Pebble Smartwatch


I’ve carried an iPhone around for some time (probably since a year after they were first released). Overall, it’s been a good choice for me and most of the initial annoyances I dealt with have been resolved over the course of several generations. However, one problem I’ve dealt with is sometimes not realizing when I’ve received a text message or have an incoming phone call (I usually carry my phone in my pocket).

This wasn’t a constant problem but it did happen often enough to be an issue. A couple of years ago I started searching for a wristwatch with Bluetooth capability that would vibrate or provide some other form of notification that was obvious. I did find devices that were almost what I was looking for but they were too expensive (several hundred dollars), had poor reviews, or they looked more like bracelets than watches. I had no interest in wearing two devices (for example, a watch and a device just for notifications) so I didn’t bother acquiring any of the devices available at the time.

Then I become familiar with the Kickstarter project for the Pebble Smartwatch. Sometimes I’d read about the progress of the project on tech sites or hear it mentioned in the TWiT podcast. I was interested, but not interested enough to become an early adopter so I waited. I also wanted to see the watch in person before deciding to find out just how big the watches really are.

This year the Pebble went into full production and was eventually available for sell at Best Buy stores. On a recent visit to a store I remembered to look for one. Sure enough, a couple were in stock. After seeing it in person I decided it wasn’t too large to wear (I didn’t want to walk around with a clunky box attached to my wrist) and finally purchased one. In Best Buy stores they sell for about $150. They are also listed on Amazon but are usually much more expensive.

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Using Growl to receive text notifications from mControl (and Windows 7)


Being able to control my home automation setup remotely is critical but I also wanted to receive event notifications from the computer on my phone. The solution is relatively simple, especially if you have an iPhone.

I installed Growl for Windows. To send notifications from the command-line I downloaded growlnotify from the same site. The final component is an app for the phone that can receive Growl notifications over the Internet. In my case I chose Prowl for iPhone but there are other services available.

To avoid receiving Growl notifications you don’t want (such as application events that don’t need to go to your phone) you can set the priority of the message with growlnotify and then configure Growl to only forward notifications of a certain priority to your mobile device.

This is especially useful if you have alarm events setup or reminders. For example, sometimes I forget to put the trash up at the curb so mControl is configured to send me a notice on the appropriate morning for trash pickup.