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Smartwatch on Willem's Blog

Wearing two watches

Both a mechanical and a smartwatch

Feb. 28, 2021
Why you should wear two watches, don't choose between a mechanical watch and a smartwatch!

For the past weeks I have been wearing two watches, and boy this is a thing! I love my mechanical watch, but I needed the modern connectivity of a smartwatch. I couldn't choose between them, so I decided to wear both. It's not as bad as you think, let me share some thoughts on my experience.

Realtime service uptime monitoring

Discover problems before your customers do

Feb. 2, 2021
Downtime happens and it is nothing to be ashamed of, just make sure that you set yourself up to discover problems as soon as possible! Know about problems before your customers do!

Downtime happens and it is nothing to be ashamed of, just make sure that you set yourself up to discover problems as soon as possible! You can use realtime uptime monitoring to automatically keep an eye on your servers and services. Read along to find out how.

Designing my own watch

Timeless timepiece, both functional and comfortable

Nov. 30, 2020
Last month I received my custom made wristwatch from Switzerland, it is a minimalistic mechanical annual calendar designed to be understated and true to the metal.

Last month a very special package arrived from Switzerland, containing my custom made wrist watch. I decided to sell all my big brand watches and have them replaced by something unique, tailored to my personal preferences. This is the story of my watch.

Cleaning a vintage watch

Rediscovering old beauty under layers of dirt

Aug. 23, 2020
This week I cleaned an automatic vintage watch and fitted it to with a new strap, rediscovering old beauty underneath layers of dirt!

This week I was cleaning my closet when I found an old watch. It came from my grandfather’s house. It looked like it had an adventurous live, full of wear and tear. I recognised that it had an automatic mechanical movement. Upon picking it up it almost instantly started running again. I wondered how cool it would be if I would gently clean it.

Tudor Black Bay 36 long-term review

Six months on the wrist

June 17, 2020
For the past six months I have been wearing the same watch, every day and night. Read along to learn what makes the Tudor Black Bay 36 the perfect every day watch.

For the past six months I have been wearing the same watch, pretty much every day and night. It's a Tudor Black Bay 36 watch in steel, with a black dial. I like minimal (yet functional) design that lasts, this watch certainly ticks the right boxes. Read along to find out how wearable a smaller watch is in daily practice.

Different ways to visualise health

Looking at games and fitness apps

May 25, 2020
To better understand how to visualise health I looked at different health/fitness apps and games.

This month I did some research into how health is visualised in fitness apps and games. For a new app involving personal health I am looking for an intuitive way to visualise how healthy one person is. There are many colourful approaches out there!

Whoop strap review: 24/7 wearable sensor

Beyond fitness tracking and smartwatches

Dec. 31, 2019

The past months I have been wearing the WHOOP Strap 3.0, a wearable sensor that collects health and fitness data. It's different compared to most other fitness bands as it was designed with professional athletes in mind. It is focussed on daily strain, recovery and sleep. Read along to find out how this works.

Limitations of sleep tracking using a wearable

Comparison with a chest strap HR-monitor

July 16, 2019
Limitations of heart rate analyses during sleep, why you should reconsider tracking your sleep.

Sleep monitoring is a popular feature of many smartwatches and wearables. Devices like Fitbit, Withings, Apple Watch and Biostrap analyse biometrics during your sleep. These wearables are worn on the wrist and use optical sensors to capture your heart rate. I wondered how the optical sensors would compare to a high resolution chest strap HR-monitor.

Optical vs chest strap heart rate monitors

Measuring beats per minute using different sensors

July 15, 2019
Understanding the differences in common HR monitors used in wearables, smartwatches and fitness trackers

With modern wearables, smartwatches and fitness bands, it has become easy and common to measure your heart rate. There are however fundamental differences in sensor types. Some sensors capture the electrical signal from your heart while others use light to analyse the blood flowing through your vessels. If you're interested in measuring heart rate, it's good to understand these differences.

The best bike computer app: Cyclemeter

Get advanced ride data with a flexible setup

Apr. 30, 2019
Collect advanced bike ride data using your smartphone connected to external Bluetooth sensors and a steer mounted display.

This month I have intensified my training to become fit for this year's Fietselfstedentocht, a 235KM bicycle ride through Friesland. Over the years I have tested different kinds of bike computer setups: from dedicated (and expensive) Garmin Edge bike computers to no data at all. Eventually I came up with a flexible setup to gather advanced ride data using my smartphone, let me explain how this works.

Is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Testing the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life

Nov. 2, 2018
I tested the Apple Watch during my work in Frankfurt this week where I had to go inside an internet data centre.

This week I went to Frankfurt for business. I had to perform maintenance to servers in a data centre. This seemed like a great opportunity to test the Apple Watch's usefulness in real life (other than health and fitness). I wondered, is the Apple Watch the modern tool watch?

Swimming and cycling with Apple Watch

Different activities in the workout app in watchOS

Sep. 27, 2018
This month I tested the newest watchOS while swimming and cycling.

This month Apple launched a new Apple Watch series and released an update to watchOS. The focus of the smartwatch is more and more gearing towards health and fitness. This made me curious, how well does Apple Watch work for different activities?

Listen to your body

Why I stopped using health and fitness sensors

May 17, 2018
Using health data gathered by sensors and wearables I learned to listen to my body. Now I have stopped using bluetooth sensors all together.

A good customer of mine was once a physiotherapist, he told me about people asking him to "feel their muscles" to tell them how they where doing. "Crazy!" he told me: "I can never feel better than the people themselves, if they only would listen to their body". This caused me to question the health and fitness sensors I use.

Something the smartwatch will never have: patina

Wear and tear by the hands of time

Jan. 21, 2018
Patina is often neglected when comparing smartwatches with regular watches.

A good friend of mine had an issue with his Apple Watch, the digital crown lost a rubber ring causing the watch to lose its water resistance. Apple made no problem of it and offered to replace his "device". While it solved his problem, it felt painful to my watch lover's ears. It made me realise the one thing a smartwatch will never have: patina.

Collecting health data with Biostrap

Wearing a clinical-grade photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor for a month

Nov. 15, 2017
Wearing a clinical-grade PPG sensor for a month to collect advanced biometrics from my wrist.

Most wearables (smartwatches, fitness trackers, etc.) use very basic sensors to capture heart rate. Their signal is binary: just counting beats. Biostrap is different, instead of just checking pulses, it captures a high-fidelity PPG waveform. These waveforms are the same kind that doctors use, making me wonder what I could learn from them!

Smartwatches vs Mechanical watches

Why I still wear mechanical and why smartwatches have potential

Apr. 30, 2017
Why I still wear a mechanical watch and why smartwatches have potential.

Technology has come a long way since the first computer. Smartwatches today are very much an achievement of miniaturisation of technology. I recently used an Apple Watch Series 2 to find out if technology has come far enough to replace my mechanical watch, today I share you my findings.

Programming on Apple Watch

Serious about crazy experiments

Feb. 16, 2017
Programming with VIM over SSH on Apple Watch using a bluetooth keyboard

Over the past years I have been no stranger to crazy experiments, but this time I really wanted to push it into the extreme: programming on an Apple Watch. Would it be possible to actually write code on such a tiny device? Why even bother? This post is about the case for crazy experiments, and why you should try too!

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You wear both on the wrist, yet they are very different things!
You wear both on the wrist, yet they are very different things!
Snake '97 - the original idea and stars of the game, the Nokia 5110 and 3310 - possible because of earlier experimentation with technology
Snake '97 - the original idea and stars of the game, the Nokia 5110 and 3310 - possible because of earlier experimentation with technology
Accessing information while keeping my hands free
Accessing information while keeping my hands free
Heart rate during my experiment night as captured with the optical HR sensor (top) and chest strap (bottom)
Heart rate during my experiment night as captured with the optical HR sensor (top) and chest strap (bottom)
My collection of health and fitness sensors
My collection of health and fitness sensors
Digital technology and social change (by Martin Hilbert, University of California)
Digital technology and social change (by Martin Hilbert, University of California)
Double strapping in the name of Science: Biostrap and Apple Watch on my wrist
Double strapping in the name of Science: Biostrap and Apple Watch on my wrist
Wahoo TIKR (left) captures more data per minute than Apple Watch (right) per hour!
Wahoo TIKR (left) captures more data per minute than Apple Watch (right) per hour!
Console connected to server
Console connected to server
The world on your wrist - using Apple Maps in downtown Frankfurt
The world on your wrist - using Apple Maps in downtown Frankfurt
The Apple Watch is a tiny wearable computer
The Apple Watch is a tiny wearable computer
Omata One (omata.com) minimal analogue bike computer
Omata One (omata.com) minimal analogue bike computer
Biostrap features an optical sensor, located at the center, right between two LED's
Biostrap features an optical sensor, located at the center, right between two LED's
Apple Watch and Rolex Milgauss 116400GV
Apple Watch and Rolex Milgauss 116400GV
Apple Watch has an optical heart rate sensor, cleary visible in the middle of the underside
Apple Watch has an optical heart rate sensor, cleary visible in the middle of the underside
Apple Watch showing an estimated delivery time of a parcel (from the Dutch PostNL service)
Apple Watch showing an estimated delivery time of a parcel (from the Dutch PostNL service)
The case is milled with extreme precision, making it unnecessary to hide mistakes by polishing (as there aren't any!)
The case is milled with extreme precision, making it unnecessary to hide mistakes by polishing (as there aren't any!)
Opening the watch can be done using a special tool
Opening the watch can be done using a special tool

More Smartwatch on Willem's Blog

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