Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Still Around!

Sorry to all that I've disappeared lately... I've been neck deep in a couple of projects. But I an interesting WIMM related thing on the horizon with high certainty of it happening! More in the next few weeks... -Brad

Saturday, March 17, 2012

So You Want a Watchface Idea?

Make this bad boy or something heavily inspired by it. I can't even begin to tell you how cool I think this would be!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lots of great user reviews @ Amazon!

It was great to pop over to the WIMM One page at Amazon and see a slew of new user reviews. If you haven't written yours yet, go there and write one. This is how we get more people playing in our sandbox. While you're there, mark the helpful reviews as helpful.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

vCard app in the forums

Cool little vCard app by Nolte Burke is in the forums. I'll do a review of it when it hits the store. But for now, check out his video (left). It's a nicely done app with some useful technical accomplishments that I'm sure he'll apply to more micro apps.

WIMM One Now in Stock Again

Good news! Amazon has the WIMM One in stock again, still for $199. While you check out the link today, take a few minutes to write a review if you already have your WIMM One. More reviews mean more buzz on Amazon, which will mean more users for the enthusiasts, and more customers for developers.

Do It Now.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Alltock Christmas and Valentine will be available again soon!

In more "out of stock" news... A quick note to WIMM One users who have the Alltock Christmas and/or Valentine watchfaces installed. They've been temporarily removed from the Micro App Store (Beta) to make room for other watchfaces while WIMM works to improve the scalability of their Micro App Store. And that's fine with us, because Christmas and Valentines Day have passed and won't be back for many months.

We make side-loadable demos of our watchfaces available here. If you need your Christmas or Valentines fix, hopefully those will keep you happy until the are back in the Micro App Store.

WIMM One Currently Out of Stock

Bad news this morning for everyone who wants a WIMM One for every day of the week or those of you who haven't purchased your first one yet... Both Amazon and the WIMM web site show no available stock of WIMM One devices, with the WIMM web site offering guidance of 2-3 weeks before current orders will be shipped.

I have not reached out to WIMM for comment on this, just noting it. But that doesn't mean we can't have some fun with wild speculation here! So here are some possible explanations for your consideration:

1. China is running at full capacity making iPad 3s, does not have time for WIMM Ones right now.
2. There are plenty in China, but would need to be transported by car through Russia and Alaska before hitting the continental United States.
3. The artist Christo has created a giant digital sign out of a matrix of 320 x 240 WIMM One units, plans to unveil it in the mountains of Southern California displaying "Who's feeling lucky today?" and a tiny, yellow umbrella.
4. My Dad really wants one, therefore, not available to purchase at this time.

If you have an entertaining theory, please post in the comments.

Update: James from WIMM posted on the forums. They expect to be shipping again in about a week.

Update: Now back in stock as of Wedneday, March 7.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quick Review: Precious

Quick glance of relevant information... That's what Precious does. It gives you recent market prices for an ounce of gold and an ounce of silver. These prices are updated each time your WIMM One syncs.

The display has a stack of gold coins with its price on top, a stack of silver coins with its price below, and the date and time of the last quote update. It's cute but not as extensive as, for example, the Stock Market Indices app.

Before I get to the rating, I want to offer a couple ideas about where apps like this could go. First though, this is a wonderful first screen. Easy to read, easy to act on. I would not mind seeing an "update now" button (with a shorter caption) that makes the app request an immediate sync, rather than having to fish back to Settings to get an update.

So some concrete ideas:

  1. If the information is a available, add additional screens, accessible by swiping, that show trends for gold and silver, perhaps intraday, weekly, monthly, yearly, and historically.
  2. Show prices relative to opening price for the day. I want to know if gold is spiking or taking.
  3. Add platinum and palladium. These would distinguish the serious precious metals bug from the typical Ron Paul delegate. Keep the size of the icons and prices, but use vertical scrolling to get to the other prices.
Here's the scenario I'm getting to... Imagine you're at lunch with an old friend and it's the first time you've shown them your WIMM One. You bring up Precious and see the stale price quotes. You tap "Update" and within 15 seconds have updated quotes. That's cool, fun, informative. Then you swipe right twice and down once and have a yearly chart for silver. Trends right on your wrist. Your old friend would be impressed.

Rating: WI–MMMM
I give this app 4 Ms. It's easy on the eyes. The developer, Nolte Burke, has figured out how to pull live information off the Internet periodically and display it nicely. I think the app could "go deeper" and be a richer, more interactive experience when you need that, while remaining quick and simple most of the time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Neat concept: Elementary

Steve S. posted his first build of "Elementary", a watchface that uses the periodic table of the elements (plus a special element with no protons called "Voidium" or "Vo") to tell the time.

I don't think his screen shots he included with the posting do the watchface justice, so try it on your WIMM One before passing too much judgement. It needs some polish in a few areas. With some effort in transitions and customization, this could really be a seriously cool watchface.

Get it here. Keep up the good work Steve!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Teller reveals his secrets

Teller (the less boisterous half of the magician duo Penn & Teller) has written a must read article for any developer wanting to write great software for the WIMM One. In this article, he reveals a few of his key secrets for making magic work.

One important secret is to use the resource that most people won't: time. A trick that lasts 30 seconds in front of an audience may take weeks or months or even years to prepare. The "magic" here is that most people wouldn't use so much time to prepare a 30 second illusion.

That got me thinking a lot about what I enjoy about developing watchfaces for the little WIMM One. Per the Micro App Guidelines, a great Micro App (or watchface) is characterized by providing rich, timely information in short glances.

For the most part, the information itself is pretty easy to get. Ask the system what time it is, or lift code from the network sample to query some resource on the web. But presenting that information in an attractive, polished way to the user may take days or weeks of development to deliver "magic" interactions to your users.

For example. the basic functionality (display time in various formats, procrastinator watch) of my first Alltock Christmas watch took me about 4 hours and two glasses of wine late one Friday night. Adding a snowstorm took a couple hours the next afternoon. It was a week or so before the Advent calendar countdown was suggested by a friend. And it's been three months of refinement of the presentation and interactions.

Another example... The side columns of my Alltock Monogram watchface came together in a couple of hours after seeing a suggestion for an "elevator watch". Even some rich animation of the minute column in active mode and transitional effects from passive mode were pretty easy. But it took a couple of days of constantly using that watchface and being annoyed by the space in the center for the monogram idea to gel. At one point, I thought an animation of a two-lane highway in the center would be the ticket. And it took a lot of feedback from my first audience to know that, for example, the minute column animations were over-the-top, even distracting and disconcerting.

Be inspired by Teller. The resource you can use to your greatest advantage in developing your Micro App is the time you spend polishing and refining it. There aren't gazillions of developers in this space yet, and even when they arrive, are they going to have the time to out-polish and out-refine you on your app? If you put enough in, probably not.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Micro App Store Beta is here

By now, everyone knows that the Micro App Store Beta is up and running. As an early adopter, you can get some cool apps and watchfaces for your WIMM One totally for free!

There were plenty of stories around the Internets announcing this important milestone. Perhaps the biggest business hurdle that the WIMM One faces is a perception that it's just copying the iPod Nano, as discussed in the comment section of this story. But remember, WIMM's mission statement is not centered on a 1" square touch screen computer and watchband. It's about wearable technology, and will always exploit the differences between luggable (your laptop or tablet), carryable (your phone), and wearable (your watch).  WIMM is also about nurturing and cultivating a strong crop of third party developers, who will provide much if not most of the software value for the product. Thus the importance of the  Micro App Beta Store.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New: Alltock Monogram

In the WIMM forums this week, Ted L. posted an idea about an elevator watch. It inspired me to do something entirely different. And the result is Alltock Monogram. It has an hour dial on the left and a minute dial on the right. Your two letter monogram, which you can set, is in the center. There is a choice of three color schemes now.

With this watchface, I tried to make the transitions really fluid. I still have some work to do, but I think you'll notice the startup animation and the screen wake animations as examples of that fluidity.

You can grab it from the forums.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

USA Today: Android Branching Out

Alice Truong at USA Today posted an article and short video about how Android is branching out from phones and tablets. Example #1 is the WIMM One watch, and her favorite apps are the calendar and the RSS reader.

It's great to see mainstream coverage of the WIMM One with context about how it fits into the growing Android ecosystem!

Note: Ms. Truong is not aware that the developer kit can be had for just $199 over at Amazon.com.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tutorial: Reading a Binary Watch

Over on reddit, zagaberoo (aka Mike) posted an interesting tutorial on reading a binary watch like the one he made for the WIMM.

Without reading the tutorial, I'm going to say that it's 1:17:24.37 pm. Now I'm going to read the tutorial... And... I now know that the top row is the day of the month. So it's the 13th or whatever month. 5pm. 24 minutes. 37 seconds.

Pretty cool Mike. I'll review this when I get a chance.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the WIMM: Kinect Motion Detector and Alarm

For the WIMM is a new blog segment I just came up with, inspired by this video. This guy Paul, apologized for not focussing on a health and fitness app and then came up with amazing integration with the Kinect, which he demonstrates in the video.

Obviously, there's a lot of work to make the experience perfect for the watch... But could you imagine simply deploying a Kinect in ever room in your home and being alerted when the kids get home or something is amiss? Pretty nifty.

Very nice tech demo Paul! Very nice!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Town Crier has feature on WIMM Labs

The Los Altos Town Crier (no relation to Two and Half Men straight man and 80s teen angst movie star John Cryer) has a feature on local business, WIMM Labs. The article is a nice introduction to the company's seasoned leadership and has an interesting strategic note at the end. While the company has mostly talked up the licensing strategy to date, they're also developing cases for the module most suitable to the activity at hand. Interesting!

Read it here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New: Alltock Shamrock

Ready to put Valentines Day behind you? Well, we just put Alltock Shamrock up on the forums so you can get a head start on St. Patrick's Day.

Yep, that's a real double rainbow on your WIMM One! We added one small feature to the Alltock engine this time around. In addition to sweep and arc displays for the second hand, we now have a "tick" display. Swipe left to right to cycle through these modes.

You can get our first build from the forums.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Health & Fitness Contest Extended!

Great news for developers who want to win a WIMM developer contest. They have extended the submission deadline for the health and fitness apps contest to Sunday, February 19, at 23:59 PST. They are offering free WIMM One devices to developers who submit a good enough app (see official description at the link) and two $250 Amazon giftcards.

I will call a shot right now. It might be my shot if I can make enough time, but someone else might do it better. An app that helps people manage pills -- what to take, when to take them -- will kill this contest. I am over at my 89-year old grandparents' home this morning. My grandfather has a list in roughly 16 point  font of all the meds he has to take during the day. It is almost a page long. They are very conscientious with their meds, but I bet the error rate on taking them is better than 10% – meaning they either miss or double dose at least 1/10 times.

There is a description of such an app in the ideas forum at the WIMM site. As a bonus, it needs a feedback component. User should be able to say they skipped a dose and have that recorded. There are many drugs where the doctor would like you to take it, but if you can't, that's useful information.

Of all the ideas shared there, I think this general one has the best chance of giving a very good, dedicated developer a very comfortable lifestyle if WIMM has good fortunes ahead.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Article: 5 Ways I'm Using my WIMM One Smart Watch Today

Josh Smith delivered on his promised article about that WIMM One that he's wearing now while reviewing watches that don't even exist yet. He's got some great videos in here, like the one I poached at right. As one commenter suggested, if tech blogging doesn't work out, maybe he has a future as a hand model. (And no, that's not a Rex Ryan joke.)

HT: serchend in the comments for finding this right away!

GottaBeMobile on smart watches...

Josh Smith at GotteBeMobile.com teased an upcoming article on the WIMM he is wearing now in an article about a concept iPhone watch he won't be wearing for a long time. Yeah, the irony. The article hasn't appeared yet, but I'll let you know when I see it.

Rodney, for no respect!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quick Review: Stock Market Indices

According to the WIMM MicroApp Guidelines, an ideal micro-app has three key characteristics. First, it should give you information at a glance or with a very minimum of touches. The interaction will typically be less than 15 seconds. Second, it should connect to the Internet infrequently and for short durations. Third, the information it gives you should be immediately actionable.

So if you're looking for a textbook ideal micro-app, look no further than MobiSoftApps' Stock Market Indices.

Tap right into it to see the US indices. The Dow and S&P had mild downer days, while the Nasdaq made everyone proud with a nearly unmeasurable uptick!

Swipe right to left to get the European indices. Notice how quickly you can get a snapshot of world markets. Also notice that at the top right, it shows you when the indices were last updated. Europe has a few more indices to keep track of. Just scroll down through the list.

Swipe right to left again to get the Asian indices. My stock trader friends tell me that the previous day's Asian index movements can be a pretty good indication of impending bloodshed on Wall Street. So this gets to immediately actionable. According to this way of thinking, if Asia tanks, you might have a buying opportunity by afternoon! Right?

Todd, the developer, says that he plans to add individual ticker symbols when customer can manage them as settings on WIMMs website. Text input is a challenge on these small devices. Having taken my own stab at it, I think the WIMM guys are right that it's a bit of a stretch to enter text on the device.

Rating: WI–MMMMM
I give this app 5 Ms, my highest rating. I look forward to seeing how Todd adds custom ticker symbols.

Friday, January 27, 2012

WIMM One now $199 on Amazon.com

Was just checking out the WIMM.com website tonight and noticed that the WIMM One is now available from Amazon.com for $199. If you shop at Amazon, head over there and give this thing a nice, thoughtful 5-star review.

This really made my day. What an unbelievably great price for this kit!

Quick Review: Daily Fruit

So what makes a good app for a watch? One definition is an app you can glance at or interact with quickly to give you a snippet of information. Enter Jacob T.'s Daily Fruit. It syncs up with a web service occasionally to get a picture of a fruit for the day. What will today's Daily Fruit be? The app's icon in the carousel is sure to arouse your curiosity every time you sweep by it.

Swipe down and discover that today's Daily Fruit is an orange. Fortunately these days with the existence of Florida and free trade with South America, we can have nice oranges year round. So today, this will be a reminder to pick up a bag from the grocery store.

Some days, though, the Daily Fruit will disappoint you. Like the other day, it appeared to be a field mouse. Turns out, it was actually the grape being held by the field mouse. Fortunately, if you need more than a daily fix of Daily Fruit, the app has settings. Swipe right to left to get to them.

I'm not sure how to get in touch with the developer, Jacob T., other than posting on his Daily Fruit thread on the WIMM forums.

Rating: WI–MMMM–½M
I give this app 4-½ Ms, an excellent rating. It could get 5 Ms by identifying the fruit and giving some basic facts about it, such as growing season, domestic source, imports, etc.

Any WIMM Developers Out There?

I want to start listing WIMM Developers with websites in a section of Known WIMM Developers at the right. Please leave a comment or drop me a note with your web presence to link to.

Also, be sure to get this nifty badge for your own web site if you develop for the WIMM platform.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quick Review: TIPP Calculator

James Edmonds' TIPP Calculator is a convenient little app for calculating restaurant bill tips and splitting the bill. Here's how it works.

1. Tap the "Bill" button (left), then adjust the bill using the "+" and "–" buttons.

2. Tap the "Tip" button (center), then adjust the tip amount using the "+" and "–" buttons.

3. To split the bill, tap the "Split" button and adjust the number of people chipping in with the "+" and "–" buttons.

This is a super simple app to use, a perfect tool for use on a watch, and gets the job done quickly. Swipe a screen over, and there appears to be a bar tab calculator under construction.

You can get in touch with the developer, James Edmonds at support@3kinds.com.

Rating: WI–MMMMM
I give this app 5 Ms, my highest rating. This is a very nice micro-app.

Welcome to "On a WIMM"

I decided to start this blog to link to all things WIMM that come up day to day. So entries might be apps or watchfaces posted to the forum, news stories about WIMM, or discussions with other developers. Please feel free to add your comments and suggestions. If you like writing blog posts and have an interesting perspective, I could use a collaborator or six!