To keep this concise, I’ll skip the part about how I haven’t written a blog post in months, and feel like a slacker for it, but my excuse is that I’ve been real busy with other things (like work, triathlon training and planning an epic hike for this summer), and how I always get really inspired to write about something, but then something comes up, like getting hungry, and ….
Speaking of triathlon training, I bought a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch + heart rate monitor last summer, and it’s proved to be a really valuable tool in supporting me in my training. Interestingly enough, this product came out at the end 2005, and an updated (the 405) was released in 2007. But the reviews for the newer version were quite middling, with many people quoting the flakiness of the software and the fact that the touch-sensitive bezel misfires when you sweat and is difficult to use while active. Duh. Who would have thought that one would sweat while exercising. The 305’s honkin’ huge, but other than that, I can’t say I have any real complaints about its performance. It gets the job done quite effectively, whether I’m running along the river or on a hike in Kannanaskis. The only issue I find with it is the extensive nested configuration menus. Stuff isn’t always where I expect it to be. And trying to find a setting when I’m doing something else (running, for example), proved to be impossible.
A couple weeks ago, I was running 200m repeats around a track. I had previously set my watch to automatically trigger a new lap every mile, but now I wanted to time each lap separately, without it automatically resetting every mile (which would inevitably somewhere in the middle of a lap). So as I’m running, I’m digging into the menus, and for the life of me, I cannot find this freakin’ autolap setting to shut it off! Is it in “Settings->General->Display” … or perhaps “Settings->Fields->Units” … wait, this menu looks familiar, was I just here?!? To make a long story short, it took me about four laps after I’d realized what was going on before I was able to find this setting and turn it off.
So I was thinking about contextual awareness, and how this experience could have benefitted from the device leveraging this information. The Motorola Droid knows when you’re in your car, and it knows when you’re sleeping (it does not, however know when you’ve been bad or good. That comes as part of Android 4.0 a.k.a. Raspberry Bear Claw). Seriously, what more information could this watch know about me?!?: It already knew my heart rate, where I was , how fast I was going, and what training regimen I was on! Talk about the ultimate contextually aware device!
What would an interface adapted to my current context look like? Well, to be fair, the device already does a bit of this: it changes the display depending on if you’re biking, running or other-ing, though it’s something that the user has to manually specify. But if it knew I was in motion, maybe it could shave out some of the excess settings and only give me access to the kinds of things I may want to do/edit during an actual workout. Turning on/off autolapping may not be at the top of that list of use cases, but there’s a whole lot that could be safely hidden with the justification that these are probably things you’d never want to do while actually exercising (e.g. change the time and date).
No related posts.