I wore the Pebble every day. The display is still amazing, battery life has never been a problem. There's been firmware updates and the UI has some great improvements. (read my previous 1-week review here)
Usually when I hit my wall (my desk is in the corner beside a wall, right by my left hand, where I wear my Pebble), the Pebble handles it just fine without any scratches. But this time I hit a stone pillar outside, and it got some deep scratches.
The scratches were too deep for any conventional polishing techniques. I could try sanding it and then running it under a buffing wheel, but I do not have access to one. So I was pretty sad, especially because I already ordered some screen protectors for it.
The first lesson here is that, if you want a Pebble, you want a screen protector as soon as possible.
With that said, I'm not the kind of person who just gives up. When the screen protector arrived, I did an experiment.
Petroleum jelly, aka Vaseline, has a similar refractive index to most plastics. I know this because I know that you can repair scratched LCD monitors by spearing Vaseline over it. The Vaseline will fill the scratch, and since the refractive index is matched, the light travels through it without bending or reflections, this makes the scratch invisible. I smeared some Vaseline over my Pebble, and the scratches disappeared. Great!
The next problem is that the Vaseline will rub off and wash off eventually, unless you cover it up somehow. So the next part of the trick is to install a screen protector to cover up the Vaseline. So clean the screen with soapy water to get rid of any oil, dry it off, smear some Vaseline on it, apply the screen protector, and squeeze out any bubbles. Then let it sit still for an entire day or two. Make sure your hands are clean and no dust ever lands on it while doing this.
I highly recommend using Gadget Wraps for this, because their "wraps" is two parts, one part is a sticky decorative part (the brushed metal one looks amazing on a black Pebble) and a second part which is a clear screen protector. The sticker has a rectangular cutout in the center, where the screen protector sits in, in the end, everything is perfectly smooth. This makes my method of hiding scratches much easier because the sticker traps the screen protector, making it easier to squish out the bubbles.
Our project is ARUCI. It's on this website right now.
Just some things I noticed. Take these as advice if you ever have to do a project symposium at your school.
Our booth location wasn't great, sort of in an area where people don't normally pass by. But it did mean that people who were there was actually there to see things.
We had our monitor playing a video demo of our project, it looked like just-another-phone-app from that point of view, but most of our work involved hardware. People didn't realize that, and shrugged us off as just-another-phone-app.
Some of the other groups didn't even seem to realize that you can change the frequency of their XBees. We implemented a serial reconfiguration console in our demo, once we realized that other people were interefering with our stuff, we quickly changed our own frequency. I also tried to survey my class to see who will be using what frequency but it was largely ignored.
Quadcopters are always a crowd favorite, even if you just buy RTF.
Have business cards ready! Also, business people don't really care about the technical stuff.
Senior Project Drinking Game: take a shot for every Arduino, XBee, or Kinect.
The winner of the $2000 prize this year was a Kill-a-Watt clone.
Dave Jones, from the EEVBlog, recently did a review of the Saleae Logic, and he basically bashed it because he's been working in the EE field for decades and owns equipment worth many thousands of dollars.
This post isn't really a review, it's more like a piece of advice. I have written this from the point of view of a hobbyist, especially a poor one. The Saleae Logic holds a special place in my heart because I'm pretty sure it's responsible for a lot of my success.
Plus, watching Dave use the Saleae software is cringe worthy. The triggering options were pretty obvious and intuitive, but he just didn't see them. Also I think he didn't setup the UART analyzer options properly. I've never read the manual and I've figured out the software pretty much inside out by now.
Please click "full story" to read the entire post:
I was a Kickstarter backer for the Pebble (got the black option, about 1/3 into their fundraiser). I received mine about 3 weeks ago, but only wore it for a week so far. Here are my first impresions.
In summary, the hardware is great. No regrets on taking the risk of backing the Kickstarter. I foresee myself wearing this watch all the time.
But remember I have only worn it for one week so far, I have not tested every aspect of it.
The body of the watch appears to be well built, it doesn't seem "cheap". Real engineering and quality assurance efforts has been put into its design. It is supposed to be waterproof, and so far it has lived up to that claim. I have taken showers with it, but I have not gone swimming with it.
The screen looks excellent in normal conditions, and in bright (direct sunlight) conditions. In dark conditions, the backlight is bright, even, and easy to activate (just shake your wrist slightly). One problem with the screen is that it has this slight "oily" look (as if you were pressing too hard on it, or maybe overheated it), but you will only notice this when it is displaying a white background, it is hard to notice this problem when it is showing a black background . The Pebble Team is aware of this issue and says "it's normal".
The screen surface seems to be durable enough for normal use. I've hit it against a few things by accident and it's still fine. Other people have reported that it's fine even after scraping paint off walls.
Battery life is as-advertised. I have not done a real stress test. The charging cable is insanely easy to use because it attaches magnetically, I just sit down at my computer, snap on the cable, and use my computer and not really care that it's there while it charges. The cable itself has been designed well, great springed contacts, it's safe because it's designed so you can't plug it in backwards and it won't short circuit if you accidently stick it against metal.
The buttons are great, they have the "clicky" feel. There are 4 buttons, which is kind of important to me because I plan on developing custom firmware for it.
The strap is good, it seems durable enough, it's a simple black plastic band type so I can't really say much about it. I like simple things, but that's personal opinion.
The software is off to a good start, everything is intuitive, the menu is great. It can be improved massively by having more features. As of this time, the SDK is not out yet. I am fairly certain the "massive improvements" will come once the SDK is available. I will hold off on reviewing the software and give the Pebble Team some more time on it.
The range of the Bluetooth is decent, signals can travel between rooms or between floors. Either I've never actually lost my connection between my Pebble and my phone, or maybe the reconnection is so seemless that I've never noticed it disconnect.
The response time for notifications is great, the delay is 2 seconds at most (My phone is running Android 2.3.7 if it matters). Most of the time my phone is set to vibrate, and sometimes I don't really feel my phone vibrate, or maybe I've left my phone somewhere else. The Pebble notifies you by vibrating, and the motor is very strong. The vibrating notification feature basically made ringtones obsolete for me, I can say that I literally do not miss any notifications.
I got a new toy, a Wacom Bamboo Capture pen tablet. I used to have a similar tablet a few years ago and really liked it. I figure I'd give it a shot doing CAD, presentations, and Photoshop stuff (I took an online digital imaging course as an elective this school term).
This tablet exceeds my expectations. Good construction, it's plastic but you almost feel like it's metal. I like the design, it's comfortably thin, the size is a good size, no batteries required.
It functions as advertised, the pen responds well and it is accurate. It can detect the tip at about 8mm above the surface, with reasonable accuracy too. Pressure sensitivity works as expected in Photoshop.
Keep in mind that I have not tried the more expensive models to compare. My model is under $100, the professional models cost over $200 or $300.
It has multitouch capabilities which is nice for zooming and stuff (can't CAD without zooming), and it's smart enough to not let my palm activate the touch while I am using the pen.
There is a light that changes colour depending on how you are using the tablet, it glows white when the pen is in range, dark blue while idle, and light blue when I am touching it.
The driver is non-intrusive and very configurable, all the buttons are configurable (there are 4 more buttons on the tablet itself, I didn't even know it had them before buying it). You can even have the buttons do crazy things like disable touch or move the pen between monitors (I have a dual screen setup, this is very important).
Using it takes some getting used to, maybe it won't completely replace my mouse but that's not a surprise.
I don't like how it occupies an entire USB port (I have an obsession with USB ports, mainly due to the nature of my involvement with electronics), which is unavoidable. Wacom does offer a $50 wireless conversion kit that hides inside the tablet, but it's not Bluetooth so it'll still take up a port, but I wouldn't have to unplug it every time I go to a class. I might invest in this kit later, and somehow modify my laptop to contain an internal USB hub.
Conclusion: if you are sitting on the fence about getting one, go for it.