Day 2 - Apple Family Watch - Daughter takes it to school

Sharing the with watch between myself, my daughter (13), and son (11) is done by unpairing from the iPhone, then pairing (restore from backup) to another phone.  It takes a few minutes to unpair as the Apple Watch is wiped clean and reboots.  Then another few minutes to pair to another person's phone.  I doubt many other people would do this, but I bought the Apple Watch to see how my kids and I would use it.  I could have bought 3 Apple Watches, but that would just be over the top.  Share the watch let's each of us try and it and see what they like and don't like.

My Daughter took the Apple Watch to school.  Her school is a private school with a high percentage of kids who work for Microsoft.  The school computers are all Windows and Surface.  This school probably has the most amount of Windows Surface and Windows Phones.  Will the Windows Phones have been fading out.  2 years ago if you had a parent employed at Microsoft then you had a Windows Phone.  Now, the kids are almost all on iPhones.

One of the reasons why kids have migrated off of Windows Phones according my knowledgeable source, my daughter is the kids with Windows phones couldn't use snapchat.  Looking up what kids were using was 6Snap for Snapchat.  Most of these kids had no idea they were not using Snapchat official app.  So when Snapchat enforced the removal of 3rd party apps on the Windows Phone store.  Snapchat support was gone.  And, kids pushed their parents for iPhones.

So, at school on May 1, my daughter was the 2nd kid at school with an Apple Watch.  She had kids think the watch cost $5,000.  Some thought $25,000. The one other kid who had one said that one cost $350 which is correct.  The perception of the Apple Watch is interesting.

My daughter said she had problems using the Apple Watch at school.  Asking a few more questions, it turns out she turned off bluetooth on her phone when at school which I then explained means the Apple Watch doesn't communicate to her iPhone. 

By 4p when she got home the Apple Watch was down to 10% which means she was playing around with it a lot at school.  We charged it up.  Unpaired it.  And paired it to my iPhone.  Then went to Malt and Vine for Deschutes Abyss tasting.

  1. Malt & Vine @maltandvine

    We're getting stoked about our @DeschutesBeer 'The Abyss' Vertical tasting Tonight!

I caught up with some ski friends who happened to work for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. My one AWS friend just got an iPhone 6 plus, upgrading from his Windows Phone.  Yes he was Microsoft (17 yrs).  Another AWS guy has an Apple Watch on order, and is thinking of changing his order to the 38mm from the 42mm.

The Apple Watch is convenient to see the time if you stopped using a wrist watch, seeing messages, e-mail.  My daughter has tried some of the fitness apps.  My son has the Apple Watch for the weekend.  He is sending text msgs to friend and family.  He has dyslexia and will approach the use of the watch differently than I or my daughter.  On Monday my daughter gets the watch.  On Tues I get the watch back as I travel to SJC.

One of the things I am curious about is how having an Apple Watch changes your use of the iPhone.

Got my Apple Watch, Apr 30, Day 1

I ordered my Apple Watch at 12:05a on Apr 10th.  Luckily I was in Japan so making the transaction at 4:05p on Apr 11 was much more convenient than staying up to 12:05a PT.

I decided to get the Apple Watch as a family test.  My daughter can try it out.  My son is ready as well.

To allow the three of us to share the watch I needed an easy way to set up the watch for each of us, then wipe it clean and restore.  Turns out you can do this by unpairing the watch.

Your iPhone will create a new backup of your Apple Watch before erasing all content and settings on your Apple Watch. You can use the backup to restore a new Apple Watch. After your Apple Watch unpairs, you'll see the Start Pairing message.

So far I like the watch camera app to allow controlling iPhone camera.  e-mail and SMS messages are a quick look on the wrist.

My daughter gets in Apple Watch tomorrow to go to school and see how it works.  One other kid has an Apple Watch.  She wore it tonight going out to dinner and her friend wants one.  Will be interesting to see how kids react to the watch.  Kids tend to be more adaptable with new devices. 

Below are a couple of ads.

For some Carrier Neutral are dirty words

A carrier neutral data center is standard requirements for many and they don't look at a facility unless it is carrier neutral.

What Is A Cloud And Carrier-Neutral Data Centre?

A truly neutral data centre provider is one that is independent of the companies colocating in the data centre, does not compete with them in any way, and offers no packaged services as part of colocation. Customers are free to contract directly with the providers of their choice.

If you open your eyes and look at those whose business model is not aligned with carrier neutral, then you may realize carrier neutral is a dirty word that is offensive.  The question you need to ask is do you want to work with those who find "carrier neutral" offensive.  If you do, then you should not make use of the words "carrier neutral." 

I made this realization 6 months ago, and it has allowed me to look at new business opportunities.  In Japan on vacation it even helped me see something that was right in front of me for years. NTT, KDDI, Softbank are the major carriers fiercely competing.

As the iPhone sweeps Japan’s smartphone market, NTT Docomo has shifted the competitive focus to calling plans with its new unlimited-talk arrangement. Meanwhile, pending changes in telecommunications regulations promise either to strengthen the position of the former NTT monopoly or to blow the mobile market wide open. Ishikawa Tsutsumu reports.

Since Japan’s leading mobile operator NTT Docomo joined its two major competitors in offering the iPhone last September, the nation’s mobile phone market has fallen into a state of virtual homogeneity, with little to distinguish the three main carriers in terms of handsets or services. This has set the stage for the kind of price war that all the providers are anxious to avoid.
Playing “Chicken” with Cash-Back Offers

According to data compiled by market research company Kantar Japan, iPhones accounted for 68.7% of smartphones sold between November 2013 and January 2014. With Docomo, KDDI (which offers mobile service under the Au brand), and SoftBank all offering the dominant iPhone along with Android handsets, customers were no longer choosing a mobile carrier on the basis of its lineup of devices.

If you dig deeper one of these companies would not only find carrier neutral offensive there are others in positions of influence who would also be offended.

Being offensive does work when you are among like minded people.  Below is George Carlin's infamous 7 dirty words skit.  It is funny to many and there is another group who find this offensive.

Planning a Trip to Japan, working on the logistics

I started traveling to Japan in 1987 and my last trip was in 1993.  During that time I took about 20 trips working on monitors, power supplies, printers, keyboards, mice, system software and fonts with companies like Sony, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Morisawa, Ryobi for Apple and Microsoft.  Out of all the travel I spent little time on vacation except for short weekends for trips that lasted more than a week.

Taking the family to Japan I could leverage all those years of travel and plan a trip that would work.

Luckily I was able to use mileage points in January to book 4 round trip coach tickets from Seattle to Haneda airport.  Delta shuts down the Haneda flight from Oct until Mar, and restarts the flights on Mar 30.  Haneda is so much more convenient for getting into Tokyo with a 20 min train ride into Shinagawa station.  We arrived late as our flight delayed and it was after midnight when we got in.  A taxi ride was less than $70 which was fine for the our of us.

For hotels people will typically try the Ryokan for a traditional experience.  I went for convenience and booked at a range of Starwood Hotels.  I could easily book online and modify the reservations.  To start I booked hotels to see how the flow would work.  Then my daughter talked to one of her friends and she said Miyajima to pet the deer was the highlight.

Miyajima : One of the top three scenic spots in Japan
The Island of Gods, well known for its floating shrine and Otorii.

Miyajima Island, one of the most scenic spots in Japan, has long been regarded as an Island of Gods on the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. It is a romantic and historical island where Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site, is located, along with the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen, and numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments.

Miyajima is near Hiroshima.  So changed the hotel reservations to add Hiroshima.  JR Rail Pass was making sense to travel.  looked at options and decided on 7 day pass green car for the four of us.  the Green car was worth it for the extra room and being to reserve seats for the four us together and spin the seats so we can face each other.  We were in Japan for 10 days, but we only needed the JR Rail pass for the first part.  the last days we were in Tokyo.

To get an idea for travel times I used Hyperdia.  This gave me an idea of what we could do. Our list of travel points were Haneda, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo, and back to Haneda.

”HyperDia” is a service which offers the route and the timetable of the railway and the aviation of Japan.
With simple operation, “HyperDia” guides the optimal route and the fare from starting point to end.
The route search engine is made by self-developed technology.
By applying this route search engine, it is possible to make link to regional information, for example, map information, a rental car and the golf-course etc around the station from the search result.
So, it is possible to offer the information which is possessed with your corporation sight effectively.

I used Hyperdia regularly to figure out what trains, times, and platforms to go to.  After getting the JR Pass in Japan I started booking bullet train reserved tickets between the cities.  The hard part is you cannot start booking tickets until you exchange your tickets in Japan.  We had to wait for room for 4 green car reserved for a couple of hours in Shinagawa, but it was worth it given the 4 1/2 hours on trains to Hiroshima.

To get Internet access I rented a standard wifi device for $55 for 10 days.  The wifi was shared between all us who ran our phones in airplane mode in Japan with wifi on.  The family could e-mail, text, snapchat, and even facetime over the wifi device.  I spent most of my time looking up travel details.

For food, we tried to find restaurants to go to based on recommendations, but eventually just started wandering around an area and looking at what looked most interesting to try.

What did work out well for planning ahead was contacting the concierge at the Westin Osaka for baseball tickets to a Hanshin Tigers baseball game.  It was a the 80th anniversary so it was hat day.

Been on Vacation, Families First Trip to Japan

I took a break from writing as we have been on vacation.

I promised my daughter I would take her to Japan when she was little.  I told her when she turned 10 we could go, but we put it off.  Now she is 13.  My son turned 11.  Spring break was coming up and luckily I could use mileage points for 4 tickets to Tokyo.

For this trip we took no computers, no tablets. Just 4 iPhones  one Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and nice camera (Sony RX100iii).

Below is a great noodle place we ate at the Ohara District an hour out of Kyoto.

Kids had a blast of course.


A Story on Gigaom's Fall

Re/code has a post they researched on the demise of Gigaom.

But, behind the scenes, Gigaom’s managers and investors had known the company was in serious peril for more than two months. And while they hadn’t discussed it publicly, its backers had been trying to fix the company for at least a year by pouring millions more into the publisher and swapping out executives.

The money was so short they couldn't host a Gigaom Structure Data schedule for this week.

Yet Gigaom needed even more money. Sources said the company wasn’t going to be able to produce an enterprise software conference in New York, which sold tickets for a list price of $1,255.50 and was scheduled for next week, because it didn’t have enough cash to pay vendors to stage the show. That kicked off the last-ditch effort to sell the business.

The area that Re/code focuses on caused the biggest losses was the Research group.

But Gigaom’s research business had actually become a significant drag on the company. While it had started out as a “pro” subscription business charging individuals as much as $299 a year, after a couple of pivots, the company’s research arm was now focused on creating custom white papers and other products, like Webinars, for corporate clients. While that group booked $8 million in business last year, it wasn’t profitable. That was partly due to high sales and product costs and but also because some of that $8 million never materialized as the company didn’t create the work it was supposed to. (Here’s a post from former Gigaom research head Michael Wolf, who says the company raised too much money to fulfill unrealistic growth expectations, and then mismanaged the money it raised).

Disclosure: I used to work freelance for Gigaom Research.  I decided in Dec 2013 to stop writing white papers and in June 2014 I stopped briefings and webinars. By Mar 2015 I was no longer actively working on any Gigaom activities other than being a speaker at Gigaom Structure in June 2015.