One Week with the Apple Watch Ultra

It’s been a week with the Apple Watch Ultra and I love it.

I like big watches in general, so the extra screen real estate is clutch. I have a few faces I’ve been using with it, depending on Focus Mode and Context:

There are a few things I really love about this watch, outside of the bigger face:

  • The incredible battery life. I can get about 2 days without charging it at all. Which means I get to use another new-to-me feature
  • Sleep tracking. I’ve never been much of a sleep tracker, but at the end of this month, I’m doing a sleep study where I’ll certainly be diagnosed with sleep apnea. I’m excited to compare the data on the watch to data from a proper study.
  • The Action Button. Right now I have it executing my “idea” shortcut, but I might change that (see below).
  • The Swipe Keyboard. I like that I don’t always have to talk to my watch.

There are a few quibbles I have, which might have less to do with the hardware, and more to do with the software:

  • Forced keyboard usage for input. I’d much rather the watch default to talking (or at least make it a setting). Because of that, I might change the Action Button, since that forces the keyboard and using voice to execute the shortcut does not.
  • No Battery Tracking. This was an issue I had on the Series 5 too. I like that I can see battery stats on my iPhone. I wish I could see it on the watch too. Some app (I think Overcast) went haywire and crushed my battery at one point.

Those are it though! Since the battery life is so good, I’ve decided I’m also going to experiment with leaving my phone at home more and rely on the watch for communication and notes. We’ll see how long it lasts.

The Best Home Automation Device of 2021: Lutron Aurora Dimmer Switch

I love to automate everything. Sometimes it’s overkill. But it usually results in some cool things. With Shortcuts being available on the Mac now, for example, I can push a button on my Stream Deck, set the lighting in my office for recording, put my phone into the Recording Focus Mode, and set my “podcast recording”timer in Toggl.

But this isn’t about any of that1. This is about a general home automation device. The best one I’ve seen all year: the Lutron Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer Switch.

A Smart Home Device for People Who Don’t Like Smart Devices

One of my goals when we bought our house was to basically connect everything to the internet that could be. My only requirement is it works with both HomeKit and Alexa2. Phillips Hue lights fill that requirement nicely.

So I installed smart bulbs everywhere. And I quickly realized a problem that some great automators of our time have warned of: people will still use the switches and knobs to which the blubs are attached, rendering them useless. This could be kids, parents, or energy conscious visitors who don’t know you have a voice controlled home.

And let me tell you: messing around with electrical boxes to install smart switches is not my favorite thing.

That’s where the Lutron Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer Switch comes in.


This small device connects to either a specific Phillips Hue bulb, room, or scene, and can control the lights by dimming them with the knob, or turning the lights off and on by pressing it.

Super Easy Installation

And the best part? SUPER simple installation. Put the mount on top of the switch, secure it with a couple twists of a screwdrivers, then snap the dimmer on top of it. It took me 2 minutes tops to install and connect the thing.

After trying it in my son’s room, I’m absolutely buying one for every room with smart lights.

If you are looking for a simple solution for your smart switch woes, I highly recommend the Lutron Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer Switch.

  1. Don’t worry. Subscribe on YouTube and you’ll get a video soon. ?
  2. …and if it works with HomeKit, it almost definitely works with Alexa. ?
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My Thoughts on the iPad Pro 10.5″

So I’m a bit of a technophile and an early adopter. Always have been; I had a Palm M100 in 9th grade because it looked cool. Plus it helped me keep my busy schedule of drama club and homework straight. Since then, I’ve tried to get new tech sooner rather than later. Sometimes I write about it. When the iPad Pro was announced, it wasn’t something I was able to buy. But I’ve been looking for a good way to draw on a screen since my first “tablet” in 2005. Well, I was able to get the iPad Pro 10.5″ this year; so how does it stack up?

Read More “My Thoughts on the iPad Pro 10.5″”


What Android Wear Means for Websites

This week Google announced that they are bringing Android  to wearable technology. This is already been a big topic of discussion (one I’ve actually spoken on a few times) and Google feels it’s the next big step in technology; I share those sentiments and have been pretty open about them. I own a Jawbone UP and Google Glass, and a smart watch has been on my radar for a while. With the new Android Wear project, it will be even easier to create wearables, and even better, create wearables using Android. This could have some big implications, not only for app developers, but also web developers.

Responsive Web Design is all but an ubiquitous term in the web development world right now; coders and clients alike are focusing on making websites that look good on smartphones and tablets. There is just recently a focus on moving up to bigger screens, but what about screens so small that the interactions are limited to voice and swipe?

In my recent ebook, The Web Designer’s Guide to Google GlassI discuss the importance of considering these types of devices early on the web development process. Yes, it’s true that less than 1% of people have Google Glass and that wearables are just beginning to permeate the market; even fewer have a viable screen to view websites on. I think with Android Wear, this will change. Google is integrating Google Now into everything it’s doing, and at it’s core Google Now is an extension of search; browser support is as inevitable as it is foreseeable and we need to start thinking about how people will use our websites on these smaller devices.

With Google Glass, you have a touch panel on the right side of your head which you can use in conjunction with moving your head to “look around” a website. At this point, you can’t interact with forms, submit information, etc. Perhaps that will change in the future. I think Google Glass and wearables in general are more about delivering content in a readable, easy to consume way.

I’m excited to see what Android Wear as to offer as far as features and functionality. I think this will be a big step in a new direction in technology and in the web.

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Google Glass FAQs

I’ve had Google Glass for just over a week now and while I’m working up several articles on my thoughts, I did want to address some FAQs I’ve been getting from people. A lot of them are coming from the very same people you’re seeing over at People Reacting to Glass!

  1. How much do they cost? $1500 and come with the device, an eye “shield”, sunglass attachments, and a charger. It’s rumored that when they are released to the public, they’ll be closer to $300-500.
  2. Can anyone buy them? Not right now; they are currently only available to people who applied and were invited to the Glass Explorers program, which is now closed.
  3. Can you use them while driving? I’d say it’s slightly less distracting that an cell phone. I wouldn’t recommend it, and some people are saying they fall under the “Texting while Driving” laws in select states.
  4. Do you need a data plan to use them? No- as a matter of fact, Google Glass doesn’t have the ability to take on a data plan. Wifi is built in, and when you aren’t on Wifi, Glass tethers via bluetooth to your phone, using your phone’s data.
  5. Do they work with your glasses? My glasses, personally? No. Mine have really thick frames. In general, I’m told Google Glass can be sized over your glasses. I was told they are also working on prescription versions.
  6. How’s the battery life? The battery life is ok. It lasts about 7-8 hours on normal use. If you’re tethered to your phone all day, you might see your phone’s battery drain more quickly.

Have other questions or comments? Leave them here! The good ones may even get featured on the new blog.