The apt starting point for this post on the Apple Watch Series Five is the 1999-2002 CW sci-fi teendram "Roswell." A central fine young brother from another planet is stressing over what to give his easy but demanding earth girlfriend for Christmas. He is advised to buy her something that she really wants but would not buy for herself; equally insightful but more amusing wisdom comes from similar series of the era "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." The pithy remark from that show is "a gift certificate; like money, only less useful,"
The first part of the "Roswell" equation dates back to this summer; the panic of phoneous interruptus occurs when I realize just as it is too late to turn back that I have left my iPhone 8 at home. The consequences of this include cancelling plans to see a movie so as to not lose out on loyalty points by not being able to have the app for the chain scanned.
This incident prompts the first of many discussions regarding whether buying an Apple watch is worth it; a big pro for this guy who has always worn a watch since the seventh grade is knowing that I never would forget the watch. Related big pluses are not feeling compelled to always carry around the often bulky-feeling phone and the momentary panic associated with the phone not being in the remembered pocket.
The cost and the inevitable forced obsolescence are big cons; another is the belief that having cellular service for the watch is an additional expense; time will tell if that is so.
Unwrapping a gift to find a gleaming white box is as exciting to lovers as tech. as discovering a robin egg's blue box is to a trophy spouse or significant other. Finding that said packaging contains the latest and greatest is even more thrilling. It truly is something that I really want but am unlikely to get for myself,
The same is true as to the AirPods with the charging case with which Apple gifted me roughly a year ago; I still use the wireless Beats headphones with which Apple gifted me a few years ago when flying.
Finding the watch in a protective pouch is exciting; finding the strap in two pieces in a separate sub-box is less enjoyable; it is understandable that some folks want to further line the pockets of Tim Cook by buying custom straps; it is less understandable that that requires the rest of us to suss out how to attach the provided straps in this age that greatly values instant gratification, Even being a "when all else fails, read the instructions" guy rather than a RTFM dude is not an issue when there is no FM.
The first few efforts to attach (and detach) the straps did not go well; even getting it right is not the end of the story. Fastening the watch to your wrist requires blindly lining up a prong on the lower strap with a hole on the upper strap; this is getting a little easier but evokes sympathy for women having to fasten bras.
A cool element of the Apple watch for Gen Xers is that it looks like a Swatch; having one of those timepieces that is another great gift actually bought in Switzerland being destroyed in a very '80s way during my school days still evokes sadness. I ran it over when it fell out of my pocket when I got the keys to my Mustang out to drive home after renting "Ghostbusters" on DVD; yes, I was wearing Vuarnet sunglasses with a Ralph Lauren cologne and a polo shirt. (Of course, my feet were sockless and clad in Topsiders.)
The Apple calculator working on the watch evokes thoughts of the nerd de rigueur accessory of the late '70s and eary '80s; the Casio calculator watch.
The watch nicely pairs with an iPhone after downloading the watch app on the latter; however, not every app transferring to the watch is mildly disappointing; a little online research shows that Chirp for Twitter compensates for the Twitter app itself not being compatible with the phone.
An oddity is that the watch does not seem to be compatible with the Amazon or the Amazon Music apps but does display the Music song that you are playing on your phone; the lack of an app may be be attributable to the Notorious JPB trying to compel people to buy the Alexa that is designed for use in your car.
A personal choice of having the time, the local weather, the phone, messaging, e-mail, and the battery life display on the "homepage" makes for an equally nice and practical display. The clear and adequately large display is nice for those of us whose eyesight is not-so-perfect.
Speaking of the battery life, it seems that moderate use sucks up 50-percent of the life each day. Also speaking of the battery life, it is disappointing that the watch simply does not have a port for the standard Apple charging cable.
You must place the watch on an (admittedly cool) magnetic charging pad, which does quickly charge the watch. A big downside as to this effort to facilitate Tim Cook buying Greenland is that forgetting this charger on even an overnight trip (especially if you do not bring your phone) can create a big problem.
The better news is that the voice feature works very well as to both texting and telephoning with a technology that precludes butt dialing except for the occasions on which all of us speak out of that orifice. Although folks familiar with fictional detective Dick Tracy will think of his wrist radio, a very nifty thing is that you do not need to hold the watch very close to your mouth for it work. Further, the text feature is amazingly good at filtering out ambient noise such as music, television, and other people speaking. It would be nice if you could erase part of a message; rather than having to cancel and rerecord.
One note is that watch technology not being especially widespread will earn you funny looks as people see you seemingly talking to yourself without holding a phone or having a bluetooth device in your ears. (AirPods work AWESOMELY with an iPhone.)
The fun and functional Etch-a-Sketch style Scribble feature is a good way to avoid questioning looks.
To Buy or Not To Buy
Returning to the initial theme of the post, the gift of an Apple watch is guaranteed to thoroughly delight anyone with any interest in tech. It also is a stupendous way to treat yo self to celebrate a big win.
At the same time (pun intended), this being a pricey luxury item that mostly is a substitute for another pricey luxury item makes running up a credit bill to purchase it foolish; in such a case, there are better uses for your money than trying to keep up with the Cooks.
The most important takeaway regarding this inaugural product-review post is that APC makes excellent battery back-up products. Your not-so-humble reviewer has used them for far more years than he would like to admit and ALWAYS has been satisfied.
The second most important aspect of this post on the new 1000 VA/600 watts APC model BR100MS is that a mishap (which is due to no fault by APC) allows tying this article into a classic sitcom. Please stay tuned for that important message.
The real starting point is that the aging and increasingly unreliable US power grid is behind the aforementioned heavy reliance on APC products; this also is the impetus for a back-up generator that was a figurative life-saver for a several days' outage in October 2017 and a major convenience as to several shorter power failures. The rest of the story is that actual computers and electronic devices, such as televisions and 4K players, that heavily rely on computer components do not handle abrupt power surges and outages well.
A related note is that the predecessor of the current APC unit provided especially important backup that the new unit has undertaken. Trying to make a long story short, the battery in a then two-year-old HP laptop losing its ability to recharge resulted in that device frequently shutting down even when operating off of electricity. Efforts to bypass the battery were highly impractical.
Rather than give HP the satisfaction of spending $100 to replace a battery in an a laptop that was going to be mothballed in a couple of years, I pulled out the bad battery and plugged the laptop into the APC. That saved me during one brief outage,
The set up of the BR1000MS was very easy and improved on far-from-fatal flaws in older models. Connecting the battery itself was very intuitive, and literally making the connection was very smooth. MUCH older models sometimes required a bit of wrestling to connect that battery, and one made a very dramatic spark. APC customer service did its usual excellent job regarding that one.
Other peace-of-mind comes from a 3-year warranty on the device itself and a lifetime $250,000 warranty on the connected electronic products.
The way-cool front display has easy-to-see and understand status reports that include the charge level of the battery and the estimated remaining time that you can run your device (or devices) off the battery. The maximum stated time is 92 minutes. As of this writing, this feature remains untested. It would be VERY helpful in case of not getting right back to my desk during a power failure.
There also are two USB charging ports that allow simultaneously using and charging a cell phone or tablet. This feature also is untested.
An easily resolved mishap roughly a week after setting up the BR1000MS relates to the aforementioned sitcom connection. It also is relevant regarding a non-fatal pet peeve with many APC products.
When setting up the BR1000MS, I plugged the laptop and a few other office items into some of the six combination battery and surge-protection outlets. These included a rarely used laser printer.
I was nearing the end of a long and frustrating day when I wanted to print something. I turned on the printer and almost immediately had my laptop, my monitor, and the printer shut down. I also experienced the BR1000MS beeping loudly, the status light going from green to red, and an "F02" error display.
Trying to restore the BR1000MS after unplugging it likely would have been easier had I followed the wise principle of RTFM. Instead, I simply disconnected the battery and then reconnected it.
I called APC tech. support, which has never failed me. The very nice and patient technician was extremely helpful and NEVER made me feel stupid.
He initially explained to me that my device was a 600-watt one that limited the total wattage of devices plugged into a battery/surge outlet to that amount. We determined that my laptop likely drew roughly 200 watts of power, and the tech. went above-and-beyond in looking up the specs. of my laser printer online. He stated that that device drew 525 watts when initially powered up.
We discussed that I incorrectly assumed that the physical size of a UPS always corresponded with its capability. The tech. noted that the next APC model up was an 810-watt UPS, which is the same physical size as the BR1000MS. He also stated that that one would better meet my needs.
Our conversation included the fact that most consumers are not adequately savvy to know the wattage of devices or which UPS best meets their needs.
This discussion evoked thoughts of a scene in an early episode of the '60scom "Green Acres," which revolves around transplanted (pun intended) New York lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas and his not-so-bright socialite wife Lisa moving to the farming community of Hooterville.
The relevant "sit" that provides the "com" is that Oliver is explaining to Lisa that the generator that provides their dilapidated farmhouse electricity has a limit of seven. He then tells her the number of each kitchen appliance and states that she cannot simultaneously use any combination of these devices that exceeds seven. This leads to a comedic bit involving things such as being able to use the toaster and the coffee pot at the same time but not the dishwasher and the coffee pot, This culminates in an image of the generator harmlessly exploding.
This leads to the pet peeve related to APC; the not-so-fatal flaw of many devices from that company is that the number of battery/surge outlets often create a false expectation regarding the number of devices that you can plug into those outlets. In this case, the six such outlets in the BR1000MS would not allow for plugging in my laptop, my printer, and my monitor. This is not to mention the other four low-wattage items in my work area.
It seems that the BR1000MS back-up outlets can handle my laptop and monitor. That leaves four other outlets for five devices. Another perspective is that four battery/surge outlets are as useful as mammaries on a male bovine. HOWEVER, that imperfection should not preclude purchasing an APC device. It only requires being a little bit more savvy than you would be regarding most other purchases.
It sincerely is hoped that these thoughts are helpful. PLEASE leave any comments or questions below.