to the chronograph face from any other face feels like coming home.


The utility face is my other favorite. Three-and-a-half complications. The required hour numbers are too enormously big and a fourth complication is desperately needed. I like you can set the color of the second hand and date, though. The always-present second hand with the full power of all the atomic clocks on the internet served up via the Network Time Protocol absolutely blows me away!

Chronograph start is two taps away (assuming you add the stopwatch complication, of course). Once running, though, you can still see all the other complications and the notifications indicator as well as the elapsed time! Stopping or lap controls are two taps away.

In this first screen shot, you can see the stopwatch in the upper right:

Note the lovely 3D hand overlap. This is actually present on all the analog-look faces, but I chose to show it off here.

The large complication at the bottom is the calendar view. I can’t overstate how nice the hands and the dial look in real life. These screenshots don’t do it justice.


The color face has exactly four complications, plus a “monogram” which is customizable in the iPhone apple watch app.

The reason for this face’s existence, ostensibly, is so you can customize the color of the whole face. The fatal flaw, though, is the non-customizable accent color! For any color you pick, there is a hard-coded accent color on the complications. I hate all the combinations! And to add insult to injury, the second hand is always orange. 

If you chose orange, you get a weird other orange on the complications.

If you choose red, you get orange complications.

If you choose yellow, you get orange complications.

I’m sure if you choose white, the gray complications are fine, but why would I choose white?? There are three other faces which do white better.

Oh, and the hour tick marks have no numbers whatsoever. This changes reading the time, for me, from an instantaneous comprehension to a cumbersome mental calculation (ok probably only two seconds or less but feels like the difference between touch typing and hunt-and-peck).



The simple face is bad because it has identical tick marks for the 30-second mark between each minute, and no hour numbers (well you can add some minute labels but I don’t find them very helpful since you also get even more identical tick marks to obscure the minute!)

At least simple has four-and-a-half complications. 


The modular face is great when you absolutely need the most data possible on your wrist! Modular offers five full complications and one of them allows for up to three lines of text!

Imagine flying from Phoenix to Dayton with a layover and plane change in Denver. I put three world clocks at the bottom (Phoenix; Chicago, since that’s the time zone my mom was driving to Dayton from; and New York, for Dayton), next calendar appointment on the huge middle complication, and weather on the final complication. 

My calendar, of course, has all the flights with the correct timezone-adjusted start and end times, and a compact, data-packed description, including the flight number, airline-reported start and end times, and the origin and destination airports. So whenever you land, you immediately have the local time, all pertinent other time zones, and next flight info (translated to local time!) all in one display. Absolutely indispensable! Just look at this:


I dare you to argue that is not a killer application of a smartwatch. The only way it could get better is via a third-party complication from the airline!

The other situation in which I launch modular: while I’m sleeping. Sounds silly, I know. But say you wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what time it is. I want modular because digital time is still easier to read than analog, plus I added the moon phase, weather, and sunrise time.

Other faces

I occasionally use the astronomy face and the sundial face when I’m at my pool league night just because they look great and I’m really not interested in any data in that setting. 

The motion faces are too slow to start to qualify. Once they get going, they are all beautiful, but by then I’ve already dropped my wrist. 

And then there’s the Mickey face. Absolutely not for me.


The weather complication is trumped in the accuracy department by the Dark Sky glance but would still be nice to have at the top of the utility face, with the sunset time across from the calendar complication like I have it on the chronograph face. I’m really looking forward to third-party complications, so Dark Sky can take its rightful place on all my watch faces. In the meantime Dark Sky is always the current glance, so it’s one swipe away.

Here’s what the dark sky glance looks like … I forgot to screenshot during actual rain, but do have a de rigueur hairy arm shot.


For now it looks like I’m stuck jumping back and forth between the chronograph and utility faces, whenever the whim strikes me. If only the chronograph had a large omnipresent second hand! That would be absolute Nirvana, and I could overlook the bother with complications while the chronograph was running.

If the utility face’s hour numbers were smaller, and it had one more complication, it’d be more satisfying, but I’d still yearn for the chronograph face, I’m sure.

My favorites:


Forcing a Mac to get updates from iCloud

I’ve had trouble with one of my macs not syncing to iCloud.

Specifically, if I update a document on my second mac, it goes to iCloud just fine (I can see the updates on, my iPhone, and my iPad) but I don’t get the update on my first mac.

The best workaround I’ve found is to make sure both macs are awake and online when a document is modified. it seems if a mac is offline and misses the new data push from iCloud, the mac never requests new data from iCloud.

if one mac is offline when I change a document and I need the changes on that sleeping mac later, the best thing to do is modify the document again (via the other mac or after the sleeper wakes.

Facebook bug?

I noticed my phone having shorter battery life and staying warm when I wasn’t using it.

In Settings > Privacy > Location Services I disallowed the Facebook app from being able to use my location.

Problem seems to be solved. My iphone now stays at room temperature when I’m not using it.

How did I decide to turn off location services for Facebook?

iOS 7 added a feature allowing apps to occasionally update in the background. For example, if you always check Facebook when you wake up, wouldn’t it be cool if Facebook updated itself just BEFORE you woke up and was therefore ready for you with current data? Then you wouldn’t have to wait.

When I went into the location services settings, I observed Facebook had a solid purple arrowhead which indicates Facebook had recently used my location. However, I knew I hadn’t touched the Facebook app all day.

iOS 7.1

With the 7.1 update, I’m much more comfortable with iOS 7. I no longer miss iOS 6.

The updated lock screen and phone apps are the best touches. I especially like the new effects when waking up or turning off the screen: a subtle, super-fast zoom in on wake and zoom out on sleep.

Making the transition animations shorter is also nice, everything feels snappier because of it.

The new calendar app looks nice but is still clunky from a usability perspective. The only usable view, to me, is the list view. The other views don’t have enough detail to be useful. The landscape mode view is almost useful but scrolling is required; you can only see a small slice of each day at once. The newly-restored month view with list at the bottom bears further investigation.

The notes app is still ugly.

Mountain Lion’s Cringes at MobileMe

I set up on Mountain Lion with all my accounts, including the Apple ID I used with MobileMe. The result was nearly every operation in resulted in a minute or two of the spinning beach ball.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I noticed errors in the referring to my MobileMe’s apple id, so I deleted that account completely from and now it all works great!