Watch on, watch off

February 20, 2016

I bought a new GPS watch a few weeks ago. It is my second one, and my third exercise-tracker-type device. I really like running with it, but it also does general activity tracking. Step counting, statistics, reminders to move, heart rate on command … all the modern things. This naturally hit my statistics nerd side, and so I have ended up wearing the watch for most of the past weeks. Daily step counts and quick heart rate readings on demand, what is not to like?

Today, I stopped. And: I am happy I have not bought an Apple watch.

I do not enjoy wearing a watch all the time, and I do not appreciate the way wearing it a bit tries to make me wear it more for all that activity tracking. With the Apple watch, that tracking plus other features (plus any aesthetic value) would be the whole reason to get the watch. Wearing it all the time would, sort of, be the point, or at least a large part of it. With this one, I got it for the great exercise utility and so am not losing anything by leaving it behind the rest of the day. I do not need or want another gadget which I should be dragging along everywhere.

I can enjoy the look of a watch on my wrist though, which is an interesting discovery. I do not enjoy the feel of it very much though. More so, most likely, because the heart rate sensor demands a very snug fit to read best.

The big screen

This naturally leads into another resent technology purchase: the nice screen I bought and hooked up to my Mac mini. It truly is nice, I love using it and it gives me vastly better computing ergonomy at home.

Therein also lies a problem, one I actually predicted before getting the screen. The problem is that I now have to put in quite a bit of effort to drag myself away from that one corner of the room. When my main screen was the one built into my Macbook I moved around a lot more. Armchair, bed, kitchen table, or even floor. Now, though, my default state is to hang around in front of the superior view unless I make a very conscious effort to move away. That stationary computer and screen are also on a lot more, I have to make a conscious decision to turn them off.

In stark contrast to the watch, the screen is still an easy win despite the problems. But I think it is constructive to consider how the technology I decide to use affects me, and to actively choose which things to work for or against rather than defaulting to each gadget which happens to come along dictating how I lead my life to best optimize its use rather than my experience.

(I am writing this on my Macbook, in the kitchen. Talk is nothing without action, right?)