Monday Technical.

I’m writing this on Sunday night because this week is going to involve a lot of travel, appointments, and general moving around. The old laptop I have is flakey. The atheros wifi card does work with Free BSD, and Mate on Ghost is fairly lightweight, but… it’s at least five years old and not very robust. Hardware issues, not software. It has been abused: things just don’t connect, the battery is basically gone, and the screen is going.

So I will be taking a commercial alternate– an slightly newer and better cared for mac. I need a commercial solution for a few reasons, sadly.

  • Most of the work I do is writing, and editors want word documents. With track changes. Open office does not handle that well.
  • My employer uses Outlook for email and scheduling. Macs do run microsoft office. BSDs and Linuxen run open office.
  • Citrix. Again, needed for work.

For other things that I do there are open source products I know and can use on BSD.

The latest upgrade, however, has broken (on the mac) all 32 bit programs. I lost a day trying to find a robust method of referencing (writing) and found that Zotero works still best — and it is cross plaform, as a bonus.

Anyway, onto the tech news I bother following this week. Fitbit may be staying independent, due antitrust. If you can trust the industry press, Fitbit was losing its way.

Throughout the following year and into the summer of 2019Hugh Langley, Wired UK

This has made me consider what Thom Hogan calls pain points. When Kea and I first met, she picked up my main camera. Same brand as hers, but different model line. The buttons were in the wrong place, and she found it impossible to use. Upgrading in the “same lane” of cameras worked for her, because she can use the upgraded camera without having to relearn anything. With cameras, we stick with two lens mounts — one for traveling (light and cheap) and one for her work.

I’m analogue when it comes to watches. I like my Seiko 5, but when traveling use an old olympus eco drive — ugly but effective. What would it take me to go back to a smartphone?

The answer is more sensors, but not in the way you’d think. I want to see lactate and glucose levels. Ketone levels would be nice. The correct treatment for sleep apnoea is losing weight or CPAP. I would not put an effort into this. I would wear an ugly and expensive watch with that. GPS helps — particularly “ball of string” for if and when you get lost. Emergency beacons are good (though it it still cheaper to buy a separate one: don’t go into the bush alone without one) Weather warnings are good. Very long battery life or no need for batteries is good.

I don’t need a coach, or to be told to walk, or the data shared with the googleplex. I want the data for me. I want safety for me. I’d also like to see such sensors available for kids, particularly kids with type I diabetes. At present this is clunky.

In particular, I don’t want texts, phone calls, or music in my phone. I don’t want the screen to switch off. I need the time all the time — this morning I looked at my watch and realized it was time to leave for work right now… when I would not have looked at my cellphone.

The closest things to what I want on the market now are not smartwatches. They are outdoors watches, and not cheap.

However, I don’t need them at present. In a few months, when fitter, things may change. But now? The pain point does not hurt sufficiently to open my wallet.