Dark Sky

My Apple Watch Complications

I've had my Apple Watch darn near a year at this point, but I am still changing the way I use this tiny little computer strapped to wrist. For me, the most used feature of the Apple Watch are the complications (the little customized icons on the watch face that give you information). I still change out the complications on my watch face from time to time, but I thought I would share what I am using right now.

Calendar:

Starting in the upper left corner I have the Calendar complication, which shows today's date. I know, big deal...watches have been doing that since almost the dawn of time. This one doesn't need the power of a computer on your wrist, but at least a couple of times a day I need to know what today's date is (writing checks or writing an email where I need to insert dates) and being able to quickly look at your watch face and have the date is just super convenient.

OmniFocus:

The complication in the center of my watch face is OmniFocus. Omnifocus is my "getting things done (GTD)" tool (see my GeekDad post on GTD here) where I keep all of the things I have to do (a really powerful to-do list of sorts). I use this complication a lot more on the weekends, because during the work week I am permanently attached to my work laptop which always has OmniFocus up and running. Being able to look down at my watch see my most recent item that needs to be done is really handy. In a way it is a subtle reminder that keeps me on track to complete the critical items for the day. I can also quickly tap the complication and it takes me to the Apple Watch version of OmniFocus where I can quickly check off the items I have completed, see the full list of things I need to do today, tomorrow or for any project or category I need to see. OmniFocus is in the center of my watch face for a reason, it is a killer app!

The main screen after tapping into OmniFocus

The main screen after tapping into OmniFocus

Drafts:

Drafts is the complication in the lower left hand corner of my watch face. Drafts is a very simple but incredibly handy app that acts just like a tiny little notebook always at the ready to capture a quick note or piece of information. The "0" on the icon means that I currently have zero notes in my Drafts inbox, which is good. Drafts is meant to capture information but not permanently hold it. Everything that goes into Drafts is meant to go somewhere else. For example, I'll use drafts to dictate a tweet and then I have an action that takes the text that was dictated and puts it out in a tweet. I'll also use Drafts to dictate a quick email, create the text for an OmniFocus entry or even create a calendar event (the text I dictate into draft can then be pushed directly to Fantastical which parses the text and creates the calendar event automatically. Check out this great piece by Joe Buhlig if you want to know more about the power of Drafts. What makes Draft so nice on the watch is that when you press the complication is opens the app instantly and starts dictating what you say. Very simple but extrememly useful.

Drafts...ready to dictate a note

Drafts...ready to dictate a note

MacID:

I wrote an article not long about this sweet little app. MacID is an iPhone app that lets you use TouchID to login to your computer. Since the Apple Watch is paired to my iPhone and I have to authenticate each time I put it on, I am able to unlock my computer when I am wearing the watch just by pressing the icon on the bottom/middle portion of my watch face. I use this all the time at home. My kids are always needing to get on our home computer and I can login and let them in all from the comfort of the couch. It also lets you lock the computer, which is nice too.

Temperature:

Another very simple but really useful one, the temperature complication in the lower right hand corner of my watch face. This one is actually powered by Dark Sky, so besides giving me the current temp it will also change the icon to alert me to a change in precipitation status (either starting soon or ending soon). I'm outside running or cycling a lot and I live in Florida. So knowing if it is going to rain in the next hour is unbelievably useful.

That is all the complications I could squeeze onto my watch face. I use the modular watch face because that gives me the most complications. Although I do change my watch face from time to time to something without complications. After all, there are times when using your watch just as a watch is enough.

$4 App Just Saved Me $1000

I just got back from a long walk and my favorite weather app (Dark Sky) just saved me from having to replace my iPhone 6 Plus. I live in Florida and we get a lot of super isolated out of nowhere "build an ark now" kind of downpours. Normally when I go out and exercise I am either just using my Apple Watch for music or if I'm on my bike I use my iPhone in a ziplock back to protect against rain. But not this morning...

I had to go out to Orlando and pick up my wife from the airport, who was returning on a red-eye flight from a business trip. I was way too tired when I got back to go run or bike, so I opted for a long walk instead. I took my iPhone and decided to listen to some podcasts. About half way into my walk Dark Sky sends me a push notification saying some seriously heavy rain has just appeared out of nowhere and is headed my way. I was able to time it such that I ran the last part of my walk and made it to my front door before I was totally soaked. When I say soaked I mean soaked. When it decides to rain in Florida you might as well just go jump in a pool and it get it over with. There is not a square inch of your body or a thread of your clothing that isn't going to be drenched. So, since I was out for a walk without any rain protection for my iPhone, that simple push notification from Dark Sky]ds) did quite literally save me from having to replace my phone.

I've written about Dark Sky) recently on a GeekDad.com post, but I find that people have fell into the habit of NOT PAYING for mobile device applications so I like to point out very specific examples of apps you SHOULD BE paying for. Dark Sky is one of those apps. Between being able to time outdoor exercise and being alerted before leaving work that I either need to run out and grab my umbrella or leave early unless I want to swim to my car in 20 minutes, Dark Sky has paid for itself over and over and over again.

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