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Apple Watch

One of the newest markets that Apple has begun is referred to as the "wearable". This is technology that the user wears. Initially these types of devices were focused on fitness with brands such as Fit Bit and Garmin who catered to the active life style to count calories, distance, and other statistics for activities such as walking and running. Most saw this market as small and very specialized.

applewatchRumors began in 2011 that Apple was potentially working on a product that fit into this market but no one including Apple insiders could understand where it might fit or even if there were enough people interested in this kind of technology to justify the high cost associated with entering the playing field. Initially the rumors were of a curved iPod that would fit on your wrist so that you could take your music with you during activities. It was not until a couple of years later that details began to emerge as to what the product was or how it was being positioned.

On September 9, 2014 during the press event launching the iPhone 6, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the Apple Watch. The press almost immediately questioned why Apple wanted to get into the watch market. The market seemed to be dwindling for time pieces you wore on your wrist. More and more people used their phones to tell time, a problem Apple helped create with the iPhone. But the Apple Watch was not just another way to find out what time it was. Rather this was a product that in many cases was hard to define. The watch required an iPhone to be tethered which many saw as a design flaw but also became the source of unlocking the device's potential,

Developers could create applications that provided data and feedback to your wrist. This opened things up to not just notifications but also new ways to consume information. You could send messages or answer phone calls without ever taking your phone out of your pocket. Not only that but the Apple Watch also allowed you to track your activity level, the amount of times you stood versus sat during a day, and track your heart beat. This latter piece now provided a more immediate way to keep up on your health that was not easy before. Suddenly your watch was looking out for your health and reminded you to be active or relax.

applewatch2I have always had a watch, most times a chronograph or dive watch so what Apple was offering was extremely exciting. Always wanting to extend my digital reach I immediately bought one. I loved the simplicity of the design and was excited at the potential it had. Two things that held that item back for me was the fact that like the iPhone, the Apple Watch did not like water so replacing my dive watch was out of the question. The second was, even if the watch was waterproof (which it wasn't) I still had to carry my phone with me to get anything other than simply telling time. It was bad enough those times when I forgot my phone now my watch would remind me how forgetful I was. Despite these weaknesses, I loved my Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch came in three types. At the entry level was an aluminum Sport version. It was the Apple Watch collection or the middle tier I was interested in. It was made of Stainless Steel or Black Stainless Steel and included Sapphire Glass which is nearly indestructable. The upper tier was called the Apple Watch Edition with prices starting at $10,000 clearly out of my league for sure.

applewatch3The Apple Watch was amazing and quickly became a new favorite tool that I relied upon daily. But Apple was not content to stop there. On September 16, 2016 Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 2. This new version contained GPS that would keep track of where you were when walking or running reducing the need to take yoour phone with you on runs. It would sync when you got back making it easier for those who didn't like carrying a phone while running. This in itself was a major feature that users had been asking for but that was not the best thing.

The Apple Watch Series 2 was now water resistant to 50 meters. That still did not make it a watch I could use when scuba diving but I no longer had to worry how wet it was getting. In fact, Apple designed the Series 2 to be worn while swimming and had exhaustively tested it in that environment. Apple engineers created a way to use the watch's speaker to push residual water out of the device after you are done swimming. This feature was extremely useful for me when I was trapped in Hurricane Irma in Orlando Florida. Throughout the ordeal my watch worked flawlessly.

In what has now become customary, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 3 during the fall press event this time coinciding with the announcement of the iPhone 8. The Series 3 has made a significant change and one that many have predicted was what was holding back the device. Although we should be clear, "holding back the device" is a relative term. In the three years since its introduction, the Apple Watch is now the best selling watch brand in the world. This version adds two important pieces for athletes. First is that the watch now includes both GPS and cellular meaning that you no longer have to have an iPhone to tether to the watch. The downside of this of course is that you now have to add your watch to your cellular plan. At introduction AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all announced a monthly charge of $10 to add the watch. This also means you can make phone calls from your watch without your phone being close but your watch and your phone share the same number. The second feature is that the Apple Watch Series 3 now includes an altimiter to measure elevation gain as well as mapping out your route using GPS.

The health features of the device also got a bump so it now monitors both heart rate and will soon be able to detect irregular heart beats thereby warning users of potential problems. The heart rate monitoring now includes not only current heart rate but will be able to track resting rate and recovery to see how well your body is managing various efforts. Finally Apple has integrated workout data with several fitness companies to collect information from machines at the gym and manage it within the workout app.

The market for the Apple Watch continues to grow and go in directions that many of us cannot even imagine. It is exciting to watch and even more thrilling to be involved with such an innovative product.

Motorcycles

When I turned twelve, I began to ask my father what had happened to his bike. He explained that the flywheel had broken and it was in storage. 1973 PentonI asked if we could work on the bike and restore it to working order so that I could learn to ride. He readily agreed and we retrieved the motorcycle from storage. Few of my friends had heard of a Penton let alone seen one. This also went for the local parts stores as we constantly had to wait as they special ordered parts in for the bike. Each weekend we would work together to set up the bike and before long it was back in running order. It was an awesome experience to work on the bike with my dad then have him teach me how to ride it. The Penton was a tremendous bike that had more power than a twelve year old should have. My mother was worried that the bike was too big for me and so it was sold. I had saved money from working and was given the opportunity to purchase a new bike. I bought a Kawasaki 125 which was a great bike. It had just enough power to be fun but not too powerful so that I had to be afraid of it. This was definitely an off-road bike which was fine with me. I kept this bike until I was sixteen. Then on the day of my first date with Trina, I was riding with my dad when a rock came out of nowhere and I hit it flipping me over the handlebars cracking two ribs and hurting my shoulder. I would go to the dance that night with Trina but I was definitely in a lot of pain.

My dad had purchased a Yamaha IT175 and it was an amazing bike. In order to keep up with him I sold my Kawasaki and bought a Yamaha. My younger 1976motorcyclebrother Rod also bought a bike and the three of us would go out each weekend riding. It was great fun and we had a ball as a family. My brother was a better rider than I was but I held my own. I had great reflexes so my reaction time was better than his. When I was eighteen, Rod and I were riding along a road that was 20 feet above a lake. We were as usual racing and he was as usual beating me. I could see a short straight section of road before a curve and took off. I had too much speed when I reached the curve and hit the brakes. My bike slid out from under me and towards the cliff. I could only think about how much money it would cost me to replace that bike if it fell so I hung onto it to save it from falling. I was successful saving the bike but the bike was not successful in saving me. The bike remained on the road but I fell down the cliff face. A tree broke my fall and two ribs and hurt my wrist. I was able to slowly get out of the tree and make my way back to where my bike was. By this time Rod had gotten help and they took me home. My mother was none to pleased and this time put her foot down making me sell my motorcycle before I killed myself.

I soon went to college and then got married. The thoughts of riding a bike lingered in the back of my mind but both Trina and my mother would remind me whenever the subject came up how I nearly died on a bike and the subject was closed. It remained closed until 1978yamaha_it175August 2004. Trina was visiting family in Idaho and I was at home working. Mallorie had wanted us to get a car so that she would have transportation so it was my job to go and see if there were any model year end deals on a small pickup. I went to the dealership and found that pick-ups were in very short supply and therefore unavailable. The salesman did say that he had an overstock of Corvettes if I would be interested he could make me a great deal on one. Well my Camaro was showing its age so I thought this would be a great idea. I went home and called Trina to see how she felt about that. Trina was less pleased than I had anticipated and stated, “A Corvette is not practical and just would not work. You would be better off getting a motorcycle than you would getting a Corvette.” I took that to mean that a motorcycle is ok, she meant it that a Corvette ranked right up there with motorcycle in the top 10 list of dumb ideas I had. Since neither of us asked for further clarification the door was opened.

I went down to the Harley Davidson dealership and began looking at motorcycles. I thought that if I got a street bike I could ride it to work and save on gas and allow her or Mallorie to drive my car. So one night while she was at work I went down to look at a bike for the ninth time. 2005harleynighttrainThe salesman said they were having a great deal going right now and they actually had one I was looking for in stock. I decided to buy it but as I was signing the papers I realized that Trina would probably go crazy since I didn’t even have a helmet. The salesman was very helpful and said if I bought the bike he would throw in the helmet. That seemed like a good deal so I bought the bike. They needed a day to get it ready and I needed a day to try and tell Trina. I left the dealership with the free helmet and a T-shirt and headed home. Along the way I tried to decide how I was going to share this good news. When I got home I found Trina there and not in a good mood due to the kids failing to clean their room or something. I thought perhaps I should wait until later to share my news and so I left the helmet in the back of the car. That night we went to get groceries. As we parked the car and got out to go into the store, Trina happened to glance back and noticed a helmet in the back seat. “What is that?” she demanded. I had to think quickly and before I could stop myself I explained, “Oh, it was the weirdest thing. I went down to the Harley store and they were having a promotion. I bought a helmet and they threw in a motorcycle.” To this day I have no idea how but I actually lived through that night and she let me keep the bike. I am now riding a 2005 Harley-Davidson Softail Night Train. It is an incredible bike and I love it. Trina is warming up to the idea and has actually purchased a few accessories for it. When my mom found out I had a bike all she said was, “you are an idiot.” I don’t think mom will be riding with me any time soon.

If you would like to talk about motorcycles or if you would just like to hear how long it took me to heal after pulling a stunt like buying a motorcycle without telling Trina, please contact me and I’ll be happy to talk about it.

 

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson SlidesAs a boy growing up in Idaho, I was always around some form of bike I started out getting a tricycle then quickly graduated to a bicycle. My father was an avid motorcycle rider and I remember the family going with him to the hills above town where he and his friends would ride dirt bikes. He made it look effortless as he careened down the walls of the canyon and shooting up over the edges of the hills. After he was finished riding, he would place me on the front and take me down the trails letting me feel what it was like to ride. These memories stuck with me throughout my childhood. Other priorities took over my dad's life and he slowly stopped riding his motorcycle.

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Baseball

Baseball SlidesI have always loved baseball, as long as I can remember. The first piece of sports equipment I ever owned was a mitt. This was quickly followed by a ball and bat. The smell of a freshly oiled leather baseball glove, the sight of a newly chalked batter's box, the feel of an outfield of freshly cut grass; these are the memories of my childhood that remain with me even today. As I think back to when I was young, my earliest recollections are somehow connected to the great game of baseball.

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Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels SlidesWhen I was a very young boy, the Mattel toy company came out with what I thought was the coolest toys in the world. In 1969, my mother bought me my first Hot Wheels car. I can still remember that car, it was called Deora. It looked like some sort of future El Camino. The coolest part about it was that it had orange and yellow surf boards on the back. My brother had the Custom Fleetside and we played for hours with these cars.

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iPhone

The evolution of communications is progressing at breakaway speed.  During my lifetime I witnessed incredible changes that leave me pondering where this medium will go next.  To give you an example let me chronicle how phone communications have changed.

As a child growing up in Idaho we had one telephone in our house.  It was a black rotary phone mounted to the wall in our kitchen.  Our neighborhood still utilized the “party line” system.  For those of you unaware of what a “party line” is, everyone with a geographical area shared a common phone line.

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