5 things I love about Apple’s Watch. And 5 I hate.

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Despite its $499AUD price tag, my reasons for buying Apple’s Watch (which, as far as I can tell, they don’t call the Apple Watch and certainly never the iWatch) don’t run particularly deep.

I bought it because I could. Finally.

I first saw a display case full of Watches early this year in the Sydney Apple Store. “Can I buy one?” I asked the chirpy blue-suited Apple-sistant.

“Sure!” she chirped. “You can order one online and it will probably ship to you some time in July. Would you like to make an appointment to view one?”

So when I saw the other week that you could finally, you know, hand over some money in exchange for goods or services, there was no stopping me. Minutes later I was in my nearby hotel room “unboxing” (as the cool kids say) my Watch. (The packaging, you will not be at all surprised to know, is beautiful.)

Three weeks later, here’s my take.

I like how it looks. Seriously. And I only got the cheap “Sports” model (black strap, grey case). The “Chronograph” face (one of 10 or so at the moment) looks high tech and cool. Whether you get the $500 version or the $15,000 one, they work exactly the same. Same screen, same processor, same everything.

I like the alerts. My phone screen isn’t always in front of me and I never have the ringer turned on because this isn’t 1989. A wee buzz buzz on my wrist followed by a message telling me what’s up (or WhatsApp) is a handy thing. Not a $500 handy thing, but useful.

I like messaging. Text messages are made for the Watch. Short, easy to read, instant. Replying is the kicker though. On top of a bunch of stock one-tap replies (yes, no, thanks and so on) the Watch serves up options based on the message you just got. So when my designer asks if I want some work formatted portrait or landscape, “portrait” and “landscape” are there as one-tap reply options. Voice dictate works very very well on the watch too.

I like the fitness app. Don’t get me wrong, I’m already a fit and gorgeous hunk of man-flesh. But we could all do with being more active. Watch monitors movement, heartbeat and how often I’m standing up, lets me know how I’m doing and reminds me if I’m being a couch kumara. And the UI is very nice indeed, even down at tiny icon size.

I like phone calls. Well I sort of do. They’re clear at both ends (no one has ever noticed I’m not using my phone) and it’s easy to answer. It might even be legal while driving (I doubt the law has a clue on this one). The only snag is the first thing I despise….

I hate that I look like a dick. Especially when taking a phone call. I have only found one way to speak into my wrist without looking awkward and that involves casually leaning my elbow on a particular fridge at the radio station I work at. No fridge: look like dick. (Also, everyone can hear both sides of your call.)

I hate not having enough wrists. Share of Wrist is the new tech battleground. No device does everything, so I’m currently double-watching a Watch and a Fitbit Charge HR. For running (and partly for sentimental reasons) I like to wear my Nike Sports Watch. And my Pebble? Sorry Pebble. I am all out of arms.

I hate having to take my phone running. (Speaking of running.) The Watch doesn’t have GPS built in. So if you want to know where you are, where you’ve been, or how to get somewhere, you need to tote your iPhone along. That’s pretty dumb. Might as well just use the iPhone running app, right?

I hate that the apps I love don’t all work. Strava (running and cycling app) is a confusing pain in the arse on Watch. WhatsApp alerts are limited to “you haz message!” but won’t show the message. Facebook Messenger is AWOL. And Twitter won’t show mentions or DMs. My US share portfolio is super easy to track though (as for some reason it always has been on i-stuff). If only I had a US share portfolio.

I hate that this means yet another charger. Yes the magnetic inductive charger button thing is cool but I’m going to lose it. Or go on a trip without it. And that means finding an Apple Store and handing over even more money for yet another special cable that only works with the one thing.

So is it cool? Yep, quite cool. Is it perfect? Not even close. Lots of work needed on the apps and when the WatchG (the rumoured GPS-included model I just invented) comes out I will be a lot happier. Playing nice with Fitbit would be cool too but now I’m dreaming.

Will I still be wearing it in 6 months?

Watch this space.

Ohura must die

Ohura

Well, sort of. I used to fly over Ohura regularly as an air force pilot (I still do now sometimes, even though ZK-TGF doesn’t use its radio beacon). So when a recent Moxie Sessions chat discussed small towns and our non-Auckland regions in general, tiny Ohura seemed like a good way to bring the idea to life.

Read the NBR article here

#InvestInvivo – and be in the red from day one (:

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In hindsight, I think Tim Lightbourne at Invivo chose the better headline for his billboard! Our client Invivo has always been into trying new things, like this project we did with Graham Norton last year. And now that they need money to grow, they’re takin the crowd equity route – the first winemaker in New Zealand to do so. The offer goes public 16 March, so if you have a lazy $1000 or more, take a look.

The company you keep: ads and your brand

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Even though it only lasted two weeks, I learned a lot in my first job in advertising.

It was a fill-in gig, writing ads at Auckland radio station More FM. In those days it was a stand-alone station, and it was everything the TV series WKRP had led me to expect.

The first lesson was how many seconds went into a 30-second ad.

The second was a bit less obvious. It was that the ads you run play just as important a part in people’s perception of your media brand as the content does. More FM was (and is) a mainstream music station – you could hear the same songs it played in lots of other places. Its ads, though, were mostly unique. Most of them only played on More FM and had a big impact on what people thought of the station.

I was thinking of that the other day when I saw the banner ad I’ve placed at the top of this post.

It does Trade Me no favours at all, and for every dollar the advertiser is paying for it to be there, it’s taking $10 off the value of the Trade Me brand (figures approximate, but you get my point).

Advertising like that might bring in a few bucks, but it cheapens Trade Me and, critically, harms the trustworthiness it’s spent over a decade building. Does that ad look like it comes from a trusted company? Does it seem 100% legitimate? Would you click on it?

(It may well be all those things, but we’re talking perception here, which is WAY more important than reality.)

Trade Me doesn’t care. I asked them. They’re OK with it (although they agree that the ad is “unglamorous”).

Z Energy (who are not associated with the ad at all) says there’s nothing they can do about the advertiser using their brand in that way. (I doubt that though.)

There’s been a bit of media chat about this happening in the opposite sense: Google AdSense placing brands’ display ads on sites and blogs that, had they known, they’d rather not be on.

But it works both ways. Site visitors don’t care that some of your website is yours and some is delivered by advertisers. Together they form a picture. And if a big, ugly, lurid part of that picture doesn’t feel worth trusting then you’ve thrown away the most valuable thing you own.

By their tweets ye shall know them: some thoughts on politicians and Twitter

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I woke just now, oddly, to the soothing voice of my good friend Paul Brislen in my ear. He was on the radio, mercifully, talking to Marcus Lush about politicians and Twitter, in the wake of Trevor Mallard’s and Jan Logie’s tweets in the last week or so catching speaker David Carter’s eye.

So, naturally, There Is To Be An Investigation.

(Meanwhile Winston Peters uses parliamentary privilege to compare former colleague Brendan Horan to a sex offender, but it wasn’t on Twitter so move along, nothing to see here…)

Here’s my take on politicians on Twitter.

While press releases, speeches and advertising might present a well-spun version of how a politician wants us to appear, Twitter gives us the real deal. You can’t fake who you are for every one of 10,000 tweets. Twitter will expose you. If you’re someone we should vote for it will expose you as that. And if you’re someone we should set adrift off Raoul Island in a small open boat it will expose you as that too.

And I like that.

I like that I get to see who I’m voting for. And that my mother does. And that my sons will.

So please, please, please, politicians, keep tweeting. And if you do want a rule to tweet by, consider the one Russell Brown from Public Address runs his community by: don’t be a dick.

Unless you are one, in which case go right ahead.